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Your Questions Answered: Why does the New Year Recess start later than usual?

La respuesta a sus dudas: ¿Por qué empezaron las vacaciones de Año Nuevo más tarde de lo usual?

We’ve heard questions and concerns from many of you about the last day of classes before the New Year Recess falling on Friday, December 23rd. While we understand this may cause conflicts with holiday plans, we want to let you know that this schedule was carefully considered. We believe it’s the best possible way to meet the needs of our students, teachers, and staff, as well as the goals and objectives of our strategic plan. Read on for more details behind this decision.

Here’s a look at our rationale:

Supports the academic needs of our students
• Students get a more continuous learning period, with 8 weeks of instruction between breaks.
• Students get more “quality time” with their families over the New Year Recess, with less stress related to studying or completing projects.
• High school students have better access to community college summer sessions, and the calendar more closely mirrors the collegiate experience.

Balances the instructional needs of our teachers and staff at all levels
• The current calendar includes as many 5-day instructional weeks as possible, which allows for greater ease in planning and pacing lessons.
• This also allows teachers the ability to build complex skills or subject matter with fewer exceptions due to shortened weeks.

Aligns with the district’s strategic plan (Opportunity 21)
• The current calendar supports the plan’s objective to “provide a high-quality and comprehensive instructional program” by creating a balanced schedule that benefits all stakeholders.
•   This calendar also follows successful programs used by districts throughout our state and region, in line with our ongoing strategy to leverage best practices.

The most equitable solution
• Other scheduling options were deemed too disruptive, such as: starting the fall semester one week earlier in August; eliminating the October break; and moving the New Year Recess up a week —which would mean returning to school on January 3rd.
• SJUSD is a public institution that respects personal and religious freedoms. As such, the New Year Recess is not meant to coincide with any religious holiday.

Questions? Please contact Peter Allen, Public Information Officer, (408) 535-6444, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Family-Friendly Workplace Award

Earlier this month, the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and Office of Women’s Policy (OWP) honored San José Unified with their Family-Friendly Workplace Award, which recognizes employers who have implemented family-friendly policies that address the realities of working families.

The annual award is open to companies of any size that are physically located within Santa Clara County. Employers were asked to complete a self-assessment form in three different categories: 1. Pregnancy & Parental Leave and Accommodations; 2. Lactation Accommodations; and 3. Work-Family Balance.

In total, 24 qualifying companies were awarded Gold, Silver, or Bronze status based on their assessments. San José Unified was one of only 5 companies to receive Gold status by satisfying all criteria in all three categories.

All of the honorees were celebrated at a public meeting and a reception on November 14th at the Santa Clara County Government Center. You can visit Office of Women’s Policy online to see all of the winners.

Premio al Entorno Laboral Favorable para la Familia

A principios de mes, la Comisión de la Condición Jurídica y Social de la Mujer (CSW) y la Oficina de Políticas en Pro de la Mujer (OWP) del Condado de Santa Clara honraron a SJUSD con la distinción llamada Family-Friendly Workplace Award (Premio al Entorno Laboral Favorable para la Familia), el cual reconoce a los empleadores que han implementado normas en el entorno laboral que favorecen a las familias al atender los retos que enfrentan las familias trabajadoras.

El concurso por el permio anual está abierto a empresas de cualquier tamaño que se encuentran ubicadas físicamente dentro del condado de Santa Clara. Se les pide a los empleadores que llenen un formulario de autoevaluación en tres categorías distintas: 1. Adaptaciones y comodidades por embarazo y ausencia parental; 2. Área de lactancia; y 3. Equilibro entre la vida laboral y familiar.

En total, a 24 empresas se les otorgaron premios de Bronce, Plata y Oro con base en los resultados de su evaluación. El Distrito Escolar Unificado de San José fue una de las 5 organizaciones que recibieron el premio de Oro por satisfacer todos los criterios de las tres categorías.

Las empresas galardonadas tuvieron una recepción de festejo en una reunión pública el 14 de noviembre en el Centro de Gobierno del Condado de Santa Clara. Visite el sitio en Internet de la Oficina de Políticas en Pro de la Mujer para enterarse de todos los ganadores.

A Message from the Superintendent

Dear San José Unified Families,

The outcome of this contentious national election has raised strong emotions for many within our community, regardless of their political affiliation. I write to assure you that we are maintaining safe spaces for our students to discuss and reflect on the events. We are especially conscious that students may feel vulnerable and uncertain over the next couple of weeks so staff is providing additional support both in and outside of the classroom as necessary. As a school system, we are responding to student needs with compassion, respect, and inclusivity.

School site personnel have shared that students have displayed feelings that ranged from fear and anxiety, to hope and a commitment to better understand the current political climate. We have also listened to students who have expressed a strong interest in getting back to school work.

We have provided guidance and resources to principals and teachers on how to address the reactions to the election in class. We have suggested to teachers that if they do indeed take time and make space in the classroom for discussion around the election over the next few weeks, to use suggested resources to ensure that our classrooms remain places where all perspectives are listened to and respected. Our staff remains committed to modeling the civility that we wish to see in our community regardless of our own political or ideological stances.

