“If you build it, they will come,” was the famous phrase from the 1989 film, Field of Dreams, that Milpitas Unified School District Executive Director Mary Jude Doerpinghaus referenced as she addressed a distinguished crowd of regional and local stakeholders at the Nov. 16 grand opening of Milpitas High School Wellness Center.
In the first two months, the center has accounted for 554 student visits, with 130 repeat visitors and 16 students in crisis, “and that’s why we’re here,” added Executive Director Doerpinghaus from inside the newly renovated wellness center.
For MHS sophomore Janvi Balakrishnan, one of the many students to utilize the MHS wellness center, it serves as “a place where I don’t have to be lonely,” she shared. “I’m very grateful that our campus has a place that makes everyone feel included.”
The new wellness center is a welcomed addition to a campus life that is shared with more than 3,000 student peers, according to MHS senior student Prarthana Prasad. “It’s a really good environment where I can find resources that can help me just get back to my normal state,” she noted. “It’s just amazing. I never thought that this would come true.”
The MHS center, which is open daily to students and staff throughout the school day, was funded through the Mental Health Student Service Act (MHSSA) and California Schools Partnership (CCSPP) Grants acquired through the Santa Clara County Office of Education, in partnership with 31 school districts and the County Behavioral Health Services Dept. Additionally, Representative Ro Khanna secured $300,000 in federal Community Project Funding for the MHS wellness center implementation through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
“Expanding access to mental health services ensures students receive the support they need to be successful at school and in their communities,” said County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan. “When students have access to mental health services on their school campuses, they are 21 more times likely to access them.”
MUSD Superintendent Cheryl Jordan added the wellness center “speaks to equity and inclusion and belonging in that now we have an established way of addressing the needs of our students and families who long before COVID have suffered traumatic events in their lives. They know that we care. …and that every child, every person’s well-being matters.”
Two Milpitas High School alumni, MUSD Board of Education President Chris Norwood and Assemblymember Alex Lee, stressed the importance of providing a comfortable, safe space for students to come and receive a variety of support services to help cope with a myriad of challenges in their lives.
“What we’ve done here is we said we recognize those challenges, we recognize that you need a space on this campus where you can go and be with people, be with professionals that can help you so you can continue to exist on this campus and then learn how to make decisions beyond this school day in your life,” Board President Norwood said.
Assemblymember Lee credited the younger generation of students for “making it acceptable and normal and OK to talk about things when you have a bad day or great day or you feel alone.” He added. “I’m glad that right now we understand that mental health is something you gotta keep working at. .... Wellness centers are like gyms for your mind in some ways.”
Along with SCCOE and MUSD team members, also in attendance for the Nov. 16 ceremony to show their support for the wellness center, were Milpitas Mayor Carmen Montano as well as representatives from the offices of Senator Aisha Wahab, Congressman Ro Khanna, County Board Supervisor Otto Lee.
SCCOE-MUSD JOINT PRESS RELEASE: MHS WELLNESS CENTER OPENING 11.29.23
At the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Leadership Summit on Nov. 2-4 in Sacramento, Milpitas Unified School District leader Cheryl Jordan was formally honored as the 2023 State Superintendent of the Year, a special moment she shared with her family, the members of the MUSD Board of Education, and Santa Clara County and MUSD leaders.
“I was stunned when I learned of this incredible honor as there are so many who lead their districts in amazing ways both in Santa Clara County and throughout California. I learn from my SCC superintendent colleagues who share their insights and ideas about leading from this seat. My mentors in MUSD and throughout my life along with ACSA have been an integral part of my leadership development,” Superintendent Jordan shared.
“The dynamic and purposeful leaders within MUSD and our Milpitas community are a part of this recognition, together we are creating a world class educational experience for All Learners. My husband and son have steadfastly supported the work I do. I am thrilled and humbled to have received this recognition that illuminates all of our efforts as one in a Culture of We,” she continued.
