Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

May 2018 Edition

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Superintendent's Message

Dear Team PUSD,

With graduation right around the corner, I wanted to reflect on college and career readiness in PUSD. Above is a picture with some members of my Superintendent's Student Advisory Council, made up of student leaders from across the District. During our final meeting of the year, several of the seniors shared their plans after high school. What struck me was the variety of career and college paths they were pursuing, with passions ranging from aerospace engineering to biomedical science, from athletics to the performing arts.

In two weeks, over 2,700 PUSD graduates will proudly walk across the stage to accept their hard-earned diplomas. This is my absolute favorite time of year. It is hard not to feel emotional, as if they were my own children. It is at this moment when we all should realize the impact of our hard work as Team PUSD: the teachers, staff, administrators, parents, volunteers, and business and community partners who helped make our students' achievements and dreams possible.

We know that graduation is the culmination of work that started long before their senior year. That is why, as a K-12 district, we need to continue to work as an entire system to create personalized pathways for our students. This will be key to our continued success in creating future-ready graduates, as we adapt to college and career readiness in the 21st century. We are addressing this in our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). After gathering stakeholder input at our many forums, PUSD staff will present our LCAP and budget on June 5th, which will guide our programs and priorities moving forward. After June 5th, you will find the LCAP posted on our website for review. The final plan will be adopted at the June 28, 2018, board meeting.

In the meantime, please enjoy all of the final concerts, exhibitions, gatherings, and performances as our students show off their many talents and hard work. And congratulations to ALL of our students, whether graduating, promoting, or moving on to the next grade level. I am so proud of you!


Marian Kim-Phelps, Ed.D.


Student, School, and Staff Achievements

National Merit Scholars

We are excited to announce that PUSD has six National Merit Scholarship winners out of 29 in San Diego County!

Congratulations to the following PUSD students:

Allison Bao (Westview High School)

Steven F. Chen (Westview High School)

Samuel Y. Hunter (Rancho Bernardo High School)

Robert C. Ozturk (Rancho Bernardo High School)

Andre A. Yin (Westview High School)

Kevin Yu (Westview High School)

You can read more about this prestigious award here.

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Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Black Mountain Middle School's Odyssey of the Mind "Problem 3" team placed 3rd in the World Finals in Iowa! It was a huge event with 875 teams of 5-7 students from all over the world. Kudos to the "Problem 3" team: Brianna Vargas, Sydney Hubbard, Casey Good, Annabelle Reyes-Pangilinan, Bryanne Reyes-Pangilinan, Katie Jacques, and Rumi Chadwick, under the direction of Coach Lisa Vargas. Black Mountain was one of only two teams from California that earned a trophy at the World Finals awards ceremony.

Scripps National Spelling Bee

Mesa Verde Middle School student NingXin Karen Sun competed at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, making it through the preliminary rounds, but just missing out on the final round. Great effort, NingXin, way to represent PUSD!

California Distinguished Schools

Congratulations to our California Distinguished Schools Award winners: Monterey Ridge, Park Village, and Willow Grove Elementary Schools! On May 3, 2018, representatives of all three schools received their awards from State Superintendent Tom Torlakson at a ceremony in Anaheim. The 2018 California Distinguished Schools Program recognizes California elementary schools that have made exceptional gains in implementing academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. The schools represent examples of excellent teaching, learning, and collaborating, and successful school climate efforts.
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California Honor Roll Schools

Canyon View Elementary, Garden Road Elementary, Los Penasquitos Elementary, Midland Elementary, Rolling Hills Elementary, Sundance Elementary, Sunset Hills Elementary, Westwood Elementary, Mesa Verde Middle, Mt. Carmel High, and Rancho Bernardo High, have all been named Honor Roll schools for the 2017-18 California Honor Roll presented by Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE).

The 2017-2018 Honor Roll recognizes public elementary, middle, and high schools that demonstrate consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time, and reduction in achievement gaps. For high schools, Honor Roll recognition includes high levels of college readiness in students.

Niche.com 2018 Best Public Elementary Schools

Education reporting website niche.com just released their list of the best San Diego elementary schools. Ranking factors include state test scores, student-teacher ratio, student diversity, teacher quality, grade school ratings, and the overall quality of the school district. The top 16 schools are all in the Poway Unified School District! Search for your school here.

13th Annual Excellence in Special Education Awards

The Community Advisory Committee and the PUSD Special Education Foundation hosted the 13th Annual Excellence in Special Education Awards on May 17, 2018. These outstanding PUSD staff members were nominated by parents for going above and beyond for their students.

