TUSD Weekly Update
"Every kid is just one caring adult away from being a success story." ~Josh Shipp
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Update on Summer Projects
Scott Richardson, Director of Maintenance and Operations
This summer the District contracted with Field Turf to replace the artificial turf at Joe Debely Stadium. The new turf is expected to last 15 years and has an 8 year warranty. The turf is made up of three elements:

  1. Shock Pad: The shock pad is 1" thick layer of foam that covers the entire field and looks like the foam on the inside of any helmet; the purpose of this foam is to ensure that any impact is cushioned and therefore will not cause significant injury.
  2. Turf or Carpet: The turf is a 2.5" thick poly fiber that is designed to look like real grass and is permanently inlaid with the athletic field markings for football and soccer. 
  3. Infill Material: The infill material can be made up of any number of materials ranging from crumb rubber or coconut husk to cork.

After visiting multiple fields throughout the valley and in the Bay Area TUSD decided that a cork infill was the best option for us. One of the characteristics that drew us to this product is its playability; since cork is naturally buoyant, it maintains its shape and offers consistent cushion. The cork also minimizes injury from sliding like rug burns because it is naturally non-abrasive. Another characteristic that interested us is the fact that this product does not retain heat like synthetic materials do. Research has shown that a cork field can run up to 40 degrees cooler than a crumb rubber field. Recent spectators of our field have noted that when students are on the field the area they are congregated in turns brown; this is occurring because they are generating a little static between their shoes and the carpet causing the brown cork to come to the surface. This is a completely normal occurrence and research has shown that this is actually one of the reasons that cork is so good it is constantly coming up and going back down further reducing compaction of the infill material. We are excited to open this new, improved field to our TUSD students and Turlock community!
Chillin' in the B Building
The Pitman High School HVAC project began on June 4, 2018, and finished on July 31, 2018, just in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year. The objective of this project was to replace the existing boiler/chiller system that was installed when the school site was built back in 2002. The new system provides for individual air conditioning or heating in each classroom that is fully controlled by the occupant within the guidelines of our District approved set points. For the past 16 years the classrooms were only supplied heating or cooling at any given time and as a result many classrooms were unbearable on a mild fall day when the sun was beating through the windows. The new system allows for each room to have heat or cool at any given time of day depending on that particular room's temperature needs. Multiple staff members have been checking on our teaching staff throughout the first week of school and everyone is reporting that they are very happy with the new system. We greatly appreciate the community support of this project for our staffs and students. 
Darrah Wilson, Student Support Clinician
As we start the new school year, many educators are faced with the stressors of returning to a hectic work schedule, developing relationships with a whole new set of students, creating new curriculum, implementing new policies… in general just getting back into the swing of things. (Not to mention, the lives you have outside of work and your own families!) It is important during this busy time of year that we take moments to stop, breathe, and pay attention to ourselves and our own well-being. This is the basis of mindfulness and here is an example of one way to use it as a teacher:

  • Close your eyes, take 5 deep breaths.
  • Think about a student you find challenging.
  • Recall the last time she or he did something that made teaching difficult.
  • What emotions does the memory elicit? Do you feel annoyed? Frustrated?
  • How does your body feel? For example, are your shoulders tense? Your stomach tight?
  • Don’t try to stop the feelings or change them. Just sit with them.
  • Listen to the thoughts that come from these feelings. 
  • Continue to breathe and imagine each muscle relaxing gradually with each exhale.

Mindfulness is not so much about fixing problems as it is becoming aware of our internal responses to them. This practice is helpful because it will enable you to learn how your emotions function. This will help you to respond consciously, rather than unconsciously, to misbehavior. It may help you to record these reactions in a journal or share them with a trusted colleague.

