Super DAC News: December 2022

All District Advisory Council / Committee Monthly Update


Hello, Conejo Valley USD Community!

Welcome to this edition of Super DAC News, a monthly newsletter that highlights the work and activities of CVUSD’s six parent district advisory councils and the student district advisory committee. We hope that the information shared here each month is informative and helpful to families, students, staff, community members and community partners.

News & Updates from the DACs

African American District Advisory Council (AADAC)

The AADAC Executive Committee is comprised of Nicole Updegraff- Chair, Lee Dixon- Vice Chair, Darius J. Wynn- Secretary, Elizabeth Allen- Parliamentarian, and Kim Thornton & Loretta Hunnicutt- Members at Large.

As we move through the 2022-2023 school year, AADAC is looking forward to continuing to advise and work collaboratively with CVUSD by recommending and supporting services and initiatives to support the needs of our African American/Black students, families, and teachers. To that end, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) office is currently working on and have implemented the following action items:

  • Creating a policy around the use of the “N” word on school campuses.
  • Building a support system for the Black administrators in the district.
  • Created a partnership with HR to recruit, retain and support more educators of color.
  • Applied for Anti Bias Education Grant ($200,000) to train teachers, staff and school leaders.
  • Pulling data to review the student handbook (discipline policies and matrix) to examine suspension rates.
  • Increasing visibility through the website by adding training modules and statements inviting people of color to join CVUSD.
  • Created a 5-year DEI plan (currently awaiting comments and feedback from advisory council members).

AADAC is looking into ways to increase interest and enrollment in our campus Black Student Unions (BSUs) and Ethnic Studies classes. We are also developing a literature initiative for diverse and inclusive libraries and storytelling starting at the elementary level with hopes to extend thru all grade levels.

As always, our priority is continuing our commitment to safe learning environments where our children can thrive in both academic, as well as social-emotional capacities. The change to mandatory in-person meetings has, unfortunately, affected the ability of some interested parents to fully participate. As such, the following schools are still in need of AADAC representatives:

  • Acacia
  • Banyan
  • Century
  • Conejo Elementary
  • Cypress
  • Glenwood
  • Lang Ranch
  • Madroña
  • Maple
  • Sycamore
  • Walnut
  • Westlake Elementary

District Advisory Council (DAC)

At our last District Advisory Council meeting on November 8, DAC members were treated to a comprehensive presentation on Career and Technical Education (CTE) in CVUSD. The CTE Career Pathways Program offers coursework tied to specific industries at the district’s secondary-level schools. Through these programs, students have the opportunity to follow their passions and master strategic employability skills. The slides for this presentation are available on BoardDocs.
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Brian Mercer, Director of High School Education, kicked off the presentation with district-wide information and recent developments. A major highlight is that CVUSD has been able to hire three new counselors, one at each of the comprehensive high schools, to focus on CTE Pathway enrollment and increasing student completion of A-G college entrance requirements. CVUSD is currently the only district in the state to have CTE counselors at every comprehensive high school!

CVUSD has also secured grant funding to provide industry-standard equipment and materials for students and professional development for teachers. The district continues to expand the program by adding new CTE Career Pathways, such as the new Professional Theatre Pathway. Hallmarks of all the high school CTE programs include courses that qualify for dual credit with Ventura County Community Colleges, opportunities to earn specific industry-level certifications and recognition of CTE Pathway completion at graduation. Learn more about all CVUSD CTE Pathways and courses at
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Next, Steve Lepire, Principal at Newbury Park High School, shared highlights about the NPHS CTE program. NPHS has eight CTE pathways across seven industries, with leadership and involvement opportunities through Panther TV, Panther Catering and the Thespian Society. NPHS is piloting the incorporation of students with IEPs into the program and is rolling out opportunities for students to earn course credit for internships. NPHS also provides options for Work-Based Learning experiences through job-shadowing. A major highlight for NPHS is the DATA Academy, a school within a school that is a three-year, cross-disciplinary program focused on computer science and technology.

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Next, Ashley Cooper, Thousand Oaks High School CTE Coordinator, presented highlights for TOHS, which offers ten CTE pathways across eight industries, including the new Professional Theatre Pathway. TOHS also has three Career Tech Student Organizations that provide leadership and competition opportunities for students. Two big highlights for TOHS are the EThOS Entrepreneurship Academy and the Majors Program. EThOS is one of only three entrepreneurship academies in California and provides students opportunities to learn about entrepreneurial leadership through coursework, field trips, projects, guest speakers and competitions. The Majors Program allows students the freedom to explore eighteen different job sectors through peer groups, guest speakers, projects and internships.

