School Boards in Action: 5 Questions with Susan Macfarlane, Lodi USD

Susan Macfarlane, board president, Lodi Unified School District

What does your district have planned for the 2022–23 school year to foster learning recovery and educational advancements?

Lodi USD has employed a number of activities and program offerings to address learning recovery and education advancements, including but not limited to:

  • Implementation of new math curriculum and diagnostic assessments for math and English language arts
  • Implementation of academic intercessions in fall and spring
  • Increase of credit recovery options in high school
  • Increase of the number of intervention teachers and paraeducators in our district
  • Expansion of early literacy programs, such as Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words (SIPPS) and Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessments
  • Expansion of after-school tutoring and instructional support at all elementary school sites
  • Providing long-term English learner summer school
  • Providing K-12 summer school
  • Providing after-school tutoring and instructional support at all elementary school sites
  • Providing professional development for intervention teachers and classroom teachers on the science of reading

What types of professional development priorities or supports do you have planned for teachers and staff?

Our dedicated staff continue to do a tremendous job supporting our students. Our district offers internal and external professional development opportunities for staff. For example, each year our professional development office supports a new teacher boot camp and a three-day professional development conference for all teachers and instructional staff. We have instructional coaches who support new and veteran teachers. They were critically important during the distance learning era. We have a unique career ladder for teachers in which they can take on more responsibilities for supporting other teachers while staying in their classroom teaching position and earning additional money.

We encourage our staff to participate in professional development opportunities that may further their career goals in Lodi USD.

What are some ways the district is sharing positive news and/or support with families and the community?

Each board meeting, we have “Board spotlights” or “Board recognitions” in which we highlight different programs, students or employees for their positive work in the district.

The district shares daily updates with the community across all major social media platforms. Most recently, Lodi Unified launched a TikTok to highlight schools and students.

What is one thing you’d most like to accomplish during your time as a trustee and why?

My goal as a trustee has been and continues to be the fulfillment of our mission: “Educating students for success.” With that goal in mind, I want to ensure that our board policies are current and effective for our students; foster stronger internal communication between the district and employees so that students are supported; and finally, maintain and implement programs that give students hands on experience that prepares them for the future, whether that be in higher education, trade school, armed services or another pathway.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I spend time with my husband of 30 years, my three daughters and my son=in-law. We’re Italian and family is our foremost priority along with giving back to our community. We love spending time together, especially each Sunday for our weekly family dinner.