Milpitas school and city leaders, as well as staff, alumni, donors, and community members, gathered at 1331 E. Calaveras Blvd. for the symbolic “Topping Off Ceremony” for the MUSD Innovation Campus on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.
One day prior and earlier the same day of the historic event, students and staff from Calaveras Hills High School, Milpitas Adult Education and the District Office, along with Board of Education trustees, City officials and other MUSD Innovation Campus donors, signed a construction beam before the Blach Construction crew raised it onto one of the building structures.
“Signing the steel beam is a commitment to being the foundation for innovation in MUSD,” said Superintendent Cheryl Jordan. “WE are the foundation that fortifies our commitment to designing intergenerational learning experiences that provide students with state of the art skills.”
The MUSD Innovation Campus is a first-of-its-kind high school through adult, early childhood education research and workforce development center. Located on the site of the former Samuel Ayer High School, the MUSD Innovation Campus will be a hub for future-ready learners of all ages to connect with local businesses and partners within classrooms and labs tailored to provide a real-world education.
“I look forward to the completion of the MUSD Innovation Campus, in partnership with the City of Milpitas, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, and Assemblymember Alex Lee. Together, we will revitalize this regional area’s economy, workforce development and academic offerings to underserved youth, immigrant/migrant communities, and adult learners of all ages’ said Board President Chris Norwood, a MUSD alumnus who witnessed first-hand how the closing of Samuel Ayer HS in the early 1980’s impacted the Calaveras Blvd-Park Victoria and surrounding neighborhoods.
The 99,000 sq. ft. campus includes six new two-story buildings, along with one modernized building, which will house classrooms, experimental learning labs, career simulation facilities, and science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) labs to facilitate a wide variety of programming supported by flex spaces and outdoor learning quads and courtyards. The site will include office space for the District.
Through partnerships with community, colleges and universities, as well as local and regional businesses, the MUSD Innovation Campus will provide training and education that support growing and emerging career fields and practical career simulation. One of the founding partners for the MUSD Innovation Campus is KLA Corporation, which donated $750,000 for the naming rights to the STEAM Lab.
Programming will include adult education, business entrepreneurship, robotics, biology, virtual reality, AV production, coding, artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer science and virtual design and construction, as well as simulation for legal, financial, manufacturing and health career training. The MUSD Innovation Campus will provide dedicated space for MUSD’s Adult School, Calaveras Hills High School, and additional facilities for Milpitas High School students.
MUSD Innovation Campus will emerge in three phases: Phases 1 and 2 are scheduled for completion in summer 2023 and summer 2024, respectively, while Phase 3, which includes the workforce and early education research centers, should be complete by fall 2025. MUSD continues to seek the support of individual financial partners like that of KLA Corporation to sponsor this innovative bridge between local businesses, technical training and future-ready learners. For more information, please visit: www.musd.org/campus-campaign.html
Rancho Milpitas Middle School recently earned its sixth re-designation as a School To Watch, a statewide program implemented by the California League of Educators, CA Department of Education, CA Middle Grades Alliance, National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, and the CA Schools to Watch model schools.
“We truly have an incredible group of teachers at Rancho and this Schools To Watch re-designation is a validation of the great work happening in classrooms across our campus,” said Rancho Principal Casey McMurray.
Rancho was first designated a School to Watch in 2008 and then re-designated in five subsequent years. Rancho will be honored for its sixth redesignation at the CA League of Schools conference in Monterey in March 2023 and then at the National Forum of Schools To Watch in Washington D.C. in June 2023.
While their parents are huddled outside the classroom, the excitement is building for about 30 fourth- and fifth- grade students at Weller Elementary School as the young female scientists make final preparations on their projects for their GirlStart Showcase.
It is a culmination of the semester-long, after-school program, which seeks to inspire elementary-school aged girls by exposing them to the wonders of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and potential career paths in fields that are disproportionately lacking for females.
“For me, it is just about making things fun for the girls. We are an after-school program that they come to after a day of classes and schoolwork,” said Elise Pham, GirlStart STEM crew member. “We want them to have fun with their projects. We want to teach them that STEM is something achievable for them.”
Julian Roque, a Science Specialist with Milpitas Unified School District, likes how GirlStart provides tons of materials that may not be available to them otherwise. “Because of that, the girls can do so many different STEM activities,” said Roque.
“I definitely think GirlStart is one of the best ways for girls to be involved in STEM. There is such a small percentage of girls going into STEM,” Roque added. “To have this opportunity so early on will hopefully inspire them later in life to pursue a career in STEM.”
With projects touching on nutrition, density, gravity, aerodynamics and more, these primary students are already building a foundation and passion for STEM through scientific research, experimentation and discovery.
“Density, it [determines] whether an object sinks or floats,” said 9-year-old fourth grader Aria Kawamoto in describing her team’s Showcase project.
“We pour water on cereal and then a magnet pulls out the iron,” shares 10-year-old fifth grader Saivi Manthana.
One day earlier, Zanker Elementary School hosted its GirlStart Showcase with 26 participants illustrating a different aspect of STEM that they learned through weekly hands-on science experiments over the past nine weeks. For the showcase, they make posters and talk about the activity and vocabulary they learned.
“With each activity, we talk about a career in STEM and a woman who is in that career who is very successful,” said Iris Tilton, a neuroscientist and a GirlStart STEM crew member. “I hope the girls are able to see themselves in a STEM identity and feel they have the option to pursue a career in STEM if they want to and don’t feel held back.”
Zanker teacher Laura Polden sees the results firsthand as her students have “become more organized, more goal-oriented, more thoughtful and just able to produce something on time, and that definitely trickles down to me in the classroom.”
Fifth grader Sritha Kottam, 10, and her group of five shoot a rocket in the air for their project at the Showcase. “It’s about rocket launching and gravity, and how much force is needed.”
“It’s Newton’s Third Law. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” added 10-year-old Ansruta Roy. “We never gave up and did lots and lots of experiments to be able to launch the rocket.”
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.