TRACY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Dr. Brian Stephens, Superintendent
Dr. Rob Pecot, Assoc. Superintendent for Business Services
Ms. Tammy Jalique, Assoc. Superintendent for Human Resources
Ms. Julianna Stocking, Assoc. Superintendent of Educational Services
I hope that this District Digest finds you in good health and that your families are doing well. As the weather changes, this is my favorite time of the year. There is something about the leaves changing color that is warming to the soul.
Last week, we were finally able to distribute devices to the last of our schools. From August 4 the initial arrival date until now, has been a long time, too long for our students to go without appropriate technology. I want to thank Tom Quiambao and his ISET staff for being persistent in getting the devices and imaging them so that they could be distributed to students. Additionally, I want to thank our teachers for their patience as you worked with students who did not have sufficient technology at their disposal. It was not easy but you continued to make it work. A teacher asked me if the district would now become a 1-to-1 district. That is probably unlikely as it took $11 million in federal funds for us to provide devices to students. TUSD simply does not have those kinds of funds from our general fund to support being a 1-to-1 district. I do feel that technology from our experiences during COVID will become more integral in what we do. I have heard from several principals that the participation rate for parent/teacher conferences has improved because of the use of technology so this might be an area where from this learned experience we change practices. Certainly, the use of technology in education is going to increase in future years.
The COVID numbers in our county continue to be moving in the right direction. As our country faces a wave of COVID increases, San Joaquin County is doing quite well. I sincerely hope that this trend continues so that students can return to our classrooms. I appreciate the school board moving the hybrid start date back to January 4 so that we can have additional time to address the issues associated with having students on campus.
I recently stopped by the Central School campus and walked through some classrooms as distance learning instruction was taking place. I was amazed by what I observed in our classrooms. Students engaged in learning activities being led by tech savvy teachers was a delight to see in action. I am in awe of the ability of staff to adjust to a new learning model. In a conversation with a student regarding the impact of COVID on the classroom, I shared that there is no one alive who has worked in this kind of a pandemic. The last worldwide pandemic was in 1918, so we are all adjusting on the fly or learning as we go so with that to consider, I feel that we have done an amazing job. While we have made some mistakes and would do somethings different, I would still give us high marks for the good work that we have done.
A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by the student editor of the West High newspaper. The young woman that spoke with me was intelligent, insightful, thorough in her questioning and a delight to visit with. When she left my office, I was reminded why we do what we do. We work hard, make difficult decisions and work long hours for students. Our goal is to help every student maximize his or her potential, so that they can be the best that they can be. In these challenging times, this student represented for me the fruits of our labors and how fortunate we are to be in a profession where we can help young people grow and be their very best. We are lucky.
Brian Stephens, Ed.D., Superintendent
Tracy Unified School District
Rob Pecot, Ed.D., Associate Superintendent of Business Services:
The project is moving forward; this week framing has been the major focus with electrical and mechanical work following. Next week roofing of the existing building will start for the purpose of waterproofing. Also, the modular building is in the works with an appearance, similar to the pictures below.
Business Services is working on 21/22 enrollment projections. Enrollment projections involve Human Resources, Student Services, Facilities, and Educational Services. Enrollment projections are done in early Fall so that budget/staffing decisions can be made in a timely manner. Our enrollment is projected to decline again next year, as we are receiving less Kinder students into the district versus those seniors who are leaving the district.
The District has been looking at ways to properly disinfect sites safely and quickly. We have looked into different technologies, and found battery operated electrostatic disinfectant sprayers that are effective against COVID-19. To aid with student and staff safety, we have purchased 30 sprayers to be dispersed around the District. This system combines electrostatic delivery with advanced battery technology that empowers our staff to effectively disinfect more thoroughly and with less training than ever before.
Electrostatic charged droplets from the effervescent disinfecting and sanitizing tablets create a field in the spray plume that is magnetically drawn to any surface within 6 feet. With an attraction coefficient 15 times greater than gravity, the electrostatic force field is so powerful the plume reverses direction to coat hidden and hard to reach surfaces that would typically be missed by conventional spraying or misting equipment.
