Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

December 2018 / January 2019 Edition

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Superintendent's Message: A New Year, a New Way to Educate

As many of you reflect on goals for the new year, I find myself doing the same for the students of the Poway Unified School District. One of our primary responsibilities as educators is to prepare students for future careers. But when an estimated 85 percent of the jobs that will make up the future workforce have not yet been invented (Institute for the Future’s 2017 report), fulfilling our mission of college and career readiness becomes increasingly challenging.

With a continually shifting workplace, education must change how and what we are teaching our young people. Education should be nimble, adaptable and innovative. Education in 2019 should look completely different from 2009 and 1999. Yet how many classrooms across the country are still sticking to the traditional teaching and learning methods of the past to help prepare students for the future?

I saw an illustration the other day, and the message was simple yet striking. It showed an automobile from the 1960’s and one from today. It showed a manufacturing facility from the 1960’s and one from today. It showed a classroom from the 1960’s and one from today. Only the classroom remained unchanged.

Last November, Intel brought its mobile Tech Learning Lab to one of our schools, Design39Campus. The immersive, hands-on experience included virtual reality stations, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, coding and robotics and the Internet of Things. These are the same emerging technologies that the Institute for the Future says are going to completely transform the workplace by the year 2030. While it may sound like science fiction, our students were fully engaged and all-in. There really wasn’t much of a learning curve because today’s students already live in a digital world, with technology seamlessly integrated into their daily lives. In fact, many PUSD schools have established tech support teams comprised entirely of students! Roles have been flipped and our students are becoming the teachers. The natural next step is to ensure technology is seamlessly integrated into their classrooms as well.

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We are not suggesting students be glued to iPads or computers all day. Our Technology and Innovation department is taking a very purposeful and systematic approach to integrating technology in our classrooms. How can technology support, enhance, and enrich the standards and curriculum being taught? PUSD has invested many hours into providing professional development and embedded coaching to empower teachers to transform student learning, and to prepare students with the skills necessary to be successful in today’s technological world. From digital citizenship lessons to hour of code activities, students from elementary to high school are benefiting.

In addition to technology skills, students must learn how to be creative, think critically, problem solve, communicate effectively, and collaborate on project-based learning. These type of “soft skills” were identified by a Google study as some of the most important skills to be a successful employee. Students must also be given a clear picture of the various career and college options that are available to them. We use student strength assessments and career exploration tools to help our young people identify their passions and how that translates into possible career goals. Based on their interests and talents, students can then take Career Technical Education courses at the secondary level, with pathways for in-demand careers ranging from construction to computer science, graphic design to agriculture, and digital media to biomedical science.

PUSD’s new Launch Lab at Pomerado Elementary School is the realization of our vision of a new kind of educational experience. The lab includes student-centered, hands-on learning experiences allowing them to explore careers in multimedia production, computer science/coding and robotics, engineering and building, and social media production that all tie into the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. The teachers are able to move seamlessly between their classrooms and the lab. In the Pomerado Launch Lab, student experiences are enlightening, enriching, and genuinely motivate them towards lifelong learning and future success. The best part: Pomerado’s Launch Lab is a replicable and scalable model for other schools throughout PUSD.

I am excited for what’s to come. For 2019 and beyond, PUSD resolves to do education differently to ensure that our students are not just ready and successful for college and career, but for life.

-Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D., Superintendent

As originally published in the Pomerado News


PUSD Districtwide Survey

This Friday, on February 1, 2019, PUSD will launch our annual survey to gather your input on our Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, which will shape the District’s goals and guide our budgeting priorities for 2019-2020. We want to hear from you! Please watch this video message from Superintendent, Dr. Marian Kim Phelps on why getting your feedback is so important.

In past years, our LCAP forums were primarily held in person, but that limited the feedback we received to those who were physically able to come to these on-site meetings. Instead, this year we hope to increase participating by using a simple, convenient online platform that can be accessed from any smartphone or computer.

