TRACY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Dr. Brian Stephens, Superintendent
Dr. Rob Pecot, Assoc. Superintendent of Business Services
Ms. Tammy Jalique, Assoc. Superintendent of Human Resources
Ms. Julianna Stocking, Assoc. Superintendent of Educational Services
As I write this last District Digest for the school year, I have to pinch myself that we are nearly done with another school year. This has been a school year like no other. Our emotions have been pulled in so many directions as we have adjusted to the greatest pandemic we have faced in a century. One of the key memories that I will take from this year is the resiliency that every one of you has shown during such a trying period in our lives. You have been nothing less than remarkable in how flexible you have been to the changing situations we have had to face. If there is one thing that I hope that we take out of this experience above all else, is that when challenged with many obstacles we stood our ground and did more than survive, we thrived. Each of you should move forward with greater confidence in your professional skills while understanding that there is little that you cannot do or accomplish. Thank you for all of your efforts to help TUSD get through this school year and I ask that you move forward with growing confidence to achieve what lies before you both personally and professionally as there is little that you will be unable to achieve.
I want to express both my appreciation and congratulations to those individuals that are choosing to retire this June. You will leave an enormous hole to be filled within our district. Always remember the good moments and know that you have made a positive impact on the lives of students, which is the ultimate achievement that we all strive to accomplish. Good luck, and may God bless you as you begin your next journey.
In addition to our retirees, some of you are moving to new places and new futures. I want to wish the very best to Catey Nasello who will be leaving Hirsch for a principal position in Whitefish, Montana. I know that this has been a goal of hers for a longtime to move to Montana so congratulations on making this dream come true. After seven years of commuting daily from Atwater, Tamara Ferrario, Director of Human Resources, is leaving us for a position just a few minutes from home. We are sorry she is leaving but with three active boys at home, we understand the need to be closer to them. Thank you for your exceptional service to our district.
I have lately been asked often about what the next school year will look like. If on June 15, our state re-opens as Governor Newsom has suggested, our intent will be to open the school year as we always have prior to the pandemic. I am looking forward to a normal but exciting start to a new school year. All districts were required to offer some form of distance learning through the remainder of this school year but I certainly hope that this will not be a requirement moving forward. It has taken an extraordinary effort by staff to have both in person and distance learning instruction taking place at the same time and I hope that this will not be a burden placed on us by Sacramento for the 2021-22 school year.
At the April 27 board meeting, district staff presented its plan for how to spend the nearly $40 million in one-time funds that TUSD is receiving from both the federal and state to address the many issues that have emerged out of the pandemic. The list that was presented was comprehensive and detailed. It included social/emotional counseling services at each school site five days a week as well as additional academic counselors at the high schools and middle school grades. It has been an odd feeling having so much money to spend, clearly something that is out of the norm for school districts. All of these additional funds must be spent by September 30, 2024 which is a bit frustrating as we would like to spread out the funds over a longer period of time however, I am deeply appreciative to have these funds to address a multitude of issues that we are currently facing.
Congratulations to Amanda Bailey, 2nd grade teacher at Bohn Elementary, for being a finalist for the San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year Award. The virtual awards ceremony is scheduled for June 3. We wish Ms. Bailey the very best! Congratulations to Ashley Fisher (Library Tech) and Manuel Faria (Mechanic) as they have been chosen as the San Joaquin County Employee of the Year in their job classification. Their names will now be forwarded to compete at the state level. Best wishes!
Thank you for the effort and time that you have put in to make this challenging year a success. I know that it has not been easy but want you to know how appreciative I am for the professionalism that you have displayed over the last twelve months. I hope that you will have a relaxing summer break. Enjoy your family and do something fun!
