USD School Bell
March 2022 Edition
Dear Union School District Families,
Last week, I was honored to celebrate alongside UMS teachers, UMS Principal Todd Feinberg and USD Board Member Jen Petroff as Union Middle School was being honored for their redesignation as a CLS (California League of Schools) School to Watch. Congratulations to the entire UMS team for this well deserved recognition.
Celebrating success and learning should take place daily and year round through reflection on learning and conversations one on one with a student. Regardless of age we need to consciously talk about the hard work it takes to achieve and discuss that learning is a process and can be challenging at times. Each small step should be acknowledged just as much as the end result. While I was in a classroom yesterday at Alta Vista, I was impressed to see the language our 4th grade students used to highlight their learning journeys and how it takes perseverance, courage and the belief in the self.
Learning also doesn’t just take place in the classroom, and we learn about the world around us in real time and through history. I would also like to acknowledge the role our supportive school environment plays alongside our families as we all process current events in Ukraine and how we as adults approach these topics with our children. As the world watches the devastation, there may be images, media and messaging that our young children hear and see. It is important to be mindful of our children and their emotions during this time and as such, we thought it would be helpful to provide a few resources to help with these conversations at home:
Helping Your Students Cope With a Violent World: Edutopia article features strategies for helping children make sense with historical perspective, feel empowered, and inspire them to feel hopeful.
How to Talk to Kids About Violence, Crime, and War: Common Sense Media gathers tips and conversation starters to help you talk to kids of different ages about the toughest topics.
Talking to Your Kids About War: VeryWell Family explores ways families can speak with young people about war, including tips on sharing information and restricting media coverage.
Counselor’s Den: Guadalupe’s Mental Health Therapist Jen Danielsen recently shared her latest newsletter that addresses topics around how guardians can talk to kids about the war in Ukraine and upcoming changes with masking.
Thank you for your continued partnership as we work together to support each individual child in USD.
Health Reminder; Indoor Mask Update Starts Monday, March 14th
As Dr. Andrews shared in a Health & Safety Update on March 1st, the statewide indoor mask mandate is expiring at the end of this week. Starting on March 14, 2022, USD students and staff are recommended but not required to wear masks indoors and outdoors at school.
Wearing a mask will be an individual choice, and we will respect each person’s choice to wear or not wear a mask while at school.
Monitoring symptoms remains critical to prevent illness. Stay home if experiencing symptoms and continue to communicate with your school who will advise families and staff when an individual may return.
USD will continue to follow all state and county health guidance around quarantine, isolation, symptom monitoring, and hygienic practices.
Health experts continue to encourage all eligible people to be vaccinated. For local dates and locations, visit sccfreevax.org or phone 2-1-1.
Our weekly, optional, on-campus testing will continue. If you would like to opt into weekly testing at school, you may sign up your student here.
ParentSquare Launching Later this Month
Great news! We are switching to a new, nationally recognized communication platform called ParentSquare. ParentSquare is designed to keep parents and guardians informed in an easier, more manageable way.
You will be able to choose how to receive the information we send to you: on your computer or phone, email, text, or by downloading the free App.
If you have students in more than one USD school, you’ll be able to consolidate the messages into one central account. If you have a child in one of Campbell Union High School District’s schools, those messages can also be consolidated for you.
During the remaining last few months of this school year, we will be transitioning over District-level news, alerts and communications to the new platform. Next school year, all schools will be integrated and parents/guardians can receive all District and School messages via ParentSquare.
Parents/guardians and staff will receive an invitation email in the coming weeks explaining how to upload the app if you choose and connect with the new platform. USD will begin sending District messages through ParentSquare the week of March 21st.
Remember, it is important to make sure your contact information is updated and correct in our systems. Contact your school office if any information has changed.
Annual STEAM Faire 2022
We’re so excited to be bringing back our annual STEAM community event this year. USD students, families and community members are invited to experience STEAM at USD and enjoy a multitude of fun activities including DIY Circuit Bugs, How Seeds Travel, a Community Art Project, Water Cycle Robots, and more!
WHEN: Saturday, April 23, 2022 - 11 AM to 2 PM
WHERE: Your neighborhood elementary school (Alta Vista, Carlton, Guadalupe, Lietz, Noddin and Oster)
Student, Staff and Family Voices Guide Decisions
Information guides next steps, and we are always looking ahead to celebrate the great work we are accomplishing in USD and plan for the future needs of our District. As we look toward the end of this school year, surveys provide us with valuable feedback and help guide our decision making for the future and planning for the 2022-23 school.
Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Survey: The LCAP is our school district plan in which we set and monitor goals, share performance data, and gather input as we implement actions. Please take a moment to submit a survey response as your feedback is critical in the decision making process around the LCAP. We want your perspective.
