TUSD Weekly Update
"Every kid is just one caring adult away from being a success story." ~Josh Shipp
NGSS Incentive Program
Eric Hauck & Ryan Hollister, District Science Coaches
The Hollister-Hauck science coaching team is proud to announce that TUSD will offer an NGSS-implementation incentive program beginning in January! The program is comprised of an end-of-the month raffle for teachers that complete and provide evidence for one of several possible NGSS tasks. The amazing prizes are:
  • January = (1) Four pack of tickets to The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose ($100 Value).
  • February = (1) Four pack of tickets to The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose ($100 Value).
  • March = (1) Four pack of tickets to The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose ($100 Value).
  • April GRAND PRIZE = (1) Two night stay (1 room) in the Yosemite Rush Creek Lodge ($800 Value)
Teachers can obtain a raffle ticket starting in January by providing evidence of NGSS implementation within their classes or PLC’s. There are a variety of “evidence” pieces that will be accepted for this. Here is a non-exhaustive list of ways to obtain a ticket for work done starting in January:
  1. Work directly with a science coach for a combined 45 minutes.
  2. Film yourself teaching a NGSS lesson and upload it to TUSD private YouTube Channel. (Preferably with a 360 video camera!)
  3. Provide a copy of a NGSS lesson plan you did along with student work samples.
  4. Provide a reflection on a NGSS lesson series w/ things you think went well and could have been better.
  5. Provide record of you and your team collaborating on a NGSS storyline and the phenomena that you are using.
There is no limit to the number of entries per month, so those who submit more pieces of NGSS evidence will have a better chance of winning. Drawings will be held on the first school day after the end of the month. Entries will be reset for February and March, but all previously earned entries will be added to April’s Grand Prize.
The science coaching team will use the resources to build a database-driven and searchable website for Science Curriculum and Teaching Case Studies (for use within TUSD only). Eric and Ryan are really excited to continue collaborating with our colleagues throughout the district! 
Asgill's Writing Workshop
Write Small Narratives to Teach BIG Content, Mary Asgill, TUSD Writing Coach
“I remember when I was in 7 th grade, getting ready for my first school dance...” Even if your students were nodding off, sneakily texting a friend, or daydreaming about whatever kids daydream about, the second you interrupt your lesson to tell a story, you will capture their full attention. Everyone loves stories – and students are always curious about their teachers’ private lives and experiences.

Why not write a carefully crafted narrative that aligns with your most challenging lesson concept ? Print it out or share it with them in an online journal. Let students read a little about your life, while at the same time, understand how your tough content connects to your real-world experiences.  

You teach welding?  Tell them about the time when you almost burned your… You teach 3 rd grade? Share with them that when you were in 3 rd grade you struggled with… You teach math? Tell them how trigonometry ended up being…
Why write when you can just say it verbally? Writing will help your students understand the content in substantial and compelling ways. Consider these three points: 

  • Your writing will help students learn your content – mostly because YOU are the writer, and you’ll capture their attention. They’ll want to read what you wrote – especially if you give them your personal experience and examples about the content. You will be the expert you want them to read. You will be your own mentor text.

  • Your students will be more encouraged to write if you write, and writing will help them in the following ways:  They will

1)      think more about what they’ve read or what you’ve said
2)       focus their attention and concentrate to greater degrees
3)       improve their communication skills
4)       ask good questions and anticipate what a reader wants to know
5)       be grounded to the data, research, facts, details, and information
6)       review and remember what they’ve learned
7)       see issues from multiple perspectives and try to describe and explain them
8)       choose what is important and organize it in a way that is clear
9)       clarify and condense their thoughts so that they are more apt to remember content
10)    understand themselves better because writing unpacks their thinking

  • Your writing will last forever. Students can reread and ask questions about the content, and embroil themselves in the essential understandings that you want to impart. The wisest teachers taught using stories:  Jesus of Nazareth, Socrates, Khalil Gibran, Aesop, Lao Tzu, the Griots, etc. Thankfully, they were written down.