In order to prepare for the opening of school, Purchasing has been buying PPE needed for schools. This month over 600,000 dixie cups were purchased. For safety and sanitization reasons all water fountains will be taped off and not available for student use. Students will be encouraged to bring their own water bottles to school. For those students who do not bring their own bottles, cups will be available in rooms with sinks, the front office, or at water dispensaries that are available at some of our sites.
Desk shields for students TK-2nd grade have been purchased for all students district wide. Shields were purchased for this group of students, as it is not necessary for them to wear masks. Shields will not be purchased for students grade 3-12 because those students are expected to wear masks. Purchasing has begun to reach out to local districts and vendors to see what type of microphones could potentially be used during a Hybrid Model.
On Tuesday, October 20, 2020 and Thursday, October 22, 2020 TUSD staff had a joint safety forum with both TEA and CSEA leadership and representatives. This forum consisted of a question and answer session, where approximately 75 questions were addressed. Topics ranged from staff and student safety protocols and procedures, PPE, CDE guidelines, cleaning schedules and timelines. These recorded safety forums can be found on our TUSD district webpage.
- CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, STATE & FEDERAL PROGRAMS
- EL PROGRAM
- HEALTH SERVICES
- IMC - Instructional Media Center
- ISET - Technology Updates
- LTEL COUNSELOR
- PREVENTION SERVICES
- PROFESSIONAL LEARNING
- SPECIAL EDUCATION
- STUDENT SERVICES
- TISCS - TRACY INDEPENDENT STUDY CHARTER SCHOOL
Tania Salinas, Director of Continuous Improvement, State & Federal Programs
GATE applications are currently being accepted for the 2021-2022 school year. Applications are intended for current 1st- 7th grade students. The application deadline is December 4th, 2020. Please continue encouraging students to apply. There will be a virtual (via Microsoft Teams) GATE Parent Information Meeting on December 3rd at 6:00 pm for families who are interested in learning more about the GATE Program. The meeting link can be found on the TUSD website.
State Testing: CAASPP
The state has informed LEA’s that there will not be a testing waiver for CAASPP this year. With that being said, the Testing Department is gearing up for the 2020-21 testing year! Our testing window will open for most tests beginning on March 1 and ending May 7, with the exception of the CAA for Science, which is open now until May 14. We held our Accessibility Resources training this month for Site Coordinators and will be holding the Test Administration trainings in February. If you have any questions regarding CAASPP testing, please reach out to your site Testing Coordinator or Kim Bacchetti in the Testing Office.
New this year is FastBridge, an online assessment platform that is available K-12 in Language Arts, Math and Social Emotional Learning. Students will take the online assessment three times per year, which will provide universal screening, progress monitoring and rich student data for analysis. The FastBridge assessments are universal skills-based screeners that allow teachers to quickly identify students’ needs through data, and provides guidance and materials to help teachers plan more effective instruction and interventions. On November 4th, ELA and Math Teachers were given the initial training modules to allow them to administer aReading and aMath assessments to their students. Below is a timeline for assessments to be given and support that is available should teachers need any guidance or assistance.
• TUSD’s goal is to administer the first round of FastBridge diagnostic assessments to all students K-12 by December 18, 2020 (aReading & aMath)
• January 2021: ELA teachers administer mySAEBRS and AUTOreading
• The second round of assessments are scheduled for the month of March 2021 (aReading, aMath, mySAEBRS and AUTOreading)
• The third round of assessments are scheduled for May 2021 (aReading, aMath, mySAEBRS & AUTOreading)
· FastBridge support team: Tania Salinas, Gillian Bradley, Virginia Nyberg, Michael Bunch, Michael Stagnaro and Stephen Theall
· District support for log in: Carmine Sousa
· ISET for technical support
Our preschool program staff is working on collecting observations for the preschool assessment. The Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) is a required assessment from the CDE that provides teachers and families with information on the individual child’s development/progress. The preschool program will hold parent teacher conferences on December 9, 2020. Our preschool program is working on their reopening plan and putting practices in place to provide a safe environment for students and staff.
