Campus Connections
April 28, 2017 
Volume 1, Issue 7

Superintendent's Message: Inspirational speaker emphasizes importance of uniting together to support all students

At the YMCA Project Cornerstone Assets Champions Awards Breakfast last month, I was privileged to be in the audience listening to Ruby Bridges Hall, one of the first African American students to integrate an all white New Orleans school by court order in 1960. Ms. Bridges is the young student we see depicted by Norman Rockwell in his famous 1963 painting of the historic day. I was in awe as I listened to this unassuming hero describe how her childhood naiveté and the gift of community propelled her through daunting experiences as she paved the way for integration and equity in education. Mentors, community, and giving were the three essentials Ms. Bridges described in how we can build a future with and for our children that is anchored in empathy and free of racism.  

“All of our babies come into the world with a clean heart.” They know nothing about race or prejudice Ms. Bridges pointed out, as she relayed the moment when she realized the impact of racism. She described the memory vividly, sharing that a little white boy in her class would no longer play with her and couldn’t come to her house after school because his parents told him he couldn’t as she was black and he was white. We teach our children to embrace the cultures and ethnicities of one another, or we don’t. Our actions inform them of what we value about others, such as the depth of the person and the beauty of one’s skin color, or the opportunities presented by one’s status in society. Giving to one another changes how we feel about others and ourselves; it builds community.  

The last two weeks in Milpitas Unified School District have been abundant with examples of giving:

I am filled with gratitude as I think about the love our Milpitas community models for our kids.These are the moments we must celebrate often. We must make a commitment to building a Culture of We. It isn’t just about working together, it is about caring for and ensuring that every one of our children and his/her parents feel welcome, connected, and cherished in our MUSD family.

To echo Ms. Bridges: “Racism has no place in [our children’s] hearts, because the truth is, they will need each other just as we need each other today.” Yes, our students need each one of us, they need us to stand up for them, by uniting ourselves in an effort to evolve ever stronger as the glorious tapestry of culture that is MUSD.

Amin Fazal sworn in as new Board Member
Amin Fazal was sworn in as the newest Trustee on Milpitas Unified School District's Board of Education during the April 18 meeting. Amin will serve out the remainder of Vice President Danny Lau's term on the board, which ends in 2018. 

During the March 28 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Cheryl Jordan shared that because the Board recently went through the process of filling a vacancy in January, legal counsel confirmed the viability of using the results from that same recruiting process based on Board Policy. Fazal scored second highest during the search. 

“On a personal note, Danny did have a say on who that person was,” she added.

For more information about Amin, read the Milpitas Post article.
Community Recognitions
District receives awards for supporting Seal of Biliteracy, 'My Name, My Identity' initiative 
MUSD was recognized at the National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month Showcase on Thursday ( April 27) evening  at the Santa Clara County Office of Education. 

Superintendent Cheryl Jordan accepted two awards on behalf of the District, one for MUSD's leadership for Pathways to Biliteracy and another for adopting the national "My Name, My Identity" initiative, focused on building a culture of respect. 
Milpitas Unified was also honored during the Region 5 National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month Showcase on Wednesday (April 26) at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center. Board President Daniel Bobay and Venus Cenizal, Coordinator of Learning and Development, accepted the award that afternoon in recognition of the District's leadership in promoting multilingualism by establishing a Seal of Biliteracy program. The event recognizes and showcases exemplary practices and programs that support the language and academic achievement of bilingual and multilingual learners in Dual Language Programs; Seal of Biliteracy and Pathway Awards; Achieving Language and Academic Success; Diversity and Global Education; and Parent and Community Engagement.
Hundreds of volunteers branch out to beautify Milpitas schools on Earth Day
Hundreds of volunteers spent their time throughout Milpitas and many of its school campuses to beautify the area on Earth Day, April 22. 

