#TeamPUSD Newsletter

May/June 2021 Edition

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Superintendent's Message

Dear PUSD,

The 2020-21 school year has undoubtedly been one of the most memorable in Poway Unified history. We navigated many challenges and changes together, and along every step of the way, we served and supported our students to the best of our abilities during a global pandemic.

As I visit campuses this week for promotions and year-end activities, I experienced a sense of celebration and feelings of accomplishment (and relief) that we have made it this far. I know there were times during the year when it felt like there was more bad news than good. But do not lose sight of the fact that our teachers and staff provided extraordinary in-person and virtual learning experiences for all students when many school districts in our state struggled to or could not. Our students participated in on-campus athletics, extracurricular activities, clubs, and academic programs and passions. Our schools and District continue to be top-rated in our county and state, with National Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished Schools. Our students and staff were honored with countless awards for athletics, academics, and overall achievements in fields such as cybersecurity, robotics, performing arts, education, and more. Our parents and guardians were more involved than ever, attending meetings, fundraising, adjusting to changes, and providing input on so many decisions. Our community businesses and organizations, many of them struggling themselves, rallied around supporting our schools and students with donations, volunteers, and partnerships. Plus, we will end the year by hosting in-person promotion and graduation ceremonies for our students and their families.

Team PUSD, we made it! We persevered and pushed through, learning so much about ourselves along the way: we are resilient, we are determined, we are flexible, we are innovative and creative, and we rise to the challenge.

For some, this is the final year you will be a part of PUSD, whether as a retiree or graduate (or parent of a graduate). To our retirees - thank you for your decades of dedication. Please know that you have impacted our students and your colleagues in so many ways. I wish you all the best as you enjoy your hard-earned retirement. Get rest, pursue your passions, and enjoy your family and friends. To our graduates and their families - we hope you leave feeling prepared for the future. We want our students to make their unique mark on the world, and if possible, return to this community some day, as parents, employees, or community partners of PUSD.

Finally, I want to share how proud and humbled I am to continue to lead this extraordinary organization as your Superintendent. I joined Poway Unified in April 2017. Of course I had always heard about the accomplishments and excellence of PUSD. But after four years here, I can confidently say, this is, by far, THE BEST school district I have ever had the pleasure of serving.

I am SO excited and hopeful for what 2021-22 brings. We will be hard at work over the summer to ensure we are ready to welcome back staff and students for full in-person learning, as well as the other learning options we are offering, such as Connect Academy. I promise to keep our students and their needs at the forefront of our work, and with your help, we will continue to pursue the District’s vision of empowering world-class learners.

Have a wonderful summer break!


Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D.


District News & Announcements

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Help Us Celebrate Our Graduating and Promoting Students!

The PUSD Communications Department wants to see your photos of your graduating and promoting students! Tag us in your social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@powayunified) or DM your pics so we can repost online & in our newsletter!
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Project Fair & Share 2021

The Poway Unified School District Foundation is excited to launch Project Fair & Share, a fundraising campaign focused on equity. There is a wide variation in the amount of funds that are raised by each of our school site foundations. Some struggle to raise $10,000 in a year while others can raise $150,000 in a single campaign. Help us level the playing field and provide grants to schools that need it most. Donate today! bit.ly/PUSDGive
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COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

Don't forget! If you or your child got your first vaccine at the May 28 and June 4 vaccination clinics at Mt. Carmel High School and Del Norte High School, you need to return for your second vaccine on Friday, June 25! Check your email next week for a reminder.

