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
It is hard to believe that we are moving into the Christmas season. Despite the challenges of this school year, it is moving along quickly. I hope that you will still be able to celebrate some of your family traditions despite COVID in our lives. When I was a young child, we would go to a relative’s house for a big Christmas dinner and every year in the background would be Christmas carols sung by Mario Lanza, a 1950’s singer/actor. He had an amazing voice. In our house, it is an unwritten rule that until Mario Lanza has sung “O’ Holy Night” no decorations can go up! If you get the opportunity, listen to him sing “O’ Holy Night” on YouTube, you will understand the power of music.
We are continuing to work closely with the Department of Public Health to stay abreast of the COVID situation in our county. It appears that we will remain in “purple” for some time. As long as we are in “purple”, the district will remain in a distance-learning model. Until we receive further direction from Sacramento or CIF, I have cancelled all sport practices and conditioning. I understand that this will not be popular with coaches, students or parents but no sport is worth risking the health of an individual. Prior to the Thanksgiving break, I had a parent actually ask me if I were going to have the district cover the loss of scholarships, I would be causing by shutting down sports. I found the question so ridiculous, that I was momentarily speechless. As a former coach, I recognize the value of sports but in doing so, we must keep it in perspective of the larger issues we are facing. The health of a student, coach or someone they might infect is of far greater value than an activity where we throw or kick a ball.
I am hearing that the financial situation the state is facing may not be as dire as once thought. We will know more once Governor Newsom releases his initial budget proposal after the break. After so much bad news, I am hopeful for some good financial news in January.
A year ago, the words “pandemic” or “COVID” would not be in our daily vocabulary. The concept of schools across our nation “distance-learning” with their entire school population would have been scoffed at by almost everyone. In just a few months, our lives have been forever changed. Due to the virus, our district has lost good people who by every account should be with us today. As we move towards this holiday season, let us take nothing for granted and appreciate every family member, friend and colleague. To peer into the future is not a skill granted to any of us so all we can do is deal with what we know and have experienced. I urge you this Christmas to express the love, gratitude and appreciation that you have for others with words so that nothing goes unspoken.
I wish you and your family the very best Holiday Season. Merry Christmas!
Brian Stephens, Ed.D., Superintendent
Tracy Unified School District
School counselors and administrators are planning master schedule development for the 2021-2022 school year. In January, Human Resources staff meet with all high school and middle school administrators and counselors to review enrollment projections to determine staffing needs. One way in which our teachers have been helpful in this process is through notification of planned retirements and resignations early in the year. Teachers who provide such a notice are not considered to have officially communicated this information to Human Resources until a signed letter with last date of service is received by the department. However, early notification does allow our Human Resources department to have a sense of how many teachers will need to be replaced, which is helpful in our staffing process. Thank you to those teachers who have already shared their plans with the Human Resources staff.
- Medline Industries Inc. has graciously donated 10,000, 4 oz bottles of hand sanitizer to Tracy Unified School District. The Sanitizer will be distributed to sites throughout the District and will ultimately benefit the health and wellness of students, staff and the Tracy Community. Tracy Unified is thankful for the thoughtfulness and generosity of Medline Industries, Inc.
- Sutter Health generously made 3 sizeable donations to our school district. Sutter has donated $5,000 to each of our 3 high schools. For Tracy High School $5,000 was donated to the Football Booster Club, and to West and Kimball $5,000 was donated to the general A.S.B. Athletic Fund.
Reed Call, Director of Financial Services
The Financial Services department is in the process of preparing the 1st interim report. The first interim report is due December 15 for the four-month period ending October 31.
The 1st interim report must be approved by the board and include a certification of whether or not the LEA is able to meet its financial obligations for the current and two subsequent fiscal years. The certifications are classified as positive, qualified, or negative. The certifications are signed by the President of the Governing Board and Superintendent of the school district.
During preparation of the 1st interim report the District must follow a required set of standards created by the state. The District’s adherence to these standards will be evaluated by the SJCOE.
In preparation of submitting the report, the District will review projected federal, state, and local revenues, including a review of enrollment and ADA projections.
Salaries are analyzed for changes in bargaining unit settlements, and fluctuations in FTEs and assignments. Employee benefits, including changes in projections of STRS and PERS, are updated for rate changes from our July 02, 2020 budget.
