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Folsom City Manager Andersen talks schools

By: Folsom City Manager Elaine Andersen
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As summer ends and the school year begins, it’s a new chapter and time of transition for many Folsom families. With two kids in college, it’s a nostalgic time of year for me. My husband Jay and I raised both of our children here in Folsom, and we have been proud Folsom Cordova Unified School District parents since 2001. This time of year brings back special memories of scrambling to get our kids back to a semblance of a schedule, back-to-school shopping, countless soccer practices and games, and school welcome picnics.

I have heard time and time again from parents who say they chose to call Folsom home because it’s a great place to raise a family. Folsom offers a special formula of top-notch schools, a highly engaged community, and a strong, supportive local government and this synergy creates an environment where Folsom’s young people can thrive and achieve their potential.

Folsom schools are consistently recognized as among the highest achieving in the region and are regularly ranked statewide and nationally. Under the leadership of a fantastic superintendent, Dr. Sarah Koligian, the teachers in Folsom Cordova Unified School District schools work tirelessly and collaboratively to provide exceptional educational programs that offer the building blocks for lifelong learning and future success.

Folsom students are fortunate to have access to Folsom Lake College here in our community. The beautiful campus includes more than 240,000 square feet of state-of-the-art instructional space; an enormous library and computer lab for student use; premier athletics facilities and fields; and the renowned Harris Center for the Arts.

Students’ learning experiences and educational opportunities are enhanced through numerous business and community partnerships, as well as programs, services and amenities offered through the City of Folsom.

Our highly-used, much-loved parks offer recreational amenities, foster healthy lifestyles and build a sense of community. The robust trail system connects neighborhoods and nature while providing safe routes throughout town. The Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary is a community treasure that offers a unique learning experience for all while also promoting responsible and appropriate human behavior toward all animals. 

The Folsom Parks & Recreation Department preschool and kindergarten readiness programs offer a foundation for learning, and recreational programs and camps allow kids to explore and learn. CAVE after-school programs at Folsom Middle School and Sutter Middle School provide a safe, positive environment for students after the school day, where friendly, trained recreation leaders supervise and offer fun structured activities for the program.

The Parks & Recreation Department supports children with a variety of special needs so they can participate in any of the offered programs, activities and events. This summer, the department partnered with the Folsom Police Department and Folsom Fire Department for a Community Awareness Picnic at the Steve Miklos Aquatic Center, where more than 300 participants enjoyed a free BBQ, swimming, and learning about special needs programs offered by the City of Folsom.

While summer may be winding down, the aquatic center will continue to offer swim lessons during the fall. One of our featured programs is the Autism Spectrum Swim lessons that are offered free of charge through a grant from Autism Speaks.

Our Folsom Public Library provides an important complement to school-based education, with free and open access to books, tutoring, volunteer opportunities and reading programs that occur during out-of-school hours. 

School readiness now starts very early at the Folsom Public Library with the new 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program launching this month. Parents are encouraged to read with their children from birth and track their progress toward a goal of 1,000 books read before entering school.

Free tutoring is available for students in grades K-8. Folsom Public Library volunteer tutors help students practice reading, strengthen math skills and complete homework assignments. No appointment is needed and tutors are available Tuesdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Teens are encouraged to get involved with the Folsom Teen Council, and help volunteer at community events and raise funds for worthy local causes. A number of volunteer leadership opportunities are available for teens at the library, including the Teen Library Council and the Teen Summer Reading Team.

In partnership with the Folsom-Cordova Unified School District, the Folsom Police Department has three school resource officers assigned to Folsom schools. Offering more than just assistance with criminal matters on school campuses, they foster educational and mentoring relationships with students and serve as a resource for school administrators, teachers and parents. The Folsom Police Department also creates and administers after-school programs, including fitness programs aimed at developing leadership, respect, courage and discipline while enhancing self-esteem and decreasing bullying. These programs include the Fighting for Fitness program at Folsom middle and high schools and a newly-established Building Bridges CrossFit for Kids.

It truly takes a village to raise a child, and in Folsom, that village is supportive and strong. I welcome and encourage your feedback and ideas! I can be reached at eandersen@folsom.ca.us or 916-461-6010. Here is to a great school year!