Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

September 2018 Edition

Student, School, and Staff Achievements

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The 2018-19 Superintendent's Student Advisory Council

Meet the 2018-19 Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC): amazing and diverse student leaders representing all of our Poway Unified high schools. This photo was taken at their first meeting with Dr. Phelps earlier this month. Throughout the year, they will help the District incorporate more student voice into our work and decisions, and in turn, they will build their leadership skills.
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San Diego County Teacher of the Year: Katie Wu

Westview High School English teacher Katie Wu (above, center) was named San Diego County Teacher of the Year!!! Read about Katie's inspirational story here. Team PUSD was out in full force to cheer her and our other PUSD teacher nominees Ana Collins and Shantel Raquel (pictured with Katie to the right) at the Salute to Teachers gala.
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Student Science Training Program

Congratulations to Amy Bu of Westview High School, who recently completed the 60th annual University of Florida Student Science Training Program. The seven-week residential research participation program is for high school students pursuing careers in a STEM field. Read more about the program here.

Space Camp

Northrup Grumman’s Space Camp program awarded Lori Renas-Hetzel and Cierra Stauffer - two science teachers from Oak Valley Middle School - the opportunity to attend Space Camp this past summer. The teachers’ program – Space Academy for Educators – provides an immersive learning environment with the goal of improving the way teachers present STEM concepts. Several middle school students from Twin Peaks and Meadowbrook were selected to attend Space Camp as well, including Daniel Hall and Emily Clark (above).

Exceptional String Educator

Bernardo Heights and Twin Peaks Middle School Conductor Ulli Reiner has received an Exceptional String Educator Citation from The American Prize in Conducting contest, 2017-18. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit, national competitions designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings. Photo Courtesy: 92064 Magazine
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Start With Hello

Del Norte High School was one of three schools across the country chosen to launch the nationwide kick off of the Sandy Hook Promise program: "Start With Hello." Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan, encouraged students to make a difference with peers in a simple, fun and impactful way. Read more about the program here. Several schools across PUSD (below and right) joined in on the movement. Activities included pledge walls, random acts of kindness, and no one eats lunch alone.

DNHS Future Medical Leader

Congratulations to Nicholas Giustiniano for representing Del Norte High School and the state of California at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston

Universal Early Literacy Screening

These RtI Teachers on Special Assignment assessed more than 2,200 first graders using the CORE Universal Screening protocols. All 26 elementary schools are DONE!
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100th Victory in a Row!

When you win 100 in a row, you celebrate with cake! Here’s to the Rancho Bernardo High School girls golf team and their amazing winning streak!!! (Photo by PUSD Photography Intern Brendan Heath)

Fun Photo Gallery

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Poway Days Parade

Team PUSD was out in full force for this annual tradition, from elementary schools showing their school pride to high-school bands performing flawlessly in the hot September sun. Midland Elementary (above) won for Best Float and Westview Gold (below) won for Best Band. Check out this photo essay for more pictures by PUSD photography interns Tyler Christian and Basma Bahia.

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All Aboard the College and Career Readiness Train!

Meadowbrook middle schoolers Kiara and Alyssa helped create a mural focusing on College and Career Readiness at Pomerado Elementary. Also pictured are muralist Lacy Knudson and principal Laura Crow. Read about their efforts here.
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PVES Goes Gold

Park Village principal Mike Mosgrove pictured with San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate, the Sy family, and a representative from Rady Children's Hospital "going gold" to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer.
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Red Envelope Week

Canyon View Elementary School was definitely ready for Red Envelope Week, their annual Fall fundraiser! Oh the places we'll go!
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Titan Pride

Students and staff at Poway High wore green and gathered in the center of campus as a show of school spirit.
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International Pirate Day!

TK students in Mrs. Whitehouse's class at Del Sur Elementary arrr celebrating International Pirate Day.
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What I Wish My Parents Knew

What do you wish your parents knew about what it’s like to be a teen in high school? On September 25, these Westview High students shared honest insight into tough topics including academic & peer pressures, mental health, and navigating social media. Parents from across PUSD attended, and listened with rapt attention. The big takeaway: it's so important to keep communication open at home! Photo by PUSD photo inter Basma Bahia

Seagulls & Sundevils

Mt. Carmel's football team and cheer squad has made it a tradition to visit Sunset Hills Elementary school for Football Friday, bringing the community together for some fun and school spirit.

Stone Ranch New Building

Just in time for the first day of school, construction was completed on this 2-story classroom building at Stone Ranch Elementary School! The project focuses on technology in the classrooms, with large format smart-TVs, short throw projectors, Innovation Lab, collaborative spaces, and wireless connectivity in every learning space.

