September/October 2020 Edition
Reopening Schools Safely
Message from the Superintendent
The photo above was taken at the October 28 meeting with my Superintendent's Student Advisory Council, consisting of student leaders from all of our high schools. We have been meeting in person, wearing masks and physically distancing, focusing on leadership development, communication skills, and civic engagement/community service. These meetings with students are the highlight of my day. We will be seeing more of these types of in-person small group meetings at secondary schools across the District, as we continue to phase in the safe reopening of our middle and high school campuses. By now, our middle and high school families have heard the customized reopening plans that our sites have been working so hard to develop.
A huge congratulations to our 26 elementary schools, special education programs, and Abraxas High School on their successful reopenings for on campus learning! We are the largest District in San Diego County (and one of the largest in the state) to move forward with reopening. We are grateful for our families’ support as we continue to work together to make this a possibility for students in a safe and thoughtful way. Let’s work together to ensure that we are practicing recommended health and safety measures in order to keep our community infection rates low and keep our schools open.
I also want to commend and encourage all of our staff and families who are in virtual learning. As you may know, for the first time in its history, the Poway Unified School District opened the 2020-21 school year with fully virtual learning. This was no small feat. Try to wrap your head around this statistic: Poway Unified students participated in over 18 million minutes of learning via Zoom video conferencing in the first three days of school!
Our teachers, staff and administrators prepared for months to ensure a smooth start. We surveyed our families on what worked and what needed improvement based on our emergency distance learning in the spring, and implemented those changes for a more rigorous and robust virtual learning experience this fall. We offered professional development sessions for teachers and staff, with a combined 10,000 attendees.
Even as we reopen our campuses for in-person learning, I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate the innovation taking place in our virtual classrooms. In many ways, this pandemic has forced those of us in education to fast forward our efforts to bring learning into the 21st century. Our students are also developing grit, learning to persevere past technical challenges and frustrations, and they are realizing that learning can be exciting and interactive even through a screen. They’re seeing how the curriculum is applicable to their real lives, and they are building time management and technology skills that are vital in college and beyond.
We know virtual learning isn’t ideal for everybody, especially for our youngest children, students with special needs, and working families. That is why our reopening plan brought our elementary schools and small groups of students with special needs back for in-person learning first. But even when we all eventually return in person, my hope is that the positive results of the pandemic on education will continue: providing students with more personalized learning, choice and flexibility, as well as teaching and learning in a whole new way, with creativity, patience and problem solving that will extend far beyond the classroom and beyond the status quo.
-Superintendent Marian Kim Phelps, Ed.D.
Health and Safety Reminders
School Reopening Page
To view the most recent version of the Poway Unified School District Reopening Guidebook, click here.
Para ver la versión más reciente de la Guía de Reapertura del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Poway, hacer clic aquí.
Families are encouraged to watch and share this health and safety video to become familiar with the new protocols in place on campus.
The Dashboard is updated once a week and when we are notified of confirmed cases. Columns are separated by month to provide a more accurate snapshot of current cases vs. past cases. Please note that PUSD does not wait to notify close contacts upon initial report of a positive case. However, we do wait for official confirmation from the public health department before listing the case on this dashboard. This could result in a delay of cases appearing on this dashboard or a discrepancy between the number of notifications received and actual number of confirmed cases (when the case is not confirmed positive by public health).
Valley Elementary Virtual Learning
We sat down with Kindergarten and 4/5th grade teachers at Valley Elementary School to provide an inside look into their virtual classrooms and routines. Valley is on a modified year-round calendar, and started the 2020-21 school year completely virtual on August 3. A big thank you to Profe. Rivera, Profe. Sanchez, Profe. Molina, and Profe. Aparis, who were kind enough to let us film part of their day.
Secondary Registration Brings Students Together Once Again
Westview Welcomes Largest Freshman Class to Date
What a welcome from our Wolverines. It was all smiles from students and staff as Westview ASB Link Crew welcomed over 645 (!!!) freshmen with a drive-thru parade and grab bags. Westview tradition says freshmen must run the gauntlet through a staff tunnel at the back-to-school pep rally. ASB and staff managed to create an experience just as fun and memorable, despite the current health orders. Welcome to the pack, newest Wolverines!