We would also like to inform parents that there have been student demonstrations of activism at some of our high schools. These demonstrations have been student led and not organized by school personnel. Students have remained safe, peaceful, and respectful and we have been in communication with the San José Police Department for guidance when necessary.

We also want to inform parents that we greatly value instructional time. As we move forward, we do expect all of our students to be in class during class time. Although we remain sensitive to the needs of our students as we described above, we need to also emphasize and encourage the importance of students attending class despite the current political climate.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please contact your site principal. We appreciate your support and collaboration as our school communities balance being responsive to students’ needs while remaining committed to effective school operations. If any further plans unfold in response to the national election, our site administrators will be sure to communicate information to their parents.

Below is a resource for your review that we hope will be helpful as you have conversations with your children in the days ahead. This resource was also made available to all San José Unified staff.
From Teaching Tolerance: http://www.tolerance.org/blog/day-after

Best Regards,
Nancy Albarrán

Un mensaje de la Superintendente

Estimadas familias del Distrito Escolar Unificado de José:

El resultado de estas elecciones nacionales tan polémicas, ha ocasionado que surjan emociones fuertes en muchas personas dentro de nuestra comunidad, sin importar su afiliación política. Les escribo con el fin de garantizarles que mantenemos espacios seguros en los que nuestros estudiantes puedan debatir y reflexionar sobre los eventos ocurridos. En especial, estamos conscientes de que algunos estudiantes pueden llegar a sentirse vulnerables e inciertos durante las próximas semanas, así que según sea necesario el personal les ofrecerá apoyo adicional tanto dentro como fuera del salón. Como sistema escolar, respondemos a las necesidades de los estudiantes con compasión, respeto e inclusión.

El personal escolar nos ha compartido que los estudiantes muestran sentimientos que van desde miedo y ansiedad a esperanza y el compromiso de entender mejor el ambiente político actual. También hemos escuchado a estudiantes que han expresado un fuerte interés por regresar al trabajo escolar.

Hemos proporcionado guía y recursos a los directores y maestros sobre cómo tratar en las clases con las reacciones sobre las elecciones. Les hemos sugerido a los maestros que si en efecto toman tiempo y dan espacio en el salón para debatir sobre las elecciones en las próximas semanas, utilicen los recursos sugeridos para garantizar que nuestros salones continúen siendo espacios en los que se escuchan y respetan todos las perspectivas. Nuestro personal continúa comprometido en modelar el respeto y decoro que deseamos ver en nuestra comunidad sin importar nuestra propia postura política o ideológica.

También queremos informarles a los padres que hubo manifestaciones estudiantiles de activismo en algunas de nuestras escuelas preparatorias. Estas manifestaciones fueron encabezadas por los estudiantes y no organizadas por el personal. Los estudiantes estuvieron a salvo y fueron pacíficos y respetuosos y hemos estado en comunicación con el Departamento de Policía de San José para pedir su guía si es necesaria.

Además, queremos informarles a los padres que valoramos el tiempo de enseñanza enormemente. Al avanzar, esperamos que todos nuestros estudiantes permanezcan en sus clases durante el horario de clases. Aunque continuamos siendo sensibles a las necesidades de nuestros estudiantes como mencionamos anteriormente, también debemos enfatizar y fomentar la importancia de que los estudiantes asistan a clases a pesar del clima político actual.

Si tienen cualquier pregunta o inquietud sobre este tema, por favor comuníquense con el director escolar. Agradecemos su apoyo y colaboración mientras nuestras comunidades escolares buscan el equilibrio entre ser responsivos a las necesidades de nuestros estudiantes y permanecer comprometidos con la operación eficaz de las escuelas. Si se desarrolla cualquier otro plan en respuesta a las elecciones nacionales, los administradores escolares se cerciorarán de comunicar dicha información a los padres de su escuela.

A continuación encontrarán un recurso que pueden consultar y esperamos les sea útil en las conversaciones que tengan con sus hijos en los días venideros. Este recurso también se puso a la disponibilidad de todo el personal del Distrito Escolar Unificado de San José.

Sacado del sitio en Internet de la organización Teaching Tolerance (enseñar tolerancia): http://www.tolerance.org/blog/day-after

Saludos cordiales,
Nancy Albarrán

Lincoln HS Wins STEM Innovation Award from SVEF

SVEF logo
Lincoln High School’s Computer Science Program and teacher Nancy Ureña Reid have been selected to receive a 2016 STEM Innovation Award from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. The award, which includes a $5,000 grant for the program, will be presented at the SVEF Pioneers & Purpose Celebration on November 9th at the San José Convention Center.

Over the past three years, Ms. Reid has established a program strand of high-quality computer science classes that has already graduated students with merit-based scholarships to study computer science in college. As part of developing the program, she has worked to build strong partnerships with the Silicon Valley community, including Microsoft, TEALS, Univision, Google, Stanford, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

“We’re proud of Nancy, her students, and the whole team at Lincoln for receiving this well-deserved award,” said SJUSD Superintendent Nancy Albarrán. “Programs like this help make our district a hub of innovation and give our students the tools to succeed in an increasingly technology-driven world.”

