TTUSD District Update

December 2022

In this Month's Newsletter

  • A Message from the Superintendent
  • Welcome to Our Newly Elected Board of Education Trustees

  • California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Results

  • 2-Hour Delayed Start Option for Challenging Weather

  • Congratulations to All our Fall Sports Champions

  • TTUSD Staff Highlights

  • Voluntary COVID-19 Testing Program

  • Library Cards for all TTUSD Students

  • TTEA Negotiations Update

A Message from the Superintendent

Dear TTUSD Community,

We have a lot to celebrate as 2022 comes to a close. I’ve been visiting all the school sites within our district during my “Supe on the Move” tour, and each visit reinforces how amazed I am by the dedication and sheer work that TTUSD staff and students accomplish each day. That hard work was certainly reflected in the recently released CAASPP results, which can be found below. Of course, there is always more work to do and goals to strive towards, but as this year ends, I think it’s also important to celebrate where we’re at and all the fantastic work being accomplished.

And speaking of celebrations, how about our sports teams?!?! TTUSD fall sports teams not only brought home multiple championship titles but also excelled academically while doing it. Go Wolverines and Lakers!

And it’s been so wonderful to see our holiday events and celebrations return back in person this year. Last month, Mrs. Nordby-Heath led Tahoe Lake students in a wonderful musical tribute to the Beatles, Glenshire Elementary put on a spectacular Holiday Breakfast, the ACMS band just had its Winter Concert, and the Truckee Elementary 5th Grade Holiday Spectacular, Truckee High and North Tahoe High winter concerts are all just around the corner, to name a few!

The holidays can certainly be a magical time but also a stressful one. So I hope we can all remember to enjoy family and friends, cherish time together, and support all within our community. It’s my privilege to lead our district as superintendent, and I look forward to what we, as a community, will accomplish for our students in 2023 and beyond.

I wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday season!


Carmen Ghysels,

Superintendent Chief Learning Officer

Welcome to Our Newly Elected Board of Education Trustees

It’s official! Votes have been tallied, and TTUSD is welcoming back Diana “DeeDee” Driller as a board member and welcoming two new Board of Education Trustees, Patrick Mooney and Denyelle Nishimori. All three trustees were sworn in at last night’s December 14, 2022, board meeting at the District Offices.

We are thrilled to welcome all three as they begin 4-year terms dedicated to driving the vision of TTUSD. That includes ensuring all district scholars are provided a challenging and engaging learning opportunity to thrive and succeed in a globally competitive age.

If you weren’t able to meet them on the campaign trail, we’ve asked each a few questions below so we can all learn how they are approaching the upcoming term. Please join us in welcoming them to this very important position!

Diana “Deedee” Driller

Diana “Deedee” Driller has already served multiple 4-year term on the TTUSD Board of Education as the Area 5 trustee. DeeDee has lived in the North Tahoe area since 1984, and she and her husband have two children that graduated from TTUSD schools. You can read DeeDee’s full bio here.

Q: What inspired you to run for the TTUSD Board of Education for the fourth time?

A: I decided to run for my fourth term for several reasons but mostly because I love the work! I’m passionate about providing education to all learners at every level, and as a school board member, I’ve been able to contribute to decisions benefiting our students and the Tahoe Truckee community. I take my board seat very seriously and work diligently to be informed to make sound decisions. I am an involved community member and eager to learn new things! I will continue to listen to all sides with an open mind knowing that great ideas come from others.

When my children were in school, I was ever present as a volunteer. Now that they’ve graduated and my work schedule has subsided, I have time to return to school sites and offer support on various levels. Not only is my time with students fulfilling, but it’s also where I get “feet on the pavement” answers and information.

In my last three terms, I have learned so much about how the school system runs: its successes and its challenges. As a returning board member, I know I can offer historical knowledge, wisdom, and expertise. Our TTUSD board has worked extremely hard to get to where we are now, and I want to continue being a part of the district’s future success and growth.

Q: What will your main priorities be in the first year of your tenure?

A: My first order of business will be to work with the new board members to offer as much assistance as possible as they learn the processes and the vast amount of new information!

Communication was a big part of my platform, and I will continue supporting methods and processes to ensure all parties are informed and listened to. During the campaigning process, it became clear to me that many in our community are unaware or uninformed about our school district’s operations. I hope to be a conduit to help share and communicate all the wonderful things the district offers. Community outreach and involvement are big-ticket items for me this year. We have the most amazing community. I plan to find ways to keep them involved.

Additionally, many of the programs that I feel strongly about are already in place, and I hope to review and continue improving them. For instance, our social and emotional support system is stellar, and I am interested in expanding it to provide additional support to staff. And our transportation system is beyond stellar, and I’m interested in learning more about how we cover over 720 square miles, 3 counties, 11 school sites, and snow!

Patrick Mooney

Patrick Mooney is a 34-year retired teaching veteran and athletic coach. He began teaching English at Truckee High School in 1989 and, over the years, taught just about every English class that THS offered. Additionally, he coached ski racing for 29 years and boys’ varsity soccer for five. Between his experience as a classroom teacher, coach, parent, community member, and writer, Patrick brings a unique perspective to the TTUSD school board as the Area 1 trustee. You can read Patrick’s full bio here.

