Union School District

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Superintendent's Office - Messages » March 2018

March 2018

We are proud of the accomplishments all of our students and staff members. Over the past two years, both Dartmouth and Union Middle Schools have been recognized as California Schools to Watch by the California Middle Grades Alliance and California Department of Education. They are recognized as outstanding model schools that demonstrate academic excellence and advocacy for the needs of their students. All of our elementary and middle schools have been designated as Gold Ribbon Schools by the California Department of Education. These designations and awards are a reflection of the remarkable job our schools do every single day to educate, support and inspire our students.

You recently received a postcard in the mail inviting you to our upcoming Elementary School STEAM nights. We invite parents, students and all other members of the community to join us as we celebrate and experience all the exciting hands-on STEAM activities happening at our schools. For more information, please check the district calendar at www.unionsd.org.

Our newest edition of the district School Bell will also be arriving in your mailboxes very soon. We’ve highlighted some of the wonderful acts of kindness by students, teachers and staff during the Great Kindness Challenge Week in January (and beyond).

At Union School District, we recognize that it’s not only the academics that are important in a student’s journey to adulthood, but also the social and emotional wellbeing that is integral to a child’s development. All of the district’s schools consider this an important part of the education of their students and have implemented a number of strategies and programs to address these particular needs.

At Alta Vista, Carlton, Guadalupe, Lietz, Noddin and Oster, programs like Project Cornerstone help to promote a caring and safe school culture, and provide students with valuable strategies on how to cope with stresses they can experience. Highlights include a recent lesson at Alta Vista focused on friendship skills at which students and volunteers discussed ways students can build healthy relationships. At Lietz, a recent lesson helped students understand how it feels to walk in someone else’s shoes and learn about the hurtful effects of ridicule, name-calling and disrespect. At Noddin, a joint Cornerstone and Student Leadership team applies the strategies learned in the lessons to school and community service projects. At Oster, several social skills groups, during lunch and after school, provide students with a toolkit of strategies in order to successfully establish relationships, understand and manage emotions, and make responsible decisions. All of our schools use these programs to maintain a culture where students can learn and develop their social and emotional skills.

At Dartmouth Middle, students have started learning about mindfulness, and how to be aware of their surroundings, feelings and emotions in order to help reduce stress and anxiety. Student leaders at Union Middle have come together as a student-led peer support group. These Helping Heroes reach out to students who may not feel seen or heard and help promote strategies and resources for all students to make meaningful connections and promote social emotional health and learning.

Following the tragedy in Florida a few weeks ago, it is critical now more than ever that we as parents, educators and advocates are in tune with the emotional needs of our students as well as ensuring safety on our campuses. After the arrest of a Union School District teacher in the fall, all of our student, staff and parent resources regarding sexual harassment were reviewed and updated. The Board of Trustees was given a presentation during the February 12th Board Meeting which covered school safety. Parents can view the presentation in our Board Highlights (emailed to all staff and families on February 13th and available on the district website at www.unionsd.org ). Outlined in the February 12th school safety presentation, and in accordance with Erin’s Law, all students and staff will be receiving training on how to identify and speak up when faced with predatory adult behavior. Please visit www.unionsd.org for more information about the Be Seen and Heard assemblies and parent presentations.

Additionally, all of the district’s School Safety Plans were reviewed and updated in the fall. The plans were presented to the Board of Trustees at the January Board Meeting. Please contact the front office at your child’s school to view a copy of your specific school’s safety plan. The district will also be hosting informational sessions for parents this spring on School Safety, Construction, the District’s budget and instruction. Principals will be emailing families once the dates for these meetings are finalized.

It is the advocacy by parents and educators that provide the foundation for a safe and healthy education for every single student in Union School District. Feedback from parents and the community has been vital to providing the very best for students, and we would like to thank all our parents active in our schools, in our district committees and in parent leadership roles as well as those who provided valuable input in our parent and staff surveys.