Brian Stephens, Ed.D., Superintendent
Tracy Unified School District
Tammy Jalique, Associate Superintendent of Human Resources
Tamara Ferrario, Direction of Human Resources & Employee Relations
Throughout the many changes brought about as a result of the pandemic, employees were constantly challenged in how they performed their daily work. Guidelines that existed one week were modified or changed the following, and throughout it all the employees of TUSD continued to do what they do best, putting forth effort that went above and beyond to serve our students. Thank you to TEA and CSEA leadership for your collaboration and support in reaching agreements that supported continued learning and operations under the best circumstances possible. Thank you to all TUSD employees for your resiliency and commitment to ensuring TUSD students and their families were supported.
This year the District has 48 retirees who have a combined total of 1,059 years of service to the District! On behalf of the staff, students, and community of Tracy Unified School District, we thank these employees for their contributions and commitment to the success of our students. We wish our retirees the best in their retirement.
Jaime Quintana, Director of Facilities, Planning & Construction
West High School Agriculture Project
West High School will be installing a modular container and refrigeration unit to assist the WHS Agriculture Program with the expansion of their agriculture and horticulture program. The project will also update infrastructure, power, and lighting in the applicable areas.
North School Modernization
Construction of the North Modernization Project continues to move forward. The project is scheduled to be completed by July, allowing the new facility to be used in the Fall of 2021.
Brandy Campbell, Director of Food Services
The Food Services Department will be operating the Seamless Summer Feeding Program at school sites hosting TUSD summer programs and at school sites hosting SJCOE programs and/or the Boys and Girls Club. Meals are free for all students as well as children from the community ages 2-18. Breakfast will be available in the cafeteria before school, and lunch will be served in the cafeteria at designated lunch times. Times may vary by school site. Meal service begins on June 7, 2021 with varying end dates depending on the program. TUSD programs end on July 2, 2021. SJCOE programs end on July 9, 2021. The Boys and Girls Club program ends on July 23, 2021. A detailed schedule of summer feeding sites and times will be posted on tusdfoodservices.com and an informational flyer will be distributed to families and the community about the availability of free meals for the summertime. This information will be posted and sent out in the coming weeks.
Dr. Rob Pecot, Associate Superintendent of Business Services
Facilities has had numerous inquiries over the last 6 months as to when TUSD will be reopening to renters. TUSD will reopen to outdoor field renters June 1. Indoor rentals are anticipated to reopen on June 15th, pending the Governor’s stance on indoor gatherings at the time.
Anthony Flores, Director of Maintenance, Operations & Transportation
Maintenance has a few summer projects in which they will be starting as soon as May 10th. Some of those projects include: a re-siding job on a portable at Hirsch, new stage flooring at Kimball HS, elimination of some trip hazards caused by tree roots, and painting of curbs at the sites. HVAC is anticipating all MERV 13 filters to be delivered within 4 weeks and installation will begin shortly after. The goal is to have all sites equipped with MERV 13 filters by the start of school. Custodial will begin their summer deep cleaning June 1st.
Transportation has a busy summer ahead of them. The department is preparing to accommodate the multitude of summer school and programs TUSD will be hosting this year. Transportation anticipates 41 bus routes this summer, which includes transportation for County and SPED students, Summer Bridge, Credit Recovery to the high schools, and Title 1 Programs. Transportation Mechanics will be busy with regular service and repairs. Other projects for the department include smog and opacity tests on buses, alignments (we do not have the equipment to do this in-house) and installation of two-way radios in new buses. TUSD will also have some buses re-painted to keep fleet in compliance with CHP requirements.
- EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
- CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, STATE & FEDERAL PROGRAMS
- HEALTH SERVICES
- LTEL COUNSELOR
- PREVENTION SERVICES
- SPECIAL EDUCATION
- STEM UPDATE
- STUDENT SERVICES
Julianna Stocking, Associate Superintendent of Educational Services
Teacher Appreciation Week
I would like to extend a very special thank you to all of our teacher teams and TUSD staff that have worked so hard this year to support the needs of students, families, and colleagues. The tremendous efforts of on-going communication to students and families, as well as the commitment to ensure our kids received the best education possible with the resources and constraints of COVID-19 took our teams to levels we did not know were possible. This has been a year of growing and learning that we will carry with us, as we finish out the year and look to return in the fall. We look forward to planning for a return in August of full time, in person learning with a continued commitment of Rigor, Relevance, and Engagement, with Relationships as our foundation.
