Campus Connections
June 9, 2017 
Volume 1, Issue 10

Superintendent's Message: MUSD celebrates successful year of community partnerships, academic achievements

 The last week of school is filled with elation and a sense of accomplishment marked by awards, promotion ceremonies, and class celebrations.  As our high school and adult school students crossed the graduation stage to receive their diplomas, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy watching the glow in their smiles and the pride in their steps. Their families and friends held larger than life photos, flowers, and signs in their outstretched hands. The community gathered together in celebration, and to affirm that our students had realized their goals and are poised to set out on the next path of their life journeys. Community is essential in our ability to provide our students with opportunities and experiences that will challenge them to learn and explore the many facets of their potential that will bring each one to this right of passage and beyond.  

Together we set the foundation for personalized learning through multiple pathways; the  tiny home at Sinnott Elementary School is one example. While our students were able to build a tiny home with the support of staff, volunteers, parents, and corporate sponsors, they learned much more than simply building a house. This year-long project encompassed authentic learning experiences that integrated math, science, language, and social studies. Each student owned his/her learning path and worked in partnership with teachers, support staff, and peers. The Sinnott teachers provided students with the opportunity to gain confidence as both independent and collaborative learners. Project based learning (PBL) is one opportunity for personalization and is evident in learning from first grade through our adult school in MUSD. In our classrooms at Elmwood, our learners experienced PBL that culminated in the Women’s Peace Garden. As with the tiny home project, this too encompassed aspects of learning that required inquiry, collaboration, and partnership with community. 

This inaugural year of our Multilingual Celebration was also a first for dual immersion at Randall, language ambassadors throughout all schools, and the Promise Project, which partners adult school learners with elementary language learners. MUSD is now a  Seal of Biliteracy district, providing our students with credentials that celebrate and recognize their ability to effectively communicate in both English and their languages of origin. Through the  Sobrato Early Academic Language model, our teachers, like those at Spangler Elementary School, have enhanced language development for all learners. At Milpitas High School (MHS), our world language teachers provide our students with opportunities to learn Romantic and Asian languages facilitated by collaborative technologies. Rancho Milpitas Middle School was awarded a  National Schools to Watch designation for its English learner program, which contributed to the doubled increase in the numbers of second language students who become fluent English speakers. And MUSD was selected by the Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) as one of 20  public school districts in California to receive the title of  2016 Honor Roll School District.

MUSD partners with City of Milpitas
for Summer Meal Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Seamless Summer Feeding Option (SSFO) Meal Program can help feed your children healthy meals, at no charge, during the summer. This program will serve all children through age eighteen. No application or registration is required but all meals must be consumed on site. Children will receive a complete, wholesome meal, while parents receive help stretching their food dollars.

The District's Student Nutrition Services Department will operate three Seamless Summer sites during the following days and hours:

  • Robert Randall Elementary School (1300 Edsel Drive):June 5-July 21 (Monday-Friday) from 11-11:30 a.m.

  • Alexander Rose Elementary School (250 Roswell Drive): June 5-June 16 (Monday-Friday) from 10:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

  • Calaveras Hills High School (1335 E. Calaveras Blvd): June 12-July 21 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    *Closed on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

For more information, call (408) 635-2894.

Read more >

Community Recognition
Milpitas Unified among 20 recognized
as 2016 Honor Roll School District
Milpitas Unified School District has been selected by the Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) as one of 20  public school districts in California  to receive the title of 2016 Honor Roll School District.
The Honor Roll is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and highlight successful practices that improve outcomes for students. School districts receiving this distinction have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time, and reduction in achievement gaps among student populations. The Honor Roll recognition also includes measures of college readiness.

“We are proud to recognize those schools and school districts who are succeeding in putting their students on a path of productivity that not only leads to success in the classroom, but also prepares them to contribute to and benefit from a more productive economy,” said Greg Jones, ERP and CBEE Board Chairman. “Leadership from both education and the business community is critical to linking success from one system to the next, and ensuring that students have the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve a college degree and the financial security of a living wage job.”

MHS Baseball Coach Jesus "Chuy" Zamudio selected as CCS Honor Coach in Baseball
Milpitas High School Varsity Baseball Coach Jesus "Chuy" Zamudio was selected as this year's Central Coast Section (CCS) Honor Coach in Baseball. Zamudio joins a list of distinguished MHS coaches who have received this honor. He was recognized with an award at the CCS Baseball Championships on May 27 at San Jose Municipal Stadium.

