#TeamPUSD Newsletter

Special Edition

Navigating COVID-19: PUSD Comes Together During Crisis

In this special edition of our regular #TeamPUSD Newsletter, you'll find all updates related to the COVID-19 closures during the month of May.
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(Photo courtesy of Westview Principal Tina Ziegler on Instagram.)

Message from the Superintendent

Dear PUSD,

I love the photo above from Westview High School. It shows that while our schools may be closed, our hearts are always open.

The Spring months bring numerous employee recognitions, from principals to administrative assistants, food and nutrition staff to bus drivers, classified employees to teachers. It's a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize how much of a team effort it takes to make our District successful. And now, more than ever, our community recognizes and appreciates the important role schools play in the health and success of our students. We created this special appreciation video as a thank you to all of #TeamPUSD:

Poway Unified 2020 Employee Appreciation Video (During School Closures)
A big thank you to our parents too. As we approach the end of this period of distance learning amidst a global pandemic, and all the successes and challenges that came with it, I cannot express how grateful I am for your partnership to keep our students, your children, learning and thriving. This has been an incredibly trying time for us all.

I want to encourage everyone to stay on track with distance learning in our final weeks. Summer is just around the corner, let’s finish strong! I am looking forward to celebrating at the upcoming promotion and graduation parades alongside you!


Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D.



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Distance Learning Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in our distance learning feedback survey. Your constructive feedback on this survey will help guide our professional development over the summer and assist us in planning for the new school year. The top themes that emerged include:

1. Having one consolidated platform to access all apps and coursework

2. Having consistent, rigorous curriculum and direct instruction across grade levels

3. Having clear organization and communication to help students and parents plan their days

4. Ensuring students and teachers are connected, engaged, and interacting

5. More support for students and parents struggling with distance learning

To view all of the survey results and top themes that emerged, go here.

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"Words Matter" Kindness Campaign

Schools might be closed, but we're still urging PUSD students to take a stand against bias and bullying online. Join Mesa Verde's No Place for Hate student leadership in their "Words Matter" movement, where students across the district can share virtual encouragement and promote inclusivity.

Here's how to join:

1. Students visit https://flipgrid.com/whywordsmatter
2. Record a one-minute video sharing the kind words that matter to you, and how they impact others.
3. Submit the video, and check back to District social media (@powayunified) regularly. Your video might be featured on our page!

Help us spread more positivity in our community during these uncertain times. Words have the power to impact someone's life, and we hope this movement brings a sense of community to those who need it. Watch the video below from Student Board Representatvies Mariana Akins (outgoing) and Emily Bylsma (incoming).

(NOTE: This is a moderated platform. Video submissions will not be made public to the grid until District staff review them.)

Why Words Matter - Poway Unified

Excellence in Education Video Series

Right before our schools closed for COVID-19 in March, the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council hosted the first-ever districtwide No Place for Hate conference in #PowayUnified. Our video interns captured this footage and wanted to highlight our students' hard work and planning to combat bullying and bias on their campuses.
Poway Unified "Excellence in Education" series: No Place for Hate Conference

The PUSD Foundation's "Project Know and Grow"

No child should have to worry about going hungry or having access to internet connection during these difficult times. The Poway Unified School District Foundation launched the "Project Know & Grow" fundraiser to actively address these urgent District needs. You have the power to make the difference in our students' lives. Join today and help feed our students’ minds and bodies by making a tax-deductible donation: bit.ly/PUSDGive

To date, the Poway Unified community has raised $100,000 to help feed local students and provide equal access to digital learning. We want to THANK YOU in advance for your consideration. We are proud to be a community that comes together and supports one another during crisis. #StrongerTogether

Pandemic-EBT Card

While schools are closed over the summer, families with children who were receiving free or reduced-price meals at school can get up to $365 per child for groceries this summer. If you did not already receive a card in the mail, apply online: ca.p-ebt.org before June 30, 2020.

Due to recent COVID-related job loss or change in income, you may now qualify for Free or Reduced-Price Meals. We are encouraging ALL families who think they might qualify to apply here right away. The application is confidential and secure.