Professional Growth Day

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Classified Employee Kick-Off

Hundreds of classified employees joined Dr. Phelps for a morning kick-off and inspirational message from Dr. Steve Regur of Educators Cooperative. Dr. Regur shared strategies for empowering students to recognize their strengths, realize their talents, and pursue greatness. At school sites, principals led staff and teacher development ranging in topics from school safety and anti-bias training, to physical science curriculum and even team building on the Bay!

Superintendent's Message

Dear Team PUSD,

I overheard a conversation the other day with a parent who said they were planning on pulling their child from school a couple days early ahead of Thanksgiving break to “beat the crowds” at Disneyland. Another parent chimed in, “The days leading up to break are useless anyway. They don’t do or learn anything.”

September happens to be “Attendance Awareness Month.” So I wanted to take this opportunity to help our families and community understand why school attendance matters so much for the success of our students and our schools.

In my message last month, I talked about how Poway Unified is focusing on creating culture and conditions to support world class learners. I encouraged Team PUSD to start by raising their expectations for young people in order to free students to become the best versions of themselves, instead of limiting our students’ potential.

Another way we can help our students is by making sure that they stay on the right track all year long by coming to school each and every day. Good attendance is essential to student achievement and well-being, and every day a student is absent is a lost opportunity for learning. According to the national initiative “Attendance Works,” across the country, more than 8 million students are missing so many days of school that they are academically behind or at risk. Chronic absence is defined as “missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absence for any reason—excused, unexcused absences and suspensions.” 10 percent equals just two days a month. “Attendance Works” points to research showing that chronic absences can translate into third-graders being unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing subjects, and ninth-graders dropping out of high school.

Attendance is also directly tied to the funding we receive from the State, based on “Average Daily Attendance” or ADA. PUSD already operates at a disadvantage when it comes to the amount of funding we receive from the State, compared to other school districts. So anything we can do to increase our ADA rate makes a difference. Bottom line: more students in their seats every day means more resources for our schools to directly benefit our students. Recently PUSD convened a District Budget Advisory committee composed of parents, staff, student, and community stakeholders to explore ways to deal with budget challenges. Their number one recommendation was to improve attendance rates. In the 2017-18 school year, PUSD had an average ADA of 96.5%, with a total of 205,944 total absences, K-12. That equates to nearly $9.5 million dollars in lost funding for our schools. Just a 0.5% increase to 97% ADA would mean an extra $1.5 million dollars every year.

Parents and guardians play a critical role in helping children get to school on time every day.

As the school year goes into full swing, establish good habits of routine bedtimes, regular checkups to stay healthy, and avoid scheduling vacations while school is in session. Have a backup plan for when your child’s ride to school falls through. And of course, if your child is genuinely ill, please keep them home to recover and avoid getting others sick. Many families do not realize that absenteeism can be a problem as early as kindergarten and preschool and building the habit of attendance in the early grades can influence children’s chances of success later on.

Schools can also help improve attendance by building a culture where good attendance is expected and celebrated. Attendance improves when a school and its staff offer a welcoming environment for students and work to engage and build relationships with their families. Many of our campuses emphasize certain character traits, including responsibility. When students make attendance a matter of personal responsibility, they are more motivated to attend school every day. Our students learn best when they feel safe, connected, and respected. And when they know that someone notices, in a caring manner, when they missed school, they will be more likely to make that extra effort.

We only get 180 days with our students, and we want to maximize them. When children miss school, they miss out on learning. Thank you for partnering with us in our students’ success.


This message was originally published in the Pomerado News as part of Dr. Phelps' monthly "Back to School" column.

PUSD Podcast Episode 11: Greg Mizel, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services

"PUSD Podcasts" is a monthly podcast, hosted by Director of Communications, Christine Paik. In this episode, Christine sits down with Greg Mizel, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, in charge of Special Education and Student Health/Wellness about the progress his department is making.

Poway Unified School District

PUSDPodcast Ep. 11 - Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, Greg Mizel by Poway Unified School District

Fall Band & Color Guard Field Shows and Tournaments

PUSD Music programs will be hosting a series of fall events to highlight the musicianship and artistry of high school marching bands and color guard. For more information, click here.
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PUSD College and Career Fair

Attention: High School Families: Don't miss the annual PUSD College and Career Fair! Click here for a list of participating colleges and vendors. More information on workshops to come.
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Parent Education Classes

Parents need skills too! Sign up for our fun, highly acclaimed parent workshops. No boring lectures, not just theory, but fun, interactive learning. Get results you can see immediately! Parenting is the hardest job we do, with little to no training! Enjoy an evening out refreshing your skills to have the happiest family. Your kids are worth it. Feeling frustrated as a parent? Do you long for a better relationship with your teen? Sign up online today!
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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.