Dear VUSD Community,
One of our primary responsibilities as a district is to keep you fully informed of the great work happening in our district. 

VUSD Newsletter - English

February 21, 2020
Newsletter Vol. 01  ::  Issue 07

Staying Healthy

We are deep into the winter months, and with that, comes sniffles, runny noses, and the flu. Indeed, this year has already been heavy with absences due to illness. In response to the increased incidences of illness, our custodial teams will be modifying their daily cleaning schedule to thoroughly disinfect classroom surfaces (tables, desks, door handles, phones, cabinets, light switches, etc.). We have also been working with our district nurse team to ramp-up our communications with staff and parents about steps that we all can take to stay healthy during this season. Working with the Vista Unified lead nurse, Keri Miller, we have outlined below some proactive steps to take to stay healthy: 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  
  • Stay home when you are sick. Do not send your child to school with a fever of 100° F or more. Children must be fever free for at least 24 hours without using fever reducing medications before returning to school. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is not available use your elbow/sleeve to avoid contaminating your hands.  
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms such as high fever or difficulty breathing should be evaluated by a medical professional. 
  • Get vaccinated every year.
As we ramp-up our communication related to staying healthy, we also want to get accurate information to our community about the novel coronavirus. Our partners at the San Diego County Office of Education have created a periodic community health update to keep parents and community members informed with up to date information related to the novel coronavirus. We will be posting these updates on the Vista Unified website. 

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is monitoring the novel coronavirus and has information available on its website. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also has FAQs available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. At this time, according to the HHSA, “residents of San Diego County are at low risk of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus, unless they have recently traveled to Wuhan, China or have come in close contact with someone who was ill who recently traveled to that area.”  For a more thorough report from HHSA on the current status of the novel coronavirus, refer to the letter from Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, Public Health Officer & Director, Public Health Services (click HERE to view the letter). 
Dr. Matt Doyle

Message from
The Board Vice President...

Mid-Year Budget Solutions 2019-20
The mid-year budget solution process was completed on January 30, 2020.  Based on budget challenges identified during the first half of the school year, the board made approximately $5.5 million in mid-year reductions to the unrestricted budget. The majority of the mid-year budget solutions ($3.9 million) was focused at the district office. The principals played a central role in this process in order to minimize the impact of the budget solutions at the school level ($1.6 million). The majority of the solutions were not reductions, but, rather, budget shifts from unrestricted to restricted funding sources. Please find below the presentation used for the mid-year budget solution process and the itemization of the budget reductions. 

It is important to note that the need for mid-year budget solutions is due to the low budget reserve level (currently just over the minimum required level of 3%). The board will be working with the superintendent to slowly raise the level of budget reserves so that unforeseen impacts on the budget during the year (i.e. low attendance rate due to increased absenteeism) do not cause the district to reduce programs and services mid-year.

Mid-Year Budget Solutions Presentation 2019-20

Mid-Year Budget Solution Worksheet 2019-20
Cipriano Vargas
Vice President

Teaching & Learning

Rancho Buena Vista has two AP Computer Science classes.  In the AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) class, students learn the basics of computer coding by creating 3-Dimensional animation and simple games.  In this block-based programming environment, students learn the same concepts they would learn in a text-based/program language which includes concepts such as if-else statements, loops, and parameters. In AP CSP,  students are encouraged to collaborate and communicate with each other and share ideas as they problem solve on a daily basis.  In addition to coding, the class also covers topics such as big data, privacy, and how the internet works, algorithms, and the creative process.  In this class, students don’t just use technology, they learn how to create technology. 
- Aaron Keeping, Rancho Buena Vista High School Teacher


Career and Technical Education

Often, when people think of Career and Technical Education (CTE), they think of the dusty shop classes of yesteryear. However, modern, cutting-edge, rigorous, and relevant CTE prepares young people for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers. Take a look at how VUSD is preparing today's students for the jobs of the future.
- Robert Crowell, Career Pathways Coordinator

School Spotlight

Getting Good at Getting Better - Lake Elementary School NGSS Lesson Studies
Throughout this year, our teachers have engaged in collaborative lesson studies with their grade level teams.  Teachers work together to plan and design science lessons with a focus on questioning, science talks, phenomena, and the three dimensions of NGSS.  During collaboration wheel time, one teacher from each team teaches their lesson to a class of students while their teammates observe.  After the lesson, the team gathers again to debrief, reflect, and analyze student work to gauge how effective their lesson was.  They make revisions then and there to the lesson design.  This practice has enabled teachers to reflect with colleagues in a meaningful way that moves everyone’s practice forward.  
- Krista Berntsen, Principal of Lake Elementary School