Matthew Grindstaff, Instructional Assistant II, Oak Valley Middle School

Gloria Guerrero, Bus Aide, Transportation Department

Sunny Jerome, Teacher, Westview High School

Heather Key, Teacher, Canyon View Elementary School

Christopher Koreerat, Teacher, Garden Road Elementary School

Dana McArthur, Teacher, Rancho Bernardo High School

Maggie McCutchen, Teacher, Deer Canyon Elementary School

Sue Scheffers, Vision Specialist, Special Education Department

Character & Ethics Film Festival

A huge congratulations to our student filmmakers, who were presented with awards of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place at the PUSD Character and Ethics Film Festival. Board President T.J. Zane emceed as each of their winning films, which all focused on elements of Character Counts!, were also screened for the audience. The links to the winning films will be posted here.

Top-Ranked High Schools

U.S. News & World Report ranked more than 20,500 public high schools across the country, and we’re pleased to report that four PUSD high schools (Del Norte, Westview, Mt. Carmel, and Rancho Bernardo) were ranked in the top 5%! Del Norte was nationally ranked in the top 2% and earned a gold medal rating. Westview High was nationally ranked in the top 3% and also earned a gold medal rating. Mt. Carmel was nationally ranked in the top 4% and earned a silver medal rating. Rancho Bernardo was nationally ranked in the top 5% and also earned a silver medal rating. You can read more here.

Padres High School All-Star Game

On June 6th, the Padres will honor the top high school baseball players in the CIF San Diego Section at the new Padres High School All-Star Night presented by Fox Sports San Diego. The event will feature a High School Home Run Derby and All-Star Game following the Braves vs. Padres game at 12:40 p.m. The nine-inning All-Star Game will include the CIF San Diego Section's best high school players in an East vs. West format, including the following players and coaches from PUSD:

Name | School | Year | Position | Commitment

Kevin Lyons | Westview | Sr. | RHP | UC Santa Barbara

Dayton Dooney | Poway | Sr. | SS | Arizona

Deron Johnson | Poway. | Sr. | C

Kevin Van Linge | Poway | Sr. | 2B

Mason Pelio | RB | Sr. | RHP-OF | Boston College

Nick Seamons | RB | Sr. | RHP-OF | Nevada

Coaches: Rielly Embrey (Del Norte), Bob Parry (Poway)

For more information and ticket prices go here.

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Everyday Hero Award

The PUSD 'Everyday Heroes' Classified Recognition Program honors classified employees who demonstrate excellence in work performance, school and community involvement, and leadership and commitment to our District and students. You can go here, and scroll to page 11 to read about their accomplishments.
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Team PUSD Recognition

The Team PUSD Award is designed to recognize an admirable team of employees, who together accomplish an exceptional task or project. The recognition is for a group of two or more classified and/or certificated individuals who have made a significant contribution to the benefit of PUSD, an individual, his or her work site, the community or other volunteer or service organization. Go here, and scroll to page 13 to read about their contributions.

AVID Standouts

Congratulations to the AVID 8th Grade and Senior Standouts! AVID stands for "Advancement Via Individual Determination." AVID's mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success. Every year one 8th grader from each middle school and one senior from each high school is selected as an AVID Standout. These outstanding students are chosen for their strong academic performance and commitment to their community.

8th Grade Standouts

High School Standouts

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Photography Award

Meadowbrook MS 8th grader, Ryan Chaiyakul, placed 4th in Landscape Photography in Josten's Photo Contest. This is a great accomplishment in an international competition. His photo will be placed in the Caelum Gallery in Chelsea, NY as part of the Teen Indie Awards

Focus on Literacy

The San Diego County Office of Education recognized Itzy Haumschilt and Valley Elementary School for their exemplary Focus on Literacy through their ASES Comic-Con and Chalk Festival. The students got to read their favorite books in the "Bat Cave," highlighted their STEAM projects, showcased their coding skills, and created chalk art focused on their favorite super heroes. The SDCOE and ABDO Publishing Company awarded the ASES library with over 100 hard backed comic books. Watch the video here.

Meadowbrook ASB Service Award

Congratulations to Meadowbrook Middle School ASB for receiving the first-ever CASL (California Association of Student Leaders) Outstanding Service Award!

Immigration Essay Contest Winner!

Park Village 5th grader Kiara Schray who won 1st place in the American Immigration Council’s essay contest! Fourteen finalists from SD County were chosen including 2 from PUSD (Kiara & Mitra Lushani). Kiara’s essay now competes at the state level. Good luck Kiara!