To be selected as a CCS Honor Coach, you must have the following criteria:
  • Maintenance of professional standards of conduct.
  • General service to the respective sport.
  • Outstanding coaching accomplishments (not necessarily focused on win/loss record or championship titles).
  • Additional contributions to school and community.
  • Be a role model and inspiration/motivation to athletes, coaches, fellow teachers, administrators, parents, public.

Adult Education students share their journey of transformation during graduation ceremony
By Shannon Carr
Board Support & Communications Specialist

Graduates from the Milpitas Adult Education program proudly moved their tassels from the right to left side of their cap after they were announced as the Class of 2017 on May 31, a seconds-long motion that captured what for some seemed an almost insurmountable goal after years of struggle.

“Adult education is about transformation and lifelong learning,” Giuliana Brahim, Assistant Principal of Milpitas Adult Education, said in welcoming attendees to the ceremony. “Everyone does not follow a straight path, a traditional educational path. For many, life circumstances, peer pressure, and other choices get in the way of completing school. Some immigrant adults have faced other challenges that get in the way of their education. But that need not be the end. Adult education provides people opportunity to complete that education and keep on learning. Today, you have seized this opportunity. Congratulations.”

Approximately 16 students participated in the cap-and-gown ceremony that evening in the Milpitas High School theater. There were close to 100 students total who completed secondary graduation requirements from the Milpitas program -- which includes a site at the District Office and classes at Elmwood Correctional Facility -- either by receiving their high school diploma through 190 credit hours of academic study in the independent study program or successfully passing the General Education Development (GED) test or High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). 

“We recognize our social responsibility to embrace adult education for all that wish to improve and enrich their lives,” Board President Daniel Bobay said during his commencement speech. “Adult Education is our duty and responsibility, and the fruits of that labor sits over here today and those we celebrate who are absent. You have graduated this level, and I encourage you to continue your education, keep learning new things. Go and earn your AA degree, your bachelor’s degree, even your master’s degree, or your doctorate.”

Dennise Ponce from the GED Program; Angelika Regine Sanchez from the Independent Studies program; and Mackey Phillips from the HiSET program were among this year’s graduating class. They each shared their personal stories of struggle and the dreams and people that helped them overcome difficult obstacles in order to reach such an important next step in their life. 

For Phillips, it was teachers Denise Hollabaugh and Joseph Baiza, who “refused to give up on me” even though he had difficulty in class, noting not being in school since 1985. 

Read more >
BAPS Charities walkathon raises money
for MUSD, Nature Conservancy
This year, BAPS Charities Walk Green 2017 attracted more than 700 participants on May 27 to walk and raise awareness about BAPS Charities and its many community activities.

This year's walkathon at Ed Levin Park benefit Milpitas Unified School District, and also built off an existing relationship with The Nature Conservancy. Participants of all ages came out and supported the Nature Conservancy and its Plant a Billion Trees campaign. The Nature Conservancy’s efforts focus on protecting habitats and preserving biodiversity across the world. Its current campaign aims to plant one billion trees by 2025 to which BAPS Charities contributed $100,000 to plant 70,000 trees in 2016. In addition to targeted conservation efforts, The Nature Conservancy also invests in research related to conservation and climate change to drive international efforts.

More pictures >

MUSD celebrates its 'Everyday Heroes' during Classified School Employee Week
By Shannon Carr
Board Support & Communications Specialist

Superintendent Cheryl Jordan, Board Members, Principals, and managers throughout Milpitas Unified celebrated the contributions that classified school employees provide every day to ensure the quality education of more than 10,000 students throughout the school district.

The recognition began with a  resolution, adopted by the Board of Education during its meeting on May 9, declaring the week of May 21-27, 2017 as Classified School Employee Week in Milpitas Unified School District.

“The classified school employees of (the District) provide efficient and effective support and ancillary services that are essential ingredients to excellent teaching, sound administration, and high student achievement,” the resolution states. 

To wrap up the weeklong celebration, 14 administrators were matched with a classified employee who they shadowed for two hours on May 26 at various school sites and departments during Appreciating Classified Employees (ACE) Day. 
That morning, Board President Daniel Bobay joined Latino Liaison Norma Morales (pictured left) in visiting the homes of families from throughout the district and giving students awards while Wendy Zhang, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, was raking leaves and helping clean the grounds of Milpitas High School alongside Steve Gomes (pictured above); Venus Cenizal, Coordinator of Learning and Development, donned a lunch lady hairnet to join Peter Neddersen in Student Nutrition Services’ Central Kitchen; and Spangler Assistant Principal Katelin McClure paired with locksmith Cindy Winborn, among others.

