New track and field facilities at Rancho and Russell Middle Schools, as well as Phase 2 of the Mattos Elementary School Construction, are among more than a dozen Summer 2021 bond projects underway at multiple Milpitas Unified School District sites.
“Our bond program is doing well financially. We have made prudent decisions to create savings so that we are able to do more projects,” said Assistant Superintendent Wendy Zhang of Business Services. “I can assure that all of our bond funds are designated and expended only on District projects.”
Measure AA is the $284 million bond measure approved by local voters in November 2018.
While construction work has begun on the Rancho track with completion scheduled for late summer, the modernization of the Russell fields is expected to be finished by Fall 2021.
Meanwhile, over at Mattos, the summer expansion includes three new classroom buildings and a multipurpose building, with a completion date of Spring 2022. Interim portable classrooms have been set in place for the start of the 2021-22 school year. Additionally, the road widening will be completed by the end of August.
A ribbon cutting is planned prior to the start of school at the modernized Randall World Languages School, where bond dollars were allocated for a new, state-of-the-art multi-purpose building with a warming kitchen, a new administration building, a new modular kinder classroom, the relocation of several portable classrooms, a new dropoff/pickup loop, and associated site work.
Other summer projects include:
Additionally, projects in the planning stages include:
At an August 4, 2021 Milpitas HS-Calaveras Hills HS summer graduation ceremony, 27 students received their high school diplomas, after making up sufficient course credits in Milpitas Unified School District’s Summer School Credit Recovery Program.
In Summer 2021, MUSD had 439 students participate in the first session and 273 in the second session to make up credits so they are on track to graduate with their classmates.
Summer School Principal Jonathan Ho headed up the 2021 summer program, which staffed 19 teachers and four counselors (Jonathan Payne, Jennifer Evarkiou, Adrian Hernandez and Valerie Lamb), as well as support from the Learning & Development and Tech Services teams.
“I am blessed with an amazing team,” said Ho, a mathematics teacher at Milpitas High School who recently earned his administrative credential. “We are housed here at Cal Hills, and all of our summer school staff are already MUSD employees so they are familiar with what we’re all about here and our Culture of We.”
Summer School adopted a Hybrid format, with students participating either online or in-person using a computer-based platform called Odysseyware to recover course credits and get back on track toward graduation. Each student takes an initial assessment and, based on those results, the program assigns individualized classwork with a credentialed teacher supporting them along the way.
“It’s nice that these kids get this opportunity to complete the work they weren’t able to do during the school year and move onto the next level,” said Ivy Nguyen, a MHS mathematics teacher who is teaching Math 3 over the summer for 67 students.
A Cal Hills/Milpitas HS Summer School Graduation Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, August 4 at 5 p.m. for those senior students who complete their graduation requirements this summer.
Summer School has also provided community service hours for a trio of Student TA’s who have helped out in various capacities with assisting teachers, office staff, custodians, Student Nutrition and Tech Services. Community service is needed to meet MUSD high school graduation requirements.
“It’s been great to have a couple of kids helping out while earning those community service hours,” said Ho, who was particularly appreciative to MUSD leaders for allowing him to gain valuable experience as an administrator this summer.
He added: “As a teacher, my influence is confined to my classroom. As an administrator, I have the opportunity to really move things forward for an entire school or program, and help spread best practices.”
With administrator Luis Lopez shifting back to middle school leadership to partner with Principal Casey McMurray at Rancho Milpitas Middle School, Parwinder Johal was named new principal at Spangler Elementary School, after serving as MUSD’s Coordinator of Literacy/Intervention/EL for the last five years.
Johal’s educational path with 25 years in MUSD includes teaching positions at Spangler and Rose Elementary Schools before serving as assistant principal at Joseph Weller Elementary School and eventually moving to the district office.
“My greatest joy has been partnering with staff to create affirming and inclusive learning environments for students to learn and families to be engaged in,” said Johal. “Our students’ tapestry of languages, cultures, and experiences are assets that I deeply value and build upon to create culturally responsive and equitable learning pathways for all our learners.”
Julianna Flores, who has performed in various teacher leadership roles over her career, makes up the other half of the Spangler admin team as assistant principal. Flores joins MUSD after serving as the First and Second Grade Inclusion Teacher for Los Arboles Literacy and Technology Academy in San Jose.
Flores said she “strives to lead with equity, inclusivity, and collaboration with all stakeholders (and) believes in meeting students where they are, listening to student voices, and working with school personnel to enhance the learning experiences and learning environment for students.”
Priti Johari was selected as MUSD’s Executive Director, Learning & Innovation, a new position that will co-lead the L&D department along with recently promoted Executive Director of Inclusive Services for All, Mary Jude Doerpinghaus. Johari, a Bay Area native, comes to Milpitas via Massachusetts, where she served in roles at multiple districts as Chief Academic Officer, Assistant Superintendent, Principal, and Teacher spanning 15+ years in public education.
Johari said she is “passionate about cultivating systems that see, nurture, and affirm the whole child. This means building integrated systems that promote the development of mastery, identity, and creativity across grade levels and subjects in a trauma informed environment.”
Michele Sherer, who has two decades of educational experience as a special educator, mentor, principal, and credential instructor, was chosen as the new assistant principal at Rose Elementary School, where she joins seasoned principal Nanci Pass. Sherer comes to Milpitas after serving as Educator Coach and Preparation Specialist with the Santa Clara County Office of Education-Education Preparation for Inclusive Classrooms (EPIC).
“It is a great honor to have the opportunity to work with a community that values diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Sherer said. “My passion and purpose: equitable access/achievement for all students, retention of educators, and fostering positive school climates.”