Hundreds of volunteers spent their time throughout Milpitas and many of its school campuses to beautify the area on Earth Day, April 22.
Among the activities were Milpitas Cares' projects, including one at Alexander Rose Elementary School. Principal Nanci Pass said their project, sponsored by Chris Community Church, brought in 20 people who focused on cleaning out the garden and preparing it for spring planting. Other tasks included counting out snacks for Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing, cleaning Chromebooks, and cleaning areas on campus.
Milpitas Cares' volunteers alongside students from Milpitas High School also spent their time at Joseph Weller Elementary School to clean up and organize recess and physical education equipment, according to Principal Alicia Padilla.
At Milpitas High School, more than 370 volunteers participated in Comcast Cares Day, the company's annual day of service, when Comcast employees, families, and friends partner with local schools and organizations nationwide on projects that benefit the communities where they live and work. The event was held in partnership with Milpitas Cares.
And Our City Forest, along with the support of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and California Releaf, planted 20 trees at John Sinnott Elementary School in addition to six trees and more than 30 shrubs at Rancho Milpitas Middle School, with lots of new mulch, according to Rancho Principal Casey McMurray.
By Charlotte Torres
Administrative Secretary, Learning & Development
On April 8, students from Weller Elementary School participated in their first Robotics Challenge. Weller teachers Tien Mai and Noel Diep-Amin coached participating students once a week after school to prepare for this popular event.
Students were given the opportunity to collaborate as a team and compete with other schools throughout the Evergreen School District using the Lego EV3 robotics platform. This year, the event was held at Katherine R. Smith Elementary in San Jose. The focus of the event was to make computer science and robotics accessible to as many students as possible.
"The kids had a great time showcasing their learning," teacher Noel Diep said. "Most of all, they showed amazing sportsmanship and support for one another."
Parents and staff came to support the students who placed in some of the challenges. Adrian and Ian earned first place in the Sumo competition while Eason, Joseph, and Josephine came close. In addition, Ethan, Jason, Elise, and Vanessa earned second place in the Drag Racing while Zachary and Matthew earned third place. In addition, Eason, Joseph, and Josephine came really close in the Sumo competition as well.
Administrators from Milpitas Unified School District were among more than 1,700 leaders from 50 states and 56 countries who participated in the Shadow a Student Challenge. Norma Rodriguez, Assistant Superintendent of Learning & Development; Trisha Lee, Principal of Zanker Elementary School; and Chin Song, Director of Technology, talk about what it was like to pack a backpack, throw on sneakers, and immerse themselves in a high school student’s life for a day.
1. Why did you decide to participate, and what were your hopes for the challenge?
Norma: I decided to participate because I am intrigued by the data for African American students, specifically males, and wanted to know what is like for them to be at school. I wanted to really walk in their shoes for one day.
Trisha: I have worked as either a teacher or administrator in our Milpitas Unified School District elementary, middle and high schools. My work has shifted with a focus on equity and I wanted to take this opportunity to return to the high school level to better understand the learner’s experience.
Chin: As a former high school teacher, it was important for me to connect with students in this way rather than as a district person observing a classroom or supervising. My hope was to get a different perspective from the shoes of the student and to gain greater empathy.
2. Why do you think this challenge is so important?
Norma: We look at data all the time, and we are encouraged to make data-informed decisions. However, the numbers represent real students with real lives, aspirations, fears, challenges etc., and I wanted to take the time for one day to have the opportunity to get closer to the student and learn more about those dreams and aspirations.
Trisha: Not only does this gives us us a different perspective but also more opportunity to develop empathy and understanding. I truly feel this should be a practice of all MUSD employees.
Chin: Shadowing a student allows a deeper connection and understanding - beyond anecdotes and data. It also allows us to see teaching in action and experience the conditions that contributes to our students’ successes and failures.
3. What would you like people to know about what you took away from the day?
Norma: The need for our teachers and every administrator to shadow a student and ask students what is like for them to be a student in this era of immediate gratification.
Trisha: Administrators, teachers, support staff, classified and certificated need to shadow students of their own and different grade levels. We are a UNIFIED school district.
Chin: Let’s set a goal to get 100 percent of our students to be successful. 100 percent of our students should have the ability to live a prosperous life here in Silicon Valley if they so choose to do so. The students who I spoke with shared their concern about their future of leaving their home (not by choice) for the lack of knowledge, skills, and competition. Let’s get our students more than competitive!
Principal Richard Julian was dressed in his "Sundae" best for the Bulldog Bash at Burnett Elementary School March 31, which included recognition for students of the month, perfect attendance, winners and nominees for the MUSD Latino Student Achievement Award Ceremony, and winners from the City of Milpitas' Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month Writing contest.
The cherry on top of the monthly celebration was when 36 students who sold five or more items during a recent PTA cookie dough fundraiser were called to stand in front of their schoolmates to turn Principal Julian -- dressed in a full-length white protective suit, with cotton balls in his ears for protection -- into an ice cream sundae by dousing him with toppings including whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, marshmallows, gummy bears, and more.
During the March 28 Board of Education meeting, Trustees approved a Resolution declaring the week of April 17-21, 2017 as Public School Volunteer Week in Milpitas Unified School District.