Maria Salazar, Coordinator of EL Program:
The process for reclassification of our English learners for 2020-2021 has begun. For students to be reclassified they must meet the following criteria: a) Assessment of English proficiency – ELPAC level 4, b) Assessment of student performance on an objective assessment of basic skill in English-language arts. Students should be at Standard Met level (3) or Standard Exceeded level (4). Students scoring a level (2) may be reclassified if other data indicate achievement of basic skills, c) Teacher evaluation of student performance. At grades 4-12, student should be receiving a “C” or better in ELA, d) Parent consultation/notification. A conference with the parent needs to take place to share the student’s language skills and intent to reclassify. This year the district has identified 212 English learners who can potentially be reclassified.
Erica Contreras, Coordinator of Health Services
Health Services is currently continuing to assist our TUSD families and staff, in students chronic disease management, students care coordination, and family engagement. We are here to assist in providing families and staff the needed paperwork and resources for students with new and/or existing medical conditions. Some of our medical forms are available on the TUSD website under Health Services at https://www.tracy.k12.ca.us/parentstudent-information/health-services. If you do not see the form you need on the website, please contact us at (209)830-3241.
As a quick reminder, the California school immunization requirements for 2020-2021 school year have not changed during this time of distant learning. TUSD Health Services Department has resources available for school immunization compliance. For more information regarding immunization requirements, please contact TUSD Health Services or your local county public health department. The California Department of Public Health Immunization Branch’s website at https://www.shotsforschool.org/ has additional information available to the public.
In the following weeks, a TUSD Health Services nurses will be going out to school sites to do a schedule in person training on COVID-19 student screening. This will be done for office front staff from sites who will have returning SDC student cohorts. During this time of training, the nurse will be dropping off a COVID-guide/binder that staff can refer to when there are COVID-19 concerns.
Debra Schneider, Ph.D., Director of IMC:
TUSD 6-12 ELA teachers (from a variety of grades, sites, and programs) and Heather Reyburn, the K-12 Curriculum Specialist working with ELA teachers, convened the English Core Content Committee in 2019-2020. Their objectives were 1) to choose the novels that TUSD purchased with the 6-12 StudySync ELA adoption and 2) to establish a “reserved novels list” of books that were “reserved” to be used at each grade level and in different high school courses.
Their meetings that took place from Fall, 2019 through Spring, 2020, even during school closures. Committee members
· studied best practices for course novel reading
· studied district demographics and achievement
· reviewed RCD ELA units, StudySync materials, CA ELA and ELD standards
· reviewed vertical alignment of standards, concepts, and themes
· established areas of need
· reviewed novels TUSD currently owns and those that were made available on the StudySync purchase list
· built consensus for lists and purchases
While the committee was limited by the StudySync list in what they could choose, they worked to find materials that broadened the perspectives students would encounter in core literature, worked well with StudySync and the students’ developmental needs, and supported instruction for students learning English. They chose books new to TUSD and also bolstered the existing collection by recommending additional copies for some novels already in use. The committee also identified works to consider purchasing when funds are available at the site or district level. If your site has funds, contact Debra Schneider, the IMC Director, to learn more.
Grade and course lists include Core Novels that all students in a grade level should study; enough novels were purchased so that all students in a grade level at a site could be reading the same novel at the same time (for example, supporting a “One Grade, One Book” experience for students). Supplementary Novels were purchased to give teachers choices in alternative readings; these were purchased in smaller numbers that would allow one or two teachers at a site to teach them at the same time across all their class sections.
The recommended class novels have been ordered and will be arriving at sites in the next 4-6weeks. Principals have met with Heather Reyburn and Debra Schneider to review the committee’s work and the purchase lists so that they can support teachers in using these novels. Library technicians will receive the lists and check materials out to students in accord with assigned grade level or course.
You can contact your site principal or department chair for the novel lists if you have not yet received them. Please thank committee members for their efforts. This was a exhaustive process of study, analysis, and decision-making to which these committee members gave concentrated efforts. Their work will benefit thousands of TUSD students.
