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October 4, 2019
SUSD Books of the Month
Children's book:
One Drop of Kindness by Jeff Kubiak
Kindness...for some, it comes so easy, but for others, it can be a struggle. The answer often lies in a person’s story. Meet Gus, a one-time orphan who goes through life thinking that hurtful words and actions are the only way to behave and communicate with others. Interestingly, Gus lives in a town that holds a mysterious secret which finally gets unlocked by something that was hidden away. By unlocking this secret, you too can join the ripple effect of kindness that Gus, along with his school and town, is experiencing with the rest of the world!
Intermediate grades:
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico. She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.
Middle/High School:
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?
Applications for FREE Cash for College and Career School Are Now Open
Seniors and parents of High School Seniors: The 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) forms opened on October 1.

To kick off the financial aid season, representatives from the California Student Aid Commission joined SUSD Superintendent John Deasy, Mayor Michael Tubbs, representatives from Ed Trust, local and state politicians, SUSD alumni and the Stagg High School senior class for an energy-packed rally. After being greeted by the pep band and cheerleaders, students were told about the importance of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and California Dream Act Application (CADAA) forms.

“In 2017-18, California invested more than $82 million in Cal Grant financial aid awards to students in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet, fewer than half of eligible students applied," said Marlene Garcia, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission. "We also want all of our California Dream Act students to know that their personal information is protected; we encourage you to submit your Dream Act application.”

The Stagg High Senior Class of 2019 increased their FAFSA/CADAA submission rate significantly last year. This year, both Superintendent Deasy and Mayor Tubbs challenged the Stagg Class of 2020 to have the highest completion rate in the entire district. Their reward? A pizza party with Mayor Tubbs and another pizza party (20 days from graduation) from Superintendent Deasy!

The priority deadline to complete your FAFSA/CADAA forms for financial aid is March 2, 2020. The FAFSA can be submitted online at fafsa.gov or through the myStudentAid mobile app; the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) can be completed at dream.csac.ca.gov.

High School Counselors are able to assist students and their families with completing their FAFSA/CADAA applications. Students and families are also encouraged to attend one of the many free "Cash for College" events; click here to view dates.

SUSD Begins 25 Books in 25 Weeks Reading Challenge
Our district launched the 25 Books in 25 Weeks Reading Challenge! Our hope is that all students preschool-12th grade will create a personal goal of reading 25 books in 25 weeks.

Students who complete the challenge will earn:
  • A certificate & goodie book bag
  • Entry into a drawing for additional prizes
  • Each class with 100% completion gets a new library
Don't forget to use the hashtag #SUSDStories
Every Day Counts Attendance Challenge
We are proud to announce that this year we had 100 percent of our elementary schools participate in The Everyday Counts Beyond Our Gates Attendance Challenge. The University of the Pacific and several community partners challenge our students to build a habit of good attendance, starting with the month of September. Students with perfect attendance for the whole month will earn small tokens including bookmarks, athletic tickets, Pacific wristbands, and will be entered to win a Kindle Fire tablet! Attendance is important all year long. Here are a few tips to help students get to school on time every day.

  • Make attendance a priority by giving your children regular bedtimes. For older children make sure they understand the connection between school success and chronic absenteeism. Schools can also engage students with rewards, contests, etc.
  • Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.
  • Check on your child's attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.

According to Attendance Counts, “Absences add up! Missing just 2 days a month means a child misses 10% of the school year”.
Father Engagement in Education
Article by Charles Watkins, Parent Liaison in the SUSD Family Engagement & Education Office (FEEO)
SUSD has had the pleasure of creating meaningful 2-way communication and relationships with fathers to support our students in becoming college, career, and community ready. Offering non-traditional activities or events for fathers and their students to participate in draws more families and gives them the opportunity to connect and engage in unique ways. We must turn all of our fathers in the district into stakeholders in their child(ren)’s education.

  • Engaged fathers will have the opportunity to take on active roles in their student’s education while building relationships with the child, school, and community. These relationships will build confidence in both the child and father when approaching the school for assistance, resources, or resolutions to conflicts that may arise. Once the father has built a trusting, meaningful relationship with the school-site they will be more willing to be engaged on site and become a stakeholder in their child’s education. 
  • The students of engaged fathers benefit from the relationship building and strengthening that comes from spending time together. Families who have strong bonds come together in difficult times and know that they can depend and trust one another. Students also benefit from the relationship that the father is building with the school. Once the father has built a trusting relationship with the school and teacher, then communication can flow freely between the school and the home consistently in a respectful manner.
  • Students benefit from having a consistent, trusting flow of communication to and from home and school. With the flow of communication comes assistance in the classroom, volunteer opportunities, conflict resolution, beneficial school-climate change, and other positive benefits. Once the father trusts that the school has their child’s best interests at heart they will be more willing to approach and engage the school.

When engaging fathers we have to be inventive and creative in order to bring them to the school. Building trusting relationships with the families and the students is the most important part and must be consistently practiced in order to see results. When approaching activities for fathers and their students, utilizing the interests of the student and building something slightly unconventional or non-traditional will create a more engaging event. As previously mentioned, STEM and Arts-based activities naturally draw in students. Shaping it in a way that is fun and extremely interactive will help incorporate the student and their family. In some activities the parents can play an active role or a guiding role but the participation of the father is key.

