Community Update

November 2, 2021

Vision and Strategic Planning

In keeping with our students at the center focus as a school district, we are excited to officially kick off the strategic planning process with a Student Summit on November 4th. A team of fifteen students from every middle and high school will convene at the Vista Innovation Center to explore, discuss, and develop future-forward ideas for our school district. Some of our student leaders have already started. Check out their video below.

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Recognizing and Celebrating our Fantastic Staff

STARS of Excellence and Innovation are Selfless, Talented, and Reliable Staff members who go above and beyond to model our district values of trust, respect, collaboration, and equity. These STARS continue to show their dedication to VUSD students and staff members. We are honored to recognize them and provide them with a certificate and a gift funded by our wonderful Vista Unified Council of PTAs. Congratulations to our award winners for the months of September and October.

Social Emotional Supports

As we welcome the fall season, we reflect on our gratitude for being back to in-person learning for our students and staff. While we know the pandemic is not completely behind us, we have taken bold steps to return to the routines of learning and collaborating together. To that end, we are beginning to host school performances, welcome back volunteers, and we are excited to offer in-person parent/teacher conferences.

After spending most of their time at home over the past year and a half, our students’ need for social emotional support has grown even larger. While we believe being back on a school campus is what students need, many students are struggling with peer socialization. Difficulty breaking into friend groups, social anxiety, and higher levels of stress can be seen from our kindergarteners to our seniors.

In a newsletter published by the Los Angeles Times, Psychologist Dr. Rebecca Good reminds us that students “spent a year and a half in their room, staring at a screen, not talking to a whole lot of people. Now they’re navigating crowded hallways, different classrooms. And picking back up all the nonverbal language they’re not used to reading anymore.”

Relational skills are essential to interact and communicate with others every day. For adults, these skills may come easily, but for children, it is something that requires teaching and modeling. Research shows that as students develop their “toolbox of social skills”, it translates into students who:

  • Communicate effectively

  • Problem-solve

  • Make and keep new friends

  • Cooperate with others

  • Practice active listening

  • Use manners

  • Adapt to different situations

  • Utilize non-verbal cues

As students develop relational skills, they establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with their peers, communicate their needs and cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social behaviors, and seek ways to help when others are in need.

Parents and teachers alike can assist students in developing relational skills that are meaningful and necessary to a child. As we prepare for elementary and middle school parent/teacher conferences, please take the time to speak with your student’s teacher about their social emotional growth. Our district has developed a robust team of social emotional professionals who are trained to support the needs of all students, and in partnership with parents, we are committed to growing happy, confident, resilient children.

Athletics Update

The Vista Unified School District is committed to providing high quality athletic programs and services that create opportunities for our students to connect to school. After many great successes, the fall athletic season is winding down, with the winter season right around the corner. Many of our teams will be participating in the CIF playoffs as well as reflecting on both team and individual success from the past season.

At Vista High School, the Girls’ Tennis Team finished their inaugural season on the new tennis courts and are progressing along in the league tournament singles play. The Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country Teams are in the midst of preparing for league finals, and the CIF playoffs in the next two weeks.

The Rancho Buena Vista High School Girls’ Tennis Team finished strong on their way to an undefeated season and Avocado League championship. The Longhorn football team is prepping for their upcoming CIF playoff game after a season of big improvements.

As the fall season comes to a close, the Timberwolves of Mission Vista High School Girls’ Golf Team finished up their season second in league. Several individuals qualified for the CIF playoffs in very tough competition and represented MVHS well.

En route to claiming the Club’s 8th League Championship since 2008, the Alta Vista High School Soccer Team completed an impressive undefeated season.

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Music Update

In addition to our fantastic athletics programs, Vista Unified is proud to create opportunities for our students to participate in the visual and performing arts at the secondary level. We have had much to celebrate in the past few months and some exciting performances coming up.

