Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

August 2019 Back to School Edition

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Message from the Superintendent

Dear Team PUSD,

I wanted to take the opportunity to welcome everyone back to the 2019-20 school year. Whether you’re a new family with a Kindergartener starting school for the first time, or a long-time PUSD employee with 35 years experience, the first day of school is always an exciting time.

Every year, I try to capture the spirit of our PUSD students and staff with a fun and inspiring music video, to let our students and families know how excited we are to welcome them back. This year, PUSD is “Better When We're Dancing.” Watch it below:

Poway Unified: Better When I’m Dancing Megan Trainor (2019-20 Back to School Music Video)

As Superintendent, I am proud to lead a District where the employees care deeply about the success of all of our students. We embrace our roles as educators with dedication and passion. On August 16, as we welcomed staff back, employees heard a message that inspired them to innovate, cultivate relationships with students, and create meaningful positive change. Our students can achieve their very best potential as learners if they know the adults at their schools believe in them, are investing them, care about them, and are working together towards their success.

Parents and guardians are our partners in education. We want you to be involved! Family and school partnerships lead to higher academic performance, better attendance, and improved social skills. Poway Unified is fortunate to have so many families who are highly involved in their child's education, support our schools, and embrace our mission and values.

Over the summer, our teachers and site leaders have been building their professional and personal capacity in order to implement new ideas and curriculum into their schools and classrooms. At the District Offices, we have been working hard to ensure that we fill our classrooms and schools with the best and brightest employees and ensure that our campuses are ready to receive our students and staff.

I hope you are as excited as I am to begin a new school year! It's going to be a great one!

Your Superintendent,

Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D.


Student, School, and Staff Achievements

Meet the 2019-20 Cohort of the League of Innovative Schools

Poway Unified Accepted Into National League of Innovative Schools

Poway Unified is pleased to announce that our District is now one of the newest members in the national network of "Innovative Schools," through the non-profit Digital Promise. Digital Promise recognizes school districts that go above and beyond by implementing access to educational technology. Pomerado Elementary School's Launch Lab is an example of how Poway Unified created a way for students to expand their horizons on real world jobs and career pathways at an early age. The Launch Lab was featured on multiple local news channels. To read more about the distinction, click here.
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Michele Ward Appointed as New Principal at Tierra Bonita Elementary School

A warm PUSD welcome to Michele Ward, the new Principal at Tierra Bonita Elementary School. Ward comes to Poway Unified from the Vista Unified School District, where she was Assistant Principal and Co-Principal at Vista Innovation and Design Academy for the past three years. Prior to Vista, Ward was an elementary school teacher in Carlsbad Unified for ten years. She also taught in the New Haven Unified School District, located in the Bay Area for several years.

“As an Apple Distinguished School, Tierra Bonita’s innovative and engaging learning environment is a perfect fit for Michele," Superintendent Dr. Marian Kim Phelps said. "We were all impressed by her leadership and her work around innovation in Vista, as well as her beliefs around collaborative decision making. We look forward to her helping us take Tierra Bonita to the next level."

You can read more about Ms. Ward in the article here.

Del Norte Senior Chosen for Prestigious International Cybersecurity Program

Del Norte senior Phoenix Dimagiba is back from his 3-week trip to the UK as part of the prestigious "Future Cybersecurity Leaders Exchange Program." Dimagiba was one of only 10 U.S. students chosen to travel to the US Embassy in London, along with 10 UK students, to meet with international cybersecurity experts and the US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson.

Other highlights included visits to Google and BT Group corporate offices in London, the US State Department and Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C., Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles and more.

Dimagiba started his interest in cybersecurity in the 8th grade at Oak Valley Middle School with the CyberAegis Team, and has been a national finalist twice in the CyberPatriot National Finals Competition in Baltimore. Dimagiba was the only student in the San Diego area selected to participate. He is pictured below with fellow program participants.

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Creekside Elementary PTA Recognized as School of Excellence

National PTA has recognized Creekside Elementary and Creekside Elementary PTA as a 2019-2021 School of Excellence for their accomplishments in building a strong, effective family-school partnership that is enriching the educational experience and overall well-being for all students. Creekside Elementary and Creekside Elementary PTA are one of only 326 PTAs and schools nationwide to be designated a 2019-2021 School of Excellence.

“When families and schools work together, students do better in school and schools improve,” said Leslie Boggs, president of National PTA. “Creekside Elementary and Creekside Elementary have worked hard to strengthen their family-school partnership and their efforts are making a positive impact on student success and school improvement. We are pleased to recognize them as a 2019-2021 School of Excellence.”

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Honorary ESPY awarded to San Diego wrestler battling cerebral palsy

When ESPN heard about wrestler Jonathan Garcia, network officials knew exactly what to do. The teen who overcame a lifelong battle with cerebral palsy to make the Del Norte High School wrestling team earned an honorary ESPY award this week for his courage and determination. Watch Jonathan receive his award here.

