CONNECTIONS

MT. DIABLO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

MDUSD FRIENDS AND FAMILIES

We’ve all heard the adage, laughter is the best medicine. I think there is a very close second…kindness.


Perhaps some of you have heard of the Netflix series, The Kindness Diaries. Its host, author and kindness expert Leon Logothetis says “One act of kindness toward one human being changes the world. Because to change the world, all we have to do is change one life.”


Being kind really is the first step to a meaningful human connection. And did you know that being kind can improve your health? Research shows that doing nice things for others can trigger serotonin – our “feel good” hormone. Kindness can ease anxiety, reduce stress, prevent illness, and by being kind to others, we are better able to develop strong, meaningful relationships and friendships.


Studies also show there are numerous benefits to teaching and practicing kindness in our schools, and the practicing part is essential. Experts say children and adolescents learn about kindness by experiencing it and feeling it.


One of my favorite articles on this topic provides eight reasons for teaching kindness in school - https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/8-reasons-for-teaching-kindness-in-schools/. These are the very benefits we are working toward by making sure we, as a district, are practicing acts of kindness, not randomly, but thoughtfully and purposefully.


In Mt. Diablo Unified, we have always worked hard to provide an education supporting the whole child…academically, socially, and emotionally. You'll read about some examples of this further down in this newsletter.


The emphasis on kindness is timely as we end October and National Bullying Prevention Month. There were so many wonderful activities and assemblies throughout the District to encourage students, schools, communities, and organizations to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying, and increase awareness of the prevalence and impact of all forms of bullying on children of all ages. Learn more below.


We ask for and appreciate your partnership in nurturing kindness as a priority not just for our schools, but our greater Mt. Diablo community and as a means to end bullying and cyberbullying.


Sincerely,


Dr. Nellie E. Meyer

Superintendent

DISTRICT NEWS

MDUSD'S ROSIE REID NAMED CALIFORNIA TEACHER OF THE YEAR AND STATE DESIGNEE FOR NATIONAL TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Rosie Reid, a Northgate High School English teacher who is one of two MDUSD teachers of the Year, and a County Teacher of the Year, has been named by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson as one of five California Teachers of the Year. She was selected to represent California as its nominee for the 2019 National Teacher of the Year awards.


MDUSD's other Teacher of the Year, Kelly Perkins, is also a County Teacher of the Year, and was selected as one of only three state semi-finalists.


Reid has been teaching for 16 years, the last two at Northgate High School. She was the first in her family to go to college, largely because of her educators’ efforts, and she became a teacher to pay this forward. She has taught every level of high school English and is part of the English Learner Review Team to monitor English learners and mentor teachers. Most recently, she founded and leads an equity task force at her high school.


“I strive to be a status quo disruptor and an agent of social justice, while engaging in a rigorous, standards-based English curriculum. So often teachers feel that if they are thinking about issues of equity and implicit bias, they must compromise rigor in order for all students to be successful; in fact it is by helping our most socially marginalized students develop literacy (and numeracy) skills that we may achieve social equity,” said Reid.

DISTRICTWIDE FACILITY MASTER PLAN

We are excited to share the launch of our Facility Master Plan website! As you may recall, in June the District approved the development of a Facility Master Plan, a strategic facility plan that describes our organization's facilities alongside their purpose and plans for the future.


The Plan is designed to fully assess the conditions of all of our school and district facilities. The assessment will be closely reviewed to determine capital and operational needs for each location, beyond what we have and continue to accomplish with Measure C and other facility-related funding resources.


As you will see from the detailed schedule, we have completed the preliminary data collection, and initial focus group meetings. School Site Councils (SSC) will be completing the more detailed needs assessments before the end of the year.


Many thanks to the staff and families who volunteer on these SSCs for their contributions to this important effort. We also encourage our community to complete our Facilities Priority Survey if they've not yet done so, and help provide feedback for the master plan work.

BOND AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM WEBPAGE

We are also pleased to share our new Bond and Capital Improvement Program webpage! In this section, we have consolidated information about Measure C, two like-named bonds passed in 2002 and 2010); Measure A, a Mello-Roos parcel tax passed in 1989; and funds from Proposition 39, the California Clean Energy Jobs Act, which allocates revenues to local education agencies to support high energy efficiency and alternative energy projects.


We have added a Resource Conservation page to provide information about our extensive photovoltaic installations and energy dashboards to show the production of each solar power project throughout the District.

