October 9, 2019
Newsletter Vol. 01  ::  Issue 01

Our District Is Strong

"The central purpose of the Vista Unified School District is to set the conditions necessary for all students to become successful learners."

Another way to say it is that we aim to be a learning organization. Indeed, our vision as a district is to become the model of educational excellence and innovation. How are we doing to achieve this central aim? In a word..fantastic! In this district newsletter, my commitment to our community is to amplify and elevate the focus on students and their success.

The highlight in this edition is on our recent high school graduates and the graduate profile. This profile is a promise to the community that our teachers and staff work with students not only to fulfill the graduation requirements but also to develop a strong sense of self-efficacy, a collaborative spirit and experience identifying and solving real world problems. These three character qualities were identified in collaboration with our partners in education at the college and university level as well as local and regional business leaders. Our students are meeting the promise of graduation. Specifically, over 90% of seniors graduated within four years - one of the highest in the entire county of San Diego. This district average includes all of our seniors, alternative and comprehensive high schools combined. This is a growth of 4% from the previous year. The strength of our recent graduates does not stop there. Just this past June 2019, of the 1,444 graduates, over $6.5 million dollars ($6,656,450 to be exact) in scholarships and awards were given due to their exceptional achievement and character. Still more, Vista graduates were accepted into over 80 different colleges and universities across the United States - from Palomar College to Cal State San Marcos to UCLA to Oregon to Arizona to Purdue to Michigan State to Boston College to MIT and many more. These statistics underscore the strength of our students and the commitment of our teachers and staff to create high quality learning environments for all students.  The Vista Unified School District is strong.
Dr. Matt Doyle
Acting Superintendent

Message from
The Board President and Vice President...

The School Board is committed to providing quality learning opportunities and facilities for all of our students in VUSD.

At our September board meeting, the board approved a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for projects under
Measure LL. Through a PLA agreement, we can ensure that money is being invested back into the community by hiring local workers and providing some of our VUSD families with good jobs. In the process, we can ensure projects are completed on time and on budget, similar to our neighboring district in the south San Diego Unified.

The independent citizens oversight committee will be meeting later this fall to ensure that money is being spent on what the voters approved in November. We look forward to providing updates and to continue to serve our families in VUSD.
Rosemary Smithfield
Cipriano Vargas
Vice President

Teaching & Learning
Inclusion is within Everyone's Ability

October is dedicated by so many organizations as the month to raise awareness of individual learning differences and to celebrate the contributions individuals with disabilities have made to our society.  As such, this is a perfect time to highlight some of the creative and impactful ways our schools are raising awareness and fostering inclusive practices throughout the district. As captured in this month’s Special Education Department Update, our teachers, students, and site principals are taking the lead to remove barriers to learning and ensure all students are valued for their strengths and abilities.
- Rebecca Nobriga, Executive Director of Special Education
Next Generation Science Standards

Next week, the first group of third grade teachers is taking a class to the San Elijo Lagoon to kick off Vista’s partnership with the Nature Collective. Trips are scheduled through March and are followed by a service learning project. Last week, high school science teachers and middle school core leadership teachers began participating in the Region 9 Community of Practice in Orange County. Participants will be implementing best practices learned from Ambitious Science Teaching. Other events underway include fall NGSS walk-throughs with principals, Family Science Nights, and CLT support visits to their assigned sites.

- Jeff Schmitz, NGSS Lead

Launching Our P-3 Teacher Think-Tank

The first P-3 Teacher Think-Tank brought representatives from each of the elementary schools and our EES Preschools together to establish a common focus and outcomes for the year. Members began their dive into PreK-3 Mathematics standards, beginning with the Counting and Cardinality strand, intending to develop a learning continuum paralleled by developmentally appropriate practices and strategies. Future meetings will include facilitated sessions with our UCSD Research-to-Practice partners as well as social-emotional and behavioral foundations with our VUSD behavior specialists! Check out the P-3 Aspiration Set for highlights of our collective efforts to close the achievement gap before it opens.
- Sandra Ceja, Principal, Foothill Oak Elementary School

I am Bilingual.  What is your Superpower? 

Our Dual Language Immersion Program, or DLI, at Grapevine has entered its second year and is now offered in Kinder and First Grade. Our DLI model is 50/50, which means that our students learn 50% of the day in English and 50% in Spanish. They learn in classrooms where half of the students are English speakers and half are Spanish speakers. Our students learn subject matters in both languages, and they learn fast! Our parents have praised this program for their children, which will make them bilingual, academically competent in two languages, and bi-cultural. Here is a video of the program:  https://vimeo.com/339637096,  and here is a link to an interest survey: Click here for the Interest Survey  Gracias!
- Rafael Olavide, Grapevine Elementary Principal 

A Vision for Cradle to Career Pathways

We know the world is transforming dramatically. Forces such as globalization, robotics, and artificial intelligence are reshaping the way we live, work, and play. To help our young people manage the complexity of the future world of work, VUSD is shifting the way we think and teach about career development. The Career Superhighway begins the process of career exposure and exploration in the earliest grades and continues it throughout our students’ school careers. Our students will learn to hone the skills of career management and self-awareness and be able to find their way in the complex and exciting future that awaits them. Follow our progress at Career Superhighway.com.
- Robert Crowell, Coordinator of Career Pathways
Family Engagement

Family & Community as the Foundation of Love

Happy Birthday to the FACE Network! We are officially in our 6th year! We’re back to 22 liaisons and busy with plenty of events, from Coffees with the Principals, Tech & English-Spanish language workshops, Volunteer gatherings, and much more. In 2019, we’ve received national and state recognition and are frequently asked to present on our amazing model of family and community engagement.

