#TeamPUSD Newsletter

Special Edition

Navigating COVID-19: PUSD Comes Together During Crisis

In this special edition of our regular #TeamPUSD Newsletter, you'll find all updates related to the COVID-19 closures during the month of April.
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Photo courtesy of Creekside Elementary School. (Taken before schools closed)

Message from the Superintendent

Dear PUSD Staff, Students, and Families,

Thank you for all of your hard work over the past month and a half! This is an unprecedented period of upheaval and uncertainty for school districts and the students and families they serve.

I am incredibly proud of how Team PUSD has handled the school closures and subsequent changes to how we do our jobs – from a business and operations standpoint to a whole new way of teaching and learning.

The logistics, collaboration, and brain power involved in figuring out how to implement distance learning for over 36,500 students, distribute 7,500 Chromebooks, serve over 4,000 meals a day, clean and secure 39 campuses, ensure our district keeps running… all of this has been a Herculean effort and I’m thankful for each and every one of you.

To our families, you have shown incredible strength, patience, and grace navigating distance learning and trying to balance your own commitments as parents, essential workers, and working from home. Thank you for your partnership.

School as we know it has changed dramatically. We do not know what the future holds. We still have many challenges ahead – including what school will look like when we are finally able to return. What will be the new normal? But I am confident, based on our efforts so far, that we will be able to figure it out together and do what’s best for our students and our community. Team PUSD will emerge from this stronger than ever.


Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D.


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Thursday, April 30th is the last day for registration!

If you have a continuing student returning to PUSD in the Fall, you must complete the continuing student registration process online here. This will allow for proper placement of your child for the 2020-2021 school year. This annual digital process will allow a family to complete one single “family” packet instead of completing one packet per student. Packets can be completed using any computer, tablet or smartphone with an internet connection.
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TK/Kindergarten Enrollment Opening!

The Transitional Kindergarten/ Kindergarten Enrollment Intake Form will be open May 5-7, 2020. (Starting May 12th, 2020 we will enroll new students in all grades.)
+ The process will be completed entirely online, due to emergency closures.
+ Visit bit.ly/PUSDenroll for more information.
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Preschool Open Enrollment

Preschool Open Enrollment began April 21, 2020. Visit our website at powayusd.com/preschool. Questions? Email preschool@powayusd.com.
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Distance Learning in Poway Unified

April 2-3, 2020: Chromebook Distribution

We couldn't have asked for a smoother Chromebook distribution event. In just three hours on April 2, we distributed over 6,000 devices to #PowayUnified students and families who requested access to them. After our second distribution on April 3, we totaled over 7,000 devices. Thank you to #TeamPUSD staff volunteers for making this step toward distance learning a smooth one. We are humbled.

April 6, 2020: First Day of Distance Learning (Soft Launch)

We applaud #PowayUnified students, teachers, parents, and administrators for embracing the first day of #PUSDistanceLearning - and all of the challenges that came with it. Here are a few collages from our social media platforms. We're in this together, and can't thank you enough for your flexibility during these school closures.

Distance Learning Pep Talks with Principal Corso

"Coach" Corso motivates the students of Black Mountain Middle School about the transition to Digital Learning on April 6, 2020.
You’ve Got This, BMMS: The Transition to Digital Learning

Quick Tips with Mrs. Dykes

Adjusting to distance learning comes with challenges. We love seeing our teachers' creativity shine during this time, as they produce content to help students in the transition to learning from home. Alyssa Dykes is an AVID Coordinator and Humanities teacher at Oak Valley Middle School. She made this video with quick tips on how to maximize the distance learning experience. Take a look:
Distance Learning Quick Tips

April 20, 2020: Bringing the Classroom Home for Students

When Erin Summit's students see her on Zoom, she appears to be in their normal Rolling Hills Elementary School classroom. Read how Erin, a special education teacher, created a sense of normalcy for her TK and Kindergarten students with autism during distance learning: bit.ly/rhessp

Thank you to all #PowayUnified teachers who are finding the silver linings during emergency closures, and continuing to provide stability for our students.

