TUSD Weekly Update
"Every kid is just one caring adult away from being a success story." ~Josh Shipp
CA Healthy Kids Survey
Alice Solis, Director of English Learners, Assessment, and Special Programs
The California Healthy Kids Survey is now open! The CHKS is a powerful tool that can help schools and districts accurately identify areas of student and school strengths and weaknesses, and address related needs. It provides a comprehensive, data-driven, decision-making process to guide efforts to improve school climate, learning supports, and engagement, as well as identify and increase the quality of health, prevention, and youth development programs. Follow the link to the TUSD website and find your school. Deadline to complete the CHKS survey is December 7, 2018. (Note: Student survey is for grades 5, 7, 9 & 11)
CTE in the Community
Wilkey Industries
After completing an internship at Wilkey Industries, Inc., his senior year, Armando Herrera was hired on part-time. The internship allowed Armando to start his day at the job site, working 3 to 4 hours, and then return to school to complete his scheduled courses. Armando is currently enrolled at Merced Junior College working towards a Welding Certification.

According to Armando, he was interested in this internship because “it’s hard finding a job and this was a way to stay busy and productive.” Armando encourages students to show interest in the TUSD CTE internships and recommends they take advantage of all the learning opportunities available to them. Armando’s parting advice: “Work hard and make sure your boss is satisfied.”
TOOLBOX and Gratitude
Darrah Wilson, Student Support Clinician
As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us take time to notice what we are grateful for. November is often a time of appreciation, and acknowledgement. In TOOLBOX, one of our tools is the Please and Thank You Tool , and we teach our students that expressing gratitude and giving thanks are basic principles of kindness, which open the door to intimacy (into-me-you-see!) and connectedness. It is important when thinking about this tool, and the upcoming holidays, that we realize the importance of gratitude as a year-round practice, not just during the holiday season. Researcher Brene Brown spent 12 years trying to figure out what it is that makes people “whole-hearted” or able to be happy and connected with others. She had expected to find that joyful people were grateful for what they had in their lives, but in fact, the data indicated that it’s actually gratitude that comes first. Specifically, a tangible practice of gratitude, whether that was journaling, meditation, or verbally expressing gratitude/appreciation.

The Please and Thank You Tool , or just a general practice of gratitude, can be combined with other tools, such as the Breathing Tool or The Quiet Safe Place . If you are someone who practices meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises, you can integrate this by simply asking yourself, “What am I thankful for?” or thinking of someone you would like to say thank you to, practicing the words in your mind as you visualize that person. 

With TOOLBOX, we teach children to soften the intention of requests and invitations, creating an atmosphere of positive connections and kindness. 

As with every tool in TOOLBOX, we encourage you to “Go First” and model for your class. Practice using the words at every opportunity. Stand at the doorway and thank each student for coming to school today. Do this for a week and then notice how it impacts the start of the day. 

Other ways to integrate gratitude into your class:
  • Ask your students how the practice of being thanked at the door felt for them. Have a class discussion about how it feels to be appreciated.
  • Introduce a conversation about this tool, ask students these questions: “Why do you think Please and Thank You are called “magic words”? “Why is this so important?” “We talk about being thankful during Thanksgiving, but what makes you feel thankful at other times of the year?”
  • Offer gratitude to students in different words- instead of just saying “thank you,” try “I’d like to appreciate [name] today for …” 
  • Invite students to take a moment to think quietly of something they are grateful for every day as a regular practice. 
  • Hold a circle session where each student names one thing they appreciate that day (similar to Caring Circles)

