Monday Message: 5/15/2023
May 15, 2023
A Message from Superintendent Dr. Alex Cherniss
May 15, 2023
“Putting Kids First”... These are words that motivate me and shape my educational philosophy. As a school district, our focus must always be first and foremost on the students we serve. Without significant action, these are empty words.
Here in PYLUSD, we have a number of students who aren’t achieving at grade level. Addressing this will be one of my primary goals as superintendent.
Over the past several years the state and federal government has allocated significant one-time funding to California public schools. I feel very strongly that these funds should be spent on students. These funds should be used to address the ever-increasing learning gaps exacerbated by the pandemic, the mental health of our students, and the extracurricular programs that enrich the school experience for all students.
As superintendent in Palos Verdes USD, I used these funds to open school two weeks early, as an optional opportunity for any student who wanted to catch up or get ahead. I offered free after-school one-on-one tutoring for any student that needed it. I paid teachers to offer extended office hours so students could have extra time to meet with students. I offered free credit recovery summer school for those kids that were credit deficient.
My focus has now shifted to the students in the PYL school community. We must look at how we spend our limited resources and make sure that these funds are directed toward supporting our students. I see amazing opportunities to support and enhance that great work we are already doing and I see talented, passionate and dedicated teachers and support staff helping our students everyday.
There is much work to be done and there is a tangible sense of urgency to help our kids today so they may be successful tomorrow.
It’s an honor to serve as your superintendent of schools!
Dr. Alex Cherniss
Superintendent of Schools
A Message from Board President Shawn Youngblood
Hello PYL Community,
I am honored to be speaking with you today in the first PYL newsletter from our new superintendent Dr. Alex Cherniss. The board is confident that Dr. Cherniss will continue the districts’s mission which states “we inspire all students through rigorous and relevant educational experiences that empower them to become responsible ethical and contributing citizens.”
Let us give him a warm, welcome as he continues to visit all the campuses and interact with students, staff and employees.
Also, the Board would like to give a huge “shout-out” to all our teachers following Teacher Appreciation Week. If there’s one thing that gives the highest regard to student success, it’s our district teachers. You are truly what gives the PYLUSD an incredible reputation.
As we near the end of the school year, we need to continue to not just focus on schedules, tests, and end-of-school activities, but also on our mental health, school and personal safety, and the awesome relationships we have built throughout this school year.
Thank you for your time and let’s continue to finish the year PYL strong!
May 2023: Mental Health Awareness Month
The month of May is recognized as National Mental Health Awareness Month. This nationwide movement began in May of 1949 and was designed to increase awareness about mental health, combat stigma, assist with recovery, and support Americans and their families who are impacted by mental illness.
Mental health is a critical issue that affects students in all schools throughout the world. It is just as important as physical health. All students at one time or another may be at risk of certain mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, stress, and other conditions that can impact their academic performance, social lives, and overall well-being.
To address these challenges, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District has worked to create safe spaces for students to engage in wellness activities and receive counseling support. Through the programs and support professionals offered at all of our schools, students learn about the importance of mental health and how to recognize the signs and ask for help. Our goal is to reduce any stigma associated with mental health issues and encourage students to reach out and seek support as early and as often as they need it.
Providing these services and support for our students requires a collective effort from all stakeholders including our professional educators, psychologists, counselors, wellness specialists, parents, board members, and administration. By collaborating on this important issue we can continue to prioritize the mental health and social-emotional well-being of all students in our school district and help every child feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to their school.
HERE is an informational flyer. And here are some important phone numbers:
- Call or text 988 - Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
- 1-800-273-8255 - National Suicide Hotline
- Text HOME to 741741 - Crisis Text Line
800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336) - Teen Line
Lastly, Care Solace is an online resource meant to assist individuals in finding local counseling-related services and is offered to all PYLUSD students, staff, and families at no cost. If you are interested in seeking outside counseling-related services at this time, please consider visiting www.caresolace.com/site/pylusd.
AppJamboree (AppJam): May 24, 2023
Dreams for Schools (DFS) is a non-profit organization that was established to inspire, create and educate students to be STEAM literate with hard and soft skills needed to become the critical thinkers, creative leaders, and technologists of tomorrow. In 2012, PYLUSD was invited to participate in their middle school AppJam+ after-school program. Since then several hundred students at all of our middle schools have participated in this exciting program.
AppJam+ is a 10-week mobile app development program that makes programming concepts fun and accessible to encourage students to explore STEAM education in a new and exciting way. Over the course of 30+ hours, student teams develop their own Android mobile application based on a seasonal theme. The students are guided and coached by university and industry experts as they develop their app and AppJamboree presentation.
At the AppJamboree Showcase, students present their final projects and demonstrate their mobile apps to family members, friends, and other students from participating schools. Families and friends are all welcome at a night of technology-filled fun. This year the event will be held at Valencia High School Auditorium on May 24 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Upcoming Events and Meetings
June — National Safety Month
June 6, 2023 — Board of Education Meeting
June 15, 2023 — Last Day of 2022-2023 School Year
June 20, 2023 — Board of Education Meeting