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Dec. 9, 2016
Dec. 19 - Jan. 2
Winter Break - No School
Jan. 8
AgVenture at the San Joaquin County Fairground; 9am
Jan. 11, 18, 25 and
Feb. 1, 8, 15  
K-8th Grade RAD Parent Academy; 10am-11:30am. Click here to register online.
Jan. 12
Anti-bullying Parent Workshop; 8:30am-10am. Click here to register online.
Jan. 16
Martin Luther King Day - No school
Jan. 21
Specialty School Fair (previously called the Magnet Fair) at Delta College; 9am - 1pm
Jan. 28
High School Academic Decathlon 
Welcome New SUSD Board of Education Members
Welcome to newly elected Stockton Unified Board of Education members Lange Luntao and Cecilia Mendez, representing Areas 4 and 1 respectively.

Mr. Luntao and Ms. Mendez will be sworn into office on December 13 during the regular board meeting, moved up to 5 p.m. to allow time for the board welcome. Gloria Allen is termed out of the Area 1 seat and Area 4 representative Colleen Keenan decided not to seek a second term.

Ms. Mendez is the parent of three grown children and has been active in SUSD schools, serving on a number of parent committees. Mr. Luntao, 25, is a teacher with the Langston Hughes Charter School and part of the Reinvent Stockton efforts to improve south Stockton schools.

SUSD Board President Kathy Garcia easily won re-election to represent Area 3.

Contact information will be available on the Board of Education web page later this month.
Get your child into the homework habit
Homework is an essential part of your child's learning experience. Your support and guidance can make a real difference. Creating a homework routine is one of the best ways you can help. Routines provide structure that students (and parents!) can count on. So help your child create a homework routine that works for him and your family.

Here are some ways to help your child create positive homework habits:

- Decide on a time and place for homework. Help your child determine a regular time that he will use to do homework each day. Some children work best when they get home, while others need to blow off steam right after school. Some children like to sit at a desk; others focus better when they sit on the floor. Do your best to plan your family's schedule around homework time.

- Keep the homework area well supplied. A child who has to get up every five minutes to get paper or a highlighter can't properly focus on homework. Regularly replenish your child's homework station with pens, pencils, note cards, etc.

- Set homework goals. Have your child determine what work needs to be done during each homework session. This helps him stay focused during homework time. Then, after your child has finished his homework, help him check his work to make sure he completed his assignments thoroughly.

Free Flu Clinics

Stockton Unified is offering free flu clinics! The clinics run from 4pm to 6pm the following dates:
  • Dec 6th - Chavez High
  • Dec 8th - Edison High
  • Dec 13th - Stagg High
  • Dec 15th - Franklin High
Titan Music Rules
Congratulations to the Chavez Titans bands on this year's stunning band review showings.

Tops was the Chavez Color Guard, winning the overall sweepstakes for the November review at Lincoln High School. Chavez Jazz took first place; Drumline, first place; Drum Major, first place; Concert Band, third place.

Drum major Eliyah Garcia has placed first in every contest she has entered this year, Santa Cruz, Lodi and finally, Lincoln band reviews.

Chavez also placed well in the earlier Merced Band Review, where Jazz took first place; Color Guard, second, Drum Major, first, and Drumline, third. The team took three first place wins at the Lodi Band Review and came away from the  Santa Cruz Band Review with another three first-place trophies and a third place.

Well done Chavez band director Art Coleman, assistant band director Chris McCoy and Guard instructor and Chavez alum Randell Lee. Big thanks to band boosters and the fabulous Chavez band members. We are proud of your performances!

Commodore PTA Raises Funds for New School Playground

All 1,200 students at Commodore Stockton Skills Elementary cheered at last month's special ribbon cutting ceremony for the school's brand-new playground, paid for entirely by the dedicated Commodore PTA! 

The Commodore PTA raised over $20,000 to build the new playground by holding two large  fundraisers: a jog-a-thon and a playground raffle challenge. Each fundraiser had amazing support and participation by teachers, parents, students, staff and the community. Second grade student Brenden Davis sold $1,200 worth of raffle tickets last year, earning himself the right to be the first student to use the brand new slide. 

"The 'playground goal' that was achieved was the ultimate confirmation that a strong and dedicated PTA can make any goal possible," said Commodore PTA Historian Sarie Chan. "It was a testament that all [our] efforts and countless hours [we] put towards the goal was worth it all."

Commodore PTA, started in Spring of 2012, works to make the school better and provide students with the best experience possible. Their goal is to raise money and provide funds for school field trips, events, and supplies for teachers.

A round of applause for those who donated to this amazing cause and to the Commodore PTA members for making this possible! Current PTA board members are:
Shaina Marque -- President
Jennifer Conway-Brandt  -- Vice President
Shaunna Conway-Brandt -- Treasurer
Zahira Mozeb -- Recording Secretary
Be Nguyen-Boonsalat -- Membership
Sarie Chan -- Historian
Somphorn Boonsalat  -- Auditor
Robert Marquez -- Parliamentarian
Yolanda Aguire -- Hospitality
Amanda Kimble -- Volunteer Coordinator
Melissa Medina -- Volunteer Coordinator
Barbara Hill -- Box Top Coordinator
Vanessa Elledge -- Spirit Wear Coordinator
Mrs. Morelli/Mr. Perez/Mrs. Wagner -- Teacher Liaisons

View photos of the Playground Dedication Ceremony >

El Dorado: Restorative Justice Can Improve School Climate
El Dorado, in the space of just one year, has reduced the number of referrals to the office for everything from disrupting class to threats or bullying by nearly half. They have pretty much  the same staff and students as a year ago, but their implementation of restorative justice practices, specifically, "classroom circles" has dramatically improved school climate.

