Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

April 2019 Edition

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Community Vigil for Poway Shooting Victims

Dear Team PUSD,

Last night's community vigil for the Poway shooting victims was a beautiful and inspiring expression of the strength and love in this community. In the face of darkness, there was light, as speaker after speaker took the stage to honor the victims and take a stand against hate. I was privileged to represent PUSD at the vigil, and I wanted to share my remarks with you. As our community tries to heal from this tragedy, know that I am committed to continuing this important work alongside all of you:

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"Wow. Good evening. 4,000+ strong when I look out into the audience. It’s moments like this when it hits me and really makes me aware of how lucky I am to serve this community. Like many of you, after I heard the news of the shooting, I struggled with feelings of anger, sadness, fear, despair… and I was overcome with a strong desire and need to want to do something. “We need to do something. We need to do more.” But then I paused and I realized we are doing something. While we need to always continue to do better and do more, as educators in Poway Unified, we serve on the front lines in the fight against hate. In our classrooms, at lunch time, throughout the school day, our students and staff are engaged in lessons and activities teaching tolerance, kindness, and respect for differences. We at Poway Unified are truly committed to continuing to teach our children about tolerance, kindness, and respect for differences. Did you know that it’s “No Place for Hate Week” this week at many of our schools? Before this tragedy, our students had already been busy planning ways to help make our schools free of bias and discrimination.

One example is Talia Schauder, a junior here at Poway High School. Today she gave a presentation as part of her Talia’s Tolerance Tour, a way to share her grandfather’s Holocaust survival story. Talia realized that there was a need to educate middle and high schoolers about the Holocaust — teen to teen. So she’s been taking her presentation on the road to our schools across Poway Unified and San Diego County. She’s already reached thousands of children. Students like Talia give me hope; hope that by reaching more young people and educating them, we can make a positive impact to help prevent the type of hatred that fueled Saturday’s attack.

I am also touched by the outpouring of support and solidarity that Poway Unified has shown for the Jewish community, our Poway community, and our San Diego community. I’m also hearing reports that our students – from elementary to high school— are making cards and signs to express condolences in support of our families and for the victims as well as to thank first responders. Tragic events like what happened Saturday are not the type of experience we wish for any of our children to have to learn from. But the empathy, compassion, and resilience they are learning from this experience is a teachable moment. As we say in education: it’s an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue and learn as we continue to fight bias, discrimination, and hate.

It breaks my heart when I hear children say that they don’t feel safe. 8-year-old Noya Dayan survived the attack. She told reporters about the frightening moments when she was hit by shrapnel. This, after her former home was defaced by swastikas. We know that when a child doesn’t feel safe, they can’t learn, they can’t grow, and they definitely can’t thrive as they were meant to. Children (and all of us) have a right to feel safe in our places of worship, in our schools, and in our homes.

This effort doesn’t and can’t end in our schools and it can’t end from this. As a community, we have so much work to do. And as adults, we must model the right behavior, use education to fight ignorance, and show our children how to be upstanders and allies to the powerless. It’s not just our schools that should become “No Places for Hate.” Let’s all commit to making our workplaces, our homes, and all of our businesses all No Places for Hate.

When we show the world that our community won’t stand for hate and that instead of dividing us, it unites us; Love, not hate, wins.

Thank you. Bless you all."

Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D.



Excellence in Education Video Series

Every month, Studio 701 (PUSD's digital media internship) highlights a PUSD program or event as part of the "Excellence in Education" series. This week, the interns turned the cameras on themselves, to provide you with a behind the scenes look.


Student, School, and Staff Achievements

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PUSD District Teachers of the Year

The Poway Unified School District is proud to announce that Sarah McCracken - Midland Elementary School; Coleen Montgomery - Rancho Bernardo High School; and Stephen Whittaker - Oak Valley Middle School; have been chosen as the Poway Unified School District Teachers of the Year for 2019. You can read more about these outstanding individuals and see a full list of site and department winners here.
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CyberAegis Winners!

At the CyberPatriot National Finals Competition in Baltimore, in the Middle School Division, PUSD swept 1st, 2nd and 3rd place! 1st place went to Team CyberAegis Chaos, from Oak Valley Middle School; 2nd place went to Team CyberAegis Kronos, from Design39Campus; and 3rd place went to Team CyberAegis Aether – the all-girls team, from Oak Valley Middle School. In the High School Division, Del Norte High School’s Team CyberAegis Chobani took 3rd place. Congratulations to our National Winners!

Coach of the Year!

Rancho Bernardo High School’s wrestling coach Joe Terribilini was named California Wrestling Coach of the Year by the California Coaches Association. Terribilini has been coaching the Broncos for 17 seasons, and was also named the San Diego County Wrestling Coach of the Year. He will be honored at a reception in June. You can read more about him in this article here.
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MBMS Outstanding Leadership

Meadowbrook Middle School ASB received the 2018-2019 Outstanding Leadership Program Award at the CA Association of Student Leadership (CASL) State Conference in Santa Clara. The mission of CASL is to support the development, training, and empowerment of the soon-to-be leaders of our society and nation.

SAI Model Schools

The Poway Unified School District is proud to announce the selection of three schools - Monterey Ridge Elementary School, Twin Peaks Middle School, and Mt. Carmel High School - as the District’s 2019 Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI) model schools. These three schools are being celebrated for their work instructing students with disabilities and will serve as pilot schools for PUSD’s initiative to increase Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI) in the least restrictive environment. You can read more about SAI here.