Tania Salinas, Director of Continuous Improvement, State & Federal Programs
Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)
The LCAP is a three-year plan that describes the District’s goals, actions, services, and expenditures to support positive student outcomes that address State and local priorities. The LCAP provides an opportunity for Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to share their stories of how, what, and why programs and services are selected to meet their local needs. TUSD is in the process of developing the three-year LCAP. Thank you to everyone who completed the LCAP survey and or attended our LCAP Stakeholder Events. Your input is very important to this process! There will be a Public Hearing for the LCAP at the June 8th Board Meeting. The LCAP will then be posted on the District website for any additional public comments before the June 22nd Board Meeting where the Board of Trustees will be voting to approve the plan. Thank you again for giving input for the 2021-2024 LCAP. If you have any questions regarding the LCAP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Plans for Student Achievement (SPSAs)
We are working with all school Administrators to complete the School Plans for Student Achievement (SPSAs or School Site Plans) that are in alignment with the District LCAP for next school year. These plans and budgets drive the actions each school will take to meet the District Goals next school year. Plans are due in mid-May and will be reviewed by our Board of Trustees in June. Take a few minutes to talk to your school Administrator(s) to see what’s in store for your school site next year!
Title I K-8 Summer Program
Our Title I K-8 Summer Intervention Program for students in grades K-8 will be held at South West Park Elementary School from Monday, June 7, 2021 through Friday, July 02, 2021. We have received 442 student applications, hired 15 teachers, and are looking to hire 9 more as soon as possible. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided for our summer school students. We will also provide free transportation with pick up and drop off locations at the Holt Post Office, Monte Vista Middle School, Jacobson, Delta Island (Stark/Howard Rd), Delta Island (Sarali Farms/Clifton Ct), Central and North School. To meet County’s Covid-19 guidelines, on opening day we will conduct a student self-symptom checklist, provide every student with a cloth facemask, and face shield as needed. We are excited to offer this summer program.
High School Summer Bridge Program
The High School Bridge Program specifically targets At-risk, current 8th graders as they transition into high school, to give them additional resources and support they will need to be successful in high school and beyond. The High School Summer Bridge will run for two weeks from June 7th, 2021 to June 18th, 2021. We have currently enrolled 161 students; 39 into Kimball High, 32 into Tracy High, and 90 into West High. And we are currently still enrolling students from our rural feeder schools. During this Program, these students will get to know their campus; meet their administrators and counselors; participate in group learning projects; learn the AVID method of study; receive social-emotional support if needed, and be able to establish relationships with their peers before school even starts. Upon successful completion of the two-week Summer program, students will have formal academic tutoring sessions available to them throughout their Freshman year, and right before school starts they will be presented with a backpack containing all of the school materials they will need to have a successful 9th grade year. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided for all students and transportation will be available to those students who need it during the Summer Program.
Transitional Kindergarten Enrollment for 2021-2022 is well underway. We currently have 27 students who have fully completed the enrollment process and are officially pre-enrolled into TK for next school year. We have an additional 45 students for whom we have received the initial online (AIR) request for enrollment, and we are diligently working with these families to complete the enrollment process in a timely manner. Last week, 51 e-mails and phone calls were made to parents reminding them to complete the TK enrollment process by turning in all of the required paperwork for initial school enrollment. We will be notifying all officially enrolled students via e-mail the first week of June. We will continue to accept registrations and enroll TK students right up to the start of the new school year on August 9th, 2021. For 2021-2022, Transitional Kindergarten is open to any student who resides within the TUSD Elementary School Boundaries, and whose birthdate falls between September 2, 2016 and December 2, 2016.
