Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

November 2018 Edition

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Superintendent's Message

Take a good look at these beautiful faces. This is PUSD’s Class of 2030. Over the next 12 years, it is our responsibility to ensure that when they leave us, they are college and career ready. What does that mean? It means that whatever pathway they pursue, wherever they attend school in our District, and whomever they encounter on their educational journey, they will be prepared to have a full range of postsecondary educational and career opportunities available to them after graduation.

As we kicked off the 2018-19 school year, I challenged our directors, principals, teachers, staff, and families to focus on “creating culture and conditions to support world class learners.” From attendance, to expectations, to school climate, we all play a role in our own spheres of influence. As many of you understand, our graduates aren’t just competing with students from throughout California or even the United States. In an increasingly globalized society and job market, they are competing for spots and jobs with students from around the world.

Armed with that knowledge and understanding, school districts like ours need to adjust how and what we teach our students. At the beginning of the year, we invited Dr. Yong Zhao, an expert in developing students’ strengths and understanding the implications of globalization and technology on education, as the keynote speaker for our teacher kick-off. What he argues is that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to the classroom. All children want to be great and all children can become great in their own ways. And it’s up to us to help them own their learning and reach their potential for greatness.

How do we support the class of 2030 and each and every one of our students as world class learners?

· By expanding relevant, personalized pathways starting in kindergarten through high school, to provide our students with a competitive edge in an increasingly global society, including additional foreign language and STEM opportunities.

· By ensuring that we are addressing student wellness and inclusive campus cultures

· By equipping and redesigning our classrooms to support differentiated learning and innovation

· By expanding partnerships with our businesses and communities to enhance students’ learning opportunities outside of the classroom

· By hiring and retaining the best staff and offering competitive salaries

· By providing cutting edge and leading professional development for all staff

· By increasing the District’s financial stability and accountability

· By growing community trust and support for PUSD’s mission of college and career readiness through continued stakeholder collaboration, effective board governance, and true transparency

At our recent State of the District breakfast, which you'll read more about below, we highlighted many of the programs and initiatives we are implementing to move Poway Unified forward and continue providing a world class educational experience. Please take the time to watch the video and review the publication. We hope you are inspired and excited about the future of our District as well as our young people. We look forward to partnering with you in this work, whether it’s through your time, treasure, or talent, we need you. Remember: our students depend on us!


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State of the District

The Poway Unified School District hosted a State of the District Breakfast on November 14, 2018. The goal of the breakfast was to highlight staff and student accomplishments, set strategic goals and initiatives for the future, cultivate strong partnerships, and share stories of excellence and innovation. The theme was “Creating conditions and culture to support world class learners,” and the event included a musical performance from Westview High’s choir, a bilingual student from Valley leading the pledge, a student speaker from Meadowbrook Middle School, student greeters from the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, as well as artwork from Del Sur Elementary students decorating the walls.

Utilizing videos, a print publication, and power point presentation, Superintendent Phelps and Cabinet members detailed the progress the District has been able to make under new leadership, and the direction PUSD is headed next. We invite you to review our 2018 State of the District Publication and watch the 2018 State of the District Breakfast video here.

Because this was the first event of its kind for the District, we started small, welcoming nearly 100 attendees from throughout our community, including students, District leadership, parent volunteers, city and county leaders, as well as media, business, and education partners. We hope to expand to a larger venue for future events so more of our stakeholders can attend. Thank you to all who attended for your continued support of PUSD’s mission of college and career readiness.


Student, School, and Staff Achievements

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Sundevil Four-peat

Congratulations to the Sundevil Marching Band on their undefeated season and winning the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association championship for the fourth time in a row! Photo Credit: Brett Alan Photography
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Every Student Succeeding Award

Jamie Geng, Westview Graduate and current MIT student, was awarded the "Every Student Succeeding" Award at the Assocation of California School Administrators Summit. She overcame crippling anxiety through her participation in Westview Robotics. Watch her story here.