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Next, Dr. Laurie Looker, Westlake High School CTE Coordinator, shared highlights for WHS, whose Theater Stage Technology Pathways is in its sixth year of a partnership with Universal Studios. WHS also has a Digital Media Arts Academy and is adding three new pathways next year in Education & Teaching, Allied Health Careers and Makeup and Costumes. WHS also encourages students to pursue coursework through the Career Education Center in Camarillo and currently has thirty students enrolled in classes there. A significant highlight for WHS is the Science Career Emphasis Program, where students can complete an “emphasis” in nine different science fields with coursework, clubs, projects, internships and volunteering.

To finish out the CTE presentation, Sonia Wilson, Director of Middle Schools, shared highlights about the programs at Colina, Los Cerritos, Redwood and Sequoia Middle Schools. All four CTE programs at the middle schools are designed to connect to a pathway at the high school level.

The Colina Middle School Academy of Technology teaches coding, robotics, video game design, animation and digital art, 3D printing and laser engraving, and it links to the Digital Media Arts Academy at WHS. In addition to career exploration electives, Los Cerritos Middle School offers Introduction to Engineering/Advanced Woodshop that connects to the Construction Pathway at Thousand Oaks High School.

Redwood Middle School is home to the Redwood Entrepreneurship Academy of Learners or R.E.A.L. Academy, which develops entrepreneurial mindsets and skills and connects to the EThOS Academy at Thousand Oaks High School. Sequoia Middle School has a digital production program and hosts the KA19 Podcast, which live streams podcasts on social-emotional learning and records podcasts on school-related topics. This program connects to the Video Production Pathway at Newbury Park High School.

The final slide of this highly informative presentation shared the email addresses for CVUSD’s Career Education contacts.

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The second big ticket item on our agenda was a presentation on the district’s LCAP Survey led by Dr. Jayna Suter, the Assistant Director of Educational Technology and Student Performance. After a short discussion about the purpose of the LCAP Survey and past data, DAC members joined breakout groups to brainstorm ways to improve the survey and increase parent/guardian participation.

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A standout idea was to rename the survey so that its intended purpose is clear to parents and guardians. Not everyone is familiar with the LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) acronym, but parents and guardians would likely appreciate an opportunity to give feedback to the district about their child’s school and overall educational experience.

Multiple groups also shared that shortening the survey and providing a streamlined method to fill out the survey for multiple children could potentially increase parent and guardian participation.

Our next DAC meeting is on Tuesday, December 13, at 9:00 am, in the MPR at University.

District English Learners Advisory Council (DELAC)

The DELAC committee provides information to our school site representatives regarding specific areas that directly relate to our English Learners. DELAC is required to present on certain topics during the school year. Throughout the eight meetings that are scheduled for the entire school year, the executive board decides on the topics that need to be covered every month. In addition to the required topics, the DELAC executive board also invites guest speakers to present on other relevant topics that are of interest to our DELAC members.

The third DELAC meeting was held on Tuesday, November 29th from 10 am to 12 noon. You will find below a link in either English or Spanish for each of the presentations.

Our next DELAC meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31st from 10 am to 12 noon, in the MPR at University. Even though our meetings are held in Spanish, we provide translation services from Spanish to English. Everyone is welcome to attend!

DELAC Executive Board

President: Carina Pivaral

Vice President: Alma Molina Valenciana

Secretary: Liliana Diaz

Parliamentarian: Lucely Duarte

Gifted and Talented Education District Advisory Council (GATE-DAC)

Resources – The district website has been updated. Here’s the new link for the district GATE website.

GATE identification – GATE screening at school sites for ALL 3rd grade students and teacher/parent referrals for students in 4th grade and above will begin November 29, 2022. The Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT) will be administered on district devices at each school site. 3rd grade students will participate in this automatic/universal GATE screening opportunity unless their parent/ guardian opts them out with a signed non-consent form. All students referred for GATE screening MUST have a signed consent form to participate in the identification process.

Community Updates – Conejo Recreation & Park District celebrates its 60-year anniversary on November 9th. The newly renovated Teen Center will be open in the next two weeks. Registration for fall/winter activities is currently underway. Check out CRPD’s website for more information.

