MARCH 2017

Center Aim

It is a priority of CJUSD to create a well-rounded educational experience for all students. We value academics and are proud of the varied opportunities for students to get involved with school outside of the traditional classroom. We encourage students to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, such as a specialized program, sport, club or activity. In the words of Helen Keller, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." New friends, new experiences and possibly a great adventure await at each of our school sites.

Congratulations to Center High’s Media Communications Academy (MCA) for being named a 2017 California Partnership Academies Distinguished Academy. This honor is bestowed on less than 2% of the California Partnership Academies statewide.

I am proud of the varied secondary programs offered at Riles Middle School and Center High School. Students interested in engineering and biomedical sciences can begin their exploration at Riles Middle School with the Project Lead the Way Gateway program which feeds into Project Lead the Way at Center High. Additional paths at Center High include the 911 Dispatch Program, Pharmacy Tech and the SEAM Academy (Sports, Entrepreneurship, Activities, Marketing).

Each year we look forward to opportunities for students to showcase their new learning, such as the annual district wide Geography Bee, the Oak Hill Business Fair and the 8th grade dance performance at Sacramento State University. Spring also brings athletic competition such as track, softball and baseball. The spring play at CHS features the acting and musical talents of CHS students. Enjoy a night out with the family at the CHS Drama Production of The Trial of the Wicked Witch. Check your school's website for additional dates and opportunities to discover a new adventure right here in CJUSD.

We are past the midway point in the school year which means our schools are planning for Fall 2017. With the 8 period block schedule at Center High, there are significantly more opportunities for students to enroll in an expanded list of courses and programs. Visit the CHS website to view the 2017-18 Course Catalog

Elementary schools are also gearing up with registration of new kindergarteners and transitional kindergarteners. If you have a student who will be a kindergartener or in the Transitional Kindergarten program in the fall, please refer to the registration schedule listed on the website for your home school. All school sites can be found at

We continue to review and collect data to measure progress on our district wide Local Control Accountability Plan. Ensuring academic success in a safe environment with the involvement of parents and families is a priority for all students in our district. Our plan can be found on the district website under the LCFF/LCAP tab. To provide input on the progress we are making toward meeting our LCAP goals, I invite you to participate in our online survey accessible through our district website. Click the LCFF/LCAP button then click the LCAP Online Survey 2016-17 button. We appreciate your time and input.

All school sites will be closed April 10th-14th for Spring Break.

CHS Media Communications Academy (MCA) Named a 2017 Partnership Distinguished Academy

CHS Holds Court

Every other year, Center High School collaborates with the Office of Transportation and Safety to host a live DUI Court complete with a Judge, Prosecuting Attorney, Defense Attorney and a defendant. These are not actors.

On February 17th, the CHS Gymnasium was transformed into a court of law. Juniors and Seniors were invited to attend this court proceeding where they watched the trial unfold with the prosecution and defense both presenting their cases. This was a live program with the defendant receiving an actual sentence.

Shall We Dance?

-Karen Cook

“Shower, Shampoo and Shine!” Eighth grade students have been hearing this for several weeks now in preparation for the semi formal Ballroom Blitz event, which took place Friday, February 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the CSUS Union Ballroom. WCR students’ have been working very hard since early January learning the etiquette of asking and accepting invitations to dance, escorting each other on and off the dance floor and most importantly - learning and practicing positive ways to care for one another’s self esteem. Students have enjoyed learning to Swing, Tango, Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha and Polka. This memorable event is the culmination of their six week social dance unit in PE. At the Union Ballroom, all 290 students were dressed in semi-formal attire and displayed proper social etiquette as they had a wonderful time showing off their new dance skills and enjoying each others company in a very positive atmosphere.

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Center High Performing Arts presents: The Trial Of The Wicked Witch

The wicked witch has finally been caught and hauled into the Court of Once Upon a Time to stand trial. She's accused of casting a spell on Sleeping Beauty, attempting to poison Snow White, kidnapping Rapunzel, and trying to eat Hansel


Red Riding Hood heads up the prosecution with the Evil Step Mother of Cinderella fame serving as the defense attorney. The Three Little Pigs act as bailiffs, while Jack the Giant Killer is the guard. The judge? None other than the Fairy Godmother. The best part of all is the audience is the jury and gets to decide the outcome of the trial.

Show dates and times are the weekends of March 31 and April 1st, and again on the weekend of April 7th and 8th. The Friday shows start at 7:00 PM and the Saturday shows are at 2:00 and 7:00 PM. Doors open 1/2 hour before show time and the cost is $5.00 per person.

This will be a fun play for the whole family. Please come and join us. If you have any questions please call me at (916) 339-4702.

Mrs. Purdy

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CJUSD Wellness Corner

“Three Steps to Success: 1. Respond to failure with thoughtful change. 2. Work hard. 3. Refuse to give up.” -- poster in Aaron Hagman’s classroom.

Aaron Hagman, a social studies/history teacher at McClellan High School, is a Motivator, with a capital “M”. When I first talked with him by phone one weekend evening, he had just finished putting up his family’s holiday lights. Mine were still boxed up in the basement. I did a quick comparison: we’re both happily married but he has five active children to juggle and my two grown daughters are out of the house requiring zero supervision. This same guy is now happily talking with me about his passion: instilling a love and respect for fitness. After I arranged a time when I could visit the two P.E. classes he teaches, I hung up the phone, went down to the basement and started putting up my holiday lights. Like I said, just talking with Aaron is motivating.

