Sharing Good News & Good Work of Students and Staff

December 2016 Edition

Message from Dr. Tony Apostle, Interim Superintendent

Dear TeamPUSD:

The following article is a testimony to the lifelong impact that positive, honest, candid and constructive communications between educators and parents can have on a student`s self-esteem and hope for a better future. Today, these words reflect my core beliefs like no other expressions of my confidence in our public education system.

The importance of a strong partnership between parents and educators is timeless. I am reminded of my own third grade parent–teacher conference with my late mother and my third grade teacher, Mrs. Larsen, in Tacoma, Washington. I still unpleasantly recall receiving nine N`s (needs improvement) on my report card which triggered a required parent–teacher conference. I shuddered at the thought of attending my own parent–teacher conference as a translator because our primary language at home was Greek and my mother could not fluently write, comprehend or speak English.

The much anticipated conference day arrived. Nervously and with halting hesitation, introductions were made; and we sat down in the empty and quiet classroom. Mrs. Larsen politely and immediately addressed the purpose of the meeting and quickly began to share her criticisms regarding my lack of academic progress in several subject areas. She went on and on as I translated in Greek my numerous academic weaknesses to my mother and, at the same time, I battled tears and was sobbing out loud. My mother tried very hard to hold back her emotions - unable to speak in English and ask questions about what was on her mind; more importantly, wanting to defend her son from the negative criticisms.

Halfway through the conference my mother interrupted Mrs. Larsen in mid-sentence and said in her best, but nearly unintelligible English, “Tony, good boy?” She then repeated it a second time, “Tony, good boy?” There was momentary and uncomfortable silence that seemed to last far too long for me! Mrs. Larsen broke the silence and replied, “Tony is one of my favorite students- very polite and well behaved- qualities that a mother should be very proud of.” One can imagine hearing my sigh of relief and see my ear-to-ear grin as I repeated in Greek what Mrs. Larsen had said – her first positive comment about me in the entire conference. My mother warmly held my hand tight and smiled for the first time that day.

Days later, Mrs. Larsen asked me to stay after school. She began by telling that I did well at the parent conference and that she appreciated my translation of her assessment of my academic progress. She told me that she would spend extra time with me since my mother could not read English and my father worked late driving a truck. She went on to say that together, we would set a goal of zero ”N`s” at the next grading period. I replied that I did not think it was possible. She bent down looked me straight in the eyes, and confidently told me something that I have not forgotten. She said, “Inch by inch, life's a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard.”

This message is another reminder that parents and educators today, both classified and certificated, serve a very important and crucial role in guiding student success. Working as #TeamPUSD together and making students our highest priority, we can make a profound difference in the lives of children- every day. It lasts a lifetime… I should know, as a once struggling student who became an educator myself.

May you find rest and rejuvenation during the winter break, and we will see you in the New Year to continue our work!


Excellence in Education: Middle School Academies

Our second “Excellence in Education” video focuses on middle school academies. Every month, "Studio 701" will be producing professional quality videos that will increase awareness of programs that support our District’s mission of college and career readiness. “Studio 701” is a new pilot internship created by Career, Technical, and Adult Education (CTE) and the Communications Department for Advanced Digital Media students. Contact Christine Paik at cpaik@powayusd.com if you know of a program that should be featured or a student interested in applying for the internship program for the 2017-18 school year.

Poway Unified "Excellence in Education": Middle School Academies
To see more videos like this, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

School, Student, & Staff Achievements

Rosenthal Prize for Math

Congratulations to Traci Jackson, winner of the 2016 Rosenthal Prize for Innovation in Math Teaching for her lesson “Creating Color Combos: Visual Modeling of Proportional Relationships!” In Traci’s lesson, students explore proportional reasoning by mixing colored solutions, creating different color combinations to visualize ratios. Traci was awarded a $25,000 cash prize and will share her lesson with educators across the country.

All Southern Honor Choir

17 PUSD students were selected to be All Southern CA honor choir members.

Women’s Choir: Nidhi Deshiikan, Poway High; Esheta Gary, Del Norte; Nandini Rajgopal, Westview

Men’s Choir: Parker Shyu, Del Norte; Tyler Whitehead, Poway

Mixed Choir: Jake Hardison, Poway; John Lettang, Poway; Jadyn Ponder, Poway; Ashling Rogerson, Poway; Sarah Butikofer, Poway; Natalie Marriott, Poway; Summer Scott, Poway; Celeste Tolley, Mt. Carmel; Jessica Trost, Del Norte; Sage Harmon, Westview; Tate Nelson, Poway; Garrett Weir, Mt. Carmel

After a rigorous audition and rehearsal process, the students performed in a concert at the University of Redlands in November. Those students who made All Southern Choir can choose to be considered for CA All State Choir. All State Choir weekend is February 16th - 18th in San Jose.

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Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation Grants

Photo Courtesy: Elizabeth Marie Himchak

Several PUSD schools were the recipients of grants from the Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation. The awards were presented during an annual Thanksgiving luncheon on November 22nd.

  • Highland Ranch Elementary School received a $7,500 grant. The money will be used to purchase 34 new iPads, to replace the ones currently used by kindergarten through second grade.

  • Chaparral Elementary School received $5,000 to refurbish the campus’ outdoor education area, which includes a trail, a pollinator garden, and building a shade structure, benches and greenhouse storage.

  • Rancho Bernardo High School received $3,500 for its Silver Spur newspaper, which is a monthly 12-page publication produced by students. The school also received $2,000 to fund Grad Nite, which provides a safe, sober, and supervised celebration for new graduates.

  • Turtleback Elementary School received $2,500 to purchase and install a digital marquee on campus. Its purpose is to increase community awareness of the campus and increase community involvement.

Fun Photo Gallery

School Board Organizational Meeting

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Upcoming Dates

  • Winter Break: December 19- January 2, 2016
  • Non Student Professional Growth Day: January 13, 2017
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday: January 16, 2017
  • Board Meetings: January 17 & January 31, 2017

Free e-Books

As we head into the winter break, there's a new resource that allows students to borrow free eBooks and audiobooks to read on their computers or devices at home or on the road. It’s called Overdrive, and is now available to all PUSD students, K-12.

· Read in your browser: http://powayk8.lib.overdrive.com (For K-8) or http://powayusd.lib.overdrive.com (For High School)

· Or download the Overdrive app from your app store to read on a tablet, Nook, Kindle, or phone! Visit help.overdrive.com for help or to learn more.

· Log in using your student ID and password.

· Search for your school and age-appropriate library.

· You may check out three titles at a time.

· Titles are due in 21 days and automatically return themselves. You may return them earlier yourself.

· Filter your results by AR (ATOS) Reading Level, Interest Level, or Lexile!

Parent Education Workshops

As parents we expect that love will be enough, but parents also need skills! 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! Isn’t your child worth it? Sign up today. A proud service of the Student Support Services Department.

Character Counts Film Festival

Attention students! Create a 30-second to 4-minute video showing good character in real-life situations that make a difference in the world. Videos are due Friday, March 10, 2017. For contest rules click here. The winners will be announced at the Character Counts Film Festival in May.

Submit Vimeo or YouTube URL link to lellett@powayusd.com. Or send CD to Linda Ellett, PUSD, 15250 Avenue of Science, San Diego, 92128.

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. Twenty-six schools are located in the city of San Diego; twelve schools in the city of Poway. The District serves approximately 36,000 students and is the third largest school district in the county.

#TeamPUSD Newsletter Past Editions:

Send submissions to Christine Paik, Director of Communications at cpaik@powayusd.com