Campus Connections
March 17, 2017 
Volume 1, Issue 5

Superintendent's Message: Hall of Fame event honors public servitude

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!”

Cheryl Jordan
California School Dashboard launches
By Cheryl Jordan

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.

School Programming
Cal Hills' students engineer new possibilities for their future in FlexFactor program
By Shannon Carr
Board Support & Communications Specialist

Students at Calaveras Hills High School spent four-and-a-half weeks engineering endless possibilities for their future through FlexFactor, a four-week entrepreneurship program offered by  NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute. 

“NextFlex is in the business of facilitating and enabling the advanced manufacturing sector and one component of that is workforce development,” said Emily McGrath, Deputy Director for Workforce Development, Education, and Training with NextFlex. “So what we’re doing is looking at the advanced manufacturing sector and predicting what their workforce development needs are or what their workforce will be and creating a pipeline that will meet those needs, and that starts in high school. Exposing high school students to education and career pathways that they wouldn’t necessarily know about otherwise.”

The project -- offered to students in Sridaya Mandyam-Komar’s “Intro to Engineering” classes -- was done in collaboration with the  City of MilpitasEvergreen Valley College, and  Flex (previously Flextronics). 

"It has been an amazing experience for our students at Cal Hills,” Sridaya said. “We are a continuation school, an alternative school. Many times, our students are focused on recovering credits that they need and miss out on the extra opportunities."

Students kicked off their experience on February 9 with a tour of the manufacturing facility at Flex, where they had the opportunity to touch and feel the cutting edge, wearable, flexible electronic products. During the second half of the day, students received their project assignment at NextFlex. There, student teams brainstormed their ideas for a health monitoring product they were asked to develop and conceptualize in the weeks that followed. 

On February 15, the project took another momentous step, when the students experienced college. Evergreen Valley College was generous in opening their doors, having students receive a lecture and tour of the state-of-the-art automotive tech program and ​receive their first in a series of lectures from Cecil Lawson, who visited Cal Hills in the following weeks to teach them about Entrepreneurship.  Dean Lena Tran gave the students an informative presentation about financial aid and what the college offers. 

Students were also partnered with mentors from Flex as another layer of depth during the course of the project.  

Rose Elementary fourth graders
go 'Fishing in the City'
By Amanda Montoro
Fourth grade teacher at Alexander Rose Elementary School

Forty-three excited students experienced the great outdoors Saturday, March 4 when the Milpitas Rotary Club sponsored them for the 19th Annual Fishing in the City event.

Two fish were caught by patient fisherwomen: Viridiana Falcon and Grace Liu. The barbecue, enjoyed by all, assured that no one went home disappointed.

Special thanks to Officer Eric Emanuelle and Superintendent Cheryl Jordan for making this trip possible for our kiddos.

Board Recognitions
Weller volunteers to receive a Crystal Bowl Award from Junior League of San Jose
At its meeting on Tuesday, the Board recognized  Bob and Linda Gray, a “dynamic duo” of volunteers at Joseph Weller Elementary School, who will receive a Crystal Bowl Award during the Junior League of San Jose’s 48th annual volunteer recognition luncheon on April 28 in Santa Clara. They will be honored as one of 10 volunteers at the luncheon, for their service at Weller in addition to in the community at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Milpitas and the library.  

Kindergarten teacher Kindergarten teacher Susan Von Tersch nominated Bob and Linda. Susan alongside kindergarten teacher Kristi Hirano shared why the Grays have been wonderful volunteers since Linda began volunteering eight years ago.

“Mrs. Gray has not only been a grandmother to the children, but she has been a loving mother, she has been a teacher, she has helped, we’ve calculated, over 500 kindergarteners get ready for first grade,” Susan said. “She loves them, she is a joy. She gives them laughter, silliness. She has a loving heart and listening ears to those kinders who will say, ‘Mrs. Gray, a long time ago when I was four’, and she will listen with a beautiful, loving smile. She is present with them, and that’s a great volunteer, just being present… She has wiped many noses, she has tied many shoes, she has dried many tears, she has received many hugs.”

Mrs. Gray began volunteering at the school because she lived in the neighborhood, but her grandson lived in Nevada so she wanted to be around children who were her grandson’s age, and she also wanted to give back to her community.


