Parent & Community Newsletter

January 29, 2021

"We rise by lifting others” shared by Jessica Hutchinson, Sonoma Valley High School Principal

Message from Interim Superintendent Mondragón

Dear Families:

The safety and well-being of your children, our students, remain of the highest priority. Navigating the uncertainty in our lives has been daunting and frustrating. However, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as the efforts to vaccine school personnel become a reality and the stay-at-home restrictions were lifted in our state. Of course, how quickly staff will be vaccinated depends on the availability of the vaccine. Although Distance Learning may not be an ideal model for every child/student, our teachers and support staff are working hard to ensure that students continue to learn and grow in a virtual setting.

Social isolation and economic hardship are contributing to a surge in social, emotional, and mental health issues. Adding to the plight of the pandemic, our community has been confronted with challenging and shocking situations. In light of the recent event reported at the high school, I wish to share with you our crisis intervention response, which intends to support our students and staff during this trying time. Below is a summary of the work being done in collaboration with our high school team.

From SVUSD's Wellness Department

Trusting relationships are the bedrock of supportive and nurturing schools. When this trust is challenged, we must turn to each other to understand the harm that has occurred and to hopefully rebuild even stronger relationships.

The SVUSD Student Wellness Team of social workers and counselors is working closely with the leaders at SVHS to make sure that students, parents, and teachers are supported during this difficult time. Everyone responds to trauma differently, and it's important that we all have access to the services we need to respond both as individuals and as a community. Please see the information below for resources to help your families and yourselves:

In addition, we are working with professionals in the field of trauma recovery to plan community discussions and further resources to help our community heal. As a part of this, we have more than 40 faculty and staff members across the district scheduled in February and March to attend training in Restorative Practices through the International Institute for Restorative Practices. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Charles Wilson, Director of Student Wellness, at (707) 935-4224 or

Class of 2021 Celebration

During Dr. Mondragon’s report at the School Board Meeting, she will be honoring and celebrating the senior class. Please click here to view the first of five videos that will be shared with the Board. The next Regular School Board Meeting will be Tuesday, February 9th.

Superintendent Search Update:

The Board of Trustees unanimously selected McPherson and Jacobson, LLC to conduct the superintendent search. Board President Blake and Trustee Coleman will be working closely and collaboratively with the firm and the district to begin the search. The Board of Trustees will hold a Special Board meeting on February 5th starting at 4:00 pm to continue their work with Bob Ferguson, Consultant.

Registration for new and returning students:

SVUSD returning student registration will open on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. This is for all students who currently attend or previously attended an SVUSD school in grades TK-12 and who will be returning to an SVUSD school for 2021-2022. We encourage you to register your child before the last day of school on Thursday, June 3, 2021. To register your child visit - click on the "For Families" tab and then click "Student Registration", and select "Returning Student Registration 2021-2022."

SVUSD new student registration opens on Monday, February 1, 2021. This is for students who plan to attend an SVUSD school in grades TK-12 for the first time. To register your child, visit - click on the "For Families" tab and then click "Student Registration", and select "New Student Registration 2021-2022."

Parent Spanish Forums for February

The February 2021 calendar and flyer with show the classes and information on the Forums in Spanish for parents de SVUSD and please read the gift card raffle announcement. Reminder that you can use your child 's computer to join these forums. - El calendario y el volante de febrero del 2021 tiene la información y las clases de los foros en español para padres de SVUSD. Recuerde que puede usar la computadora de sus hijos para conectarse a estos foros.

Special Education Parent Meeting

Toni Vernier, the Director of Special Education, will be hosting a Parent Check-In meeting on Friday, February 5, 2021, at 5:00 pm for all Special Education families. Click here for the Zoom link.

Virtual Preschool Information Night

SVUSD, Sonoma Valley Education Foundation and North Bay Children’s Center will be hosting a virtual preschool information night on Wednesday, February 17th, at 6:00 pm. Learn about SVUSD preschools at El Verano, Sassarini, and Prestwood.

Looking to join a committee?

The District is looking to fill three (3) vacancies for the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. Members do not need to be SVUSD employees. If you are interested, or know someone who may be interested, please click here to view the district’s website for more information and applications.

Governor Newsom’s proposal:

Dr. Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, sent a letter clarifying misconceptions about the Governor’s Safe Schools for All plan and what it means for when schools can reopen. The letter has been vetted and approved by county health. Please click here to view Dr. Herrington’s letter.

A message to families and the community that was shared at Tuesday’s School Board Meeting from Interim Superintendent, Esmeralda Mondragón, Ed.D.

Thank you for your communication regarding bringing back our students for in-person instruction. We understand how difficult it has been for parents, students, teachers, and everyone in our school community to live with the hardships that the coronavirus pandemic has created. Please rest assured that Sonoma Valley Unified District (SVUSD) is focused on returning to in-person instruction as soon as it is safe and permitted. Sonoma County Health department has defined being safe as being in the red tier or less. Unfortunately, our County is still in the purple tier defined by the number of cases in the County. Marin County moved out of Purple and opened based on their lower infection rate. The Governor has now proposed a different plan to return students to in-person instruction. The Governor’s proposal has not yet been approved by the legislature and the COVID 19 Safety Plan that the Governor’s plan requires districts to complete and submit for approval was released a few days ago.

Our district cannot unilaterally decide to open its schools. We are not health experts and are required to follow the direction and guidelines of the Sonoma County Health Department. We are prepared to reopen when it is safe for our students and staff. We have all the supplies needed; we have plans for all our sites; we have completed surveys of families and staff. We can open small cohorts for students of need and have done so. For instance, we have in-person classes for our early new English learners; we have in-person Special Ed assessments; we have High School clubs, and we have a Special Ed learning pod about to start. Additionally, we have about 10 learning pods for our students of greatest need running in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club. Our priority is to reopen our schools when it is safe to do. We have appointed a senior staff member to coordinate all activities surrounding reopening our schools safely for in-person instruction and we will continue to keep you informed.

Important Dates & Events