Parent college field trips are being coordinated, along with other district-wide celebrations, including our 6th Early Education Fair (4/25/20), and we continue to be guided by our district
FACE Platform and team’s 4 Agreements. Serving with love, always!

-  Jacqueline “Kiki” Bispo, FACE Network Lead

VUCPTA - #PTA4Kids #AllOutOfLove 

It’s a new school year and VUCPTA (Vista Unified Council of Parent Teacher Associations) is moving full steam ahead with various family engagement opportunities across our schools, spreading love and partnership across the district. In addition, the Council is focusing on a number of advocacy issues, as is the foundational purpose of PTA. Did you know that in the U.S., PTA is the largest and oldest volunteer organization that exclusively focuses its efforts on behalf of children and youth? Advocates are us! VUCPTA is currently focused on bringing in resources for student mental health and awareness about vaping & drugs.

High Quality Staff

VUSD has been busy building its certificated team by hiring 143 new staff members to enhance teaching and learning and to support the social/emotional growth of our students. These new hires have been provided with in person and online on-boarding opportunities to support them in their new positions.


VUSD is providing a two-year Induction Program to help our newly credentialed teachers clear their certification. Fifty-nine new teachers are currently participating in the Induction Program. Mentoring is provided by VUSD Master Teachers with professional development around the California Standards for the Teaching Profession.
- Rachel DAmbroso, Assistant Superintendent of Human Relations
Business Services

Transforming and Revitalizing
Bond LL projects are already helping students and staff with much needed safety improvements. At Mission Vista High, a new ADA-compliant ramp and stairs have been installed at the entrance to the school to give students a safe pathway into the school and out of traffic. At Vista Academy, a state-of-the-art fire alarm system was installed throughout the campus and also additional exterior speakers for the emergency announcements over the intercom system.

Solar Waves
We are right in the midst of an exciting time here at VUSD with 21 locations having solar panels installed. Once completed, these will generate enough electricity to reduce our electric bills by nearly one-third and provide some well-needed shade. Completion will vary between locations, with all locations being on-line by February 2020. This week saw new drilling and steel fabrication beginning at Foothill Oak Elementary and Hannalei Elementary. Foothill Oak was interesting when we discovered an unknown 48” storm drain line that runs through our parking lot which we will have to avoid. The schools that were started over the summer in phase 1 are Alamosa, Lake, Madison, Mission Meadows, Mission Vista, Roosevelt, Temple Heights, VIDA, and Vista High. These first phase schools will be going through the interconnection process with SDG&E over the Thanksgiving Break, and once that’s done, those schools will be generating their own power and we will start realizing savings!

- John Wathen, Executive Director of Facilities and Operations

Committee Updates

Scheduling the Future - The 8 Period Day Committee

On January 31, 2019, the VUSD Board approved a transition to an 8 period schedule for RBV and VHS high schools for the 20-21 school year. Funding the 8 period schedule is a current conversation with the teacher’s union.  With an 8 period schedule, students enroll in 8 courses yearly instead of the current 6. This new schedule makes it easier to meet A-G requirements (courses for admission to college), follow career pathways, and enroll in AP/IB, enrichment, and support courses. It may also help retain and attract students to VUSD.  VUSD is excited about these possible changes!
- Scott Bailey, RBV Teacher
Magnet School Steering Committee

The District Magnet School Steering Committee was formed at the end of the 18-19 school year, and consists of parents, teachers, principals and other VUSD stakeholders - from neighborhood schools as well as its five magnet schools. Its mission is to help the community understand the historic purpose of its magnet schools, communicate the vision for them, and ensure their continued role in the success of VUSD. The Committee also seeks to ensure an equitable application process with a straightforward application that is universally accessible to all members of the community, to ensure the sustainability and stability of VUSD's magnet school programs, and to increase the diversity of all schools to reflect the population of the city and VUSD. Click HERE to provide your ideas and suggestions.
- Julie Kelly & Sam Stavis, Magnet Schools Steering Committee Co-Chairs

LGBTQ Equity Team

Given that Vista Unified is on par to be the model of education nationwide, a small group dedicated to district-wide equity has emerged. Consisting of teachers, administrators, social workers, education specialists, and librarians, this equity sub-group is committed to ensuring that students and staff from the LGBTQ community have a voice and are valued every day. With a laser focus on educating the entire child, this group has honed in on making all members from the LGBTQ community feel seen, represented in the curriculum, and legally supported in a safe space at each of our district schools.
- Maria Al-Shamma, District School Social Worker
1234 Arcadia Avenue, Vista, CA 92084

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All rights reserved.


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