Volume 3, Issue 3 | March 2, 2018
If this email is clipped—or photos are not displayed—click the "View entire message" link at the bottom of the email. Campus Connections is the newsletter of the Milpitas Unified School District. If you have stories for our next issue, please send them to  Doug Hughes or Shannon Carr .
Superintendent's Message
Easing the transition so students can blossom
Cheryl Jordan
The early blossoms brightening the campuses of our schools indicate the transition from winter to spring is near. As a parent of a junior in high school, I am keenly aware of the swiftness of time. While my son is eager to establish his independence, I am not quite ready to refrain from periodic checks on his academic progress or asking him if he’s inquired about summer work and volunteer experiences. Just as we, as parents, look for opportunities to support our children as they transition from one stage of adolescent life to the next, we do the same for our students.

Last month, Milpitas High School welcomed all 738 of our Rancho and Russell eighth grade students to its first annual Middle School Transition Day. ( Watch a 9-second video to see how we greeted them! ) Each middle school student’s introduction to life as a Milpitas Trojan included a convening in the gym to learn about opportunities for learning, leading, and developing personal interests through club and academic experiences. The gathering was followed by a shadowing experience with an MHS student buddy for the morning.
Future Rancho and Russell middle school students have opportunities to hear about the camaraderie that is developed through learning in an interdisciplinary team with 160-170 peers who all share the same core teachers for the year. Sixth grade students will get to spend time on their future middle school campuses for part of the day this spring either in groups or as sixth grade class representatives. Within the first week of school, seventh grade students will enjoy team building activities through their interdisciplinary teams at Rancho and WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) Day at Russell. PTA and Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) representatives will welcome future Russell and Rancho parents along with their principals this spring.
Transitions into life after high school are essential, and at Cal Hills and MHS students have the opportunity to explore and learn about career options through classes at the Milpitas SJCC Extension and Silicon Valley Career Tech Education. Counselors and advisors work with students to support them in applications for college and financial aid. At Cal Hills, students learn communication and job readiness skills in their English IV classes. Students have the opportunity to learn about careers through mentors, career day, and guest engineers.

As we strive to meet our 2018-21 Strategic Plan Goals , we are creating more learning pathways and developmental support systems to ignite our students’ passion towards finding their future careers. Learning and growing are constant, and WE as an MUSD community will provide our children with the guidance they need to flourish.

Community Showcase spotlights MUSD’s ‘Culture of We’
by Maria Hartman-Hernandez

At the Community Showcase held at Curtner Elementary on Jan. 27, MUSD came together as a community to spotlight some of the amazing things happening throughout Milpitas public schools.

The booths on display comprised an alphabet soup of acronyms, such as:

  • Burnett and Rose's STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) programs
  • Pomeroy's PLP (personalized learning platform)
  • The SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language) program—taught in many of our K-6 schools
  • PLCs (Professional Learning Communities)—the structure used to support our teachers in their cycles of inquiry
  • CDC (Child Development Center) and other Pre-K programs

The Robotics team from Milpitas High School was out in full force with a functioning robot they had been working on. There was also a full range of representation from the district office and school sites including students, parents, teachers, and administrators. The efforts were coordinated by Associate Superintendent Norma Rodriguez. It was an amazing example of the “Culture of We " that Milpitas provides to our families.
Nurturing community while communing with nature
by Joyce Tang

On Feb. 12, over 170 Russell Middle School’s Team Determination students and staff spent the day in Alum Rock Park of San Jose for their first annual “Nature-Loving, Outdoor-Learning, Community-Serving Field Trip.”

San Jose Park Ranger Sergeant Huy Mac spent long hours coordinating with the city of San Jose and the California Native Plants Society, Santa Clara Chapter, to provide them with enough tools and supervising staff. There were hundreds of gloves and neon-yellow vests, along with wheelbarrows, action hoes, weeding hoes, pitchforks, and rakes for the students to use. The two choices of service projects included spreading 60 cubic yard of mulch for the playground and weeding out invasive plants such as milk thistle and poison hemlock at the summit of Todd Quick Trail.

