Kindergartners in Ms. Dixon, Ms. Gong and Ms. Dawson’s classes at Burnett Elementary School were having an absolute blast learning about biomes and the creatures that live within each distinct habitat and ecosystem.
On this particular Tuesday morning, students were selecting their favorite animal, mammal, insect, bird, reptile, or arachnid; then identifying the corresponding biome; drawing a picture of their selection; and finally pasting them into their Habitat Lapbook.
Popping from desk to desk, “The _____ lives in the _____,” is what teachers asked their students. Responses included meerkat, scorpion, arctic fox, jellyfish, toucan, penguin, jaguar, rattlesnake, sea turtle, lobster, octopus, and beluga whale. Then, they named one of the five major types of biomes (aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, and tundra).
“The SEAL, or early academic language acquisition, strategies that our teachers use are so engaging and fun to be a part of,” said Principal Hanna Asrat. “I love walking into classrooms when students are learning new academic vocabulary or singing one of their chants; the “buzz” of learning in those moments is palpable."
Each classroom was decorated with colorful artwork of biomes, listing the identifying features and inhabitants of them. If a student was having trouble with their selection, the teacher directed them to take a look at the wall.
The kindergarten classes use Sobrato Early Academic Language or SEAL in their lesson-planning. It is a system for teaching academic language and English language development via content areas such as science and social studies. SEAL is hands-on, interactive, and lots of fun as witnessed by the sheer excitement from the young learners.
“The students get so excited to learn new content through SEAL strategies. We've noticed that their use of language matures after practicing oral communication and the songs/chants,” said Ms. Dawson. “It's fun to hear a kindergartener using 'big' words like habitat, community, and humid.”
The biome lesson culminates with a field trip to Happy Hollow Zoo to see many of the creatures that they learned about in class.
“Students are always proud of their new knowledge and love sharing their learning with others,” Principal Asrat added. “It’s exciting to see how students’ participation and vocabularies grow with each successive year they participate in SEAL with their teachers, from TK all the way up to 3rd grade.”
Transitional Kindergarten students grow sunflowers from seedlings
In Ms. Huynh’s Transitional Kindergarten class at Burnett, young learners scurry outside to locate their sunflower seedlings that have been growing for about a month.
Each student brings their CD case of seedlings inside along with a small pot filled with soil. This is part of TK’s early academic language acquisition lesson in learning the different parts of a plant.
“We are going to move the seeds into the pot today,” Ms. Huynh instructs her class. “The roots are very fragile so be extra gentle when you move them to the pot.”
Students, who will take home their sprouting sunflower at the end of the school year, have been taking notes in their Observation Log Book while learning about the lifecycle of a sunflower and plant parts in different ways such as a fun song they sing together as a class.
“The roots they hold the plant in place. And soak up water and food,” the lyrics read. “The leaves soak up the rays of sun. And help the plant make food.”
Zanker Elementary School sixth grader Joanna Lee and Thomas Russell Middle School seventh grader Anita Kwong were among the winning student artists announced May 19 at the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) annual Young Artist Showcase.
Joanna Lee received the People's Choice Award (6th grade) for her piece, "Connecting through Knowledge," while Anita Kwong received the People's Choice Award (7th grade) for her piece, "Let's Catch Up!"
Each year the Young Artist Showcase features various forms of student expression including paintings, drawings, watercolors, photographs, sculptures, and digital art. This year's artwork theme of “Contact Zones: Places Where We Meet" encourages students to show experiences of places or events where different cultures, languages, or interests may come together.
"The SCCOE is proud to host the Young Artist Showcase every year to provide students with a platform to express their diverse perspectives,” said Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Ann Dewan in the SCCOE's press release announcing the winners. “Art education is essential to all aspects of student learning. Events like these provide us with an opportunity to promote the importance of art education and celebrate the continued creativity of our youth in Santa Clara County.”