Other District expenditures are reviewed and updated for changes in books and supplies; services, utilities and other operating expenditures; capital outlay; and other transfers.
The District’s cash flow projections are very important for this fiscal year. Cash deferrals in our state revenue (LCFF) will adversely affect District budget decisions. Without our current reserves, the District may run out of cash and be unable to pay salaries and vendors.
Brandy Campbell, Director of Food Services
The Food Services Department continues to serve daily meal packages that contain breakfast, lunch, and supper, at all school sites and three bus stops in the Delta Islands. Meal participation is down significantly compared to a normal school year (approximately 75% - 80%). In November the department began serving weekend and holiday meals. This not only provides more food to families in need, but it is additional revenue for the department. Meal participation is up slightly over previous weeks because we are now serving both the San Joaquin County and Tracy Unified Special Education students on campus who have begun in-person instruction. The November issue of the SJCOE publication, Outlook (http://bitly?OutlookNov2020) contains a nice article highlighting Tracy Unified Food Services feeding efforts throughout this pandemic. In addition to developing various feeding models based on proposed instruction models, the department is also preparing for the At-Risk Afterschool Meals program audit scheduled for December 2020 and January 2021.
Head-Set Distribution and Web Camera Mounts for Instruction
As of December 2nd, all requested headsets were delivered and signed for by site administration upon receipt. Purchasing hand delivered each sites device allotment to front offices for dissemination to individual classrooms. The first round of 100 web cams and hardware have been installed at sites. Installation will begin for the next round of installations next week.
Jaime Quintana, Director of Facilities Planning & Construction
There is still ongoing site work with several activities in Bldg. A, such as, mechanical, electrical, and some minor framing of the interior. In addition, the 2-story building is in progress, the steel columns are now up with glulam beams and onsite constructed walls are ready for placement. The next couple of weeks will render greater visual of the ongoing progression in the construction. Most importantly, the schedule and budget is still holding to the contracted terms.
- CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, STATE & FEDERAL PROGRAMS
- HEALTH SERVICES
- IMC - Instructional Media Center
- PREVENTION SERVICES
- PROFESSIONAL LEARNING
- SPECIAL EDUCATION
- STUDENT SERVICES
- TISCS - TRACY INDEPENDENT STUDY CHARTER SCHOOL
Dave Brown, District AVID Coordinator
Chill is in the air and AVID recruitment is in full swing! All three high schools have held their virtual special programs night which included a number of programs in addition to AVID. Schools made videos, held in person sessions, and various other means to communicate to our 8th students. Students are applying online and will be interviewed in early January. We are hopeful that regardless of the struggles and challenges we have experienced over the course of the year that we will be able to maintain a strong and successful program that benefits our students. Vacation is just around the corner. Have a safe and happy holiday!
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.
State Testing: CAASPP
As was said last month, the state will not be granting waivers for testing this year. ETS and CAASPP are working on testing options for the 2020-21 testing year. They are investigating the implementation of multiple options for testing: in-person, remote, or hybrid. To help with the time needed for testing, they have revised and shortened the testing blueprints for the Smarter Balanced assessments for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. The ELA and math Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) will be reduced by approximately one half across all grades. The ELA and math Performance Task (PT) will remain the same length. The science (CAST) will also remain the same. A Secure Browser will be required for remote testing. Video and audio monitoring is going to be integrated into the secure browser. This way, the test administrator can communicate with each student, individually. A student will also be able to request assistance from the test administrator by audio and video. If you have any questions regarding CAASPP testing, please reach out to your site Testing Coordinator or Kim Bacchetti in the Testing Office.
Teacher may continue to have students come to campus for 1:1 or small group assessments. The small group should not exceed 6 students and the TUSD testing protocol should be followed.
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.
• 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
Erica Contreras, Coordinator of Health Services
Health Services wants to make sure that our TUSD community is aware of the needed medication administration forms for us to be able to assist any returning student with any prescribed medications while at school (Education [EC] Code Section 49480). This form is needed for us to be able to have and/or administer any medication at school. The form can be found on the TUSD parent portal under Health Services Health Services - Tracy Unified School District .
Contact TUSD Health Services directly at (209)830-3241 if there is any other medical form you may need to update that is not available on our website.
