Super DAC News: November 2022

All District Advisory Council / Committee Monthly Update


Hello, Conejo Valley USD Community!

Welcome to the first edition of the Super DAC News, a monthly newsletter that will highlight the work and activities of CVUSD’s six parent district advisory councils and the student district advisory committee. Our hope is that the information shared here each month will be informative and helpful to families, students, staff, community members and community partners.

What is a DAC?

A DAC or district advisory council/committee is a body made up of parent or student representatives that advises district leadership and administration on education programs, policies and procedures related to student achievement, academic performance, overall success and wellbeing. DACs are one avenue for parents, guardians and students to be involved and have a voice about the education of students in CVUSD.

What are the current CVUSD DACs?

• African American District Advisory Council (AADAC)

• District Advisory Council (DAC)

• District English Learners Advisory Council (DELAC)

• Gifted and Talented Education District Advisory Council (GATE-DAC)

• Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Others Advisory Council (LGBTQ+ AC)

• Special Education District Advisory Council (SEDAC)

• Student District Advisory Committee (SDAC)

How can I learn more about the different DACs?

To learn more about the parent district advisory councils, check out the Parent Involvement page on CVUSD’s website. You will find a brief description of each DAC along with a link to each DAC’s webpage.

To learn more about the Student District Advisory Committee, check out their webpage.

Can I attend a DAC meeting?

District advisory council meetings are open to the public, and all are welcome. To see the upcoming meeting dates for all the parent DACs, check out the Master Schedule.

Upcoming DAC meetings and agendas are available on the district website through BoardDocs, which is the same portal for the Board of Education meetings. Access the BoardDocs portal here.

News & Updates from the DACs

African American District Advisory Council (AADAC)

The AADAC Executive Committee is comprised of Nicole Updegraff- Chair, Lee Dixon- Vice Chair, Darius J. Wynn- Secretary, Elizabeth Allen- Parliamentarian, and Kim Thornton & Loretta Hunnicutt- Members at Large.

As we move through the 2022-2023 school year, AADAC is looking forward to continuing to advise and work collaboratively with CVUSD by recommending and supporting services and initiatives to support the needs of our African American/Black students, families, and teachers. To that end, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) office is currently working on and have implemented the following action items:

  • Creating a policy around the use of the “N” word on school campuses.
  • Building a support system for the Black administrators in the district.
  • Created a partnership with HR to recruit, retain and support more educators of color.
  • Applied for Anti Bias Education Grant ($200,000) to train teachers, staff and school leaders.
  • Pulling data to review the student handbook (discipline policies and matrix) to examine suspension rates.
  • Increasing visibility through the website by adding training modules and statements inviting people of color to join CVUSD.
  • Created a 5-year DEI plan (currently awaiting comments and feedback from advisory council members).

AADAC is looking into ways to increase interest and enrollment in our campus Black Student Unions (BSUs) and Ethnic Studies classes. We are also developing a literature initiative for diverse and inclusive libraries and storytelling starting at the elementary level with hopes to extend thru all grade levels.

As always, our priority is continuing our commitment to safe learning environments where our children can thrive in both academic, as well as social-emotional capacities. The change to mandatory in-person meetings has, unfortunately, affected the ability of some interested parents to fully participate. As such, the following schools are still in need of AADAC representatives:

  • Acacia
  • Banyan
  • Century
  • Conejo Elementary
  • Cypress
  • Glenwood
  • Lang Ranch
  • Madroña
  • Maple
  • Sycamore
  • Walnut
  • Westlake Elementary

District Advisory Council (DAC)

Our first DAC meeting of the 2022-2023 school year was on Tuesday, September 13. We shared three priorities for the year that were developed by the DAC Executive Board:

  • Achievement and overall success for ALL students
  • Supporting student social emotional learning and mental health by rebuilding campus culture and student connection to their school communities
  • DAC Member engagement and communication with all parents

As part of the third priority to promote communication with all parents, DAC set a goal to coordinate with the other DACs to create the very newsletter you are reading right now!

We also had a presentation on School Safety given by Dr. Victor Hayek, Deputy Superintendent for Business Services, Gary Bradbury, Director of Safety and Risk Management, Kenny Loo, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, Dr. Heather Chamberlin, Coordinator of Mental Health Services, and from the Thousand Oaks Police Department, Sergeants Dylan Alvarez and Gunnar Dyke.
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The presentation focused on three areas of general school security: Prevention, Protection and Response. We learned about several safety improvements in progress, including an increased number of school staff trained in first aid and CPR, and our local team’s participation in county-coordinated safety assessments and training.