On April 18, Superintendent Cheryl Jordan and Board Members honored this year’s Volunteers of the Year from each of the school sites. After each volunteer’s name was called, the Principal or a leader from that respective school shared a few remarks about that person and why they were chosen to be recognized. This year's honorees included:
• Burnett Elementary School: Barbara Coats
• Curtner Elementary School: Caroline Younan
• Pomeroy Elementary School: Sharon Smith
• Randall Elementary School: Dennise Ponce
• Rose Elementary School: Valerie Negrito
• Sinnott Elementary School: Marlee McInnis
• Spangler Elementary School: Silvia Dias
• Weller Elementary School: Claudia Navarrete
• Zanker Elementary School: Shameran Kanoon
• Rancho Milpitas Middle School: Maria Vazquez
• Thomas Russell Middle School: Martha Taylor
• Milpitas High School: Rosana Cacao
• Calaveras Hills High School: Ann Houghton
• Adult Education: Quan Vu
The Trades Orientation Program is now accepting applications for its Summer 2017 class. The next application session will be Friday, April 28.
Women, veterans, youth (age 18+), and under-represented minorities are highly encouraged to apply at www.wpusa.org/top. Female applicants are encouraged to register for the “Women in the Trades” application session on May 4.
There is no cost to students for this nationally certificated, 130-hour career training program.
Participants will learn what it takes to successfully apply to become a working apprentice in the trade of their choice, such as Carpenter, Electrician, HVACR Tech, Roofer, Pipefitter, Plasterer, Ironworker, Sheet Metal, and more.
Applications must be completed in person at an orientation session.
To reserve a spot for orientation or for more information, interested applicants can visit www.wpusa.org/top or contact Louise Auerhahn, 408-809-2131, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program is supported in part by the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing and by Prop. 39 pre-apprenticeship funding from the California Workforce Development Board.
You're invited to the Milpitas Executive Lions Club 3rd Annual Celebrating Differences, a Special Kids and Adult Family Day Event on Sunday, April 23, 2017 from 1-5 pm in partnership with the City of Milpitas Recreation Department at the Milpitas Community Center located at 457 E. Calaveras Blvd Milpitas, CA.
Our Mission is to provide Challenged Children, Adults and their Families, a Special Day to Enrich, Entertain and Honor these Special Individuals for their courage, determination and positive attitude about Life.
Let us know if you will be able to attend, participate, be one of the entertainers, sponsor or volunteer at the event. Volunteers should arrive at 12 noon.
Click here to download the Registration form.
By Shannon Carr
Board Support & Communications Specialist
Building a tiny home has been no small feat for the students and staff in six third, fifth, and sixth grade classrooms at John Sinnott Elementary School. After just two and a half months, the group has gone from breaking ground during a community celebration January 13 to bringing the walls and roof together of a 200 square foot tiny home during a three-hour “barn raising” on April 1.
“I get goosebumps every time I think about this,” Rita Maultsby, sixth-grade teacher and lead on the Project Based Learning, said during the ceremony this month.
That morning, students and teachers helped raise the walls and roof and put the finishing touches of the exterior on their tiny home alongside Blach Construction’s contractors, carpenters, and engineers in five different stations.
“I’m happy to see the school district investing in this project,” said Carolyn Bao, whose son Caden Le was a third grader working on the project. “It gives them real-life skills that will make a difference in their life. I told daddy that he’s going to be the right-hand man now.”
Fifth-grader Jacklyn Thi said she enjoyed working on the roof along with her mom, and shared her excitement in using a staple gun.
“I never knew how to use tools before this project,” she said, smiling with pride. Since starting, Thi now knows how to not only handle a staple gun, but also a nail gun, table saw, and other tools thanks to a visit to Blach Construction on March 13.
Once caulking was complete, windows were set, the roof was weatherproofed, and the front porch decking was laid on April 1, Blach crew quite literally brought what was once just a small idea to life. They hoisted the the walls and roof into the air using a Genie high reach telehandler, joining the sections together and forming the home over a once empty foundation.
After anxiously watching the final step from a safe distance, staff and students alongside their families and District employees were able to step into the tiny home, peeking through the windows, looking upon the beams, and settling into the reality of their project.
“It’s exciting to actually see it,” Thi said. “Instead of having it digitally, it’s right in front of you.”
The tiny home kicked off last fall with Maultsby’s class in addition to fifth-grade teachers Kiscelle Calvello, Mary Caraballo, and Amber Loanzon, and third-grade teachers Adam Throm and Jeannie Lam. It was 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. 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.
Blach returned to Sinnott April 8 for the finishing touches. From there, Maultsby said they will move on to the roof and solar system through Alliance Roofing and Delgado Electric. And when they are done, Color Pros Inc. will work with the students to paint the exterior and interior, and the Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation Department will put in the recycled redwood boards. The final step will be for The Awning Advantage to place awnings on the house, and Our City Forest, along with volunteers, will plant trees and bushes as well as fill the planter boxes with flowers. On Thursday, May 18 (the school’s Open House), a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held, quite literally tying the knot on the project.
"We have learned never to underestimate the power of students. They might be tiny, but they are mighty!” the PBL teachers said. “We are coming to the end of a very unique, challenging, and rewarding experience. We would do it again."