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Now Hiring: Instructional Aides, AVID Tutors

We are hiring! #PowayUnified is looking for:

  • Additional Instructional Aides to join our Special Education Extended School Year July 7 - August 3. Positions are 4 hours daily. IAs work alongside Credentialed Teachers. Full and substitute positions open. Apply here.
  • College students to fulfill tutor positions with our AVID program. This job is part-time, flexible with college schedules, available at multiple sites throughout the District, and will help PUSD students reach their full potential. Apply here.
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Budget Basics Webinar: PUSD Business Support

PUSD's Associate Superintendent of Business Support Ron Little hosted a budget webinar May 20th that addressed K12 public education funding. Additionally, Mr. Little covered topics such as funding of San Diego districts, the Local Control Funding Formula, budget cycles for CA schools, and how the community can advocate for more funding. A recording of the presentation can be accessed here: https://youtu.be/ToqiT3nGZhw

New Student Enrollment: Applications Still Accepted

It's that time again! New Student Enrollment opened on Wednesday, May 5 at 6:00 a.m Packets are completed digitally using any computer, tablet or smartphone with an internet connection. The application period is still open. We look forward to welcoming your student to #PowayUnified! Click here to access the enrollment website: www.powayusd.com/enrollment

First-ever Virtual CTE Expo

In years past, the Poway CTE Expo was always a “can’t miss event." The same was true for this year! The 2021 Expo was entirely virtual. Participants heard from CTE teachers and students in pathway programs, learned about early college credit opportunities, and tuned in for a special message from Superintendent Marian Kim Phelps and CTAAE Executive Director Kathleen Porter. Sessions were recorded and can be viewed here.
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Innovation Camp for PUSD Teachers: Enrollment Now Open

Interested in learning more about EdTech in the classroom? Sign up for this year's Innovation Camp, through the Technology and Innovation Department, and choose from 40 different sessions! Topics include Jamboard, Digital Escape Rooms, Canvas, and so much more. Innovation Camp will be held in August, but don't wait to reserve your spot! Click here to sign-up.


Achievements and Recognitions: Students, Staff, Schools & District

Nene & Ekene Okolo: Local Peacemakers

Congratulations to Nene and Ekene Okolo (@blackinPUSD) for being named this year's Local Peacemaker Honorees by National Conflict Resolution Center - NCRC. Nene and Ekene have been instrumental in our passage of a racial equity and inclusion plan and the addition of ethnic studies and ethnic literature courses. They were honored at the 33rd Annual Event (virtual) on Saturday, May 15.

PUSD Robotics Wins Big at Regional FIRST Competition

Many robotics students and teams at high schools throughout Poway Unified School District recently won awards at the FIRST 2021 Greater San Diego Awards Show. Of note, the “Chairman’s Award” is the most prestigious award offered by FIRST Robotics. Additionally, PUSD students claimed three of the four available “Dean’s List Awards” for competitive grades. Awards include:

o Team Spyder 1622 (Poway High School): Chairman’s Award; Quality Award

o Team 3341 Option 16 (Westview High School): Chairman’s Award; FIRST Dean’s List Award to Ella Godun; FIRST Dean’s List Award to Rayyan Nasser

o Team 2658 Sigma Motion (Rancho Bernardo High School): Skills Competition Winner Award; Excellence in Engineering Award; Engineering Design Award; FIRST Dean’s List Award to John Chang

o Team Optix 3749 (Del Norte High School): FIRST Innovation Challenge Semi-Finalist Awards; Qualcomm Innovation Ambassador Grant

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Students Tapping into Their "Super Powers"

#PowayUnified students are empowered to become leaders. These


middle schoolers came to be known as the “SuperPowers” team, stepping up to design an electives program and provide coaching for the Maker39 Faire when the pandemic threatened to cancel these popular programs at their school. Great job, Kiana, Tanay, Neil, Srijan, and Abigail!

PUSD Home to More National Merit Scholars

More #PowayUnified high school students received National Merit Scholarships in May and June. Congratulations to our students on this outstanding achievement!

