Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

October 2019 Edition

Big picture

Message from the Superintendent

Dear Team PUSD,

It is so exciting to see so many of our students engaged and contributing to our schools and community. I believe it's never too early to develop students as leaders. One of those groups is my Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee, pictured above. This is a diverse group of students from all six of our high schools. We meet every month, and I am so impressed by their passion, willingness to learn, and desire to represent all students in District decisions. I am excited for what we will accomplish together!

It really seems like October might be one of the busiest months for our schools! I didn't think it was possible to fit so many events into 31 days! From PUSD's Annual College and Career Fair, to multiple band and color guard field tournaments and high school homecomings, to Red Ribbon Week and the Great Shakout Drill, it's been quite a whirlwind! Please continue scrolling through the newsletter below to enjoy some photos and read more about what's been going on in our schools this month. I am so grateful to the staff and volunteers who work behind the scenes to ensure the success of these events and activities on behalf of our students.

Last week, I was invited to represent PUSD in Washington, D.C. to receive our official acceptance into the National Network of Innovative School Districts. It is an honor to be invited to join this group of forward-thinking leaders in education. It's also a good reminder that our work is never finished, as we continue to look for more ways to empower our students to become world-class learners. We know our students are already making an impact in our community and beyond: like Westview's Kara Fan, who was just named America's Top Young Scientist in 3M's national challenge for her project on liquid bandages!

Congratulations to Kara and to all of our students and staff who work so hard each and every day to ensure college, career, and life readiness for all.

I look forward to the upcoming State of the District event next month, where our new leadership team will be able to share all of the progress and accomplishments that #TeamPUSD has achieved in the past year, including academic gains, fiscal improvements, impacts to safety and security, as well as technology and innovation initiatives. Look for more information on the State of the District and our many successes, coming to you soon!


Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D.


Student, School, and Staff News and Achievements

Westview Wolverine Takes Home 3M "Young Scientist" 2019 Award

Congratulations to Westview High School Freshman Kara Fan for being named America's Top Young Scientist of 2019 by 3M! Her winning project focused on a type of nano particle liquid bandage to replace the use of antibiotics and help reduce the development of super bugs due to overuse of antibiotics. She's changing the medtech game at 14-years-old and we couldn't be more proud! Read more about her project here!
Big picture

Poway Unified Students Tackle Dreams, Anxiety and Achievement in Art Exhibition

Photography pieces by students from schools across PUSD, including Meadowbrook and Mt. Carmel, were featured in the "Juried Youth Exhibition" at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park this month. More than 800 students in San Diego County submitted their art to a six-member jury panel, and only 100 pieces were chosen. The students chose to focus on topics such as anxiety, dreams, and more. This photo is entitled "Staircase to Dreams," by Sachin Nayak (Meadowbrook Middle School)

To read the column, click here.

20 PUSD Students Chosen for Internship Program with Northrup Grumman

20 PUSD students were chosen for the prestigious "High School Involvement Partnership Program" (HIP) with Northrop Grumman this month. The program is geared toward aspiring engineers by providing hands-on technical experience and on-the-job experience, which will count as college credit. Congratulations to all who were selected! Pictured from left to right: Phoenix Dimagiba, Lindsay Wright, Michelle Prasouvo, Cadence Schiffer, Joshua Tan (Del Norte).

Additional PUSD students selected for the program:

  • Natalie Gonzalez, Megan Huynh, Dennis Li, Mariyah Salat, Devina Tavathia, Samantha Tinney, Trevor Tran (Mt. Carmel)
  • Cole Stephens (Poway)
  • Krish Thakkar (Rancho Bernardo)
  • Melody Chu, Anushka Gupta, Junyan Huang, Daniel Lee, Dhruti Pandya, Mary Vu (Westview)
#PowayUnified and the ADL Team Up Against Hate in Our Schools

PUSD Teams Up With Anti-Defamation League for "No Place for Hate" Video Special

It's no secret that PUSD is a proud partner with the ADL - Anti-Defamation League in making sure all our campuses are a safe and welcoming for students, and are no places for hate. We teamed up with them again on a special project, thanks to the hard work of our middle school principals, and invite you to watch: https://youtu.be/D9xN7jGfMfc

The goal of No Place for Hate is to "inspire a national movement, led by students and educators who are committed to using the power of positive peer influence to build inclusive and safe schools in which all students can thrive." The ADL hosted its annual "No Place for Hate" conference on Wednesday, October 30. Several PUSD schools sent teams of students and staff to empower them with tools and lessons to support their ongoing work at their campuses.

Poway High School Senior Develops Studying App

‪Studying for The College Board SAT can be tough. But there’s an app for that - and one of them was made by a Poway High School senior! Read this article on how Maxim Kondrashuk is coding his way toward effective test prep.

Tierra Bonita Elementary School Named Apple Distinguished School

Tierra Bonita Elementary School was recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for 2019-2022 this month. The school's successful and innovative implementation of Apple technology to transform students' learning, coupled with iPad programs and hands-on technologies in the STEAM lab, allow students to showcase their accomplishments in the classroom. The is the fourth consecutive time Tierra Bonita has received such a distinction, first earning the title in 2013-2015, then 2015-2017, and again from 2017-2019. Well done, Cheetahs!

