CONTACT:  Sarah Wahrenbrock               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 229                                                16 OCT 2007




SMMUSD has declared the week of November 4th – 10th “Public Schools Week,” and will open its schoolhouse doors throughout Santa Monica and Malibu and invite the communities inside.  The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has joined forces with the district’s Teachers Association and PTA Council to present Public Schools week. 


“We hope that community residents from throughout Santa Monica and Malibu will take advantage of this opportunity to hear from our principals, teachers, PTA leaders, and students about some of the extraordinary educational opportunities that take place every day in our schools; some of our successes, our challenges, and efforts to make all of our schools world class, and keep them world class well into the 21st Century,” says SMMUSD Superintendent Dianne Talarico.


“The sign of a great society and great communities is reflected in the state of their public schools,” contends Harry Keiley, President of the Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association.  “We are privileged to live in cities like Santa Monica and Malibu, which support our schools not only philosophically, but tangibly.  Our cities know, just as our teachers know, that the quality of our schools directly impacts the quality of our cities.  Teachers are proud of the work we do, and are eager to share that with our communities.”


Public Schools Week will kick off with the second annual “State of Our Schools: How Are We Doing?” address, a public forum set for Monday, November 5th from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. at the Santa Monica Public Library (Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica). This education forum is free and open to all members of the public. Refreshments will be served in the library courtyard following the program.  The program will be presented again on Wednesday, November 7th at the Webster Elementary School Auditorium in Malibu.  The State of our Schools events are co-sponsored by CEPS (Community for Excellent Public Schools) and The Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs.


This public forum on our public schools will discuss:


California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance and former SMMUSD Board of Education President, will speak on the state of education funding in California.  She will be joined by Ms. Dianne Talarico, SMMUSD Superintendent, and Dr. Kathy Wisnicki, President of the SMMUSD Board of Education.  The evening will conclude with teachers and students discussing their perspectives and experiences.


In addition to the “State of our Schools” events, schools throughout Santa Monica and Malibu will be open for public visits Tuesday – Friday, November 6-9.  A full list of schools and times will be released shortly.  Open schoolhouse events will include a coffee with the principal with a short presentation regarding their school and a word from the PTA president at each school site.


“What better way to convey the quality of our public schools than to lead a detailed discussion for all to hear and then open our schoolhouses for all to see,” says CEPS Chair Shari Davis.   “Public Schools Week is proof-positive that our community’s priorities are right on target, and we are grateful for the ongoing support from our citizens.”


“Come see why so many of us believe our public schools are world class – not because we claim that we have achieved that distinction in all areas for all students at this moment, but that we’re working hard to achieve that goal – and in many areas are succeeding,” states PTA Council President Rebecca Kennerly.  “Public Schools Week will feature ‘Our Schools Top Ten List,’ which highlights the top ten things to know about the Santa Monica and Malibu schools, and a discussion about why local funding for our schools – 17% of SMMUSD District’s revenue – provides the critical difference between typical public education and our world class public schools.”


Here are a few achievements that will be shared during Public Schools Week:


For more PTA information, contact Rebecca Kennerly at 310.453.6305 or visit


For more CEPS information, contact Shari Davis at 310.935.4483 or visit





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