Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

September 2017 Edition

Time flies when you're having fun! I can't believe an entire month has passed since the school year started. September was chock full of learning, celebrations, and events. I hope you enjoy this month's edition. Submissions are always welcome, send them to: cpaik@powayusd.com.


Christine Paik, Director of Communications

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Message from the Superintendent

Dear PUSD,

I hope you have enjoyed the start of school as much as we have enjoyed having our students back on our campuses!

Above is a photo I took with members of the 2017-18 Superintendent's Student Advisory Committee (SSAC). SSAC is made up of a diverse group of students from all six of our high schools. We had our first meeting last week, and I was impressed by their passion, maturity, and willingness to learn. In our monthly meetings, we will explore equity and access issues, broaden their understanding of PUSD, and incorporate leadership skills so they can represent all students. I want to thank them for bringing their student voice, which is one of the many ways PUSD is committed to soliciting stakeholder input as we move our District forward.

There will be multiple opportunities throughout the school year to provide feedback and get involved with PUSD. Obviously we are thrilled when our staff, families, and community members volunteer at our school sites. But I also encourage you to attend one of our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) community forums which will be taking place in February and March of 2018. These forums are opportunities for students, staff, families, and community members to help the District prioritize funding for programs and areas for student achievement. Our District Budget Advisory Committee has already begun meeting under the direction of Associate Superintendent of Business, Ron Little. The committee, made up of students, staff, parents, and community members, will be developing recommendations to address the imminent budget challenges facing our District. We also need your help in establishing our new election districts for our Board of Trustees. Currently, we are in the map submission phase, where anyone can submit a draft map via an online map drawing tool to be considered at the October 12th hearing. Click on this link to get started or scroll to the “News & Announcements” at the bottom of this newsletter to find out more information.

In the first couple of months of 2017-18, I have made it a goal of mine to attend the staff meetings at all of our sties, to personally welcome #TeamPUSD to a new and exciting year, share our collective vision, as well as listen to any questions or concerns. These face to face meetings are instrumental in giving #TeamPUSD a sense of confidence that the District is headed toward a positive direction, and allows me to better understand and support the differentiated needs of each school site.

Another one of my priorities is restoring financial stability to the District and growing community trust and support for PUSD. At our last board meeting, we were presented with an internal controls review report. The District requested the review to assess key financial controls in areas deemed important to protecting the District’s assets and resources. The District is already working on the report’s recommendations, to decrease fiscal and operational risks, including vacation accrual, while strengthening internal policies and procedures. Over the summer the District also received the findings of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) review of our special education programs. In the spirit of continuous improvement and reflection, District leadership is forming a committee with stakeholders to address the findings and recommendations as we move forward together. Both reports can be found on our website, www.powayusd.com

Finally, September is “Attendance Awareness Month,” so I wanted to take this opportunity to convey the important message that every school day counts. As the school year gets into full swing, we want to make sure that our students stay on the right track all year long by coming to school each and every day. School success begins with attendance. Countless studies have shown a direct correlation between chronic absenteeism and lower student test scores in reading, English language arts, and mathematics. The U.S. Department of Education found that a child needs two days to catch up for every day missed. And your school also loses funding, an estimated $46 a day! Multiply this by 1,000 students across the District per day, and that $8.3 million could mean the difference between funding programs, hiring staff, and buying equipment for classrooms. As parents, guardians, and educators, we play a critical role in helping our children get to school on time every day. Make sure students establish good habits of routine bedtimes and know why attendance is important, schedule regular checkups to stay healthy, and avoid taking vacations while school is in session. Thank you for partnering with us in ensuring our students' success.

Your Superintendent,

Marian Kim-Phelps, Ed.D.

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No one in the nation recognizes teachers the way San Diego does, with a live Academy Awards-style telecast. Thanks to the partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education and Cox Communications, the 27th annual "A Salute to Teachers," brought to you by San Diego County Credit Union, was a stunning success. 44 nominees, representing some of the best and brightest of the more than 22,000 teachers in San Diego County, were recognized in front of friends, family, colleagues, and a live audience.

Poway Unified had three teachers representing the District: Mark Lantsberger, Del Norte High School; Susan Michelena, Rancho Bernardo High School; and Keith Opstad, Westview High School. Mark was selected as one of five San Diego County Teachers of the Year. Click here to see a photo story of the event.