WVHS Staff took the opportunity to snap a quick selfie and document the start of a new school year.
Welcome to the Pack
Each freshman picked up a goodie bag from Westview ASB, as a welcome gift.
Assistant Principal Pride
APs Mr. Glover and Ms. Heard were all smiles during the drive-thru event, even under the masks.
#PUSDBacktoSchool Livestream Event
You can watch the event below:
September 2, 2020
A Fully Virtual Start
Thank you to those who shared their #PUSDBacktoSchool photos with us on social media; it was so nice to share in the joy of everyone's virtual first day. Visit the Adobe Spark page below for all the photos.
Technology Stats for the First Week of Virtual Learning
We need to give a shout out to our #PowayUnified IT Staff. They assisted thousands of families with various technology issues and concerns September 2 through September 4 -- just check out those stats! This doesn't even include the thousands of Chromebooks and laptops our Tech & Innovation Department distributed.
There's always a learning curve. But we couldn't have gotten through virtual learning without them. Thank you!
Preschool classes were among the first groups to return for in-person instruction on September 2. We stopped by Highland Ranch and Adobe Bluffs Elementary to give families a peek into the health and safety guidelines that are being implemented for students and staff, both in and out of the classroom.
October 1, 2020
Ten PUSD Elementary Schools Reopen for In-Person Learning
Students and staff waited for this day for a long time. We’re grateful to #TeamPUSD for making the return to on-campus learning a safe one, and to our parents for their patience and partnership.
The Elementary Schools that opened October 1 are:
Canyon View Elementary School
Highland Ranch Elementary School
Morning Creek Elementary School
Painted Rock Elementary School
Pomerado Elementary School
Shoal Creek Elementary School
Sundance Elementary School
Sunset Hills Elementary School
Westwood Elementary School
October 8, 2020
Abraxas High School Opens
It was a great day back on campus for Abraxas High School Transition and Diploma programs on October 8. Students and staff were excited to greet one another after months of virtual learning (AHS started classes mid-July). Abraxas is hosting cohorts of students on campus in an alternating schedule, leaving Wednesdays as an "all virtual day" for a deeper campus cleaning and sanitation. Families were given the option to remain fully virtual if they choose.
October 12, 2020
Remaining 16 PUSD Elementary Schools Open
The remaining elementary schools that opened October 12 are:
Adobe Bluffs Elementary School
Chaparral Elementary School
Creekside Elementary School
Deer Canyon Elementary School
Del Sur Elementary School
Garden Road Elementary School
Los Penasquitos Elementary School
Midland Elementary School
Monterey Ridge Elementary School
Park Village Elementary School
Rolling Hills Elementary School
Stone Ranch Elementary School
Tierra Bonita Elementary School
Valley Elementary School
Willow Grove Elementary School
Los Penasquitos ES
No Excuses from Los Pen here! Students were ready for the first day, donning masks and eagerness to see friends.
Tierra Bonita ES
Ms. Ramirez is ready for her 2nd and 3rd grade combo class! Her face mask even matches the 'succulent' theme of her classroom.
Del Sur ES
Make sure to practice road safety as you travel to school. Can you tell who this friendly crossing guard is under her mask?
Los Penasquitos ES
Tierra Bonita ES
Park Village ES
Penguins are back on campus, and ready for the day.
All students and staff are screened for symptoms before coming onto campus.
Monterey Ridge ES
Mr. Embry's sign says it all: We are in this together!
Studio 701 "Excellence in Education" Series: School Reopening 2020
PUSD's Comprehensive Plan for Prioritizing Racial Equity and Inclusion
District leadership have been meeting with parent and student representatives to ensure their voice is reflected in our planning, as well. This includes hosting virtual Racial Equity Community Conversations with families at all PUSD high schools and feeder pattern schools. The District recently added an additional meeting date (Wednesday, November 2) for families and staff who were unable to attend the meeting hosted by their feeder pattern school.
