March 5, 2021
10th Annual Heroes of Vista Celebration - Live Virtual Gala
The Vista Education Foundation and Vista Chamber of Commerce will be co-hosting the 10th annual Heroes of Vista. During the event, businesses, educators, military personnel, and first responders are honored as true Heroes of Vista. Attendees will enjoy entertainment from VUSD students and have an opportunity to bid on silent auction items or make a donation with all proceeds supporting the Vista Education Foundation. The event will be held live online on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the virtual event are free and everyone is encouraged to attend. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please contact the Vista Chamber of Commerce.
The Vista Chamber of Commerce is a diverse organization that is focused on impacting our community in a powerful way. For more than 95 years, the Vista Chamber of Commerce has represented our community by advocating for businesses, planning for our community’s future, giving back through non-profits, and partnering to make Vista a sought after place to do business, raise families, shop, dine, and play. They are a convener of leaders and influencers who make things happen. The Chamber shares a strong partnership with the Vista Unified School District and our community for the purpose of connecting businesses to every level of government. The chamber is a catalyst for business growth and champions for a stronger community.
Our Commitment to Vista Virtual
We had an incredible response from our students, parents, classified staff, and certificated staff for the Vista Virtual surveys with 5,170 replies. The Superintendent’s Council for Innovative Learning met this week to review the survey data and provide feedback to elementary, middle, and high schools for areas of refinement as we continue to support our students, teachers, staff and parents in the Vista Virtual learning model. The survey results provide valuable feedback about how we can continue to improve the Vista Virtual learning environment. The feedback indicates that we have made significant progress ensuring that students have access to technology and that the connectivity at home is improving. The survey data also indicates some best practices for engagement and learning for teachers and students as well as a need to continue to focus on the social-emotional wellbeing of our students and to address learning loss and acceleration.
To view the survey data, please click here or visit the Superintendent's Council for Innovative Learning website.
Secondary Schools Will Shift to Minimum Days When Rain is Forecasted
With our secondary schools returning for in-person learning with their stable cohorts and with rain forecasted for the coming week, we are working with site leadership to maximize the time on campus for students. Because of this, we will be instituting minimum days for all middle and high schools when rain is forecasted. Our school board members and principals feel that it is very important to maintain the continuity of in person instruction rather than pivot to virtual school; however, on days that are forecasted for rain, students will only attend school on a minimum day schedule. The principals will provide all parents with details about the minimum day dismissal time for their school. Upon dismissal, Classic students will be able to collect a sack lunch from the cafeteria and bring it home to eat. This new schedule adjustment will ensure the safety of our students and staff. We apologize for the inconvenience that this schedule change may cause families; however, we need your help to continue to be vigilant with our health and safety efforts. To assist families to prepare for these minimum days, you will receive a notification from your school principal (both email and phone call) 48 hours prior to a minimum day. As we do with elementary, we will be using the local NOAA forecast for Vista, CA showing 30% or more chance of rain. We would like to thank families again for their grace, understanding, and most importantly, flexibility during these challenging times.
Community Feedback on Annual Strategic Planning
Every school district in the state of California is required to develop a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to outline the actions and services that will support student academic, social, and behavioral achievement. We call our LCAP the Blueprint for Educational Excellence and Innovation. The LCAP must go through an annual revision process to ensure that students, parents, teachers, and staff members have the opportunity to provide feedback on the current actions and services and to make suggestions for additional actions and services that students need to reach their full potential as learners. We are offering two LCAP community forums to gather feedback during the month of March. Please join one of the webinars below to engage in our annual LCAP revision process.
Summer Programs for Students
Vista Unified leaders are in the preliminary process of planning summer learning opportunities for students in all grade spans throughout the district.
Elementary principals are working on preliminary plans that will focus on offering programs in reading, math, ELD, Science, and other content areas that will address learning loss and provide activities that extend learning. Part of the design process is to develop virtual and classic learning opportunities. We anticipate finalizing the summer learning plan by the end of April. We will then create a simple registration process for parents and students.
Middle school students will have access to bridge and enrichment programs at each school site. Some students will be invited to participate in bridge programs, which will provide targeted learning opportunities to prepare students academically for the upcoming school year. Each middle school will also offer enrichment opportunities in a variety of disciplines. Students and families will receive additional information about the specific programs offered at their schools in the coming months.
