Dear MUSD Family,
We are very saddened by the passing of Danny Lau today; it is heartbreaking. He was a member of our MUSD Family who dedicated much of his time to us. He sought to nurture excellence for our kids and staff. He was a thoughtful person who took care in what he said and offered many valuable insights during his time on the Board.
Danny was our Vice President and we committed to being a Team in support of our district. We will greatly miss Danny and are grateful for his contributions to our MUSD community.
Mrs. Lau shared that the Lau family plans to hold two days of services, as she knows he would want his friends and MUSD Family to have the opportunity to be there if they wish. We will share that information with you as soon as she informs us of the date and location.
If you would like to send cards to Danny’s family, you can send them to Cheryl and she will be sure to deliver them to Mrs. Lau.
As a family we will stand strong together through this difficult time for us all.
Dan Bobay, President
Cheryl Jordan, Superintendent
Chris Norwood, Clerk
Hon Lien, Member
Robert Jung, Member
The Milpitas High School (MHS) and Ayer High School Hall of Fame dinner last Friday night expresses the uniqueness of our Milpitas community: WE are a community of adventurers who exemplify the principles of servant leadership. Our city and school district are small enough that we can maintain a sense of connection to one another, and that was evident as we gathered together with those who came to celebrate the work of our honorees that night: Debbie Giordano, John Ribovich, and Bessie Louie. While Ms. Giordano is a graduate of Ayer High School, Mr. Ribovich is a retired MHS teacher, and Ms. Louie is a retired Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) staff member, each one was an educator that night.
Ms. Louie shared stories about teamwork and support from all those with whom she built connections throughout her years of service in MUSD and Milpitas. As I listened to her speak, I was reminded of the thread of relationships that is woven throughout Milpitas and connects the past to the present which each of us embodies. Mr. Ribovich spoke of how he was inspired by colleagues and especially students. He said that he had the “glory of watching [our] students become adults.” He’s right, it is truly amazing to see our students, our children, and our neighbors as they grow into their dreams for the future. Ms. Giordano focused on leadership, and said that the “true measure of leadership is influence” and we “follow because of what [we] are and what [we] represent.” As I think about Milpitas and MUSD, what each of these leaders had to say really is the heart of how WE are when we are present for one another.
In our rich community of cultures and life experiences, WE have the opportunity to fortify our city and school district through our relationships and dedication to service around a common cause, our children. In the words of Mr. Jeff Lamb, MHS Athletics Director and master of ceremonies for the Hall of Fame: “Milpitas is growing and growing, and [WE’ve] all had a part in making it a great place!”
California School Dashboard launches
The release of the California School Dashboard aligns with a value I have held since 1989, when I began my career as a teacher in Milpitas Unified School District: a quality education is defined by MORE than a single test score.
The previous accountability system, Academic Performance Index (API), was based on the results of annual standardized test scores, and nothing else. This number did not provide adequate information about strengths and growth needs because it was not a full-spectrum assessment portfolio.
California’s new state accountability tool is based on eight Local Control Funding Formula Priority Areas. In addition to data about achievement in math and English language arts, we now have data on how English learners and their language development, student suspension rates, school attendance, and details on how each of our students groups are developing based on these multiple measures. High schools will be measured on graduation rates and how well they prepare students for college and careers. In the future, the new accountability system may replace the need for the ACT and SAT for college entrance in the CA university and state college systems.
This change from one focus to a range of different topics will allow us to not only focus on the whole child, but help support local decision-making by providing more information to support our ongoing Local Control and Accountability Plan development. In addition, the new system is based not only on how our students performed and how we met the eight state priority areas this year, but also how much we have improved from past years. This is called, “status and change” and when we combine status and change, we get a color.
Schools and districts will receive one of five color-coded performance levels on the state indicators. From highest to lowest, the five performance levels are: blue, green, yellow, orange, red, with green being the target to reach. The overall performance level that LEAs and schools receive is based on how current performance (status) compares to past performance (change). This will help provide a more complete picture of performance than a point-in-time snapshot, along with recognizing improvement as part of overall performance.
Performance levels are calculated using percentiles to create a “5 by 5” reference chart that combines status and change. Just as a report card enables students to figure out how they’re doing and how they need to improve, the Dashboard will provide us with information about areas for improvement and areas of excellence.
It is important to remember that the data shown is preliminary and won’t be fully complete for several years. For more information, visit the California Department of Education’s toolkit, which includes key points and a PowerPoint presentation.
Joy in Service
In the last three weeks, two people I did not know well, but who have close connections to those I care about, have passed away.
The first was one of my son’s friends, 16 year-old Daniel passed away in his sleep. What stood out to me about this young man was that he inspired others who knew him, and, as I listened to those who stood to speak about him at his Celebration of Life, I understood why. Daniel was one who put his whole self in all of his endeavors, he had no patience for the word “can’t,” and he took time to listen to others so that he might help them through their own struggles. Daniel was described as someone who lived his life with joy.
Coach Mike was the football coach at Kennedy High School for 46 years, and after retiring in 2010, he found himself back on the football field supporting our Milpitas High School team. While I was not able to attend his Celebration of Life, I was told by those who did, that the impact of his life on others was amazing. He was a person who built capacity in those he served, he was gregarious and quick to smile, and one person wrote that he made her feel she was important.
These two generous people had two things in common, joy and service to others. They valued life and the unique contributions that each of us can make in our community.
When he retired, Coach Mike told reporters: "‘When I get to the Pearly Gates, I don't think St. Peter is going to ask me how many games I've won,’ he said. ‘He's going to ask if I did anything for mankind.’" (SFGate.com)
Daniel’s mother read to us his beliefs essay that he had written earlier this year, and he wrote that he believed we come to know ourselves when we “find the beauty within” and live it each day.
While one was at the dawn and the other in the dusk of life, they modeled for us the importance of finding joy in serving others. That is what I love about my work in Milpitas. I have the opportunity to serve our MUSD community, to make a difference in the lives of our students and those who care for them. Thank you Coach Mike and Daniel for reminding us to be fully present in all that we do for one another; after all that is what matters most.