Among the activities were Milpitas Cares' projects, including one at Alexander Rose Elementary School. Principal Nanci Pass said their project, sponsored by Chris Community Church, brought in 20 people who focused on cleaning out the garden and preparing it for spring planting. Other tasks included counting out snacks for Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing, cleaning Chromebooks, and cleaning areas on campus.

Milpitas Cares' volunteers alongside students from Milpitas High School also spent their time at Joseph Weller Elementary School to clean up and organize recess and physical education equipment, according to Principal Alicia Padilla. 

At Milpitas High School, more than 370 volunteers participated in Comcast Cares Day, the company's annual day of service, when Comcast employees, families, and friends partner with local schools and organizations nationwide on projects that benefit the communities where they live and work. The event was held in partnership with Milpitas Cares. 

And Our City Forest, along with the support of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and California Releaf, planted 20 trees at John Sinnott Elementary School in addition to six trees and more than 30 shrubs at Rancho Milpitas Middle School, with lots of new mulch, according to Rancho Principal Casey McMurray. 

Weller students place in Sumo, Drag Racing categories during first Robotics Challenge
By Charlotte Torres
Administrative Secretary, Learning & Development

On April 8, students from Weller Elementary School participated in their first Robotics Challenge. Weller teachers Tien Mai and Noel Diep-Amin coached participating students once a week after school to prepare for this popular event. 

Students were given the opportunity to collaborate as a team and compete with other schools throughout the Evergreen School District using the Lego EV3 robotics platform. This year, the event was held at Katherine R. Smith Elementary in San Jose. The focus of the event was to make computer science and robotics accessible to as many students as possible.

"The kids had a great time showcasing their learning," teacher Noel Diep said. "Most of all, they showed amazing sportsmanship and support for one another." 

Parents and staff came to support the students who placed in some of the challenges. Adrian and Ian earned first place in the Sumo competition while Eason, Joseph, and Josephine came close in placing. In addition, Ethan, Jason, Elise, and Vanessa earned second place in the Drag Racing while Zachary and Matthew earned third place. 

Sinnott Elementary raises the roof on
Tiny Home project during ceremony
By Shannon Carr
Board Support & Communications Specialist 

Building a tiny home has been no small feat for the students and staff in six third, fifth, and sixth grade classrooms at John Sinnott Elementary School. After just two and a half months, the group has gone from breaking ground during a community celebration January 13 to bringing the walls and roof together of a 200 square foot tiny home during a three-hour “barn raising” on April 1.

“I get goosebumps every time I think about this,” Rita Maultsby, sixth-grade teacher and lead on the Project Based Learning, said during the ceremony this month.
That morning, students and teachers helped raise the walls and roof and put the finishing touches of the exterior on their tiny home alongside Blach Construction’s contractors, carpenters, and engineers in five different stations.

“I’m happy to see the school district investing in this project,” said Carolyn Bao, whose son Caden Le was a third grader working on the project. “It gives them real-life skills that will make a difference in their life. I told daddy that he’s going to be the right-hand man now.”

Fifth-grader Jacklyn Thi said she enjoyed working on the roof along with her mom, and shared her excitement in using a staple gun.

“I never knew how to use tools before this project,” she said, smiling with pride. Since starting, Thi now knows how to not only handle a staple gun, but also a nail gun, table saw, and other tools thanks to a visit to Blach Construction on March 13.

Spangler students put heart into fundraiser
Students from Spangler Elementary School put their heart into a good cause while jump roping and hula hooping March 31. That day, every student from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade rotated through heart-healthy activity stations for the school's Jump Rope for Heart event, coordinated by the school's student council alongside Assistant Principal Katelin McClure.

In the two weeks leading up to the event, held to teach students the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise, Spangler students raised a total of $4,740 in donations for the American Heart Association.

