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Dear Parents and Staff,

The school year continues to move at a rapid pace.  I have been conducting regular weekly site visits to our campuses and am constantly impressed with the instruction and learning taking place in classrooms.  Here are a few reminders and updates for you:

Upcoming Vaccine Clinic at the South County Annex, September 30, 3-6 pm
Safeway is hosting a flu shot (for people 3 years and older), and COVID-19 vaccine (including the new Omicrown Bivalent COVID-19 Booster for people ages 12 and older, and the Monovalent COVID-19 Booster for people 5-11 years old) clinic at the South County Annex, which is the former Antonio Del Buono Elementary School site.  The South County Annex is located at 9300 Wren Avenue.  The clinic will take place on Friday, September 30, from 3-6 pm.   Appointments are recommended and can be booked here.   Those who are receiving a COVID-19 vaccine should bring their CDC vaccine card.

GUSD at SCCOE Classified Job Fair
Members of our Human Resources team will be at the 2022 Santa Clara County Office of Education Classified Job Fair on Saturday, September 24.  This event will be held outdoors at the County Office of Education (1290 Ridder Park Drive in San Jose).

  • If you are interested in being hired as a paraeducator, food service worker, custodian, driver, clerical or administrative assistant, maintenance worker, or health clerk or aide, this is the hiring event for you!
  • Bring multiple copies of your resume.  Applicant screening begins at 9:00 am on September 24, and recruiters will be available to screen your resume.
  • For more information, and more tips for success, visit: https://www.sccoe.org/jobfair
  • Click here for information about available jobs in GUSD.

Dangers of Rainbow Fentanyl
We continue to receive information from local law enforcement agencies about a very dangerous drug situation in Santa Clara County and in California. There has been a rise in the prevalence of counterfeit Percocet and Oxycodone/OxyContin in Santa Clara County as well as new forms of Fentanyl; in particular, Rainbow Fentanyl.  In March 2022, GUSD, in partnership with the City of Gilroy presented a virtual Town Hall on the topic of fentanyl use.  I invite you to watch the recording on our YouTube channel if you’d like to know more.
 
According to the California Department of Public Health:
 
Brightly-colored fentanyl (referred to as rainbow fentanyl) has been identified as a new trend according to the United States (U.S.) Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Rainbow fentanyl can be found in many forms, including pills, powder, and blocks that can resemble sidewalk chalk or candy. Any pill (regardless of its color, shape, or size) that does not come from a health care provider or pharmacist can contain fentanyl and can be deadly.
 
Fentanyl is 80-100 times more potent than morphine and 40-50 times more potent than heroin and, as a result, is a major cause of overdose for unsuspecting individuals.
 
According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) California Overdose Surveillance Dashboard:

  • Emergency department visits related to non-fatal opioid overdoses in California’s youth ages 10-19 years more than tripled from 2018 (379 total) to 2020 (1,222 total).
  • Opioid-related overdose deaths in California’s youth ages 10-19 years increased from 2018 (54 total) to 2020 (274 total), marking a 407% increase over two years, largely driven by fentanyl.
  • Fentanyl-related overdose deaths in California’s youth ages 10-19 years increased from 2018 (36 total) to 2020 (261 total), a 625% increase.

 
People purchasing these pills are likely unaware that they contain fentanyl.
 
Things you can do:

  • If you’re concerned someone in your life is at-risk for opioid overdose, carry the overdose reversal medication naloxone (Narcan). Narcan has no adverse side effects and is available without a physician prescription at most pharmacies.
  • If you find any pills, do not touch them. Call local law enforcement for removal.
  • Speak with your student about this information so they know the risks of buying or sharing prescription medication and that these pills are out there.
  • Call local law enforcement if you or your student have seen these pills. Speaking up may save a friend’s life!
  • Contact the 24/7 Mental Health & Substance Use Access & Assessment Hotline (888-818-1115) to get help for a friend or loved one struggling with substance abuse. 

Child Nutrition and Meal Service Applications due September 28. 
All meals on our campuses are free for all students in GUSD for the 2022-23 school year. However, GUSD must still encourage families to complete the federal meal applications to ensure our District can continue receiving critical funding for programs. Applications should be completed by all GUSD families should complete a meal application either electronically or via paper, even if you think your family doesn’t qualify for services.  These applications help to provide almost $3 million in vital funding to our District, which supports educational programs for all students.
 
Students and families who qualify for the program can receive reduced fees for AP tests, reduced fees for the City of Gilroy Recreation Programs, and other support.  All families in our District should complete this application by September 28.  You can complete an online application or download and print a paper application attached to this message.  Applications have also been sent home with students.  

 
Gilroy Garlic Festival Night of Football and Flame-up event, October 1 (NEW DATE)
The Gilroy Garlic Festival Association will present an abbreviated menu of Festival food at the football game between Gilroy High and Christopher High on Saturday, October 1 (new date).  Proceeds from Gourmet Alley will go to each school.
 

  1. Pre-purchase tickets to the football game online.   Food is only being sold inside the stadium and you must have a game ticket to enter.
  2. Visit the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association Booth at Christopher High School on Saturday, October 1, to purchase food items. Food sales will start at halftime of the JV game.
  3. The menu includes:
  • Pepper Steak Sandwiches-- $15 
  • Sausage Sandwiches-- $15
  • Garlic Fries--$10
  • Three pieces of Garlic Bread-- $5

      4.  Enjoy your food during the game, or bring it home to enjoy later!
 
Parent/ Student Handbook and Media Opt-Out form now available
The 2022-2023 GUSD Parent/ Student handbook is now available on the GUSD website for your review.  You will be receiving a separate ParentSquare message with the handbook attached to it on Monday evening as well.  Similarly, the updated media opt-out form is also posted online.
 
