For immediate release Contact: Shannon Carr,
Board Support & Communications Specialist
(408) 635-2600, ext. 6031
MILPITAS, CA - Milpitas Unified was buzzing with excitement this week, as 21 students from across the school district participated in the first annual Spelling Bee Tuesday night at Rose Elementary School. Brianna Nguyen, a fourth grader from the school, climbed to the top with the winning word: pertinacity. Brianna not only spelled the winning word correctly, but dictated the bonus word - castellated - perfectly.
Ari George Philip, a fourth grader from Sinnott, earned second place while Eshan Farooque, a sixth grader from Spangler, earned third place. Both Brianna and Ari will represent Milpitas at the Santa Clara County Office of Education Spelling Bee on February 4.
“We celebrated not just the students' accomplishment with their families but with the rest of us,” said Raquel Kusunoki, Director of Elementary Education, which coordinated the event. “To me, that is what community is about - It's about bringing everyone together which truly exemplifies a ‘culture of we,’”
Superintendent Cheryl Jordan served as the Head Judge while Board Members Chris Norwood, Hon Lien, and Robert Jung were judges and Board President Daniel Bobay was the pronouncer.
"It was a wonderful opportunity for our children to experience an event where our community, educators, and Board Members came together to celebrate our children,” Kusunoki added. “What I saw was a community coming together which is an achievement in itself.”
For immediate release Contact: Shannon Carr,
Board Support & Communications Specialist
(408) 635-2600, ext. 6031
Students at John Sinnott Elementary School in Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) traded their backpacks and books for hard hats and shovels on Friday, as they literally broke ground on the next phase of their tiny home Project Based Learning during a community celebration.
“To come this far and for this day to be the beginning of our reality means a lot,” Rita Maultsby, lead teacher of the project, said to event attendees, including students, staff, parents, community supporters, and dignitaries Milpitas Vice Mayor Marsha Grilli, Board Vice President Danny Lau, Board Member Robert Jung, and Superintendent Cheryl Jordan.
Maultsby explained that last fall six third through sixth grade classes kicked off the project, posed to answer the driving question: “How will we, as members of a tiny home company, design, build, and promote a tiny home that will best fulfill our client’s needs?”
In an attempt to respond to the question, students worked together - with job titles ranging from CEO to CFO to HR Director - to lay the groundwork of building a 200 square foot tiny home on site. They created a website, documentary, and floor plans for the house that, once complete, will include a mini museum of PBL projects past, present, and future, as well as a work space for students to draw on their creativity. They are scheduled to complete the floor plan in early spring. Students will track the progress with pictures and a blog on their website (still in development), as they make the transition from student to assistant carpenters in the building of the tiny home.
“It’s so gratifying to be able to see that the work of our students and their imaginations can really impact a community,” Superintendent Jordan said during the event. “The tiny home project is something that’s going to be here for many, many years to come so when people look at this finished project, they’re going to look at that as a symbol of what every single one of you can do. Not just that you can imagine it, but that you can work together and make it happen. And that’s really what it takes to make a difference in any community.”
Fifth grader Savan Bollu shared her first-hand experience about the project.
“Project Based Learning is named after problem solving and, yes, a lot of problems came up in this. But when we worked together, it made a big difference,” she said.
Fifth grader Kendra Hedwig agreed.
“When we were making our floor plans, all of us had a lot of different ideas of how it should be. But we were all able to agree on one idea, which helped us a lot because it saved a lot of space on our floor plan,” she said.
Once complete, the tiny home will be used as an extension of the classroom in a variety of ways, such as a reading and writing nook, math center, PBL work area, gardening center, and cross-grade level collaborations.
Rita shared her gratitude for the generosity of companies that have allowed the project to be such a success.
“We haven’t paid a cent,” she said. Blach Construction is donating the lumber and the windows, Duran and Venable is doing the gravel and grading, United Site Services is providing the fencing, and Sinnott parent and carpenter Ron Campbell will work with students building the benches, planter boxes, and bird houses which will enhance the tiny house by making it more welcoming. The project is also supported by Joe Flatley, lead architect and MUSD’s Director of Facilities and Modernization; the MUSD Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation department; tiny home clients; and parents.
For more information about the project, contact Rita Maultsby at email@example.com.
SAN JOSE, CA – If you are considering a rewarding career in the teaching profession, now is your chance. The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) will host “Step into Teaching: Opportunities in Silicon Valley Public Schools Event” on February 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 1290 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, California 95131.
According to the California Department of Education: “Enrollment in California’s teacher preparation programs fell from more than 700,000 students during the 2008–9 school year to less than 500,000 in 2012–13. In 2014–15, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing issued 15,000 credentials, while the California Department of Education (CDE) projected the need for California schools to hire 22,000 teachers.”
The SCCOE is hosting “Step into Teaching,” in an effort to increase qualified teaching candidates. During the February event, attendees will learn what is needed to become a teacher, how to navigate the credentialing process, and information about compensation, benefits, and retirement. “Step into Teaching” will also provide networking opportunities with potential employers and the opportunity to interact with classroom educators and experts from Santa Clara University, San José State University, National University, UC Santa Cruz, and the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s EPIC program.