  • $2,500 Scholarships (read here)
  • College-sponsored Scholarships (read here)
  • Corporate-sponsored Scholarships (read here)

Three PUSD Fourth Graders win Poway Water Poster Contest

Three Poway Unified School District fourth grade students achieved top places in the City of Poway’s annual Water Poster contest. Each depicted why they love water, how they conserve it, and how they encourage others to do the same. They will have their artwork entered for a chance to be this year's North County Water Agency Calendar cover. The contest was open to all fourth graders at Poway schools:

  • First Place: Rozelle DeBeer (Chaparral Elementary School)
  • Second Place: Chloe Holwill (Chaparral Elementary School)
  • Third Place: Jocelyn Roy (Valley Elementary School)

Poway Titan to represent U.S. in International Wrestling Champs

Brock Bobzien, a Junior at Poway High School, has earned a spot on the USA Wrestling Team for the World Cadet Championships in Budapest, Hungary this July To qualify, Brock won the World Team Trials in the Greco-Roman division and placed 2nd in Freestyle. We wish you good luck, Brock! Read more about the journey here.

Mesa Verde Student to Represent U.S. in Pan American Championship

An exciting story: Megan Chu, a 7th grader at Mesa Verde Middle (2nd from left), is a rhythmic gymnast with Emerald City Rhythmic Gymnastics. Recently, Megan placed first all-around at the junior level in a national qualifying competition and will now go on to represent the United States at the Junior Pan American championships in Guatemala She is now ranked #1 in the U.S. for her age bracket!

Read more from USA Gymnastics about her accomplishment: http://bit.ly/pusd-megan

Westview Junior Takes Third in International Science Fair

Please help us congratulate Westview junior Aakarsh Vermani on his Grand Award from the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Aakarsh took third place in the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics category for his project titled, "Using Machine Learning to Repurpose FDA-Approved Drugs to Treat Cancers and Inflammatory Diseases." Students applying their knowledge to address real-world problems!

"GradGenie" Earns Westview Junior First Place in National Competition

"GradGenie" is Westview junior Yuktha Senthil's student social platform idea that earned her first place at the National Biz Kid$ Showcase. Watch the video below to see some of its features, including classroom tools and app specs. The goal of this app, she says, is to help students connect with each other and empower them to make the best of their life as a student.
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APSM Scholarships

It's scholarship season for the Association of Poway School Managers (APSM). Members are "laser-focused" on supporting students and social projects at Poway Unified campuses. Earlier in June, APSM Leadership awarded Rancho Bernardo High School Senior Emily Underhill a $500 scholarship. Congratulations, Emily!

APSM also honored 18 members of Team PUSD with the 2021 Special Achievement Award in Support of Student Learning: Marie Galaz, Susan Graham, Kimberlie Rens, Aaron Little, Tish Bates, Michele Wilson-Manos, Brooke Snow, Laura Crow, Nicole Anschick, Flora Biglaryan, Lilian Yorba, Areli Caballero, Lisa Surita, Michel Tune, Gregg Gracey, Steven Gregg, Veronica Ephraim, Dean Likiardopoulos.

Celebrating 2021 California Distinguished School: BMMS

At the June 3 Board of Education meeting, the District formally recognized and celebrated Black Mountain Middle School for being named a 2021 California School of Distinction by the State Department of Education. Congratulations to Principal Scott Corso and his outstanding team for the work that got BMMS to this place.
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Girl Scouts Go for the Gold

Poway Unified students were well-represented at the Girl Scout Gold Awards, the organization's highest honor. A Gold Award Girl Scout is a high school Girl Scout who works to address an issue she’s passionate about in a way that produces meaningful and lasting change on a local, national, and/or global level. Among those honored include:

  • Shruti Chari, Del Norte HS
  • Maddie Engblom, Rancho Bernardo HS
  • Chloe McGee, Del Norte HS


Fun Photos and Videos

Bob Lutticken Named Top Teacher Search Finalist

UPDATE: Abraxas High School Teacher Bob Lutticken was a FINALIST in the Live with Kelly and Ryan Top Teacher Search You shared, liked, commented, voted for and rallied around Bob - and got him to the Top 4! Bob was awarded $7,000 for qualifying as a finalist. Watch the video below to learn more about Bob and his passion:
Live's Top Teacher Search Finalist: Bob Lutticken

