Campus Connections
November 3, 2017 
Volume 2, Issue 3
Cheryl Jordan
Superintendent's Message:  
When we think about the 22nd century, we think of Milpitas Unified

Betsy DeVos visits MUSD classroom
When the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, came to visit us here in Milpitas Unified, we gave ourselves an opportunity to share our mission and vision with the country. As Secretary DeVos walked in to Paul Ngo’s US History class, she heard this dynamic teacher engaging his students in an analysis of the “greatest breakup letter in history,” that is, the Declaration of Independence. As he concluded their discussion, he pulled from his pocket a wrinkled letter that he had read to the students earlier that week. He asked them if they remembered this letter, and the students chuckled, realizing it had the same elements as the Declaration of Independence. They were hooked and ready to dive in to the concepts and events leading to this amazing piece of living history. We left their room, and opened the next classroom door to find World History teacher Stephanie Woodhams, standing amidst a whirlwind of student activity. 

Ms. Woodhams met with students individually about their progress in mastering the content objectives for learning about Chinese Dynasties. Clusters of students worked together on projects within their Summit Personalized Learning Platform (PLP), while others worked independently on content areas going deeper or broader according to their needs assessment. As in Mr. Ngo’s class, the students worked as a community of learners, commenting on one another’s insights and work. As we departed from Ms. Woodhams’ class and headed towards Barbara Knitter’s AVID class, we learned from the Secretary’s staff that they had not visited a school like Russell Middle School, and they were impressed by both the instruction and overall sense of connection the staff and students shared with one another.

This cohesive student learning environment was evident, too, in Joyce Tang’s science class, where Secretary DeVos knelt down next to two students as they taught her about dragon DNA. Ms. Tang’s contagious energy was felt in the learning conversations the students had with one another. One student, who is a newcomer from Central America, was able to access the content through the Spanish translation of her PLP. As she conversed en Español with Assistant Superintendent Norma Rodriguez, she stated that she felt valued and included because she was able to understand the same concepts that her English-only peers were tackling alongside her. Personalizing learning is about being inclusive of each learner’s unique learning goals. 

Teaching the whole child, and being responsive to each student’s sense of well-being is integral in the fabric of Milpitas Unified; this is something that Secretary DeVos experienced throughout her visit. Perhaps one of the most connected moments that the Secretary seemed to have was when she was invited by two students to sit between them so that they could teach her how to draw a self-portrait using proportion and scale. The three of them spoke about the intricate details involved in drawing one’s facial features, and the inspiration that art stirs in us. The students listened intently to Secretary DeVos’ description of her friend, and how he was able to have a career based on his passion for art. Creativity in how we learn and teach is a cornerstone of personalized learning for students, and it is another aspect of who we are in Milpitas. 

Following classroom visits, Secretary DeVos was introduced to 25 of our staff and Board members ...

Milpitas Manufacturing Day makes high tech “real” for MUSD students
Just one day after Milpitas Unified School District made national headlines when U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos came calling, a group of students from Calaveras and Milpitas High Schools participated in an event that Milpitas Economic Development Director Edesa Bitbadal dubbed “The First Annual” Milpitas Manufacturing Day.

It was like three field trips in one, as 50 eager students boarded a bus to visit three Milpitas corporations that practice advanced manufacturing techniques right here in our own city.

Pictured above, the first stop on the tour was KLA-Tencor, the leading provider of process control and yield management solutions, where students gowned up from head to toe before entering the company’s clean room.

From there, students headed to Flex Manufacturing, where they learned about wearable technology, reliability testing, and additive manufacturing before grabbing lunch.

The tour concluded at Cordis, a firm that is part of Cardinal Health Company. They are the worldwide leader in the development and manufacturing of interventional vascular technology, with a more than 50-year history of delivering pioneering products to treat millions of patients.

“I didn’t expect to get so much from (the field trip),” said Maria Gonzalez, who is a sophomore at Milpitas High School. “But I learned how business helps with technology, and it was very helpful.”

“It was pretty cool,” agreed Milpitas High School junior Liberty Walker. “I liked the new inventions. I think it’s important for us students to realize what goes on in this world and in our own Silicon Valley because we’re not aware of that stuff.”