Q: What inspired you to run for the TTUSD Board of Education?

A: I had been thinking for many years about running for a position on the school board when I retired, and the timing of the pandemic slowing to what seems manageable levels, and three seats coming up for election on the school board, seemed right. Although I retired from the classroom, I’m not ready to be done with the business of education. I felt as a school board trustee, I could put my many years of educational experience to good use and keep my hand in the business that I feel is one of the most important missions of human endeavor - the passing on of civilization.

Q: What will your main priorities be in the first year of your tenure?

A: The number one priority for me has always been and will always be the health, safety, and well-being of our students. Another very pressing issue is staffing and affordable housing. The current board and district administration have taken many positive steps on these issues, and I hope to keep up the momentum and perhaps bring a new perspective. Additionally, I would like to maintain and continue to support our exemplary academic, artistic, and athletic programs by retaining and hiring staff (both teachers and support) who exceed expectations.

Denyelle Nishimori

Denyelle Nishimori brings over 20 years of local government experience to the TTUSD Board of Education as the new Area 4 trustee. Denyelle is currently the Community Development Director for the Town of Truckee, and she and her husband, Rob, own and operate two outdoor recreation businesses in the community. You can read Denyelle’s full bio here.

Q: What inspired you to run for the TTUSD Board of Education?

A: I chose to run for the school board to be a voice for equity, inclusion, and diversity and to support student growth and development. Growing up, I was one of a few lower-income kids in an affluent school district and was picked on for being “poor.” I never let this define me and used this experience to challenge others to be better. I hope to inspire our student body to see beyond labels and feel empowered to improve our world.

Q: What will your main priorities be in the first year of your tenure?

A: As a new board member, I plan to be a sponge and learn as much as I can in the first year. I am committed to asking questions, seeking answers, and working collaboratively to make decisions that are in the best interest of students. A successful first year is one where students, families, and staff feel supported, and there has been a healing process coming out of COVID. My personal commitment is to listen, to problem-solve, and to bring a creative lens to the decision-making process.

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Results

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) is the state academic testing program intended to provide information that can be used to monitor student progress and ensure all students leave high school ready for college and career. The system encompasses multiple assessments focused on English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, and science. Each year, all students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 take these summative assessments in ELA and math and the science assessment in grades 5, 8, and 10 to measure the knowledge and skills gained during the school year and test their ability to think critically and solve problems.

Here at the district, we thoroughly review the results through several lenses. District-wide, it’s a snapshot of how our students are doing collectively and can be compared year over year. Similarly, from an individual student perspective, it can provide learners and families with information on how their student is doing, where they are excelling, and where some additional efforts can be made. CAASPP is a very helpful and informative tool, but it’s important to remember it’s just one measure of learning. The California Department of Education has developed a series called the Parent Guide to Understanding which could be a useful resource if you’d like to learn more.

Likely you’ve heard national and regional news outlets reporting on the results of these and similar tests. One of the big questions on everyone’s minds was - did our students experience a pandemic slide? We are proud to find in our results that TTUSD students did not experience a slide during the time spent remote learning. An achievement gap still persists for some of our populations; however, we did not see those gaps widen significantly during the pandemic. We still have work to ensure all TTUSD students meet achievement standards in all categories and will continue implementing programs to address these challenges.

Parents of students who took the CASSPP test last spring received an email on October 24th with directions on accessing their individual student’s scores through Aeries.

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Kerstin Kramer presented the findings at the Nov. 2nd TTUSD Board meeting, which you can watch here. But in summary, some of the key findings include:

  • CAASPP ELA for fifth, eighth, and eleventh grades results do not show a substantial overall decline in student achievement.

    • The achievement gap persists for socioeconomically disadvantaged (SED) students.

    • The gap has not widened significantly over the last five years.

  • CAASPP math performance trends for fifth and eleventh grades are steady and eighth grade declined.

    • The achievement gap persists for SED students and widened for 8th and 5th grades (10 - 20 increase in point score difference)

  • Overall, TTUSD students did not experience a pandemic slide.

  • The SED achievement gap generally remains the same before and after the height of the pandemic.

2-Hour Delayed Start Option for Challenging Weather

On Wednesday, December 7th, we sent out information regarding 2-hour delayed starts. It’s another tool in our “snow day toolbox” and will hopefully be a good option some mornings when the weather is challenging but expected to clear up soon. It will allow our town and county partners a bit more time to clear the roads before we start transporting students.

As a reminder, for a “Delayed Start,” all schools will begin 2 hours later and will be released at the regular dismissal time. All delayed start school schedules can be found on our Delayed Start webpage on There, you can also access the Master Bus Stop list, which shows bus pick-up times on the delayed start schedule. Phone calls, emails, and text messages will be sent in the mornings, similarly to on a snow day, so please take this opportunity to ensure your notification settings in Aeries are up-to-date. Additionally, we strive to have Snow Day or Delayed Start notifications on and through the TTUSD App by 5 am.