“This is a great way to end the week that is set aside to appreciate the work that classified employees do throughout the year, 24 hours a day,” Machelle Kessinger, president of Classified School Employees Association Chapter 281, said during an end-of-day taco fiesta. During the event, employees came together to hear what it was like for participants to step into the shoes of classified employees, if even for just a brief time. 

Dr. Sheila Murphy-Brewer, Executive Director of Human Relations, shared out her experience joining Dispatcher/Bus Driver Russ Huber 6:30 a.m. at the bus depot to get a start on that morning’s routine with the daily safety check followed by that day’s route.

Read more >

Milpitas Elementary Band earns first place 
in 'Music in the Parks' competition

Last month, the Milpitas Elementary Honor Band, led by  Joe Santomieri,  earned first place in the three-day "Music in the Parks" competition, beating all middle and high school bands from Northern California. The final day of the competition was held May 20 in the Milpitas High School theater.  Honor band students were selected out of all Milpitas School District Bands and were required to practice extra, on top of regular band practice.

Following the competition,  Santomieri emailed audio files of   the adjudicators' comments to the students.

"I'm very impressed. I teach middle school, and you would have been one of the bands at my school," said Bob Athayde, a teacher at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, California. "I wouldn't normally go up to the stage, but I must say that was a superior performance. ... There were so many good elements going on. Every time a theme entered, I could hear that new theme and the other theme got out of the way. When you repeated a section, you played it softer. That's superior musicianship on the part of your teacher. Boy I just hope you keep playing because you're going to do nothing but keep getting better and better and better. Wow. You knocked my socks off."
Santomieri entered the band to give the students  experience competing, and told them not to expect to win. After the competition,  Lillie Czarnota, a Curtner student and member of the band, made fliers asking all sixth graders in band at the school to donate $10 each as a sign of their appreciation to the teacher. They presented him with a $100 gift card on May 26.

"I want to thank you for an extremely successful inaugural season,"  Santomieri wrote in an email to the students following the event. " Everyone was very dedicated and worked diligently to do the very best of their musical ability. Our musical growth was very evident at our district music festival, our end of the year concert, and of course our competition last Saturday. It was an honor for me to work with such eager and talented young musicians."

Weller Elementary showcases richness of
its community during multicultural event
By Claudia Navarette
Weller PTA President

Every year Weller Elementary School tries to add a new element to our multicultural event in effort to spotlight and showcase the richness of our wonderfully diverse community.

This year's showcase on May 19 started with performances from our very own Weller Elementary students, educators, and Milpitas High School Latino Student Union. Part of the success of our event is the variety of performers entertaining the crowd and teaching them about the multiple cultures at our school. Our performances included Tahitian dance, Bollywood, a poem reading in the Telugu language, a brief history lesson on Mariachi songs, and a beautifully sung ballad and a Ballet Folklorico.

Following the performances, we encouraged all our performers and students wearing cultural clothing to participate in our fashion show. We then gathered all our families for crafts and food! Our families brought their favorite cultural dishes to share for our potluck while enjoying three different craft tables where children made beaded African necklace, maracas and dream catcher necklaces. 
Educators celebrate completion of
the new Teacher Induction Program
Milpitas Unified School District leaders celebrated the turning over of a new leaf for 18 teachers during a celebration closing out the successful completion of their participation in the new Teacher Induction Program on May 8. The goal of the new program is to provide new teachers with a rewarding experience that builds professional skills, fosters lifelong peer relationships, and establishes positive instructional practices that will impact the lives of all students and their families. 

"Back when we started two years ago, I remember I gave someone a compass," Norma Rodriguez, Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Development, recalled during the ceremony. "When you take on this position as a teacher, you take on a journey. You don’t know where that is going to lead you, but the compass will always point to your true north. And your true north is what you are all about. "

She continued: "I want to thank you for embarking on this journey with us, and we will never arrive. Know that we will always be striving to get there and get there, but with this mindset that we’re always learning and we’re always improving." 

Participants of the two-year program receive new teacher orientation; dedicated mentor teachers matched by grade and subject; on-site support; robust mentoring system aligned to induction standards; multi-level support and individual reflective assessment; professional growth units through University of the Pacific; professional learning community, online and districtwide training options; and online support and an efolio. 

Upcoming Events
With the passing of Measure E in 2012, the community support enabled MUSD to create a learning center at every school in which the physical environment is inviting, flexible, and inspiring. The funds from Measure E provided our students with school improvements and enabled us to address many projects in need of repair or renovation. Additionally, Measure E allowed us to secure land and build Phase I of our 10th elementary school, Mabel Mattos Elementary, scheduled for opening the fall of 2018. View our  public service announcement at this link  for an overview of all the work we completed with Bond 2012 funding.

