Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Students and Staff

August 2017 Edition

Welcome back to school, Poway Unified! What an exciting time. Thank you to those who tagged their photos #PUSDBacktoSchool and #PowayUnified to share your own back to school experiences with us. You'll see some of them included in this newsletter. Here's to an amazing 2017-18! Submissions are always welcome, send them to: cpaik@powayusd.com.


Christine Paik, Director of Communications

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Class of 2030

Meet Kenzie, Calliope, Mila, Kyra, Sami, Jeremy, and Brooke, who all started Kindergarten in PUSD this year! We thought it might be fun to track the students as they grow up in our District, and work towards college and career readiness by the time they graduate in 2030.

PUSD Back to School Video: "Best Day of My Life"

When we say we are excited to welcome you back to school, we mean it!
Poway Unified: Best Day of My Life Back to School Parody

Message from the Superintendent

Welcome Back, Team PUSD!

We are so excited to welcome you back to a new and exciting school year! We hope that you enjoyed our PUSD music video above that was filmed and produced by our very own students. I had the opportunity to visit six of our schools last Wednesday and was very impressed with how hard our staff, teachers, principals, and parent volunteers all worked to prepare for such a smooth first day of school. I want to congratulate each and every one of you on a job well done.

I am so pleased to celebrate my first opening of the school year here in Poway Unified. The anticipation and excitement of watching our children and young adults arrive through the doors of learning with their brand new backpacks, first-day outfits, and nervous smiles always brings joy to my heart! On August 23rd, nearly 4,000 teachers, administrators and support staff, resumed the critical work of educating and caring for our nearly 36,000 young minds that pass through our school doors.

Walking onto each of our campuses we instantly feel the familiar comforts of our homes away from home. Thanks to the efforts of our custodial and maintenance staff over the summer, our facilities and schools look amazing. New facilities projects, including roofs, classrooms, and solar energy panels are complete or are nearing completion. Seven of our schools have new principals, and over 100 new teachers have joined our PUSD family.

As Team PUSD, we are all motivated by the belief that every one of our students deserve a safe environment to learn and opportunities to succeed. Every decision we make, and action we take, must always be focused on what is best for our learners, from our youngest preschoolers to our adult school students. I am reminded of my favorite quote, “Great leaders always have the voices of our children ringing in their ears.”

My vision for the 2017-2018 school year is to propel our District and students forward by leveraging our best practices and developing new educational programs and initiatives that support our District goals. We must expand the way our students learn and the way our teachers teach, to creatively use our resources for maximum impact. This includes:

  • Creating personalized learning pathways that allow our students to be competitive in a global society.
  • Increasing the educational technology presence in our schools that allow our students to gain experiences and the necessary skills to be successful in college and career.
  • Developing and implementing innovative programs and learning experiences that allow our students opportunities to be multilingual, technology savvy, masters of the arts, and proficient contributors in the STEM and STEAM industries.
  • Restoring financial stability to the District and growing community trust and support for PUSD’s district mission of college and career readiness for all students.

If you want to learn more about me you can tune into our introductory “PUSD podcast.” (Link here) I look forward to sharing more about my adventures and District news in these monthly #TeamPUSD newsletters.

Finally, as your new superintendent my hope is that this new year brings you and your family hope, inspiration, love, kindness, and many blessings! I look forward to our collaborative partnership in building a stronger and better district together!


Marian Kim-Phelps, Ed.D.


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This year, we asked our social media followers to post their first day of school photos, using the hashtag #PUSDBacktoSchool. Boy, did you respond, via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! We received so many great pics. Click here for a student compilation and here for a staff compilation. Thank you for sharing your special day with us.

Student, School, and Staff Achievements

How Did PUSD Spend Summer Break?

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The Solar Eclipse

The Solar Eclipse

Did you see it? Even though most schools weren't in session yet on August 21st, students and staff stopped what they were doing to witness the Solar Eclipse.

The Spirit of the 4th Parade

PUSD's antique firetruck made an appearance for the annual Rancho Bernardo Spirit of the 4th Parade. Driven by volunteers from PUSD's Transportation Department, the truck carried School Board members and the District's employees of the year. National Blue Ribbon School Creekside Elementary marched ahead and our high schools' marching bands and color guards entertained the crowd.

Friendship Festivals

Extended Student Services (ESS) summer programs hosted "Friendship Festivals" at Deer Canyon and Design39 for hundreds students from across the District. The students were a sea of colorful shirts, as they ate, danced, played games, and did crafts together for a rare chance to meet and mingle with kids from so many different schools.

Ongoing Work and Learning

Students and staff kept the learning, training, growing, and working going all summer long. PUSD is made up of lifetime learners who are trying to be the best that they can be.

Construction Projects

Summer is the busiest time of year for our Facilities Department. While our students were away, construction crews were working on multiple projects, including new buildings, roofs, and solar projects.

Summer Trips

From Europe to Asia to closer to home, you sent in a few photos from your summer travels.
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The Poway Unified School District is asking for your help in planning our new by-district Board of Trustee elections. PUSD is changing the process by which voters select our elected officials. Currently, more than 60 other cities and 150 school districts across the state are being impacted and must implement these changes by the next election cycle.

Beginning in 2018, elections for PUSD school board members will be by-district, instead of the current at-large (also known as district wide) elections in which all voters have the opportunity to make a decision on each seat. This means that all voters now vote for the one board member representing the district where the voter lives once every four years. You can read more on this change by clicking this link.
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Poway Unified in the News

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.