CFD Special Tax reduction plan
Read more about the plan here.
Black Mountain Ranch Southern Site Community FAQ
This meeting will also be livestreamed on the #PowayUnified YouTube Channel for community members who are unable to attend.
Annual PUSD College and Career Fair
Thank you to #TeamPUSD for working together to put on this crucial event for our families, and for the dozens of presenters who shared important info on the college admissions and career pathway processes.
Garden Road's Green Apple Day of Service
Thank you Balfour Beatty Construction for an amazing day of service at Garden Road Elementary School! Volunteers painted murals, revamped the gardens, created outdoor learning spaces, and much more. Please take a moment to watch this video that captures the entire Green Apple Day of Service event.
Achievements and Recognitions: Students, Staff, Schools & District
Three PUSD Elementary Schools Named National Blue Ribbon Schools
Read more about this prestigious accomplishment here.
Honoring PUSD's Administrators of the Year
Pomerado Elementary Receives Classroom of the Future Award
National Charity League Donation
Stone Ranch Students Receive Top Placement in Art Contest
The full Pomerado News story here.
PUSD Students Fundraise, Donate Hundreds of Masks to Valley ES
Five former Valley Elementary School students gave back to their Tiger Family in a big way.
Despite attending different high schools, best friends Drew (Rancho Bernardo) Max (Rancho Bernardo) Sean (Torrey Pines) Juan (Poway) and Brandon (Pacific Ridge) joined together with plans to donate over 700 reusable masks to students at Valley. Thank you Drew, Max, Sean, Juan and Brandon for considering the needs of others in difficult times.
Read the inspiring story of how they're making it happen: bit.ly/VESmask
WVHS Student Honored for AI Project
Edmund Sumpena (WVHS) won the Microsoft “Imagine Cup Junior 2020” award for the Americas for his artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning project, ‘Wanderguardian.’ His innovation was focused on assisting people with dementia. This example of applying course knowledge to a real-world problem, and yielding effective results, is outstanding. Well-deserved, Edmund!
The Microsoft Imagine Cup Junior Program provides students aged 13 to 18 the opportunity to learn about technology and how it can be used to positively change the world. In 2020, the global challenge was focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Full story here.
Team Inspiration "#1 Overall Worldwide"
Girl Scout earns Gold Award
Girl Scout Madalyn T. Nguyen shared her love of science, technology, engineering and math with younger girls to “shatter” negative stereotypes of females in STEM fields while earning her Gold Award.
Her project included organizing and moderating two virtual events. They were a seven-week STEM careers series and a Girls STEM Camps Series. Read more about her efforts here.
41 PUSD Students Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists
Outstanding Asian and Pacific Islander Awards
The award recognizes Asian and Pacific Islander student achievement in STEM, arts, civil and community engagement, culture, sports development, and more. Of the 13 awardees, five were from #PowayUnified schools. We extend the heartiest congratulations to our well-deserving students!
Two PUSD Students Named County's "Most Remarkable Teens"
Congratulations to Anika Menon (MCHS '20) and Kaavya Raamkumar (DNHS '22) for being recognized by the San Diego County Public Defender's Office as two of the "Most Remarkable Teens" in 2020.
The Most Remarkable Teen program recognizes San Diego youth ages 13-19 for their contributions and efforts in 25 non-traditional categories including arts and culture, civic involvement, and more. Read about the program here.
DNHS Students Create, Donate PPE to Hospitals
Check out this inspiring story: Del Norte High School students Andrew, Jerry, Nick & Rishi are 3D printing face shields for local #HealthCareHeroes. Their project, which started as a summer "hobby," has now evolved into a non-profit. "Shield Our Health Heroes" has raised enough money to donate 750 more shields to 10 local hospitals. Whether it's making face coverings for hospitals or sending "Cards4Kindness" to people around the world, we can always count on our students to #bethechange.
