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School district seeks input on ‘reimagining’ early ed in Citrus Heights

By Sara Beth Williams–
San Juan Unified School District is seeking community input and feedback on “reimagining” early childhood and elementary education in Citrus Heights.

At the City Council meeting on Feb. 9, San Juan’s Director of Labor Relations Daniel Thigpen invited the community to contribute feedback in order to help develop an “innovative elementary school program in Citrus Heights.” Thigpen added that educators have been working for months on researching “new and emerging practices” in order to design a new educational model offering for local students and families.

Throughout the months of February and March, San Juan Unified will be conducting community feedback meetings at multiple Citrus Heights elementary schools. The district’s goal is to gather community feedback on the current strengths, opportunities of growth and hopes and desires for local elementary and K-8 campuses in Citrus Heights, according to the district’s website.

Thigpen said that a location for the new educational program should be decided upon this spring and that the district is committed to establishing the program in Citrus Heights in order to take advantage of the “community’s expressed desire for different types of learning.”

San Juan Director of Communications Raj Rai clarified to The Sentinel that the new program model will be opened at an existing school location and that feedback collected at community meetings will also be shared with each school site so site staff can utilize any feedback in planning for upcoming school years.

Limited details about what is being planned have been released. When asked if the new program would include an early childhood education center, Rai said it is “possible” that the program would include preschool or Transitional Kindergarten class, but would depend upon feedback received.

The next community meeting will be held on Feb. 27 at Carriage Drive Elementary School, located at 7519 Carriage Drive, at 2:15 p.m. and 6 p.m. A full list of school sites, meeting dates and meeting times can be found on the SJUSD website.

A survey for those who cannot attend the meetings is also available at

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