TO Arts is providing art education through Kids and the Arts, Virtual Field Trips, and AccessArts. In addition, TO Arts is providing professional learning for TK-6th grade educators, Expanding Social Emotional Learning and Literacy through Theatre Arts.

Social Emotional Learning & Learning Loss – GATE-DAC reps broke into groups to discuss social emotional learning and learning loss. Reps discussed how SEL and learning loss looked at their individual school sites and how each impacts GATE students.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Others Advisory Council (LBGTQ+ AC)

As this was our first meeting of the year, and it also was our first meeting in person, we chose to review some standard housekeeping items amongst a few other agenda items. We discussed member roles and responsibilities in consideration of the LGBTQ+ AC purpose, as well as our Standing Rules and ByLaws for our newly appointed members. As we are hoping to revise our ByLaws and Standing Rules, we assembled a committee to do so and they will report back at our next meeting with revisions.

At the end of the last school year we created two subcommittees to help define the scope of how we can best support our LGBTQ+ students. One is to focus on our Elementary aged students, and the other is for our Secondary (both middle and high school) aged students. While the Elementary committee was able to meet once over the summer and the topics that were discussed were how the Human Growth and Development videos for 4th and 5th grade have been updated, but still aren't up to date, adding LGBTQ+ History month as one that is recognized by the Board of Education and is celebrated throughout our CVUSD schools, and they'd also like to have consideration for including gender and sexual orientation in Inclusive Schools Week by way of the anti-bullying information. The Secondary subcommittee has not yet met, but will in the coming weeks and an update will be provided once there is more information.

There was also an LCAP survey presentation from Dr. Jayna Suter, and the LGBTQ+ AC was given an opportunity to provide feedback to improve upon format, questions and sections. And following that presentation, Dr. Dwight Rogers gave an overview of the DEI 5-Year Plan which is currently a working document in draft form.

Our next meeting is November 30th at 9:30am at the University Multipurpose room.

Special Education District Advisory Council (SEDAC)

SEDAC held its second meeting of the school year on November 9th, during this meeting we shared SEDAC’s annual priorities for what we hope to accomplish this year. These priorities will be the core of our work this school year. Our 3 priorities for this school year are:

Priority ONE

Achievement and overall success for ALL students by prioritizing and supporting opportunities for co-teaching, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Career Technical Education (CTE) and academic pathways, and inclusion as well as supporting equity in opportunities across all school sites.

Priority TWO

Supporting student mental health and social emotional learning by rebuilding campus culture by fostering and emphasizing student connection to their school communities through intentional, meaningful, and impactful opportunities for acceptance, inclusion and friendship.

Priority THREE

Increase SEDAC member engagement and improve communication with all parents/guardians through collaborations with school site administration, School Site Council, PTA/PFA, and other stakeholders as well as provide opportunities to build relationships and connections, both virtual and in person.

Volunteer Opportunity: SEDAC is a district advisory council made up of parents/guardians, all who have children with an IEP or 504 plan, from each school site. Our goal is to have every school site represented. There are still a few schools that need a SEDAC representative. If you are a parent or guardian of a student with an IEP or 504 at one of these school sites, then please consider volunteering to be a representative.

Aspen Elementary

Banyan Elementary

Century Academy

Conejo Valley High School

Glenwood Elementary

Ladera STARS Academy

Here are some highlights from our November meeting:

  1. SEDAC Meeting Presentations

    1. Link to SEDAC November Meeting Presentation. Please review for full recap of the meeting


  2. CVUSD Transition Informational Meetings

    1. Informational meetings were held for Parents/Guardians of 5th and 8th grade students with IEPs or 504s regarding transitions to middle and high school. Presentations were made by Special Education District Staff and representatives from school sites were present to answer questions about their schools.

    2. Link to the CVUSD Special Education website with links to Transition Meeting Presentations


  3. DEI 5 Year Plan Presentation

    1. Dr. Dwight Rogers, Asst. Director-DEI, presented the initial stages of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 5 year plan and took questions and suggestions from SEDAC. The plan will be worked on throughout the school year with hopes of implementation starting next school year. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Rogers back to a SEDAC meeting and here about updates to the plan.

  4. ESSER III Funding (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief)

    1. The third round of ESSER funds must be spent by September 30, 2024.

    2. One way ESSER III funds may be used is to address learning loss among students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care, of the LEA, including by–

      1. Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction.

      2. Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students.