INTRADISTRICT TRANSFER PERIOD OPEN

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District provides extensive school options for all students, K-12. We encourage parents / guardians to fully research the school options available; starting with the school of residence, to help them determine what MDUSD school offers the best fit for their child and family.


Intradistrict transfers are for students who reside within the MDUSD boundaries and would like to request transfer to another MDUSD school. The transfer request period for request for the 2019-2020 school year is October 15 – November 15, 2018 for students who are currently enrolled in grades K-11. The online form is available on the Student Services transfer information webpage.

COMMUNITY INFORMATION

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD OPEN FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE STRATEGIC IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

The public comment period for the draft Computer Science Strategic Implementation Plan is open through November 9, 2018, at 3 p.m. The public review and comment period is an opportunity for any interested individuals or organizations to provide comments and suggested edits to the Instructional Quality Commission. Those comments and suggestions will inform the commission’s actions at its January 24-25 meeting, where it will consider recommending the draft plan to the State Board of Education for adoption in March 2019. More information may be found at the CSSIP webpage. Members of the public may provide comments through an online survey.

STOMP OUT BULLYING

In this final week of National Bullying Prevention Month, we are encouraging students to have meaningful discussions about creating and being part of campus cultures that are judgement and bully free. There are extensive parent resources on the subject, and we encourage families to use some of these resources to extend conversations about bullying and cyberbullying, and how to prevent both. There are also tip sheets to help families understand the signs that their child may be a victim of bullying or cyberbullying, and signs that a child may be exhibiting his or her own bullying or cyberbullying behaviors.

FBI PUBLIC SERVICE CAMPAIGN: THINK BEFORE YOU POST

In recent months, the FBI and law enforcement around the country have investigated a number of hoax threats of targeted violence against schools and other public places. These threats—often issued via text message or posted on social media—are taken very seriously. Hoax threats are not a joke, and they can have devastating consequences—both for the public and for the perpetrators. Increasingly, hoax threats are the result of bullying or cyberbullying. The FBI has developed a public service announcement campaign - "Think Before You Post" - to remind the public that hoax threats are serious federal crimes.

Learn more!

STUDENT NEWS

NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP SEMIFINALISTS

We are proud to announce that two MDUSD high school seniors are among the approximately 16,000 students named as semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. They are:

  • Nathan Kastell, College Park High School
  • Adam Van Uden, Northgate High School


These academically talented students have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. Congratulations Nathan and Adam!!

CONCORD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT TO PLAY IN PGA PRO-AM TOURNAMENT

John Scott Senz, an 18-year-old senior and four-year Concord High School golf team member, will be teeing it up with some of the world's top golfers on October 31 in the Championship Pro Am, a featured event at the annual Shriner's Hospitals for Children Open. Born with left hemispheric cerebral palsy, John Scott has been dedicated to the sport of golf since a surgery on his left hand nearly a decade ago, allowing him better control of his hand and wrist. John Scott has been a high school all-league section for the past three years, and is a two-time winner of the Special Olympics of Northern California Regional Golf Tournament. Learn more!

UPDATE ON COLLEGE PARK HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLER RYAN JOSEPH

Many of you may recall hearing about College Park High School student athlete Ryan Joseph who suffered a C-4 spinal cord injury during a wrestling match in January. He is at the renowned spinal cord injury rehabilitation facility, Craig Hospital in Denver, and continues to make progress in therapy and work hard to keep up with school.


Ryan's parents, Kristin and Tom, tell us that Ryan's connections to College Park High School, coaches, and the incredible Falcon community have been a vital part of his recovery. Kristin writes "Being able to work with his regular teachers has made such a difference in his school year and has allowed him to feel like a high school junior. It allows him a sliver of normalcy in a very crazy circumstance. We are very appreciative of Laima Haider (APUSH), Melissa Aiello (Eng III Honors), and Khoa Phan (Algebra II) for working with Ryan. We know that Ryan’s situation adds extra work for all of them, and we feel so lucky to have such generous teachers in our district to work with. We have also had incredible support for Ryan’s education through the Craig Foundation that funds Ryan’s teachers, Laura Magnuson and Cory Wendling. They are both amazing teachers and individuals and have taken care of Ryan’s academic needs , while also understanding that therapy is hard work, both physically, and some days, emotionally. We are very fortunate to have them as part of our recovery team."


