Benicia Unified School District

Superintendent December Newsletter

Posted On: December 21, 2023


Damon Wright

Dear BUSD Families,

Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Diwali, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!

Please enjoy the holiday season and take the much-deserved time to share with loved ones. I particularly enjoy the holiday season for its myriad of cultural traditions. Regardless of the unique traditions one celebrates, embracing cultural nuances allows us to appreciate the beauty of diversity, fostering a sense of unity that strengthens our community.

The holiday season is also a time to remember and honor those who have passed on, and remain mindful and support those who need companionship. Through the art of sharing stories, eating great food, enjoying music, and exchanging gifts, I hope these celebratory moments bring joy and generate long-lasting memories. 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.


Damon J. Wright, Ed.D.
Benicia Unified School District

Happy Holidays

BUSD Celebrates the Holidays

Mary Farmar hosted the Books and Blankets event, and Robert Semple hosted their holiday tradition Winter Wonderland, Holidays Around the World Tour. Both events provided an opportunity for the Benicia community to engage with students. Community members, including representatives from the Benicia Police Department and Benicia Fire Department, elected city officials, parents, and BUSD staff and Board Members, read holiday-themed stories to students.

Growth NWEA Assessment

BUSD has placed great emphasis on teaching and learning to prepare students for success after graduation. This year, the district employed a teacher on special assignment at Benicia Middle School to support math teachers in implementing the updated pilot for the CPM curriculum. Thus far, the BMS math department has experienced exponential growth as measured by the NWEA. The data shows that 67% of all students met or exceeded their growth targets, which far exceeded national norms. In addition, sixth and seventh-grade students who participated in the math pilot showed significant improvement in expected scores from last year’s comparison and actual growth this year. During the fall assessment, students scored at the 44th percentile during the fall 2022-2023 administration of the NWEA and increased to the 76th percentile during the winter 2023-2024 administration.

We congratulate Benicia Middle School for its progress and look forward to hearing about additional accomplishments.

Employment Opportunities

Benicia Unified School District has vacant positions for the current school year. If you or someone you know is looking for a job and interested in serving our students and our community, please click on this EdJoin Link and apply. If you have any questions, please email Human Resources at:

Fall Semester Completed

As the first semester closes, thank you for entrusting us with your children. As an organization, we pride ourselves on providing highly skilled and compassionate educators to serve students and our community. I thank everyone who made this semester a success, including our dedicated educators, supportive parents and guardians, generous community partners, and motivated students.

Parents and guardians, thank you for supporting school attendance. Consistent daily attendance and active participation in the school program enhance student learning and contribute to improved school culture. Over the past few years, Districts throughout the state, including BUSD, have reported an increased chronic absenteeism rate and decreased average daily attendance. In response, BUSD launched an attendance campaign and made substantial progress towards addressing the deficit.

Thursday, December 14, 2023, was the 80th day of school. Upon review of our Average Daily Attendance rate and Chronic Absenteeism data, BUSD recorded a 94.6% attendance rate during the Fall semester of the 2023-2024 school year, compared to a 92.7% attendance rate last school year. BUSD also recorded a 14% Chronic Absenteeism rate this school year compared to a 23.3% rate last school year. While we need to continue progressing to reach our intended goals, we certainly applaud the efforts of our staff, students, and parents thus far.


Damon J. Wright, Ed.D.
Benicia Unified School District

Multi-Language Learners

The Benicia Unified School District embraces the language diversity our multi-language learners contribute to the community. At the December 12, 2023, Governing Board meeting, BUSD celebrated language diversity by recognizing thirty-two students who met the requirements for reclassification as fluent in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English.

The District’s Multi-Language Learners earned this award by scoring four on the Summative English Language Proficiency Assessment of CA (ELPAC), which provides our district information to help support our English Learners in Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. In addition to excelling on the ELPAC, the multi-language learners met State and District guidelines through classroom performance, academic grades, and state and local assessments.

These talented learners are on the pathway to demonstrate literacy in multiple languages and earn the prestigious Seal of Biliteracy. Multi-language learners may earn this award by obtaining a 3.0 grade point average or higher in English Language Arts courses or passing an approved exam. In addition, students must show proficiency in another language by passing with a 3.0 grade point average in a four-year high school course, the Advanced Placement exam, or passing an exam in their Home Language if it is not English.

We are fortunate to serve multi-language learners and families who collectively speak thirty different languages across our District. We thank and congratulate them for their accomplishments.


Measure C for Better Benicia Schools

The Benicia Unified School District is pursuing a $122.5 million local school improvement measure on the March 2024 ballot to address aging classrooms and the need to bring school facilities up to current standards through modernization and renovation projects at all District facilities. The measure will not increase the tax rate local property owners are currently paying. Instead, it will extend the current tax rate set to expire in 2026 (at a lower tax rate). Here is factual information regarding Measure C.

If passed, Measure C will provide funding to make critical facility improvements to Benicia schools, including:

  • Repairing/replacing leaky roofs
  • Expanding and renovating career technical classrooms and labs to better prepare students for employment after high school
  • Replacing outdated heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems
  • Renovating/constructing science and technology labs
  • Improving student access to computers and technology

Measure C makes financial sense and protects taxpayers.

  • Measure C will not increase the tax rate property owners are currently paying.
  • By law, spending must be annually audited and reviewed by an independent citizens’ oversight committee.
  • All bond funds must be spent locally and cannot be taken by the State.
  • Funds must be spent only on school facilities, not administrator or teacher salaries.

Please review the FAQ linked here for additional factual information.

Happy New Year

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