Milpitas High School junior named Miss
Santa Clara's Outstanding Teen 2017
At its meeting on Tuesday, the Board recognized Milpitas High School junior Jennifer Smith. She was crowned Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen 2017 at the annual pageant held at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts on January 8.

She will go on this summer to participate in the California Outstanding Teen competition. At the Santa Clara event, Jennifer was selected out of a field of 10 pageant contestants to be named Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen. She also won the competition’s interview portion and the Miss Congeniality award. The contest consisted of a private interview with judges, physical fitness, talent, evening wear and on-stage question segments. The title of Miss Santa Clara goes to girls older than age 17, and Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen is for girls younger than 17.

Jennifer shared her thanks for being honored, and gave information about her personal platform during the pageant: blankets for the brave. “I make double layer hand tied blankets for those of all ages currently suffering with cancer, and I make them completely free of cost,” she said. “So I am definitely planning on continuing to promote what I do with this title.” 
Student Voices
Milpitas High School students, teachers
walk in Women's March
Editor's Note: This article was originally written for the campus newspaper, "The Union."  Editorial staff have submitted the article for use in this edition of the District newsletter.


By Harriet Do and
Katherine Hubeny

While many people spent January 21 taking the SATs, a number of Milpitas High School students and faculty participated in the San Jose Women’s March to support immigrants’ and women’s rights in light of the recent presidential inauguration. At the Women’s March, approximately 25,000 participants took part in the march and rally.

The Women’s March began with the master of ceremonies, who started a few chants at the city hall, according to junior Tsegenet Awoke. Participants then marched from the City Hall to the Cesar Chavez plaza, about a 0.7 mile walk, where there were multiple speakers, Awoke added.  

“The experience at the Women’s March in San Jose was generally positive,” Awoke said. “We were surrounded by a lot of women, and men too, who had a hope within them and wanted to fight for what they thought was right.”

Among the 25,000 people in attendance was also junior Yen-Vy Ngo, who decided to go because she wanted to march and celebrate the humans rights that everyone should continue to have, Ngo stated.   

“It was very uplifting to be surrounded by such a diverse group of people because there were over 25,000 people walking around,” Ngo said. “And you could see that everyone who was walking really cared and was really supportive.”

At the march, there was a variety of speakers who shared their own stories and conveyed their thoughts on current issues, Ngo explained. It was inspiring to hear the different stories, and how different experiences can bring the world together, Ngo added.   

From Behind the Dais: Hon Lien

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth article in an ongoing series about our dynamic and diverse Board of Education. The new feature is an opportunity to gain insight into their stories of success and the reasons they enjoy serving Milpitas Unified School District.


Hon Lien proudly describes her four-year appointment in late December as that of a “selfless public servant” for the Board of Education. 

“I have served as a trustee of Lincoln Law School for over seven years,” she explains. “I understand that the Board’s involvement and decisions greatly affect the success of a school.”

Because Hon knows first-hand her role has the opportunity to directly impact the work of MUSD teachers, principals, and, ultimately, students, she shares the need to approach her work through multiple perspectives. Meaning she not only taps into her experience as a trustee, but that of a mom and active community member.

“Having four children grow up and attend school at different levels helps me see the needs for our children and guides me to serve as a Board member,” she said.  “I also served as President of Milpitas Rotary Club. That led to my decision to serve on the Board of Education, where I can help with education and training for our younger generation to cope with the rapid changes in science, technology, and other fields.”

Hon has many goals in mind for her time on the Board. She hopes to help prepare students for advancement in society and careers, noting her passion to oversee the implementation of science and technology growth in curriculum across Milpitas. 

Read more >
Upcoming Events
On March 25Milpitas Unified School District will participate in the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) Teacher Recruitment Fair , an opportunity for those seeking positions as educators to meet with those who hire teachers in Santa Clara County. 

The need for qualified teachers is strong as a large number of teachers are at or near retirement age, and districts are working hard to replace them, according to the SCCOE. Past years have resulted in more than 300 open teaching positions each year.

This fair is designed for credentialed candidates, including those with a California preliminary or professional clear teaching credential; candidates with at least one year experience in a teaching intern program; those who will have a credential by this fall; and candidates who have a credential from outside California.