Beaumont Elementary School

Beaumont continues our focus on building relevant connections to the real world and positive relationships between students, teachers, staff, and families.  We are cultivating a foundation of students connectedness, agency, and empathy from which academic growth might flourish.  Beaumont has established partnerships with the Nature Collective, the Sage Garden Project, Lean & Green, and the Birch Aquarium, all of which promote student connection to the natural world they live in and are learning about.   We are also proud of the unifying power of our fine arts program which will feature a production of the Lion King this year at the historic Avo Theater in downtown Vista on March 13th, 14th, and 15th. “Bear to Dream!”
- Sochie Schmitz, Principal of Beaumont Elementary School

Vista Magnet Middle School

Vista Magnet Middle School is an IB World School with service learning built in to the curriculum for every student. Over the past six years, Vista Magnet has partnered with an organization called Students Rebuild to support a variety of needs around the world, including literacy, refugee children, and the impacts of climate change. In total, Vista Magnet student contributions to Students Rebuild have created $26,000 in donations to needy communities around the world. This year, Vista Magnet students are taking the Hunger Challenge by creating illustrated recipes of their favorite foods, which will each provide donations to organizations that fight world hunger. Beyond Students Rebuild, Vista Magnet students also support an annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, an annual Adopt a Family holiday gift drive, and student-led canned food and school supplies drives. Every year, all 8th grade Vista Magnet students complete a year-long service project called the IB Community Project, and this year, 8th graders are leading our district for Vista’s Big Give to support children with life-threatening illnesses through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- Steve Post, Principal of Vista Magnet Middle School

Vista Visions Academy

Vista Visions Academy is a tuition-free alternative school of choice, serving students in grades 6-12, offering a blended independent study approach to school that draws students from throughout the Vista Unified School District as well as from surrounding communities. At VVA we take an alternative approach to traditional education and #schooldifferently. VVA offers the support of caring teachers in a small school setting where students have access to a full range of curricular offerings, including high school courses that are A-G and NCAA compliant.

This month, students in the leadership core at VVA attended a strengths-based leadership academy event hosted by the SDCOE in partnership with the Youth Development Network.  This was an incredible opportunity for our students to collaborate, share, and learn with other student leaders in North County.  Our students enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the core building blocks of a caring and restorative school environment and bring back knowledge to share with teachers and students.  There are many more exciting growth activities planned for this group of student leaders!
- Michelle Snyder, Assistant Principal of Vista Visions Academy
Special Education

Universal Design for Learning: Making Learning Accessible for All

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed.  This approach offers flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it, and show what they know. UDL helps all students, but it is especially helpful for students with learning and thinking differences. In this video: Math Teaching Models: Universal Design For Learning, you can see how UDL is making math more accessible to our students in VUSD. To learn more about how UDL may be incorporated into your student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), please contact your student’s case manager.
- Rebecca Nobriga, Executive Director of Special Education

Business Services

School Consolidation Task Force 2020
At the direction of the School Board of Trustees, Vista Unified will be hosting a school consolidation task force of parents, students, teachers, staff, administrators, and community members to review school enrollment trends district wide, analyze various forms of data, discuss budget implications, and make recommendations to the superintendent and board members. We will be holding four task force meetings and two community forums starting in March 2020. The members of the task force will be selected by the superintendent and school board members. All members of the community are invited to attend two community forums. The meetings and community forums will be held at either the District Office OR the Vista Innovation Center, details listed below. Please refer to to follow the progress of this task force. 
  • Task Force Meeting Dates (6:00-7:30 p.m.) 
    • March 18, 2020 at District Office Board Room, 1234 Arcadia Ave, Vista 92084
    • April 16, 2020 at Vista Innovation Center, 836 Olive Ave, Vista, CA 92083
    • May 13, 2020 at District Office Board Room, 1234 Arcadia Ave, Vista 92084
    • June 17, 2020 at Vista Innovation Center, 836 Olive Ave, Vista, CA 92083
  • Community Forum Dates (5:00-6:00 p.m)
    • April 16, 2020 at Vista Innovation Center, 836 Olive Ave, Vista, CA 92083
    • June 17, 2020 at Vista Innovation Center, 836 Olive Ave, Vista, CA 92083
High Quality Staff
In our Human Relations monthly newsletter, students interviewed exceptional classified and certificated staff.Mrs. Caponera from Vista High School shared what her favorite thing about teaching is: “I like establishing connections with students, and being a safe space for them to explore things they are interested in. Like my mom, I really like working with my colleagues to come up with new lesson plans, and find ways to try and make things that are difficult more relatable and understandable for my kids. It's awesome when kids admit that something we are working on in class is "actually interesting.”  See what other highlighted employees shared with students in this month’s Newsletter from the Human Relations Department.
- Rachel D'Ambroso, Assistant Superintendent of Human Relations
Family Engagement

