Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

October/November 2017 Edition

Fall always seems to sneak up on me. One minute I'm on the beach, and the next minute I'm digging in my closet for jackets and socks. So much happens at our schools and District office in October and November, with learning in full swing and celebrations thrown into the mix. I hope you enjoy this edition of the #TeamPUSD newsletter, with two months' worth of news and information. I tried to remember and include as much as possible (but thanks to the cooler weather and the early sunsets, I think my brain is ready to go into hibernation too!). Submissions are always welcome, send them to: cpaik@powayusd.com.


Christine Paik, Director of Communications

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Superintendent's Message

The month of October held many celebrations and recognitions including Homecomings, Character Counts! and Red Ribbon Weeks, National Custodial Workers Day, National Principals Month, National School Lunch Week, to name a few. I just want to take this opportunity to acknowledge how many members of #TeamPUSD it takes to keep our District running and succeeding. It is so exciting to see so many of our stakeholders engaged and contributing to PUSD. I have seen this firsthand during my visits to each site and District office, as I'm greeted by staff, students, and volunteers so proud to show off their work in support of our schools.

One event where you could see #TeamPUSD so clearly at work is the PUSD College and Career Fair, in support of college and career readiness for our students. Over 130 colleges and vendors were represented, along with helpful workshops on financial aid, trades, military branches and more. I want to thank our volunteers from the Palomar Council and PUSD Foundation as well as the students and staff at the host school, Rancho Bernardo High School, for all of their hard work in planning and executing this event.

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I also want to share my excitement about a new partnership bringing Korean language and culture for the first time to a school in PUSD. What started as a summer learning trip to Korea for Principals Eddie Park (Adobe Bluffs) and Joe Erpelding (D39C), developed into a partnership with the Korean Ministry of Education, and a commitment to provide funding from the Korean American Education Foundation for a Korean elective at Design39Campus. This supports one of my goals of developing and implementing innovative programs and learning experiences that allow our students to be competitive in a global society. We can create more multilingual students through new and existing foreign language K-12 pathways throughout PUSD, including Spanish and Mandarin.
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Tierra Bonita Elementary School has once again been named an Apple Distinguished School, for their successful and innovative implementation of technology to transform students’ learning. It’s exciting to see our young students growing up to be tech-savvy and future contributors in high-demand STEM industries. They even train students to serve as tech support for their fellow students! Great job to Principal Mandy Bedard and her team. Their school will serve as a model for other schools that might want to do the same.

Finally, during this season of thanks, I wanted to express how grateful I am to be entrusted with the honor of leading this District. Even through loss and hardship, I've seen the true strength of our people as they come together to support an injured student, a grieving family, victims of a natural disaster, or a struggling coworker. This is what #TeamPUSD does so well. I am proud to be your Superintendent.

-Marian Kim-Phelps, Ed.D.

"Excellence in Education" Video Series

PUSD's Studio 701 internship is back! This year's group of interns includes: Noelle Betz, Zach Camerino, Seth Dacio, Sabrina Darian, Nika Mirnezam, and Nathan Xia. Every month they will be working with the Communications Department to create “Excellence in Education” videos that highlight how PUSD is achieving its mission of college and career readiness throughout the District. October's piece focuses on PUSD’s first-ever CTE Expo which took place last Spring. November's piece shows off the new partnership between the Center for World Music and Highland Ranch Elementary School. Please take a moment to watch them below.

PUSD Podcast Episode 3

Understanding school finances can be confusing and complicated. Why is #PowayUnified facing budget challenges? What about lottery money, property taxes, and Mello-Roos? Listen to this month's podcast with Ron Little, Associate Superintendent of Business Support Services, to learn about how our district is funded.

Poway Unified School District

PUSDPodcast Ep.3 - Ron Little by Poway Unified School District

Student, School, and Staff Achievements

National School Ambassador

Design39Campus kindergarten teacher, Megan Power, is one of six educators to be named to the Department of Education’s 2017 School Ambassador Fellowship. "The Fellowship program is designed to improve education for all students by involving practitioners in the development and implementation of national education policy," said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Read more about Megan's work in this article here.

California Teacher of the Year Finalist

Del Norte High School Computer Science Teacher, Mark Lantsberger, was named a finalist for California's Teacher of the Year. He is also one of Poway Unified's and San Diego County's Teachers of the Year. You can see the California Department of Education's announcement here.


Twice a year, PUSD honors "Everyday Heroes," classified employees who demonstrate excellence in work performance, school and community involvement, and leadership and commitment to our District and students. For a full description of their achievements click here, pages 9-11. (Not pictured below: Maria Amaya, Administrative Assistant II, Special Education Department)


"TEAM PUSD" is designed to recognize an admirable team of employees, who together accomplish an exceptional task or project. The recognition is for a group of two or more classified and/or certificated individuals who have made a significant contribution to the benefit of PUSD, an individual, his or her work site, the community, or other volunteer or service organization. For a full list of their achievements, click here, pages 12-13.
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In the Poway Unified School District, Fall brings a much-anticipated field competition season for the high schools' marching bands and color guards. This is the cumulation of months of practice and hard work, providing spectators with visually stunning shows, full of precise movements and music and artistry. We wanted to bring some of those striking images to you. Click here to see the story.
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Del Norte's student body took to the streets to celebrate homecoming with their annual parade. This year’s theme is “Around the World,” and each class built a float depicting a different city. Poway Unified and San Diego County Teacher of the Year Mark Lantsberger kicked off the parade in a red convertible. He was joined by "Faces of the Flock," a group of student honorees selected by their fellow students based on good character and hard work (replacing the traditional homecoming court). Check out the parade photos here.

More Homecoming Fun


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PUSD's College and Career Fair, brought to you by the District Foundation and Palomar Council, drew hundreds of high school students and their families to the Rancho Bernardo High School campus. Over 130 colleges, vendors, military, and trade representatives attended, giving students many options when planning for their futures. Workshop topics included financial aid, application tips, and apprenticeship programs. Thank you to all of our participants and volunteers for making this event a success!

Character Counts! and Red Ribbon Weeks

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Painted Rock

Facebook Post by @PaintedRockPanthers: "Crazy hair day at Painted Rock!!"

Fun Photo Gallery

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Click here to see Halloween photos from around PUSD, including the parades at Adobe Bluffs, Sundance, and D39C! Students and staff had a lot of fun dressing up in spooky, silly, or clever costumes.

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News Minute

Are you catching our weekly news updates on social media? These are one-minute video recaps of the week’s news with PUSD Director of Communications, Christine Paik. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you don't miss out!

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Election District Map

At its November 9th hearing, the Board of Trustees selected Map 131 as its preferred map to establish trustee areas for the 2018 and 2020 elections. You can view the PDF of Map 131 here. Map 131 is also now the default map on the interactive map viewer.

Next, Map 131 will go to the County Committee on School District Organization for a TBD hearing and vote. For more information you can go here.

Important Dates:

  • Board Meeting: Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 6pm
  • Winter Break: December 25, 2017 to January 5, 2018
  • Non-Student day: Monday, January 15, 2018 (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • Board Meeting: Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 6pm
  • Non-Student day: Friday, February 2, 2018 (Professional Growth)
  • District Recess: February 19, 2018 to February 23, 2018

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.