Notice is hereby given that the Milpitas Unified School District Board of Education has set the hour of
7:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 10, 2019 in the Board Room of the Milpitas Unified School District, 1331
E. Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas, Building 500 as the time and place of a Public Hearing for the 2018-19 GANN
Appropriations Limit Calculations and the 2019-20 projected GANN Appropriations Limit Calculations.
Burnett Elementary's Principal Hanna Asrat was beyond excited to welcome students back for the new school year.
This year, she’s looking forward to the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) across the entire campus. Burnett staff was trained in PBIS by the county last year, and this year, they’re ready to roll out the program, which involves developing common language and consistency in student behavior, expectations, and interactions.
Another new development to look forward to: Burnett will have a new Student Store. Students will be able to save up their "Bulldog Bucks” to “buy” items that they want!
Hanna will also be joined by Assistant Principal David Kennedy, who most recently served as AP at Weller Elementary.
This past Wednesday 8/14, Burnett had their first-ever Back-to-School Dessert Hour. It allowed for an opportunity for students to discover who their teachers were for the year. Also, families had a chance to update their emergency cards. A total of 360 students came out.
Above all, Hanna is very clear in her vision of cultivating Burnett into a joyful place for everyone who steps onto the campus.
“All schools — and especially elementary schools — should be joyful places. Learning should be joyful,” said Hanna. "I think we should work hard, but it should also be a place that feels joyful for our students, for our families, and for our staff. That’s what drives what I value and what I push for in school. We should be doing things that make our kids feel joyful to come here every day. Learning should be engaging and meaningful to students, and not just what it says in the book or the standards. We need to ask: How can we make all of that come alive so that it's joyful and kids are interested?"
Curtner Elementary School’s Principal, Maria Hartman-Hernandez, has a big vision for the new school year.
And part of that big vision has already been underway cosmetically…
The passage of the Measure AA bond brought fresh paint to Curtner’s buildings. Students and families returned to school this week to see striking green and blue colors!
Also, via a collaboration between Maria and Curtner students, along with some funds from the Curtner PTA and the MUSD Student Services Department, painting has been done across the blacktop at Curtner to brighten and enhance the experience for kids. The painting brings some fun concepts to life across the playgrounds. And Juan Marroquin from the MUSD Maintenance Department worked hard to paint these unique concepts on the blacktops over the summer. The painting includes a “mirror me” game painted on the Primary Kids’ side that evokes Twister, and even a “Walk the Plank” path for kindergarteners to play during recesses. The painting is not fully completed across the entire blacktop, but it’s getting there!
Also, an organization called Playworks will be coming out this year to guide Curtner students through recesses with structured game play.
With the support of Playworks, Curtner will also be able to provide a space for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students to become junior coaches. They’ll receive training from a Playworks coach, who will be on campus throughout the year to help them become agents of change; they’ll also ensure that the students are managing recess, alongside an adult, in ways they feel are equitable and structured. Playworks will also provide training to Curtner's noon duty supervisors so that they can monitor recess in a way that’s consistent for the kids.
“It’s very exiting and I’m happy that Playworks will be joining us this year. That’s one big shift we’ll be seeing,” said Maria.
Another big change? Volunteers from the parent community will also be coming in to give students Art once a week.
"In the short run, we want our students to be highly academically capable. And in the long run, we want them to be change agents,” said Maria. "We want to grow structures to enable our students to change society. And staff will be looking closely to see how students develop identity in a diverse society, how they can be just in that society, and how they can take action to enable justice for others. That’s the core foundation.” She also mentioned the essential core piece of using Empathy as a lens.
Another HUGE change that Maria is hoping to make happen this year: Switching the Curtner mascot from a Stallion to an Eagle. Maria noted that the meaning of a Stallion came from a different age and time, and that the mascot should be changed to reflect the new culture that Curtner embodies. Not only has Curtner been the nesting place for a pair of bald eagles over the past few years, but what the Eagle represents is something that is in alignment with Curtner. Three words Maria uses to describe what the Eagle represents: Hope, Vision, and Leadership.
A survey was recently sent out to parents to see how the community feels about the potential mascot change, and Curtner staff will also be engaging students in dialogue over the mascot switch to get their thoughts.
All in all, the 2019-2020 year looks to be an exciting one for the Curtner community.
As the Founding Principal of Mabel Mattos Elementary School, Dr. Jackie Vo-Felbinger is excited to be in an environment that offers a collective approach to designing and birthing the idea of a world class school in public education.
She comes into her second year as Principal of Mattos, ready to continue building upon the ideas and systems that have been put into place last year.
Mattos was newly built and opened in 2018. And so the team at Mattos, along with support from the District and the Board, really worked together to determine ways to get things operationalized and running smoothly. The fact that their structure is based upon a learning community model, where whole grade levels are able to move between classrooms and learn together, offered up many exciting new possibilities.
