May 26, 2020
Salute to Seniors 2020
We are closely approaching the end of the school year. Each of our high school teams has developed innovative plans to celebrate our seniors. I look forward to joining the celebrations. I am sure everyone reading this update feels the same as I do about the incredible impact the school closure has had on our senior class of 2020. I have recently sent a letter to all seniors to express the pride I feel about each graduate and to share my sorrow about the interruption of this special moment in their lives. Our School Board members share this sentiment. In fact, just this week, the Board members proclaimed that June 3, 2020 will be the “Class of 2020 Day.” Additionally, the Mayor and the Vista City Council submitted a joint proclamation for the “Class of 2020 Day.” I have included below the initial part of the letter I sent to seniors.
Dear Vista Unified Seniors,
I would like to personally congratulate you on the completion of the first half of your journey as a learner. The experiences you have had span more than a decade and include many accomplishments, challenges, and lessons learned along the way. As you prepare to make this momentous transition out of the structured environment of public education and into the dynamic and complex world, please know that you will encounter, more often than you think, challenges that will surprise you. I believe that you are prepared to face these challenges with confidence and courage. Click HERE to read the entire letter.
Superintendent’s Council for Innovative Learning
I know that there is much anxiety in our community about what is in store for the next school year in the fall. I would like to reassure you that our team is on it! Our schools wil be implementing their full instructional programs, including grading, in the fall. We have successfully launched the Superintendent’s Council for Innovative Learning. In fact, the council has already met two times. Each Sprint Team (Instructional, Social/Emotional, Health and Safety, Nutritional and Technology) has already met multiple times and started to roll up their sleeves and get to work preparing for a successful launch of the 2020-21 school year. We have already held five community forums, averaging over 50 participants each - one had over 200 participants. Our community survey has been a success, gathering more than 3,000 responses. We are in the initial stage of analyzing the community feedback and infusing this feedback into our design for learning, with a core focus on maintaining the health and safety of all students and staff. We will also post the feedback to the website. You can still engage in this work by attending the remaining community forums. Check out our collective efforts on the website: www.vistausd.org/falldesign.
One final thought - perhaps the most important aspect of the planning for the fall is the development of the school schedules for students. We are developing a variety of options for student learning so that we may accommodate the needs of all students and families. Parents and students will have a set of choices as it relates to being on campus or remaining fully virtual. We know that some parents will not be ready to send their children back to school in the fall. We want to reassure you that you will have the option to keep your children home and learn virtually while still being part of your schools. Other families are eager to get their children back into the school environment. To these families, we want you to know that we are working on plans to make this happen so that you can get your households back to normal and you can go back to work. Ultimately, our instructional schedules will be influenced by the state of the health crisis in August 2020. To this end, the most effective approach for our design work is to develop a variety of options that will be ready to deploy in the fall. We thank you for your patience as we work collaboratively in response to the current health crisis.
On a lighter note, even in the face of a difficult, isolating health crisis, our school district is strong. Students and teachers are resilient and creative. We are developing a comprehensive video that will display this creativity through music. We hope to launch this video in the coming weeks. For a quick sneak peek, check out our latest Vista Works for You video below
Budget Solution Process - Round 2
Our district and community worked tirelessly together back in October, November, and December to develop budget solutions to address a budget deficit for the 2020-21 school year. We completed the budget reconciliations process and received approval from the San Diego County Office of Education for our budget submission. Unfortunately, the current health crisis is also impacting our budget projections for the next school year. As a result, we are compelled by state regulations to take the new May revisions to the state budget into consideration. We started this process by holding a Special Board meeting on May 21, 2020. This meeting focused on outlining the scope of the budget challenges and gathering feedback from the board members about how we would facilitate a second round of budget solutions (click HERE to access the presentation). We will be holding two additional VUSD Special Board Meetings on June 4th and June 8th to develop a list of possible solutions based on the guidance from the state and county officials. Members of the public are encouraged to attend. Please look for the details about the meetings on the website under the Board of Education tab.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools