Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

January 2018 Edition

Superintendent's Message

Happy New Year, Team PUSD!

Blessings to you and yours in the new year! This photo is from a few years ago, when my daughter and I wore our "hanboks" or Korean dresses, which is a tradition for New Year's celebrations.

These first few weeks of 2018 have been filled with a flurry of activity as we get back to business after the long holiday break. I just returned from a statewide superintendents symposium, where one of the topics we discussed was the state of school district budgets. California public schools are among the lowest funded in the country, ranked 41st out of 50 states for per-pupil funding. To make matters worse, Poway Unified School District, a nationally-recognized district with award-winning students and staff, is one of the lowest funded districts in all of San Diego County under the state’s current funding formula. The Governor’s newest budget proposal for 2018 is encouraging, with an increase of $3.1 billion from the previous year. But with school districts' rapidly rising costs from health care, pensions, transportation, and utilities, it is not enough to lift us from the bottom of the national rankings for school funding. Recently, the PUSD school board passed a resolution urging California lawmakers to provide full and fair funding needed for public schools. Please contact your lawmakers asking them to do the same.

This February, look for an invitation to your site's Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, Community Forums. The forums will be taking place at all of our schools throughout the month. We hope as many of our stakeholders as possible will participate in these important meetings. Your input will help decide our funding priorities moving forward. If you cannot attend in person, please participate online. Thank you as well to the thousands of students, staff, and community members who took the Speak Up Technology Survey to share their ideas about how best to prepare our students for the future.

Earlier this month we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Leading up to the holiday, many of our classrooms incorporated Dr. King into their learning. For example, students at Stone Ranch participated in a live virtual event with students from around the world, sharing comments, reactions, and reflections in an international conversation about Dr. King’s contributions! I want to end on a quote from Dr. King, “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But by all means, keep moving.” Let’s make 2018 a great year as we work together to keep moving our District forward.


Marian Kim-Phelps, Ed.D.


PUSD Podcasts Episode 5: Mel Robertson

You may know the Learning Support Services department supports learning. But what does that mean for our students and the classroom? Listen to this month's podcast with Associate Superintendent Dr. Mel Robertson about how learning has changed over the years, where education is going, why the LCAP is important, and her absolute favorite memory from her years with PUSD.

Poway Unified School District

PUSDPodcast Ep. 5 - Mel Robertson by Poway Unified School District

Excellence in Education Video Series

PUSD interns Noelle Betz, Zach Camerino, Seth Dacio, Sabrina Darian, and Nathan Xia have been working with the Communications Department to create monthly “Excellence in Education” videos that highlight how PUSD is achieving its mission of college and career readiness throughout the District. This month's piece highlights the District's partnership with Qualcomm's Thinkabit Lab to create a hands-on STEM and career exploration day for middle school students.

Student, School, and Staff Achievements

"Sophia M. Righthouse Day" in the City of San Diego

The San Diego City Council declared Tuesday, January 23, 2018, as "Sophia M. Righthouse Day," to recognize her bravery in reporting an apartment fire and helping residents evacuate. Sophia is a freshman at Westview High School and a proud member of NJROTC and Young Marines. You can watch her story here or read an article here.

All-State Honor Band & Orchestra

The following PUSD students were selected to be members of the 2018 California All State Ensembles. These students are considered among the top young musicians in the state and will perform in San Jose at the California All-State Music Education Conference, February 15-18, 2018:

Middle Schools: Mesa Verde Middle School: Elena Betancort (Tenor Saxophone), Eric Park (Trumpet)

High Schools: Del Norte High School: Valerie Chen (Cello); Mt. Carmel High School: Nathan Christlieb (Trumpet), Ruth Howe (Trumpet), Riley McCoy (Clarinet), Jennifer St. John (English Horn), Kathleen Villasenor (Trumpet), Sebastian Bakos (Bassoon); Poway High School: John Lettang (Tuba); Rancho Bernardo High School: Eddy Lanois (Trumpet), Daniel Ota (French Horn), Lorrian Elad (Alto Saxophone), Lina Song (Bassoon); Westview High School: Sawyer Figueroa (Tenor Saxophone), Raghu Tekumalla (Trombone), Helen Zhu (Flute)

All-State Honor Choir

The following PUSD students were selected to be members of the 2018 California All State Honor Choir. Students who were previously selected for All Southern California Honor Choir were eligible to apply. After a rigorous audition and rehearsal process, the students will perform at the California All-State Music Education Conference, February 15-18, 2018, in San Jose:

Women’s Choir: Del Norte High School: Cassandra Lidstad, (Soprano II), Jessica Trost, (Soprano II); Poway High School: Lainie Carter, (Soprano II)

Mixed Choir: Del Norte High School: Esheta Garg (Soprano); Poway High School: Alexander Pruetting (Bass II); Westview High School: Nandini Rajgopal (Alto I)

Fun Photo Gallery

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Preschool Registration Opens February 1

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Public Hearing: Election district map

The San Diego County Board of Education is seeking input from our community on the map chosen by the PUSD Board of Education for proposed election boundaries.

The public hearing will be on
Jan. 31, 2018, 6 p.m.
Poway Unified School District Office Community Room
15250 Avenue of Science
San Diego, CA 92128

For more information on the hearing:

Next Technology Plan Input Meeting: February 13, 2018 at 6pm

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2018 LCAP Community Forums

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Coming in February! Check your school's website for a meeting near you. If you can't attend a forum in person, take the survey online in English or Spanish.

Character and Ethics Film Festival

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News Minute

Are you catching our weekly news updates on social media? These are one-minute video recaps of the week’s news with PUSD Director of Communications, Christine Paik. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook so you don't miss out!

Important Dates:

  • Public Hearing: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 6pm (County Hearing on Election Map)
  • Black History Month: February 2018
  • Non-Student day: Friday, February 2, 2018 (Professional Growth)
  • School Counselor Appreciation Week: February 5-9, 2018
  • District Recess: February 19-23, 2018

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.