The Poway Symphonette's Trip to Austria

A trip of a lifetime to Austria for Poway Symphonette members, which includes students from Twin Peaks and Bernardo Heights Middle School! They were invited to the Cantus Festival in Salzburg and also played in the famous St. Peter’s Church in Vienna, Cathedral Salzburg, and the Melk Monastery. Of course they visited filming locations for Sound of Music, too! You can watch their performances here.

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Del Norte High School - California's Outstanding Best Buddies Chapter of the Year

Congratulations to Del Norte High School for being awarded California's Outstanding Best Buddies Chapter of the Year at this year's Best Buddies International Leadership Conference. Pictured above are co-presidents Bella Genovese and Toby Gallant. This award was given to recognize the chapter for being true mission movers toward inclusion on campus.

Future Problem Solving Meet in San Francisco

Congratulations to the teams and individuals from Turtleback Elementary and Bernardo Heights Middle School who recently competed in the State Bowl for Future Problem Solving (FPS)! Led by Coach Nancy Myles, the teams from both schools put problem-solving skills to the test at the State Meet in San Francisco last month. FPS is an international program that challenges students to come up with solutions to potential problems they've identified in self-led research. Read more about the meet here.

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National Youth Arts Awards

Congratulations to Bernardo Heights Middle School, earning 1 award and a record 11 additional nominations for the 2018-19 National Youth Arts Awards.
Lead Performance (Junior Division): Carlos Gomez as Donkey in Shrek Jr.

Lead Performance (Junior Division): Katie Cruz as Fiona in Shrek Jr.
Lead Performance (Junior Division): Alex Medico as Donkey in Shrek Jr.
Lead Performance (Junior Division): Carly Newbanks as Fiona in Shrek Jr.
Lead Performance (Junior Division): Nathan Williamson as Shrek in Shrek Jr.
Supporting Performance (Junior Division): Zach Daugherty as Lord Farquaad in Shrek Jr.
Supporting Performance (Junior Division): Carly Newbanks as Miss Hannigan in Shrek Jr.
Featured Performance (Junior Division): Will Clawson as Pinocchio in Shrek Jr.
Featured Performance (Junior Division): Nicole Kridler as Dragon in Shrek Jr.
Featured Performance (Junior Division): Chelsea Mahelona as Teen Fiona in Shrek Jr.
Ensemble (Junior Division): Shrek Jr.
Costume Design: Shrek Jr.
PUSD 2019 Adult & Summer School Graduation

Adult and Summer School Graduation

31 students and their families celebrated their accomplishments at the PUSD Adult and Summer School Graduation. Their perseverance and determination in continuing their education was inspiring to all who attended. Way to go, graduates! View the celebration above or here.

Football Teams Ruck with a Vet

Football Teams Ruck with Veterans, Serve New Community Members

Poway Unified football players and coaches participated in the ninth-annual 'Ruck with a Vet' to support local servicemen and women, veterans, and military families. Rancho Bernardo, Mount Carmel and Westview High School players trekked six miles along the Highway 56 bikepath, and military families who are new to the area got to catch a glimpse of how Poway Unified serves their community.

The event was in partnership with "Team Red, White and Blue," an organization that connects veterans and their families with the community they join (or re-join) after their service in the military. Through physical and social activities, the organization connects veterans with other veterans for personal support if they or their families are finding it hard to adapt to civilian life.

Del Norte Students Help with Hospice Patient's Bucket List

Del Norte DreamCatchers Help with Hospice Patient's Bucket List

The Del Norte High School chapter of the DreamCatchers fulfills the final dreams of hospice patients. Students helped an Oceanside woman check off something big from her bucket list! Click here to watch the memorable moment.

Poway High Society of Women Engineers

Poway High's Society of Women Engineers won the the DesignLab Community Engagement Challenge Grand Prize and the People's Choice Award for creating a Girls in STEM Inspiration Day. Learn more about their winning project here.

Club de Español Summer Volunteers

Kudos to former Valley Students who volunteered every Monday in July at Club de Español for the past seven years! Students from Meadowbrook, Poway High, and Mount Camel High used their bilingual skills while teaching students fun STEAM projects. Student volunteers had the opportunity to showcase their leadership and language skills and their continuing commitment to our community.

Westview Students Tutor Middle Schoolers in Math

These Westview High School students spent their summer tutoring middle school students who needed help with math. The program, which was held in the Rancho Peñasquitos Library, was featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“I think it’s important to at least, like, refresh those concepts and be able to work a little bit during the summer so you don’t just, like, forget everything and then restart the next school year," one student said.

Read more about the program here.