Writing is hard and scary for most people. It’s right up there with public speaking, snakes, and spiders! But as the leaders of your classrooms, your students will respect your courage to be vulnerable with them. Yep. Writing makes us vulnerable because writing makes us real. Our writing doesn’t have to be beautiful; it just has to authentic...and you know your kids will see right through you if you’re not being real with them. 

Even if you make up the whole story so that it magically connects to your content ( don’t tell me you haven’t verbally done this already) – just tell them that your narrative is a gift of fiction, wrapped with nonfiction intent. :) They’ll love your honesty and respect you even more because you cared enough to write your experience with the content down – so they could know your personal connection to it, remember it, and learn from it. 

If you already write for or with your students, share your techniques, strategies, or habits of mind. Let’s continue to build our writing community. 
Tech in TUSD
Marshall Beyer, Ed Tech Coach: Quickly Access Comments in Comment Bank in Google Classroom
With the updates to Google Classroom, giving students feedback has become so much easier. You can now compile a bank of comments and use them at your disposal by accessing them in the comment bank when opening a student’s document in Google Classroom. 
To quickly access all of your comments in the comment bank, type in # in the comment window and BOOM! your comments from the comment bank with be there. It will show you the first five. Once you start typing, the comments that you are looking for will appear.
Student Spotlight
Turlock High School
Meet Ida Winfree! Ida is in 9 th grade at Turlock High School and is 14 years old. Her P.E. teachers at THS, Joann Davison and Mary Krupka, recommended we feature Ida in our newsletter! Have a student with a unique talent or who is doing outstanding things in your classroom, campus, or the Turlock community? Reach out!
I play the mandolin and guitar and am in a band called North Country Blue. We’ve opened a pretty well-known Americanish music festival called Strawberry. Our band was asked to work with Rhiannon Giddens (a famous folk artist) in a master class in L.A. People came and watched to see how she could tweak songs and get the performers to deliver them better. We have performed at the International Bluegrass Music Association in Raleigh, North Carolina. We also recently played a bluegrass festival in Las Vegas. Three of us have also taught (as substitutes) classes for the California Bluegrass Music Association’s “youth program.” We’re noticed by the bluegrass community as an “all-girl kid bluegrass band,” which is rare because bluegrass was originally only males.
Hometown Hero
Joseph M. Perry, E-5, ND2
Schools Attended: K-8 Sacred Heart School, 9-12 John H. Pitman High School, California State University Stanislaus, B.A. in Music
Year Graduated: 2007
Military Branch: United States Navy
Job/MOS/Rate : Navy Diver 2nd Class
Where are you stationed: I am currently stationed at South West Regional Maintenance Center in San Diego, CA.
Why did you join the military?  There were many reasons that I joined the military, but the biggest contributing factors were my grandfathers. Both of my grandfathers served during WWII, one served in the Navy and the other served as a pilot for the Army. I always heard stories as a child about their time in the military. After receiving my college degree I wanted to do something different from what I had been doing and have a few of my own experiences. I can honestly say that joining the military was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has completely changed my perspective on what I want out of life and what I want for my family.
What is your favorite part of being in the military?  I think the best part of being in the military is by far the men and women you have the privilege to serve alongside. Camaraderie is by far the most refreshing thing. For me you couldn’t ask for a better job than to be able to wake up, throw a dive hat on, and go dive on ships with your brothers. In the Navy diving community we are pretty tight-knit and we take care of each other. Deep Sea, as we call fellow divers, always have each other’s backs no matter the circumstances. 
What has been the biggest challenge?  The biggest challenge for me so far has been getting enough time with my family. We just had a child so that can be interesting with a very fickle schedule.
What are your goals for the future?  Immediate goals I have are to prepare for my next command and to start working towards going to first class dive school. Long term I have a few plans but it’s really hard to say this early in the game.
Any hobbies?  My hobbies include spending time with my family, running, lifting, and sleeping (when that’s possible). 
