Community Update

January 20, 2023

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is an honor to celebrate the life, achievements, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The annual holiday observing Dr. King is a time for us to commemorate and reflect on Dr. King’s contributions to our country and the importance of equity. Dr. King’s nonviolent approach to social equality and leadership during the Civil Rights Movement provides us with an opportunity to learn how to be community minded through care and compassion.

Vista Unified is committed to supporting systems and practices that create and uphold equity and anti-racism. Our Superintendent’s Council for Equity and Anti Racism meets monthly to address inequities learners face. The counsel seeks to expand opportunities for each learner to have what is needed to reach their full academic and social potential. The council has planned a series of community forums over the next six months to continue to gather feedback from our students, parents, staff, and community members about our progress as a district in addressing equity and antiracism. From this feedback, we will refine our actions and services appropriately.

It is our collective responsibility to share Dr. King’s message and legacy with our learners and community as we look to the future for our learners in Vista Unified.

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Great Kindness Challenge 2023

The Great Kindness Challenge Week is January 23-27, 2023. This is a great opportunity for every member of the Vista Unified learning community to demonstrate our district’s newest value - kindness! Our goal is for all participants to find simple, thoughtful ways to make a difference in the life of someone else. The smallest gesture matters deeply, and their impact can live on further than you might realize. Help us grow kindness at every school site by encouraging your child’s participation and by asking them about activities at their school or in their classroom. Families may also participate in The Great Kindness Challenge by using the attached family edition checklist.

The 2023 Great Kindness Challenge Kickoff Video - Let's Grow Kindness!

Website Refinements

In concert with the implementation of our new Framework for the Future (Vision, Values, Portraits), we are in the initial stages of redesigning our website. It is our goal to streamline the content on the website so that it is easier for parents and staff to navigate. Over the course of the next five months, we will be making significant adjustments to our existing website. We are also making arrangements to shift to an entirely new website between July and August of this year. The Technology Advisory Group (TAG) is taking the lead on the selection process for a new web hosting platform. We also want to hear from the community. Your voice matters. Please click on the Website Refinement Survey link to let us know your thoughts about improving our website. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we embark on making refinements to our website.

Magnet School Window and Application Process Now Open for 2023-24 School Year

In addition to its neighborhood schools, Vista Unified has five magnet schools throughout the district. Magnet schools are schools of choice with a focused theme that shapes the curriculum and instruction at that school. If a student and their parents are interested in the focused theme offered at a particular magnet school, then a magnet school might be a perfect alternative to the neighborhood school. The window to apply for a middle or high magnet school is January 11th through February 17th and for an elementary magnet school is January 11th through April 7th. Applications and additional information can be found by visiting the Vista Unified magnet webpage.

Digital Citizenship Technology Workshop for Parents

Using technology in a safe way is more important now than ever before. All of our teachers and staff just completed training on how to support students to become good digital citizens. As parents, you play a key role in supporting your children as they learn how to safely use technology, particularly social media. Stay tuned for a “Special Edition” Community Update, filled with resources parents can use to support healthy technology habits at home.

Vista Unified will be hosting a technology awareness workshop via Zoom for parents on Thursday, February 16th from 6:00-7:30 pm. Technology expert Jon Moffat will guide parents through such questions as:

  • How do I check privacy settings on my child’s profiles?

  • How do I set up boundaries in the Digital World? How do I keep up?

  • What are the latest tech trends in our community? What might my child be up to?

  • Learn more about Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, Discord, Roblox, BeReal, and many more.

Mark your calendars and join us for this special parent workshop.

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Combatting the Tripledemic

San Diego County’s leading doctors are warning residents that the triple threat - COVID-19, the flu and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) - is still present throughout the community and released a video with tips for remaining healthy during the winter season.

