Community Update

October 7, 2021

Pandemic Food Benefits for Families

In addition to the comprehensive child nutritional services Vista Unified has provided over the past eighteen months of the pandemic, the federal and state governments have teamed up to provide pandemic EBT cards for families who got CalFresh benefits and for school age children who were eligible for free or reduced priced meals from the National School Lunch Program for 2020-21. Families who qualify will automatically receive a P-EBT card between August and November. These cards provide food benefits in addition to free meals while the child is in school. Follow the P-EBT link for specific details about the card. For more details about the overall program, follow the California Department of Education Link. If you need further assistance, our Community Liaison Team or Child Nutrition Services staff are always available to support your family.

Resetting our Vision and Strategic Plan

Vista Unified is working in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education and Prospect Studio to engage our entire community, students, parents, staff, and many others, in a year-long process to refresh our vision, mission, values, and strategic plan. The process will include a “Discovery” phase that features needs finding and students summits, a “Vision Creation” phase that is focused on community engagement and feedback, a “Strategic Plan” phase that converts the new vision to a set of actions and services, and a “Strategic Plan Implementation” phase that will bring the new vision, mission, values, and actions to life. Ultimately, this process will lead to a refreshed vision for what we call the promise of graduation (also called a Graduate Portrait), a clear identification of what a student needs to know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school. The process will add two more elements that Vista Unified did not include in our current structure. The first is called the Adult Portrait. If we want to deliver on the promise of graduation for all students, then we need to clearly define what needs to be true for the adults who will support students. This includes all adults in the system: instructional staff, operational staff, board members, and community partners. The second element new to the process is the “System Portrait.” This part of the process places emphasis on what aspects of the system need to change in order to support the adults who then support the students.

Visioning Process Outcomes

Vista Unified has made tremendous progress in implementing our vision, mission, and values. As a result of over eight years of collective efforts with our students, staff, and community, our school district has truly become the model of excellence and innovation in many areas including personal learning, schools of choice, career preparation, social/emotional systems of support, and technology integration. Similarly, we have made great progress implementing our mission to inspire all students to persevere as critical thinkers who collaborate to solve real world problems. Our teachers and staff have actively engaged students in real-world design challenges, competitions, and projects that create authentic hands-on learning experiences. Our district has embraced our values over the years as the foundation for how we treat each other and work together to support the strengths, interests, and aspirations of all students. We even added the value of equity to our commitments because we value the importance of giving every student what they need to become a successful learner.

It is important to note that the world around us continues to change in complexity and in connectivity. There are times when it actually feels like these changes are accelerating. If we, as a hub for learning, are to keep our students strategically positioned for success in their future careers and life, it is important to go through a process to refresh our vision, mission, values, and strategic plan. More details will follow for you to get involved in the redesign process.

Student Achievement

Students in elementary and middle school have just completed their first formal diagnostic assessment on our Fastbridge platform. This assessment will give teachers a baseline score in reading and math skills. Teachers can then use this data, as well as informal classroom observations and assessments, to gauge student learning and to make decisions about intervention and enrichment opportunities for students to accelerate their learning in these critical academic areas.

At the high school level, students have just completed their work for the first progress report, with grades posted last week. We are excited that we have seen a significant improvement from last year at this same time. There has been a decrease in over 7% of the number of F’s earned in the first progress report by all students at our three comprehensive high schools. And, even more striking, the percentage of students who have multiple failing marks decreased by over half from last year. Site teams will continue to use progress reports and other data to target interventions and supports so that students are on track for graduation.

Parent Conferences

Elementary parent conferences will take place on November 16th through 19th. Elementary schools will have a minimum day schedule, and more information will be forthcoming from your child’s teacher.

Middle school Parent/Teacher Conferences are scheduled for November 17th and 18th. These will be minimum days for students, and each school site will communicate specific information for families regarding scheduling.

Measure LL Facility Bond Community Forums

Vista Unified will be hosting two in-person Measure LL Facility Bond Community Forums to gather community feedback about the bond projects and to make suggestions about how best to reprioritize bond projects based on need. Please join us at one of these events highlighted below. If you are not able to attend one of these meetings, you can watch a recorded version of the Virtual Bond Forum held last month and then take the Measure LL Facility Bond Survey to provide your feedback. Our school improvement projects will make a difference for all students if we all work together to continue to improve the Measure LL Facility Bond projects.

  • Virtual Forum Video (Click Link HERE to view) held on September 21, 2021 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

  • In-Person Forum on October 20, 2021 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Breeze Hill Elementary School, 1111 Melrose Way, Vista, CA 92081 in the MPR

  • In-Person Forum on October 27, 2021 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Vista Innovation Center School, 836 Olive Ave., Vista, CA 92083 in the MPR

  • Measure LL Facility Bond Community Survey (Click Link HERE) (Survey link closes on October 29, 2021) Survey link is also posted on the website.

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Matt Doyle, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Vista Unified School District