We learned about efforts to spread anti-bullying messages on campuses and about the confidential reporting system that is available to students through their Canvas accounts. We also learned about a new reporting platform called WeTip that allows for anonymous reporting and triage of urgent reports to law enforcement. Dr. Chamberlin spoke about the Wellness Centers and additional efforts to support students’ mental health. She also shared some insight on how her team works to assess and help students when a safety concern arises.

One final piece of important information: if an emergency were to occur, parents can expect to receive information and updates through regular district communication platforms, like texting, as quickly as possible.

The second big item on our agenda was a discussion of School Culture and Campus Climate. The three grade-span directors gave short presentations on the work that’s been done at the beginning of the school year to create a welcoming environment, to build community and to support social emotional learning and wellness for students.
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Then, we had three breakout groups for our DAC representatives (one for elementary reps, one for middle school reps and one for high schools reps) where we shared feedback on what’s working and new ideas for connection and support.

Our second DAC meeting of the year was on Tuesday, October 11, and it was also the first ever Super DAC meeting! The meeting was held at Los Robles Hospital, and all of our parent district advisory council members were invited to attend and participate in an orientation and panel discussion.

CVUSD Board of Education President Karen Sylvester gave an update on the work of the Board. President Sylvester also spoke about the importance of parent voice and involvement and the value of bringing all of the parent DACs together to hear and learn from each other’s perspectives.

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Attorney Jenell Van Bindsbergen from law firm Dannis Wolliver Kelley gave an informative presentation on the Brown Act and the Greene Act, the two open meeting laws that govern our DAC meetings. Super DAC attendees engaged in a robust discussion about the various rules and procedures that our advisory councils must follow.

We concluded our Super DAC meeting with a panel featuring members from several of the DACs: Cindy Mayling (DAC), Lucely Duarte (DELAC), Tammi Taggart (GATE-DAC), Andrea Daniels (LGBTQ+ AC) and Erin Bell (SEDAC). The panelists shared why they serve on a DAC, how they stay connected to parents/guardians and school administration, one or two big accomplishments of their DACs and advice for new district advisory council members.

The first Super DAC meeting set up our parent district advisory councils for a successful year!

Our next DAC meeting is Tuesday, November 8, at 9:00 am, in the MPR at University.

District English Learners Advisory Council (DELAC)

The DELAC committee works in conjunction with all English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) committees at every school site. Each ELAC committee elects a DELAC representative who attends all of the DELAC meetings that are held on the last Tuesday of every month. After each DELAC meeting, the DELAC representative then reports back to their respective ELAC committee. DELAC provides information about reclassification and other relevant information regarding English Learners. There are currently 1,953 English Learners attending our schools.

The second DELAC meeting was held on Tuesday, October 25th from 10 am to 12 noon. The following information was presented in addition to two input sessions:

  • Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELOP)
  • School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA)
  • LCAP Survey: Discussion and Feedback
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan: Discussion and Feedback

Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 29th from 10 am to 12 noon. Even though our meetings are held in Spanish, we provide translation services from Spanish to English. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Gifted and Talented Education District Advisory Council (GATE-DAC)

The GATE-DAC Executive Board is comprised of Hun Kaplowitz, GATE-DAC Chair, Bijaya Eaton, GATE-DAC Vice-Chair, Christine Wells, GATE-DAC Secretary, and Rachael Brusseau, GATE-DAC Parliamentarian. Additionally, Shauna Ashmore, Director of Student Support Services, Stefanie Caswell, GATE TOSA, are active non-voting members of the Council.

CVUSD has come a long way from the beginning of the GATE program to now. For example, screening for GATE eligibility has gone from teacher and/or parent/guardian referral to screening all students in 3rd grade, while referrals are still in place for grades 4th-12th. Clustering elementary GATE students has become a priority in order to foster student success. GATE Facilitators now focus on meeting the academic and social-emotional needs of GATE students and sharing best practices and strategies with site staff. GATE activities at school sites have increased from one per year to one per month. In 2018-2019, the GATE Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) position was developed and has taken over the district-sponsored GATE activities. Other responsibilities include offering district-wide training in Social Emotional Support for Gifted Learners, providing GATE certification to Facilitators, and regularly providing direct support to CVUSD teachers regarding best practices for meeting the academic and social-emotional needs of gifted learners.

Currently, there are 1,430 GATE identified students in the district. GATE screening is moving from the OLSAT to the CogAT. While the OLSAT only had two sections, verbal and non-verbal, the CogAT has three sections, verbal, non-verbal and quantitative. GATE screening for 3rd grade and 2022-2023 referrals will begin at the end of November.

