Dr. Alex Cherniss, Superintendent of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, explains why we so often hear parents say, “We moved here for the schools.” He also talks about his plans to keep the district looking forward into the future of education.

Dr. Alex Chermiss:
There’s a common thread among many parents here on the Peninsula, and that is we moved here for the schools. That tells me that the schools are really the backbone of this community. The magic that happens in the classroom, and the sparkle in the children’s eyes, is what really attracts me to this school district.

I spend quite a bit of time here going into classrooms, and honestly that’s the best part of my day. And what I see in the classrooms is teachers that are really engaged in challenging our students. And not just teaching facts, and memorization, but really engaging the children into pushing them, and encouraging critical thinking and inquiry based learning. And that’s where education’s going today.

Well, I think every school district has its own culture. Here on the Peninsula, we’re a high performing school district, so we have high expectations for our students. And our students have high expectations for themselves. So, I think that that is a little bit different than what you may see in other school districts.

At our high schools, about 70% of our students are doing something after school, involved in some after school activity, which is tremendous. I would say our schools are uniquely suited for students, and they look a little bit different than the other South Bay school districts, quite frankly.

Our elementary schools are a little bit smaller than most elementary schools in the South Bay, and that creates the opportunity to really personalize the educational program for the students.

I think that’s real attractive to parents. And with that, our middle schools have unique personalities that are all very different. Our schools are different, and our high schools are different. Our schedules are different at the high schools, and there’s a different feel at each high school.

So, I think here in the Peninsula you can really personalize the education for your children, and you also have opportunity to select what schools you would like to go to at the middle and high school level, which is great.

I’d like to see the Palos Verdes Peninsula school district to be the leaders in education, not just locally in the South Bay, but in the state. And I would like to see us offer programs that are unique to our district, but unique to the entire state and the entire country.

My goal is to offer innovation and be on the forefront and the cutting edge of education. And I think we have all the tools necessary to accomplish that.

We are very available. I’m very available. And if you ever have questions, don’t feel like you can’t email the Superintendent, because I’ll get back to you right away, and I want to make myself available to parents.

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