Laguna Salada School District 1961-1980

by Marvin Morganti, former Asst Supt.
Laguna Salada Union School District

I arrived on the local scene in 1961, being hired by then Superintendent Fred Lucas, to serve as vice principal at Vallemar School, under the leadership of the then principal Scharleen Colant. It was a time of active growth in the district, opening a new school every year with the housing growth in the Linda Mar area, Fairmont and Pacific Heights. Many Saturdays were spent interviewing prospective teachers who were badly needed to lead the instructional program in the classrooms.
Superintended Fred Lucas was a pioneer in the development of the local school district, then tagged as the Laguna Salada Union School District, and now named the Pacifica School District.

The district, with a quick growth factor, developed eventually into a district of 15 schools, and an enrollment of approximately 15,000 pupils. Most schools were 'neighborhood' schools and consisted of grades K through 8. There were no Middle Schools or Alternative Schools. The district maintained a fleet of 5 busses, transporting children throughout the area. Teachers were guided by assistant principals in the schools, as well as curriculum consultants in the areas of mathematics, science, phycial education and reading. Every school employed a Reading Teacher through special funds provided by the Miller-Unruh Legisative action. Five Music Teachers served the schools both with instrumental and vocal instruction. It was a glorious time of exemplary instructional programs in the fast growing district.

In 1980, when I retired to begin a 10 year stint of teaching at San Francisco State Collge, the reduction in enrollment had begun. Also funding of special programs was beginning to be felt throughout the district. A decline of enrollment continued to erode the schools of Pacifica, to a point where now the district, known as the Pacifica School District. has closed 10 schools and is down to a total of 5, plus a Middle School. A once very active, growing district, has succumbed to the elimination of many programs. The district continues to maintain high standards and achievement levels are above average, due to the diligent efforts of determined teachers. The 60s and 70s was a time of great excitement and expectations for the local elementary schools.