Aaron is also an Innovator What did he do when some of his female students complained that they hated P.E.? He created an “Alternative P.E.” for them, featuring the same kinds of things he does in his “Strength and Conditioning” P.E. class with touches of yoga. When one of his students opened the door to let me in, I knew this wasn’t a visitation with the Ghost of My P.E. Classes Past. No coach was shouting, “Canvas Back, Smith” just because I got pinned during our wrestling block. Instead, the room was darkened and eight high school girls were laying on their yoga mats listening to new age music as they did stretches under the guidance of Mr. Hagman. Friday is their day for yoga after their Monday through Thursday regimen of conditioning.

After this class, I followed Aaron back to his office while a group of male students filed in for attendance. Some of them were opting to play basketball with Chris Collins who teaches a different P.E. class. As they left, Mr. Hagman teased: “The real men are staying to do conditioning with me.” These real men were joined by three real women students. Mr. Hagman started by demonstrating what would be happening at each of the nine different stations. For the first one Mr. Hagman picked up a sledgehammer, paused, and then did a quick risk assessment. He was probably reflecting on the fact that his experienced class was now being joined by an old amateur (a.k.a. Canvas Back Smith) so he wisely decided there would only be eight stations. I still don’t know how that sledgehammer was going to be used!

Here are the eight stations which were accompanied by a pulsating song and these memorable lyrics: “Bring Sally up, bring Sally down.” Each activity also had a rest and reflect phase after the working period.

1. First, I picked up two 2 inch in diameter by 18 foot long ropes. This exercised my arms as I made waves with my left arm and then my right. After 25 seconds of exertion for three different rounds, those ropes seemed mighty heavy to me.

2. Dead ball drop. Go ahead, pick up this weighted ball, lift it high above your head and

then throw it to the ground as hard as you can. Make it “disintegrate,” I think that’s what

Aaron urged us to do. The ball, of course, had its own agenda. Thud! It just lays there

like the most unmotivated student you’ve ever encountered.

3. Lift a weighted bag (large or smaller -- I chose smaller) and throw it over one shoulder;

drop it and then heft it over your other shoulder, again for three different 25 second rounds.

4-5. Two rings anchored to the ceiling were used to help give me some much needed balance as I did squats and, later, arm stretches across my body. Aaron sensed that my wife probably wanted to next see me at home and not in the emergency room. That’s why he came over and gently gave me this advice. Since all of his students had been working up to this level of conditioning for several weeks I should take a break during the third setof squats. My wife says, “Thanks, Aaron!”

6. Alternating toe steps on to and then off of a milk crate sized support.

7. Hopping up onto a giant truck tire with one leg and then the other.

8. Lifting and then flipping over a different giant tire in one direction and then back to where it was originally.

The students were TOTALLY engaged the entire time. Afterwards, Chloe stuck around with a fellow student to continue with her conditioning. She told me that she appreciated Mr. Hagman for creating this class and she loved getting “pumped up” every day. Lest you think Aaron has always been health conscious, think again. He confided that he has been a couch potato for a time or three. However, Aaron has learned that regular conditioning makes him a better teacher, husband and parent.

I came back a week later to join McClellan High’s attendance secretary, Lin Jones, and school counselor, Carla Guerguy (a.k.a. Mrs. G to her students), as they ran through a lunchtime version of the student conditioning routine. Why should the students have all the healthy fun? Their routine focused on exercises that would not stress their temporary upper body issues. Mrs. G, at that time was 17 weeks into her pregnancy, did the rings-supported squats like a teenager. Poor Aaron was nursing a recent Jujitsu injury so he couldn’t even do the modified program. No matter, Lin took over the motivational role as she encouraged me to keep up with her as best I could. It’s wise to listen to someone who has lost 35 pounds since taking advantage of the conditioning opportunities that Aaron has brought to McClellan High School. By the way, the school also has a weight room.

After her work-out, Lin told me that she has a dream. She’d like to see Center Unified School District offer its employees a subsidized wellness program that would take place before or after school at a fitness gym somewhere in Antelope. Insurance issues prevent outsiders from using McClellan’s facilities. She also envisions Aaron as an integral part of this healthy employee perk. His fitness knowledge and motivational acumen are what keeps her coming back every day. Imagine what this core of healthy Center employees would inspire their fellow teachers, students and family members to do. Healthier exercise and eating habits would create all kinds of healthy bi-products: less illnesses and happier attitudes. Even local shops would benefit from the smaller sized clothes these staffers would be buying.

Until that dream becomes reality, Lin urges Center employees to check out Antelope’s chapter of “Moms run this town” on the web. It’s for female walkers or runners who don’t actually have to be “moms” in order to participate. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:00 a.m. the group meets at Antelope Crossing Middle School. They do intervals (walk/running) for 3.5 miles and then sometimes reward themselves with some bracing conversation at a nearby coffee shop. Leave it to women to be at the forefront of something very good. I might have to look into buying a wig so I can join them. Never count out old Canvas Back Smith!

Written by Robert Smith, a member of Center Unified School District’s Wellness Committee and a RSP teacher at Dudley Elementary. Please email me at if know of other healthy endeavors taking place on your campus.