Math Walk

Can you solve these math problems? Oak Valley Middle School Math Teacher Traci Jackson draws a math challenge in chalk on her sidewalk for her students and neighbors. She started on March 27th to encourage a fun way to do math during quarantine. If you want to play along, check out all of the images here.

Excellence in Education Series: Distance Learning

Watch the Studio 701 interns’ latest video highlighting student and staff experiences during the COVID-19 school closures and distance learning:
Poway Unified “Excellence in Education” School Closures and Distance Learning

Special Education Resources During Emergency Closures

Our Special Education TOSA Megan Gross collaborated on a collection of resources with teachers around the world, to support families receiving SPED services during emergency closures. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2K7vr8Y

Visit our Student Support Services website to discover resources we offer for Special Education: bit.ly/powaySPED

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The #Classof2020

Celebrating our #PUSDSeniors

These signs are popping up in front lawns all over #PowayUnified, have you seen them? Join us in recognizing and celebrating the #Classof2020 by posting a photo of your senior with the lawn sign. Use the hashtag #PUSDSeniors and tag us (@powayunified) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Many local print shops are making these signs for parents in response to emergency school/university closures.

10News "Senior Spotlight" Featuring PUSD Students

Poway High School seniors Josie Allen and Chelsea Lomicka as well as Lexie Roche were recently featured on a 10News – ABC San Diego KGTV edition of "Senior Spotlight" - a segment dedicated to highlighting seniors across San Diego County despite the COVID-19 school closures. We are inspired by the resiliency of the Class of 2020.

Light Up the Night for Seniors

High Schools throughout Poway Unified are honoring the class of 2020 every Thursday night, from 8:20 - 8:40 pm (20:20 in military time), by turning on stadium lights for 20 minutes.

PUSD Peer Counselors Encourage Staff with Surprise Video

This video was sent to us as a surprise message for #PowayUnified teachers and staff. It was made by Peer Counselors from Del Norte, Mt. Carmel, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, and Westview High Schools. This is why teachers and district staff do what they do - to make a positive difference in the life of each and every student.
"Dear PUSD Teachers, Staff, and Administration..."

Tim Saeger is Back With Another Virtual Orchestra Performance

These collaborations bring us so much joy. Everyone loved the first project, and PUSD trumpet teacher Tim Saeger does not disappoint - 64 trumpets, 1 bass, 1 drum, and a special guest. "I hope that my students feel a little more connected after having done this project. I look forward to more collaboration with them and when this is all over we can have something positive to show for during a difficult time," Tim wrote on the original Facebook post.

Thank you to our #PowayUnified community for choosing joy in this difficult situation. #alonetogether


Girl Scouts, PUSD Community Donates Hundreds of Face masks for Volunteers

These Girl Scouts are just a few of the #PowayUnified community members who donated handmade face masks earlier this month. To everyone who donated their time and energy in making them for our Food and Nutrition staff: THANK YOU! We couldn't be more proud of our resilient community.

School Lunch Heroes

May 1st is School Lunch Hero Day! PUSD food and nutrition employees have been feeding thousands of children across our district, every Monday through Friday ever since the school closures began. A huge shoutout and thank you for their efforts!

Westview Girl Scout Gives Back to Senior Community

Anjali Bose, a Westview High School sophomore, and Girl Scout Troop #2927 hold Zoom meetings with residents at local senior living and assisted living communities, read stories to them, play instruments in an online recital and play games.

“Surrounding us are many senior citizens who reside in senior living and assisted living communities, and are unable to have visitors during this time," said Anjali. "As part of our project to give back to the community, our troop will hold Zoom meetings with these residents. We want to be a part of their lives and give them the opportunity to socialize at a distance during this crisis.”

Read the full story here.

Quarantine Can't Stop the #MidlandMagic

Midland Elementary staff put on this neighborhood parade for their families and students earlier this week, to give everyone a chance to see each other even while social distancing. How fun is that?
Rattler Teachers & Staff Snake Caravan!! 💛🐍🚗🐍🚙🐍🚗🐍💛

See Something, Say Something - Vandals Targeting Closed Schools

Vandals and thieves are targeting schools across San Diego, including right here in #PowayUnified. We need your help to be our eyes and ears - report any suspicious activities to law enforcement.