English Language Learner Reclassification
This year TUSD was able to reclassify 241 students who are English learners. Approximately thirty of those students were our Special Ed/English Learners. We are so proud of the work that our EL Coordinators have done to help with this process. We would also like to thank our Special Ed Program Specialist for helping with the reclassification of our Special Ed/English Learners. Congratulation to our 241 newly reclassified students!
First and foremost, our Department would like to thank everyone involved with testing for their patience during this time, as we all navigate testing in a manner that is completely different than we are accustomed to.
Testing has been taking place for over a month now and the progress that sites are making is truly amazing, especially during these difficult times! We have many sites administering the SBAC/CAST remotely and they are doing a great job! There have been a few setbacks along the way with the remote testing, but together, we have been able to work through them. Our last testing day is fast approaching and we just might meet the goal of testing 95% of eligible students. Great work team!
If you have any questions regarding CAASPP testing, please reach out to your site Testing Coordinator or Kim Bacchetti in the District Testing Office.
Below is data collected from our first round of FastBridge Assessments administered earlier in the year. This is a friendly reminder the last round of FastBridge assessments are to be given by next Friday, May 14th. We are looking forward to measuring our students’ growth with the two data points and sharing this data with our Summer School staff, Professional Learning Department and Administrators to development interventions and professional development to better meet the needs of our students. TUSD will continue to support FastBridge next year with additional professional development and support of each sites’ TSA.
aMath and aReading are simple and efficient procedures for screening students' broad math and broad reading abilities. The assessment is based on expert recommendations and each question is aligned with the National Common Core State Standards (2010). aMath is a computer-adaptive test and students respond to between 30 and 60 questions on each testing occasion.
The mySAEBERS (Social, Academic, and Emotional Behavior Risk Screener) is a brief and efficient tool for universal screening of student risk for social-emotional and behavioral problems for students in Grades K through 12. Thank you for administering these assessments and for sharing feedback . We are going to continue exploring the various assessments available in FastBridge with input from the school sites. Thank you again to all of you who have reached out and shared your experience.
School Readiness Preschool Programs
Our School Readiness Program is in full swing enrolling new families for the 2021-2022 school year. Families with children whose birthdates fall between December 3, 2016, and December 1, 2017, can pick up applications from our Enrollment Office at South West Park Elementary. Families can also download the Preschool Enrollment Application from the TUSD Preschool Program Webpage located HERE.
We have begun enrolling children into our Summer 2021 Kindergarten Bridge Program. The Kindergarten Bridge Program will run for two 5-day sessions this year from June 7 to June 11, 2021 and from June 14 to June 18, 2021. Children will be accepted into either session based on their zoned school for Kindergarten. The purpose of the Bridge Program is to help children with the transition from home to school and to provide them with school readiness skills. Our priority is to enroll children who have had no previous preschool experience. However, if space allows, our hope is to accept all interested children who will be enrolling into Kindergarten in the Fall.
Students at South West Park’s bilingual preschool class celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a parade and festivities in the classroom. North Preschool students had fun finding dinosaur nests strategically placed around the play yard and cracking open their eggs! As we near the close of another school year, preschool promotion discussions and planning has begun but, like most everything, promotion ceremonies will look a little differently this year.
Erica Contreras, Coordinator of Health Services
Health Services is continuing to assist our school sites with any student COVID-19 concerns that may arise. School Sites should continue to send any student COVID-19 concern follow up request to Health Services. The parents/guardians of students who are called out or sent home with any COVID-19 symptom, need to be made aware of their three options before student returns to in person learning. This is done when the site provides parents with the Parent Notification. As a reminder here are the three options parents/guardians have before the student who presented COVID-19 symptoms without any known exposure can return to in person school services:
- Get a NEGATIVE COVID-19 test (copy is required). OR
- Get a MD note letting us know student can return to in person, as the symptoms are not COVID related (copy is required). OR
- Complete the 10 days quarantine from date of symptom onset.