“Teaching is a wonderful profession with challenges—but also great rewards,” commented County Superintendent of Schools Jon Gundry. “Teachers have the opportunity to have a profound positive impact in a young person’s life and influence future generations.”
“Step into Teaching” is designed for individuals with or who are completing their bachelor’s degree, business professionals with an interest in teaching, and classified school employees looking to transition into certificated positions. Registration is currently open through February 13. Please contact Michelle Fine at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The event is part of a multi-pronged approach developed by a coalition of community organizations to address the looming teacher shortage. Members of the group include SCCOE, local school districts, San Jose State University, University of California – Santa Cruz, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Clara County School Boards Association.
The Board approved Dr. Sheila Murphy-Brewer, currently Principal of Pomeroy Elementary School, as Executive Director of Human Relations.
During the meeting, Superintendent Cheryl Jordan explained: “I’m really excited because we’ve had an assistant supt. position open since July 1. And while we’ve had a few people pop up as potentials, none who fit the bill. So I spoke with the Board and came up with a different strategy for recruitment. The position of Executive Director doesn’t need to know everything that an assistant supt. does; however, needs to have the acumen and interpersonal skills and the know-how as far as learning quickly to become a part of the team, and Dr. Sheila Murphy Brewer applied and stepped up to the plate, and I’m really glad to welcome her in this new role.”
Afterward, Mrs. Jordan invited Sheila to share a few words: “I would like to thank you, Cheryl, and the board for taking a chance on someone who doesn’t have the HR experience but loves this district deeply and passionately. I was just at dinner with the Pomeroy staff and we cried a million tears when I told them yesterday and said goodbye. But half of them are happy tears because we know that in the ‘Culture of We’, I’m not going anywhere first of all, but I’m going to be here in Milpitas hopefully doing great things that support 10,000 kids and not just 700 in the school.”
Rose Principal Nanci Pass, fifth-graders Rachel Plummer and Annabelle Gillins, and staff Lori Nuno, Michael Sommese, Stella Rao, Peggy Bowen, Xuanthao Tran, Lisa Elizondo, and Jenny Katzen shared highlights and a project from the culminating event of their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) Showcase.
Nanci explained: “Our exploratory block, we started last year as a formal program. Our students twice a year choose an elective class and have a fall elective, that just finished with the showcase. Behind us we have “City of the Future,” or Future Cad, where each of the students had to create a different building (to be 3D printed), scale it, and design it for what it would look like in the future. … We have really done this about students creating ownership of their learning and having a choice in their learning, and really working toward 21st century learning skills.”
Students Rachel and Annabelle shared their joy participating in the elective “Dancing for ‘Hamilton’” with teacher Ashley Grilli.
“I’d just like to say thank you to all the teachers at Rose who helped to make the exploratory block possible,” Rachel said.
Annabelle added: “I LOVED it. Dancing was really fun because we got to experience different dance moves.”
To conclude, Nanci shared another benefit of the program: “One of the great things about this is it lets our teachers show their talents as well. Mr. Sommese actually sang for all of us. So they get excited because they get to teach their passion and it comes through to the kids as well.”
For more information about the STEAM Showcase, read the article here.
The Board recognized Ron Lind as our Community College Extension Champion with a certificate of appreciation during the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, July 10. Ron has been a part of the Milpitas community for many years, serving in different capacities as a volunteer, especially with the Kiwanis Club and as Board Member representing our community on the San Jose Evergreen Valley College District.
Superintendent Cheryl Jordan shared a few remarks to introduce Ron: “About 12-14 years ago, Ron was on the school board for the San Jose Evergreen Community College District. During that time they passed a bond and were trying to find a way to serve the people in Milpitas. Mr. Lind had this fantastic idea and prompted the school board in San Jose Evergreen Community College District to put some bond money toward building an extension here.”
Ron shared comments about the history of the project: “To be honest, it was a great campaign slogan but not a lot of people, including me, thought we could actually pull it off. But we did because of the hard work of a whole lot of people, in this district, as well as in the San Jose Evergreen District, as well as the taxpayers of Milpitas who supported the bond measure that made this possible. … I just want to thank you for the recognition of the small role that I played along with many others.”
The site, located next to Thomas Russell Middle School, will open for class on February 1. There will be four classes offered to the community at 6:15 p.m., and two classes offered for Milpitas High School students earlier in the afternoon.
School Bus Driver Training Program
Congratulations to Robert Jung, who was selected as the newest member of the MUSD Board of Education during a Special Board Meeting on Tuesday, January 3. Mr. Jung has been an active Milpitas parent for 13 years, having served on a number of different PTAs and service organizations, and said he is looking forward to the next step in creating an equitable education for all students in Milpitas Unified.
Here, Superintendent Cheryl Jordan administers the Oath of Office to Mr. Jung, after five candidates were interviewed for the board vacancy following Bob Nunez's resignation in December. The candidates were selected among 16 total applicants for the position. Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to everyone who applied for the position!
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.