December 16, 2022
On behalf of the School Board of Trustees and the Vista Unified team, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday with family and a happy and safe New Year. This time of year is special because it is an opportunity to show our appreciation for others and to spread joy and good cheer. Speaking of joy and cheer, these past few weeks have been filled with events, performances, and celebrations across the district that exemplify our district values, with particular emphasis on our newest value of kindness. We had students from our high schools serving as mentors for some of our youngest learners at elementary to learn how to read and write. We had incredible displays of talent at all grade spans during the holiday performances for music, dance, and drama. Just this past weekend, our district nursing team volunteered their time hosting the Heart Screening event at Madison Middle School, serving over 350 students. We also hosted a week-long OneSight Vision Clinic at the Vista Innovation Center to provide eye exams and free prescription glasses for 659 students across the district. This exemplifies our district value of equity. Our Vista Unified Council of PTAs held their annual Holiday Luncheon last week to honor the dedication and hard work of our parent volunteers and school staff across the district. Finally, the Vista Chamber of Commerce Holiday Parade (led by Rachel Beld and her team) was held a week ago on Sunday. This event exemplified our district value of collaboration by featuring hundreds of students and families from many of our schools to spread music, kindness, and good cheer. Our very own Vista High School JROTC Cadets kicked off the event. One of the highlights of the parade was when the RBV and VHS bands and pageantry joined together to form one unified team to play an impressive set of holiday songs for the community. Vista Unified is a special school district filled with students, teachers, staff, and parents who really know how to spread the holiday cheer. Happy Holidays!
Magnet School Window and Application Process for 2023-24 School Year
Vista Unified is excited to offer magnet school experiences to students. We are fully committed to ensuring that all families have an equitable opportunity to participate in the application process. Magnet schools are schools of choice that operate within existing public school systems and offer specialized courses or curricula. In Vista Unified, we have five magnet schools serving elementary, middle, and high school students:
For those families interested in one of our middle or high school options, the window to apply is January 11, 2023 to February 17, 2023. It is important to note that the window for the middle and high school application submission is shorter than elementary because the master schedule development must be completed by spring in order for all course selections to be prepared for the new school year. Applications for the magnet programs may be accessed on the Vista Unified School District website starting January 11, 2023.
The elementary school application window has been adjusted to include the kindergarten registration time frame. The extension of the elementary magnet school application window will provide families with more time to learn about and participate in the application process. For families interested in one of our elementary magnet schools, the window to apply is January 11, 2023 to April 7, 2023. Applications for elementary magnet programs may be accessed on the Vista Unified School District website starting January 11, 2023.
Because space is limited at each school, Vista Unified strives to provide a clear, fair, and balanced admissions process using a lottery system. This year, two lotteries will take place as noted below:
March 3, 2023 for Vista Magnet Middle School, Vista Innovation & Design Academy, and Mission Vista High School
April 21, 2023 for Casita Center for Science, Technology, and Math and Vista Academy of Visual and Performing Arts
Learning Showcase: Kindness
Social and emotional learning plays a critical role in helping students acquire the skills they need to thrive in school and life. Research in social and emotional learning from CASEL indicates, “when students have supportive relationships and opportunities to develop and practice social, emotional, and cognitive skills across many different contexts, academic learning accelerates.” One of our aspirations in our Learner Portrait is for our students to become kind and act with kindness. Our schools are developing students who are kind, patient, appreciative, and courageous, and practice gratitude. They are respectful and accept and embrace the uniqueness of others. They display integrity and are committed to themselves and their values.
What are opportunities to develop kindness at home, in the community, and at schools?
From The TODAY show “Supporting Kindness in Teens: Here’s What to Know”
Video on “The Adolescent Brain” - how the brain changes and its importance in developing kindness and compassion
The Great Kindness Challenge Checklist (English)
November and December STARS
Expanded Learning Opportunity Program for ALL STUDENTS
Beginning January 11th, all VUSD elementary students in transitional kindergarten through fifth grade will have the opportunity to attend after school programs with Elevo Learning. Elevo will offer students sports programs, tutoring,academic enrichment, and hands-on learning experiences. There is no cost to participate in Elevo, and these programs will be offered at all elementary school sites. Parents will receive an email before winter break from their students' school site with the registration form. Schools will also offer programs and clubs that are hosted by teachers and staff based on student interest. This new set of programs and opportunities is part of our initiative to provide expanded learning for all students.