First Day of School 2019-20 Video Slideshow

Another First Day of School is in the books! We loved seeing all of the social media posts that captured the fun events happening that day. To commemorate such an exciting day, the Communications Department created a video slideshow showcasing the media coverage, social media engagement and overall fun of opening day. Enjoy!
First Day of School 2019
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What happened to those two cute little kids in the upper left corner?! K thru 8th— passed in a flash! Can’t believe this is my twins’ last year before high school! Days are long, years are short, right? -Marcella Lee

Valley Elementary: August 1st

Students at Valley Elementary School, the site of PUSD's Spanish Immersion Program, got an early start to the school year on Thursday, August 1st. They were all smiles despite a shorter summer break!

Abraxas High School: July 18th

Abraxas High had their first day on Thursday, July 18th. The school runs on a year-round calendar, so students and staff picked up right where they left off in June! We saw students gardening, playing guitars, and working in the construction lab. September 20 is the last day of their first quarter.
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Employee Back-to-School Kick-Off 2019-20

Thank you again to all #TeamPUSD staff for making this year's #PUSDBacktoSchool Kick-Off a success! Author and speaker George Couros gave the keynote about how to be innovative educators both inside and outside of the classroom. We loved seeing all of your posts during the event. Click the link below for a re-cap of the event.

Youth in Transition Program Hosts School Supplies Event, Receives Generous Donation

‪Our Youth in Transition program hosted a back-to-school supplies event for our students who are in foster care or are experiencing homelessness. Students were excited to stock up on new backpacks, crayons, notebooks, toiletries, and more.

Thanks to a generous donation from North Coast Church Rancho Bernardo on Friday, August 16, we now have 85 MORE backpacks filled with school supplies. They will be distributed as needed to families on a list who did not receive one at the event.

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News & Fun Photos

New Student Board Member Mariana Akins

New Student Board Member Mariana Akins began her 2019-20 term at the August 8th Board of Education meeting. Mariana, who is a Rancho Bernardo Bronco, was a 2018-19 National Youth Leadership Delegate for the San Diego chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.
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New Building for Oak Valley Middle School

Board Members, Superintendent Phelps, and staff teamed up with Principal Colin Young, HMC Architects, and Balfour Beatty Construction to commemorate the start of a year-long project to add a new 8-classroom building, built with Mello Roos funds.

PUSD Meets with Palomar College to Develop Middle College

It was a great collaborative meeting with Poway Unified and Palomar College staff, students, teachers, and parents as we move forward in planning and developing a middle college at Palomar’s Rancho Bernardo campus.

Space Camp

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We are grateful for our partnership with Northrop Grumman, who sent teachers from Design39Campus and Twin Peaks Middle School, and students from Meadowbrook and Twin Peaks to Space Camp. Learn more about their exciting experience by watching the video below.
We Are Zarya - Space Camp 07/07/2019

Extended School Year

During the summer months, many students who receive Special Education services attended the Extended School Year! From preschoolers to young adults, students from across PUSD spent 4-6 weeks of their summer learning and growing with dedicated #TeamPUSD staff.

New Teacher Orientation

A big hello and welcome to some of the newest members of #TeamPUSD! This group of new teachers had their orientation on August 14, just in time for #PUSDBacktoSchool. Wishing them all an amazing first year.
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Project Lead the Way Training Hub

Poway Unified Project Lead the Way Training

This year, Poway Unified was one of only 17 Core Training Hubs for PLTW in the country! Over the summer, teachers became the students, so they could become better teachers and train other teachers as well. This professional development ensures more of our students can be college, career, and life ready. Watch the video above to learn more!

Studio 701 Media Internship Welcomes New Group of Students

PUSD welcomed a new group of interns to our Studio 701 Digital Media Internship program on August 15, with representation from high schools throughout PUSD. Congratulations to Chad Cushing, Damien Henson, Gabriel Tolo, Isabel Adamos, Kate Ahn, Natalie Donham, Kenzie Peay, and Yeonseo Seok. Throughout the year, this group of talented students will write, produce and edit high-quality, professional videos to develop the skill set needed for future careers in media. We are excited to see their work! To see some of what last year's interns produced, visit their channel here.
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PUSD Youth Enrichment Program

Poway Unified Summer Youth Enrichment Program

Every summer, PUSD hosts four weeks of summer enrichment programs! 356 students had their pick of over 50 camp options. There was introduction to Spanish and American Sign Language, Engineering Design using 3D printers, Beginning Programming with Scratch and Spheros, Hands-on Drone Operation, Middle School Pop and Rock Band, And Robotics and Automation, just to name a few.

Spirit of the 4th Parade

Poway Unified - Rancho Bernardo Spirit of the 4th Parade

PUSD was out in force for the 50th Anniversary of the Spirit of the 4th parade. The District's antique fire truck carried Poway Unified VIPs including board members and employees of the year. Our high school bands were a crowd favorite! We hope you had a Happy 4th!


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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.