"Our learning community model definitely makes us unique. This idea that the kids are part of a much larger cohort than the traditional small classroom,” said Dr. Vo-Felbinger. "We’re not organized by classes but by whole communities. For example, last year’s kindergarten group was 72 kids, and 3 teachers. And they moved across these spaces throughout the day together.”
Dr. Vo-Felbinger mentioned her excitement over the formation of the Founding Mattos PTA, which came together this past Spring. They sponsored their first event, an end-of-the-year celebration and field day, on the last day of school. And next week, they’ll be sponsoring their first event of the 2019-2020 year — a new family orientation next Tuesday to welcome in new families.
The school currently serves grades Kindergarten - 3rd, with plans for more building and expansion along the way. (More details on that coming soon, as things get moving along.)
With around 168 students enrolled for this school year, there is a special kind of closeness that happens between families and staff. As well as learning and interacting across entire grade levels, there is also a good deal of multi-grade interaction as well. Dr. Vo-Felbinger and her team are excited about continuing to grow for this second year of the school’s existence.
"Everybody here from our classified staff to our certificated staff to our parents, and even to the kids, they’re all leaders. Starting at 5 years old. We’re building, and every day is different. We’re in continuous development,” said Dr. Vo-Felbinger. "There’s this respect for this idea that ongoing change helps us grow into becoming the best we can be. Our mission for the school is very simple. We engage in learning to realize our best selves and elevtate humanity. It’s about what we do in school to realize our best self, to master one’s own person. So that you can be and do whatever it is that you dream of, your highest hopes for yourself; and also at the same time, you’re able to give back as well and elevate humanity.”
At Pomeroy Elementary School, Principal Nichol Klein and Assistant Principal Deanna Sainten are looking forward to continuing the work that was started in the last couple of years. “And that work has been about building cultural responsiveness and promoting equity across campus,” said Nichol.
As far as new things go, there’s a lot to look forward to...
"This is the first year where every grade level has things to collaborate on across grade levels,” said Deanna. "Kinder through 3rd will be using SEAL strategies, and 4th through 6th will be using tools from Summit, our personalized learning platform.”
Empowering parents will also be a big focus for the Pomeroy team this year. They plan to host parent education nights, so that parents can walk away with helpful resources and tools.
And overall, some main areas that Nichol, Deanna, and Pomeroy staff will be devoted to are: Amping up the rigor in each classroom through the Personalized Learning Platform work, Parent Engagement, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and using their What I Need (WIN) rotation work that is centered around language development.
All of this work will no doubt lay the foundation for continuing to inspire a love of academic and social learning among Pomeroy students. Bring on the new school year!!
Over at Zanker Elementary School, Principal Shangrila Mia-Ramzan and staff welcomed students in for the 2019-2020 year.
There’s so much to look forward to in this brand new school year!
Building students’ understanding of and rigor in Math will be a huge focus for the Zanker team.
"I think oftentimes that the traditional model of teaching Math has been in the computation and math fluency skills…for example, knowing your multiplication and division tables. And that’s vital in terms of building a core foundation,” said Shangrila. "But in this day and age, we’re trying to prepare our students to be global students and members of the world. And in order to do that, you have to go beyond the digits. You have to look at the application in the real world. It’s not just a set of multiplication problems, but also, how is this relevant to my daily environment? And how can we build our students’ agency?”
A team of Zanker teachers has been participating in the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative (SVMI), which not only has been helping to build teachers’ alignment to common core standards, but to also find ways to bring up the rigor level of lessons, while taking into consideration the lens of equity in Math.
"We’ve also collaborated with a couple community organizations to bring in additional enrichment opportunities for children after school,” said Shangrila. “And this will be our second year of a program called Girl Start, a free STEM based academic enrichment program for 4th and 5th grade girls. It meets once a week after school. The first year was great. We had about 30 girls participate.”
Years back, two of Shangrila's oldest children attended Zanker. This was before she was Principal. So she feels a strong connection to the school, and is excited about all that is transpiring. She noticed that parent and family engagement increased significantly last year, which she attributes to the amazing individuals on the Zanker PTA.
“Everyone on our Zanker team has been here, working together to support our students and families,” said Shangrila. “Everyone is here because they have the passion and commitment to serve our community. It’s definitely a tight knit community.”
This year, great things will be transpiring at Russell Middle School.
Principal Sean Anglon and his team have been working hard to lay the groundwork and create an amazing experience for students and families.
Some things to look forward to:
Russell has a new Elective this year — an ethnic studies class called Facing History Middle School, where students will have an opportunity to discuss and learn about all different cultures.