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Administrator of the Year Award

Congratulations to Secondary Co-Administrator of the Year for the State of the California, Katie Salo, Assistant Principal at Mt. Carmel High School, for her work in advancing career pathways for students.

All County Honor Band

The Sousa All County Honor Band included nine students from Mesa Verde Middle School!

All National Honor Ensembles

Del Norte students Esheta Garg (Soprano 1) and Cassandra Lidstad (Soprano 2) were selected for the National Association for Music Educators (NAfMe) All National Mixed Honor Choir. They are among the 550 “best of the best” student musicians across the country who performed at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

CyberPatriot Qualifying Rounds

The "CyberAegis" cybersecurity teams at Del Norte High School and Oak Valley Middle School/Design39Campus placed in the top spots in Round 1 of the qualifying competition to get to the National Finals for CyberPatriot, to be held in Spring 2019. In the high school division, Del Norte had teams place 2nd and 3rd out of 3,293 teams competing. In the middle school division, Oak Valley/D39C had teams place 1, 2, and 3 out of 1,243 teams competing. Ultimately, only 15 middle and high school teams qualify to go to the National Finals every year. Last year, Oak Valley Middle School teams won 1st and 2nd at the 10th Annual CyberPatriot National Finals Competition. CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created to help direct students toward careers in cybersecurity or other STEM fields.
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Max Out My Class Winner

Tierra Bonita teacher Anne Campbell won a $200 gift card and was recognized by MAX FM and Mission Federal Credit Union during a special visit. She was nominated by a parent for being a “stand out in a sea of shining stars” and instilling a new love of reading in her students. “Max Out My Class” is a partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education to recognize deserving teachers.
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San Diego County Teachers of the Year

The five San Diego County Teachers of the Year, including Westview's Katie Wu (2nd from left), were recognized at the annual Scottish Rite Dinner, one of their many appearances throughout the year on behalf of educators.
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Rancho Bernardo Girls Golf

Congratulations to the RBHS Girls' Golf Team - Division 1 and undefeated CIF Champs.
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Rancho Bernardo Girls Cross Country

Rancho Bernardo finished on top, edging El Camino, for the Division I championship in the Girls Cross Country 2.96-mile race.

Everyday Heroes and Team PUSD Awards

Twice a year, PUSD honors employees through the Everyday Heroes and Team PUSD recognition program. Everyday Heroes honors classified employees who demonstrate excellence in work performance, school and community involvement, and leadership and commitment to our District and students. Team PUSD is designed to recognize an admirable team of classified and/or certificated employees, who together accomplish an exceptional task or project, making a significant contribution to the benefit of PUSD, an individual, his or her work site, the community, or other volunteer or service organization.

Everyday Heroes

Gerald "Jerry" Samsen, Instructional Assistant II – Special Education, Abraxas High School

Jerry is a quiet hero in the Transition Program. He leads and teaches students with a compassionate firmness and will take on any task that is asked of him and take it to the next level! For the past four years, Jerry has overseen a unique recycling program. Working with a new team of four to five students with special needs, together, they run the Transition Ink Cartridge Recycling Program. The students create a PowerPoint presentation about the program, write a script, practice a presentation, and then present it to administrators and business managers throughout the community. With business cards in hand (designed with Jerry’s assistance), the professionally-dressed students present their program to possible supporters. The school/business would then send all their empty ink cartridges to the Abraxas Campus where students sort, categorize and process them for reimbursement, with proceeds used to help support the extra needs of the Abraxas campus and students.
Jerry has also made numerous adaptive equipment and accommodation tools for the students so they can maximize their independence on campus and in the community. Jerry never expects or asks for recognition, but it's time everyone knows how amazing he really is.