BHMS Theater Program

The Bernardo Heights Middle School Theater program was featured in the 92128 magazine. Musical Theater Director Katie Newbanks highlights this amazing program. The students just wrapped up their performance of Lion King. You can read the article here.
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Mesa Verde Middle School Select Ensemble

Congratulations to the Mesa Verde Middle School Select Ensemble on their first place award and overall highest instrumental score! Music in the Parks, San Francisco.

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Valley ES Olympic Hopeful!

Congratulations to Valley 4th Grader Valentina M. She was selected to be part of the USA Junior Olympic Team. She recently participated in the Region 1 Annual Competition for California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada, and placed second out of 63 competitors! Valentina is a student in Valley ES’s Dual Language Program and our local Olympic hopeful! Her trainer is Masha Weitz, a two-time Russian National. Way to represent #TeamPUSD!

North County Film Festival Winners

Congratulations to NC Film Festival winners at Poway HS and Rancho Bernardo HS. RBHS took home 1 of the 9 awards, while PHS earned 4 of the awards. Catherine Johnson of PHS won 3 out of the 4 PHS awards!
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MTS/Coca-Cola Essay Contest Winners

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) introduced the 40 winners of their annual MTS and Coca-Cola Laptop Scholarship Contest. MTS received entries from a record 400 students from 90 different high schools. Among the winners were Alyssa Chavez & Nicole Wang - Westview High School, Caroline Soderstjerna - Mt. Carmel High School & Kyra Warshaw - Rancho Bernardo High School.

Students were awarded a Touch-Screen laptop and a Storm Contender laptop backpack. Students in grades 9-12 were required to submit a persuasive essay between 750 and 1,200 words to present why people should choose public transit instead of driving a personal vehicle.

Ford Salute to Education Scholarships

Congratulations to the 13 Poway Unified School District students from Del Norte HS, Mt. Carmel HS, Poway HS, Rancho Bernardo HS, and Westview HS who were among the 160 from throughout San Diego County to receive $1,000 college scholarships through the Salute to Education program.The PUSD students who received scholarships are:

• Del Norte High School — Rose Hong, Sunwoo Kim, Maddie Oppeltz, and Zach Turman

• Mt. Carmel High School — Carson Alfonzo

• Poway High School — Maria Cullen and Ernesto Guanuna

• Rancho Bernardo High School — Mira Chokshi, Montana Denton, and Chase Kornacki

• Westview High School — Lauren Jennings, Shreya Padmanabhn, and Lin Vuong

The list of all recipients is at SaluteToEducation.com.

2018 Innovation in Education Awards

The following PUSD students received awards from the Classroom of the Future Foundation's annual Innovation in Education Awards: Jack in the Box Scholar Samya Griffin (Poway High School), U.S.S. Midway Scholars Javier Herrera (Mt. Carmel HS) and Jessica Legault (Del Norte HS).
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America Prize National Music Competition Finalists

Both Bernardo Heights Middle School and Twin Peaks Middle School Advanced Orchestras, under the direction of Ulli Reiner, are finalists in the prestigious American Prize National Music Competition in the Performing Arts for 2017-18.
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Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award

Congratulations to Poway High School freshman, Zachary Williams, who was awarded The Glenn A. and Melinda Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award. At the age of 13, Zachary designed, led and personally assisted in building the first and only California Highway Patrol (CHP) Border Division K-9 Unit Training Facility in all of Southern California, in honor of his father, Officer Jonas Williams, who passed away unexpectedly after beginning the project in 2013.

PUSD Podcast Episode 8: Jake Schwartz, Student Board Member

"PUSD Podcasts" is a monthly podcast, hosted by Communications Director Christine Paik. In this episode, Christine sits down with the newly appointed Student Board Member, Jake Schwartz, to talk about his passion for service and representing student voice. Congratulations to Jake on his selection, his term begins August 2018.

Poway Unified School District

PUSDPodcast Ep. 8 - Jake Schwartz, Student Board Member by Poway Unified School District

Fun Photo Gallery

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Memorial Day Patriotic Performance

Creekside Elementary 1st graders dressed in red, white, and blue and gave a patriotic performance in honor of Memorial Day.

Teachers Take Over Petco Park

PUSD's Teachers of the Year, Katie Wu, Shantel Raquel, and Ana Collins joined teachers from across San Diego County at Petco Park during Teacher Appreciation Week.