If you see an active act of vandalism, call 911. If you see a non-active threat, report to non-emergent authority.

First Ever Virtual PUSD Board of Education Meeting

Due to COVID-19 related social distancing measures, the April 23rd Board of Education Meeting was conducted and livestreamed entirely online, via virtual/video conferencing. To view the meeting, click here.

Honors & Achievements

AVID Standouts Recognized at Virtual Board Meeting

Each year, #PowayUnified recognizes five seniors and six 8th graders who have demonstrated strong academic performance and commitment to their community through the AVID program. Typically, this is done in person at a PUSD Board of Education meeting - but because of emergency school closures, that cannot happen this year. We CAN, however, recognize them virtually with just as much pride. Please take a moment to join us in congratulating these exceptional students in their hard work. #classof2020

AVID Senior Standouts

AVID 8th Grade Standouts

Poway Unified High Schools Named in Top Performing US Schools

U.S. News and World Report recently released the rankings of top performing high schools at the local, state, and national level. Poway Unified is pleased to announce that our five comprehensive high schools were named as part of this group. Below are the rankings.

Westview High School in Torrey Highlands ranked No. 4 in San Diego County, No. 49 in California, and No. 400 nationwide.

Del Norte High School in 4S Ranch ranked No. 6 in San Diego County, No. 55 in California, and No. 436 nationwide.

Mt. Carmel High School in Rancho Penasquitos is ranked No. 16 in San Diego County, No. 159 in California, and No. 1,121 nationwide.

Poway High School in Poway ranked No. 24 in San Diego County, No. 223 in California, and No. 1,575 nationwide.

Rancho Bernardo High School in Rancho Bernardo ranked No. 27 in San Diego County, No. 272 in California, and No. 2,001 nationwide.

Poway High School's Emily Bylsma Is New Student Board Member

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Emily Bylsma as the new Student Board Member for the 2020-21 academic year. Emily's advocacy for positive social change, both on and off campus, reflects the values of someone who serves as the voice of students. We have no doubt she will thrive in this leadership role. Please help us congratulate Emily in this new position.

To read the full press release, please click here: https://bit.ly/PUSDEmily


PUSD's Dr. Jennifer Burks Named Admin of the Year for 2020 (ACSA)

The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) recently released the list of State Administrators of the Year for 2020. Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Burks, PUSD Associate Superintendent of Technology and Innovation, for being named California’s Technology Administrator of the Year!

Upon her arrival to Poway Unified in 2017, Dr. Burks created the District's new educational technology department from scratch. As the first-ever Associate Superintendent of Technology and Innovation for Poway Unified, she oversees both the Information and Education branches of technology.

“The fact that she accomplished so much in such a short period of time speaks to her incredible work ethic and commitment to professional growth,” Superintendent Marian Kim Phelps said. “Jennifer’s dedication to creating inclusive, innovative learning environments for all students is just one of the many reasons why she is deserving of this award.”

Dr. Burks, in addition to the other 2020 recipients, will be featured in EdCal Magazine later this summer and honored at the Leadership Summit Statewide Awards Ceremony on November 6 in San Diego.

PUSD's David Oliva Named San Diego County Classified Employee of the Year

David Oliva is a bus transportation aide, who works with special education students with very severe disabilities. The students live within PUSD boundaries, but are bussed to special day schools in Oceanside for their education. Oliva is one of the aides responsible for making sure they are safe and healthy during the 1 ½ hours a day they spend on the bus to and from their schools.

Over the past six years, David has gone above and beyond to ensure students are safe, comfortable, and engaged during these long drives. For example, he created a personalized book for a student to ease their anxiety during the bus ride. He researches educational videos on topics the students are interested in, to keep them learning on the drive.

Congratulations, David on being named San Diego County Classified Employee of the Year. His application will be forwarded to the state competition for consideration.

