Sonoma Valley Unified School District

October 2023 Newsletter

Para leer en Español

Message from the Superintendent

Dear Sonoma Valley Community, 

A fundamental step of every child’s instruction is learning how to read and write. At Sonoma Valley Unified School District, we believe that literacy is a bridge to opportunities to excel and thrive. 


Developing strong readers and writers by the third grade is not only a state curriculum goal, but also a goal of our school district. While your child develops their reading and writing skills at school, it is crucial that they build their knowledge at home. We ask parents, guardians, and mentors to support the literacy development of our students and instill in them a love for reading. Encourage your child to practice reading aloud to themselves, their family, or even their pets. Take them to the local library, download their favorite stories online, or ask them questions about what they are reading. We know that the more students are immersed in reading not only to gain knowledge, but to simply enjoy it, the better they do in school overall. 


When your child builds their literacy skills, a world of possibilities can open for them. Cultivating a lifelong love of reading is one of the best gifts you can give to your child, and we are proud to walk together on this educational journey with our students and families. Thank you! 



Jeanette Rodriguez-Chien 


Watch a special message from Superintendent Rodriguez-Chien

The Benefits of Literacy   

Literacy changes every child’s life! It helps students succeed in school, builds their confidence to communicate well with others, develops a student’s critical thinking capabilities, and improves academic discipline and creativity. Our school libraries are a great resource! We have a library at each of our campuses. 


Our elementary school libraries provide literacy support, matching children with books to instill a love of recreational and independent reading. They provide popular reading incentive programs including contests, challenges, and prizes, and decorate the library to keep it fun and interactive. Our librarians work with classroom teachers to provide curriculum support, and they also write grants for library resources. Every class in the school has a scheduled story time or library time once a week. 

Middle school libraries work with teachers to connect library materials with classroom lessons. In addition to traditional texts, the middle schools make great use of graphic novels and manga to continue connecting students to books. They also continue the work of elementary libraries, running contests, decorating, and writing grants. Middle school libraries are open before school, during the school day, and during lunch and break times. They also often host chess or other game tournaments while they are open! 

Our high school library is open 7:30 - 4:00, including during lunch and break times. The library provides research and academic writing instruction and support for all students. Library lessons include using databases, evaluating on-line material, finding, using, and citing sources, and avoiding plagiarism. Individual research support is available during school hours and at lunch and break. At the same time, high school continues to build life-long readers. The high school library offers not just the classics, but also new and popular books that students ask for and run contests and thematic activities throughout the year to encourage and reward reading. The high school supports the 9-12 “independent reading” assignment, doing “book talk” visits to English classes to market books directly to kids, buying book club sets so friends can read together, and creating the annual “One School, One Book” spring program. At lunch the library hosts a small cafe area, numerous chess games, and occasional movies or televised events. The high school library also plans and hosts the annual school-wide Authors Day, in partnership with our sponsor, The Sonoma Valley Authors Festival, bringing internationally famous authors and thousands of free books to our school. 

All students can access the school district library catalogs and databases/research resources online from school or home using their Clever single sign-on accounts. 


Check in with your school library and learn more about access to fantastic reading material! Also, visit the Sonoma County Library website to see their different locations and offerings. Your enthusiasm inspires your children for a life of learning!

Sonoma County Library

Beautification Day at El Verano Elementary 

Our school community united efforts to help beautify the El Verano Elementary campus. We thank the El Verano PTO for organizing this event and everyone who donated their time, for your commitment to bring beauty, plants, and joy to our students, staff, and families at El Verano!

A Successful Flowery Fall Fiesta  

We appreciate all the contributions that made the Flowery Fall Fiesta a fantastic event! Participants enjoyed music, ballet folklorico, dancing, a raffle and an auction, and supported a great cause at the same time. 


The Flowery Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) hosts the Fall Fiesta as their primary fundraising effort for student-centered events supporting their education development. All net proceeds will benefit their dual immersion school, teachers and programs. This event has been a tradition for Flowery Elementary since 2012 and we are excited that we can carry on the tradition for our families.

The Amazing Partnership with the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance  

We are proud of the collaboration that our district has developed with the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance. The goal is to build long term mentor relationships between youth and caring adults. Mentors help their mentees visualize and work toward achieving their full potential. The Mentoring Alliance carefully makes matches according to common interests and needs. Mentors guide their mentees throughout their school years. Upon graduating from high school, our mentees have developed a plan for their young adult lives. 