Unplanned surprises included the chance to pet a gopher snake and see turkey vultures, deer, minnows, ladybugs, and a bobcat.

In this era of growing climate change, we must teach environmental literacy and encourage community stewardship through experiences like this. That’s what we’re doing at Russell. As we partner with local businesses in Silicon Valley that provide high-tech career paths to our students, we acknowledge our duty to protect and preserve the ecosystems, not only for ourselves but also for future generations.

MHS students study climate change
Climate change is a global problem that is changing the face of this planet. However, there are numerous misconceptions of what climate change is and what it looks like around the world. To address these concerns and give students an opportunity to see why climate change is a significant problem, three MHS Biology teachers (Jerell Maneja, Karen Truesdell, Rita Burmanroy) kicked off a major climate change project this week involving more than 325 Biology students.

In this project, students are forming ecotourism companies for over 80 different countries and territories around the globe, with the goal of preparing their research and a presentation about their company for an ecotourism conference on Tuesday, May 1 at Milpitas High School. However, the focus of this project is not merely to advertise their services, but rather to describe how climate change has directly impacted their country and their business. Students will analyze the consequences of climate change on biodiversity and society, and explore the different ways it affects different parts of the world. The ecotourism company student groups will be presenting their findings during the lunch period on the green to influence their peers to make changes in attitudes and behaviors. Later, they will deliver another presentation during the school day to students and teachers in the elementary and middle schools in order to share their message with a wider audience. If you are interested in attending this ecotourism conference, please contact Jerell Maneja .
News and Events
Spangler hoopsters “net” nearly $6K for charity

There was plenty of love in the air the Friday before Valentine’s Day at Spangler Elementary—and lots of basketballs, too! School families came together to raise $5,951 for the American Heart Association by participating in a schoolwide Hoops for Heart Day. The second annual event was coordinated by Katelin McClure and the Spangler Student Council in partnership with the charitable organization.

“We exceeded our fundraising goals and are so proud to say that we are living our PeaceBuilder’s pledge by helping others in their fight against heart disease and stroke,” says Spangler Elementary Principal Catherine Waslif.

Cal Hills kids get a taste of college

On Friday, Feb. 2, Calaveras Hills High School guidance counselor Diana Carty and math/engineering teacher Mrs. Sridaya Komar chaperoned a group of 19 Cal Hills students to visit Ohlone College’s Newark campus. The students met instructors from the Computer Science/Emerging Technology, Biotechnology, and Multimedia programs and paid a visit to the Nursing Program’s laboratory classroom.

The month of January was also a busy one at Cal Hills. Notable events include:
  • Their Community Celebration (pictured) where students and families were treated to a home-cooked style meal from the staff.
  • Their successful mid-term WASC visit, with Cal Hills passing the inspection of the visiting committee.
  • Formation of a Relay for Life team, in which two dozen students and staff plan to take part in a 24-hour relay next month to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.
  • Their engineering program that continues to grow, with a second section this school year for students interested in learning engineering basics, using the nationally recognized “Project Lead the Way” curriculum.
  • Their “Grad Lab” on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, where students can stay after school for tutoring in any subject and help with graduation requirements.
  • Their basketball team taking 4th place in the South Bay Athletic League.

Secret Agent Family Science Night

It was a night of exploration and wonder as the PTA hosted a secret-agent-themed family science night on Wednesday, Jan. 10. The PTA, in collaboration with the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, and with financial support from Kumon of Milpitas and local Realtor ® Debbie Rossetto—as well as with the help from 20 Milpitas High School and Saint Francis High School student volunteers—our Zanker students and families learned about 10 different science activities. These included DNA extraction, lifting finger prints, scent tracking, creating a spy glass, and deciphering codes. There were giveaways from the Children's Museum to all children in attendance.