District leaders participate in Shadow
a Student Challenge
Administrators from Milpitas Unified School District were among more than 1,700 leaders  from 50 states and 56 countries who participated in the  Shadow a Student Challenge. Norma Rodriguez, Assistant Superintendent of Learning & Development; Trisha Lee, Principal of Zanker Elementary School; and Chin Song, Director of Technology, talk about what it was like to pack a backpack, throw on sneakers, and immerse themselves in a high school student’s life for a day. 

1. Why did you decide to participate, and what were your hopes for the challenge?
Norma: I decided to participate because I am intrigued by the data for African American students, specifically males, and wanted to know what is like for them to be at school. I wanted to really walk in their shoes for one day.

Trisha: I have worked as either a teacher or administrator in our Milpitas Unified School District elementary, middle, and high schools. My work has shifted with a focus on equity and I wanted to take this opportunity to return to the high school level to better understand the learner’s experience.  

Chin: As a former high school teacher, it was important for me to connect with students in this way rather than as a district person observing a classroom or supervising. My hope was to get a different perspective from the shoes of the student and to gain greater empathy.    

Burnett Principal dressed in 'Sundae' best
Principal Richard Julian was dressed in his "Sundae" best for the Bulldog Bash at Burnett Elementary School March 31, which included recognition for students of the month, perfect attendance, winners and nominees for the MUSD Latino Student Achievement Award Ceremony, and winners from the City of Milpitas' Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month Writing contest.

The cherry on top of the monthly celebration was when 36 students who sold five or more items during a recent PTA cookie dough fundraiser were called to stand in front of their schoolmates to turn Principal Julian -- dressed in a full-length white protective suit, with cotton balls in his ears for protection -- into an ice cream sundae by dousing him with toppings including whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, marshmallows, gummy bears, and more.

More photos >

Board Recognitions
Randall teachers nominated as "Adult Role Model" for 2017 Asset Champions Awards
During its April 18 meeting, the Board recognized Randall teachers  Krista Davis and Elizabeth Pitts (front row with flowers, from left). They were both nominated for the "Adult Role Model" Award as part of the 2017 Asset Champions Awards through the YMCA's Project Cornerstone.

As nominees, they were invited to the 2017 Asset Champions Awards Breakfast, held on March 24. The awards honor individuals and organizations whose ongoing commitment to building positive relationships with young people helps make Silicon Valley a better place for young people to live and grow. 
MUSD honors 2017 Volunteers of the Year

On April 18, Superintendent Cheryl Jordan and Board Members honored this year’s Volunteers of the Year from each of the school sites. After each volunteer’s name was called, the Principal or a leader from that respective school shared a few remarks  about that person and why they were chosen to be recognized. This year's honorees included:

• Burnett Elementary School: Barbara Coats

• Curtner Elementary School: Caroline Younan

• Pomeroy Elementary School: Sharon Smith

• Randall Elementary School: Dennise Ponce

• Rose Elementary School: Valerie Negrito

• Sinnott Elementary School: Marlee McInnis

• Spangler Elementary School: Silvia Dias

Weller Elementary School: Claudia Navarrete

Zanker Elementary School: Shameran Kanoon (First picture, above)

Rancho Milpitas Middle School: Maria Vazquez

Thomas Russell Middle School: Martha Taylor

Milpitas High School: Rosana Cacao

Calaveras Hills High School: Ann Houghton (Second picture, above)

Adult Education: Quan Vu

More pictures > 

Upcoming Events
Milpitas Public Library will host the workshop " Mindfulness: What is it and how does it impact student learning?" 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 9 on site at 160 N. Main Street in Milpitas. Attendees will learn the difference between stress and trauma; understand how toxic stress impacts the brain; and practice calming mindfulness techniques.
The Santa Clara County Office of Education has launched a Curriculum and Instruction Professional Development Portal, with information about upcoming workshops divided by the following categories: Career Technical Education, Curriculum and Instruction, English Language Arts, History, Learning Multimedia Center, Mathematics, Multilingual Education Services, Science, STEAM, and Visual and Performing Arts. Visit the page to view related professional development training and resources.