Tom Quiambao, Director of ISET
During the first week of July, when the determination to go Distance Learning was formalized, I placed an order for student laptops. Given the sudden surge of orders from various school districts across the nation, I am pleased to announce that we have received majority of the 10,000 new HP x360 student devices. During the month of October, we have successfully imaged 8,400 laptops. The remaining 1,600 laptops were unfortunately damaged during shipment. The devices are however, currently being processed.
Last week, all K-5 students had the opportunity to pick up their devices at their respective school sites. Along with the laptops, we have also provided the students with bags and hotspots (if needed). I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jill Carter, Michelle Daniels, Leonard Pacheco and the rest of the warehouse crew for spending countless hours asset tagging all the laptops and delivering them to the various sites in a short period of time. I would also like to thank the K-5 principals and their staff for supporting us during the device distribution. At this point, we have now provided laptops to K-12 students, across all school sites.
The next step in providing technology access to all students is to make sure they have laptops ready for school opening. This means getting in touch with families who provided their own laptops during Distance Learning. We would like to provide these families with district-issued laptops. The goal is to have a standardized set of devices in the classroom that we can manage and troubleshoot as suppose to students bringing their own devices.
In the next weeks, I will be working closely with K-8, middle and high school principals to revisit and determine the number of devices they need to backfill the families who did not need laptops. We will also attempt to replace the older laptops issued to students so they may have a better experience.
While devices are constantly being prepared, we are also constantly working with Microsoft Engineers to continue to resolve pending issues in Teams. Issues that are pending resolution includes Student ID display, inconsistencies with students muting the meeting, chat, uploading assignments and files, etc. Rest assured that we are looking to resolving these issues at the soonest possible time. As of yesterday, Microsoft has also announced improvements coming our way this November. I will make this announcement when the upgrades are fully released.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for your continued patience as we work through the issues in technology. I would also like to apologize for the delayed response time in addressing your technology needs due to ISET’s limited manpower. We have recently hired 1 Site Technician who will start next week and is in the process of hiring 4 more technicians to better serve the staff, students and parents.
Jessica Edscobedo, EL Counselor
Schoolwork, mental health, survival. More than ever, our families are focusing on different needs and flexibility has been a driving force behind services this year. While some of the first semester activities continue to occur, such as designated ELD class visits, parent/student meetings, this year has seen an increase in time dedicated to our newcomer students and their families as they face the additional hurdle of not speaking the language necessary to navigate the distance learning nuances.
As the first semester of the school year wraps up, ongoing support continues with a shift of focus to 8th grade students and families, as they prepare for the high school course selection process. Watch for an upcoming 8th grade parent meeting in early December, as I align services with high school counselors to ensure our EL families have what they need to make informed decisions in selecting classes for their 9th grade year.
If you find yourself with a few free minutes on a Friday afternoon, pop in and say hello at one of the LTEL Counselor Drop In Sessions (link posted weekly on the TUSD Long Term English Counselor Facebook page). I am available to support our EL families in any way I can and would love to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
Deidre Hill-Valdivia, Ed.D., Coordinator of Prevention Services:
School based Mental Health Services: Tracy Unified School District continues to provide virtual tier 3 school based mental health services for students at each school site. Teachers and parents can refer students to their site school counselor, school psychologist, or administrator.
McKinney-Vento and Foster Youth: In collaboration with various TUSD departments, a Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) has been created to address the data integrity of McKinney-Vento (homeless) and Foster Youth enrollment. The purpose is to provide a systematic process to ensure that all students eligible under the McKinney-Vento Act receive access to the same free, appropriate public education, and district resources and supports, and ensure Aeries program record is entered appropriately to meet CALPADS requirements. To review a presentation for McKinney-Vento and Foster Youth enrollment and tagging best practices, click here.
Melissa Beattie, Director of Professional Learning & Curriculum
Del Pabalan Curriculum Specialist TOSA
Educational TSA Professional Learning Tech Team
To support the online instructional model, the TSA teacher leader provides site-specific professional learning to improve educator effectiveness in using technology as a tool for learning. Each site has up to two Ed TSAs. They develop and deliver professional learning to support the site-specific learning goals within the Continuous Improvement Plan developed at the site to support distance and hybrid learning.