“We’re also sticking with PIQE — Parent Institute for Quality Education. Russell started using this organization last year. It’s a good way of helping parents learn how to navigate the K to 12 educational system as well as advocate for their children. So we’re continuing that,” said Sean. “We’re also focusing a lot on student engagement, ensuring that students learn to clearly articulate their ideas and listen to their peers as well as adults. What will happen is teachers will learn new strategies — one is called the QFT, which is Question Formulaltion Technique, and it’s designed to help students create their own questions about the subject matter. That way, they have greater ownership in their learning. Another is called Structured Academic Controversy — which will be looking at helping students learn to deliberate and listen without judgment as much as possible.”
Sean came onboard as Principal just this past April, and so he’s thrilled to be stepping into his first full year.
“And since this is my first full year, I hope to have an opportunity to honestly counter the negative narrative that exists in society about black men,” said Sean. “And also to give the children as robust of an education experience as possible, while thinking out of the box, if necessary.”
Casey McMurray is embarking upon his sixth year as Principal of Rancho Middle School.
Before that, he spent two decades at Milpitas High School (MHS). During the first 11 of those years at MHS, he taught Spanish; and in the last 9, he was Assistant Principal there.
And now, as he and the Rancho team welcome students on campus and into the 2019-2020 school year, Casey is excited about all the new opportunities that lie ahead.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to strengthen our instructional practices, particularly in the area of literacy,” said Casey. “Also…new opportunities, new students, and the work we’re continuing with our professional learning communities; the work we’re doing to support our longterm English learners to help them progress toward reclassification.”
This year, Casey is joined by Lori Nuno, who will be coming in as Rancho’s Assistant Principal. Lori was a teacher at Rancho during Casey’s first year as Principal; then she was Assistant Principal over at Rose Elementary for the past 4 years.
“Lori is a great team lead and I'm happy she’s back with us and that I get to work with her in a new capacity,” said Casey. “She brings a new perspective and ideas, along with her experience. And her experience will definitely be helpful as we work to plan for our Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.”
One of the things that Casey appreciates about Rancho is the family-like feel among staff. They put a great deal of attention and thought into working together to provide a sense of belonging for students. Staff also strives to stay connected to the parent community through different opportunities like Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), through which they offer parent workshops in Spanish and English. This will be their third year of doing so. They also offer work through the English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) and the PTA to engage and involve parents.
One of the things Casey loves most about Rancho?
"The opportunity I have every day to interact with great students, professional staff, and also the opportunity I have to help the parent community in whatever way that might be,” said Casey. “I really look forward to coming to work every day.”
After several hours of candidate interviews Aug. 13, the Board selected Hai Minh Ngo as the provisional appointee for the open board seat, which was vacated by Daniel Bobay earlier this summer.
Ngo has been a part of Rose Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) since his oldest child started Kindergarten there during the 2018-2019 school year. He has also been serving as a volunteer on the Community Board Advisory Council (CBAC).
After Ngo was selected by the Board, Superintendent Cheryl Jordan administered an oath of office.
"It feels amazing to go through this experience,” said Ngo. "I can’t be more ecstatic about being selected.”
Seventeen people submitted applications for the board seat, and eight had been selected by the Board subcommittee to appear for interviews in an open session.
"I think that it demonstrates the care that our Board takes in how they see their roles in supporting our school district and community. They wanted to make sure they had the right person to join the team, and they took time to deliberate and be thoughtful about who they ultimately selected,” said Superintendent Jordan.
Board Vice President Hon Lien added: “He will be a great addition to the Board, and I know he will put all his time and effort into caring for our children in the district."
The district will publicly post the provisional appointment, and if uncontested, Hai Minh Ngo will fulfill the board vacancy until elections in November 2020.
Superintendent Cheryl Jordan and Board of Education President Chris Norwood greeted hundreds of Milpitas Unified School District staff with words of encouragement and appreciation during the annual Welcome Back rally held the morning of Aug. 12 at Milpitas High School.
“Together we help our students become who they are supposed to be,” said Superintendent Jordan as she reviewed the district’s strategic goals and offered examples of how staff and students have been accomplishing them. “Together, we are MUSD and 2019 is going to rock because we are a championship team!”
President Norwood, a sixth-year trustee who attended MUSD schools as a student-athlete and also both coached and volunteered during his 46 years and counting in Milpitas, described staff members as “modern, real-life, unsung and super heroes.”
“The Board of Trustees cares about you in ways you could not image. …At board meetings, we celebrate the children, your work and the community,” President Norwood said. “We are MUSD! We are the Culture of We! Welcome back!”
Milpitas High School students Salma Soudbakhsh, Catherine Navalta, Megan Clark and Angela Kim, supported by MHS videography teacher Champ Wrencher, also debuted their "The Culture of We is... " video. (click link to enjoy)
The first day of school for MUSD students is Thursday, Aug. 15.