Lisa Nakutin, School Administrative Assistant - Creekside Elementary School

Lisa shows an unmatched commitment to Creekside in all that she does. She also understands the importance of a positive culture on the learning environment, where students who feel connected to their school and have their social-emotional needs met are more successful. A few years ago, Lisa took a student under her wing to help her take on a leadership role. Together, they developed a program called Open Mic. Each month Lisa works with individuals and teams of students to plan for a casual monthly talent show held during lunch. The student who worked to start the Open Mic program was seen in a different light by her peers and got to shine. Creekside also has a new Play Zone on their playground designed to engage students in a variety of activities as alternatives to competitive games. Lisa researched numerous activities and purchased materials to create a safe place for the students. For the past six years, Lisa has coordinated a New Family Orientation the day before school starts - an important first contact to ease anxiety about starting a new school and is much appreciated by Creekside families. Lisa has also created an office that runs like clockwork and sets the office team up for success. Finally, she mentors new classified staff through the District’s mentoring program and never hesitates to take a phone call to share her expertise. Lisa is the heart of Creekside Elementary.


David Fisher, Senior Publications Technician; Orlando Uribe, Publications Technician; Philip DeFalco, Publications Technician

The Publications Department (PUBS) deserves recognition for their exceptional service. They routinely go above and beyond to help answer questions, give helpful advice, and keep an eye out for others’ mistakes – which they correct! They remain cordial and helpful even with a more-than-full workload. The PUBS department is filled with hardworking individuals that ensure PUSD documents are printed and delivered on time, even at the beginning of the school year when they are inundated with requests.
The PUSD Publications Department exemplifies the true attributes of Team Work. They are a hardworking, committed, collaborative, efficient, and effective team that supports PUSD’s administrative offices, teachers, and students. Under the leadership of David Fisher, the PUBS team is committed to producing quality prints and completing jobs with limited time and often with limited resources. When they are faced with broken machines, they do the work manually, they stay late hours, and they come on the weekend, doing whatever it takes to meet their deadlines. Their attitude is always positive. This team always strives to meet the District's needs and they do so with the utmost of customer service.

Gale Ching and Kathy Guiney, Instructional Assistants II – Special Education, Abraxas High School

With the growth of the Transition Program over the past few years, a need has arisen to keep better records of data on the amazing work students are doing both on campus and in the community. Gale Ching and Kathy Guiney, two IA II in the Transition Program, on their own time, taught themselves Google Docs and developed applications that can be used by multiple people to track the students’ progress. These two individuals developed applications for each of the 82 students in the Transition Program complete with each student's individual IEP goals. Utilizing Google Docs enabled staff to track progress using their phones, Chrome Book or Computer, with the information automatically graphed and data automatically compiled. This made it easy for the teachers to keep track of their students’ progress.

Nick Nevares and Gabriela Egan, Teachers, Del Norte High School

Nick and Gabby are teachers who work tirelessly after hours to guide and encourage Del Norte's Link Crew program. They chose over 100 leaders to guide and support incoming freshmen through social events, check-ins, and other events throughout the year. They have worked together, playing to each other's strengths, to support over 700 incoming freshmen. They tirelessly plan events for all students, including those with special needs, that are truly Distinctively Del Norte. They put in countless hours outside of school to organize each event and took over the Link Crew Conference this year, which hosted 7 schools and over 300 student leaders. Nick and Gabby are always pushing for new ways to encourage the students to take active rolls in the club and pushed to get a Link Crew Homeroom to facilitate follow up with all freshmen on a more consistent basis. Nick and Gabby plan to host study sessions with freshmen to provide support for their first experience with Finals Week. They are an inspiration to their colleagues through their volunteerism, work ethic, and their desire to support all students.
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DECA Winners!