The TUSD Educational TSA team first met in October with a total of 27 ED TSA members! They completed foundational training, learning the four functions of student engagement as well as how to intentionally select strategies that can accelerate student learning using John Hattie’s effect sizes. Ed TSAs also learned the foundations of how to effectively lead groups and differentiate for individual learning needs.
Ed TSAs continue to meet monthly with Professional Learning, ISET, and Microsoft Education leaders. At these monthly sessions, Ed TSAs learn the latest updates from Microsoft, communicate challenges and needs, and learn new tech tools that support student learning.
They then collaborate to build professional learning workshops specific to their site needs.
ED TSAs members have already provided the following workshops at their sites:
- How to use bookings.com for setting up parent conferences and scheduling time with students.
- How to use Microsoft forms to formatively assessing students.
- Using Flipgrid and Padlet tech tools to engage students.
The Ed Techs serve as a valuable tool for sites as they increase the intentional use of technology to engage students in learning. If you are interested in joining our team, reach out to your site principal for details on available positions.
Sean Brown, Director of Special Education
Our Special Education Department is pleased to announce the welcoming of students returning to campus for in-person instruction. Special Day Classrooms (SDC) from preschool to 5th grade, West High SDC-SH, and Tracy Young Adult Program (TYAP) will have the opportunity to join their classroom for in-person instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On November 16th, 2020, students in grades preschool thru 5th grade and (TYAP) will begin in-person instruction. On November 30th, West High School SH classrooms will begin in-person instruction. Parents will have the option to select their child for either in-person instruction or distance learning. School bell schedules vary by grade level.
Teachers and parents alike are excited to have the opportunity for students to be on campus to learn and be amongst their peer group. TUSD and Special Education Department remains committed to providing a safe and healthy nurturing environment for students, therefore, health and safety guidelines will be strictly adhered to by all participants. We want to thank our teachers, fellow administrators, transportation department, and food services for their compassion and hard work in supporting students with learning disabilities.
We revamped our preschool registration process to be completed online for our new preschool students. Parents will now be able to register their preschool aged child online. Lisa Jones, Leigh Anne, and Alyssa Ciraulo have created a streamlined process for parents to register with Tracy Unified. School personnel at McKinley Elementary and Hirsch Elementary are working behind the scenes to ensure parents submit the necessary paperwork to complete the registration process. In developing an online process, we mirror our current registration process for all students plus hope to alleviate errors in CALPADS. We want to thank our attendance clerks and administrators for their support in building a more efficient practice that benefits Tracy Unified and our new families.
Please continue to join us for “Just in Time” office hours every Friday from 3:30-5:00pm. Office hours is a time where any teacher in special education can receive quick and timely advice on a topic or area of their choosing. The agenda is created and set by those participants who join. We look forward to sharing in dialogue with you.
This year the Special Education Department staff and the Educational Services Department staff are working together to identify Special Education English learner students who can be reclassified based on the reclassification criteria. For students to be reclassified they must meet the following criteria: a) Assessment of English proficiency – ELPAC level 4, b) Assessment of student performance on an objective assessment of basic skill in English-language arts. Students should be at Standard Met level (3) or Standard Exceeded level (4). Students scoring a level (2) may be reclassified if other data indicate achievement of basic skills, c) Teacher evaluation of student performance. At grades 4-12, student should be receiving a “C” or better in ELA, d) Parent consultation/notification. A conference with the parent needs to take place to share the student’s language skills and intent to reclassify. Since many of our Sped/EL students have a challenge meeting some of the criteria, the IEP team must decide if the student is ready for reclassification. So far there are twenty Sped/EL students that can potentially be reclassified.
Mary Petty, Ed.D., Director of Student Services/Tracy Independent Charter School Principal:
The only thing constant these days is change itself. Thank you for continuing to be flexible and compassionate with our students and families as you navigate so many moving parts. I appreciate the work of our TUSD school site personnel in ensuring that our students are safe and learning. Our overall district student attendance rate continues to be at or above 95%. I attribute this success to the amazing work of those of you who work on the front lines with our students both in the classroom and in the office. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to our young people who are also faced with challenging times.