As the “icing on top” of a wonderful day, an ice cream truck showed up to deliver sundaes and hand-dipped cones to all the participants, courtesy of the City of Milpitas Office of Economic Development and their Director Edesa Bitbadal. Judging by the smiling faces—and the fact that Bitbadal was already referring to the event as “The First Annual” Milpitas Manufacturing Day—it was an event that we can look forward to again next year!

Bond measure weighed for school improvements
We have excellent schools in Milpitas, although our schools need to be upgraded to continue preparing students for college and future careers.  MUSD is considering the possibility of placing a measure on the June 2018 ballot that could provide locally-controlled funding to update infrastructure to support instructional technology and career technical education, expand and upgrade classrooms and science labs, relieve school overcrowding, improve security, lighting and energy efficiency systems, and ensure classrooms and facilities are accessible for students and teachers with disabilities. 

To relieve overcrowding and accommodate our growing student enrollment, the measure could provide additional classrooms at our high school and elementary schools. Milpitas High School was originally built for 1,800 students but current enrollment is 3,400 and growing. A measure could provide additional classrooms, labs and facilities to relieve overcrowding. In addition, a measure could expand the number of elementary classrooms at Mabel Mattos Elementary and Randall Elementary so more students can attend their own neighborhood school. 

Although no final decisions have been made, the measure would cost no more than $60 per $100,000 of assessed, not market, value. The District is seeking feedback from the community on priorities for upgrading and improving our schools. Your feedback is essential and will help shape a potential measure. For more information on this issue check out the  FAQ and mailer  on our website.
Community Recognition
SVCTE celebrates 100 years of service
by Doug Hughes

In 1917, the entity that is now known as Silicon Valley Career Technical Education was founded on the land where San Jose High School now sits. It was known then simply as “San Jose Technical High School,” and accepted only male students for its vocational courses in woodworking/pattern making, mechanical drawing, machine shop, shop math, and vocational English.

One hundred years later, the school has expanded not only in size, enrollment, and diversity of courses, but also in the size of the community it serves. Fittingly, a group of VIPs—including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and board members, superintendents, and alumni—gathered on Friday, Oct. 20 to celebrate the school’s centennial and recognize the impact it has had on the growth of Silicon Valley.

Dignitaries also included Don Rocha, Alex Lin, Lara McCabe, Kansen Chu, Ash Kalra, Allen Chiu, Jim Beall, Jennifer Johnson, and Christopher Moylan. Congressman Ro Khanna sent a videotaped message. The mayor provided SVCTE with a recognition from the city, in addition to a commendation from the County Supervisors.

Read more about the celebration, along with a brief summary of the school’s history and evolution in the story posted on the MetroED website .

For more photos of those in attendance, see the SVCTE Facebook page .
Nightmare on Puberty Street dramatizes teen angst
Nightmare on Puberty Street
Rancho Milpitas Middle School, which turns 50 years old this year, hosted a production of the play “Nightmare on Puberty Street” on Oct. 10, courtesy of Kaiser Permanente. The live theatrical performance depicted four young people on their journey through adolescence, and wrestling with the question, “Am I normal?” 

The play showed in an age-appropriate fashion how to cope with many of the issues of puberty, and where to find help. The performance was created in conjunction with physicians, teachers, licensed counselors, and parents. The performer/educators in the play receive extensive training from doctors and licensed counselors throughout the year, based on the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and health care providers. 

Spirits soar like a free bird at Burnett Elementary
Hawk release
by Doug Hughes

She has endured nearly ten months of intense rehab, but two weeks ago she was finally released. Known only as “Patient 16-5373,” she was lost and abandoned when Good Samaritans found her in a Milpitas landfill, where she lay immobile and severely burned—probably by a methane burner. 

“She” is a red-tailed hawk, and though her tail feathers were burned so badly she couldn’t fly, this “tale” has a happy ending.