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Team Spyder at World Championships

Congratulations to Poway High School's robotics team, Team Spyder, for winning multiple awards at the World Championships in Houston, Texas. The team won the Imagery Award and Championship Pit Safety Award and team member Ryan Barnett took home the Championship Safety Star Award!
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Science Olympiad State Finals

Several PUSD schools placed in the top ten at the State Finals of the Science Olympiad at CalTech. In the high school division, Westview High School earned 6th place and Del Norte High School placed 7th. In the middle school division, Oak Valley Middle School took 3rd, Mesa Verde Middle School placed 6th, and Black Mountain Middle School place 7th.
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AVID School-wide Site of Distinction

Congratulations to Twin Peaks Middle School on being designated an AVID School-wide Site of Distinction! This recognition illustrates Twin Peaks’ commitment to equity and opportunity for all students on campus, acknowledges their promotion of rigorous academic opportunities for all students, and shows their commitment to superb instructional practices.
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Film Festival Winners

Rancho Bernardo High School Digital media students won Best Public Service Announcement (PSA) and Best Student News segment at the North County High School Film Festival. The annual festival showcases the best student films as well as provides workshops and speakers for student filmmakers.

PHS Student Wins Leadership Award

Congratulations to Talia Schauder, a Junior at Poway High School, for winning the Peter Chortek Leadership Award (PCLA), facilitated annually by the Jewish Community Foundation for demonstrating teen excellence in community service and leadership. Talia created Talia’s Tolerance Tour as a way to share her grandfather’s Holocaust survival story, after realizing there was a need to educate teenagers in middle and high schools about the Holocaust — teen to teen.

Literacy Award

Trenace Sevilla, Elementary Curriculum Teacher on Special Assignment, was presented with the Greater San Diego Literacy Award of Excellence. Trenace has served as a teacher in PUSD for 18 years, and was recognized for the quality of her literacy instruction in the classroom.

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Fire Science Challenge

The Best of the Best Fire Science Challenge, hosted by Poway Fire, was a huge success! Mt. Carmel High School won “Hose Wars” and took second place overall all in the competition. Thank you to our first responders who volunteered their time and resources. (photos by intern Brendan Heath)
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Mock Trial Winners Recognized

San Diego County Office of Education recognized Westview High School’s Mock Trial Team for their 1st place win in the county.

Yearbook Award

Del Norte High School's 2017-18 yearbook won the prestigious silver crown publication award and is in the top 80 yearbooks nationally and in Canada.


Fun Photo Gallery

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Special Olympics at Poway High School

Poway High school hosted their annual Special Olympics featuring athletes from Del Norte, Mt. Carmel, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Westview and Abraxas High Schools. Athletes marched in an opening ceremony and then competed in a number of soccer matches, special events, and wheelchair races in front of hundreds of cheering students, staff, and volunteers.

Biography Living Museum

Second grade students at Tierra Bonita Elementary School held their annual Biography Living Museum to the delight of teachers, students and parents. Lots of famous faces were there!
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Federal Program Monitoring

Our amazing team who prepared for months for a successful FPM (Federal Program Monitoring) Review with the California Department of Education. It was PUSD's first in many, many years and it wasn’t easy. But #TeamPUSD not only got it done, but with minimal findings!

Vocational Skills Conference

PUSD’s Transition Program hosted a Vocational Skills Conference at Abraxas High School. The conference was for students in the Transition Program with special needs. Students heard from, and asked questions of, a keynote speakers’ panel of 5 former Transition Students. They addressed what life is like after Transition, where they work, go to school, live and socialize. Following the morning panel, students spent the rest of the day attending break-out sessions, with topics including, Getting the Job, Keeping the Job, Dress for Success, Social Thinking in the Work Place, and a Mock Interview.
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Poway Band and Orchestra Festival

The Poway Band and Orchestra Festival, hosted by Poway High School and the PHS Instrumental Music Program, was in full swing at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. The 3-day festival presents over 40 talented middle school and high school ensembles from PUSD.

Chivalry Today

Oak Valley Middle School 7th graders participated in the annual school-wide Medieval living history event – Chivalry Today. Students learned about falconry, woodworking, bread making, the trebuchet, and more! Students and teachers were encouraged to dress in medieval character.

Kids Who Care

A shout out to the Kids Who Care students from Highland Ranch Elementary School doing volunteer work at Feeding America San Diego. They sorted, formed an assembly line and prepared food bags.
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Robotics Day

Poway Unified School District celebrated Robotics Day; a day set aside in recognition of the growth of Robotics teams throughout #PowayUnified & the achievements they have garnered.
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Ride Across California

Canyon View’s own Chloe R. and Evan G. participated in the #RideAcrossCalifornia, training since last September and biking 260 miles from Yuma to Encinitas!


News & Announcements

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Walk Against Hate

We hope to see you there! A number of Poway Unified schools will be honored during the opening ceremony for their involvement in No Place For Hate. Register here.
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Youth Enrichment Programs (YEP)

YEP Summer Camps are available for children grades 1-8. Offerings include: Art, Computers, Drama, Engineering, Languages, Science and more. Don't miss out - Register by June 12th through the Poway Adult School website 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.