February 9, 2021
Vista Virtual Continuous Improvement
We are committed to continuously improving our Vista Virtual program for students and teachers. In January, the Superintendent’s Council for Innovative Learning met to have in-depth discussions about our Vista Virtual learning model with a focus on feedback from students, parents, teachers, and staff to address student achievement, student wellness, and strategies to make virtual learning more engaging for students. Council members collaborated to provide important feedback on the design of the Vista Virtual surveys for all of our stakeholders. These surveys will be sent via email in the coming week to all parents, students in grades 4-12, certificated staff, and classified staff. The council will reconvene in March to review the survey data in order to identify areas of focus and specific recommendations for our elementary, middle, and high school Vista Virtual learning models.
Middle School Reopening Adjustments
Based on school board direction, we will be outlining options at the Board meeting on Thursday, February 11, 2021 to start to phase in our Vista Classic learning models at the secondary schools. Our initial focus will be to return middle school students to in-person learning. The school board will discuss two possible options and vote to maintain the current status in fully virtual or move to one of the options for in-person learning. You may follow this meeting via the LiveStream link. In the meantime, all middle and high schools are maintaining a robust set of supplemental programs for students, continuing to bring small groups back for additional support.
Click here to be directed to the Vista USD Board of Education Meeting Live Stream.
Facility Improvements Are Making a Difference in Air Quality
Our Vista Unified facilities and maintenance team has really met the challenge to ensure that our classrooms have high quality air filtration systems. Every school in the district received an upgrade to MERV 9 air filters last summer, and we are in the process of replacing these filters again this month. Our goal is to replace the air filters in every classroom twice a year. Our team is not stopping there; they are in the process of making the conversion to MERV 13 air filters as this level of filtration can strategically eliminate tiny water droplets from the air. T.H.E. Leadership Academy and Mission Vista High School have recently been upgraded to MERV 13 filtration levels. We are coordinating efforts with a mechanical engineering firm aimed at providing additional fresh air into classrooms and determining which systems can be upgraded to the higher filtration levels. A comprehensive HVAC inventory was completed, and with this data, we are prioritizing older HVAC systems for upgrading, as well as investigating other technologies that can safely improve the system's ability to neutralize air-born hazards. In the meantime, we have purchased and installed 225 portable HEPA filters throughout the district in classrooms that do not have windows that open to the outside air. We have also installed 157 more HEPA filters in non-classroom areas throughout the district based on need.
Celebrate CTE Month
Career and Technical Education (commonly called CTE) are two to three year course sequences designed to prepare students to enter the workforce. This rigorous experiential learning provides students the technical know-how and essential skills required to compete for high wage in-demand jobs. COVID-19 has presented particular challenges to CTE due to the hands-on nature of these classes. However, students and teachers have risen to the occasion and have creatively adapted to the obstacles presented by the pandemic. Using cell phones instead of DSLR cameras and digital tools instead of hand tools, CTE in Vista has moved forward and kept the learning happening. Check out our newsletter, and join us in celebrating our teachers and students this CTE Month.
Health and Safety Update
Today, the California Department of Public Health announced a fourth straight week of improving COVID-19 public health metrics for the County of San Diego. Although our county is still in the state’s most restrictive purple tier, the numbers have given rise to cautious optimism among local public health officials. With continued vigilance among members of the public, these numbers are likely to continue to improve, and the county will eventually move into the less restrictive tiers that are part of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Public health metrics in our local area (“6-zip”) have generally followed the patterns seen in the county as a whole. As a district, we are encouraged by the trends, and we echo the recommendations of local public health officials that every member of the public do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Stay home unless you are participating in essential or other authorized activities, avoid unnecessary gatherings, practice social distancing, maintain good hand hygiene, and always wear a face covering when out in public.
School Consolidation Task Force Wants Your Feedback
The District has formed a School Consolidation Task Force to provide recommendations to the superintendent and the school board on possible solutions to address multiple years of declining enrollment. The district is committed to ensuring that our schools maintain the level of support and excellence for our students and support innovative learning in the classroom. This task force is composed of parents, principals, teachers, and support staff. The goal is to develop a set of recommendations that are both short and long term proposals for the school board to consider in order to address the impact of declining enrollment on our facilities. The task force will be evaluating various factors such as enrollment, financial, programmatic, and demographics.
We have set two community forums to ensure that parents and community members from around the district have an opportunity to provide feedback to the district. The first Community Forum is on February 16, 2021, and the second forum will be on April 13, 2021. These forums will be virtual. We welcome everyone to join and provide their valuable input.
To log onto the February 16th forum from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., please utilize Zoom web conferencing at the following link.
If you do not have access to a computer, please use the Dial-in Conference # to use your phone to join the forum.
- Dial-In Conference Call: 1-669-900-6833, Webinar ID: 811 865 0304
If you are unable to attend the forum but would like to provide feedback, please complete the survey at the link below.
Please use this form to provide your feedback to the School Consolidation Task Force.
Hapara and Online Safety in Vista Unified
VUSD takes your child’s online safety seriously. The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires that K-12 schools and libraries use internet filters and implement other measures to protect children from harmful online content as a condition for the receipt of certain federal funding, especially E-rate funds. Vista Unified has been using the Hāpara Instructional Suite to assist with this requirement on campus during the school day. With the pandemic and the creation of the Vista Virtual Learning Model, we will begin using the Hapara Instructional Suite to support our virtual learners beginning in January 2021. This is a great opportunity for your child/children because it will provide new ways to personalize learning to meet their individual needs, keep them safe during online lessons, and provide them with ongoing feedback on their work to encourage continuous learning and growth. Click the parent letter for more information:
Special Education Continues to Support Students
Extended School Year (ESY) is scheduled for June 28 - July 23, 2021. ESY is offered to students with disabilities who show a significant regression in skills over an extended school break. In order for a student to be invited to ESY, it needs to be documented within the IEP to include data that shows regression in skills. Students are also considered if they require a significant amount of time to recoup skills after an extended break. In March, we will begin to send out information and invitations to families of students who qualify.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District