PUSD Names New Executive Director II of Learning Support

Congratulations to David LeMaster who was named the Executive Director II of Learning Support Services, effective July 1. He will be replacing Todd Cassen, who is moving to a position with CIF. Mr. LeMaster has served as Principal at Rancho Bernardo for the past eight years.

Highlight: Tim Purvis in School Transportation News Magazine

Quick shout out to our Director of Transportation, Tim Purvis, for this magazine feature. Tim has dedicated his career to ensuring the safety and well-being of each and every student that climbs aboard a school bus - each and every day. Campuses might be closed and buses are no longer carrying students right now, but we know Tim and our Transportation Department is eagerly awaiting the day they can take our students to and from school again. Click here to read the entire feature: bit.ly/PUSDt

News Minute: Stay Up-to-Date During Emergency Closures

Every Friday, we share the News Minute during the COVID-19 closures to help keep you informed and inspired. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @powayunified for these weekly updates. As always, the most up-to-date information regarding the novel coronavirus can be found at PUSD's COVID-19 resource page (http://bit.ly/3cX1khG).

Friday, April 24, 2020

This week’s News Minute includes the fun and creative distance learning ideas from teachers, Thursday night lights to honor the #Classof2020 and PUSD’s first virtual board meeting.
Poway Unified News Minute 04-24-20

Friday, April 10, 2020

In this week's News Minute: face mask donations, continued meal service, and IMPORTANT updates about grading policies.
News Minute 4-10-20 (COVID-19 Video Update #4)

Friday, April 3, 2020

Don't miss Chromebook distribution, temporarily relaxed UC/CSU admission requirements, and online registration timelines. You'll also want to watch until the end... 😉
News Minute 4-3-20 (COVID-19 Update #3)


Celebrations & Resolutions

April is Autism Awareness Month

Our mission is to support each and every student, each and every day. To see them as individuals first. To #CelebrateDifferences. To promote #inclusivity. Although we're celebrating #AutismAwarenessMonth with our students and their families virtually this year, we see you. We miss you. Our Special Education TOSA Megan Gross collaborated on a collection of resources with teachers around the world, to support families receiving SPED services during emergency closures. Check it out here: bit.ly/2K7vr8Y

Visit our Student Support Services website to learn more about the resources we offer for Special Education: https://www.powayusd.com/…/Special-Educat…/Special-Education


Happy Administrative Professionals Day

We wouldn't be #TeamPUSD without the collective support of our administrative professionals throughout #PowayUnified. Today, and every day, we say THANK YOU to those who work tirelessly for the good of our 36,000+ students. Schools might be closed, and routines might be drastically different right now, but their hearts are always open.

Earth Day 2020

Did you know that the Abraxas, Monterey Ridge, and Chaparral Elementary gardens continue to donate fresh produce to food banks during these school closures? These are just some of the ways our schools celebrated Earth Day this year, featuring a video made by the Sunset Hills elementary Clean Up Crew.
Earth Day Video

Bus Driver Appreciation Day

April 28 was School Bus Driver Appreciation Day in #PowayUnified! They're working behind the scenes to have drivers trained and buses clean, maintained, and ready to go, anticipating the day they can transport students again. We can't thank them enough for the time, energy & expertise they put into their daily duties. We miss you all!


PUSD Tipline

As part of Poway Unified’s ongoing efforts to improve school safety and security, we have been sharing this “See Something, Say Something” public service announcement with many of our students. But this message applies to our parents and community members as well: help spread the word by watching and sharing this video so that we have as many eyes and ears out there working to keep our students and staff safe from threats. Save the tip line number in your phone: 844-787-3847. Special thanks to our law enforcement partners who participated in this PSA and continue to monitor the tip line and investigate any threats.

Poway Unified App

Did you know we have an app?

On our app, you can:
1. Choose which schools to follow in Settings
2. Receive emergency messages from the alert center
3. See what's happening on the calendar
4. Follow along with the News Stream
5. Catch the latest sports scores

And MUCH MORE! Download for FREE on the App Store and Google Play Store.

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. 24 schools are located in the city of San Diego; 11 schools in the city of Poway; and 3 in the County of San Diego. The District serves approximately 36,000 students and is the third largest school district in the county.