After being admitted to Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley on December 29, 2016, the hawk has been nurtured back to health, and on Tuesday, Oct. 17, in front of the students at William Burnett Elementary School, was released to fly once again. The school was chosen because WCSV tries to place rehabbed critters back into the wild within three miles of where they were rescued.

Randall Elementary hosts Harvest Festival
Randall Elementary School sixth graders hosted their first Harvest Festival on Friday, Oct. 27 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Proceeds from the event will help pay for science camp for those students whose families helped with the event by setting up, running a booth or game, working the BBQ, selling tickets, cleaning up, or donating items. 
Upcoming Events
Project Cornerstone:
Free workshops for parents and caregivers
Project Cornerstone
The Milpitas Unified School District is offering a free series of parent meetings open to all parents and caregivers. Join Project Cornerstone’s six-week workshop, Take It Personally, which started Nov. 1 and continues each Wednesday through Dec. 13. All sessions will be held from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. at Russell Middle School in the Learning Center. 

You do not need to be a parent from Russell—just an adult who cares about all kids.

Join this parent/caregiver group to learn tips and tools to keep up with the fast-changing growth of our children, tweens, and teens. Explore new ways to build stronger kids, stronger families, and stronger neighborhoods.

Did you miss the first session on Nov. 1? No worries. You are welcome to come to all sessions, or just the one(s) that pique your interest! Here’s the full schedule:

  • Week 1 (Nov. 1): What are the eight keys to help young people succeed?
  • Week 2 (Nov. 8): Family communication. Tips for building responsibility and trust in our family.
  • Week 3 (Nov. 15): Safe boundaries. Tips for discipline that strengthens relationships.
  • [Note: there is no meeting on Nov. 22 due to Thanksgiving.]
  • Week 4 (Nov. 29): Shared beliefs. Passing along our values, like lifelong learning.
  • Week 5 (Dec. 6): Connecting with others. Ways our strong family builds confident kids.
  • Week 6 (Dec. 13): Bonding. Seizing opportunities to strengthen family relationships.
Title: Take It Personally
Dates: Wednesdays: Nov. 1, Nov. 8, Nov. 15, Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13
Time: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Place/Host: Russell Middle School (Learning Center)
Cost: Workshop paid for by District / Suggested donation for workbook & materials: $5.00
Free childcare and snacks will be provided.
Questions? Contact Kelly Noftz at

Spangler presents “Parent University”
Nov. 30 and Mar. 29
Parent University
Anthony Spangler Elementary School parents are invited to the school’s upcoming Parent University. This is an opportunity for parents and Caregivers to increase their knowledge and sharpen their skills. Because students are more successful when parents are engaged, we will offer free workshops on various educational topics throughout the school year so parents can become better equipped to support their child’s learning. Research indicates that when schools work together with families to support learning, students perform better in school and life. Parent University workshops for this school year are scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 30 and Thursday, Mar. 29 in the multi-use room at 5:45 p.m.
Rancho PTSA 5K Turkey Trot
Turkey Trot 5K Fun Run
Mark your calendar! On Saturday, Nov. 18 starting at 9:30 a.m., Rancho Milpitas Middle School is sponsoring a 5K Turkey Trot in the area surrounding the Rancho and Sinnott campuses. The registration fee of $5 per person or $15 per family is payable by cash or check made out to the Rancho PTSA, and given to the Rancho front office or to any Rancho PTSA officer. All money raised will go to cover field trips and other educational opportunities.
Budget Study meetings scheduled
Budget Meetings
On Monday, Oct. 16, MUSD held a Budget Study and Cost Savings Stakeholders Input meeting for MTA/CSEA/MMA leaders, that was open to all staff. We will have three other opportunities for staff to learn about our budget and provide input on potential cost savings measures, and you are most welcome to attend any of them:

Nov. 7 – 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. in the Board Room
Nov. 13 – 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. Burnett Learning Center
Dec. 13 – 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Community College Extension
Jan. 18 – 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. with PTA/SSC/CBAC/DELAC parents in the Board Room

We will take the ideas that emerge from these meetings and share them with all staff via Google Form for an opportunity to give input on prioritizing the suggestions.
A final recommendation based on all input will be brought to the Board in late January.