Five Tips for Fighting Winter Viruses:

  1. Get vaccinated, boosted, and treated.

  2. Stay home if you are sick.

  3. Wear a mask.

  4. Wash your hands.

  5. Cover your cough or sneeze.

Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to not send their children to school if they are experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccinations

COVID-19 testing continues to be available for our community at the Vista Innovation Center. The clinic has resumed testing Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. For those experiencing symptoms, the new “FLUVID” test is now available. This is a flu-Covid combination test that detects which illness someone may be experiencing. Starting February 3rd, COVID-19 boosters and flu shots will be available every Friday.

Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten Pre-Enrollment Opens March 1st for 2023-2024

Parents and guardians can reach out to any VUSD elementary school for assistance with the pre-enrollment process. Click here for information about the TK/K Enrollment process, and click here for frequently asked questions about TK/K Enrollment. Enroll early to secure your spot!

Intradistrict and Interdistrict Transfers Open January 11 - March 15, 2023 for 2023-2024

  • Families living in VUSD boundaries who would like to apply to attend a school other than their neighborhood school for the 2023-2024 school year can apply using this linked process for Intradistrict Transfers.

  • Families living outside of VUSD boundaries who would like to attend a VUSD school or families living in VUSD boundaries who would like to apply to attend school in another district can apply using this linked process for Interdistrict Transfers.

Contact the Student Support Services Department for more information.

School Attendance & Success - Parent Corner

The pandemic has taken a toll on student’s academic, behavioral, and social-emotional development. Consistent school attendance is more critical now than ever to ensure long-term student success. [Institute of Educational Sciences, 2022] Parents, guardians and families are essential partners in promoting good attendance because they have the responsibility for making sure their children get to school every day. We all know that learning improves when students consistently attend school. Students are also able to build stronger relationships with their teachers and peers when they are in class consistently.

Attendance Considerations

  • Monitor your student’s attendance on Aeries Parent Portal, and contact the school as soon as possible if you have questions or concerns.

  • Starting in preschool and kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.

  • Missing 10%, or approximately two days each month over the course of a school year, can make it harder to learn to read and make adequate academic progress.

  • Frequent absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with social-emotional issues, or facing some other difficulty.

  • By sixth grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school. By ninth grade, attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than eighth grade test scores.

Prioritize School Attendance and School Success

  • Talk with your child about the importance of attendance and create a mindset for “showing up” even when it is difficult. This is an essential life skill that you can help your child develop early on.

  • Create the conditions for success. Choose clothes the night before, establish consistent sleep and wake times, set a schedule for when you need to leave the house based on distance, traffic, etc., and schedule appointments outside of school time as much as possible.

  • Set and monitor goals to be on time, and identify simple ways to recognize and celebrate reaching those goals each week.

  • If your child must be absent, reach out to the school to get the missed assignments, and work with your child to complete them. If the reason for the absence is excused, students may submit their work in a reasonable amount of time and complete missed quizzes, tests or projects for academic credit, as determined by the teacher. Even if the absence is unexcused, your child will benefit from staying current with their learning.

Keep The School Informed

  • Contact the school as soon as possible when your child will be absent, and provide the reason for the absence. Parents/guardians are responsible to notify the school of the reason within 72 hours of the student’s return to school, or the absence will convert into an unexcused absence.

  • Reach out to the school administration or counselor if you are facing challenges or barriers to getting to school or staying at school.

Keeping Parents/Guardians Informed and Involved

One of the primary strategies we are implementing this year is to re-establish consistent communication and engagement systems with our families for attendance through a partnership with Attention2Attendance, or A2A.

  • Automated calls are sent out each day to parents/guardians of students who are absent when the school has not been informed by the parent/guardian of the reason for the absence. After this time period, the absence remains unexcused.

  • Additionally, our district follows all state guidelines for sending parent notifications for both unexcused and excessive excused absences. Click here for more information about state guidelines for parent notifications and attendance definitions.

  • Through our A2A Partnership, we are also sending periodic positive attendance notifications to recognize students who have positive attendance.


Matt Doyle, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Vista Unified School District