Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

January 2020 Edition

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Deer Canyon Elementary School took this awesome photo as part of their Great Kindness Week Challenge.

Message from the Superintendent

Dear Team PUSD,

Over the next two weeks, we will be gathering your input on PUSD’s Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, which shapes the District’s goals and guides our budgeting priorities. All of our voices matter, so everyone’s participation is crucial and valued.

You will be asked to respond to one question: “What things do we need to focus on to ensure our students are college, career, and life ready?”

Please watch this video to learn more about the importance of this annual survey:

Poway Unified 2020 LCAP Survey Superintendent Message

To make it as easy and convenient as possible, we’re once again using an online tool called Thoughtexchange that you can access right from your smartphone or computer. Your responses are confidential, and you can respond with as few or as many different thoughts and ideas as you’d like. After sharing your own thoughts, you’ll be asked to consider and assign stars to the ideas shared by others, to help us discover what’s most important to fellow stakeholders.

Look for a link and instructions when the survey officially opens in a couple days, on February 1. The survey period runs through Friday, February 14, 2020.

If you would like to participate in person, we will be hosting two meetings District wide:

In Spanish:

· Tuesday, February 4th at 6:30pm at the Valley Elementary School Library

In English:

· Wednesday, February 5th at 6pm at the District Office Community Room

RSVP Here: https://forms.gle/NDXYcrxH2SC5g7AU8

Thank you in advance for your participation and partnership.

Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D., Superintendent

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Measure P to Repair and Update PUSD Schools

Next week, our community will begin receiving their mail-in ballots for the March 2020 election. On this ballot is a bond measure that is very important to the future of our schools, students, staff, and PUSD.

While PUSD is proud that our schools are among the best in California in terms of academic performance and providing high-quality educational opportunities, many of our local schools and facilities are outdated and deteriorating and need to be repaired and upgraded to ensure they are meeting current safety and academic standards. By the year 2023, if improvements are not made, 62% of our campuses will be considered in "poor" condition.

Measure P is a $448 million bond measure that would:


  • Remove hazardous materials like asbestos and lead paint where needed
  • Repair or replace leaky roofs, rusty plumbing, failing sewer lines and outdated electrical systems
  • Upgrade older schools so they meet the same academic and safety standards as newer schools
  • Improve student safety and campus security systems including security fencing, security cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinklers
  • Provide the classrooms, facilities and technology needed to support high quality instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts and math
  • Provide modern labs and career-training facilities so students are prepared for college and in-demand careers in fields like health sciences, engineering, technology, robotics and skilled trades

55% voter approval is needed for Measure P to pass. Anyone living within the Poway Unified School District can vote on it.

You can find more information about Measure P here, including FAQs.


Student, School, & Staff Recognition

January is School Board Recognition Month

The caption on the photo says it all! They are #PowayUnified parents, students, and more importantly advocates. We wouldn't be where we are today without their contributions. Happy #SchoolBoardRecognitionMonth to our Board Members!
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Abraxas High School to Add Laundry, Shower Facilities to Campus

Thanks to a grant from the San Diego County Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, #PowayUnified Youth in Transition at Abraxas will now have access to these utilities.

“If by doing this we remove one more barrier so kids can have the opportunity to strive toward what they’re here for, that’s what this grant will take care of,” Principal Alain Henry said.

Read more about this wonderful development: http://bit.ly/ABXHS

Sunset Hills Elementary Safety Patrol Named #1 by San Diego Police

Over the winter break, the Sunset Hills Elementary School Safety Patrol took home the "Top Patrol" award from the San Diego Police Department Northeastern Division out of 17 schools. Top top it off, SHES student Madeline Smith was named Safety Patrol Colonel by the Chief of Police for the City of San Diego - the highest rank an SSP student can achieve.
Sunset Hills Safety Patrol Wins SDPD Award

AVID Scholar Nominees

Congratulations to Westview High's San Diego Foundation AVID Scholarship nominees! From left to right: Ailani Toledo, STEM Scholar; Maria Storelli, Senior Standout; Divya Anand, STEM Scholar. Nominees are chosen by a committee of teachers. They now move to the county level to compete for a range of scholarships from AVID partner foundations with the top prize at $50,000! From Poway High AVID: Senior Nhat Pham has moved on to the Semi-Finals for the Gates Millennium Scholarship and Dell Scholars program. Good luck! We are so proud of you!

Mt. Carmel National Merit Scholars Recognized at Annual Dinner

California Assemblyman Brian Maienschein joined in on the celebration to honor the Mt. Carmel students who were named as National Merit Scholar semi-finalists and finalists. The mission of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is to recognize and honor academically talented students by conducting nationwide academic scholarship programs.
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Welcome Back, Mr. Carlin!

When Turtleback Elementary School students & staff returned from winter break January 6, they were greeted by a familiar face: New Principal Adam Carlin! Mr. Carlin started his career in education as a teacher at Turtleback, and served as assistant principal for Stone Ranch years ago. Welcome back to #PowayUnified http://bit.ly/2QRKir9

Eleven Students Advance to Sacramento in 9th District PTA Art Show

After receiving over 300 pieces of artwork from students throughout #PowayUnified for the 50th annual "Reflections Art Show," 11 students have been given Awards of Excellence from the 9th District PTA to compete in Sacramento for state judging. The theme this year was "Look Within." Congratulations to all our students who placed in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd!

