November 20, 2019
Newsletter Vol. 01  ::  Issue 04

The Budget Solution Process is Complete

Thank you for the great community engagement

The budget solution process for the 2020-21 school year is complete. We would like to thank the entire Vista community for your active engagement and feedback during the LCAP community forums, digital surveys, and school board meetings. Together, we remain united in keeping our focus on students at the center of all decisions. It is important to note that all staffing and programs we currently have in place are valued and greatly appreciated. We intend to continue to advocate with state and federal representatives for greater levels of funding so that all programs impacted can be restored. 

This process actively engaged students, parents, staff, and community members in nine separate in-person forums and a digital feedback survey. Between all of these forums, we received feedback from more than one thousand people about how to prioritize our staffing, programs, and support systems to keep our focus on meeting the needs of students. Our school board members worked tirelessly (all three board meetings lasted more than six hours each) to review feedback, listen attentively to comments from the public, prioritize staffing and programs, and, ultimately, identify areas of the budget to reduce. 

The links below will serve as a culminating archive of the budget solutions process. These budget solutions were completed by the school board over the course of three board meetings - November 4, 6, and 14, 2019.  For a more comprehensive archive of the budget solutions process, visit the budget page on the website:

As a result, the board has met its obligation to identify $13.3 million in total budget solutions to report to the San Diego County Office of Education. The official First Interim Budget report will be presented to the school board on December 12, 2019. As discussed during the budget solutions meetings, the board will utilize the final budget solutions documents below to restore staff and resources (stuff) as funding becomes available. 

Final Budget Solutions Guide - Nov. 15, 2019
Master Budget Solutions Worksheet - Nov. 15, 2019
Dr. Matt Doyle
Message from
The Board regarding the 2020 Census
Have you heard about the United States Census?  In simple terms, the US Census is a picture of our nation.  Our Constitution requires that every person residing in our country or a US territory is counted every decade.  The next Census begins in March 2020 and will conclude in July 2020.  This tally requires that people of all races, ethnic groups, citizens, non-citizens, adults, and children as young as 1 day old are counted.  

Beginning in March 2020, every household will receive a mailing from the US Census with instructions on how to self-respond.  Then on April 1,2020, these households will be asked to complete a form online, by phone, or by mail by April 30, 2020.  After May 1, 2020, households that don’t respond will be contacted through a follow-up operation by an enumerator.  The follow-up operations will conclude on July 31, 2020. The information collected for the Census will be used for statistical information only and is kept confidential.

The data collected from the US Census are important for many reasons.  To begin with, the data will determine our representation in the US Congress and how district lines are drawn at all levels of our government. Second, the data collected will define the allocation of over $800 million dollars in funding from our federal government.  

Those allocations are crucial to the Vista Unified community.  Specifically, funding from the US government derived from the census for education and children include Title 1 grants to Local Education Agencies (school districts), the National School Lunch Program, Special Education Grants, State Children’s Health Insurance, and the Head Start Program.  Other crucial federal programs determined by census data include Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), Medicare, Highway Planning/Construction, and Section 8 Housing.  

Unfortunately, newborn babies and children under the age of 5 are the most undercounted demographic in the census.  This is especially true for Latino children under the age of 5. To help make sure that we count every person in our community, VUSD will have an informational presentation at our December 12th board meeting by a representative from the US Census for all stakeholders. In addition, we will utilize our FACE network of Parent Liaisons to facilitate informational meetings at various sites and will build capacity with our administrators and teachers to inform students about the purpose and importance of census.  We will have public service announcements on our website and newsletters to keep VUSD families informed of the US Census timelines and collaborate with our community partners to make sure we reach all families.  We look forward to ensuring that all members of our community are counted.