Turtleback Teacher Surprised by Helpful Honda Dealers

Mrs. Flinn (a Voyager Teacher at Turtleback Elementary) was surprised with $5,000 worth of classroom supplies from San Diego Honda Dealers for #TeacherAppreciationWeek Mrs. Flinn was nominated by colleagues, and is known to love conducting science experiments with her students. Thank you, Honda, for recognizing our Teachers for their innovation!
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Teacher Appreciation Week

We recognize the herculean efforts our Teachers have made this past year. They have risen to the challenges the world has thrown, and we hope to spread the kindness and recognition they deserve. Students and their families have been showing their gratitude in the sweetest ways - handwritten notes, flowers, treats and more. Thank you to our #PowayUnified community for showing up BIG for our deserving Teachers.

Graduations and Promotions are coming!

Lawn signs in celebration of promoting 8th graders and graduating seniors popped up on lawns across the District in May - take a look! We're so close to the finish line, and are exceptionally proud of how far our students have come.
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Valley Elementary Comic Con

On May 27th, Valley Elementary ASES program hosted their 10th annual ASES Comic Con! This year’s comic con was a drive-thru event. Students decorated their cars and were greeted by many superheroes. Thank you to National Charity League, Kiwanis Club of Poway, and Delta Kappa Gamma Society for all their donations and support. Read more here.

2021 Voyager Showcase

Another amazing Voyager Showcase in the books, thanks to our fabulous Technology & Innovation Department. The EdTech coaches celebrated Teachers and Staff, as well as shared innovative learning practices for all types of learners.

Del Norte's Custom Culture Contest Submission

Six DNHS art students made it into the Top 50 nationwide as part of the Vans Custom Culture Contest for their shoe designs. The winning school wins $50,000 for their art program, and we asked the PUSD community to vote for our students. Voting closed on May 7, and while DNHS did not win, their artwork was on display for thousands across the country.

Girl Scouts Donate to Youth in Transition

PUSD students Mila Shatzko, Anika Bose and Anjali Bose of Girl Scouts Troop 2927 recently donated dozens of cookies, hand sanitizers, personal hygiene products & toiletries to our Youth in Transition families. Items will be distributed this week! Thank you for your generosity
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Dedicating Outdoor Learning Space at SHES

Earlier in June we officially dedicated the outdoor learning space Mt. Carmel Senior Gus Zane built for Sunset Hills Elementary School as part of his Eagle Scout Award. This lasting contribution to SHES will benefit so many students for years to come.

Poway Senior to attend MIT for Exceptional Math Skills

With graduations right around the corner, we wanted to share this inspiring story from one of our Poway High School grads: Ben Lou. Ben will be attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the fall, with aspirations to one day design assistance products for people with disabilities to become more self-sufficient. We're excited to see Ben do big things after high school. Read here.

Turtleback Terrapin Trot

Our Terrapins at Turtleback Elementary School did an amazing job in May during the "Terrapin Trot," and together they raised $26,547.50 for enrichment programs for all Turtleback students. A BIG shoutout to the amazing duo behind the organization, Archana Balasubramanian and Gennifer Myles who have worked endlessly for months to bring the Trot to Turtleback.

May the 4th Be With You

It wouldn't be Star Wars Day (May 4th) without some Star Wars themed classroom activities! May the 4th be with you Little Padawans 🌟 Check out Ms. Reed’s adorable artists whose work was an ode to Star Wars (Monterey Ridge ES).

Poway FFA End-of-Year Celebration

It was a wonderful evening of celebrating the year and success of our outstanding Poway FFA students. Congratulations to all our our wonderful FFA students and their parents. A special thank you and send off to our out going seniors! Photo credit: AP Gannon Burks on Twitter

Thank You, PTOs and Foundations!

Schools throughout Poway Unified have been showing appreciation to their Parent Teacher Organizations/Associations and Foundations as the whirlwind year comes to a close, as a 'thank you' for the assistance to staff and students they have provided. Pictured here is Canyon View Elementary's "Thank You Drive-thru" for the CVES PTO and Foundation.