The ACSA summit brings together educators at all levels of administration in an annual awards celebration banquet while providing opportunities for invaluable networking and professional development on current critical leadership and educational issues. ACSA , established in 1971, is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the nation, serving more than 16,000 school leaders throughout California.
“While the 2023 State Superintendent of the Year Award is awarded to only one individual, Supt. Jordan will be the first to tell you that she shares this honor with her colleagues, community partners and stakeholders,” MUSD Board President Chris Norwood said. “She always works through our ‘Build A Culture of We’ lens. On a daily basis, she depends on collaboration, teamwork, and a shared vision of leadership and service to students and their families. I am thankful to the ASCA nominating and selection committee for recognizing her and her leadership of the Milpitas Unified School District.”
She was one of four MUSD leaders to receive ACSA Region 8 awards; the others being Giuliana Brahim (Adult Education Administrator of the Year), Mary Jude Doerpinghaus (Student Services Administrator of the Year) and Kelly Ng (Classified Administrator of the Year). Jordan was then named California’s state champion among ACSA’s 19 geographic regions.
Supt. Jordan, who began as a teacher intern in 1989 at Calaveras Hills HS and Thomas Russell MS before becoming a site leader and, ultimately, the district chief, has long established a climate of equity and inclusion. She has served on and chaired various state, region, county and community board of directors, including the Santa Clara County Superintendents’ Association, Milpitas Rotary Club, the South Bay Consortium for Adult Education, Santa Clara County Construction Careers Association, and ACSA Region 8.
Student and staff representatives from all of our Milpitas Unified School District schools and departments came together for the 2023 Jack Emery Kickoff Brunch at Milpitas High School on Monday, November 6.
Nhuhao Nguyen, 2023-24 Milpitas HS Associated Student Body (ASB) President and Jack Emery District Coordinator, introduced herself and her Jack Emery team leaders to the MUSD delegates. The enthusiastic group was inspired by Jack Emery’s story and legacy, and established friendly competitions to meet President Nguyen’s district goal, “I really like seeing our district come together to serve our community. …I’d like to see more donations coming in to meet our goals and surpass last year’s district goal (of 140,000).”
Each school or department team finds creative ways to reach their families, community partners and business to help solicit canned foods and/or monetary donations. All donations will be delivered to the Milpitas Food Pantry for distribution to the most vulnerable families within our community.
“This is a very special day because we’re launching community,” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan, who sat with members of the MUSD Board of Education as well as Milpitas Food Pantry Director Karen Kolander for the kickoff. “This fun competition that we have between our schools demonstrates how we represent our community, and I am proud to be part of this Milpitas family and to be sitting here today in the MHS library amongst all of you as one family.”
“Jack Emery, to me, is more than a tradition that we do every year. It is so important to our community because the Bay Area is such a hard area to live in,” said Nguyen. “I love to give back to my community and I really want to see our students together also give back to our community and carry on that tradition.”
This year, Nguyen is planning more events around the Jack Emery such as a 5K fun run on Saturday, December 9 to raise awareness and offer additional opportunities for community members to donate to the food drive. From now thru Friday, December 8, donations can be made at any of the MUSD school sites and departments. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for what you do as part of our community family,” said Kolander, who shared the deep impact the Jack Emery Food Drive makes to our most vulnerable individuals and families.
Fourteen members of the Milpitas HS Black Student Union participated in the 2023 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caravan at DeAnza College on November 2.
The event featured representatives from over 20 HBCU partner institutions: Stillman College, Morehouse College, Wiley College, Hampton University, Lane College, Lincoln University and many more). They provided scholarship information (e.g, Hoffman Agency HBCU Scholarship), potential on-site admissions, and a tour of DeAnza.
"This was a great opportunity for students to learn more about the exciting CCC Transfer Guarantee Pathway to HBCU and meet with HBCU representatives from partner institutions," shared #MHS counselor Julie Jones, who accompanied the #BSU members on the trip. "This pathway guarantees admissions to 30 partner Historically Black Colleges and Universities."
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.