As GATE-DAC moves forward this school year, our priorities are focused around the LCAP goals of Student Achievement & Student Success, Social / Emotional Learning & School Culture, and GATE-DAC Member Engagement. In our October meeting, GATE-DAC members broke out into clusters to dive deeper into these goals. Below lists the projected goals:

Student Achievement & Student Success

  • Identify the needs of the whole student.
  • In-class engagement.
  • Teacher early recognition K-3 so students are challenged early.
  • Universal grading policy.
  • Honors for all subjects beginning in 6th for middle school.
  • Acceleration in elementary.
  • Recognize and overcome the perception that GATE students have no challenges and don’t need focused support in class.

Social Emotional Learning and School Culture

  • Provide group-oriented interactions - working cooperatively.
  • Develop the following skills:
  • Anti-bullying: avoid being target and learn how to intervene.
  • How to make or find friends and keep them. “Finding your people.”
  • Group dynamics and how to cope.
  • Provide opportunities for cluster-oriented GATE parent meetings.

GATE-DAC Member Engagement

  • Locate/Communicate with on-site school teacher/leader rep.
  • Increase engagement/interaction with onsite GATE team.
  • Facilitate interaction & collaboration between same schooling level – elementary, middle, high schools.
  • Provide information and opportunities for students from our community members, such as TO Arts and TO Library.
  • Be a proactive member of the GATE-DAC community.

The district GATE website is a great resource for all things related to GATE, including upcoming district-wide GATE activities.

GATE-DAC's next meeting is Friday, December 2.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Others Advisory Council (LBGTQ+ AC)

As this was our first meeting of the year, and it also was our first meeting in person, we chose to review some standard housekeeping items amongst a few other agenda items. We discussed member roles and responsibilities in consideration of the LGBTQ+ AC purpose, as well as our Standing Rules and ByLaws for our newly appointed members. As we are hoping to revise our ByLaws and Standing Rules, we assembled a committee to do so and they will report back at our next meeting with revisions.

At the end of the last school year we created two subcommittees to help define the scope of how we can best support our LGBTQ+ students. One is to focus on our Elementary aged students, and the other is for our Secondary (both middle and high school) aged students. While the Elementary committee was able to meet once over the summer and the topics that were discussed were how the Human Growth and Development videos for 4th and 5th grade have been updated, but still aren't up to date, adding LGBTQ+ History month as one that is recognized by the Board of Education and is celebrated throughout our CVUSD schools, and they'd also like to have consideration for including gender and sexual orientation in Inclusive Schools Week by way of the anti-bullying information. The Secondary subcommittee has not yet met, but will in the coming weeks and an update will be provided once there is more information.

There was also an LCAP survey presentation from Dr. Jayna Suter, and the LGBTQ+ AC was given an opportunity to provide feedback to improve upon format, questions and sections. And following that presentation, Dr. Dwight Rogers gave an overview of the DEI 5-Year Plan which is currently a working document in draft form.

Our next meeting is November 30th at 9:30am at the University Multipurpose room.

Special Education District Advisory Council (SEDAC)

The Special Education District Advisory Council’s (SEDAC) purpose is to advise and support high-quality special education and support services for CVUSD students by working collaboratively with CVUSD Administration and Board of Education on all things related to educational programs, policies, procedures, and specific actions being taken for students who receive special education services. We are proud that we have fostered strong relationships with fellow District Advisory Councils (DACs), as well as community partners such as Conejo Recreation and Park, Thousand Oaks Library, Independent Living Resource Center, Rainbow and SELPA.

We believe ALL students can achieve their fullest potential when we all collaboratively work together. We are better together.

We are excited to have Director of Secondary Special Education, Dawn Thomas, and Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, Dr. Egans, overseeing SEDAC. As CVUSD looks to hire a Director of Elementary Special Education, we are very fortunate to have interim support from Bethany Stern, Lead Psychologist. We look forward to collaborating with them throughout the year.

SEDAC held its first meeting of the school year on October 4th, during this meeting we started working on our annual priorities for what we hope SEDAC will accomplish this year. We also began discussions on our priorities for SEDAC committees. Currently our committees are Communication/New Member, Curriculum/Inclusion, Disability Celebrations, Safety, Transitions, and Wellness/SEL/Mental Health. We will be continuing discussions and we look forward to sharing our priorities for SEDAC as well as our committees soon.

Volunteer Opportunity: SEDAC is a district advisory council made up of parents/guardians, all who have children with an IEP or 504 plan, from each school site. Our goal is to have every school site represented. There are still a few schools that need a SEDAC representative. If you are a parent or guardian of a student with an IEP or 504 at one of these school sites, then please consider volunteering to be a representative.

