Director of Supplemental Services Bob Kampf remembers vividly his first day as an employee of Clovis Unified. He stepped into Nelson Elementary School’s room “Great 8” to teach third grade.
“I had 32 little guys come in on the first day of school and I thought I was going to be one of those who was going to save the world; I realized by about 9 o'clock that I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. “But I had fallen into a team where, just like we’re not going to let kids fail, they were not going to let colleagues fail either. So I knew I was in a special place in Nelson and in Clovis Unified School District.”
Last month, after 38 years in the district, Kampf was named Administrator of the Year by Fresno County Office of Education; he had been chosen over 14 other nominees.
His win was announced Oct. 27 at a ceremony in William Saroyan Theatre. Danny Alberty, a campus assistant at Edison High School in Fresno Unified, won School Employee of the Year. Jacqueline Ruiz, a chemistry teacher at Fresno High School, was named Teacher of the Year.
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“It’s humbling to get this award. I still don’t quite understand why I have it,” Kampf said.
His nearly four decades with the district have been marked by teamwork.
The Administrator of the Year Award is a representation not of Bob Kampf, he said, but of his entire department.
“We have nine people on our team,” he said. “It is a small but mighty team.”
Supplemental Services allocates state and federal funding appropriately to students who qualify for those particular funds, from English learners to migrant students and more. The department also oversees and coordinates various parent committees throughout the district, which act as liaisons between students, school sites and the district administration.
“Our little Supplemental Services team, they love what they do,” Kampf said. “They’re passionate — just get out of their way — because they want to make sure every student succeeds. They’re out in school, they’re out there doing the hard work.”
Kampf taught several different grade levels before becoming a GIS and eventually a principal at Friant when it was annexed into CUSD and then at Lincoln Elementary School.
He moved into the district administration office in the Department of Assessment and Evaluations before becoming the director of supplemental services eight years ago.
“Our role in Supplemental Services is to ensure that all kids walk across that stage in twelfth grade,” he said. “We assist and support schools in helping the under resourced, disenfranchised students and those have not mastered standards for a whole lot of reasons. We oversee all of our instructional assistants and bilingual aids who are there for kids who need that additional support.”
The team works to close learning gaps by training instructional assistants to in turn help students become better readers and/or more proficient in English.
Out of more than 42,000 students in the district, about 2,000 are English learners. But each semester, some of those students are reclassified, which means they have met state and district standards and have become proficient in English, Kampf said.
“This fall alone we’ve been able to reclassify over 200 English learners,” he said.
Kampf grew up in the small farming community of Watsonville and began teaching in Clovis after obtaining his master’s degree at Fresno State.
“I had a passion for helping kids from under resourced families because that’s what I experienced in Watsonville,” he said. “It’s been a blessing and certainly I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve Clovis.”
Kampf’s department recognizes that parents are their children’s first teachers, and it provides programs to engage parents in their child’s education, Kampf said.
So three years ago, his department decided to start the Clovis Unified Parent Academy, a series of six two-hour modules where dinner and childcare are provided while parents learn from research-based parent engagement strategies taught by retired teachers.
“For many students, they are the first generation that is going to go to college and the parents might think they can’t do this because they don’t have the money, or no on in the family has ever done this,” Kampf said. “We’re giving them strategies they need to support their students in making good decisions in what classes to take, to graduate with the right number of classes and to fulfill their A through G courses to be able to go on to a college or technical school. We show them how to register, apply for financial aid, go through FAFSA.”
Parents are also taught how to navigate the school system, how to discipline their children and monitor their academic achievement and social media online. The course culminates with a parent graduation, which motivates students to graduate as well, Kampf said.
In the last three years, more than 250 parents have graduated from Parent Academy, and several more sessions will start in January. Some of those parents have become their school site’s District Advisory Committee member and two have become employed by the district, Kampf said.
“Our aim No. 1 is we’re going to maximize student achievement for all kids, and the Parent Academy is designed for all kids and all parents,” he said.
Kampf feels supported in that mission because CUSD is a place where all kids matter, he said.
“Our kids come to us and they want to learn; they deserve to learn. We’re responsible as educators to be able to assist them in learning,” he said. “The foundation of what CUSD is built upon is the idea that it’s a fair break for every kid and it’s people, not programs.”