As Ryan told KTVU in an interview earlier this year, his main goal is walking again. And his progress is impressive! Check out this video of Ryan at one of his workout sessions, and this photo of Ryan working with Ms. Magnuson and Cory Wendling. Keep it up Ryan - you are an inspiration!

ALUMNI NEWS

CONCORD HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNA HONORED WITH PRESTIGIOUS JOURNALISM AWARD

Concord High School alumna Samantha Bergum (Class of ’14) accepted a National Student Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Newscast last week on behalf of USC’s campus TV newscast, Annenberg TV News. The award, presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), honors outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism, and which embody the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.


The Annenberg TV newscast covered an important story about an active shooter scare on campus In the wake of a mass shooting in Las Vegas, and guidance from a spiritual leader about how to deal with chaos on campus and beyond. This newscast explained the backstory of a breaking news event, delivered informative eyewitness reaction and provided actionable information for the student audience. Congratulations to Samantha and her award-winning broadcast team!

MDUSD SPOTLIGHT

ANNIE HAGGLUND, COUNSELOR, MONTE GARDENS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL


How long have you been with Mt. Diablo Unified and at what schools?

This is my 3rd year with MDUSD. I was at Ayers Elementary and Monte Gardens Elementary my first year and have been only at Monte Gardens this year and last year.


Are you an alumna of the District, and if so, what schools did you attend?

YES!! :) I went to Hidden Valley Elementary for Kindergarten through 2nd grade, Valhalla Elementary 3rd-5th. I went to Valley View Middle School and College Park High School. Go Falcons!! :)


What do you find the most rewarding/love about what you get to do?

EVERYTHING!! I love that I get to help kids. It's so rewarding to feel like what I do matters; and our kids make me feel like that every day.


Describe a recent "a-ha" moment one of your students had.

I have a student who sometimes struggles with social interactions with peers, so we work on various social skills. One day last week she stopped in my room, full of excitement, to tell me that one of the strategies we talked about WORKED!! And that it made her so happy to have had this positive interaction with a peer. It was like she suddenly had a new tool she could use to help her at school and she understood how to use it! That was very cool :)


You have been leading an effort for students to practice and embrace kindness. Tell us more about what you're doing and how it got started.

October is Anti-Bullying Month. It's also Disability Awareness Month. So, we embrace the two together at Monte Gardens and promote the theme: "All Different. All Equal. Stop Bullying." I go into all of our classes to teach the kids about how important it is to show kindness and respect to EVERYBODY, regardless of our differences. We talk about how it takes compassion and courage to stand up for ourselves and others, and that it's so important to do so to ensure everyone feels safe, respected, and valued here at school.


I also run an "Anti-Bullying Club" here at school. We meet 1x/week and come up with ways we can promote kindness and compassion at our school, such as through our "kindness wall", writing kind messages in sidewalk chalk on the playground, and skits about kindness and inclusiveness, which the students perform at lunch.


What has surprised you about the level of student interest and engagement in this project?

The kids seem to LOVE all the activities we do related to kindness and compassion. I wasn't expecting for them to remember so much of what we talk about, but they DO! Students often come up to me saying "Ms. Annie! I was kind to (x) today! I helped her when she was sad!" Or "I gave him a compliment and then he was nice to me!" It's like they experience this revelation that being kind to others feels good and they are proud of themselves :)


Read Annie's complete profile!

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

Mt. Diablo Unified is always looking for potential team members. Please check our Human Resources website and our LinkedIn page for updated classroom positions and other positions we’re looking to fill, such as Special Education Assistants, Instructional Assistants, and a variety of administrative and clerical positions.


Right now, we’re looking to hire Community Service Assistants, a Buyer for our Purchasing Department, a middle school Science Teacher, a high school French Teacher, a Varsity Softball Coach, along with Special Education teachers, and credentialed school nurses! We have a $5,000 signing bonus for Speech Language Pathologists. And we are always recruiting for Custodian Trainees, School Bus Driver Trainees, and Clerical Substitutes.


Come join #TeamMDUSD! Together, we make a difference!

SCENES FROM SCHOOLS

DATEBOOK

November 5, 2018

Regular Meeting - Board of Education

1936 Carlotta Dr., Concord, CA 94519 (Get Directions)

COMING UP

  • November 12, 2018 - Veterans Day Holiday (No School)
  • November 19 - 23, 2018 - School Recess
  • December 10, 2018 - Regular Meeting of the Board of Education


View the 2018-2019 Academic School Year Calendar.

View the 2018-2019 Testing, Assessment and Reporting Calendars