THE Leadership Academy School News

November 27, 2022

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2nd Contact List

If you have an additional family member who would like to receive this communication, please email Mrs. Morton ( We will add you to the email list. Thanks!

Principal's Message

Hello Leadership Academy Parents,

We hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for our Leadership Academy family and appreciate your support of our awesome school. We love working together as a team to create an amazing space for students to learn and grow.

Please read below for important information regarding:

*FREE pizza dinner this week for DADS and students

*FREE soccer or Hip Hop dance classes

*Opportunity to "adopt" a family in need through our "Giving Tree" program

*Upcoming Book Fair

Please help keep our students healthy! You should have received a Covid home test kit before break. We request that you take a moment to test your kids before they return to school. Thank you for your cooperation!


Mrs. Morton


Calling all Dads! FREE Pizza dinner with your kids!

We LOVE our dad volunteers! Do you want to be involved? Our program is called Watch D.O.G.S (dads of great students) and we will have our first meeting on Thursday, December 1st from 6PM-7PM. This is a pizza dinner date night for dads (and other male role models: grandpas, uncles, etc.). Please join us for our informational meeting to see how you can become involved.
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FREE Covid Tests

Once again, Vista Unified has secured at-home COVID-19 testing kits for all students and staff in our district. The kits will be sent home with students by Friday, November 18th. Families are strongly encouraged to test their students within 24 hours of returning to school on Monday, November 28th. Any positive test results should be reported to your student’s school. And, if your student is experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, we ask that you keep them home. The most common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Soccer and Hip-Hop Dance Classes

Is your student interested in soccer or dance? We have partnered with the YMCA to provide after school classes FREE of charge (Leadership Academy will cover the cost). We will be offering two sessions (December and January):

· December – 12/7, 12/9, 12/14, 12/16

· January – 1/11, 1/13, 1/18, 1/20

If you are interested in signing up, please email

Include the following:

1. Name of your child and their classroom teacher

2. Class you are interested in: Soccer or Dance

3. Session dates you are interested in: December or January session

*Please note:

  • Classes are twice a week (Wednesday and Friday) from 2:30-3:30 (immediately after school).
  • Your child must be able to attend all four classes
  • Parents are responsible for picking up students at 3:30PM (if they attend AMPM, they will be sent there after class).
  • Space is limited to 20 students per class. You will be notified with details of the class when you are accepted. We will start a wait list once we enroll 20 students.
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ROAR! Our positive behavior expectations

At T.H.E. Leadership Academy, we believe students are successful when they have clear boundaries. We have a staff team that is working on a matrix for our school expectations and we'd love your input! We have chosen ROAR (because dragons "ROAR"!). Please take a moment to review our chart below and send any input to our teacher leader Mrs. Sarsilmaz ( We love to give our families a voice and your input is valued. Thank you!
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Tools to support learning at home

As we review student progress, HERE is a resource for supporting learning at home.

Important Dates

December 5-9: Book Fair

December 21: Last Day of School before winter break

December 22-January 10: No School, winter break

January 11: First day back of the new year

2022-2023 School Year Calendar

Calendario Escolar - Año 2023-2024

Dippin' Dots

Our awesome PTA will be selling Dippin' Dots every Friday after school. The cost is $5. The first sale will be this Friday, November 18. Come and celebrate the end of conference week with some refreshing yumminess!
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Habit 3: Put First Things First

In November we are highlighting Habit 3: Put First Things First. This month we will be talking about prioritizing our activities. We put the most important things first so we can accomplish our goals. For example, when you get home from school, you do your homework first then play. Knowing what is important helps you spend your time wisely.

HERE is a video you can watch with your family.

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Cheerleading Club

Our Cheer Club had the opportunity to cheer for their very first game (Wheelchair Basketball)! We love how student leadership starts from one student wanting to learn something new and transitions into a first time experience for many of our students. Way to go!

Meet our new Community Liaison!

We are so excited to welcome our new Community Liaison: Shaina Mendoza. We are thrilled to add her to our team! She will be out front in the mornings and available during the day to meet families. Please come by and say "hi!". She is bilingual and is happy to engage in English or Spanish. Ms. Mendoza is responsible for family outreach, providing resources to our community members, and assisting with programs that support the well-being of our students. Here are just a few things she is already working on: Watch D.O.G.S program for fathers and father figures, food backpack program, One Sight glasses program, Free shoe program, and ELAC (English Learner Advisory Committee), and parent workshops.