For more information on the US Census, visit,, or watch this YouTube video.
For more information on Census jobs in your community, click on this video.
Martha Alvarado

Teaching & Learning

Learning Math by Doing Math at Rancho Minerva Middle School 

At Rancho Minerva, we “learn math by doing math” through hands-on, collaborative work. We value all scholars as mathematical thinkers and strive to recognize the strengths that each one brings to our school. Scholars make sense of new mathematical ideas through discussion and teamwork, solving problems using multiple strategies to develop a deep, flexible understanding of the “why” behind the math. After this understanding is built, scholars work at their own pace to demonstrate fluency and mastery. This year, RMMS opened a Math Enrichment/Math 8 combination class in order to allow more opportunities for our 8th graders as they move on to high school! 
- Jessica Borah, RMMS Teacher


Career Superhighway

We were excited to launch our next series of visioning sessions for our Career Superhighway this past Thursday.  Approximately fifty members of the VUSD community, including students, teachers, counselors, staff, administrators, community colleges, and local businesses, engaged in work to map our current pathways to those of the state of California Career Technical Education and the San Diego Workforce Partnership.  It was an incredible event with thoughtful input that will drive our programs and continue to improve opportunities for VUSD students as we prepare them for our increasingly rapidly changing world.
- Nicole Allard, Interim Executive Director of Innovation & Educational Excellence

School Spotlights

Light Up the Holiday Season at Empresa Elementary

Looking for a way to brighten up the holidays?  Empresa Elementary students will be performing an all-school holiday show for its families and community on Wednesday, December 18, 2019.  This annual holiday tradition highlights the voices of over 800 students as they sing about how the collective light of many can shine brighter than one lone light.  “Light Up the Night” is an original production written by Empresa’s music teacher, Mr. Miles Cook and has a Hamilton-style rap that will definitely delight!  Empresa students will even be performing songs in four languages - English, Spanish, Hebrew, and Swahili.  Come join us as we spread some holiday joy through a message of empathy, love, and understanding of others. 
- Dr. Cheree McKean, Principal of Empresa Elementary
Vista Adult School

Vista Adult School is committed to providing high quality, WASC accredited classes for local adults. We offer low-cost career training in many high demand occupations such as medical, information technology (IT), human resources, and business. We also provide free classes for adults who want to earn their high school diploma, pass the high school equivalency exam (GED/HiSET), and learn and improve their English. We work hard to remove barriers for adults who want to return to school by offering free childcare, reduced-priced Sprinter/Breeze transit passes, and financial assistance for those in need.   
- Elizabeth O'Shea-West, Principal of Vista Adult School
Family Engagement

Family Connections

The Family and Community Engagement Network is partnering with Career Pathways to engage parents in our district’s World of Work efforts to increase access for students to jobs and careers focused around their strengths and interests. We will hold a number of informational meetings and workshops for parents over the next couple of months and hope to carry out a field trip in the spring. 

We are also kicking up our community outreach to market our wonderful VUSD schools, including information about the upcoming Magnet Schools Application process. If you would like to join any of these opportunities, e-mail
-  Jacqueline “Kiki” Bispo, FACE Network Lead

Bullying Series - Article 3
The Effects of Bullying on Bystanders

Bystanders are the students who witness bullying.  Bystanders may feel afraid, powerless to change the situation, and guilty for not acting.  Bystanders may begin to feel less empathy for victims over time if bullying is not addressed. VUSD schools are committed to preventing bullying. In VUSD schools when we see any bullying behavior we do an on-the-spot intervention to stop the bullying, support the student and engage the bystanders. These teachable moments create a safe culture in which students know that adults care about them and will take action.  Next time… Concerns about children who bully
-  Michelle Walsh, Student Support Services Coordinator
Committee Updates

Climate Action Committee

We are going greener! VUSD is dedicated to its commitment to our climate resolution goal of creating a Climate Action Committee. This committee will have two areas of focus: to recommend curricular and educational opportunities to help our students become climate literate AND to help our district become more climate-friendly by reducing greenhouse emissions, using renewable energy sources, and other climate-friendly efforts. 

Our first meeting was a great success! School board members, teachers, administrators, students, and community members came together to brainstorm and prioritize the numerous ideas presented by committee members. We are looking forward to our next meeting and exploring the ways we can help our students become climate literate so that they are good stewards of our Earth’s resources, as well as educated voting citizens.
-  April Diaz, Assistant Principal at Madison Middle

LGBTQ Equity Team

Our team is working to ensure that all K-12 LGBTQ students in our district are treated equitably and that the educators who serve them understand the laws that protect them. In December, our team will send an anonymous survey to all teachers to better understand their professional development needs in regards to our LGBTQ students. We hope you will take the survey and help us support this student population!
The LGBTQ Equity Team would benefit from representation from classified staff. If you would like to know more, please email
-  Maria Al-Shamma, District School Social Worker
1234 Arcadia Avenue, Vista, CA 92084

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