Anyone you’d like to recognize for helping you on this journey?  I would have never made it to where I am without my family, more specifically my parents and my amazing wife. I went through some hard times at the beginning of my naval career and they were always there to talk when I needed a slight pick me up during my time while in training and on difficult assignments. I could never repay them for all of their love and support that they gave me throughout my time and continuing forward.   
This is TUSD
Meet Jared Jeffries
How long have you worked in TUSD? 7 years. I spent 3 years at Turlock Junior High School and this is my 4th year at Turlock High.
What is your job title? I teach 12th Grade English and AP English Literature and Composition.
Where did you work prior to TUSD?  I worked at Thomas Downey High School in Modesto before coming to Turlock. I also worked at Raley’s (my first job ever) and Cold Stone Creamery (where I met my wife!).
Any info you would like to share about your job? Average day? In my opinion, I have the most fun and fulfilling job imaginable. Most days I lead conversations in my classroom about the texts we are reading. I like to spend a lot of class time on discussion because it’s one of the only things you absolutely cannot do outside of class.
Things you are most proud of? I’m really proud of the Turlock High School Marathon Club which is part of Teens Run Modesto. Last year more than a dozen students spent six months training for the Modesto Marathon and ran the 26.2 mile race in March. Some had never run further than a mile before. They showed up every Saturday, building from 5-mile runs to 10, to 15, to 20 in preparation for the Marathon. They surprised me with their determination and I hope themselves too! I’m also proud to have just been named the Teacher of the Year nominee for Turlock High; what an honor!
Challenges? Within the limited time of the school year, it’s hard to fit in everything you would like.
Favorite memory/story? I remember my first year at THS I went to Harvest Bowl and was blown away. Growing up, I went to a really small school so I was amazed at the all the excitement, enthusiasm and wall-to-wall people in attendance at a high school football game.
What are you reading? Right now I’m reading North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail. It’s written by Scott Jurek, a guy that just recently broke the speed record for running the 2,189-mile trail that stretches from Maine to Georgia. He had to run more than 50 miles a day! I also recently read Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger which was a fantastic book.
Any favorite shows you’re watching on TV? It’s pretty embarrassing to admit that I only recently started The Office and am about half way through. It’s great! I see what I’ve been missing all these years. We watch a lot of Chopped when my wife is in control of the remote.
Anything surprising we may not know about you? Many students already know this, but two of my front teeth are fake. I got hit in the face with a hockey puck in 2015 and it shattered them. Insurance did not cover it - apparently teeth are cosmetic.
Anything else you’d like to share? I like to spend a lot of time running, especially with my two-year-old daughter, Phoebe. Over the summer my wife and I ran a half marathon around the lake in Tahoe which was a lot of fun. My mom, Sue Jeffries at Brown Elementary (who was my Kindergarten teacher!), is retiring at the end of this year. Shout out to her!
Seen on Social Media
The Swine Barn at the TUSD Farm is getting closer to completion! This week crews poured cement for the walkway and floors of the pens, which will create a clean and safe environment for the students and their pigs. There are 26 pens which can house two pigs each. Who’s ready to raise a pig this spring for the Stanislaus County Fair?
Family Literacy Night
We can almost see the stars and smell the s’mores at the “camping themed” TK-2 Dual Immersion Family Literacy Night! Great job Principal Luisa Salinas, AP Angela DeTomasi, Early Literacy Instructional Coach Maureen Pereira on organizing this fun event for families!
The 411
Reminder: Deadline to Take CHKS Survey is December 7!
The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is a powerful tool for use in Grades 5-12 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.

The value of the survey data for: (1) addressing the needs of students that are barriers to learning and overall well-being, (2) improving school safety and both learning and teaching conditions, and, ultimately, (3) improving school attendance, academic performance, and graduation.

The opportunity it provides students, staff, and parents to communicate confidentially their perceptions and concerns about the school and its environment in a neutral context, as neither the school nor district is being rated or evaluated based on the results.
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.