You can read more about Ms. Mendoza below:

Hi There,

My name is Shaina Mendoza and I am so excited to be a part of THE Leadership Academy team as the new Community Liaison. I’ve had the privilege of getting my feet wet on campus by having a short period as an instructional assistant. It was bittersweet to step out of the classroom but I am looking forward to stepping into the shoes of this new role. Before joining this team, I had worked in social work for seven years and just wrapped up taking a year off to settle in as a new wife and step mom. If you’re ever on campus please feel free to stop in and say hi, I am here for anything you may need.


Shaina Mendoza


Me llamo Shaina Mendoza y estoy muy emocionada de ser parte del equipo de THE Leadership Academy como la nueva Enlace Comunitaria. He tenido el privilegio de familiarizarme con la escuela mientras trabajé como asistente de maestra por un corto tiempo. Se me hizo un poco triste salir del aula con los niños pero estoy feliz y lista para asumir esta nueva posición. Antes de unirme a este equipo tomé un año de descanso como ama de casa. Antes de eso, trabajé siete años en trabajo social. Si se encuentran por la oficina por favor ven a saludar, estoy aquí para servirles.


Shaina Mendoza

Weekly COVID-19 Testing in Schools has ended

Since COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted and positive cases within our Vista Unified schools reflect a downward trend, we feel it is a safe time to sunset weekly COVID-19 testing for students during the school day. Therefore, October 28th was the last day of COVID-19 testing with Inspire Diagnostics on our school campus.

For anyone seeking COVID-19 testing, the clinics at the Vista Innovation Center, Rancho Buena Vista High School, and Vista High School will remain open. The testing clinic at Mission Vista High School will close as of Friday, October 7th. For your convenience, we have provided the most updated flyers on COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

Covid Testing

Vista Unified is pleased to offer COVID-19 PCR testing at locations throughout the district. Please check the fliers below for locations and times.
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Go Green!

Did you know any student can start a club at our school? This is one way we give students a voice as we learn about their interests and strengths. Most of the clubs meet during lunch and require an adult supervisor. If your student would like to start a club, please have them see their teacher for an application.

Great job by our Go Green club! They save the earth one water bottle at a time!

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Students enjoy Dance, Theater and Music every week!

We are proud to offer students weekly performing arts lessons. Students in TK-5th grade receive weekly lessons in dance, theatre and music. We have partnered with Luminary Arts to offer high quality lessons in the arts. Last week students learned about music from Brazil and danced the samba.
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Thank you PTA! Lunch time games

We want to thank our awesome PTA for bringing the YMCA to our campus during lunch for organized recess games. Students have the opportunity to play on the field with our YMCA coaches. The coaches are on campus four days a week: Tuesday/Thursday for grades 1, 3, 5 and Wednesday/Friday for grades K, 2, 4. This week our students participated in Dodgeball. Please see some highlights below.

iPad Acceptable Use Policy and Cost Replacement Insurance

*Important! The deadline for iPad device insurance is Friday, September 30. Please make sure you have signed the acceptable use policy and paid for your cost replacement insurance.

We are very proud to be an apple distinguished school. As part of our program, we send iPads home (grades 2-5). Please make sure you have completed the acceptable use policy and paid your $20 cost replacement insurance before your child's iPad comes home.

The $20 device insurance protects the iPads for the entire school year so students can bring them home. There are two options to pay.

1. Save time and pay online! Please click HERE to access the acceptable use agreement and pay with your credit card.

2. Click HERE to fill out the acceptable use agreement form. Pay $20 cash in the front office at Back to School Night.

Follow us on Social Media!

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Meet Coco!

We are so lucky to have a four-legged friend on campus! Coco is a facility dog from Canine Companions. She is assigned to our school to help spread calm and joy to all students.

Here are some facts I shared with the students about Coco:

  • Coco was born on July 9, 2019
  • She is a lab and retriever cross
  • She is specifically bred to be a service dog and has a calm and gentle demeanor
  • She has been trained since she was a little puppy to know many commands
  • Mrs. Morton went through two weeks of training to learn how to work with Coco
  • Coco and Mrs. Morton graduated together and now Coco is a member of our school team
  • Coco comes to school every day. When she is at school she is working.
  • Coco wears a vest to show she is on duty
  • When Coco is not working, she goes home with Mrs. Morton. At home, she is a regular pet and does not wear her vest. She likes to play, walk and snuggle.
  • When students see Coco on campus, they should give her a calm finger wave
  • Students should not yell at Coco, run towards her or feed her any treats
  • Coco can work with individual students, visit classrooms, read with students, and play fetch

We all love Coco! Feel free to say "hi" when you see her!