Fun Photos and Videos
New Teacher Day
We welcomed 76 educators to #TeamPUSD during (virtual) New Teacher Day. They were introduced to the #PowayUnified Board, District administrators, our Poway Federation of Teachers, and more. We're confident that our newest educators will create the culture and conditions to support world class learners, and we are thrilled to work alongside them.
(NOTE: Not all new teachers are pictured. Pic courtesy of LSS via Zoom.)
Best Buddies Halloween
A Bronco-style Welcome
WVHS Theatre Company Virtual Production
BRAVO to our Westview Theatre Company students in this fabulous (virtual) "Bound for Broadway" production! From Hamlet to Hamilton, and the pets of Westview as an intermission special, each of their performances exemplified the unique talents of the Company. Thank you for putting on a spectacular performance; this one's a must-see! Watch the full production here.
RBHS' Senior Class Gift
“We decided to take matters into our own hands ... to make a place on campus for students that’s gonna make them feel united.”
The Rancho Bernardo High School Class of 2021 donned masks and elbow grease as they transformed an area of campus into an outdoor class/lounge space as their senior gift. We can't help but applaud the generosity these Broncos showed toward their peers.
Read the article here.
Elaine Fan (WVHS) Develops App
Celebrations and Resolutions
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15)
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month
October is #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth. We join the CA Department of Education and districts statewide in providing ongoing interventions needed to support the academic success of students with Dyslexia.
Specifically, #PowayUnified offers universal screenings for K-1. Every elementary and middle school has curriculum aligned with the research-based Orton-Gillingham Approach to more effectively meet the unique needs of our students with dyslexia.
Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31)
Rolling Hills Elementary
To celebrate "A happy me is drug free!", this day was crazy hair/silly hat day.
Bernardo Heights Middle School
Bobcats committed to being super and drug free during Red Ribbon Week.
Mt. Carmel High School
Sundevils choose "beary" good habits, and joined the #RedRibbonMaskChallenge for the week.
Rolling Hills Elementary
Bernardo Heights Middle School
National School Lunch Week
Did you know October 12-16 is #NationalSchoolLunchWeek? The National School Lunch Program serves nearly 30 million children every school day. A healthy school lunch has a big impact on a student's life, both inside and outside the classroom. Students enrolled in #PowayUnified schools can pick up FREE breakfast and lunch at convenient school sites, Monday-Friday from 7-8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
More info about PUSD meal pickup can be found on our website here.
Digital Citizenship Week (Oct. 19-23, 2020)
For Digital Citizenship Week (Oct. 19-23), the #PowayUnified Tech & Innovation Department shared lessons, resources and tips for students and their families on how to use technology responsibly (via Common Sense Media). Now more than ever, it is important to work with students in cultivating healthy media habits for a more respectful digital environment.
You can find our Tech & Innovation department on Twitter and Instagram (@pusdinnovate). Give them a follow for more #bytesizedlearning.
World Teacher Day - October 5, 2020
Custodial Workers Day (October 2)
Start With Hello Week (September 2020)
Usually in the third week of September, #PowayUnified students participate in "Start With Hello Week," where they teach fellow peers the importance of empathy and ending social isolation by starting with a friendly greeting. This program is through Sandy Hook Promise
Sandy Hook Promise, and one of our DNHS students is actually on their National Youth Advisory Board.
Meet Aashi Mittal: Aashi has had a direct hand in starting a SAVE Promise Club at Del Norte, and has a deep desire to bring students and staff closer together. Congratulations to Aashi in serving on this board, and we wish #TeamPUSD fun in the virtual Start with Hello activities.
Read more about her work with Sandy Hook promise here.
World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10)
The month of September is designated as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
When you learn to recognize the risks and signs of suicide, and how to utilize the resources available, you are better equipped to support youth who struggle with mental health. By consistently researching social emotional interventions that are evidence-based, and implementing those accessible resources into our programs, we create culture and conditions to support our world-class learners.