History Faire

Mesa Verde Middle School held their annual 7th Grade History Faire. Students watched demonstrations and participated in a variety of events adorned with period costumes from various cultures – there were knights and jesters and Ladies, along with Samurais, Vikings and Roman Centurions.
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Del Sur Heritage Night

Twenty seven different countries were represented celebrating the diversity at Del Sur! There was food from community vendors, the children performed dances representing their countries, cultural parade, a slide show of customs, traditions and heritages from all over the world
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Principal Appreciation Day

PUSD principals took a break from their monthly meeting to have a little fun in celebration of Principal Appreciation Day.
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Valley ES Mayday Festival

Valley ES students participated in the Mayday Festival. The festival was sponsored by Poway Woman’s club and the Poway Historical and Memorial Society. Thanks to Mrs. Emma Sarmiento who choreographed the dance with Valley students and their parents!!

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National School Nurse Day

National School Nurse Day recognizes the contributions to student health and well-being that school nurses make every day! Thank you PUSD Nurses!
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Adobe Bluffs Gold Rush!

ABES students had a wild west of a time at their Gold Rush Assembly

What I Wish My Parents Knew

Rancho Bernardo High School students were a great resource on tough topics facing teens, empowering parents with the “What I wish my parents knew” event.
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Stone Ranch Locks of Love

Nearly a dozen young ladies (and a mom!) from Stone Ranch Elementary School stepped up and donated a portion of their long hair to benefit Locks of Love, an organization which provides hairpieces to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Way to make PUSD proud!

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PTA Volunteer Hours

Did you know that our PTA volunteers have donated $10.1 million worth of work hours to our schools across the District? At the Palomar Council Annual Breakfast, President Shirley Williams presented Dr. Phelps with a "check" to show the value of our volunteers.

6th Grade Olympics

This annual event is always a favorite among students, staff, and parents. The students train and compete in a number of relays and field events, representing different countries.
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Palomar College Rancho Bernardo Campus Ribbon Cutting

On May 7, 2018, PUSD leadership attended Palomar College's official ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new Rancho Bernardo campus.
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On May 11th, the beautiful Maderas Golf Club was the site of the 11th Annual PUSD Foundation Partners in Education Golf Tournament. Education, business, and community leaders attended this special event which included breakfast on the golf course, hole contests, an air cannon, and an awards and auction lunch. Click here to see photos from the event.
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Graduation and Promotion Schedules:


Abraxas – Wednesday, June 20, 2018
(6:00 p.m. @ Abraxas High School)

Del Norte – Thursday, June 14
(3:00 p.m. @ Nighthawk Stadium)

Mt. Carmel – Thursday, June 14
(5:45 p.m. @ Sundevil Stadium)

Poway –Thursday, June 14
(5:30 p.m. @ Titan Stadium)

Rancho Bernardo –Thursday, June 14
(5:30 p.m. @RBHS Stadium)

Westview –Thursday, June 14
(3:00 p.m. @ Westview Wolverine Stadium)

MIDDLE SCHOOLS: (all held on Thursdsay, June 14)

Bernardo Heights - quad (9:00 a.m.)

Black Mountain - quad (8:30 a.m.)

D39C - Showcase @D39C (9:30 a.m.)

Meadowbrook - quad (8:00 a.m.)

Mesa Verde - lower field (9:00 a.m.)

Oak Valley – quad (9:00 a.m.)

Twin Peaks – quad Area (8:30 a.m.)


Poway Adult School Graduation Ceremony
Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 6:00 PM @ Del Norte HS, Performing Arts Center
Rehearsal: Monday, August 6, 2018 4:00pm @ Del Norte HS, Performing Arts Center

Summer Graduation Ceremony
Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 6:00 PM @ Del Norte HS, Performing Arts Center
Rehearsal: Monday, August 6, 2018 4:00pm @ Del Norte HS, Performing Arts Center

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Register by June 13th!

Register today through the Poway Adult School website.
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Apply by June 30th!

News Minute

Are you catching our weekly news updates on social media? These are one-minute video recaps of the week’s news with PUSD Director of Communications, Christine Paik. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you don't miss out!

Poway Unified School District

The Poway Unified School District is located in northern San Diego County, California. PUSD operates 25 elementary schools (K-5), one elementary & middle school combination (TK-8th), six middle schools (6-8), one continuation high school, five comprehensive high schools (9-12), and one adult school. 24 schools are located in the city of San Diego; 11 schools in the city of Poway; and 3 in the County of San Diego. The District serves approximately 36,000 students and is the third largest school district in the county.