Family Connections

It’s a Census year - make sure you and your family are counted! The Census is a system under the federal government that occurs every ten years to count every person living in the United States to determine a variety of services from representation in Congress to the distribution of funds to local communities - all of that is determined by population! Census information will arrive to you through the mail. You can fill out the paper survey or complete the form online. Either way, know this: EVERYBODY COUNTS! Every age, every gender, everyone who has lived here for one day or 100! Each.person.counts. This is a safe system, and information is protected and only goes to the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze population counts, so make sure you get counted! 
Our Kids Count PDF
Nuestros Niños Cuentan PDF
-  Jacqueline “Kiki” Bispo, FACE Network Lead

Bullying Series - Article 6

What Motivates Children Who Bully?
When parents hear of bullying incidents, they might ask themselves, “What motivates children who bully?”. Bullies like to dominate others in a negative way.  They gain satisfaction from inflicting injury and suffering.  Bullies receive “rewards” by bullying others like prestige, attention, and possessions.  Some common myths about children who bully are that “children who bully are loners” and “children who bully have low self-esteem”.  VUSD schools are committed to preventing bullying. When there are suspicions of bullying we take immediate steps.  We intensify our observations of the child, confer with colleagues, talk to or survey students, and contact parents. Stopping bullying takes a team effort. 
-  Michelle Walsh, Coordinator Student Support Services
Committee Updates

Vista Unified Council of PTAs

We are so excited to be partnering with VUSD and co-sponsoring the upcoming Vista's Got Talent Showcase on Saturday, March 21 from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. at Mission Vista High School.  This is a formal event, showcasing the excellent academic programs and amazing talent from across the district where Vista Unified School students will get the important real-life experience of performing in a highly refined atmosphere.  The Vista Unified Council of PTAs’ team has been working very hard, and we know this will be a fabulous event. Tickets are limited, so please use the link below to get your tickets now.


Magnet School Steering Committee

The Magnet Steering Committee met in December and held its second Community Forum to gather input and insight. At this well-attended meeting, the group had the opportunity to preview the District's 2020-2021 Magnet School Application Form, which was revised and streamlined based on suggestions from the committee. Attendees offered feedback to refine the application and generally agreed that the new application achieves one of the Committee's missions: to have a straightforward application that is universally accessible to all members of the community. The next Magnet Steering Committee meeting is scheduled for March 19, 2020, at 6 pm at the Vista Innovation Center, and the group plans to review application data, plan its future work, and review progress thus far.


The mission of the LGBTQ Equity Team is to ensure equity for LGBTQ students and staff of Vista Unified. One topic we've discussed is the FAIR Education Act (SB 48) of January 1, 2012. It amends the California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community in history and social studies curriculum. If you would like to learn more about the FAIR Ed Act, you can go to the California Department of Education SB48 FAQs.  If you would like educational resources for educators, students and families, you can go here.  VUSD Board Policy 6161.1 is in line with the FAIR Ed Act: "The Board of Trustees desires that district instructional materials, as a whole, present a broad spectrum of knowledge and viewpoints, reflect the diversity of our society, and enhance the use of multiple teaching strategies and technologies. The Board shall adopt instructional materials based on a determination that such materials are aligned with the state content standards, meet other criteria specified in law, and are an effective learning resource to help students achieve grade-level competency."
1234 Arcadia Avenue, Vista, CA 92084

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All rights reserved.


What's New...

Dear VUSD Community,

One of our primary responsibilities as a district is to keep you fully informed of the great work happening in our district.


Matt Doyle, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District