Debra Schneider, Ph.D., Director of IMC
Bryan Flaig, STEM Coordinator
Update of STEM in TUSD
PreK-5 classrooms at nine sites continue to implement the PreK-12 STEM pathway for all students, the goal of TUSD’s study, Leadership of STEM: The PreK-12 Pathway. Students at each grade level experience four units a year, integrated into the ELA units of study, emphasizing engineering and computer science as the levers for interdisciplinary STEM learning. Engineering is an effective vehicle to engage students and teachers in computational thinking practices that require and apply computer science, math, science, and English language arts to solve problems that are part of students’ lives.
TUSD’s STEM Coordinator has sent out design challenge materials and made videos that “roll out” each unit in PreK-5 and support the implementation of the science, engineering, and computer science concepts in those units. Site administrators and teachers have done an amazing job organizing and sending out packets of design challenge materials to all our students! Next up? STEM Unit B in December and January! Finally, in Grades 3-5, we'll start training for Scratch computer programming in December. Just in time for Hour of Code! Stay tuned.
Math and Science teachers in grades 6-12 are starting the next level of implementation of the study. They’re beginning by determining the units in their course scope and sequence that lend themselves to integrating engineering design challenges. Design Team Members, with direction and leadership from the Math/Science Committee and upcoming input from teachers in the district Math and Science departments, will create the units for students in math and science courses in 6-12; these will be implemented in the Fall of 2021-22. Participate in the district ERW meetings for Math and Science to learn more and bring your voice to the design conversation.
Update of Library Services in TUSD
Did you know that students and teachers are receiving library services even during distance learning, from library techs and teacher-librarians?
Library staff are
- teaching students how to put books on hold through the online library system and then checking out those books to students for reading at home
- checking out books from carts in front of the school during assignment drop-offs
- giving away free books left over from inventory and weeding
- reading aloud, during synchronous and asynchronous time, to groups of students in elementary, middle and high school classes
- convening book groups for students and for teachers
- creating electronic displays to motivate students to check out books
- creating digital collections for teachers that provide links to books and internet resources to support students’ content learning in any content area that can be found on your library website
- creating digital collections for student clubs, such as anime and drama, that can be found on your library website
If you did not know about these services or have not received them yet, please contact your library staff or the IMC right away and we will work with you to support students’ reading and teacher content needs. We want to guarantee access to reading materials to every TUSD student and promote a culture of reading. Let’s get every student to check out one or more books to read over Winter Break!
To follow library services, please like our TUSDLibraries accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. There, TUSD’s teacher-librarians curate and post useful, effective resources for teachers, students, and parents.
Deidre Hill-Valdivia, Ed.D., Coordinator of Prevention Services:
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. To review a list of local mental health services, click here.
A revised Student Residency Questionnaire is now available. To review the updated document in English and Spanish, click here.
For families who are facing housing insecurity, a Housing Insecurity Questionnaire is now available. Please assist families in accessing this questionnaire in order to link them with resources and community referrals. The Department of Prevention Services will collect responses, and follow-up with school sites and families. To review the Housing Insecurity Questionnaire in English and Spanish, click here. A downloadable version to print is also available, click here.
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 will be providing Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Instruction to all grade 7 and 9 students. This is a voluntary lesson and parents may opt out their child, by submitting their written request to their child’s school office.
This school year, TUSD will be implementing this instruction differently than how it was taught last school year. However, instruction will still be split between 7th and 9th grade English Language Arts (ELA) and Science classes. A time frame is still being determined. More information to come.
Melissa Beattie, Director of Professional Learning & Curriculum
Educational TSA Professional Learning Tech Team
The TUSD Educational TSA team continues to provide site-specific professional learning to improve educator effectiveness in using technology as a tool for learning. We meet monthly with Professional Learning, ISET, and Microsoft Education leaders. At these monthly sessions, Ed TSAs learn the latest updates from Microsoft, share successes and challenges, and learn new tech tools that support student learning.
This past month, ED TSAs members provided support on the following topics at their sites:
- How to set up and use channel meetings as breakout groups
- How to use Padlet to check-for-understanding
- How to use Nearpod as an interactive presentation tool
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.