Safety Protocols

The safety of our staff and students is our first priority. We have been working on tightening up our security and would like to communicate the following:

1. There will be only one entrance into school for general education students (Main Gate). This includes Kindergarten and TK students. We will no longer utilize the Kindergarten gate.

2. Gates open at 7:30AM. Breakfast will be available at 7:30AM each morning. This is the earliest a student should be dropped off at school.

3. Gates will be supervised at all times.

4. All general education students will exit through the main gate. The upper parking lot will no longer be utilized for 4th/5th pickup.

5. Special Education students will continue to use the upper gate for entrance and exit. The gate will be supervised at all times and open only to let students in and out.

6. TK and Kindergarten students will continue to be dismissed through the Kindergarten Gate.

7. Only authorized individuals are able to check students out from the office early. Please make sure to bring your ID when picking up your student.

**Parents are welcome to come onto campus on the first day of school to accompany their students to the playground for lineup. Parents will be asked to say goodbye to their students on the playground as they are not permitted in the classrooms.

Kiss at the Gate

Starting the second day of school, we will ask our parents to kiss their students at the gate. Parents will not be permitted on campus. If you are interested in volunteering on campus, please see Carol in the office for a volunteer application. You will receive more information from your child's teacher at Back to School Night. Thank you for your support of our safety protocols.

Office Support

The office will be open to assist families from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM beginning August 2. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. We are here to help in any way we can.

Phone: 760-631-6242


Registration/General Questions:

Registration/Health/Attendance Concerns:

Registration/General Information:

Anything at all: (principal)

School Bell Schedule


8:00 AM - 12:54 PM

Tuesdays to Fridays:

8:00 AM - 2:21 PM


Gates open at 7:30 AM


Free Breakfast and Lunch for All Learners

Breakfast and lunch is free for all students at T.H.E. Leadership Academy. You do not need to fill out an application.

Fruit and salad bar is also available. For menus and more information, please visit:

PTA at T.H.E. Leadership Academy

We have a dedicated group of parents who work in conjunction with our school staff and community to make our school the best place to be. The PTA works tirelessly to provide school-wide events (camp out, Freaky Friday carnival, jog a thon, dances, promotion, assemblies) that make school fun and build community.

Please support our PTA by joining today!

Click HERE to join!

Our COVID Protocols

According to the very latest CDPH guidance for schools, indoor masking in K-12 school settings continues to be a strong recommendation, but not required.

In addition to routine cleaning, VUSD has installed maximum air filters and air cleaners in our classrooms and buildings.

If you or your child is displaying symptoms or tests positive, please stay home and notify us immediately.

All Vista Unified schools will be implementing the Group-Tracing Approach for students.

  • When students are exposed to a COVID-19 positive person in a school setting, we will notify parents in writing of the exposure; however, all students may remain in school unless they are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive.
  • As a condition to remain in school, parents are required to have their student tested with at least one diagnostic test obtained within three to five days of exposure and inform the school of a positive result.
  • The following test methods are acceptable for staying in school after exposure at school: home test, rapid antigen test, or PCR test.
  • Parents are only required to inform the school if their student tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Only students who have symptoms or test positive must be isolated at home.

Families, in order to help us prioritize health and safety for all of our students and staff, please communicate with us. We appreciate you notifying us in any of the following scenarios:

  1. If you notice any symptoms, please keep your child at home. Notify the school immediately.
  2. If you have been exposed to someone who tested positive, please keep your child at home and inform the school immediately.
  3. If you have taken a PCR or NAAT test and it is positive, please inform the school immediately.

You will share your information with:

To return to school after having symptoms, a negative PCR or two negative antigen (rapid or home tests) are now acceptable. The two antigen tests must be at least one day apart. Each test must have the student's name, the date, and their date of birth on the cassette.

If your child has any of the following symptoms, please keep your child at home and notify our school immediately. COVID symptoms may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Headache
  • New Loss of Taste or Smell
  • Sore Throat
  • Congestion or Runny Nose
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Thank you for your communication in helping to keep our learning community safe.To view Covid-19 cases, visit the VUSD Covid-19 Case Dashboard.

County COVID 19 Decision Tree

Vista Unified District follows the regulations in the San Diego County Decision Tree that determine when staff and students to remain in school with symptoms or when testing positive for COVID 19.

English Version

Spanish Version