On this evening of the last instructional day of the year, we have a message from Superintendent Scuderi, a story about AUSD's virtual graduations, inside peeks at creative activities held by our schools this month, and some kudos for some outstanding work. Please take a look!
May 29, 2020
In This Issue

  • Superintendent's End of the Year Message
  • AUSD Seniors Celebrated via Virtual Graduations
  • Reminder: Please Take our Survey!
  • Virtual Schoolyard: Amelia Earhart Week
  • Online at the End of the Year
  • Classroom Peeks: Franklin Letter Racks
  • Class of 2020 Ice Cream Naming Contest
  • Kudos
  • Events
  • June 4 Mental Health Town Hall
Superintendent's Letter to the Community

On this last day of instruction for the 2019-20 school year, I want to thank you again for your flexibility and patience over the last few months. As we have collectively worked and struggled to support students amidst the ongoing challenges this pandemic has placed on our community, the strain and stress has been quite evident for students, families, and staff alike.  I want to assure you that our focus right now is on planning and designing options for the fall that progressively, thoughtfully, and safely move us back toward the level of expectations, rigor, and interaction we know students need for positive and productive educational experiences. 

Read Superintendent Scuderi's full message  here.
AUSD Seniors Graduate Virtually with Help of Local Businesses

More than 700 Alameda Unified graduates walked the stage at Alameda Theatre this week as part of a massive project designed to honor their accomplishments via "virtual" commencements.

The students walked across the stage alone (to maintain social distancing) and the theater was empty (save for a handful of production crew and school and district staff). But the anticipation and excitement of the students, as well as the pride and commitment of staff, were as evident as at the traditional commencement ceremonies AUSD has been holding for more than a century.

The graduations were made possible by a partnership comprised of AUSD (led by Chief Academic Officer Kirsten Zazo), Group Delphi (a design and production company based on Alameda Point), and Alameda Theatre & Cineplex (which allowed AUSD and Group Delphi to take over the theater for four days this week).

Learn more about this inspiring project here.

Please Take Our Survey

On May 26, we sent a survey about next year to all families. We deeply value your responses to this survey and hope to get as many responses as possible. 

The email was sent from "2020-21design@alamedaunified.org" and should have gone to the email address you use to access your Aeries portal.

If you are having trouble finding the survey, please try the following steps:

1. Make sure you're checking the email account we have on file.
2. Check your spam/junk folders.
3. Check the email account of any other parent/guardians in your household.
4. If you still can't find the survey, please email 
2020-21design@alamedaunified.org for technical assistance.

A similar survey is being sent to various staff groups next week.
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Virtual Schoolyard: Amelia Earhart Week

During its annual Amelia Earhart Week, Earhart Elementary School students usually engage in hands-on projects related to the famous aviator, such as making paper and model airplanes and watching videos.

This year, of course, the 5-day celebration had to go on-line, so  Hope Algarin-Tangeman and Rachel Ong, organized a week in which students did activities relating to the famous aviator every day at home. Those activities included drawing lessons, videos, story readings, paper airplane instructions, an airplane-flying contest, writing poems, and an "Amelia Idol" contest for students who wanted to write and perform a song. Want to take a look at the activities? Please see the week's page here.

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Online at the End of the Year!

A number of our school sites created end-of-the-year rituals this month, including virtual dance parties, car parades, talent shows, and science fairs. Some schools also created videos that were by turns charming, moving, and inspired - and often a combination of all three! Here's a sampling of the videos created by students and staff alike.

Alameda High School: The Living Room Cabaret
(special thanks to Megan McKinley )
Love Elementary School: Toilet Paper Challenge 
(special thanks to Paizley Spencer, Liz Farrar, Rochelle Kealohi and the Love faculty.)
One third grade student included a teddy bear, a book of piano exercises, and a pillow in her letter rack.
Classroom Peek: Franklin Elementary School Letter Racks

Franklin Elementary School students participated in a project that combined art, history, and social-emotional learning this month, when art docent volunteers led them through a "letter rack" lesson.

Letter racks, which first became popular in the 17th century, are still-life collections of personal possessions meant to serve as a portrait of the subject while also reflecting the customs, political climate, and culture of the time. 

For the Franklin project, students were asked to t hink about things throughout their homes and neighborhoods that have brought them comfort during the shelter in place. Once they gathered their most frequently used objects, the students created a display similar to a letter rack. They then photographed their display so that they could document how they have spent their days.

More than 114 photos of the students' projects are available on the  Franklin Art Galleryalong with more detail on the history of these projects.

The project was originally designed for one first grade class, but "once I saw the sweet photos arriving from families in my inbox, I knew that the letter rack portraits needed to be a school-wide, community building project," says Marianne Dilworth, the co-coordinator of the school's Art Docent program. 

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Kudos to...

The Edison Elementary Community for raising more than $5400.00 for the Alameda Food Bank to help buy items that can't go in food drive barrels, such as meat, eggs, and farm-fresh produce.

Island High School for being designated a "No Place for Hate" School by the Anti-Defamation League. The designation means that Island has taken steps to build a safe and inclusive campus. You can watch the congratulatory video here!

Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School teacher Kevin Gorham and the entire KJTZ student radio crew who continued broadcasting on-air even during the county-wide shelter-in-place. The students, who are enrolled in Mr. Gorham'sCareer Technical Education radio journalism pathway continued rising super early to broadcast their daily shows from their homes between 7 and 11 AM.  Regular segments such as "Daily Trivia," Too Dumb to Be a Crook," "Bad Dad Jokes," and "WTF News" kept listeners entertained.  The weekly interviews with Superintendent Scuderi and Mayor Ezzy Ashcraft kept the community up to date. And the weekly celebrations of graduating seniors and promoting 8th and 5th graders kept all of us inspired!
Ice Cream Flavor Contest

Here's a way to celebrate our seniors
and the start of summer. Several Alameda High School parents have organized a Class of 2020 ice cream flavor contest with the legendary Tucker's in downtown Alameda. 

All AUSD seniors are invited to send the name (and ingredients) of what they think would be an awesome new ice cream flavor to
info@tuckericecream.com. The deadline is 5 pm on June 2, and the top three winners will get ice cream (of course) and some good swag.

(We promise to help publicize the winning flavors!)

May 24-June 5
"Screenagers: The Next Chapter" available online

June 4, 5:30 pm
Mental Health Town Hall
June 9, 6:30 pm
Board of Education Meeting

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Alameda Unified School District | 510-337-7000  | www.alamedaunified.org