Digital Citizenship Training
At our January 10th District Professional Development Day, all staff will engage in a two-hour training in digital citizenship. Our goal is to equip our students with the skills they need to become thoughtful, empathetic digital citizens in an increasingly connected world. This year, all students will take part in digital citizenship lessons, including the Five Competencies of Digital Citizenship. In addition, throughout the month of January, we will be sharing resources for families to support digital citizenship in the home.
Partnering with parents is one of the most impactful ways we can educate students on the importance of Digital Citizenship and what it means when they leave a digital footprint. In February, Vista Unified will host a webinar with Jon Moffat of Cyber Education Services (actual date to be posted in January). Jon’s message is designed to bring an awareness of current digital trends to parents and bridge the digital knowledge gaps at home. Some of the topics will include:
Privacy settings on your child’s profiles
Setting up boundaries in the Digital World
The latest phone apps that could put your child at risk
Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, Discord, Roblox, BeReal, and many more
Health and Safety Professional Development
While students are enjoying a final day of winter break on January 10th, every adult in the Vista Unified School District will participate in a two-hour health and safety training. At all sites across the districts, including the district offices, time will be spent developing and implementing a common understanding of district safety procedures. Vista Unified employees will receive instruction on options-based emergency responses, including active shooter training. Every site will also participate in real time safety drills using their personalized Incident Command System.
Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten Pre-Enrollment Opens March 1st for 2023-2024
VUSD offers high-quality full-day transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten programs across the district, and enrollment will open on March 1, 2023 for the 2023-24 school year. Parents/guardians can reach out to any VUSD elementary school for assistance with the pre-enrollment process. Click here for information about the TK/K Enrollment process, and click here for frequently asked questions about TK/K Enrollment. Enroll early to secure your spot!
In 2023-2024, more students will be eligible to enroll in our Transitional Kindergarten (TK) programs! Students who will turn five between September 2, 2023 and April 2, 2024 will be able to enroll in TK for the 2023-2024 school year.
- The enrollment window for kindergarten will also open March 1, 2023 for students who will turn five by September 1, 2023. If your child turns five after February 2, 2023, they could also request to enroll in TK this year after they turn five where space is available.
Intradistrict and Interdistrict Transfers Open January 11 - March 15, 2023 for 2023-2024
The priority window for transfers between schools inside our district (Intradistrict Transfers) for 2022-2023 will open on January 11 and will close on March 15, 2023.
Families who have moved out of the boundaries of their current school must submit a Intradistrict Transfer request to remain at their current school.
Families wishing to change schools will need to submit an Intradistrict Transfer request.
Families currently on an Intradistrict Transfer who wish to remain at their school and have not moved do not need to renew or reapply.
The priority window for Interdistrict Transfers (students who live outside of VUSD boundaries) is also January 11 through March 15, 2023.
Students currently attending a VUSD school on an approved Interdistrict Transfer will need to submit a new application if they are moving from elementary to middle school or middle school to high school and they want to remain in VUSD schools.
Students who are attending a VUSD school and have moved out of VUSD boundaries will need to have an approved Interdistrict Transfer if they wish to remain in their current school
Students who are not currently attending a VUSD school, who live outside of the district boundaries, and who wish to attend a VUSD school next year will need to submit an Interdistrict Transfer request.
Vista Innovation Center Clinic Holiday Hours
Boosters and Flu Shots
Every fall and winter, viral respiratory illnesses like the common cold and seasonal flu keep kids out of school and social activities. This year, there is a triple threat - COVID-19, RSV, and the flu - as more people come together for the holidays. In addition to COVID-19 testing, vaccinations for COVID and the seasonal flu are available at the Vista Innovation Center.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District