Chris Norwood, President of the Governing Board of Milpitas Unified School District and 2020 California School Boards Association (CSBA) State Board Member of the Year, recently became the first MUSD appointment to the CSBA Delegate Assembly in the school district's 67-year history.
Each year, elected Santa Clara County School District governing board members vote for several of their peers to represent the county’s collective voice within the CSBA Delegate Assembly, which is “a vital link in the association’s governance structure,” as stated on the CSBA website. Delegates work with local districts, county offices, the Board of Directors and Executive Committee to “ensure the association reflects the interests of school districts and county offices of education throughout the state.”
This year, Norwood was selected to join the Santa Clara County team of representatives. Several former MUSD governing board colleagues recommended to Norwood that the MUSD Board commit time to learning about the power of advocacy and the legislative policy work behind public education.
“The Santa Clara County School Boards Association congratulates Mr. Norwood and all the delegates elected to champion Silicon Valley school district voices, families and students,” said SCCSBA President Bridget Watson. “This year we had a competitive field of highly qualified candidates. We appreciate the delegates’ dedication, expertise and service to our community.”
Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent Cheryl Jordan understands the importance of this milestone for Milpitas Unified. “Board President Norwood is a systemic thinker grounded in community. He pushes himself and others beyond the norm to assure every learner has experiences that reveal their own vision for what is possible. His insights and innovative thinking will benefit educational institutions throughout our state as a member of the CSBA Delegate Assembly.”
Chris Norwood states, “With the encouragement of CSBA and SCCSBA leadership over the past eight years, I’ve gone from a new school board member to California State School Board Member of the Year and co-producer of several Annual Education Conference (AEC) sessions. I look forward to participating in the CSBA Delegate Assembly on behalf of our region.”
More than 115 transitional kindergarten through sixth grade students spent their Spring Break at Randall Elementary World Languages School for the second annual April Acceleration Academy.
“April Academy provides an extended learning opportunity for our students to build vocabulary, math and science skills through project based learning,” said Executive Director Priti Johari, who commended the April Academy team for creating a wonderful experience for our students.
Using a Project Based Learning model, students were given the opportunity to engage in a learning that was deep and long-lasting by developing their class projects throughout the week. PBL blends content mastery, meaningful work, and personal connection to create powerful learning experiences.
“Ultimately, our goal with the April Academy was for our students to create a powerful learning experience by helping them gain competence in critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration,” said director Raul Patino, who polled families at the end of the week and received a 97.4 percent approval rate.
On the last day of the academy, students showcased their projects to families who visited their classrooms. Each of the families in attendance had the opportunity to interact with students and ask questions regarding the projects developed by students.
“Working in groups and creating a product were major contributors to what made the learning relevant and meaningful to them and truly allowed us to accelerate their learning,” Johari added.
TK students delved in the Art of Shapes for their PBL; the kindergarten unit was titled ‘Rain or Shine’; first-grade projects were ‘Inspired by Nature’; and second grade students learned different ways of ‘Taking Care of Our Environment.’ Meanwhile, the third-grade unit captured ‘Species Survival’; fourth graders explored ‘Getting to Safety’; fifth graders were introduced to ‘Plastics’; and sixth grade students learned about ‘Shrinking Our Footprints’.
Students in TK teacher Wendy Lundeen's class learned about different shapes and their attributes (number of sides and vertices); examined art from different artists (Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Ruth Asawa, and Alexander Calder) and learned about how they created their art as well as what shapes they incorporated into their art.
"At the end of the week, we created our own two-dimensional and three-dimensional art pieces using paint, canvases, Model Magic, and chenille stems," Lundeen shared. "Students also recorded their own artist statements about their pieces where they discussed the shapes and colors they used in their art. QR codes of their videos were created so that the community can learn more about each student's art piece."
“In my personal opinion, programs like these make our student community get together and see the importance of diversity across all the school sites,” Patino added. “Parents took the opportunity to meet others from different schools just like our students did as well.”
After an extensive search amongst innovative and experienced administrators in the state, Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent Cheryl Jordan announced Greg Wohlman as the new Principal and Chief Innovator of Milpitas High School and New Campus Programs.
At its April 18th meeting, the MUSD Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment. Mr. Wohlman comes to Milpitas after building an impressive resume filled with career and life experiences as an educator and educational leader in Minnesota, Las Vegas, Alaska and Tahoe-Truckee.
“I am very honored to be here to accept this position,” said Mr. Wohlman, who chose to make the 5-hour drive to be here in person to meet the MUSD School Board rather than speaking to them virtually. Mr. Wohlman is charged with inspiring more than 3,000 high school students as well as leading the teachers and classified team members at MHS and its future high school program at the MUSD Innovation Campus.
“Greg has a varied professional experience that will benefit our MHS and district community,” said Supt. Jordan. "Our recruiters spoke to several of Mr. Wohlman's colleagues, staff and students, and I spoke with his current Superintendent. A common theme is that Greg is still visible in every classroom. He knows the students by name and he makes himself available at all times.”
Mr. Wohlman has served as Principal of Multiple High Schools within the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District since 2014, which includes leading two high-performing schools simultaneously as they earned 6-year WASC accreditations, as well as heading up multiple schools within Kuspuk School District in Kalskag, Alaska from 2008-2014. He was named the 2012 State of Alaska Principal of the Year, the 2020 Placer County (Calif.) Principal of the Year, and the 2020 Association of California Administrators (ACSA) Region II Principal of the Year.
“He is somebody who is looking for a place like Milpitas that he can call home for a very long time,” Supt. Jordan added.