Do the events at your school-site fall in the traditional or non-traditional category? What have you done so far this year to specifically target/draw-in fathers to your school? Are there any events you have already worked on that can be adapted to focus on the target subgroup?
Becoming a Volunteer in SUSD
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, you will need to visit the "Be A Mentor" website at  beamentor.org/stockton . On the website, you will need to enter your personal information and select the school site(s) and/or program(s) you would like to volunteer with. Your information will then be forwarded to the selected school(s)/program(s). 

The "Be A Mentor" coordinator from the site/program will review and approve your application to volunteer. Once you are approved by the site/program, you will be referred to the SUSD Police Department for a background check, ID badge, and possible fingerprinting (depending on the volunteer position).
School to Home Two-Way Communication 
Article by Dara Dalmau, Administrator of the SUSD Family Engagement & Education Office (FEEO)
Recently, we offered a professional development to our district parent liaisons and community assists. We shared the many activities surrounding parent engagement and education being conducted at our sites. From Community Resource Fairs to Family Reading Nights, our staff and families have been consistently practicing engagement. The topic of two-way communication between school and home came to fruition. Through collective team communication, we realized some of the conventional methods we use have been overlooked from time to time. Here are some ideas when considering the multifaceted ways to communicate effectively with the adults and children we serve.

  1. Always carry your business cards and have any fliers for upcoming events readily available.
  2. Give out your office phone number, perhaps, cell phone, web-page link, or email. Make it a point to call parents back no matter what. I once worked for a school district with a policy of returning parent calls within a 24 hour window. After calling, always document or log the call in Synergy. Remember to add notes to your log. You’d be surprised how handy these notes come in when you need to recall important facts.
  3. Parents usually expect school staff to call with complaints about their children. Go the extra mile and randomly select 5 parents to call daily, okay maybe weekly “just because.” Introduce yourself, and engage in conversation. Yes! Engage in conversation. Keep your conversation light and positive. Parents always appreciate others taking time out of their busy schedules to greet them. If you can, follow up with these parents later on to make sure their requests, needs, or issues have been fully addressed.
  4. No one answered… No problema…. Leave them a message. Make it funny and remind them you’re just reaching out to tell them how much you appreciate them, their children, and their family.
  5. If you don’t have pleasant news to share, say it diplomatically, and nicely. State the facts, and ask for their thoughts. When parents notice we’re here to work as partners, they tend to want to work alongside us. Be mindful that when parents try to contact the teacher, principal, or any other educational professional at the school, they appreciate people who understand, advocate, question, or even challenge what is currently happening with their child.
  6. Always keep your conversation private. Students do not need to know the details. In fact, children don’t even need to know you have called, emailed, or been in touch with mom and dad. Let the parent talk to their child about the details. Limit the use of threats, “If you don’t behave, I’ll call your mom.” You can embarrass, humiliate, or attempt to put fear in the student, but it won’t necessarily work. Instead, make the call and provide your concerns directly to the parent.
  7. If a child has an IEP, you need to know it, adhere to it, and respect the parent who contacts you to ensure that this happens. It is NOT optional. It is your legal obligation as an educator not only to implement all programming for your student in light of the IEP but to also monitor progress and adjust in consultation with the parent to ensure the best possible program for that student.

In conclusion, we as a district will continue to offer big events that engage our parents and school communities. However, it’s the smaller details most times that prove to be most impactful. While Family Nights and Fairs bring in the crowds, parents really do appreciate the personal phone calls and emails. So, keep up those two-way communications as you make a profound impact on building relationships, trust, and partnership with parents in support of their children’s learning and well-being.
Upcoming Events
Click event for more information
Photo Galleries
Stagg High School Parade

Stagg High School closed down the Miracle Mile for their annual homecoming parade! Thank you to the community members who lined the streets to watch our student floats and performances!

Edison High School Hosts Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Fair

Thousands of high school students within SUSD and surrounding school districts attended the annual HBCU Fair at Edison High School.

Montezuma Anti-Tobacco and Anti-Vaping Presentation

Montezuma students were visited by Dr. Victor DeNoble, a past-scientist for big tobacco who now tours the country educating children on the dangers of smoking, vaping, and using drugs. His research has shown how these various things physically change your brain and cause addiction. He is currently scheduled to visit many SUSD schools through November.

Special Olympics Soccer Tournament

Thank you to all who attended and volunteered at the annual SUSD & Special Olympics Soccer Tournament at Edison High School! Congratulations to all of our amazing students who played in the games.

Lunch on the Lawn at Hong Kingston Elementary

Parents joined their students for lunch on the lawn at Hong Kingston Elementary School. We love seeing so many families participate!

Marshall Elementary Fun Run

We want to thank our incredible Marshall Elementary families for cheering on students as they participated in the Fall Fun Run!

Submit your stories for the next SUSD Connects!
SUSD Community Relations Department
701 N. Madison Street
Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 933-7025