September 4, 2018
SVUSD Opens Two New Magnet Schools for 2018 - 2019
SVUSD is continuously seeking ways to offer innovative choices to our students and families for their educational experience. With this goal in mind, we are excited to announce the opening of two new magnet schools for the 2018-2019 school year! Linda Vista Elementary, located in Mission Viejo, is now an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP) Candidate Magnet School. Santiago Elementary, in Lake Forest, is now a STEAM Magnet School. Both schools had festive grand re-openings the week before school started, where students and families were able to tour the newly remodeled campuses and get a sneak peak at the new flexible learning spaces, innovation labs, and meet their teachers. This was a great way to open the new schools and was an opportunity for students and families to mingle with the school faculty and staff, as well as the SVUSD Board of Education, and district and city representatives.

For more information on these innovative new magnet schools, please visit their websites:

Linda Vista IB PYP Magnet School

Grand reopening of the new Linda Vista International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program Magnet School with Principal, Suzy McMasters, Board of Education Trustee, Dennis Walsh, and Superintendent, Dr. Crystal Turner.
Santiago STEAM Magnet School

Santiago STEAM Magnet School's grand reopening celebrated with Board of Education Trustees, Amanda Morrell, Suzy R. Swartz, Dr. Edward Wong, Dolores Winchell, Dennis Walsh, Principal, Howard Johnston, and Superintendent, Dr. Crystal Turner.
Virtual Academy Expands to Grades 9 - 12

After the successful opening of the SVUSD Virtual Academy (SVUSDVA) for K-8 in 2017-2018, we are proud to announce its expansion to 9th-12th grade for the 2018-2019 school year!  SVUSDVA blends online learning with face to face learning experiences to offer students in grades kindergarten through high school, a flexible and personalized online learning experience. High school students have additional opportunities to participate in sports at their residence high school while attending the SVUSD Virtual Academy and possibly take one or two classes at their residence school. For additional information on the SVUSD Virtual Academy, please visit their website at, and follow them on Twitter @SVUSDVA.
THHS Student Participates in Paralympic Finals
Trabuco Hills High School senior (class of 2018) , Michelle Cross, was honored at the June 21st Board of Education meeting for her accomplishments in cross country and track and field at Trabuco Hills High School. Michelle also competed in the State Track and Field Finals for Paralympic athletes and scored in three events: 100, 200, and 400 meter races. She finished second and was awarded medals in all three events! Michelle was also honored at the THHS track and field banquet for her completion of four seasons of cross country and track and field, and received a plaque for her senior leadership.
ETHS Students Earn Global Navigator Scholarships
Fourteen students from El Toro High School earned scholarships and were chosen to participate in a study abroad program over the summer, offered by The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). Their scholarships, totaling $47,800, allowed the students to participate in a three to four week immersion program for U.S. high school students in more than 35 countries around the world. During the program, ETHS students were able to improve foreign language proficiency and get involved in a service project or discover a new field of study, while developing lifelong skills from a global perspective. The CIEE is the nation's largest and most tenured nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization. The program and scholarships are open to all U.S. high school students. Congratulations to all the recipients!

Amanda Bower - German Language & Culture - Berlin, Germany
Avery Thomas - Promoting Children's Rights & Education - Legon, Ghana
Bert Bacskai - Marine Science & Field Work - Lisbon, Portugal
Breanna Le - Spanish Language & Chilean Culture - Valparaiso, Chile
Britanny Diaz - Environmental Awareness - Khon Kaen, Thailand
Elizabeth Min - Global Entrepreneurship - Dublin, Ireland
Gavin Rimmer - Digital Filmmaking & Documentary - Seville, Spain
Kassandra Heitman - Chinese Language & Culture - Shanghai, China
Korie Handa - French Language & Culture - Paris, France
Natalia Zabala - World Government - Brussels, Belgium
Sierra Wisner - Mentoring Youth & Raising Social Awareness - Santiago, Dom. Rep             
Taylor Galbreath - Botswanan Wildlfie Conservation - Gaborone, Botsana
Xander de Santiago - Chinese Language & Culture - Shanghai, China
Zyrille Mendez - Italian Language & Culture - Ferrara, Italy
Water Awareness Poster Contest Winners
Mrs. Carol Veravanich's third grade students (2017-2018) from De Portola Elementary School were winners of a poster contest sponsored by the Municipal Water District of Orange County and the Family of Orange Water Agencies. The class was selected for their art work and awarded with a free lunch party and visit from Ricky the Raindrop!
MV Saddleback Valley Elks Partners with Esperanza Education Center
On July 3rd, the Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley Elks #2444 Officer Corp piloted a new partnership with SVUSD and the Esperanza Educational Center. This partnership starts a rare and remarkable community program for the Education Center and Lodge. Esperanza 
students are invited to the Lodge on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to participate in different tasks that help them learn vocational skills. Shelly Stewart, principal at Esperanza, is so grateful that the lodge has opened their doors to her students. The students' enthusiasm, work ethic, and smiles of accomplishment leave everyone with a lasting impression. Because of the pilot program's success over the summer, this partnership will continue throughout the school year as a worksite for our Esperanza students!
UCI Partnership with Gates Elementary
Gates Elementary is a strong training school site for bilingual student teachers in UCI's MAT + Credential Program. Seven bilingual student teachers completed their student teaching and 52 undergraduates corresponded with two classrooms this past spring.