California Department of Education Visits Poway Unified

Officials representing the California Department of Education visited a few of our Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI) Model schools on October 1st to gain insight on what #PowayUnified is doing with special education. Our SAI models are Monterey Ridge Elementary, Twin Peaks Middle, and Mt. Carmel High Schools. In addition to asking the California Department of Education, legislature asked members from the State Board of Education and the governor's office to research how special education services can be improved state-wide. They will be meeting with Districts throughout California to do this.

Even though the SAI Model is not a new concept in education, the officials wanted to see how PUSD is improving the model and making a very good thing even better.

To read more about what the special education department is doing, click here: bit.ly/PUSDSPED

Poway Unified "Excellence in Education" Series: Student Wellness & Mindfulness

Studio 701 "Excellence in Education" Series: Student Wellness

Our Studio 701 student internship is up and running again! For their first piece, our interns are highlighting efforts across #PowayUnified to address student wellness, including yoga for P.E. and the new PUSD Mindful Moment. Take a moment to watch the video above!

Annual College and Career Fair Has Great Turnout at Rancho Bernardo HS

And that's a wrap! The annual PUSD College and Career Fair on October 17 was yet again a big success with over 130 colleges, universities, trades and military represented at Rancho Bernardo High School, and helpful workshops on internships, college admissions help, and financial aid.

Otter Cares Donation

We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the OtterCares Foundation. The Technology & Innovation department is so excited for the ongoing partnership with OtterCares to continue expanding and innovating student learning experiences across #PowayUnified.

Link Crew Conference

Have you heard of Link Crew? Link Crew helps freshmen with the transition to high school. Recently, Westview High hosted a conference for Link Crews from across PUSD for a day of learning, fun, and team bonding. Video by Sumedh and Jovanna, Link Crew Members and Poway Unified PR interns.


Fun Photo Gallery

Halloween 2019

Staff and students joined in the Halloween festivities across the District. Check out some of the great costumes below!

National Custodians Day

October 2, 2019 was #NationalCustodianDay, and Poway Unified schools did not shy away from celebrating all the custodians across the 39 campuses! Our #TeamPUSD custodians are always hard at work, making sure our schools are clean, safe, and ready for students and staff each morning!
Big picture

Military Night

Rancho Bernardo High School held a military night, to honor veterans and first responders during their varsity football game.

Del Norte HS Travels Back in Time for Homecoming

Del Norte High School’s Homecoming week October 7-12 wrapped up homecoming season in PUSD. The festivities included the annual lunchtime parade through the neighborhood, with floats decorated in the theme of music through the decades.


Westview High School's #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

“People are so worried about saying the ‘wrong’ thing that they don’t say anything at all.” - Stan Collins

Westview High School ASB was proud to host San Diego County Suicide Prevention Specialist and Consultant Stan P. Collins as part of their #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek assembly. Take a look at the video above for a brief recap.

Throughout the week, students and staff created healthy conversation surrounding the topic of mental health and why self-care maintenance, assessments, and outreach is vital.

Local Marines Land at Mesa Verde Middle, Hold "Bootcamp-style" P.E. Class

We're tired just from WATCHING them run the drills! This was a unique opportunity for Mesa Verde Middle School students - not only does it encourage fun physical fitness habits in students, but it gives them the opportunity to connect with local military personnel. These Marines in particular are part of the "Single Marines Program" through MCAS Miramar and Marine Corpos Community Services San Diego. They develop Quality of Life initiatives for other single, active duty Marines through advocacy, recreational activities, special events and community involvement like dog adoption events, P.E. classes, and beach clean ups.


Garden Road Student Council Elections

Check out Garden Road practicing civics and democracy in their student council elections! Third, fourth, and fifth graders registered to vote, checked in to the polls, filled out the ballot in individual voting booths with candidate pictures, and poll workers kept the process running smoothly.

Westview High School "Survives" Homecoming

With the theme of CBS's hit show "Survivor," Westview HS celebrated homecoming the week of October 4 with their tradition of themed floats, speed painting, and door decorating contests.

BMX Pros Teach Kindness at Stone Ranch Elementary

These lessons in kindness from Free Agent BMX are DEFINITELY something you can try at home! Nothing beats learning how to be a good citizen than from Pro BMXers - Watch the action from Stone Ranch Elementary School below!


Ever wondered how #PowayUnified feeds so many kids every day? Your exclusive look behind-the-scenes of it all is here! We chatted with Nicole Anschick, the Dietetic Supervisor for Poway Unified, to learn a little more about what goes into planning, prepping, and plating thousands of meals per day across the District.

We were so excited to continue the tradition of #NationalSchoolLunchWeek this year. The theme was “What’s On Your Playlist?" which focuses on the variety of choices Poway Unified offers students to mix and match to fit their dietary preferences

Our Food and Nutrition Department offers balanced, delicious meals that come complete with lean proteins, whole grains, locally sourced milk, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Make sure to watch the video below!