Thoughtexchange is essentially a virtual conversation, where you can share your thoughts, see the thoughts of others in your school community, and prioritize the thoughts most important to you. Look for an email next week to walk you through the participation process. For the answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Thoughtexchange, go here for FAQs.
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If you would still like to participate in person, we will be hosting four meetings District wide:


  • Tuesday, February 5th at 6pm (Twin Peaks Middle School Library)
  • Wednesday, February 6th at 6pm (District Office Community Room)
  • Thursday, February 7th at 6pm (Oak Valley Midd School Multi-Purpose Room)


  • Thursday, February 7th at 6pm (Valley Elementary School Library)
RSVP for the In-Person meetings here.

Whether you participate online or in person, we will be asking everyone to answer the following question: “What are the most important things to focus on as we continue our work to support all students?” To help inform your answers, please take the time to review our current LCAP goals and the actions supporting them for the 2018-19 school year.

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What I Wish My Parents Knew About Vaping

Did you know? The amount of nicotine in one JUUL cartridge equals the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes. Rancho Bernardo High School hosted an informational night titled, "What I Wish My Parents Knew about Vaping and eCigarettes." If you weren't able to attend, but would like to learn more about the topics covered, listen to the podcast below with Principal David LeMaster. He discusses the peer pressure students face, the importance of parent partnership with schools, and why Juul-ing is more addictive than students realize.

Poway Unified School District

PUSD Podcast Ep. 13 - Vaping and eCigarettes with David LeMaster by Poway Unified School District


Student, School, and Staff Achievements

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International Confucius Classroom of the Year

Adobe Bluffs Elementary School won the prestigious title of International Confucius Classroom of the Year Award! ABES is the only elementary school to be recognized internationally for best Mandarin language and culture program.
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Inspirational Student of the Month

Bernardo Heights 8th grader Lilia Montiel received a surprise visit during her science class from her family members and representatives from the San Diego County Office of Education and NBC7. She was chosen as their Inspirational Student of the Month, for her work in raising money and donations for children who don’t have beds to sleep in. Her story aired on NBC7 and you can also read more about this amazing young lady in this article.

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Congratulations Mustangs!

Meadowbrook Middle School English Learners have met the Poway Unified School District reclassification criteria. They have shown proficiency in their classes, on SBAC testing and the ELPAC Test (English Language Proficiency Assessments for California). A big THANK YOU to the Meadowbrook Education Foundation for sponsoring the event.

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Local Students Earn Gold!

(from Terry Monhan, San Diego Union Tribune)

For the first time on the big stage in a fairly new sport of Aesthetic Group Gymnastics, Team Grace turned in its best performance of the season at the right time.

At the Pan Am Championships against teams from 13 countries, Nov. 23-24 in Santos, Brazil, Team Grace, made up of nine gymnasts, most of them from San Diego, captured the gold medal. The roster includes Helen Xu, a junior at Del Norte High, and Angela Ma from Westview High. Alternates who did not compete in Brazil include Fernanda Fabian of Poway High.

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Abraxas Graduation

Congratulations to the over two dozen Abraxas High School seniors who graduated this December.
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Abraxas Receives Rotary Donation

Abraxas High School received a generous donation from the Rotary for teachers in both the Diploma and Transition Programs to purchase classroom wish list items to enhance student learning and experiences
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Grants Awarded to Pomerado Elementary!

Congratulations to Pomerado Elementary School on being awarded $10,000 from the OtterCares Foundation to be used for the schools Launch lab!

Congrats also go out to teacher Laura Snow as the recipient of a $500 Teacher Grant awarded by North Island Credit Union. Her project, Support for Blended Learning, was chosen from among hundreds of submissions. She received the grant award in front of hundreds of cheering students.
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Constitutional Challenge

Ms. Hanson's class at Mesa Verde Middle School won the school's annual Constitutional Challenge! They were awarded certificates by Congressman Peters' office.

Skyler Wu Wins 1st Place!

Congratulations to Del Norte High School Senior Skyler Wu for representing the Nest and being awarded 1st Place in the San Diego CATE Student Writing Contest.
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We the People

8th grade students from Black mountain Middle School participated in the “We the People Competition” held at Grossmont College. The BMMS Raiders took first place! Congratulations!! Way to represent #TeamPUSD
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PUSD Students Team Up!

