SMUSD Shout Out!

August 2022

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A Note From Our Superintendent

I hope you have had a great summer break and you are starting to get excited about the start of a new school year on Thursday, August 4. I am honored to have been selected for the role of superintendent of the Saddle Mountain Unified School District and am excited to be able to meet all of you in the near future. I was immediately drawn to the strong family atmosphere in the district and feel a strong connection to the vision of everyone learns, every day and the mission of educating all students to become responsible, college and career-ready community members. Two words stick out to me in the vision and mission; they are everyone and all. A core belief of mine is that all children can learn and be successful. This belief is embodied by the District’s Kids at Hope philosophy that all children are capable of success, no exception. I am committed to building upon the strengths and achievements of Saddle Mountain and leading the district to even greater heights.

As excited as I am to meet all of you, I am equally excited to see and welcome our students back on August 4. I am hopeful this year will mark a return to something that more resembles the reality we were used to prior to March 2020. That being said, COVID has not gone away and will still impact our daily operations. However, we will do everything we can to create a sense of normalcy and a business as usual environment for all of you and our students.

The start of the school year brings exciting events to SMUSD. We are opening our fifth school, Desert Sunset Elementary School. I was just there today and everything looks on schedule to be ready to go on time. We are hosting a screening of the movie McFarland, USA on Monday, August 1, at 6 p.m. in the Tonopah Valley High School auditorium. Two of the real-life brothers in the movie, Danny and David Diaz will be present for meet and greets, pictures, and autographs.

It's going to be an exciting school year!

Dr. Michael Winters

SMUSD Superintendent

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Meet the Teacher Night

Desert Sunset, Tartesso, & Winters’ Well Elementary Schools: Tuesday, August 2nd, 4-6pm

Ruth Fisher Middle School: Tuesday, August 2nd, 5-7pm

Tonopah Valley High School: Thursday, August 18 @ 6pm

School Hours:

Desert Sunset, Tartesso, & Winters’ Well Elementary Schools: 7am-3pm

Ruth Fisher Middle School: 8am-4pm

Tonopah Valley High School: 7am-3pm

It is very important that students arrive at school on time and do not leave before dismissal to take full advantage of the educational experience in SMUSD. We appreciate your continued support and partnership to guarantee that all students receive the best educational experience possible.

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2022-23 Bus Schedules

After many hours of work by many, we have determined the most viable bus routing options for the 2022-23 school year. One key issue was separating the RFMS and TVHS start/end times as they will be the largest schools and both cover all 550 square miles of the District. The resulting model keeps all K-5's on a 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM tier (11:15 AM early releases), keeps RFMS at 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (12:15 PM early releases), and moves TVHS to a 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM tier. Here are some other elements:

  • TES becomes a 'walking' school except for students from Sun Valley and SPED students who will be transported
  • DSES will be a 'walking' school except for SPED and Pre-School students who will be transported
  • The specific routes are in draft form and will be undergoing a route optimization analysis by Lynx staff before finalization
  • Drivers are doing mock runs to help confirm projected pick-up and drop-off times at stops
  • There is an activity bus planned to continue from RFMS/TVHS to TES/DSES, likely with a departure around 5:30 PM
  • Pre-School and SPED routes are also still in draft form and are subject to change as new students are added with summer enrollments

These times will be added to the 2022-23 School Calendar and I will work with principals on communicating this information to staff and families.

Our Newest School Is Ready!

Back to School Tips for Parents

Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement… and anxiety. Help calm your child’s fears (and your own) with these teacher-approved tips.

Meet the new teacher

For kids, one of the biggest back-to-school fears is “Will I like my new teacher?” Breaking the ice early on is one of the best ways to calm everyone’s fears. Take advantage of your school’s open house or back-to-school night. Some teachers welcome phone calls or e-mails — another great opportunity to get to know each other before the year begins.

If personal contact with the teacher isn’t possible, try locating the teacher’s picture on a school website or in a yearbook, so your child can put a name with a face. If your child’s teacher sends a welcome letter, be sure to read the letter together.

Tour the school

If your school hosts an open house, be sure to go. Familiarizing your child with her environment will help her avoid a nervous stomach on the first day. Together you can meet her teacher, find her desk, or explore the playground.

With an older child, you might ask him to give you a tour of the school. This will help refresh his memory and yours.

Connect with friends

A familiar friend can make all the difference when heading back to school. You might try calling parents from last year’s class and finding out which children are in your child’s class this year. Refresh these relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.

Tool up

Obtain the class supply list and take a special shopping trip with your child. Having the right tools will help him feel prepared. While keeping basic needs in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool notebook or a favorite-colored pen. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun.

School supply lists also provide great insight into the schoolwork ahead. Get your child excited about upcoming projects by explaining how new supplies might be used. Let him practice using supplies that he’s not used before — such as colored pencils or a protractor — so he will be comfortable using them in class.

Avoid last-minute drilling

When it’s almost time to stop playing, give a five-minute warning. Giving clear messages to your child is very important.

Chat about today’s events and tomorrow’s plans

While it is important to support learning throughout the summer, don’t spend the last weeks of summer vacation reviewing last year’s curriculum. All kids need some down time before the rigors of school begin. For some kids, last-minute drills can heighten anxiety, reminding them of what they’ve forgotten instead of what they remember.

Ease into the routine

Switching from a summer to a school schedule can be stressful to everyone in the household. Avoid first-day-of-school mayhem by practicing your routine a few days in advance. Set the alarm clock, go through your morning rituals, and get in the car or to the bus stop on time. Routines help children feel comfortable, and establishing a solid school routine will make the first day of school go much smoother.

Source: PBS Kids

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What We Believe


Educate all students to become responsible, college-and-career-ready community members.


Everyone learns, every day.


SMUSD has a commitment to…

· Accountability

· Being trustworthy

· Caring

· Taking initiative

· Being respectful

· Believing all children are capable of success. No exceptions.