Poway Days Parade

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The 53rd Annual Poway Days Parade is a tradition in the City of Poway, presented by the Rotary Club of Poway-Scripps. Every year, hundreds of students, staff, and volunteers with the Poway Unified School District participate in the procession, which starts at Pomerado Road and Poway Road and continues to Bowron Road. This year's theme was “Happiness is Helping Others!” Spectators lining the streets were treated to the sights and sounds of bands, marchers, and floats, all representing our schools and District with pride. Click here to see a photo story of the event.
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Poway Unified's new Education & Technology Department, under the direction of Associate Superintendent Jennifer Burks, worked with business partner Troxell to bring a new kind of professional development event to PUSD: the Google Roadshow on Wednesday, September 13, 2017. At various sessions, attendees learned how to increase student engagement through digital portfolios and passion projects, and how to incorporate technology-rich learning environments. At the STEM playground, they were able to experience the latest educational technology and tools, including virtual reality, 3D printers, Raspberry Pi laptops, and artificial intelligence.

#TeamPUSD took to social media to share their experiences at the event, using the hashtags #PUSDGoogleRoadShow and #PUSDInnovate. Click here to see a sampling of posts and more photos from the event.

PUSD Podcast Episode 2

Supporting technology and innovation in education is an essential part of our new Superintendent's vision for #PowayUnified. But what does that mean for the classroom? Listen to this month's podcast with Jennifer Burks, Associate Superintendent of Technology & Innovation, to learn about her work for PUSD, her love of animals, and why you won't see her surfing anytime soon!

Poway Unified School District

PUSDPodcast Ep.2 -Jennifer Burks by Poway Unified School District

Student, School, and Staff Achievements

Daniel Zhang

Westview's Daniel Zhang received a life-changing opportunity when he won the Philip V. Streich Memorial Award at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair. He received an all-expense-paid trip to attend the London International Youth Science Forum this summer. There, he mingled with the best student scientists from across the globe, to present his research on cancer genomes and learn from others. You can read more about his experience here.

Everyday Heroes

Pomerado Elementary 3rd graders Paul and Kamden were selected by Walmart to be honored as "Everyday Heroes." You might recall, the story of their friendship made national news when Paul raised enough money to buy Kamden a new wheelchair. Well that got the attention of Walmart employees, who surprised them with toys and school supplies at Kamden's home (where he is still recovering from a recent surgery). You can watch the story here.

Hurricane Relief Efforts

We are so inspired by the spirit of giving and compassion at our schools! Here's a sample of some of the fundraising efforts for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma at our schools.

Fun Photo Gallery

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Last month, we told you about a change in the elections process for PUSD board members. This includes drawing and submitting draft maps of each district to be considered at the next public hearing on October 12th. Anyone can submit a draft map via an online map drawing tool. You can go to our website to get started: https://powayusd.com/en-US/Board/Trustee-Election-Districts/Trustee-Election-Districts.

On that page, you will find the answers to frequently asked questions about the process of establishing election districts, the demographers presentation to the Board, as well as a link to the online mapping tool itself. The online mapping tool can be challenging to figure out, so be sure to take some time to go over the quick start guide or watch the training videos before getting started. By law, maps to be considered by the Board at public hearings must be posted online and available at the District one week before the hearing. So maps to be considered at the October 12th hearing must be posted online by October 5th. To meet that deadline, we ask that maps be submitted by October 4th.

Here is the remaining timeline for this process:

October 4 Deadline for initial public map submissions

October 5 Draft maps (including public submissions) published

October 12 Public Hearing regarding content of draft maps and proposed sequence of elections

November 9 Public Hearing and Board action to adopt map and resolution

TBD County Committee on School District Organization hearing and vote

November 2018 First three trustee areas hold elections

November 2020 Remaining two trustee areas hold elections

All meetings will be held at the District Office Community Room located at 15250 Avenue of Science, San Diego, CA 92128

Why are we undergoing a change in elections? PUSD is changing the process by which voters select our elected officials. Currently, more than 60 other cities and 150 school districts across the state are being impacted and must implement these changes by the next election cycle. Beginning in 2018, elections for PUSD school board members will be by-district, instead of the current at-large (also known as district wide) elections in which all voters have the opportunity to make a decision on each seat. This means that all voters will now vote for the one board member representing the district where the voter lives once every four years. You can read more background on this change by clicking on this link here: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/pomerado-news/news/schools/sd-cm-pow-pusd-preparing-district-elections-20170817-story.html

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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.