“MUSD is the place that harbors innovative thinking in education so our schools maintain and exceed our students’ expectations for relevant and safe learning environments and pathways to post-secondary success,” added Mr. Wohlman.
Mr. Wohlman said he will draw from MUSD’s Strategic Goals in his leadership by helping to build and sustain the all-inclusive Culture of WE (one of the major reasons he considered MUSD); improving lines of communication with better outreach to families, students and staff; increasing educational pathways for all learners; nurturing academic growth; and identifying creative, student-centric strategies to ensure healthy learning environments.
“By focusing on aligned goals, professional learning, and systemic improvement, I believe that together we will continue to improve student learning, maintain a safe learning environment for all students, and sustain the current success of students and staff,” Mr. Wohlman said. “I have built school buildings and modernized campuses, created school cultures that attracted and maintained staffing, designed pathways of success for all students, and created safe and effective learning environments for our most prized stakeholders, our students.”
Although Mr. Wohlman will officially begin on July 1, he will be in MUSD several times this spring to meet with staff, students and parents.
"On July 1, we begin a new chapter of leadership at Milpitas High School," said Board President Chris Norwood. "Our Board, community, caregivers and families are excited to have Mr. Wohlman wholeheartedly accept the position and look forward to partnering with him to increase our student pathways to success."
Welcome to the #MUSDfamily, Principal Wohlman!
When the Milpitas Unified School District / San Jose City College Dual Enrollment Program was still in its infancy, educators from both institutions sought out input from existing programs to find out what made them successful.
“The top takeaway was that we are not involved to serve the interests of our district, but instead to serve the interests of the other district,” said director Michael Mooney. “If the two organizations come together with that in mind, they can do magic for the students, and that’s what we did here.”
The MUSD/SJCC Dual Enrollment Program was recently selected as one of only five recipients of the Glenn Hoffmann Exemplary Program Awards, given by the Santa Clara County School Boards Association (SCCSBA).
“On behalf of SCCSBA, once again, congratulations on an outstanding program that exemplifies putting students first and excellence in education,” wrote Hoffmann Exemplary Awards Committee Chair Isabel Jubes- Flamerich in the award notification letter. The Hoffman Awards Dinner is on Wednesday, May 10, from 6-9 pm at the Metropolitan Education District.
“It shows the outcomes of what can happen when we have a shared vision and we have such excellent, collaborative partners like SJCC to really allow us to maximize our supports and to offer the best pathways available to our students,” said coordinator Karisa Scott. “This award validates all the collaborative, hard work that we’ve done.”
What started with a cohort of 30 students in year 1 has grown to approximately 150 juniors and seniors in only its third year. When a dual enrollment student graduates from high school, they not only earn a high school diploma but also have the beginnings of a college transcript with up to 30 credits.
Additionally, depending on their selected pathway, a student can graduate with workforce certificates. For example, in Computer Science, they can earn an Emerging Tech Entrepreneurial Certificate; and with the Educational pathway, they acquire an Early Childhood Education Certificate.
“These are not only building their high school transcripts and their college transcripts, but also getting them certificates so they can immediately enter the workforce,” said Scott, adding that they are all “really proud” of the dual enrollment students for maintaining above a 90% success rate.
Learn more about the MUSD-SJCC Dual Enrollment Program here.
Milpitas Police Chief Jared Hernandez, along with Officer Shuyo Chang, caught the attention of students at the March 31 career fair at Calaveras Hills High School.
Chief Hernandez, a Milpitas High School alumnus who rose in the MPD ranks, detailed the qualifications needed to become a police officer as well as the variety of job opportunities available within the department for both sworn and unsworn personnel.
The two police officers were two of about 20 individuals representing an array of organizations, businesses, military branches, governing bodies and more to host students from Calaveras Hills HS, Milpitas Middle College HS, and Milpitas Adult Education.
“The goal of the career fair was to expose students to different career choices and have them hear about what the journey was to get into that career,” explained Calaveras Hills HS counselor Jonathan Payne, who organized the event in collaboration with MUSD Middle College High School and Milpitas Adult Education. “The presenters talked about not just what they are doing now but how they got there.”
Students made their way to different classrooms throughout the day for sessions where speakers included Milpitas Mayor Carmen Montano; MUSD Board of Education President Chris Norwood; Blach Construction Senior Project Manager Ryan Holman; Tradeswomen Inc. Project Manager Jessica Fontenot; Amazon Staffing Administrator Jay Giddens; Uber’s Alicia Mendoza; social worker Sabrena Stice; jeweler Kathryn Deierlein; and auto mechanic Dennis Muaka.
“I feel like this is a good opportunity as far as knowing what our futures could look like,” said Eli Venegas, a junior student at CHHS who wants to join the Army and also become a welder. “Some people don’t know what they are going to do after they graduate.”
The career fair aligned with MUSD Strategic Goal #3: Develop educational pathways that allow students to apply their passion in learning for their future careers.
Recent CHHS graduate Juan Aguilar (December 2022), who is learning about the fire science pathway at Silicon Valley Career Technical Education, attended the career fair to hear about other professions such as with Blach Construction.
“It was interesting what he was talking about, how it is different from working in the field to the shop work,” Aguilar shared. “I just wanted to get more knowledge about it.”
Payne added: “There’s a lot of students that we have this year who are interested in construction. They just need to know the next steps to pursue a career in construction," which include design, architecture, engineering, and management.
A UC Berkeley graduate student shared how to get into the education field, and another representative told students about the pathway to becoming a stylist or manicurist by enrolling in cosmetology certification programs.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.