      3. Providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment.

      4. Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.

    3. SPSA plans should reflect how funds will be used at your school site. You can review SPSAs and also request discussions at SSC to learn more.

    4. Link to FAQs about ESSER III Funds


  5. SEDAC Sub-Committees

    1. Our committees reviewed suggested topics of interest from our October meeting and decided on 1 or 2 top priorities for the committee.

    2. It is now time for our committees to get to work! Currently our committees are Communication/New Member, Curriculum/Inclusion, Disability Celebrations, Safety, Transitions, and Mental Health/SEL/Wellness Centers. Committees are now meeting and we look forward to sharing committee goals and plans for this school year.

Our next meeting is Wednesday December 14th at Century Academy (33 Greta St.) from 9:15 am to 11:30 am. Please come join us!

SEDAC Executive Team

SEDAC Executive Board:

Chair: Erin Bell

Vice Chair: Denise Benic

Secretary: Mandy Pollak

Parliamentarian: Rachael Brusseau

Members-at-Large: Allice Chou, Jenny Crosby, Andrea Mettel, Trina Rodriguez

Link to SEDAC Website:

Student District Advisory Committee (SDAC)

For our November meeting, we invited Virginia Beck, the Director of Child Nutrition Services, to speak with us regarding important school lunch issues and concerns. We discussed our concerns with the lack of sustainable packaging of meals provided to students by the district, as well as the amount of food waste observed at each school site in our district. Another discussion point was the menu and food options available for students on a daily basis. One of the reasons for a high amount of food waste we are concerned about is related to the meal options: we want to improve the options so that less food is thrown away. We also discussed more school site-specific issues, such as long lines and lunchtime activities (clubs, test-retakes, meetings, etc.) interfering with students’ ability to get a school-provided meal at lunchtime. We are looking to further our discussions of these issues by the SDAC representatives reporting and meeting with their respective school site principals to discuss possible solutions and Improvements.

Additionally, we invited the teachers of our district’s new pilot course, Ethnic Studies, to

our November meeting to give a presentation about the pilot course. Teachers from our school sites came and presented a general overview explaining the course, and then we had a discussion with the teachers about specific improvements and modifications of the course in an effort to increase the participation and accessibility. We discussed the possibility of eventually offering the course at an Honors level, in addition to CP level, as well as making it a built-in part of the ninth grade curriculum and different ways we can incorporate the material.

We are finalizing the idea of creating a new Financial Literacy Subcommittee, as we are

in the process of electing a chairperson for the committee and gathering information about who is interested in being a part of the new subcommittee. We continued to discuss the purpose and goals of this subcommittee in our meeting, as well as working on year-long goals we want to accomplish among the other subcommittees. We will continue our discussions on both child nutrition/school lunches and improving our Ethnic Studies pilot course in our next meeting. We will also discuss increasing and improving communication and discussions between SDAC and the other DACS in our community, so that there can be greater communication and input on topics and issues. We would look at creating monthly meetings with representatives from all the DACs in our community or even inviting other DAC representatives to our monthly meetings in an effort to get a wider and more diverse opinion on topics.

Learn More About Us

What is a DAC?

A DAC or district advisory council/committee is a body made up of parent or student representatives that advises district leadership and administration on education programs, policies and procedures related to student achievement, academic performance, overall success and wellbeing. DACs are one avenue for parents, guardians and students to be involved and have a voice about the education of students in CVUSD.

What are the current CVUSD DACs?

• African American District Advisory Council (AADAC)

• District Advisory Council (DAC)

• District English Learners Advisory Council (DELAC)

• Gifted and Talented Education District Advisory Council (GATE-DAC)

• Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Others Advisory Council (LGBTQ+ AC)

• Special Education District Advisory Council (SEDAC)

• Student District Advisory Committee (SDAC)

How can I learn more about the different DACs?

To learn more about the parent district advisory councils, check out the Parent Involvement page on CVUSD’s website. You will find a brief description of each DAC along with a link to each DAC’s webpage.

To learn more about the Student District Advisory Committee, check out their webpage.

Can I attend a DAC meeting?

District advisory council meetings are open to the public, and all are welcome. To see the upcoming meeting dates for all the parent DACs, check out the Master Schedule.

Upcoming DAC meetings and agendas are available on the district website through BoardDocs, which is the same portal for the Board of Education meetings. Access the BoardDocs portal here.

Conejo Valley Unified School District