Every person matters: Francine Stewart
- Student. Check.
- Teacher. Check.
- Academic coach. Check.
- Monterey Bay Teachers Association former president. Check.
- Assistant Principal. Check.
- Principal. Check.
- Coordinator of Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Check.
Francine Stewart has a long history in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District. She refers to herself as an MPUSD “lifer” - first as a student of Monte Vista Elementary, Colton Middle School, and ultimately graduating from Monterey High School before teaching at the primary and intermediate levels for nearly 10 years. Fast forward to 19 years, and today she serves as Administrator on Special Assignment, where she provides leadership and day-to-day oversight of MPUSD’s Expanded Learning Opportunities, which includes After School Academy (grant-based) and After School Campus Academy (fee-based). She is also the point person for MPUSD’s transitional kindergarten program.
Francine did not miss a beat when she took over the district’s Expanded Learning Opportunities, formerly Extended Learning Opportunities. She felt strongly that the program needed to be about “expansion” and not just an “extension” of the school day. She felt strongly that ELO was more than “babysitting” while students were under the district’s supervision. Francine and her team have worked hard this year to expand the after school opportunities to include homework help from a credentialed teacher and more!
The program focuses on three key components:
- Provide academic support
- Provide nutritious snack or supper for all participants
Enrichment opportunities are plenty thanks to Francine and crew. To name a few - capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts that includes dance and music; MEarth, environmental field trips learning about sustainability practices and principles; Lego engineering; theater arts through The Paper Wing Theatre; and physical activity, such as Just Run.
“Our program is about providing full service educational opportunity to students,” emphasized Francine.
She also identified a big gap in the extension of MPUSD’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program in the after school world. She was quick to implement the PBIS model into the ASA and ASCA program by establishing a team to ensure students experienced consistent environments and expectations.
On any given day, Francine can be found at one of the district’s eight ASA sites at Crumpton, Del Rey Woods, Highland, King, Marina Vista and Monte Vista elementary schools, and Los Arboles and Seaside middle schools, or at the fee-based ASCA at Monte Vista Elementary.
When asked what she loves about MPUSD and her job, she says “I love the people in the district. MPUSD has such a diverse and great group of people that I come across in everyday activities. This is what keeps me motivated.”
Moreover, Francine believes MPUSD is on the right path to meet needs of all of students in district. “The superintendent has set a very high bar, and we will rise to the challenge.” She knows to meet the challenge that every person matters and we are better together. “If everyone matters and we’re all better together, we can’t do anything but improve and make things better for students. Everyone has something to contribute and no one person can do it alone,” she emphasizes.