October 23, 2019
Newsletter Vol. 01  ::  Issue 02

The First 60 Days

Building on Strengths and Addressing Challenges

It is with great pride and honor that I accepted the position of Superintendent of Schools for Vista Unified. I have had the pleasure of serving the students, parents, and community of Vista for 29 years. During this time, I have not only been inspired by the incredible capacity of all students to learn but also am proud of the dedication and hard work every teacher and staff member brings to their job every day of the school year. Perhaps one of my greatest points of pride about our district is the expansive and concentrated passion and energy that parents bring to our schools on a daily basis.

Just this past week, I had the pleasure of attending many different evening events (Harvest Fest, Bingo Night, Ability Awareness, Band Festival, and the 16th Annual Festival of the Arts). Each of these events was planned and facilitated by an army of parent volunteers. As I have always said, parents are a child’s first and most influential teacher. Our job as educators is to join forces with all parents to amplify and elevate the capacity of all students to learn, grow socially/emotionally, and reach their fullest potential in life. Vista is a beautiful city, and Vista Unified is an incredible place for all students to learn and grow. 

Continuing with our theme that Vista Unified is strong, my last message focused on the incredible accomplishments of our 2019 graduates. This volume will highlight a few key areas of focus for the next two months so that we continue to build on the incredible strengths of the district while, at the same time, work to address some of our most pressing challenges. 

For a detailed overview of the key projects I will be working on for the first 60 days, please follow the links below:
To read the document in its entirety, please click here.
Dr. Matt Doyle

Message from
The Board President and Vice President...

We would like to congratulate and welcome Dr. Matt Doyle as our Superintendent for VUSD. As we navigate budget cuts, our team remains committed to our students and our focus on student learning. We encourage stakeholders to participate in the upcoming forums to get updates and provide feedback.
We are also excited to continue the work of Measure LL and ensuring accountability in the projects you voted for. At our next special meeting on November 4th, the board will designate a board member to be the liaison who will help support the negotiations of our PLA Agreement. This designee will be in charge of helping set up the contract terms with the San Diego Building Trades Council, one key goal being local hiring target goals:
Category Goal
Residents of Targeted Zip Codes To be determined
Residents of VUSD Zip Codes To be determined
Residents of County Zip Codes To be determined
Local hiring goals are just one key area measure LL can benefit the schools and the families of the students we serve. As we continue on this process, we will provide updates on those hiring goals and the various bond projects. Thank you.
Rosemary Smithfield
Cipriano Vargas
Vice President

Teaching & Learning

Parents as Partners

Each year, Directors of Special Education meet with their NCCSE Community Advisory Committee (CAC) parent representatives to develop goals in one of the four NCCSE CAC Service Priorities. This year, we expanded this process to gather input from a broader range of VUSD parents.  On August 22 and October 8, 2019, our Department met with the newly formed District Special Education Advisory group and identified two Service Priorities: 
  • Academic and Social Inclusion 
  • Self-Determination and Self Advocacy
Building upon our current strength (Ability Awareness), we will be promoting parents as partners in the IEP process by hosting a “Universal Design for Learning (UDL)” Workshop and promoting Self-Advocacy within the IEP process.  A BIG thank you to our parents and staff for your collaboration and commitment to improving learning outcomes for our students!
- Rebecca Nobriga, Executive Director of Special Education


On December 13, 2018, the Vista Unified School Board voted to approve the adoption of the EUREKA Math program for grades TK-5. Teachers have already participated in multiple professional development sessions.  Currently, students and teachers are busy working through the first modules of the EUREKA program. The Curriculum and Instruction department established a EUREKA Implementation Team that is responsible for gathering and reviewing teacher feedback around the implementation of the program. Based on teacher feedback, teachers are feeling confident in teaching the new math program, which is more rigorous than what has been used before.  Both teachers and students are learning to use new strategies and models to represent math concepts.
- Kim Hollowell, Teacher on Special Assignment

CAASPP State Dashboard

The CAASPP results are now available on the state dashboard allowing the user to view any district and any public school in the state. While specific results will vary from school to school, Vista Unified as a whole shows improvement in both ELA and math. While math performance consistently is behind that of its ELA counterpart, the largest gain was in math. 3.6% more students met or exceeded standards and there are 2.3% fewer students in the “not met” category. 49.7% of our students are meeting or exceeding standards in ELA and 37.0% are meeting or exceeding in math.
- Steve Davis, Teacher on Special Assignment for Measurement & Monitoring