At the high school level, students will have access to a multi-tiered system of summer school programs. Some of our incoming 8th graders will be invited to participate in a bridge program at the school they will attend in the fall. Each high school will offer a variety of enrichment opportunities for their students, and all students will have the option of remediating failing grades for both the fall and spring semesters at a centralized district summer school program. In addition, we are maintaining our program for our current seniors who need to finish a few more credits in order to graduate in July. Students and families will receive additional information about the programs and enrollment in the coming months.
Virus Rates Continue to Drop Dramatically in San Diego County
Case rates and percent positivity numbers continue to trend in the right direction. This week reported a drop in percent positivity from 5.0% to 4.2%, which is in the Orange Tier. The adjusted average daily new cases per 100,000 dropped from 15.0 to 10.8. News this week from the state has San Diego County remaining in the Purple Tier, but we are hopeful that if this downward trend continues, San Diego County will be reassigned to the Red Tier in the coming weeks. Counties are assigned a tier based on two metrics, test positivity and case rate.
Vista Unified Student Athletes Get Back to Competition
High school athletic practice and competition has resumed for some sports under the newly released youth sports guidance from the California Department of Public Health. Because our average daily new case rate is less than 14 cases per 100,000 residents, all outdoor sports are permitted to resume. Our high school cross country teams, swim teams, and field hockey teams have already participated in interscholastic competitions. In the next few weeks, student-athletes in golf, football, and track & field will have their opportunity to compete. Additional sports will likely also begin practice and competition between now and the end of the year based upon the CIF-San Diego Master Calendar for 2020-21. This is an exciting time for our student athletes to be back in the classroom and back on the field!
On February 24, 2021, the County of San Diego, San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the California Schools Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA) announced that the vaccination of the county’s education staff would commence by Saturday, February 27, 2021.
Vaccination distribution is currently determined by the Healthy Places Index (HPI) defined by the state of California. Scores on the state’s HPI place a site in a “quartile” for vaccination. Sites in the 4th quartile were eligible in the initial round of vaccinations. The District Office provided staff information to VEBA for vaccination appointment opportunities. VEBA then communicates with employees via email to invite eligible employees to schedule a vaccination appointment. VEBA has continued to initiate vaccinations for sites in quartile three and quartile two. It is anticipated that all of the county’s education staff will have an opportunity to receive their vaccination by the end of March 2021.
In addition to the VEBA vaccination opportunity, VUSD staff has access to the Tri-City Vaccination Clinic that is open to all educators in Vista, Oceanside, and San Marcos. Tri-City’s goal is to provide 1,000 vaccines each week and is not based on the Healthy Place Index.
Trauma Informed Care in Vista Unified
The San Diego District Attorney, San Diego County Office of Education, and over 120 Vista Unified district and site administrators, counselors, social workers, and psychologists met Wednesday morning to participate in a cross-training opportunity aimed at aiding students who have recently experienced trauma that may be affecting their behavior and performance at school. The "Handle with Care" project informs schools if a student has recently experienced a traumatic event in their lives.
The San Diego County Office of Education has also provided training materials for teachers and staff that include what behavior to be alert for and how to support students. "Children who experience trauma in the home often don't complete homework, do poorly on tests, and are withdrawn," District Attorney Summer Stephan said. "This pilot program is a simple way we can alert teachers and school administrators and provide important context so they can monitor the child's behavior and provide support if necessary."
The San Diego County Office of Education’s newly renamed department Student/Staff Wellness and Positive School Climate has a one page resource for stakeholders in our school community.
Supporting your Child and Cultivating Resilience While Parenting in the Time of COVID-19
Being well improves our ability to navigate challenges as a parent. Being mindful of caring for ourselves helps us cope with stress, be flexible and better respond to stress and adversity. Feeling anxiety is a common reaction during times of uncertainty or when there is a perception of danger, and COVID-19 qualifies as such a time. This is something new and worrying that we are all facing together. The one-hour training below will offer coping strategies to support your children/teens who might be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious.
Cultivating Resilience While Parenting in the Time of COVID-19
Supporting Your Children During Chaotic Times
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District