APRIL 2016

Center Aim

-Scott Loehr

As we continue with the implementation of the CJUSD Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), I am proud to share that we are making significant progress in attaining the goals we have established. Through the annual update process, will look at data, review the progress our district has made and revise goals as needed to meet the educational needs of our students. Annual update discussions with all stakeholders will happen throughout the district in March and April. We are exploring new elective options at Wilson Riles Middle School that will support and feed into College & Career opportunities offered at CHS. One such program under consideration would expand Project Lead the Way to the middle school. We are also implementing more supports for our English Language Learners districtwide.

As you may recall from last spring, California’s academic assessment system formerly known as Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) has changed. This is our second year using the assessment program titled the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). This spring district students, along with all public schools across California, will be participating in various assessments established by CAASPP.

The newest and largest component of CAASPP is the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It’s a technology-enhanced assessment where students demonstrate their learning by completing assessments on computers. These tests are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English and Math and will be given to students in grades 3-8 & 11.

This year, students will be participating in the CAASPP on various dates and times from April through May, and each grade level will be assigned specific weeks to take the exam. This will support our students and staff in many ways including, the assurance of technology working smoothly, providing enough time for students to take the multiple components of the exam, and creating an environment conducive to thinking and learning. Please contact your student's school site for further information, including specific school site's testing schedule.

Ways to support your child through Smarter Balanced Assessment:

· Discuss the new assessment with your child. Make sure he or she is not scared or anxious about it.

· With older children, explain that the new assessments were created to help him or her better prepare for college and career

· Explain to your child that the new assessments will be more challenging, especially the first time they are taken

· Tell your child that you and his or her teacher have high expectations and that you are both there to help them every step of the way.

· Review test results with your child, bringing your child’s teacher into the discussion as necessary

· Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast before testing

Mark your calendars for our Open House events throughout the district. Open House provides an opportunity for your child to showcase their learning and accomplishments for the year.

· Dudley Elementary: May 12th 6:00-7:00 pm

· North Country Elementary: May 14th 6:00-7:00 pm, PTO will serve “Nachos on the Run”

· Oak Hill Elementary: May 12th 6:30-7:30

· Spinelli Elementary: May 12th, Silent Auction will be from 4:30-5:15 pm, and classroom visitations will be from 5:00-6:30 pm.

· Wilson Riles Middle School: April 12th, Incoming 7th Grade Information Night 6:00 pm, Open House 6:30-7:30 pm

· McClellan High School: April 5th, 6:00-7:00 pm

Transitional Kindergarten is a program that provides a year of early education to help children develop the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten. The program is not a substitution for kindergarten. Rather, is the first of a two year program to ensure that students are developmentally and academically prepared for first grade. Children eligible for Transitional Kindergarten must have a birthday between Sept 2, 2010 and Dec 2, 2010. If your child's birthday falls within the appropriate range and you would like more information about the Transitional Kindergarten programs please contact North Country Elementary at 338-6480, Oak Hill Elementary at 338-6460 or Dudley Elementary at 338-6470.

Now is the time to register your child for the 2016-17 school year. Traditional kindergarten registration is currently being accepted. Please check the dates for your local school.

· Dudley: Registration ongoing

· Oak Hill: Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten registration is April 6th-April 8th. If you do not already have a student at Oak Hill, please call the front office to schedule an appointment 338-6460

· Spinellli: March 10th & 11th, 9am-3pm

· North Country: Registration ongoing, 8am-4pm. Applications are available on-line or in the school office.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR for additional events throughout CJUSD you don’t want to miss:

CHS Senior Ball: April 16

CHS Purple Cord Dinner: April 29

WCR Civil War Night: April 22

WCR Spring Music Concert: April 27th

WCR AVID Student Led Conferences: April 28th

WCR Spring Music Concert: April 28th

With the passage of Senate Bill 172, passing the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) is no longer a high school graduation requirement. This legislation allows students who previously received a Certificate of Completion to receive a high school diploma, provided all other graduation requirements are met. Students who finished all high school graduation requirements other than passing the High School Exit Exam should contact the high school attended to see if they are eligible to receive a diploma.

District calendars for the next three years have been updated. Visit our website Calendars are shown under the About Us tab.

Stay connected to CJUSD through Facebook at Center Joint Unified School District.

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CHS Recognizes Top 10 Scholars

The Top Ten Dinner is an academic recognition steeped in tradition at Center High School. It’s an honor bestowed upon seniors whose grade point average (gpa) is the top ten of their graduating class. First held in 1989, The Top Ten was the vision of former CHS Principal, Claude Brock.

District and school administrators, teaching staff and proud families attended the Top Ten Dinner on March 30th to recognize the Top Ten Honorees for the Class of 2016. Each Top Ten student was introduced by a selected teacher or staff member that has had an impact on the student’s high school experience. Students were invited to give a speech, reflecting on their time at Center High School and their post high school goals and aspirations. Each was awarded a $200 scholarship.