STEM Site Implementation Support
We are continuing to work with the nine treatment sites that began stem implementation last year. In our work we are collaborating with site implementation teams to build a variety of site-specific professional learning opportunities that are grounded in the CIR tools and are aligned with the site’s Continuous Improvement Plan. We are also collaborating with teachers to create learning experiences that are student-centered, inquiry-driven, and content integrated during distance learning. Through this process, students are engaging in rich academic conversation about the phenomenon they are investigating, exploring, and reading about to help prepare them to be successful in their STEM design challenges. If you have any questions or would like support with STEM units or integrating curriculum, please contract Jennifer Kassel at Jkassel@tusd.net or ext 1556 and/or Del Pabalan at email@example.com or ext 1558
Sean Brown, Director of Special Education
Our Special Education Department is pleased to announce the welcoming of West High School’s SH-SDC classroom to in-person instruction! West High School started on Monday November 30th. They are our last targeted group to join our current group of SDC students in preschool to 5th grade and Tracy Young Adult Program.
Upon personally visiting the classrooms at West this week, we felt the tremendous amount of excitement and compassion for students as they arrived at school. Teachers and paraprofessionals all had the necessary precautions in place and classrooms were arranged to maximize social distancing. Students appeared joyous to be amongst their peers and to be physically present with their teachers. Again, we want to thank our teachers, fellow administrators, transportation department, and food services for their compassion, dedication and hard work in supporting students with learning disabilities. Thank you!
SPED department has purchased the Docusign feature and will be providing trainings for all SPED staff members in the weeks to come. As many know, personal signatures are highly important in special education by the various kinds of paperwork that require signatures from parent and staff members. The circumstances of social distance and/or shelter in place has impeded us from easily accessing parents for this simple yet essential part of IEPs. We hope by having this e-signature tool we will have members easily provide signatures via computer or cell phone and whereby social distance is not compromised in any manner. Trainings sessions will be announced shortly.
In November, our special education administrators participated in training called “Conflict Prevention and Resolution Through IEP Meeting Facilitation.” The weeklong workshop was geared towards preventing and mitigating communication conflict that may arise in IEPs meetings. The goal is to guide the IEP team members towards objectives through relationships and agreements. The intent is for our special education administrators resolve issues, support staff, and gain full participation of all members which will lead our district away from complaints and hearings. As a participant myself, gained a wealth of knowledge and new skills that have already paid dividends in meetings. Our department will share such strategies with teachers so we may build capacity amongst all our staff members.
Teachers - Please continue to join us for “Just in Time” office hours every Friday from 3:30-5:00pm. Office hours are 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.
Mary Petty, Ed.D., Director of Student Services/Tracy Independent Charter School Principal:
Our virtual Anti-bully poster/digital artwork contest is due today. Please help students email their submissions to your school site secretaries and/or principals. 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. More information to come.
If students are habitually tardy or truant to class, teachers are to make first contact with parents to try and change behavior. Often times, parents are working and are not aware that their child is tardy and/or truant. Should the student continue to be tardy after this first contact, teachers should make contact with site administration to set up an in-person and/or virtual meeting with the student and parent to re-engage the student and build relationships. If school site administrators are unable to make contact with family and/or the family does not show up for this meeting, please contact student services for further support. In most cases, making contact with parents and building these relationships around the student will lead to a positive outcome and re-engage students in school.
Our Home Visit Task Force Team have visited approximately 175 home visits to date. To help combat student learning loss and disengagement from school, the team is conducting home visits with our SRO Brandi this month. In some cases, we have reached out to social workers, extended family members, filed CPS reports, cited, and offered support services such as mental health. We have delivered laptops, hotspots, and cords for some families who needed them.
TUSD school site principals have worked hard to organize, create, and share safety plans for each of their school sites. As a TUSD employee, please continue to review these plans and documents on our district website to stay current with up to date information regarding safety protocols and guidelines for our school communities. Please also know that we will continue to update these plans as information changes.
Thank you for your dedication, resilience, and guidance for our students and families during this interference.
District Translation Services:
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. The current TUSD Translator/Interpreter list is made up of 18 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. 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.
Mary Petty, Ed.D., Director of Student Services & Principal of TISCS)
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 mid-December. Finally, we are waiting for the K-5th grade Edgenuity software titled “Pathblazer,” to be installed in our system soon. TISCS will now be a K-12th grade charter school in TUSD.
The District Digest is published on the first Friday of each month.