Enrollment for 2020-21 Is Now Open

We are so excited to welcome our new students to the Poway Unified School District for the 2020-2021 school year. Due to emergency school closures, we are enrolling new students online. Starting May 12, 2020 we will enroll new students in all grades. Visit the Poway Unified School District website to access the enrollment information: bit.ly/EnrollPUSD

We are here to help you with this new process, and we can't wait to meet our new students when schools reopen.

The #Classof2020 - Tributes and Memorable Moments

Cap & Gown Distribution

Our schools are preparing for an unconventional end to the year for the #Classof2020, while still trying to preserve fun & tradition. On May 27, Westview High staff distributed caps and gowns and legacy items to over 600 seniors! Our high schools will celebrate June 9-11 w/ a drive thru procession, and hopefully a real ceremony on July 30.

"You Will Be Found" - MCHS Senior Choir

Bravo!!! Watch Mt. Carmel High School's senior choir members sing this beautiful rendition of "You Will Be Found" from the musical Dear Evan Hansen!
"You Will Be Found" - Mt. Carmel High School Choir's Class of 2020

Padres' Ty France Sends Video Message to the #Classof2020

"There is no pandemic big enough to quiet your voice or silence your passion."

A great message to the #Classof2020 - But this is also a letter to the educators, staff, and #PowayUnified community whose school year was cut short due to COVID-19. To the PUSD students and staff that are making the best out of this situation, your positivity and hard work does not go unnoticed.

Padres' Ty France Congratulates Graduating Seniors

A Letter to the #Classof2020 from Superintendent Phelps

To the senior class, whose year was cut short because of a global pandemic:

Superintendent Phelps wrote a letter to the #PowayUnified #Classof2020 in the latest publication of Pomerado News. Read the full letter here: bit.ly/PUSDsenior

First Ever VIRTUAL Abraxas Prom

Nothing - not even a global pandemic - can stop the party from happening for our Abraxas Transitions Program! Over 80 students and staff got dressed up and danced to the sounds of J. Soul Productions for the first ever VIRTUAL Abraxas Transitions Prom. JSoul Productions is a San Diego DJ who donated time so students could have their annual prom via Zoom. To everyone who helped make this memorable event happen for our students, THANK YOU. The smiles on all our students' faces say it all.

Abraxas High School’s Transition program in Poway is for young adults with developmental disabilities, ages 18-22. They learn life skills to gain greater independence. They learned about how to dress, how to make fun themed snacks, and many other practical skills to prepare for the big night. Video shared from CBS 8 - San Diego News.

Fun Photos and Videos

Voyager Showcase 2020

For a peek at all of the amazing ways our #PowayUnified teachers are innovating in the classroom, incorporating technology with blended learning, and empowering students with voice and choice, check out the hashtag #voyagershowcase2020 on Twitter! You'll come away with some awesome ideas!

To watch the livestream, click here: youtu.be/3rF4rFDuL_0

Interested in learning more about our Voyager program and our #VoyagerShowcase2020? Follow our amazing Ed Tech coaches on Twitter: @edtechspence, @UnexpectedEd, @MsSwissman, @amfousek_ed, @michaelgizzo, Director @ms_nguyen19 and Associate Superintendent @jenniferaburks.

Voyager Showcase Show 2020

Material Distribution Days

Material Distribution Days took place over the month of May, another opportunity for students and staff to show each other how much they miss being together. Our students and staff were so happy to see a glimpse of familiar, smiling faces.

RBHS' Erik Martin Featured on PBS Newshour

Before emergency school closures went into effect in March, Rancho Bernardo High School Teacher Erik Martin was effectively helping students de-stress in his 'Positive Psychology & Well-Being' class. His passion for supporting student mental health was recently featured by PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs.
Positive psychology class helps teens de-stress

Ms. Jackson's Sidewalk Math

See how Oak Valley MS math teacher Traci Jackson is inspiring a love of math with her #sidewalkmath during school closures. Even if you don't live in her neighborhood, you can play along here.
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Intro to Instruments by Westview Gold

Westview's Gold Band recorded versions of instrument demonstrations from their homes this month. Check out the Disney theme!
Westview Gold - Intro to Instruments 2020

Career Technical Ed Goes Virtual During Emergency Closures

Students from the RBHS Engineering Pathway participated in our first official Nepris App session, hosted by NavatekLLC on May 12. What an amazing tool to create work-based learning experiences for our students! Thanks to Mrs. Barnett and her students for volunteering.