PUSD DECA students from Del Norte, Rancho Bernardo, and Westview High Schools walk away with ribbons and trophies from wins at the DECA Mini Career Development Conference in Riverside
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Valley Elementary ASES Robotics

Congratulations to the ASES Robotics Team at Valley Elementary which recently competed in a First Lego League competition at the Preuss School at UCSD. The "Vallaxy" Robotics team took home the Judge's Award for their team work, research, and public speaking skills. They were the youngest of the 29 teams competing
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Abraxas Garden Awards

The Abraxas High School garden received one state & two national awards! At the ceremony were numerous students, staff, and representatives from the Poway Valley Garden Club.
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Abraxas Farmer's Market Now Open

New this year: the Abraxas High School Garden Farmer's Market is open every first Wednesday of the month at the District offices. The "Pay What You Can" market offers fresh vegetables literally picked that morning! All proceeds go right back into the garden project. You can see more photos and learn more about the project here. And please watch the video below, created by PUSD's digital media interns.

Fun Photo Gallery

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No Place for Hate

PUSD student leaders joined hundreds of others from across the country in our nation''s capital, for the Anti-Defamation League's National Conference. Students committed to working on projects to challenge bias at their schools through the No Place for Hate program.
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Unity Week at Westview

Westview High School students participated in Unity Week, whose 2018 mission statement is Same Different As Me. The purpose of Unity Week is to create a culture of connection, empathy, success for all students, value, inclusiveness, appreciation, and respect on campus.
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Creatively Creepy!

7th Grade Language Arts students at Mesa Verde Middle School made the most of Halloween and wrote haunted house Haikus and created matching art to go with their poetry.
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The Sound of Music

Canyon View Elementary School’s PTO gifted each grade free buses for an additional field trip. K and 1st saw the musical, The Sound of Music, at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts!
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Business and Youth Luncheon and Expo

Career Technical Education students from PUSD high schools attended the 6th annual Business and Youth Luncheon and Expo in Del Mar. Thank you to Explore Solutions for providing a learning and networking opportunity with professionals in different fields!
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Intel Mobile Learning Lab

Programming drones, experiencing virtual reality, experimenting with artificial intelligence; students at Design39Campus experienced Intel's mobile learning lab.
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Veterans Day

Rolling Hills Elementary School invited members of the military for their Friday Flag ceremony honoring veterans.
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Poway High School's Robotics Team Spyder Travels to Paraguay

Poway High School’s Team Spyder 1622 has been working with FIRST Team Paraguay SIL (San Ignacio de Loyola School). Team SIL is the first robotics team from Paraguay to enter the FIRST robotics program. Team Spyder 1622 recently traveled to Asunción, Paraguay to run robotics workshops at the Universidad Nacional de Asunción for 10 schools! Way to represent #TeamPUSD globally! Pictured are students from Centro Educativo Los Laureles holding their certificates of participation.

Tarde de Familia

The annual Tarde de Familia featured speakers from automotive sales, real estate, banking, entrepreneurs, and more. The focus of the night was Business, Finance, & Marketing.
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Dare to Dream!

Westview and Mt. Carmel High School students attended the Dare to Dream Conference at UCSD. Local African American middle and high school students were asked to imagine attending the university as part of their future.
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TK Turkeys

Mrs Cooke's TK Turkeys at Canyon View Elementary got into the Thanksgiving Spirit.
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Students from Willow Grove Elementary School visited JA's BizTown. This was the culmination of a week-long process where the students learned business curriculum and interviewed for their "jobs."
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A monthly community market serving 4S Ranch, Del Sur, and nearby areas will debut Sunday, December 2nd at Design39Campus.

"The Del Sur & 4S Ranch Community Market will welcome visitors of all ages from 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 2. It will operate — rain or shine — on the school’s playground, 17050 Del Sur Ridge Road in Del Sur. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets so they can sit on the lawn while eating lunch and enjoying musical entertainment provided by the Del Norte High band." Read more in the Pomerado News article.

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If your child's school does not have an Adopt-a-Family program, or if your family, group or business would like to adopt a family of their own, please feel free to contact The PUSD Foundation at PUSDAdoptAFamily@gmail.com Most programs accept gifts through the first or second week of December.
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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 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.

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