We also want to take this time remind everyone of the required immunization for students. Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, some of the changes include, but are not limited to:
- Requiring 2 (rather than 1) doses of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine at TK/Kindergarten entry, 7th grade advancement, and TK/K-12 new admission or transfer.
- Requiring 2 MMR doses and 3 Hepatitis B vaccine doses at admission or transfer more uniformly throughout TK/K-12 (age restrictions are removed)
- Medical exemptions must meet California Department of Public Health requirements.
It is important that parents/guardians begin now, to ensure their child gets all the needed vaccines and to avoid appointment delays. Getting them up to date now will protect against vaccine preventable disease and ensure that they will not be excluded from school and ensure class placement. Parents can ask their physician about other vaccines their child may need and bring the child’s yellow immunization card to the visit. Parents should return a copy of ALL up-to-date immunizations to their child’s school, prior to the beginning of the next school year. For further information please contact health services or you can access more information here: https://www.shotsforschool.org/.
Jessica Escobedo, LTEL Counselor
As we wrap up the year, we are looking at innovative ways to support our English Learners for the 21-22 year. After spending the majority of 2020-21 in 100 % distance learning, we know our students will require added support. Not ideal for any student, our EL students faced the additional challenge of maneuvering distance learning, with limited English and in some cases, none at all. It became evident early on, that this year would require more time allocated to supporting our Newcomer students and their families. I am thankful to our families’ flexibility in working with me on creative meeting spaces and times. We always found a place and way to meet; virtually, on the front porch of their house, at the park, in the office when comfort level allowed, and even a quick check in at their place of employment- all examples of how we made it work.
As students have begun to attend in person classes, I have been able to spend time with our Newcomer students, one of whom recently mentioned to me that he had never even touched a computer prior to enrolling in school last August. Conversations that just could not happen virtually are now happening. There is much to do and regular conversations about what support will look like for our English Learners are taking place. As challenging and heart breaking as this year has been, good has also presented itself. We have learned to become more creative in our techniques, take time to check in with each other more regularly and thoughtfully, and have formed special relationships with families that I hope are just the beginning of amazing things to come. I am excited for year four of LTEL Counseling and wish everyone a wonderful summer break!
Deidre Hill-Valdivia, Ed.D., Coordinator of Prevention Services:
Mental Health Services
Tracy Unified School District continues to provide school-based mental health services for all students. Since the beginning of the school year, there has been 826 referrals for individual counseling across the district. Students have also accessed over 100 hours of in-person services since the re-opening of schools in March. Students can access our mental health services until June. In addition, we are working with our contract providers to prepare for the expansion of mental health services for the 2021-22 school year. For more information, please contact Prevention Services.
Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Curriculum
Pursuant to AB 329 Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Board Policy (BP) 6142.1 and Administrative Regulation (AR) 6142.1, TUSD administered the Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention curriculum to all grade 7 and 9 students during the week of April 12 -16, 2021. This was a voluntary lesson and parents were given the opportunity to opt out their child, by submitting their written request to their child’s school office. Instruction was conducted virtually and in-person.
Sean Brown, Director of Special Education
ESY for grades PreK – 8 will occur June 7, 2021 – July 2, 2021, at Art Freiler School. We will continue to offer distance learning and in-person options.
ESY for grades 9–12 will occur June 7, 2021 – July 2, 2021, at West High School. We will continue to offer distance learning and in-person options.
Tracy Young Adult Program (TYAP) will also occur June 7, 2021 – July 2, 2021. We will continue to offer distance learning and in-person options.
A letter will be sent home the week of May 24 to families providing further information regarding their student’s participation in these programs.
If your child will no longer be participating in Extended School Year, please contact the Special Education office at 830-3270.