WVHS Robotics Designs & Distributes 3,000 Face Shields to Healthcare Heroes

Several of the Westview robotic team members, along with other students in the community, launched a “Shield Against COVID -19" to fundraise and produce 3,000 face shields to be donated to 70 hospitals. Keep up the compassion, Wolverines!

A Familiar Face on Wheel of Fortune

Hey! We spotted a familiar face on TV! Del Norte HS teacher Jim Gusich was a contestant on a special teacher edition of Wheel of Fortune which aired on NBC San Diego! Go Mr. Gusich!

AND... he won the final round with “Microwave Egg Poacher"

Friday Flag Goes Digital

We love this "Friday Flag" via video from Pomerado Elementary!

Honors & Achievements

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PUSD Announces New Leadership at School, District Office Sites

We're excited to introduce some new faces, and welcome back some familiar faces, to #TeamPUSD for the 2020-21 school year. These extraordinary educators come to us from across California, and we are confident they will thrive in their new positions. Read more about their backgrounds here.

21 Poway Unified Schools Re-Designated as No Place for Hate

We are proud to share that 21 schools in #PowayUnified earned their No Place for Hate® designation for the 2019-20 school year by ADL- San Diego 🎉 These schools have incorporated ADL anti-bias and anti-bullying resources into their programs, and commit to creating positive social change within the community. It's a powerful movement created BY students, FOR students, and is radically changing our campus climates. Congratulations! Read the full release here: bit.ly/pusdnp4h

Administrators: If you're interested in becoming a NP4H campus, the registration period is now open! Visit the ADL-SD website here: sandiego.adl.org/no-place-for-hate/

PUSD High Schools are Top Performing in Nation (US News)

Our five comprehensive high schools were recently listed in the U.S. News rankings of Best High Schools. Read the full report here.
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PUSD CyberAegis Teams Bring Home 2 National Championships from Virtual Competition

Congratulations to our Cybersecurity Teams part of CyberAegis for their victories at the Air Force Association's National Finals Competition May 2-3! Out of 11 awards, #PowayUnified students took home 9 ... PLUS 2 new National Champion titles! All while competing virtually. They now have five National Champion teams in 5 years. Well done and well-earned, Team! Read more here: bit.ly/PUSDcyber

Del Norte HS Yearbook Finishes On Deadline Despite COVID-19 Closures

The 10 students on Del Norte High School's Yearbook staff had 50 pages to go and three weeks until the last deadline, when COVID-19 prompted emergency school closures back in March. But that didn't stop them - They kicked into high gear, meeting via Zoom to discuss how they would cover Spring sports, the pandemic, and memorable moments that were put on hold. This incredible team, including others from around San Diego County, were recently featured in The San Diego Union-Tribune. Read how they made it all work by clicking here.

Westview HS's Odyssey Competes in Virtual Championships

Persistence is key! What do you do when the National Tournament gets canceled? Westview’s two Odyssey of the Mind Teams are competing virtually in the 2020 World Finals. Stay tuned, the award ceremony will be May 30th.

National SAVE Youth Advisory Board

Del Norte High School's Aashi Mittal was chosen (among applicants nationwide) to serve on the National SAVE Youth Advisory Board for the 2020-2021 school year!!

Aashi is a founding member and President for our SAVE Promise Club and a Mentoring Leader in Peer Counseling. She has worked hard this year to establish the SAVE Promise Club in our school community and is dedicated to creating a culture of inclusion on campus. Her work with the Youth Advisory Board term begins this summer.

If you know Aashi, please congratulate her and follow Del Norte SAVE Promise on Instagram @dnhssavepromise

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Poway High Robotics Honored Worldwide in Virtual Showcase

Congratulations to Madalyn and Team Spyder 1622 on these impressive awards! Madalyn is one of 10 selected winners for the FIRST Robotics Competition’s Dean’s List Award, out of 3,400 nominees worldwide. This award is the only individual award a student can receive in FIRST. She is the founder of the Society of Women Engineers and National Center for Women and Information Technology chapters at Poway High School. Team Spyder received the Chairman’s Award, the competition’s highest team honor.