Since the beginning at Flowery Elementary School in 1996, the Mentoring Alliance has matched over 2,300 students with a mentor. That's almost 5,000 people in the Valley who have been a part of this program! The efforts expanded over time, and today each public school has a dedicated mentor center filled with games, activities, arts & crafts, puzzles, books, sports equipment and more. Students are nominated to have a mentor by teachers, school staff, family members, and even sometimes the child nominates his/herself! At this time, we have over 300 students with a mentor districtwide. 

Are you interested in being a mentor? The commitment is one hour a week on a school campus during the academic year (September - May). The Mentor Center Facilitators work closely with teachers and staff to identify the ideal time for the matches to meet. The Mentoring Alliance also hosts close to 80 after school enrichment programs for mentors and mentees to join throughout the year. These activities range from art & culinary classes to hiking, bowling, trips to the beach and more. 

For more information or to sign up for one of their monthly orientations, please call 707-938-1990 or email You are welcome to stop by their admin office, which is located inside the Sonoma Community Center, 276 East Napa St., Sonoma. By joining the Mentoring Alliance community, you can impact a student's life and opportunities! 

Staying Healthy and Up to Date with Vaccinations  

The holiday season is around the corner! With the change of weather and in some cases more reunions, the need to stay protected with vaccinations against COVID-19 and the flu is even more critical. Sonoma County Department of Health Services states that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older is recommended to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting boosters if eligible. For now, these protective vaccines are free. For your no-cost COVID-19 vaccine, you can go to: 

  • Your health care provider. 
  • Pharmacies, such as CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens. To make an appointment, visit CDC’s Find COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Community health centers. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Department of Public Health recommends that all individuals 6 months and older should get the COVID-19 vaccine primary series and stay up to date with their boosters. 


Why get a COVID-19 vaccine? Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer, more reliable way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19. Vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without you having to experience potentially severe illness or post-COVID conditions. Getting sick with COVID-19 can cause severe illness or death, and we can’t reliably predict who will have mild or severe illness. 

Have you received the flu vaccine? It is important to get vaccinated for influenza every year. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year to protect themselves as well as others. It is especially important that certain people be vaccinated because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for complications. This includes pregnant women, children, elderly and those with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, a weak immune system, morbid obesity, or younger than age 19 and on long-term aspirin therapy.  

Community Clinics in Sonoma County

National Bullying Prevention Month   

Collaboration among staff members, parents and guardians creates a positive school climate where all students feel safe, valued, respected and appreciated. It is important to know that you are not alone and there are people and resources available that provide help and support. The High School Wellness Center is centrally located on the SVHS campus and additional Wellness Spaces are located on our middle school campuses. The Wellness Centers offer all students opportunities to talk to a trusted adult, a safe space to practice coping, regulation, self-care skills, and learn a new pro-social self-care activity. 

Additionally, for 6th through 12th grade students, we have implemented STOPit, an anonymous reporting system that teaches students, parents, and staff how to recognize and report the signs of at-risk behaviors to administrators.

Administrators are then able to assess, manage and resolve incidents. These are the key components of STOPit: 


  • Anonymously report safety, misconduct, or other concerns to help others or themselves  
  • 24/7/365 Incident Response Center monitors, manages and immediately escalates life threatening concerns and incidents  
  • Crisis Text Line™ integrated into the mobile app provides immediate access to 27,000+ trained mental health counselors  
  • Assigned team members and local law enforcement can gather information in real-time with 2-Way Messenger  
  • Receive standard and customized reporting outputs according to your specific needs 


At home, the guidance and support that families provide to students is also crucial. We encourage parents and guardians to address what it means to be respectful and what kindness means. This is an excellent way of inspiring positive interactions at school and in the community. Connecting with your children and learning about their school experience provides an opportunity to detect any signs of bullying or other challenges your student faces. Please let the school know if such incidents occur. You can learn more about bullying prevention with the resources below. 

Prevention: Learn how to identify bullying and stand up to it safely
Bullying and Cyberbullying
SVUSD 2023-2024 School Year Calendar
Visit our Website
Facebook  Instagram