"By making connections with our students and families and providing the opportunity for students to connect with one another, everyone is able to develop the communications skills to problem solve," said Principal Kristen Buckenham. "As a result we are seeing a reduction in behavior referrals and suspension rates. Our expectation is an increased focus on learning and a higher attendance rate."

El Dorado has done presentations on the success at their school. While SUSD high schools have been practicing restorative justice for the past three years, the elementary schools have just begun. Harrison reports 70 percent drop in referrals and suspensions as a result of the program.

Restorative practices at the elementary schools focuses students on behavior issues that disrupt learning or are harmful to the students themselves. The students discuss these behaviors and address ways to improve them. The "circle" involves both students affected by disruptive behavior and those causing it. The students come to agreement on resolution and all students feel included and part of the solution.

Now, when a student behaves negatively, he or she knows they are accountable, not just to teacher and parent, but to their classmates. Congratulations El Dorado for a job outstandingly well done!
Parent/Community Empowerment Update
Fathers Supporting Education:
On Saturday, November 5, 2016, the Parent/Community Empowerment Department kicked off another Fathers and Floats event by collaborating with Home Depot. Stockton Unified fathers and their children had the chance to come out on a Saturday morning to use their engineering skills to create a wooden helicopter. Thank You fathers for continuing to be involved and engaged in your child's success. Look out for our next Fathers and Floats event.
Realizing the Academic Dream Parent Academy (R.A.D.):
Stockton Unified School District Parent/Community Empowerment Department hosted a High School RAD (Realizing the Academic Dream) parent academy at Edison High School. All SUSD parents have a dream that their child will graduate from High School and go on to college.  With the RAD workshop, we help parents put that dream into action.  Parents learn how to create an Academic Success Plan to ensure their child graduates from high school and is prepared for college. Check our website for the next scheduled High School RAD workshop.
Dance-Care-Share: Growing a Community Through Dance

A Reflection by Shalese Douglas, Fremont Elementary School Teacher

A "Dance-Care-Share" event is what happens when a catchy song, "When You're Smiling" (the Leftover Cuties version),  gets rooted in your brain and later spills out of your body in the form of a dance that is shared with nearly 300 kindergarten  through second grade students....or something like that.  This event, (part performance, part fall family festival, part pep rally) was inspired by an effort to support our school's positive behavior and intervention supports (PBIS).   Originally, I was looking for a fun way kids could take care of each other.  I felt that a little bit of dance, music, and fun could help our young people learn to connect with their classmates while giving older youth an opportunity to use leadership skills and foster empathy. 

Last year, I held this community dance event as a "pilot" experience to help introduce the brain dance to our students and teachers.  A brain dance typically organizes movement by body-half, body sides, and engages cross lateral movements to stimulate neural development.   However, this year, we decided to add a new twist by including a theme (fall) and expanding the activities.  Jermane Roberts, one of our teachers on our rock-star kindergarten team suggested "We should invite our parents!"   I'm pretty sure that comment was initially met with my "poker face".  Arranging the logistics of a parent audience at an outside event during the school day seemed daunting to me.    Still, my instinct to "lean in" to the challenge encouraged me to mull over this new option.

View photos >

Edison Demonstrates AVID for Area School Districts

The AVID teams at Edison High School held another successful showcase this fall, demonstrating to more than 60 visiting educators how the program works to inspire and prepare students from families that have no college experience to pursue secondary education.

Throughout the campus students in Advanced Placement Spanish, chemistry, math, English and history classes gave special presentations on the various AVID strategies of Critical Reading, Organization and Cornell Notes. Administrators and teachers from a number of school districts, including neighboring Lincoln Unified, Dublin, Mt. Diablo, Monterey, San Jose and San Francisco filled the campus learning ways to help their students get on college tracks.

Edison's guests were impressed: most said they've been trying to motivate families into thinking and planning for college for their students, but AVID has the best strategies for inspiring the students.

Edison was chosen as a national AVID demonstration school last year, a huge honor to the staff  for implementing their own successful program. Edison's AVID coordinator Kristi Lee said the staff was thrilled to meet educators from other districts on the common issue. "The privilege of outlining our journey, sharing the challenges and how we overcame them and showcasing our students and staff is an incredible experience," Lee said. "There is a great sense of satisfaction in being able to collaborate about best practices with other educators in the region."

As a result of Edison's success, SUSD is implementing AVID strategies throughout the district, including both elementary and high schools. Congratulations to Edison for a terrific showcase!
W ant your news in the next issue of SUSD Connects? Email your stories and events to the SUSD Connects team at ! Due to space limitations, we may not be able to share all of the news we receive, but we will do our best to share it with as many people as possible. Thank you!