PUSD's National Merit Scholarship Winners

Four more #PowayUnified students from

Del Norte HS and Westview HS received $2,500 in scholarship funds from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Congrats to Nora Mousa, Pranav Patil, Keerthana Sundar, and Richard Chen on your outstanding work! Read the full press release here.

News Minute: Stay Up-to-Date During Emergency Closures

Every Friday, we share the News Minute during the COVID-19 closures to help keep you informed and inspired. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @powayunified for these weekly updates. As always, the most up-to-date information regarding the novel coronavirus can be found at PUSD's COVID-19 resource page (http://bit.ly/3cX1khG).

Friday, May 22, 2020

In this week's edition: Congrats to 21 PUSD schools for their #NoPlaceForHate re-designation, make sure to join the "Why Words Matter" kindness campaign on Flipgrid (LINK IN BIO), reminders about free meal service and #MemorialDay, and our recent survey on reopening of schools in fall.
News Minute 5-22-20 (COVID-19 Video Update)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Here's what the District was up to this week: Personal item distribution for elementary schools, our distance learning survey (https://bit.ly/txchg), PUSD Foundation's Fundraising Campaign 'Project Know & Grow," and a recap of Superintendent Marian Kim-Phelps 5/14/20 COVID-19 update.
News Minute 05-15-20: COVID-19 Video Update

Friday, May 8, 2020

A lot to celebrate in this News Minute: Design39Campus and Del
Norte HS big win at the CyberPatriot National Finals, Poway High School named National Project Lead the Way Distinguished School, @spyder1622 @phs_swenext Madalyn Nguyen FIRST Robotics Dean’s List Award, and a fun #TeacherAppreciationWeek!‬
Poway Unified News Minute 05-08-20

Friday, May 1, 2020

This week’s #PowayUnified News Minute is focused on appreciation for the hard-working members of #TeamPUSD: From our Food and Nutrition workers to Principals and Bus Drivers.
Poway Unified News Minute 05-01-20


Celebrations & Resolutions

Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8

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Words of Encouragement from PUSD Students

Throughout this week, we saw a tremendous outpouring of love and respect for Teachers in our District, and throughout the nation. Our students wanted to share one more message with all #PowayUnified Teachers to show just how much they care.
To all #PowayUnified Teachers During Teacher Appreciation...

Oak Valley Middle School's Teacher Appreciation Featured on KUSI News

This #TeacherAppreciationWeek video from Oak Valley Middle School perfectly captures how we feel about #PowayUnified teachers ❤️ Not all days are easy, but their determination to connect with students is remarkable. To our education heroes: Know that you're doing a great job, you're needed, and we miss you all!
Thank you to OVMS PTSA for the video, and KUSI News for the feature.
KUSI features Oak Valley #TeacherAppreciationWeek Video

Monterey Ridge 1st Graders Make Us Smile!

The students of Mrs Quartararo’s Class (MRES) virtually sang the song “Smile” for her during staff appreciation week. We hope all teachers and staff throughout the District can find joy in this sweet rendition performed by 1st graders.
Poway Unified School District on Facebook Watch

Twin Peaks Rams Video Message to Teachers

We love seeing videos for #TeacherAppreciationWeek that are 100% student-created! Here’s a message from @twinpeaksasb to Teachers: Thank you to all the amazing teachers and staff that make TPMS great. Today would have been the teacher luncheon and since we can’t give you free food today, we would like to show we care through a video put together by your very own ASB. The effort and commitment that you give is outstanding and is appreciated by all. You are the kind of mentors that students aspire to be. You hold the inspiration and motivation that makes kids great. There is no way we can thank you enough. We APPRECIATE you. We need YOU. Thank you for everything.
Poway Unified School District on Facebook Watch

"May the 4th" Be With Our Teachers!

To kick off Teacher Appreciation Week, we shared a video made by 1st grade Teacher Mrs. Kinsey (Los Pen) ❤️ We are so impressed by the quality of the video and its message, and love seeing teachers' creativity come to life.

With "May the 4th" being a big holiday for the Star Wars fans of the world, Mrs. Kinsey birthed the idea of combining her family's (and many students') love for Star Wars with her drive to reach students in unique and engaging ways. We hope you enjoy! bit.ly/mt4bwu

(Note: this video was made for educational and inspirational purposes only, and no copyright infringement was intended.)