Student artists from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade submitted artwork that expressed themselves and their experiences based on this theme. All Santa Clara County public/charter schools, public preschool programs, and after-school public programs were eligible to participate. The winners were selected based on various criteria including visual impact, creativity and imagination.
Click to watch the video of all the Young Artist Showcase Winners.
Curtner Elementary School has its new principal for the 2022-23 school year as the Milpitas Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved the promotion of administrator Kevin Slavin at its May 10 meeting.
Slavin, who has served as the Thomas Russell Middle School Assistant Principal over the last three school years, has a leadership vision that includes building healthy, positive relationships, fostering school community, and being present to interact with MUSD learners, team members and families.
"Thank you to the Curtner community for giving me the opportunity to serve, support and lead their school," said Slavin, whose family grew up in the surrounding neighborhood. "Curtner Elementary School holds a special place in my heart....From celebrating my daughter’s first steps outside on the playground to excitingly trying to catch a glimpse of the nesting eagles, Curtner is a place where families can feel safe and welcome."
Congrats Principal Slavin and Curtner school community!
Milpitas Unified School District was one of only nine districts in Santa Clara County named as a winner of the 2022 California Pivotal Practice (CAPP) Award Program, which highlights school and district practices that supported students during the 2020-21 academic year when distance learning was in effect.
The MUSD EducatEveryWhere online learning initiative was implemented almost immediately following the shift to 100% distance learning in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. MUSD EducatEveryWhere, which used a phased-in, hybrid approach, was the culmination of more than 11,050 planning minutes among 62 meetings along with input from 6,000+ survey responses and 2,495 parent Q&A sessions.
“We formed 14 different subcommittees involving hundreds of district and community stakeholders and created a 260-member COVID-19 Advisory Task Force composed of student, parent, staff, and community representatives from elementary, middle, high school, and district operations teams,” recalled MUSD Superintendent Cheryl Jordan. “We are very proud of the work that was done in shaping our distance learning initiative.”
On April 26, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, announced 727 schools and 121 districts across the state were among the CAPP winners. Those awarded demonstrated efforts to support students in four areas: student engagement, distribution of technology, nutrition services, and students' social-emotional well-being.
"The district and school teams' creative thinking, design, and implementation are inspiring and a testament to their dedication to student success," said County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan. "Their actions, such as providing meals, distributing laptops and hotspots, and creating safe spaces to access mental health resources, supported students during a challenging time."
The CAPP Award Program takes the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program for 2022.
Burnett Elementary School Principal Hanna Asrat, Milpitas High School Assistant Principal Skyler Draeger, Calaveras Hills High School Principal Carl Stice and Assistant Superintendent of Human Relations Jonathon Brunson were selected as 2022 Administrators of the Year by the Region 8 Association of California School Administrators.
Asrat was named the 2022 Elementary Principal of the Year; Draeger was selected as the Secondary Co-Administrator of the Year; Stice was chosen for Continuation/Ed Options Administrator of the Year; and Brunson was honored with the Marcus Foster Memorial Award.
“Congratulations to our administrators who are well-deserving of this exceptional honor,” said MUSD Superintendent Cheryl Jordan. “These leaders have been integral in supporting our MUSD learners, team members and school communities. Particularly as they demonstrated resilience and innovative thinking throughout these last two years.”
On April 29, ACSA Region 8 recognized 18 total Administrators of the Year from eight Santa Clara County school districts and the Santa Clara Office of Education at its Recognition and Awards Celebration. ACSA serves educational leaders in the pursuit of equity and excellence to meet the diverse needs of all California students. ACSA Region 8 is made up of nearly 400 schools and 32 school districts, serving over 260,000 students within Santa Clara County.
"We are so proud of the Santa Clara County administrators recognized at both the regional and state level,” said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. “Your outstanding work continues to have a positive impact on the County’s students, families, staff, and community. We are truly grateful for your dedication to student and school success.”
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.