Student Voice: Our student voices are valuable in guiding how we best our students in school. We can address student needs based on what they communicated directly to us. This spring, our students in grades 5 and up will be taking the Healthy Kids Survey and a student input survey. We want to gather input on the wellness of our students and additional support we need to put in place for the 2022-23 school year. We value student voice and look forward to what our students will share with us through these surveys.
Communications: USD strives to keep our various educational partners informed and engaged throughout the school year. This year, USD will have a communications specific survey to help inform our Districtwide communication planning.
USD Staff Spotlight
George Castro - Grounds Maintenance Lead
George Castro is Union School District’s Grounds Maintenance Lead and has been with USD for 25 years. The grounds crew works incredibly hard to maintain the District fields, lawns, and landscaping across the District. George shared that it’s definitely hard work, but he enjoys it a lot and takes pride in keeping the grounds looking good for students and the community. George is a pillar of the District’s maintenance team, and we are truly grateful for his dedication to ensuring that our schools are clean and safe.
Sarah Nagata - 8th Grade Math Teacher at Dartmouth Middle
Sarah Nagata is a 6th year math teacher at Dartmouth Middle School. A former Dartmouth eagle herself, Sarah currently teaches 8th Grade Math and Integrated Math I and is also currently coaching the JV Girls Volleyball team. She shared that she definitely did not like math growing up, but it was her experience learning math in middle school and her teachers at DMS that opened her eyes and made math easier and enjoyable.
“I want my students to see that math can be fun. I chose to teach math because it’s so important, and I want to see students break down those mindsets of not liking math.” In her classroom, Sarah incorporates different projects and gets students to bring the creativity to math and broaden their learning.
Enrollment is Open for the 2022-23 School Year
USD enrollment is open for new students next year. Continue to share with friends and neighbors who may have a new TK/Kinder student or just recently moved into our area. Early enrollment counts help our schools with projections to make critical staffing and program decisions for the new year.
Highlights from Across USD
Would you like to share a student’s recent accomplishment? We want to celebrate our USD students! Share a photo and story with us to be featured in future newsletters by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carlton's March Madness Basketball Tournament is back this year. This is a wonderful opportunity for Carlton Cougars to experience being on a basketball team and practicing good sportsmanship. The tournament will end with a big game between the top 5th grade teams and the Carlton staff.
Alta Vista Elementary
Schools from across the country celebrated “Read Across America Day” on March 2nd. At Alta Vista, Mrs. Sarah Williams, our Teacher on Special Assignment, visited classrooms to read Be You! By Peter H. Reynolds. Afterwards, students created beautiful self portraits.
4th graders at Oster studied Spanish and English explorers who traveled across oceans during the 16th century. Spanish galleons were used to carry cargo and to navigate the dangerous seas as a warship. The 4th graders learned about the various levels of the galleons, the purposes of each level, including the hull, hold, and deck, and the purposes of the voyages.
It is that time of year where Lietz students get to showcase their learning and share their writing. From our Kindergarteners who are sharing their stories through pictures and labels, through our 5th graders, who are putting it all together in their state reports, students are finding ways to share their voice! The process allows students to share their knowledge as well as encourage and learn from each other.
The Dartmouth Band is over the moon excited for their first on-campus performance in over two years. Band Teacher, Jonathan Pwu, and his students have weathered a tremendous amount of setbacks and unpleasant weather practices with true resilience and professionalism. Students in the Eagle, Concert, Jazz, and Symphonic Bands invested their full focus and passion all the while with their eyes on the prize of a live school performance.
Noddin recently participated in Read Across America Day! Students across all grade-levels participated in dedicated reading time, listened to stories from their teachers, and participated in reading related activities. This year, there was a particular emphasis on promoting and exposing students to books of an inclusive nature and representative of all of the wonderful backgrounds Noddin students and families come from!
Important Dates to Remember
- March 13, 2022 - Daylight Saving Time Starts (Move clocks forward one hour on Sunday!)
- March 14, 2022 (6pm) - School Board Meeting
- March 24, 2022 - Middle School Open House
- April 4-8, 2022 - Spring Break (No School)
- April 11, 2022 (6pm) - School Board Meeting
- April 23, 2022 (11am to 2pm) - USD STEAM Faire
The 2022-23 School Year calendar is available on our District website.
Join the USD Team
USD has several opportunities to join our amazing team. If you or anyone you know might be interested in any of our open positions, feel free to share this information and apply at https://www.edjoin.org/usd
Food Services Assistants
Extended Care Activity Leaders
Yard Duties and more!
Also, if you are interested in substitute teaching or joining our substitute instructional assistant ranks, please reach out to Denise Haswell at email@example.com.
Board of Trustees Sheila Billings, Vickie Brown, Doug Evans, Jennifer Petroff, Thomas E. Rossmeissl
Superintendent Dr. Carrie Andrews