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Creekside's "May the 4th" Poem

Creekside Elementary staff created this #MayTheFourth Star Wars collage:

May the 4th be with us, we WILL see you again! We wish it was now and we WANT to know when! Until then, just know, that we are missing you all. The next time we see you, we’ll ALL have a ball!

Tony Gwynn Jr. Thanks Oak Valley MS Teachers

Check out the personal message he sent to our staff: https://www.cameo.com/v/z0KKcVadn

Get to Know Your PUSD Teachers of the Year!

These videos were put together by the San Diego County Office of Education to celebrate San Diego's Teachers. Watch our very own Aaron Smith (BHMS, PhysEd) and Laura Snow (Pomerado) explain why they do what they do.
Getting to Know the 2021 Teachers of the Year: Laura Snow - Pomerado Elementary
Getting to Know the 2021 Teachers of the Year: Aaron Smith - Bernardo Heights Middle

More Photos from Teacher Appreciation Week

Thank You Mrs. LeMaster (Kindergarten 2019-2020)

Classified School Employee Week (May 18-22)

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Congratulations, Mr. Oliva!

During this week, we honor the Classified School Employees in #PowayUnified who work tirelessly on behalf of our students. We're sharing the San Diego Classified Employee of the Year who happens to be one of our own: David Oliva.

"Mr. Dave," a Bus Transportation Aide for students with special needs, truly betters our community with his passion and selflessness. It is an honor to witness his work in our district. David now moves on to the state-level program for possible recognition by the California Department of Education.

Read the full feature here: bit.ly/DavidOliva

National School Lunch Hero Day

Every year on #SchoolLunchHeroDay, we say thank you to the people who provide such an essential service to our students. When the COVID-19 health crisis closed schools, our Food and Nutrition employees stepped up in a BIG way. These heroes are outside most days, rain or shine, and now in the heat. They have served over 104,000 meals (breakfast and lunch) since March 16, and they do it with a smile, a wave, and a welcome. When they were called on during the pandemic to serve, they did - armed with masks and desire to help.

To all #PowayUnified Food and Nutrition staff: If that's not a hero, we don't know what is. THANK YOU.
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PUSD Food and Nutrition Highlighted in Pomerado News

For our food and nutrition workers who are cooking the meals, packing them up and distributing to the public, the service is a chance to help the community during the #COVID19 pandemic. Their efforts were recently featured in the Pomerado News here.

National Nurses Day, May 6

Today is National Nurses Day 2020! We celebrate these frontline warriors for their selfless dedication to our community and extraordinary care and compassion, including the school nurse team that works so diligently supporting students in #PowayUnified!

BioMed pathway students from Del Norte High also created this thank you card to express their gratitude and admiration for healthcare professionals on the front lines of this pandemic.

Memorial Day 2020

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." (John F. Kennedy)

May we never forget the names of those who lost their lives in service to this country. Our livelihood is forever indebted to their sacrifice. The National Moment of Remembrance is at 3pm local time. #MemorialDay2020 #PowayUnified

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

As school districts, state education officials, and public health organizations work to provide virtual mental health support during the COVID-19 health crisis, it may feel overwhelming to find a place to start. Please note that the resources we've named here are part of a non-exhaustive list. There are MULTIPLE different platforms, programs, and help lines that are accessible to students, K12 educators, and families - but having a small handful to start doesn't hurt.

If at any time you need to seek professional medical help, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Confidential, 24/7 access, in both English and Spanish. #mentalhealthawarenessmonth


PUSD Tipline

As part of Poway Unified’s ongoing efforts to improve school safety and security, we have been sharing this “See Something, Say Something” public service announcement with many of our students. But this message applies to our parents and community members as well: help spread the word by watching and sharing this video so that we have as many eyes and ears out there working to keep our students and staff safe from threats. Save the tip line number in your phone: 844-787-3847. Special thanks to our law enforcement partners who participated in this PSA and continue to monitor the tip line and investigate any threats.

Poway Unified App

Did you know we have an app?

On our app, you can:
1. Choose which schools to follow in Settings
2. Receive emergency messages from the alert center
3. See what's happening on the calendar
4. Follow along with the News Stream
5. Catch the latest sports scores

And MUCH MORE! Download for FREE on the App Store and Google Play Store.

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.