March 22, 2022
The Festival of the Arts Was Fantastic!
Music, art, and dance are back in Vista. On March 12th, we held the 17th Annual Festival of the Arts in the center of Vista. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday that served as a perfect backdrop to launch our return to the arts in Vista Unified. We had huge crowds of proud parents and community members running from one stage to the next to catch ten minute performances from more than 40 different music and dance groups. We had thousands of visitors that brought much needed energy back into our city and school district. All five of our school board members were there, proudly supporting our commitment to expanding art, music, and dance throughout the school district. The best part of the day was seeing the smiles and hearing the excitement of our students as they performed. Bravo!
Arts Under the Stars Kicks Off Spring in Vista Unified
Arts Under the Stars will feature the district’s stellar Visual and Performing Arts students in two coinciding events.
The Visual Arts Under the Stars Show will open Tuesday, April 12th, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm in the Vista Civic Center Gallery, and will run through mid-May. The Visual Arts Show is a juried show spotlighting the talents of secondary-level art students from our middle and high schools. Students representing our visual arts programs will show two dimensional work, three dimensional work, photography, and digital arts. The Civic Gallery will be open during Civic Center hours through May.
The Arts Under the Stars at the Moonlight Amphitheater will take place Wednesday evening, April 13th. Gates will open at 5:00 pm. The show will start at 6:00 pm and will feature performances from elementary, middle, and high school musicians, bands, choirs, and theater departments from various schools in the district. The event is free and open to the public. The Bread and Cheese Eatery will have food available for purchase that evening and is donating 10% of their proceeds to the Vista Education Foundation in support of the arts.
Can you believe that we have made it to Spring Break? Our students and staff have already passed 120 days of school this year. Spring Break is set to start on Monday, March 28th and end on Friday, April 1st. Students are scheduled to return to school on Monday, April 4th. Please have a fun and restful break.
Let’s Keep Our Kids in School after Spring Break - Test Before You Return
We are excited to announce that Vista Unified has secured at-home COVID-19 testing kits for all students and staff in our district. The kits will be delivered to school sites early this week and sent home with students by Friday, March 25th. We need everyone’s help to test 24 hours before returning from Spring Break on Monday, April 4th. Our collective vigilance in testing will ensure that the last two months of the school year are not interrupted and our promotion and graduation ceremonies are successful. Let’s keep kids in school!
Health and Safety
COVID-19 cases continue to decline throughout our schools and community. In the past few weeks, we have seen weekly positive cases drop from 55 in one week to only 10 cases last week. Our collective efforts as a school district and community to combat the spread of COVID-19 are paying off.
On March 15th, a new COVID-19 Decision Tree for K-12 Schools was released. Some of the changes made include the following:
If symptomatic - To return to school or work, a negative PCR or two negative antigen (rapid or home tests) are now acceptable. The two antigen tests must be at least one day apart. Each test must have the student's name, the date, and their date of birth on the cassette.
For a student who has tested positive for COVID-19, they are not required to test on days 3,4, or 5 if they receive a "share the air" letter for 90 days from the date of their positive test result.
A student who returns from isolation after testing negative on day 5 is not required to wear a face mask on days 6-10.
Families may still sign up their students for weekly COVID-19 testing at their schools sites by completing this FORM. We will continue to keep our schools and community updated on changes to the Decision Tree and monitor and report COVID-19 cases.
District Professional Development Was a Huge Success
A professional development day was held on Wednesday, March 9th for all Vista Unified faculty and staff. Elementary had a “college catalog” of choices of classes to attend for the morning session of the day. Learning opportunities ranged from presentations of our core curricular programs to exploring science with a focus on environmental science. Additionally, technology applications for use in the classroom, arts integration sessions (including visual and performing arts), and science of reading professional learning were offered. During our next professional development day, elementary teachers and staff will again be able to choose from a menu of classes to attend.
At the middle and high schools, each site was able to spend time together collaborating on the design of our district performance framework. Teachers had rich discussions about the elements of effective assessments and began to create a resource for middle and high school common evidence for students to demonstrate their learning. We also have rolled out surveys for our 6th to 12th grade students to get baseline data about care, connection, and well-being. This data will drive conversations at our next professional development day, which is April 20th for all schools in the district.
Community Feedback on our Annual LCAP
Every school district in the state of California is required to develop a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to outline the actions and services that will support student academic, social, and behavioral achievement. We call our LCAP the Blueprint for Educational Excellence and Innovation. The LCAP must go through an annual revision process to ensure that students, parents, teachers, and staff members have the opportunity to provide feedback on the current actions and services and to make suggestions for additional actions and services that students need to reach their full potential as learners. Please complete this survey to engage in our annual LCAP revision process by April 8th.
Dual Language Programs Are Taking Off
Vista Unified offers Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs at two schools: a 50% Spanish and 50% English model at Grapevine Elementary in grades TK-3 and a 90% Spanish and 10% English model at Alamosa Park in grades TK-3. Both native English speakers and English language learners can participate in dual language, a model of instruction that promotes bilingual skills and grade-level proficiency in two languages. Coming in 2022–23, Hannalei Elementary will open 50% Spanish and 50% English classes in kindergarten. We already have more than 95 kindergarten students enrolled in dual language at these three schools for next school year. In addition, our school district has started the process that will lead to the opening of Dual Language Immersion programs in middle school. A committee is currently working on the structure needed to start a bilingual 6-8 pathway in 2024-25.
Special Education Student Wins Brail Contest
Vista Unified School District first grader Josselyn from Maryland Elementary School won the Southern California Regional Braille Challenge. She was the Apprentice Winner out of all students in Southern California from her age group (grades one and two). Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind and is held in January through March each year for students who are blind or visually impaired. The Braille Institute developed Braille Challenge to motivate students to practice and hone their braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success. Any blind or visually impaired student in first through twelfth grades who can read and write braille is eligible to participate in the Braille Challenge. Contestants are divided into five categories and tested on fundamental braille skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. Regional contests are proctored by volunteer teachers of the visually impaired and are scored locally by volunteer transcribers, based on national guidelines. Please see Picture Braille Challenge Winner.
Last Chance for Child Tax Credit Support
Have you claimed the Child Tax Credit yet? This year, the US government is providing up to $3,600 per child to parents and caretakers, yet many families in the Vista Unified School District may miss out on collecting the full benefit. Even if you received monthly payments last fall, you need to file a tax return to receive the full credit.
Have you already filed your 2021 taxes? If so, then you already have claimed this Child Tax Credit.
If you have NOT filed your taxes yet and you made less than $57,000 last year, then UCSD’s CTC project team, in partnership with a San Diego non-profit tax clinic, would like to help you do your taxes for free. To sign up for this opportunity, please take this survey.
Survey Link: https://survey.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eVypLMi9ultXzBY
If you have already done the survey, there is no need to do it again.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District