Poway Unified Students Make All-State Honor Bands

Congratulations to the following students who were accepted into the California All State Honor Bands and Orchestras this month!

New Partnership with Live Well San Diego

At the January 16 Board of Education Meeting, #PowayUnified was presented with an official partnership from Supervisor Dianne Jacob and Live Well San Diego. January 16 is officially "Poway Unified's Live Well San Diego Day!"

Thank you to Chuck Matthews (Live Well SD) and Victoria Floyd (Supervisor Jacob's Office) for their continued commitment in making #PowayUnified the healthiest we can be.

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Mt. Carmel Special Ed Department Chair Receives County Lighthouse Award

We couldn't be more proud of Lisa Chohany (Mt. Carmel HS) for receiving the San Diego County Office of Education inaugural #SDEquity Lighthouse Award! As the Special Education Dept. Chair and teacher, she truly is a beacon of light on campus.

SDCOE put it best when they said, "[Lisa] is a passionate student advocate and works to craft engaging student experiences, promote active learning, and support the social-emotional well-being of all students."

Congratulations, Lisa!

Read more about the award here: http://bit.ly/36TXG4U

Del Sur ES Presented with Social Emotional Learning Grant

Thank you to Pre-K Teacher Sharelle Venable, Principal Erik Takeshita and team for bringing Sanford Harmony Social Emotional Learning to Del Sur Elementary...including a grant to continue their important work! We are so grateful to have dedicated educators in #PowayUnified that are always looking to enrich the student experience.

Read more about Sanford Harmony here: www.sanfordharmony.org

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Del Norte DECA Team

Seven Del Norte DECA students were winners in the Southern California competition. Over 90% of the students got recognized on stage! Future business and marketing pros in the making!

RBHS Choir Director Named State Teacher of the Year by Veterans Group

Rancho Bernardo High School Choir Director Lisa Friedrichs was selected as the Veterans of Foreign Wars California State Teacher of the Year. The award recognizes teachers whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics. She is now being nominated for the National VFW Teacher of the Year award. Congratulations!
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Westview Sophomore Internationally Recognized for Research on Public Health in India

Sophomore Aakarsh Vermani was awarded the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award by the Corporation for National and Community Service “in recognition and appreciation for his commitment to strengthen [the] nation and communities through Volunteer Services." Back in October, Aakarsh was selected to be a delegate from California at the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute during the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium in Iowa. There, he presented a research paper on the impact of air pollution on public health and food security in India, citing possible ways to resolve the issue. Congratulations!

Del Norte HS Home to New National Science Talent Search Honorees

Congratulations to Del Norte student Arushi Dogra for being recognized as one of 300 student science scholars in the country by Regeneron Science Talent Search. Additionally, Mrs. Calicott was recognized as an "Outstanding Science Educator" in the same program. Innovative minds at work within #PowayUnified, and we are proud!

Poway Unified Teachers Claim Top State Music Education Awards

The California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Southwest Border Section awarded three distinctions to Bernardo Heights Middle, Rancho Bernardo and Westview High Schools music teachers. The program recognizes music educators, industry leaders and school administrators for exceptional work in music education. Pictured from left to right:

Martin Fierro (Westview HS) – Newcomer of the Year Award

Stuart Holmes (Bernardo Heights MS) – Middle School Music Specialist Award

Zachary Christy (Rancho Bernardo HS) – Richard Levin Orchestra Educator Award

Lisa Friedrichs (Rancho Bernardo HS) – Pearson-Silver Burdett Choral Educator Award

Congratulations to our fantastic #PowayUnified educators!

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Harbor Freight Program Donates to Abraxas Construction Pathway

Thanks to the HFT Program through The Smidt Foundation, Abraxas High School Construction Career Pathway now has more resources to continue career technical education. The program, which was introduced to #PowayUnified CTE through the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, works to advance skilled trades education in public high schools. Congratulations, Abraxas!
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#PowayUnified Student Art Featured in City Calendar

Bet you didn't know the San Diego County Water Authority has a 2020 calendar featuring artwork from #PowayUnified students! The beautiful image below is a FIRST PLACE entry from Sophia Shuwen Hu at Monterey Ridge Elementary. (https://bit.ly/384uxnM)

Artwork from 100+ students throughout San Diego County was submitted for a water conservation-themed calendar contest, copies of which are now available to the entire City of San Diego.

Read below for the list of #PowayUnified students that placed in 1st, 2nd or 3rd:

Sophia Shuwen Hu (Monterey Ridge)
Victoria Wang (Canyon View)
Claire Wang (Stone Ranch)
Katherine Chen (Monterey Ridge)
Alice Li (Monterey Ridge)

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Fun Photos & Videos

Oak Valley Dedicates New Building with Ceremonial Beam Signing

The saying at Oak Valley Middle School is "We Belong Here." That motto came to life January 15, as students and staff signed a structural support beam for the new building on campus - once a Falcon, always a Falcon!