For more information, check out Seven Ways Mindfulness Can Help Teachers.
TOOLBOX for Social/Emotional Learning
Have you heard? Last year, the Student Support Clinicians were able to collaborate with 18 teachers to bring TOOLBOX Social/Emotional Learning to their classes! Together, we introduced all 12 tools and had wonderful discussions with students about how they can use their tools to be more successful and manage tough emotions. This year, we are excited to see TOOLBOX continue to grow! On September 6 and 25, the District is offering training for teachers on this new curriculum. To find out more about TOOLBOX please visit Dovetail Learning.
New Writing Continuum
Denise Duewell, Coordinator Induction and Professional Development
This is the first year of the Turlock Unified School District Writing Continuum! Principals are currently giving every teacher in the district the first edition of the continuum. In this edition, TK-12 teachers have minimum end-of-year expectations for formatting papers. Such a guideline is designed to build district-wide consistency in writing. We will continue to build the curriculum each year with a release of TK-2 writing expectations in 2019-20; 3-5 writing expectations in 2020-21; 6-8 writing expectations in 2021-22; and 9-12 writing expectations in 2022-23. Additionally, we will include a particular writing focus for all grades with each release of expectations.
The most exciting part is that the continuum has been built by TUSD teachers, and as we move forward, we encourage more teachers to join our task force. In fact, we have added five teachers since the first day of school, and we continue to look for TK, K, and first grade teachers as well as content area teachers at the 7-12 levels.
With this continuum, the goal is to illustrate the writing standards and to make daily writing the expectation in every classroom. In order to bring this to fruition, our district writing coach, Mary Asgill, will be providing professional development on strategies for teaching and utilizing writing in all classrooms. Together we can build a culture of writing in TUSD!
School Spotlight: Cunningham
We’re visiting Cunningham Elementary School today! Here are some facts about their school:

Est. 1960
Principal: Tami Truax 
Assistant Principal: Vicki Kyte
35 Teachers 
20 Classified Staff 
696 Students 
Mascot: Eagle
Motto: Cunningham Soars

Have a great year Eagles! #TUSD #TUSDSCHOOLSROCK
Professional Learning Communities are in full swing at Cunningham Elementary School as teams work to create learning cycles for identified essential standards for English-Language Arts. They are also writing learning targets, identifying vocabulary, selecting curriculum, and creating common assessments. TUSD #TUSDSCHOOLSROCK
The US in TUSD
Meet Mary
Mary Asgill, TUSD's new District Writing Coach, has worked in TUSD for 13 years.

Where did you work prior to TUSD?  Ceres Unified School District as an Instructional Coach and English teacher
What is an average day in your job? Right now, the “average” is still unfolding, so I don’t exactly know what average looks like yet. But one of the joys of this job is getting to talk with teachers and administrators about what their vision for writing looks like in their classrooms and at their sites – how it might fit in with the culture and climate of their schools, of their students’ lives and how writing connects to how and what students are learning.  
What are you most proud of? Sticking to my workout routine. It’s finally become part of my lifestyle. I used to hate everything about exercising, so I hired a perky 20-something trainer at my gym to help me stay motivated to move. I admire people who can just do it on their own. For me, I just feel blessed that my body can do what I ask it to do. That’s a pretty incredible feeling.  

What are your challenges? …the regular challenges teachers have, working to balance work life and home life…all the stuff we deal with…working hard in this challenging profession, family obligations, raising children, care-giving for elderly parents, church, volunteering, finding time for friends, advising student clubs, attending meetings, doing laundry, running errands, the regular stuff…finding balance and working toward harmony.
What is your favorite memory/story? One of my favorite memories is crawfishing with my dad. I was always struck by how much he valued silence. He told me that he couldn’t take me fishing unless I was quiet because I’d scare the fish. I think I read someplace that that was a myth…anyway, because I was mad about having to sit quietly, for every dozen or so crawfish he caught, I grabbed the tongs and let at least half of ‘em go. When we got home, he told our neighbor that he hadn’t reeled in very many this time – then he just turned around and stared at me. Not sure if he knew, but that tiny bit of passive resistance felt good. But I’m sure the silence felt just as good to him.   

What are you reading?  Oh, gosh! Lots of pedagogy, lots of research – which I love – but also rereading two books: Zadie Smith’s, White Teeth , and lots of children’s books – especially Katherine Applegate’s, The One and Only Ivan , a book my P.E. colleague and friend, Joanne Davison, gave me. A beautiful book: the human condition seen through the eyes of a gorilla. A must read.  
What are you watching? Haha. Watching TV is how I turn off my brain. I like a daily dose of Hawaii 5-0 , Blackish , The Middle , The Carmichael Show , Young Sheldon , or Avatar: The Last Air Bender (a cartoon series from 2008). 
Anything surprising we may not know about you? When I’ve had a horrible day, I play the flute. I’m not that good. Not too many horrible days.
What else should we know about you? Can’t live without comedy! Name the comedian, I’ve seen her/him…or will probably get tickets. Love to hike. Joined a meet-up called the “Lazy A** Hiker’s Club” – for people over 50 who like short hikes and moving slowly. Enjoying big beautiful trees with great conversationalists. Heavenly.  
Share Your Awesome!

Marie Russell
Chief Communication Coordinator

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