Our “Home Visit Task Force Team” includes David Doyle, Annabelle Lee, John Waggle, and myself. Together, we have visited approximately 150 home visits to date. To help combat student learning loss and student disengagement from school, the team is conducting home visits with our SRO Hawkinson this month. In some cases, we have reached out to social workers, extended family members, filed CPS reports, and offered support services such as mental health. We have delivered laptops, hotspots, and cords for some families who needed them. In many cases, we are finding a positive outcome to these visits and many students are re-engaging in school.
All three comprehensive high schools will resume indoor and outdoor sports conditioning until the next transition date of December 7th. Starting December 7th, if current county health guidelines support, athletic conditioning will transition to traditional “practice.” New guidelines and protocols were sent out to our high school communities last week to ensure safety of our students and staff is a priority.
Student Services, Business Services, and Continuous Improvements have been working with all our site principals in completing their comprehensive site safety and operational plans. After several rounds of edits and translation of documents, all site plans are now complete and can be found on our TUSD website under the COVID 19 link. Thank you to Bobbie Etcheverry for helping us post these on our TUSD website in a timely and organized manner. As a TUSD employee, please continue to review these plans and documents. Please also know that we will continue to update these plans as information changes.
Our first Anti-bullying and Diversity & Equity district-level committee meetings took place this month. Our virtual Anti-bully poster/digital artwork contest flyer (Download Flyer Here) went out last week. Please advertise this contest when interacting with students and on your classroom websites as well. The Anti-bully committee agreed to a cyberbullying theme of “What can we do?” We felt this was a positive way to bring awareness to cyberbullying. In addition, it is a way to promote students and staff offering support to one another during this time of virtual learning and living. Since large gatherings are not allowed at this time, our committee uniquely decided to display the contest winners in a virtual platform such as a video display on our district website, school websites, and possibly on You Tube as well. These art submissions are due to school site administrators/offices by December 4, 2020.
Liz and Melanie, our administrative staff in Student Services, spend time each day working with our administration and office staff personnel on rectifying our certified errors in CALPADS. It is crucial for TUSD to continue having accurate data and we are working hard to rectify our certified data and errors with each school site staff. We appreciate the efforts and dedication our site office personnel have poured into this ongoing project. Certified errors accumulate based off Aeries data that is missing or inaccurate from the site and/or parent level. Errors in Data for immunizations, names, foster/homeless youth, discipline, attendance, etc. that are incorrectly tagged by sites in AERIES are all very crucial to our state reporting of CALPADS, which directly impacts TUSD’s financial revenue. The TUSD Data Integrity Team began working together last year on rectifying such discrepancies. We meet monthly to problem-solve how to continue making this process easier for everyone
- District Translation Services (Pia DeRosa, District Translator): Our translation department has been busy translating IEPs, school site safety plans, and various forms and documents for TUSD. In addition, I have been interpreting at meetings for TUSD employees, students, and families. One of my essential duties is to maintain the TUSD Translator/Interpreter list. The TUSD Translator/Interpreter list is made up of adults who speak different languages and can interpret and translate for the school district as needed. Some of the languages are Spanish, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Hindi, Farsi, Urdu, Cantonese and Tamil, to name a few. As you can imagine, the demand for interpreters and translators in our school district is greater than the number of people we have on the Interpreter/Translator list. If you know of someone who may be interested in working as an Interpreter/Translator on an “as-needed” basis, please have them e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This could be anyone looking for extra work in our community, parents in our schools, or staff members with other roles in our district who speak a second language. Thank you for helping us grow our translator/interpreter list.
Mary Petty, Ed.D., Director of Student Services & Principal of TISCS)
Our TISCS teachers have been busy with their regular weekly student appointments, small group tutoring sessions, and meeting with parents for report card conferences. In addition, our TISCS office staff is busy working with the influx of applications and application revocations that came in over the past few weeks. Email notifications to the families who are still interested in starting the charter school on January 4, 2021 will be given by November 13, 2020. Finally, we are waiting for the K-5th grade Edgenuity software titled “Pathblazer,” to be installed in our system soon.
The District Digest is published on the first Friday of each month.