The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) has declared the week of November 4th to 10th Public Schools Week, and will open its schoolhouse doors throughout Santa Monica and Malibu and invite the communities inside.

The district has joined forces with the Santa Monica Classroom Teachers Association the and Parent-Teacher Association (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,” said district Superintendent Dianne Talarico.

“The sign of a great society and great communities is reflected in the state of their public schools,” says 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.”

STATE OF OUR SCHOOLS FORUM —Public Schools Week will kick off with the second annual “State of Our Schools: How Are We Doing?” address, a public forum set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday, November 5th, 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 Wednesday, November 7th, at the Webster Elementary School Auditorium in Malibu.

The State of Our Schools events are co-sponsored by Community for Excellent Public Schools (EPS) and The Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs.

This public forum will discuss:

n how California’s schools stack up against the rest of the nation;

n how Santa Monica-Malibu schools compare

n an analysis of student achievement;

n how funding for SMMUSD differs from other California districts; and

n first-hand accounts of students’ and teachers’ experiences.

California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance and a former SMMUSD school board president, will speak on the state of education funding in California.

She will be joined by Talarico and school board president Kathy Wisnicki. The evening will conclude with teachers and students discussing their perspectives and experiences.

OPEN HOUSES — In addition to the State of our Schools events, schools throughout Santa Monica and Malibu will be open for public visits Tuesday to Friday, November 6th to 9th. For times, contact individual schools.

Open schoolhouse events will include a coffee with the principal with a short presentation regarding the 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,” said Community for Excellent Public Schools chairwoman 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,” she added.

PTA Council president Rebecca Knurly says, “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.”

Information, www.smmpta .org/.