School Spotlight

Roosevelt Middle School:  Where Students Pursue Their Passions

Roosevelt Middle School is in our third year of Artful Learning implementation. Students are focusing on a common concept and significant question in interdisciplinary units of study and experiencing arts based skills and strategies integrated throughout the units. Rigorous, standards based inquiry centers guide students towards enduring understandings and help them create their own reflective assessments. This framework is an excellent complement to the exciting and varied electives that we offer at Roosevelt, most notably our robust band and choir programs, along with Visual Arts, Film Production, Drama, AVID, ASB, Spanish, Math Enrichment, Yearbook, STEAM Explore, CTE Technology, and a new CTE Lab specializing in construction and manufacturing. With over 20 student-created and led clubs, Roosevelt is the perfect place to discover and explore students’ interests, strengths, and passions! 
- Heather Golly, Principal of Roosevelt Middle School
Family Engagement

Family Connections

We are excited to share our new Community Updates that will be posted on the main district webpage. Our first one focuses on Safety While Driving and addresses recent accidents around the district. Please read it here (Español), and let us give a big “Thank you!” for helping to keep us all safe. Our 4th Annual Dîa de los Muertos event will be held on Friday, November 1st from 2:30-7:00 p.m. at the district FACE Center (836 Olive Avenue). We hope you will join us for some cultural and community fun and learning!  Contact  familyengagement@vistausd.org for more information. 
-  Jacqueline “Kiki” Bispo, FACE Network Lead

Bullying Series - Article 1

How do we tell the difference between bullying, rough-and-tumble play, and real fighting? Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending themselves.  There are three main aspects of bullying: it involves aggressive behavior,it  involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time, and there is an imbalance of real or perceived power or strength. It’s easier for both teachers and parents to see direct bullying like hitting, taunting, or name calling, but more difficult to see is the indirect bullying of rumors, exclusion, and social cruelty, whether it is at school or in cyberspace. Every day, our school teams are working to protect our children from all types of bullying. VUSD schools are committed to preventing bullying.  Next time… The health consequences of bullying.
-  Michelle Walsh, Coordinator Student Support Services

Business Services

Solar Electric Update: Contractors are working feverishly as they continue installing solar arrays at 21 of our schools. Many of the schools already have the steel and solar arrays placed and are going through the process of installing the underground cabling required to connect us to the SDG&E grid. Other schools are just getting off the ground with temporary fencing being placed and steel being delivered. Over the Thanksgiving week, 11 of the schools will be connected to the SDG&E grid, so when these schools return after the holiday, they will be generating their own electricity!  

Bond LL Update:
The Mission Vista Ramp & Stair Project is completed, with some landscape work remaining to finish off the appearance of the front of the campus. This project also came in significantly under budget! The Vista Academy of Visual and Performing Arts Fire Alarm Replacement Project is completed and was done under the anticipated time frame by one of our great local contractors Fredrick’s Electric.   
VAPA now has a modern and comprehensive fire alarm system that will help keep everyone safe for years to come. The Vista Magnet Middle School Pool Modernization project is close to midway to completion. The Casita Restroom Modernization project is moving forward through the design phase, and we are anticipating this work occurring Summer 2020. The California Avenue Restroom Modernization Project is nearing the end of the design phase and anticipated construction commencing Summer 2020. The Bobier New Classroom Building and Portable Classroom Demolition project is in design phase and construction start date sometime in 2020. The Beaumont New Classroom Building and Portable Classroom Demolition project is in design phase with construction start date sometime in 2020. Finally, one of the largest facility improvement projects is the expansion of bathrooms attached to the gymnasium on the Rancho Buena Vista campus.  This project is moving along quickly, and we anticipate it to be completed before the end of the year.
 -  John Wathen, Executive Director of Facilities and Operations
Vista's Big Give
Big Give is a district-wide tradition that creates opportunities for students, staff, teachers, and the community to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Years ago, a teacher decided to help make wishes come true for children who are critically ill by involving her school and others to raise money for Make-A-Wish San Diego, and Vista's Big Give was born. Since then, it has grown to include many schools in VUSD, community members, businesses, families, and corporations. Every year, new students show their leadership to help guide Big Give events, and it culminates in a celebration with the Wish Kids and their families.  This year, we are excited to announce we have adopted the wishes of 4 year old Roczen (from Vista) and 17 year old Sara (from Oceanside)! Send an email to  vistasbiggive@gmail.com if you are interested in getting involved! Click the following link for Vista’s BIG GIVE 2020 Video.
- Stephanie Sanchez, VMMS Teacher & Vista Big Give 2020 Leader
1234 Arcadia Avenue, Vista, CA 92084

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