UCI undergraduates partnered with fifth and sixth graders from Ms. Bunce's and Mrs. Gomez's classes at Gates. The students were able to write freely, without prompts, to their college mentor on topics that interested them via Google Docs. In return, the undergraduates were able to better understand school age student interests and backgrounds, how authentic writing develops over time for a specific purpose and audience, and evaluate writing development with what was learned in class.

In this specific writing assignment, Gates Elementary School offered a valuable experience for both elementary and university students. Nearing the end of their elementary school years, students learned more about the college experience, and college students gained a unique perspective on authentic writing from students learning in two languages.
High School ASB Council Members Attend ASB Camp
Every summer, the Orange County Leadership Association (OCLA) runs an OC Leadership Conference (aka ASB Camp) for high school ASB student council members at UC Santa Barbara. The conference offers workshops on leadership, as well an opportunity for students to participate in various events with other OC schools. The ASB students from our four comprehensive high schools, as well as the Activity Directors, attended the three day conference in early August as they prepared for the 2018-2019 school year.
The above photo is of El Toro, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, and Trabuco Hills High School 2018 ASB officers.
2018 Teacher "Kick-Off"
Superintendent, Dr. Crystal Turner, hosted a "Teacher Kick-Off" at El Toro High School for SVUSD teachers to start off the 2018-2019 school year in a fun, innovative way. Teachers were greeted by cheerleaders, ASB students, and the ETHS band. During the Kick-Off, Dr. Turner was able to speak to SVUSD's goals for the 2018-2019 school year, as well as recap all of the highlights and bright spots that make our district so special. The energy and excitement in the gym was palpable and teachers left the event energized and ready to make 2018-2019 a great year!
SVUSD First District in Orange County to be Named
"Unified Champion School District"
Saddleback Valley Unified School District has been congratulated as the first Unified Champion School District in Orange County! SVUSD has made a commitment to engage and support multiple schools in the district to become Unified Champion Schools through the delivery of three components: Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole School Engagement. The activities allow students with, and without, intellectual disabilities to interact in a variety of ways. Trabuco Hills High was the first SVUSD school to have a Unified Sports program and we are thrilled to be expanding to multiple schools within SVUSD in 2018-2019!
ELD Summer Enrichment Program
The SVUSD ELD Summer Enrichment Program is a place where the arts and literacy intersect. The program is designed for incoming 1st-8th grade students from all over the district who are invited to participate in the 4-week program that combines performing arts with lessons that aim to develop their literacy skills. Each class spends the first part of the day with either an SVUSD teacher or an instructor from the Segerstrom Center, then alternates to their counterpart instructor for the second part of the day.

From learning about living and non-living organisms in the forest, exploring the Fibonacci sequence, creating Polynesian art, designing their own zoo, researching solutions to oil spills, to hip-hop dancing or playing Hamilton music, students are immersed in an array of learning tasks that allow them to practice their reading and writing skills. The performing arts component allows them to develop their speaking and listening skills. All of these domains are important for EL students, as whole language proficiency hinges on the simultaneous development of interpretive (reading, viewing, listening), productive (speaking and writing) and collaborative (listening and speaking) skills.

The ELD Summer Enrichment Program has been in operation for 8 years, and each year brings new and exciting ways for students to not only avoid the summer slide, but also to discover their artistic side.
Promotions & New Administrators
Congratulations and Welcome to our New Administrators!

Heather Balog - Mental Health Coordinator

Shawn Beese - District Coordinator, Special Education

Katherine Branley - Assistant Principal, Serrano Intermediate

Francis Dizon, Ph.D. - Director, Student Services

Jennifer Denmark - Facilities Planner, Maintenance, Operations & Construction

Jennifer Gass - Assistant Principal, Melinda Heights Elementary

Soo Goda - Assistant Principal, Gates Elementary

Megan Hannen - Assistant Principal, Foothill Elementary

Frances Hansel, Ed.D. - Principal, Cielo Vista Elementary

Marguerite Long - District Coordinator, Student Services

Brad Lyall - Assistant Principal, La Paz Intermediate

Michelle McNeal - Activities Director, El Toro High

James Newton - Principal, Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate

Robert Sherlock - 7 - 12 STEM Coordinator, Educational Services

Michelle O'Neill - District Coordinator, Counseling

Tim Tatum - District Coordinator, Health Services

Shane Vinagupta - Assistant Principal, Laguna Hills High

David Young - Principal, Serrano Intermediate
Community Opportunities Offered by the OC Sheriff's Department
The Parent Project
Annual Teen Influencer Summit
Upcoming Events
September 9 - 15
September 19
September 29
National Arts in Education Week
Fall Recess Day - No school for students          
MADD - Annual Teen Influencer Summit - Ocean View High School
SVUSD Board of Education
Dr. Crystal Turner

Board of Trustees

Amanda Morrell
Vice President
Suzie R. Swartz
Dr. Edward Wong
Dolores Winchell
Dennis Walsh   
Student Board Member
Jacob Walker
               Board of Education Meeting Dates
The Saddleback Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees encourages community members to attend and participate in its business meetings whenever possible.
Closed session board business is typically conducted at 5:00 p.m. followed by open session business typically beginning at 6:00 p.m. Meetings are held in the SVUSD Education Center Board Room located at 25631 Peter A. Hartman Way, Mission Viejo.