At the middle school level, VIDA was excited to get back to live performance events with their annual Talent Show in October and an upcoming TML Drama Performance the first week of November. After a successful summer program and a great start to the year, the Madison Middle School Intermediate and Advanced Bands will be presenting a Fall Concert on November 3rd in the campus quad. Rancho Minerva photography scholars are using Adobe Photoshop to combine two photos, creating a seamless double exposure effect as each photographer selected the layer photo to represent their hopes and dreams. Vista Magnet Middle School is an IB world school where all students take IB visual arts classes every year. Students use the arts to explore their culture and identity and work up to clay sculptures and 3D art in 8th grade. Roosevelt Middle School students showed their talent and love for music as the Wildcat band performed on October 6th during their Fall band performance and the Wildcats chorus groups, which include the Women's Ensemble, Men's Chorus, and Wildcat Chorus, performed a number of songs for their families at their October 20th choir performance.

At our high schools, the RBV Marching Band and Colorguard are working hard to finish the second movement to their competitive field show, From Out of the Shadows, which is about our students and their struggle with COVID as they emerge as better human beings. Their home tournament is Saturday, November 13th, and they are celebrating their win from a weekend ago at the Escondido High School Tournament. The Vista High School Regimental Band and Pageantry are making a splash this year with their 2021 production "Lady of the Lake.” This dedicated group has been receiving some of the highest scores in the state week after week, recently winning first place in class 3A at the Ayala Music in Motion Tournament. Mission Vista has already hosted seven incredible performing arts events from their theater, choir, and music programs, and they have fifteen more performances scheduled between now and Winter Break. It has been fantastic to see students on the stage again, and the support from the community has been outstanding.

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Health and Safety Update

Over the past several weeks, San Diego has experienced a slight uptick in positive COVID-19 cases across the county. This includes increased numbers of cases within our Vista schools. Now is the time to strengthen our approach to keeping COVID out of our schools. Please do your part by keeping your children at home if they are experiencing any of the symptoms identified on the COVID-19 decision tree.

The following letter from Dr. Fatland with the Vista Community Clinic is a great reminder of how we can help treat and prevent COVID 19.

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As we continue to fill our toolbox with tools needed to prevent and treat COVID with vaccinations, medications, and masks; it remains important to quickly identify cases so we can reduce the possibility of spread in our classrooms and community. As of the week of 10/7, children represented 16.3% of all COVID-19 cases nationwide; for every four COVID-19 deaths between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, one child lost a parent or caregiver and over 22,000 children lost a secondary caregiver or grandparent who was providing housing but not most basic needs. Children can also be at risk for “long-COVID” or other severe complications resulting in hospitalization or fatal outcomes. The County has been working closely with school districts to provide decision-trees to help rapidly identify COVID-19 cases and to prevent unnecessary school absences for those who do not have COVID-19 or may not need prolonged quarantine. Any student who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and/or diarrhea should stay home and seek care from their trusted medical provider to determine the next best steps.

Sarah Fatland, DO

Chief Medical Officer

Vista Community Clinic

Let’s Get Vista Vaccinated

Following Dr. Fatland’s suggestion, the best way to combat COVID-19 is through vaccinations. Vista Unified and Inspire Diagnostics have partnered to provide access to vaccinations at the Vista Innovation Center. Open to the public, the clinic provides initial vaccinations and booster shots and will be ready for children ages 5-11 when authorized by the FDA and the CDC.

As we continue to grow our approach in fighting COVID-19, we are pleased to announce the opening of a third COVID-19 testing location to service our Vista community. Starting Monday, November 1st, PCR testing will be available at Rancho Buena Vista High School. The hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. The clinic is located on an outside patio and can be accessed from the main parking lot. Each of these testing centers will assist us to implement the modified quarantine approach outlined in the County’s Decision Tree. Using this approach allows the parents to choose from a variety of options for their students. We are currently using the modified quarantine at the middle and high school level. We continue to work on preparation for the use of this option in elementary school; however, we do not yet have the staffing capacity.


Matt Doyle, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Vista Unified School District