La Preparatoria Lincoln gana el Premio STEM de Innovación de SVEF

El Programa de Informática y la maestra Nancy Ureña Reid de la Escuela Preparatoria Lincoln han sido seleccionados para recibir el Premio STEM de Innovación 2016 de la Fundación Educativa del Valle del Silicio. El premio, que incluye una beca de $5,000 para el programa, se presentará en una ceremonia llamada Pioneros y Objetivos de la Fundación Educativa del Valle del Silicio el 9 de noviembre en el Centro de Convenciones de San José.

Durante los últimos tres años, la maestra Reid ha establecido una secuencia de cursos de Informática de la más alta calidad que ya ha visto graduarse a estudiantes que reciben becas con base en los méritos que han obtenido para estudiar Informática a nivel universitario. Como parte de la elaboración de dicho programa, la maestra Reid ha trabajado forjando fuertes alianzas con la comunidad del Valle del Silicio, incluyendo a empresas como Microsoft, TEALS, Univisión, Google, Stanford y la diputada Zoe Lofgren.

“Estamos muy orgullosos de Nancy, de sus estudiantes y de todo el equipo de Lincoln al haber recibido este merecido premio”, dijo la Superintendente de SJUSD, Nancy Albarrán. “Los programas como este ayudan a que nuestro Distrito sea un núcleo de innovación y dan a nuestros estudiantes las herramientas necesarias para triunfar en un mundo cada vez más impulsado por la tecnología”.

SJUSD Response to Clown Threats

Respuesta de SJUSD a las amenazas de payasos

As you may be aware, there is a nationwide trend on social media involving individuals wearing clown costumes making threats to school campuses. The district is coordinating with local law enforcement to monitor the situation.

At this time, there are no credible threats to San José Unified schools. However, the safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. We will continue to be vigilant as new threats arise.

Credible or not, this type of behavior is disruptive to a school’s learning environment and the broader community. We strongly encourage parents and guardians to speak with students about responsible social media use and the potential risks and consequences for any potential involvement in these social media posts.

As always, please remind your entire family to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to a school staff member or law enforcement official immediately. In an emergency situation, dial 9-1-1. For non-emergency reports, please contact the SJUSD Chief of Police at (408) 535-6000 ext. 13212

San José Unified Students Show Improvement in State Assessments

Los estudiantes de SJUSD muestran progreso en las evaluaciones estatales

Students in San José Unified School District showed significant improvement in the second year of California’s Smarter Balanced (SBAC) assessment exams, according to data released by the Department of Education (CDE) on Wednesday. The results reveal successes in key areas targeted by the district’s strategic plan, Opportunity21, particularly with regard to closing the achievement gap:

  • 54% of San José Unified students at all grade levels met or exceeded the standard in English Language Arts & Literacy — up 3% over 2014-15 and 5% above the statewide average.

  • 42% of San José Unified students at all grade levels met or exceeded the standard in Math — also up 3% over 2014-15 and 5% above the statewide average.

  • Hispanic/Latino students in San José Unified showed an 8% improvement over 2014-15 in meeting or exceeding the standard at the 3rd-grade level in both ELA and Math (from 24% to 32% in both cases).

  • 33% of students in the district’s Free or Reduced-Price Lunch (FRL) program met or exceeded the standard in ELA — up 4% over 2014-15 — and 20% in Math — up 3% over 2014-15.

“While this year’s results show a continued gap between our white and Hispanic/Latino students, it’s important to note that Hispanic/Latino students showed stronger gains than white students in both language arts and math at nearly every grade level,” said Superintendent Nancy Abarrán. “This represents a promising step toward fulfilling our mission, but we still have a long way to go.”
SBAC results are only one source of information SJUSD uses to monitor student achievement. Teachers also gather other valuable information about each student’s learning through district and classroom assessments, along with student work. Over time, student performance on the assessments is expected to improve as these results are used to help shape professional learning and lesson planning.

Students in grades 3 through 8 along with those in grade 11 took the exams for the first time during the 2014-15 school year. The assessments are completely online and feature a variety of different types of questions. With more short answers and extended responses, the assessments require a deeper understanding of key concepts.

“With the shift from California State Standards to the Common Core State Standards, instruction has changed, as has the way we assess student knowledge,” said Emalie McGinnis, SJUSD’s Director of Technology and Data Services. “The CCSS-aligned assessments are helping us understand the academic gains our students are making and how we can support them to be successful.”
For more information about the assessments, visit the 21st Century Learning page on the SJUSD website. To view complete SBAC results at the state, county, district, and school level, visit CDE’s CAASPP website.


New Policy for Free and Reduced-Price Meals

El Distrito Escolar Unificado de San José da a conocer su política para ofrecer alimentos escolares gratuitos y a precio de descuento.

SJUSD has announced its policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. Meal applications will be sent to all households with a letter informing parents or guardians of the availability of free and reduced-price meals.