Del Norte and Westview High School DECA students won multiple awards at the SoCal DECA Career Development Conference.
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Westview NJROTC

Congratulations, Westview NJROTC at a recent Field Meet. The team took 2nd overall; 1st in Unit Personal inspection; 1st in Physical Training; and 3rd in Academics.

Safety Patrol Standout!

Westwood Elementary School Safety Patrol Capt. Lindsay Biddle was nominated for the rank of Colonel of all of San Diego by the school’s SRO Gary MacPhee. Of the 16 finalists & 2,000 Safety Patrols from 79 schools, she was promoted to Lt Colonel! Congrats Lindsay! Way to represent #TeamPUSD
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Top Ranked CyberPatriot Teams

Congratulations to Del Norte High School’s cyber security team – “CyberAegis Chobani,” Oak Valley Middle School’s cyber security team – “CyberAegis Chaos,” and D39C's team - "CyberAegis Kronos," (below) as the nation’s top ranked high school and middle school teams, in the CyberPatriot Competition. We wish them luck on their march to the nationals!
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NCWIT Award Winner!

Congratulations to Shruti Verma who was selected as a 2019 National Honorable Mention for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing, from over 4,300 applications!

Mt. Carmel Dance Troupe

Congratulations to the MC Dance Troupe on their first competition this year! 5th place for Jazz, 3rd for Pom, and 1st for contemporary!

RBHS Dance Champions

Congratulations to RBHS Dance on winning Grand Champions at the West Coast Elite regional championships!

Stone Ranch Design Award

Representatives of Baker Nowicki Design presented Stone Ranch Elementary School the SDG&E Savings by Design Award for their recent building addition. Some items that were integrated into the design - glazing, high efficiency HVAC system, cool roof, commissioning and exceeding Title 24 by more than 20%.
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Wrestling Champs

Congratulations to Rancho Bernardo Wrestling for bringing home the 1st Place Team Trophy at the Hotville Rotary Invitational 2019. GO BRONCOS!


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Excellence in Education Video Series

PUSD's latest “Excellence in Education” video, created by our Studio 701 Interns (pictured right), focuses on the AVID program at Black Mountain Middle School. Black Mountain is a National Demonstration School. Please watch the video below to learn more about how they're helping students achieve college and career readiness.


Fun Photo Gallery

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All PUSD Choir Performance

On January 19 and 20, choir students from all five PUSD high schools gathered together at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts to perform works by Ola Gjeilo.

Physics Boat Races

PUSD Photography Intern Brendan Heath captured these fun photos of the annual physics boat races at Rancho Bernardo High School. Every year physics students across PUSD attempt to build a boat out of paper and balsam wood to withstand the water and the weight of a passenger. While some boats make it across the pool, several always end up underwater!
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No Place for Hate at Canyon View

Students at Canyon View Elementary signing the No Place for Hate promise to treat everyone fairly, to be kind, and to stand against bullies. Younger Canyon View Elementary School students engaged in a No Place for Hate role playing lesson! We are solving problems peacefully and finding our voice!
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Kindergartners as Teachers

Kindergartners at Chaparral Elementary share their accomplishments with their smart pads with the transitional kinders.
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Harvest Time and New Years

Students at Chaparral Elementary harvest their Bok Choy and created Holiday Seed Cards. They then prepared for the new year with their own resolutions.
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Superintendent's Student Advisory Council

Representatives from all six PUSD high school meet monthly with the Superintendent's Cabinet to learn more about PUSD and how they can represent student voice in District decisions. Thank you for your commitment!
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Toys for Tots

Meadowbrook Middle School students, staff and families overfilled the annual Toys for Tots toy drive and will make many, many children very happy. Way to go Mustangs!! A number of other schools also participated in the annual toy drive - including Abraxas High School and Highland Ranch Elementary!
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All Wrapped Up

Westview High School's dance troupe performing All Wrapped Up.
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Women In Engineering Day

Lockheed Martin hosted dozens of young female engineers from Meadowbrook Middle School during their annual Women In Engineering Day.
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Westview Unity Game

The “Golden Leaders” student athletes at Westview High School and the Best Buddies Club held their annual Unity Basketball Game. Student athletes, together with students with special needs, met on the court and played some serious basketball in front of hundreds of supportive students and staff cheering them on! This school-wide sporting event is one of the most popular events on campus. Way to represent #TeamPUSD.