For more information on TOOLBOX, please check out the following:
Hometown Hero
Enrique Diaz
Military Branch: US Army Reserve
Rank: Specialist (Pursuing Sergeant Rank)
Job/MOS: Combat Engineer 12B
Where are you stationed? Military Ocean Terminal Concord CA 374th Engineering Company (Sapper)
Why did you join the military? I joined the military after high school primarily to pay for college. Yet, once I arrived at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, I realized my reason for joining was more than that; the brotherhood and experience I gained quickly became the core of why I joined.
What is your favorite part of being in the military? My favorite part of the military is the amount of information there is to learn and the out-of-the ordinary experiences. In addition, the ability to not only meet people from different states, but different cultures and countries as well.
What has been the biggest challenge? The separation from one’s family is truly what I would consider to be the biggest challenge, however the lack of sleep can also be difficult. The higher the leadership position, the less sleep you get. Focusing on the positives and having a good sense of humor is what I would say is the greatest tool for not only myself but every veteran that has deployed or served.
What are your goals for the future? Currently, I am completing coursework to apply to the nursing program at Fresno State. In the future, I hope to become a flight nurse. The job in itself has multiple characteristics that I would say I strive to follow such as caring for others, being physically fit, and facing challenges.
Any hobbies? Going to the gym, visiting new cities or towns, spending time with my
family, hiking, swimming, being involved at school, and, if a camera is within my reach, taking photos of everything.
Anyone you’d like to recognize for helping you on this journey? The greatest help I had in my journey was my mom and my dad, along with my three younger sisters who I am very proud of. I also had great mentors like Mr. Rosales at Pitman High School, and my girlfriend who I am not only proud of but look up to as well.
Anything else you’d like to share? I am currently in the Student Veterans Organization at Fresno State where we strive to help veterans pursue higher education. To all parents and teachers, you are the greatest, most influential element in a person’s life!
Focus on a Photographer
Turlock High School
Tell us a little bit about yourself.  My name is Wali Najimi. I am 16 years old and a junior at Turlock High School. I love drawing and photography. I am a fast learner.
How did you first become interested in photography?  I am competitive. One of my friends had photography last year and he took really good pictures, so I told myself I would take photography and take even better pictures than him.
What is your favorite thing to photograph? I like taking photos of nature, like animals, birds etc. Wildlink is a club that I joined my freshmen year and I am still in it. We go hiking in nature and see wildlife.
What kind of camera do you use? I use a Canon 70D.
What are your plans after high school? I am still figuring out my plans but I know for sure that I am going to go hiking and take good photographs.
What advice would you give a beginner? My advice is that it is okay if your pictures are bad, or you can't take good photos—you should keep trying. In order to be good at something you are supposed to make mistakes so you won’t make them in the future.
This is TUSD
Meet Rebecca Bettencourt
How long have you worked in TUSD?   This is my first year employed in TUSD at Julien Elementary School. I have been a parent volunteer for 9 years.
What is your job title? E.S.L. Paraprofessional
Where did you work prior to TUSD?  I worked for CSU, Stanislaus as a Student Teacher Supervisor. I have taught kindergarten and first grades for both the Ceres and Fresno School Districts.  
Any info you would like to share about your job? Average day?  I get to work with first through sixth graders. I see eleven small groups each day. I work with the students on oral language, writing, and reading skills. It is a rewarding experience every day.
Things you are most proud of? I have created a space where student feel safe and valued. I work with students for a small part of their day. If the students don't feel safe and respected nothing would be accomplished during our time together.
Challenges?  My challenges are the same as anyone who is working in the Central Valley. How do you reach the kids who are hungry or tired? How do you reach the kids who have given up on themselves because they feel that the world has given up on them?
Favorite memory/story? My first year teaching, I taught first grade. My students were predominately English Learners. We had two mice, Laverne and Shirley, as classroom pets. Laverne died one day. I centered our next day around remembering Laverne. We read stories about mice, talked about Laverne, wrote about Laverne's death and drew pictures to remember Laverne. At the end of the day one of the boys in the class came up to me with a concerned look. "Teacher, where is Laverne?" A memory I often think of when I am pondering whether or not I have reached a student.  
What are you reading?  The Google Infused Classroom . It’s how to use technology to transform curriculum.
Any favorite shows you’re watching on TV?  I like a good laugh at the end of the day— Modern Family , The Goldbergs , Will and Grace.
Anything surprising we may not know about you? I love Ed Tech, I even teach the foundations class in Ed Tech for the CSUS Credential Program. I am particularly passionate about young women and technology. In the spring, I had the privilege in participating in a CSU research competition with my study on young women and technology. I made it all the way to the State level. 
Any information about your personal life you’d like to share? My family and I live on a little ranchette. I have dogs, cats, sheep, goats, chickens and a pot belly pig. I have a big garden and grow enough food for a family much larger than my own. I would rather be outside "playing in the dirt" than inside. My dream job would be working with children in poverty in an outdoor classroom. 
Seen on Social Media
NJROTC Military Veterans' Dinner, Raffle, & Ball
Pitman Development Foundation Hall of Fame Dinner/Dance
Dia de Los Muertos at Wakefield Elementary School
Halloween in TUSD
Turlock High School
Osborn TWI Academy
Pitman High School
Medeiros Elementary School
Dennis Earl Elementary School
Crowell Elementary School
The Marching Pride
The Pitman Marching Band competed in the San Joaquin Valley Tournament of Bands on Saturday, October 27 and received the following recognitions:

  • Parade Sweepstakes 
  • Music Sweepstakes 
  • Showmanship Sweepstakes 
  • Marching Sweepstakes 
  • 1st place Jazz
  • 1st place Percussion
  • 2nd place Color Guard
  • 2nd place Drum Major Military
Share Your Awesome!

Marie Russell
Chief Communication Coordinator

We would love to have ALL staff help share our TUSD story to the world, but if that is not really your thing, just click on link below to download an opt-out form and return to "Marie Russell, D.O." via district mail.