2021 Year in Review

Despite many challenges, in 2021 our students, staff, families and community accomplished much and achieved at high levels. Below, you'll find our annual State of the District video for 2021, titled "Pathways for Success." You'll also find a compilation of the Top 10 highlights from the past calendar year. Here's to continued success in 2022!
Pathways for Success- CUSD'S State of the District (January 2022)

Carlsbad Unified schools garnered statewide and national recognition. Jefferson Elementary School received a 2021 California Green Ribbon School Award from the California Department of Education (CDE), recognizing outstanding work in bringing sustainability, environmental literacy, and healthy practices to school communities. Sage Creek High School was named a 2021 California Distinguished School by the CDE. Valley Middle School was named a state and national ‘School to Watch’ by the California League of Schools and the National Forum. All of our brick and mortar schools were included on the 2021 US News & World Report Best Public Schools list, and Pacific Rim Elementary was ranked #10 out of more than 5,500 public elementary schools statewide in California.

The California Reading Coalition highlighted Carlsbad Unified as one of the top school districts in the state for Reading Instruction. In their most recent study, the 2021 Reading Report Card, Carlsbad Unified was ranked in the top 30 of all school districts in California for student reading and literacy levels.

Our school and district staff received awards for excellence, including the 2021 San Diego County Classified School Employee of the Year (Ofelia Lopez-Villamar, school office assistant at Jefferson Elementary); the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce 40 Under 40 List (honorees were Kimberly Fuentes, principal of Calavera Hills Elementary School and Aaron Nelson, principal of Magnolia Elementary School, and honorable mentions went to Ashley Rossiter, principal of Hope Elementary School and Shannon Harrington, assistant principal of Sage Creek High School); the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Administrator of the Year (Bryan Brockett, principal of Carlsbad High School) and Middle School Teacher of the Year (Bethany Murphey, teacher at Valley Middle School); 2021 Administrator of the Year in the Continuation/Alternative Options category by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 18 (Jorge Espinoza, principal of Carlsbad Village Academy and Carlsbad Seaside Academy); the Classroom of the Future Foundation’s 2021 Innovative Educator of the Year (Rob Nye, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services); the National Federation of State High School Associations’ 2021 California Girls Soccer Coach of the Year (Madison McLean, teacher at Sage Creek High School); a 2021 ‘Superintendent to Watch’ Award from the National School Public Relations Association (Ben Churchill, superintendent); and the 2021 National Teacher of the Year Award from the Student Television Network (Doug Green, teacher at Valley Middle School and Carlsbad High School). Our District Classified Employee of the Year was Ofelia Lopez-Villamar, school office assistant at Jefferson Elementary; our District Teacher of the Year was Jessica Kitchen, preschool teacher at Buena Vista Elementary.

Our school programs were commended and awarded, including the fourth consecutive Pacemaker Award (the Pulitzer of student journalism) for the broadcasting program at Carlsbad High School; recognition as a 2021 SNO (School Newspapers Online) Distinguished Site Program for Sage Creek High School’s multimedia journalism program; winners of the 1st Place Grand Sweepstakes for the Carlsbad High School Speech and Debate Team, with a national ranking of 27 out of over 4,000 teams across the country; 2021 Student Television Network awards for the broadcasting programs at Valley Middle School and Carlsbad High School; 2021 iVIE Awards (Innovative Video in Education) from the Media Arts Center San Diego for Magnolia Elementary School; and the Supportive Student Award at the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education (NCCSE) 2021 Awards for Kelly Elementary School.

890 students graduated in the Class of 2021, which represents a 98% on time graduation rate. 83% of our graduates met the eligibility requirements for the University of California and California State University (UC/CSU) systems. Both of these figures have increased year-over-year for each of the past five years, despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Our student athletes and athletic programs were champions. In the spring of 2021 (as the pandemic forced changes to the scheduling of each season of sport), Carlsbad High School won league championships in Girls’ Cross Country, Girls’ Golf, Football, Softball, Girls’ Basketball, Girls’ Water Polo, Boys’ Water Polo, Girls’ Track and Field, and Wrestling, and won the CIF San Diego Section D2 championship in Baseball. Carlsbad High School’s Lancer Dancers (varsity dance team) and Xcalibur (junior varsity dance team) were both named 2021 Hip Hop National Champions. Sage Creek High School won league championships in Girls’ Soccer, Girls’ Cross Country, Girls’ Track & Field, and Coed Tennis, and won CIF San Diego Section D3 championships in Girls’ Soccer, Girls’ Track and Field, Boys’ Track and Field, and Boys’ Basketball. Sage Creek Boys’ Basketball also won the Division 5AA Southern Regional Championship. In the fall of 2021, Carlsbad High School won league championships in Girls’ Cross Country, Girls’ Golf, and Football, and won CIF San Diego Section championships in Girls’ Volleyball and Girls’ Golf. Carlsbad High Girls’ Golf also took 5th place at the State Championship, and Girls Volleyball won the Southern California Regional Championship. Sage Creek High School Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country won the CIF San Diego Section Division IV Championship.

Our schools, students and staff continued to benefit from new and existing community partnerships in 2021. Our school PTAs and PTSAs developed creative ways to engage with parents and to support teachers and staff. The Carlsbad Educational Foundation (CEF) facilitated and funded exemplary programs across all grade levels, including collaboration with local partners like the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (environmental stewardship field trips for 3rd grade and 7th grade), Junior Achievement (5th grade trips to BizTown and 12th grade trips to Finance Park), Coastal Roots Farm (curriculum and field trips for 4th grade and virtual field trips for kindergarten), a six-week robotics and coding curriculum for 2nd grade students culminating in a field trip to Legoland, and an on-site visit from the San Diego Children's Discovery Museum Mobile Lab for 1st grade at each school. CEF also supported music, science and technology, and innovation across all campuses. CEF continued to partner with the YouSchool to offer the Carlsbad Student Leadership Council to high school students, and the City of Carlsbad continued to offer the Carlsbad Student Leadership Academy. The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce continued to work with local community partners to offer the Rising Star of the Month Student Awards and Scholarships. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park collaborated with students at Calavera Hills Middle School to learn about conservation.

Funded by Measure HH bonds, construction and campus-wide modernization projects continued at Hope Elementary School and Kelly Elementary School, and was completed at Magnolia Elementary School. STEAM Labs (for science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) were completed at Pacific Rim Elementary School and Poinsettia Elementary School.

Phase 2 of our Longe Range Facilities Plan kicked off with the sale of $93M of bonds at favorable interest rates. Authorized as part of our Measure HH bond program, Phase 2 will include modernization projects at four elementary schools (Aviara Oaks, Buena Vista, Jefferson, and Pacific Rim), two middle schools (Aviara Oaks Middle and Valley Middle), and Carlsbad Village Academy.

S&P Global Ratings assigned an ‘AA’ long-term rating to Carlsbad Unified School District's $93 million Series B general obligation bond issuance. The ‘AA’ long-term rating indicates that the district’s capacity to meet its financial obligations is very strong. Highly rated bonds are sold at lower interest rates, which can provide long-term savings to taxpayers.

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Carlsbad Unified School District

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