We are pleased to share that Tracy Unified School District is continuing prioritize educating students in the least restrictive environment. For the 2021-2022 school year, we are increasing the number of co-taught classrooms at Monte Vista, Williams Middle Schools, Kimball High, Tracy High, and West High. This co-teaching approach, called Inclusion, means students in special education will receive their specialized academic instruction from a Special Education Teacher in a general education classroom. The Special Education Teacher will partner with the General Education Teacher to team teach; together providing your student with high quality of instruction. Both teachers will work collectively to meet the needs of all students
Inclusion classroom allows students with a learning or physical disability to learn alongside their peers who do not face similar challenges. Inclusion provides a general education to everyone regardless of an IEP in place or specific challenges that must be addressed as an accommodation. Creating an inclusion classroom can vary because of the individual needs of students, but a positive attitude and informed approach can help everyone overcome the obstacles that present themselves.
This week is Staff Appreciation Week, and we want to share a heartfelt gratitude with our classroom staff across the district, a special group of people we truly admire. These professionals are the incredible heroes who have approached this uniquely challenging school year with such grace, determination, and dedication for our students, families, and community.
Teachers and paraprofessionals, we see you, and we are so grateful for you. Thank you for what you do for our kids. You make all of us so proud!
Debra Schneider, Ph.D. Director of IMC
TUSD welcomes the new Director of STEM and Local Accountability, Dean Reese, who will join Educational Services to provide leadership to the continuing efforts to develop STEM in TUSD. This new Educational Services position is another sign of the commitment to STEM in TUSD for all students. Dean brings a wealth of expertise in STEM teaching, directing programs, grant writing, and scholarship at the local, county, and state levels. He will be working with Educational Services Directors, site administrators, the Site Implementation Teams, and the Professional Learning staff, and Curriculum Council and the Math-Science subcommittee to sustain the STEM work in PreK-5 and the expanding implementation of STEM in grades 6-12.
Mary Petty, Ed.D., Director of Student Services/Tracy Independent Charter School Principal:
Our focus continues to be dedicated to the SARB and reengagement process of our students who are truant this month. Our Student Services team has conducted over 250 home visits this school year. Our site administrators have also conducted a number of home visits on their own and for various reasons. TUSD appreciates the focus and compassion to our students and their families as we know that many are facing challenging times. Thank you to our teachers, office staff, and administrators for keeping this a priority at their school sites-your efforts have been recognized. TUSD weekly district average for attendance is still above 95%, and we attribute this to our site teams who are making continuous connections with those students who are truant.
Student Services has also been dedicated to formalizing graduation and promotion plans, following all CDPH guidelines with our various school site administrators. Student Services and Business Services are working together to approve and modify the requests for end-of-year activities that are starting to take place at the school sites. The final phase of TUSD athletics are also underway. While following strict CDPH indoor guidance and protocols, indoor sports such as volleyball, soccer, basketball, and wrestling have started. All student athletes and coaches are taking weekly COVID PCR tests and only those who test negative for COVID 19 are allowed to participate in practices and competitions. We would like to thank our coaches, athletic directors, and site administrators for their coordinated efforts in ensuring that such testing procedures are being handled and followed.
Tracy Independent Study Charter School (TISCS)
TISCS teachers have started virtual state testing with our students required to test. In addition, the month of April was our annual “open enrollment” period. Please see our website for further information. A survey was sent out to all TISCS families to confirm which students will be staying with us for next school year and who will be going back to their zoned school.
Our department has been very busy supporting our TUSD community with translation and interpreter services. Please remember to schedule your interpreter for IEP meetings and conferences first to ensure you have secured them to be present at the meeting. TUSD currently has 16 registered interpreters and we realize that the need for interpreters is still a need. If you know of someone who may be interested in working as a TUSD Interpreter on an “as-needed” basis, please have them e-mail or call Pia DeRosa in Student Services.
The District Digest is published on the first Friday of each month.