Peer Ambassadors' Farewell

Groups of High School Peer Ambassadors have been making their way around elementary schools to say "goodbye" and "see you soon" in advance of the summer break. For our graduating seniors, we wish you joy and happiness as you move onto this next chapter!

Pictured to the right: Titan Ambassadors at Garden Road

Open Air Orchestra/Band at Mesa Verde

End-of-the-year performances are in full swing before summer starts, and recently Mesa Verde's orchestra and band program put on a beautiful outdoor performance for families. Photo credit: Michelle O'Connor-Ratcliff

Poway CTE Auto Program

The Auto Tech program at Poway High School has completed their on-site inspection, which is the final step to becoming an ASE-certified high school program! Photo credit: PowayCTE on Twitter

Grab&Go Laundry Event for Youth in Transition

The #PowayUnified Caring Connections Center held a 'Laundry Grab&Go' event for our Youth in Transition in May. Each care package contained laundry kits, hygiene kits and quarters donated by North Coast Church RB, and Girl Scout cookies donated by Girl Scout Troop 2927.

Our CCC is making a significant, positive difference in the lives of our students and families experiencing homelessness, and we thank them for their dedication. Want to donate? Click here to read more: https://www.powayusd.com/.../Learning.../Youth-In-Transition

Westview Theatre Opens "Freaky Friday"

The theatre company at Westview High School had a grand opening night of "Freaky Friday," in their outdoor production late May. Five shows in three days made for an exhilarating performance. Photos by Dr. Darshana Patel and Principal Tina Ziegler on Twitter.


Celebrations and Resolutions

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Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

As part of #AAPIHeritageMonth, we spotlighted members of #TeamPUSD who are part of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

GENupPUSD students, led by 2021-22 Student Board member Winnie Xu, compiled this list of resources for their fellow students, educators, and families to support the #AAPI community for this month and beyond. ⁠

From mental health resources to education and literature recommendations for children and young adults, the site is extremely helpful and comprehensive, and we are happy to share it with you. https://aapiresourcespusd.carrd.co/

National School Lunch Hero Day

Happy #SchoolLunchHeroDay to our PUSD Food and Nutrition Heroes Today we showcased the remarkable difference that school nutrition professionals make for every student who comes through the cafeteria and meal pick-up line. Our Food and Nutrition staff have kept the #PowayUnified community fed throughout every phase of reopening - For that, we say 'thank you.'

National Nurses Week

Happy #NationalNursesWeek to our District Resource Nurses This team has been instrumental in reopening #PowayUnified schools, and never fails to provide quality, compassionate care. We see you, and we thank you! #HealthcareHeroes
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Another heartwarming gift from #PowayUnified students to local #healthcareheroes. From Monterey Ridge ES on Instagram: "Even under these masks, you can see the smiles that our Monarchs have put on these hard working nurses! Way to go Monarchs and thanks to Ms. Yeatts for coordinating such a great idea."

Classified School Employees Week

In reflecting on all that our employees do, we are overcome with gratitude for the support they have provided to our students and families this last year. From our Transportation and Student Support departments, to Technology and Innovation, Learning Support, Food and Nutrition and beyond, our Classified Employees are essential components of #TeamPUSD. Remember to thank your school staff extra this week!
These are just some of our limited term General Education Instructional Assistants. Their support enabled us to open middle and high schools under the concurrent learning model in March - something we otherwise would not have been able to do because of staff shortage. Thank you all. Happy Classified School Employee Appreciation Week
Poway Unified School District Superintendent Message - Employee Appreciation

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

In addition to AAPI Heritage Month, May is also #MentalHealthMonth Mental Health America developed a resource toolkit with practical ways to deal with Trauma, Anger/Frustration, Negative Thoughts, Processing Change, Self-Care and more. Incorporating these tools day-to-day may not be easy, but gradually making small changes will build healthy habits and increase resiliency. To view the resources, visit mhanational.org/may.

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.