— submitted by Trisha Lee
SVCTE hosts 2018 SkillsUSA Regional Leadership and Skills Competition

by Jason Sholl

Over 395 Career Technical Education high school students from across the Bay Area competed in various skills categories on Saturday, Feb. 17 in the SkillsUSA 2018 Regional Leadership and Skills Competition hosted by Silicon Valley Career Technical Education. Additional students performed leadership skills in front of judges.

Student competitions were held in Automotive Refinishing and Service Technology, Broadcast News Production, Carpentry, Commercial Baking, Culinary Arts, Dental Assisting, Firefighting, First-Aid CPR, Mobile Robotic Technology, Welding Fabrication, and many others. Leadership skills included customer service, job interviews, and prepared speeches.

Students who placed first in their respective skills category qualify to compete at the SkillsUSA California 51st Annual State Leadership and Skill Conference at the Ontario Convention Center on April 19-22, 2018.

SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. The nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive by serving more than 335,000 member students and instructors, covering 130 trades, technical and skilled service occupations—the majority STEM-related.

Upcoming Events
Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Tour

Do you want to prepare your child for a global future? Are you interested in an enriched learning environment that blends academics and cultural proficiency? Come join us at Randall Elementary School to learn about and see our Two-Way Bilingual Immersion/Dual language program in action from 8:15 - 9:30 a.m. on the following Thursdays: Mar. 1, 22, 29, Apr. 5, 12, 26, and May 3 and 10. Can’t make the morning dates? Then come to our Information Night on Mar. 8 at 6 p.m. in Room 206 of the District Office. For more info, call 408-635-2662.

Adult Ed offers Summer Enrichment, ESL classes

Milpitas Unified School District, in partnership with Milpitas Adult Education, announces “Summer Enrichment 2018,” open to all Bay Area students entering grades 1-8. Registration, which began Thursday, Mar. 1 is now open at adulted.musd.org

The program will offer multiple sessions, with the first starting June 18, to be held at Rose Elementary School, 250 Roswell Drive, Milpitas. See the flyer on MUSD’s Google Drive for more info.

Free ESL Classes
Also, for those who do not speak English fluently... Do you need a better job? Want more education? Want to help your kids with school work? Want to become an American citizen?

We offer six levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, serving adults who wish to make a successful transition into American society and develop the skills needed to reach their professional and personal goals. For more information, call 408-635-2692, Ext. 4555. The next ESL placement test is offered on Tuesday, Mar. 13.

— submitted by Giuliana Brahim
National School Breakfast Week, Mar. 5-9

Weller Elementary is partnering with MUSD Student Nutrition Services on Thursday, Mar. 8 and inviting school parents and grandparents to come and have breakfast with their students. They will have drawings for prizes for the students and drawings for free breakfast vouchers for the adults. Everyone is invited to attend—teachers, too! Weller is the first MUSD school to have this event!  See flyer on our Google Drive for the benefits of eating breakfast each day. 

— submitted by Alicia Padilla
Fourth Annual Celebrating Differences Day, Mar. 17

The Milpitas Executive Lions Club invites the MUSD community to collaborate with them on their Fourth Annual Celebrating Differences event in partnership with the City of Milpitas Recreation Department. This is a day for children and adults with differing abilities—and their families—and it will be held on Mar. 17 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Milpitas Community Center. The event provides a special day to enrich, entertain, and honor challenged children, adults, and their families for their courage, determination, and positive attitude about life. It will be a day of fun indoor/outdoor activities, games, and entertainment in an inclusive environment.

In addition to the activities and games, there will be a special performance by the Dream Achievers Band, composed of musicians with autism, as well as a free health screening in the Lions Mobile Health Van. Attendees can have their height, weight, blood pressure, resting respiratory rate, and glucose (blood) sugar measured in order to highlight risks for blindness or vision and hearing problems. No diagnostic procedures are performed, but you will leave with a record of the findings that you can bring to your doctors or health professionals.

MUSD | Phone: (408) 635-2600 | Website: http://www.musd.org