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

Throughout #PowayUnified, teachers and staff alike taught the importance of diversity, community and inclusion to honor the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ability Awareness Day At Adobe Bluffs Elementary

“Being ‘fair’ doesn’t always mean everyone is treated the same. Being ‘fair’ means everyone gets what they need to learn and grow.”

Powerful display of why #InclusionMatters today at Adobe Bluffs Elementary - thanks to the amazing guest speakers! Take a look at this quick recap. #AbilityAwareness

#AbilityAwareness and why #InclusionMatters (ABES)

Highland Ranch Elementary Plays Role in Australian Wildfire and Animal Relief

If you have 40 seconds, you'll want to watch this feel good story featuring Highland Ranch students! Just how did Mrs. Clyborne's third graders raise $472 for Australian animal relief over the weekend? Watch to find out:

Video credit/courtesy of CBS News 8 San Diego.

Highland Ranch Gives to Australian Wildfire Relief

HP Women Mentors Visit Design39

Clikc on the video below to check out the #STEM competition our friends at HP designed with Design39 Campus using chemistry and engineering! So grateful for #WomenInSTEM who mentor the future generation. #GirlsWhoCode #PowayUnified
HP Brings Chemistry, Engineering Fun to D39

Mobile Filmmaking Workshop for Aspiring Creators Takes on Balboa Park

Sam Mestman from "We Make Movies" held a two-day mobile filmmaking workshop with elementary and middle school students who are interested in content creation and film. The Studio 701 media interns, who represent high schools throughout #PowayUnified, served as mentors and guided students as they captured footage in Balboa Park. The films were even screened in a theater afterward!

The 15th Annual Constitution Challenge at Mesa Verde

Think you could beat an 8th grader in a quiz on the U.S. Constitution? Eagles at Mesa Verde Middle competed in the 15th annual “Constitution Challenge” January 21 to see who knew the “Supreme Law” inside and out. Another example of applying classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios - even if the "scenario" is just a friendly competition! Click below to watch the video.
Battle of the Brains in MVMS Constitution Challenge

First Career Technical Education Fair at Mt. Carmel High a Huge Success

On January 17, MCHS welcomed professors, students and professionals from University of San Diego, CSU San Marcos, San Diego State, several community colleges, and apprenticeship programs to the first annual CTE Fair.

"Kid-trepreneurs" and Design-thinking at the Maker39 Fair

We stopped by Design39Campus this month to watch third graders in action at the Maker39 Prototype Fair and all we have to say is WOW!

They IDENTIFIED global needs, INNOVATED solutions, DESIGNED a problem-solving prototype, and IMPROVED models through data collection. They will present their products to a “Shark Tank” style panel in March. Excellent display of design-thinking in action to improve the world! ⚙️

Spotlight: Westview Robotics Team "Option 16"

Here's a recap of the #GirlsinSTEM event hosted by Westview Robotics Team Option 16. The first annual workshop successfully taught over 100 Girl Scouts (of all different ages) the endless possibilities for hobbies and careers in STEM, robotics, and more. Video by #PowayUnified PR intern Jovanna.

The team also presented their work to Executive Director of Poway Unified's Career Technical Adult Education Kathleen Porter.

Click here to learn more about the team: http://westviewrobotics.com/

In Case You Missed: Westview High School Robotics Girl Scout Workshop

Mt. Carmel Weather Balloon Captures "Out of this World" View

Quick poll: How often do you get to see the sun rise in the morning... FROM SPACE? MCHS Ham radio Club (W6SUN) recently sent a short duration high altitude weather balloon to 122,000 feet and captured this view

Send-off video courtesy of AP Katie Salo on Twitter. Pictures courtesy of Principal Greg Magno on Instagram.

MCHS Weather Balloon Captures Sunrise from Space

Mesa Verde Middle, CBS News 8 Say 'Thank You' to Blood Donors

Did you catch Ms. Markopoulos' students on CBS 8 this month? Kyle Kraska stopped by Mesa Verde Middle where they were making 'Thank You' posters to be given to first responders at his "Celebration of Heroes Blood Drive" ❤️ The blood drive is February 13th, and you can sign up here: http://cbs8.com/heroes

All Video Credit/Courtesy of CBS News 8.



Intra-District Transfer Window Quickly Approaching

Are you or someone you know looking to transfer your child(ren) to a different #PowayUnified school for the 2020-21 school year? Fill out an application from February 1 - March 31 by clicking here: http://bit.ly/idtpusd.
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PUSD Preschool Enrollment Open

The registration request period for all PUSD preschools is open Feb. 1-15. Follow this link below for more information on how to enroll: www.powayusd.com/preschool

New Social Media Account for Superintendent's Student Advisory Council

New year, new account! Follow @powayunifiedssac to stay in-the-know about Superintendent Phelps' 2019-2020 Student Advisory Council. The council is comprised of high school students from all #PowayUnified high schools who work alongside Dr. Phelps and Chief Communications Officer Christine Paik to give their student voice to administration.

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.