The Top Ten Dinner has become one of the most valued and long standing traditions at Center High School. Congratulations to the following 2016 Center High School graduates for their academic excellence.

Brianna Foley

Alexander Miller

Manpreet Kang

Ryan Riley

Paul Yegorov

Anastasiya Blyshchyk

Zachary Topper

Marina Fernandez-Frentzel

Gabrielle Grafton

Adriana Vazquez

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Eagle Shoutout!

~ David Grimes

Congratulations goes to the McClellan Boys Basketball Team who won their league championship today and finished the season undefeated! They triumphed in the championship game by more than 20 points in a total team effort! Great job, young men! They were well-coached throughout the season by Aaron Hagman. Our thanks and congratulations go to him as well for a fine job of coaching. It was great to see strong support at the championship game by many of the McClellan staff and community. Additional thanks go to Chris Collins who was instrumental in developing the league and setting up the entire season. Way to go, Eagles!

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Nature Bowl

The Spinelli GATE students competed in the Nature Bowl at the Placer Nature Center on Tuesday, April 5. It was an all-day event that included grades 4-6, and focused on regional ecology, natural history, and conservation. The students have been practicing since January, and had much to share and even more to learn. One of the events included nature investigations and nature relays, where teams worked together to answer environmental questions and problem solve. Another event was the bell-ringer session in which teams had to work quickly to answer questions about ecological vocabulary. But the best competition of the day was the Enviro-mercials, where the students had to come up with a local environmental problem and present it in a creative way, including possible solutions. They had everything from the Lorax and the threatened Honeybee to the invasive Fire Ant and Roadkill. Even though we didn’t win, we still had lots of fun being out in Nature, working with our team, and learning a TON of things about our local wildlife and environment. Will we do it again next year? Of course we will!


Did Someone Say Pizza?

~Robert Smith

Who doesn’t love a class pizza party? Three years ago I provided one at the middle school where I taught before I was hired by Center. Even though I knew about the effects of poor nutrition on brain development, that didn’t stop me from buying a bunch of Little Caesar’s pizzas and serving them up for my appreciative students. Why? Because it was easy to do and I wanted to make my students happy. However, things have changed. I still like happy students, but I’m now a member of Center’s new Wellness Committee and I volunteered to write an article about a very different kind of pizza party. On April 1st (no fooling) I will be guiding my class of 17 first, second and third graders (it’s a Special Day Class) over to the cafeteria five minutes before our usual 11:05 a.m. lunch time. Thanks to HILDA NEVEREZ, Dudley’s Cafeteria Lead, her staff will be cooking the same pepperoni or cheese pizzas they serve to Center’s middle and high school students. According to LURA ANDERSON, a second grade teacher at North Country and a discerning pizza connoisseur, this pizza is pretty darn good. On top of that, Hilda will also be decorating the table with a festive tablecloth, plates and napkins. Where, you ask, does the “wellness” connection kick in? The main thing is that on April 1st I won’t be doing my usual lunchtime ritual: quickly pointing out the healthy items my students are eating and then fleeing the cafeteria. No, I will be eating lunch with them. And since I can’t eat cheese, I will be enjoying the fresh veggies and fruits from the salad bar that are also included with this meal (as well as milk and a treat). Also, there will be no tasty but unhealthy decorated cupcakes that my class parents feel obliged to provide. Instead, this will be my birthday present to the four students who had their birthdays over spring break. The amazing part is that this wonderful service will cost me less than $10. How is this possible? Who pioneered this concept at Center? To find out you’ll have to bear with this old-school writer who can’t contain his enthusiasm for any topic to just 140 characters. However, you will hear about two more Center wellness leaders who deserve recognition (I’ve already introduced Hilda and Lura). The impetus for this healthier pizza party alternative was provided by Center’s Nutrition Services Department. They came up with this idea for customized pizza parties that are inexpensive, fun and healthy. The cost is low because so many students qualify for free or reduced price lunches. MARY ORR, North Country’s Cafeteria Lead, has really embraced the fun part of that equation. On her own time and with money she earns by saving cans and water bottles, Mary raids her favorite dollar store for birthday hats, balloons and party favors. Mary has been employed at Center for over 16 years and presided over 56 pizza parties last year. She’s on track to break that record for this school year. That’s pretty impressive for someone who actually loathes pizza of any kind. The reason I decided to embrace this pizza concept myself I must credit to Lura, the pizza epicure with 25 years in the teaching saddle. Lura told me that she especially enjoys getting to be “mom” for the meal, talking about and eating all of the healthy items that come with the pizza. That reminded me of my favorite Mark Twain saying: “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” Even cynical middle or high schoolers aren’t immune to Twain’s observation. They may not spout the innocent questions that my students often ask, “Is this healthy, Mr. Smith?” but they do file that information somewhere. Lura’s class is bigger than mine so her last pizza party cost her a total of $16. She also likes to lead her second graders over for their party at 11:00 a.m., 25 minutes before their normal lunchtime. Lura has celebrated birthdays and used the parties as an incentive reward for other kinds of class achievements. PEE JAY JURALBAL, a Title One Instructional Assistant at North Country, recently bought pizza birthday parties for her niece and nephew. She pointed out another healthy aspect (when the weather cooperates): the pizza parties can be held outdoors! If you or a parent/relative want to host a healthy pizza party, all you have to do is print, complete, and give the attached “Pizza Party Class List Form” to your school’s cafeteria staff at least 2 weeks before the date of the party. So far, for my next wellness article I only have one tiny story to tell: how my April 1st Pizza Party turns out. I’m counting on you kind folks to pass along the names and phone numbers of other Center “wellness leaders” so that we can spread their healthy magic throughout our school communities.