There are many areas of need for the future, and additional infrastructure improvements must be made to maintain our capacity for growth. Join District leaders for a Town Hall meeting from on  Wednesday, August 9 from  6:30-8 p.m.  at the  Milpitas San Jose Evergreen Community College Extension at Ben Gross Education Park, 1450 Escuela Parkway, to discuss future facilities plans.

We are also reaching out to staff, parents, and the community (we have developed a separate survey specific to students) through a survey. Your input will help inform our facilities planning for future repairs, remodeling, and school buildings. Please access the  survey by clicking here , and be sure to complete by June 30. 

From 2002-2011, the California Alliance of African American Educators (CAAAE) offered summer institutes at Stanford University and University of California at Los Angeles featuring some of the nation's best and brightest education researchers and practitioners.

The 12th Summer Institute, taking place June 12-13 at the Center for Educational Research at Stanford University (CERAS), will further that tradition with educators who will share critical knowledge and strategic resources that focus on all aspects of the Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) with an emphasis on reducing suspensions and expulsions of African American students, improving school culture and climate, and enhancing parent engagement. 

For more information, click on the flier or visit the website.

Santa Clara Adult Education in collaboration with Mission College has announced the continuation of Early Childhood Education classes. The next scheduled class is "ESL 950EC: ESL for  Child  Development: Intro" (description below). The class, taught by Marina Broeder, is scheduled 7-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from  June 20-July 28 in Room L2 at the Santa Clara Adult Center on Benton Street.  PLEASE NOTE: This is an ESL credit class, but it does not count for the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Permit. The purpose of this class is to  prepare ESL students to enter the ECE pathway

This intermediate course develops oral and written English language skills necessary to communicate about a child’s development. Students practice skills to introduce, objectively describe, and reflect on children, their actions, and their interests. ESL 950EC focuses on language skills for communicating about children and their development

For more information, read the flier. Contact the Welcome Center at (408) 855-5083 to ask about registration. To ask about classes, call (408) 855-5317 or email juliane.rosner@wvm.ed

Join Milpitas Unified School District during the Santa Clara County Office of Education's third Step into Teaching: Opportunities in Silicon Valley Public Schools Event to help you learn and prepare for the joys of a teaching career. The event, taking place 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, June 24, will help attendees navigate the credentialing process, opportunities with potential employers, compensation, and retirement. You will also have the opportunity to interact with classroom educators and experts about the rewards and challenges of a career in the classroom. Registration is required. For more information or to register, visit the website.

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. 
The educational landscape is constantly changing around us in the blink of an eye. From student demographics to teaching techniques, increases in the use of technology, school culture, and local industry, Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) is ever-evolving in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Join approximately 100 participants -- ranging from city leaders, students, community members, businesses, and regional Fortune 1000 corporations -- in a discussion about how to embrace these changes and break through the traditional school climate to better the lives of  every student we serve during MUSD's "State of the Art with Heart" Visioning Workshop from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Monday, August 7 in the Community Room at the Milpitas San Jose Evergreen Community College Extension at Ben Gross Education Park, located at 1450 Escuela Parkway in Milpitas. 

Together, we can ensure our educational system embraces its responsibility to our youth, city, and future community of Silicon Valley.

Please email Lori Porter at if you are interested in attending.

Community Notices
NOROVIRUS GUIDELINES: Recently there has been an increase in norovirus and other viral gastrointestinal (GI) outbreaks throughout the state. The Milpitas Unified School District would like to remind our readers not to go to work or school if you or your children are feeling nauseous or have stomach cramps. Norovirus is a highly contagious virus and the leading cause of diarrhea and vomiting (commonly called the "stomach flu") in the United States. Anyone can get infected with this virus and get sick. Some people who are infected with the virus do not have any symptoms at all. For most people who get ill, the symptoms are minor, lasting only a few days. To learn more about norovirus, visit the Santa Clara County Public Health webpage or click on the flier
BART PUBLIC SAFETY NOTICE: Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is nearing completion on the southernmost BART stations, and has begun testing the rails in Milpitas and San Jose. The testing requires VTA to energize (power on) the rail. Touching the track way or third rail may result in death by electrocution. Unlawful entry into the fenced-in BART trail way area may result in prosecution. For more information, click on the public safety notice.
The Santa Clara County Safe Drug Disposal Program, operated by MED-Project, provides residents a safe method for disposing of unwanted or expired medications. The organization will add locations to their website where medications can be dropped off or envelopes picked up in Santa Clara County as they ramp up operations. In the meantime, visit for more information.