International Game Day

4th grade students at Highland Ranch Elementary School participated in International Game Day and experienced a new game from Korea... it was a hit!
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Best Buddies Night

So proud of our Rancho Bernardo High School Boys Basketball and Del Norte High School for putting on the annual Best Buddies basketball event. We have amazing students!
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ABES Ability Awareness Day

Adobe Bluffs Elementary School held their annual Ability Awareness Day where invited guests shared their special abilities with students. Students met challenged athletes - and their service dogs, a man who operates a computer with his eyes, and talked with Westview High School students who are part of the Best Buddies Club (above).
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Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!

Del Norte High School AP Euro students re-enacted the French Revolution!
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Poway High School at the Zoo

Poway High School's advanced and AP Photography to do cross-curricular work with AP Environmental Science students to create graphics regarding different endangered species.

Garden Road Pet Supplies Drive

Garden Road Elementary School’s student council sponsored a pet drive over the winter break to obtain donations of pet supplies to “Labs and More” – an animal rescue. Student council president Kyle Lokken, who came up with the idea, and other student council members and their families delivered all of the items. Special thanks to Garden Road student council sponsors – Mrs. Christine Gallinetti, Mrs. Allison Leedom, and Ms. Jaclyn Vella!

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Stone Ranch Donates

Stone Ranch Elementary School’s Student Council hosted a Toy Drive for Rady Children's Hospital and dropped their donations off in time for the holidays. Way to represent #TeamPUSD
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Come on everybody, let's do the conga!

Rolling Hills Elementary students danced the conga during recess, with their custodian Char leading the way!


Hour of Code 2018


News & Announcements

Singin' in the Rain

Based on the film with the same name, Poway High School's production of Singin’ in the Rain has all the makings of a Tinseltown tabloid headline – the starlet, the leading man, and a love affair that could change lives and make or break careers! In the silent movies, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are a hot item but, behind the scenes, things aren’t always as they appear on the big screen! Meanwhile, Lina’s squeaky voice might be the end of her career in “talking pictures” without the help of a talented young actress to do the talking and singing for her.

Showtimes at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts:

Friday, February 1, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, February 8, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

For tickets, go here.

My Fair Lady

Del Norte High School's theatre department presents the beloved musical My Fair Lady. Pompous professor Henry Higgins is so sure of his abilities that he takes it upon himself to transform a working-class girl into someone who can pass for a cultured member of high society. His subject turns out to be the lovely Eliza Doolittle, who agrees to speech lessons to improve her job prospects. Higgins and Eliza clash, then form an unlikely bond -- one that is threatened by an aristocratic suitor.

Showtimes at the Del Norte High School Performing Arts Center:

Friday, February 1st at 7pm

Saturday, February 2nd at 2pm

Saturday, February 2nd at 7pm

Friday, February 8th at 7pm

Friday, February 9th at 7pm

For tickets, go here.

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Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation

Register Here for the Next Free Heart Screening

WHEN: Sunday, February 10

WHERE: Westview High School • 13500 Camino Del Sur • San Diego, 92129


  • Screenings are for youth ages 12 to 25 only

  • Open to the public—you do not need to be a student at the host school

  • Parents of youth under 18 need not attend if youth brings a signed/completed Screening Packet

Eric Paredes was a healthy Steele Canyon High School sophomore athlete who died suddenly and unexpectedly from Sudden Cardiac Arrest/Death (SCA/D) in 2009. His parents, Hector and Rhina Paredes, established EP Save A Life Foundation to honor him through their commitment to screen other teens to prevent this tragedy from happening to other families.

The California Department of Education releases the 2018 California Dashboard

The California Department of Education released statewide results of the 2018 California School Dashboard. The Dashboard shows how well students within a district or school are performing on a variety of indicators, including test scores, graduation rates, suspension rates, chronic absenteeism, and college/career readiness. This accountability system provides a wealth of information to assist parents, educators, and the general public in evaluating schools and districts. To view the California School Dashboard click here.


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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 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.