  • Aspen Elementary
  • Banyan Elementary
  • Century Academy
  • Conejo Valley High School
  • Glenwood Elementary
  • Ladera STARS Academy

Unified Sports Bocce Games: On Tuesday November 15th, Westlake High School will host Newbury Park High School and Thousand Oaks High School for a Unified Sports Bocce Tournament! The event starts at 10:45 am at Warrior Stadium. Come cheer on the Unified Teams as they play for the championship!

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October Celebrations: It was so wonderful seeing all the amazing ways Unity Day was celebrated around CVUSD. There were also great celebrations for Disability History and Awareness month as well as National Bullying Prevention Month. Please share how your school site celebrated Disability History and Awareness Month with Chair Erin Bell at

Inclusive Schools Week: Are you looking for ideas for Inclusive Schools Week in December or other Disability Celebrations? Then please check out this toolkit created by SEDAC! There are several ideas for Inclusive Schools Week as well as guidance on how to make school celebrations and events more inclusive.

Disability Celebrations Toolkit - Created & Curated by the Special Education DAC:

If you have anything you would like to be considered as a resource in the toolkit, please email Erin Bell at

Inclusive Opportunities: it is important for all students to have the opportunity to participate in school events, dances, clubs and activities. Parents/guardians can make requests for students who need support (ex- one-to-one paraprofessional support, additional supervision, special accommodations, etc…). Please collaborate with your student’s case manager and school site administration ahead of the events to coordinate the support needed.

Upcoming Meeting: Our next SEDAC General meeting will be Wednesday, November 9th from 9:15 am to 11:30 am. The meeting will be at University Center (2801 Atlas Ave) in the MPR. The agenda is posted on BoardDocs. We hope to see you there!

Thank you!

SEDAC Executive Board:

Chair: Erin Bell

Vice Chair: Denise Benic

Secretary: Mandy Pollak

Parliamentarian: Rachael Brusseau

Members-at-Large: Allice Chou, Jenny Crosby, Andrea Mettel, Trina Rodriguez

Click here to visit the SEDAC Website.

Student District Advisory Committee (SDAC)

Subcommittee meetings began in October. We will be meeting with Virginia Beck, Director of Child Nutrition, in our November meeting to discuss a variety of topics regarding child nutrition. We plan to focus on discussing improvements of the school-provided lunches, as well as the system of distribution. As a committee, we are looking to review the current menu that is used for school-provided meals and brainstorm alterations to the menu, as well as a wider variety of options for vegan, vegetarian, etc. students. As a whole, students notice a large amount of food waste when it comes to the school meals, so we intend to focus on brainstorming and working with Virginia Beck on ways to reduce food waste around all campuses. Another aspect is accessibility. Lines for school-provided meals can be very long; therefore, students who have clubs or test makeups during lunch do not have enough time to get their lunch and get to those lunchtime obligations. These are all topics we intend to discuss with Ms. Beck.

Our environmental subcommittee has had their first meeting, and they will spearhead a few of the goals and issues regarding the school meal situation. The environmental subcommittee intends to focus on reducing waste on campus and creating a more sustainably-run school, such as improving the packaging of school meals and making it more sustainable. Many of the meals are handed out in plastic bags and waxed-lined trays and other plastic wrapping, so part of the subcommittee’s focus this year will be dedicated to those specific issues.

This is our first pilot year of the district’s new course, Ethnic Studies. This class is a

semester long, and it is offered as an elective at the College Prep level. We are focusing on ways we can promote the class more effectively to increase enrollment and involvement. Additionally, we intend to invite the Ethnic Studies teachers from each school site in our district to a meeting, so that we can have a question and answer session with them discussing the structure of the class, curriculum, student participation, projects, etc. We have gotten feedback from students at certain school sites regarding the structure of the class, so we want to work on improving the class and possibly implementing or suggesting the addition of visits from various guest speakers during the semester-long course. We want to focus on incorporating a more creative, collaborative and engaging environment in the Ethnic Studies classes with a focus on student-led discussions. We also talked about having a week or day dedicated to learning about different cultures by having students create short presentations or stations where they can share about their heritage and culture (this would be open to the entire school at each particular campus).

Finally, there is ongoing discussion about a proposed financial literacy curriculum being

developed in an effort to teach high school students important life skills, such as paying taxes, mortgages, etc. to prepare them for responsibilities that they may take on following high school or college. Some school sites have adopted a Financial Algebra class, so we want to expand upon that and create more opportunities for students to take classes in valuable and applicable subjects. Additionally, we are in the process of reviewing the current progress of the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs being implemented at each school site. The Mental Health Subcommittee will be working on improving the SEL Curriculum, so that it can be more beneficial and applicable to the student population.

Conejo Valley Unified School District