National School Lunch Week: Behind-the-Scenes

Career Technical Education Fun at Sony

During this Professional Growth Day at Sony in Rancho Bernardo, Poway Unified teachers learned more about college transfer credits and our partnership with Palomar College, student inclusion within the Career Technical Education (CTE) and arts pathways from a presentation by Tiffany King and Mercedes Hubbschmitt, and interacted with fun technologies that could advance classroom learning down the road. We are always thankful for our friends at Sony Electronics for helping us pave the way for technology and innovation that empowers world-class learners.

Poway OnStage Presents: Anti-Bullying Lessons from a Pirate

For most, a pirate is not the first thing that comes to mind when talking about anti-bullying. But "Pirate Professor Billy Bones" (David Engel) is challenging that with a comedic twist on lessons in respect, responsibility, and courage.

Poway OnStage presented the show to #PowayUnified 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders this month and taught them how to stop bullying in and out of the classroom. Take a look!

Pirate School: Following Your Compass at the Poway Center for Performing Arts

Dyslexia Awareness Month

October is #InternaitonalDyslexiaAwarenessMonth, and we invited the Poway Unified community to learn about helpful information about people with different language-based learning abilities from the International Dyslexia Association.

Additionally, we shared an article written by Kelli Sandman-Hurley that gives a brief step-by-step overview of tips for those who are navigating a new dyslexia diagnosis. Poway Unified has made a concerted effort in the last 12 months to address this concern, as well. Specifically, Poway Unified offers universal screenings for K-1, and every elementary and middle school has curriculum aligned with the research-based Orton-Gillingham Approach to more effectively meet the unique needs of our students with dyslexia.

For more resources through Poway Unified, visit: bit.ly/SPEDPUSD

Character Counts! and Red Ribbon Week

Big picture

Garden Road's First Responders

Garden Road ES Eagles were greeted bright and early by a group of first responders, including “King” the Police K-9, to kick off #RedRibbonWeek! These firefighters, military, police officers, EMTs, etc. are Garden Road parents that help keep the community safe on a daily basis and after greeting each and every student, some went around in classrooms to briefly talk about the importance of character and drug, alcohol, tobacco and violence prevention. For more information about The Red Ribbon Campaign, follow this link: http://redribbon.org/about/

We are thankful for #PowayUnified parents who model what it means to be kind, helpful, and responsible each and every day!

Red Ribbon Week Spirit Days

Many of our campuses chose to advocate for drug, tobacco, alcohol and violence prevention during Red Ribbon Week by dressing up for spirit days! Our kids are choosing to take responsibility for their choices, and encouraging one another along the way.

Monterey Ridge Elementary School used their heads (with wacky hair!) to make good choices, and Chaparral Elementary wore college shirts as a pledge to stay in school. In addition to Red Ribbon Week, Westview High School was in the middle of quarter finals testing and showed off the ways Wolverines de-stress and take care of their bodies.

Big picture

Red Ribbon Week: Middle Schools Advocate for Anti-Vaping

What's a good way to get the message out about the dangers of drugs, vaping and smoking? Write a song about it! This is what Red Ribbon Week is all about:

A handful of students from all of our middle schools had the unique opportunity to partner with MusicNotesOnline, two L.A. teachers who teach life lessons to kids through music and video, to write rap lyrics about the dangers of smoking, vaping, and drugs. Many of them even performed the rap in front of peers, overcoming anxieties in the process.

A BIG thank you to MusicNotesOnline and the San Diego County Office of Education for helping #PowayUnified kick ash to the curb!

Big picture

Black Mountain Middle Hosts "Lights on After School"

Do you know what the #lightsonafterschool program is? It's a program that recognizes and celebrates all of the after school activities that inspire kids to learn, help parents, and enrich the student experience - after the regular school day. Black Mountain Middle School ASES held an event celebrating their programs by keeping the lights on after school. Thank you to KINDSnacks and BOOST Collaborative for partnering with us on this campaign!

Student Portfolios

Samantha Yellen's 1st graders at Canyon View work together to show off their learning and create their online student portfolios using Seesaw.

The "Great California Shake Out" 2019

Another successful ’Great Shakeout’ is in the books for the #PowayUnified District Office! Watch as we walk through the earthquake evacuation plan and the importance of knowing what to do in case of emergency The Great Shakeout was practiced at offices, schools, government buildings, and more throughout the state of California, and was even seen in practice throughout the country.

"Trunk or Treat" at Del Norte

Del Norte HS Best Buddies hosted a "Trunk or Treat" night October 26 with students and families from across Poway Unified. During Trunk or Treat-style events, the backs of cars are decorated in Halloween and/or Harvest themes and sit in a parking lot for people to "trick or treat" from car to car. Thank you to DNHS for hosting a fun, inclusive event for the community!
Big picture

Los Pen's BizTown Interviews

Do you remember your first job interview? We hope you had the confidence that these 5th graders do when you walked into it!

5th graders at Los Penasquitos submitted job applications and interviewed with Poway Unified Board & community members for Junior Achievement of San Diego County #BizTown this month. Our future CEOs, reporters, and more are great at practicing responsibility, public speaking, and good character!



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.