Congratulations to All our Fall Sports Champions

It sure was an exciting fall season for athletics throughout the district this year! Our Wolverine and Laker athletes shined both on and off the field. Not only do we have a lot of podium placements to celebrate, but many of our teams were academic state champions as well. That highly coveted designation is given to the team with the highest grade point average in each sport classification. The team GPA is determined by averaging the individual GPAs of each varsity team member from the most recent semester. Below is a list of teams we’d like to congratulate for all their hard work!

Truckee High School

  • Football | 3A State Champions & 1st Place Academic State Champions

  • Girls Soccer | 2nd Place at State Championships & 1st Place Academic State Champions

  • Girls Tennis | 2nd Place at State Championships & 1st Place Academic State Champions

  • Boys Cross-County | 1st Place Academic State Champions

  • Boys Tennis | 1st Place Academic State Champions

  • Girls Golf | 2nd Place Academic State Champions

  • Boys Soccer | 3rd Place Academic State Champions

North Tahoe High School

  • Girls Cross-Country | State Champions & 1st Place Academic State Champions

  • Boys Cross-County | State Champions & 1st Place Academic State Champions

  • Girls Soccer | State Champions & 2nd Place Academic State Champions

  • Boys Soccer | 2nd Place at State Championships & 2nd Place Academic State Champions

  • Girls Golf | 2nd Place at State Championships

  • Girls Volleyball | 4th Place at State Championships & 2nd Place Academic State Champions

  • Football | 1st Place Academic State Champions

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TTUSD Staff Highlights

Congratulations to Mrs. Kerstin Kramer, our Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services

Please join us in congratulating Kerstin Kramer, our Executive Director of Educational Services, who was recently promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at the November 2nd board meeting. Mrs. Kramer has been dedicated to education for 30 years, during which she was a middle school teacher for 15 years, a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for 5 years, and an elementary school principal for 10 years. Many of you may know her from the six years she served as the Principal of Glenshire Elementary before transitioning to the Executive Director of Educational Services this past summer. We are thrilled to watch Mrs. Kramer thrive in this new position where she’s overseeing Teaching & Learning, Assessment Systems, Academic Intervention Programs, Accelerated Learning Programs, Bilingual Services, Student Information Services, Summer School Programs, English Language Learner Programs, Career Tech Education (CTE) programs, and Adult Education programs. Congrats, Mrs. Kramer!

Cindy Maciel Awarded Partner of the Year by the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee

We’re thrilled to share the news that Cindy Maciel, our Program Manager for the STEPP and Early Learning Programs, was named the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee's Partner of the Year!

Cindy was described as “a fierce advocate for children and families and a tireless force for good in our community.” We couldn’t agree more! This is a well-deserved recognition of Cindy’s dedication for over 20 years as she’s been supporting these critical programs within our community. Congrats!

Voluntary COVID-19 Testing Program

In an effort to continue keeping all of our students, families, and staff safe and healthy, TTUSD is participating in a voluntary COVID-19 testing program. Every student and staff member received an over-the-counter COVID-19 test kit before the Thanksgiving Holiday and will receive one again before the Winter Break. Distribution of these tests will begin on Monday, December 19th, and will continue through December 22nd. We’re encouraging all students and staff to voluntarily test for COVID-19 before returning to school after prolonged breaks filled with family gatherings and holiday festivities.

Additionally, a letter was sent out on December 5th from the Nevada County of Health and Human Services with information on RSV, the flu, and COVID, all of which are circulating throughout the community. So as a reminder, please keep your students home if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, or any other illness.

We appreciate your diligence and care as we navigate keeping all students healthy and in school learning as much as possible!

Library Cards for all TTUSD Students

The holiday break is perfect for getting cozy with a book and diving into a new adventure. And now, that’s easier than ever as Placer County Library joins Nevada County in providing library cards to all TTUSD students, no matter where they live.

As of December, TTUSD students can visit any library within district boundaries (Truckee, Tahoe City, Kings Beach) and check out physical books, digital books, and media resources.

Digital materials can be accessed through Libby (grades 6-12) and Sora (grades TK-5) and can be installed on student Chromebooks through the Google Play Store or home devices using their device's app store.

Student library card numbers at both library systems are TTUSD followed by the student's full student number. So for a student with ID 806297, their library card number is TTUSD806297. The PIN is the last four numbers of their student ID (6297 in the example above).

Thanks, Placer and Nevada Counties! Have fun reading!

Tahoe Truckee Education Association (TTEA) Negotiations Update

TTUSD and the Tahoe Truckee Education Association (TTEA), the local teachers union for Tahoe-Truckee, began annual negotiations on September 29, 2022, with the exchange of sunshine articles. The two parties conducted five negotiation days, with the most recent meeting being on November 29th. Unfortunately, TTEA declared an impasse in bargaining at that meeting and petitioned the State’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to determine if an impasse in negotiations exists. PERB did find negotiations at an impasse and is now assigning a neutral mediator from the State Mediation and Conciliation division to work with both parties to reach a mediated settlement to these negotiations.

Updates from all negotiations meetings can be found on