NoCo Students Vote

Once again North Country Elementary participated in the California Young Reader Medal (CYRM) contest. The CYRM is a California-wide reading contest sponsored by the California Library Association, the California Reading Association and the California School Library Association. The sponsors nominate books for the contest and encourage California children to vote for their favorite nominated books. North Country students participated in two categories: Picture Books for Older Readers (grades 3-6) and Primary books (TK to 2nd).

Because of generous funding through, Mrs. Clement was able to purchase two copies of each of the nominated books. She also read to the students and conducted the voting for the contest.

All 600+ North Country students heard the books and participated in voting. Our school's voting results will be combined with other schools throughout California to determine the ultimate winner. Our Picture Book for Older Readers winning book was A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. The Primary book winner was The Day the Crayons Quit.

One copy of each of the books was donated to the school library and put in general circulation. The other eight copies were given to teachers to use in their classroom libraries. Mrs. Clement wants to thank the donors who made the book purchases possible, the teachers who allowed her to read the books to their classes and the students who were enthusiastic participants.

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CJUSD Student Wellness Committee

The Center Joint Unified School District is committed to providing a school environment that enhances learning and the development of the children's health, well-being, and the ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. The Center Joint Unified School District has established a Wellness Committee comprised of teachers, administrators, and district staff members. The Wellness Committee develops the District Wellness Policy, assists the district with implementation, assesses how well it is working to achieve its purpose, and updates the policy as needed. You are able to review the District Student Wellness Policy by using the following link: lnessPolicy.pdf The Wellness Committee will be sending out quarterly student wellness tips and/or highlighting district employees who promote student wellness. If you know of anyone in the district who is promoting healthy lifelong habits for our students please contact Jeannene Jew in Nutrition Services at 338-6416 or Thank you.


Go Plant a Tree!

-Paula Clement

In conjunction with Arbor Day, North Country hosted a Tree Circus assembly. The Tree Circus is an interactive assembly that is sponsored by US Forest Service. During the performance, Tree Circus performers dig into biology, careers in forestry and how trees benefit people. In a fun, free-wheeling manner, the children learned about the value of trees, why we need them and how we can protect them.Thank you Tree Circus for coming to our school and for teaching us all more about trees.

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VSP Gives Back to Spinelli Students

On March 30th, Vision Service Plan (VSP) invited eight Spinelli’s students to the Sacramento King's basketball game to kick off our new partnership with them. As a part of giving back to the community, VSP will be working with our school to provide glasses to students in need. All students will receive vision screenings/exams. VSP is also sending volunteers to help out in our classrooms. We are excited and thankful for the opportunity to partner with VSP.

The King’s game was an evening to remember. The students sat in box seats with their teacher chaperones. Dinner was provided along with snacks and treats of all kinds! The students were showcased at halftime on the game floor. Many photos were taken with VSP personnel and Slamson, the King’s mascot. This once in a lifetime event will leave lasting memories in the minds of our Spinelli students.

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FREE Summer Meals

Center Joint Unified will offer free summer meals Monday-Friday at the following locations:

  • Dudley Elementary (8000 Aztec Way) May 26th-July 15th, 11am-12:00pm
  • Spinelli Elementary (3401 Scotland Drive) May 26th-July 15th, 11am-12:00pm
  • Center High School (3111 Center Court Lane) May 26th-July 15th, 11am-12:00pm
  • Danbury Park Apartments (7840 Walerga Road) June 9th-July 15th, 11am-11:45am

No meals will be served on July 4th. Meals are Free for everyone ages 1-18yrs. old. Students can bring their siblings and friends! No I.D. or registration required. For more information, call (916)338-6416.

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