It is the policy of the Gilroy Unified School District to allow photographs and video footage of students to be used in district-produced materials including, but not limited to, websites/social media, brochures, posters, other printed materials, and cable television programming. Students may be identified by name to provide them with recognition opportunities when appropriate. Occasionally, local media outlets are invited to visit our campuses to highlight special events, activities and/ or celebrations during the school day.  Any photographs or video recordings taken by media outlets, and sanctioned by the Gilroy Unified School District and/or school site, will also be allowed by Gilroy Unified.
 
If you DO NOT want your child’s photograph used in any of the above capacities, please download, print and return the Media Release Opt-Out form on the GUSD website and return it to your child’s school office.
 
Both the GUSD Parent/ Student handbook and Media Release Opt-Out form can be found online.
 
First Day Video!
Many thanks to the families who submitted over 300 photos of their GUSD students on the first day of the 2022-23 school year.  Watch the video in its entirety here.  It’s sure to make you smile.
 
Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend.  I’m looking forward to fall.
Take care of each other,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Superintendent
Gilroy Unified School District

GUSD Communications

Gilroy, CA Gilroy Unified School District students excelled in College Board assessments and schoolwork to earn these awards, which colleges use to identify academically competitive underrepresented students

Students from three GUSD high schools have earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs. These National Recognition Programs grant underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications and connect students with universities across the country, helping them meaningfully connect to colleges and stand out during the admissions process. Colleges and scholarship programs identify students awarded National African American, Hispanic, Indigenous and/or Rural/Small Town Recognition through College Board’s Student Search Service.

Eighteen students from the Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA) received National Hispanic Recognition from the College Board:

Justin Bushman

Edwin Lopez

Ashton Rosso

Paola Aguilar

Wendy Venegas

Jonathan Tessmann

Maria Russo

Samuel Villarreal

James Coughlan

Elisabet Trinidad

Aidan Brown

Nicolas Navarro

Joshua Cabrera Regalado

Sarah Alvarado

Marissa Ortiz

Amanda Carroll

Araceli Perez

Lesley Prudencio

One GECA student received National Indigenous Recognition: Alexandra Meriales.

Ten Christopher High School students received National Rural and Small Town Recognition:

Alianna Mendoza

Juliana Betanzos

Caitlin Yang

Paul Crocker

Daanesh Bogale

Priam Yadav

Emma Davis

Sara Arcelo

Sicily Garza

Tyler Deveas

  • CHS Senior, Daanesh Bogale, also received National African American Recognition from the College Board.
  • CHS Seniors, Emma Davis, Juliana Betanzos, Paul Crocker and Sicily Garza, received National Hispanic Recognition from the College Board.
  • Four students from Gilroy High School received National Hispanic Recognition from the College Board:  Junior, Ana Torrico, and three Seniors: Julian Anhder, Vennette Valencia and Yoali Cruz.
  • GHS Senior, Kehsigha Njinimbam, received National African American Recognition.

“We’re thrilled that our students have earned this recognition. We are very proud of them for their achievements in their classrooms and on College Board assessments,” said Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Superintendent of the Gilroy Unified School District. “These programs help students from underrepresented backgrounds stand out to colleges during the college admissions process.”

Students who may be eligible have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have excelled on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10, or earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP Exams; and are African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, and/or attend school in a rural area or small town.

Eligible students will be invited to apply during their sophomore or junior year and will be awarded at the beginning of the next school year. Students will receive their awards in time to include them on their college and scholarship applications.

“We want to honor the hard work of these students through the College Board National Recognition Programs. This program creates a way for colleges and scholarship programs to connect directly with underrepresented students who they are hoping to reach,” said Tarlin Ray, College Board senior vice president of BigFuture. “We hope the award winners and their families celebrate this prestigious honor and it helps them plan for their big future.”

  • press release
GUSD Communications
Nichole Pearson

The Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education appointed Nichole Peason as the new Administrator of Specialized Programs at the September 22, 2022 regular Board Meeting.  "Nichole has been a well-respected teacher at one of our elementary schools.  We are thrilled to welcome her to the Ed Services team at the District Office, where she will assist students at all of our campuses," shared Superintendent Flores.  

As a fifth-grade educator, Nichole has been the administrative designee for her school site since 2020, supporting site-wide initiatives for MTSS, STEAM integration, PBIS/Restorative Justice practices, and Be GLAD strategies. She is focused on student needs and managing systems for effectiveness and efficiency. Since 2016, she has partnered with the Tech Interactive to bring equity in the STEM domains and 21st-century skills to all learners. She has presented at state-wide and interdistrict science conferences, promoting NGSS and CCSS integration. 

Nichole graduated from Gilroy High, and began working for GUSD as a middle school athletic coach in 2009. She is a Gilroy native and resident with her first of two children attending GUSD schools. She attended San Diego State, CSU Monterey Bay, and National University. Her undergraduate degrees are in International Security and Conflict Resolution as well as French and Francophone Studies. She holds a Master’s of Science in Applied Educational Leadership.

  • press release
GUSD Communications

Dear Parents and Staff,

Today is supposed to be the last day of a ten-day hot spell.  We all can’t wait to get back to temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s.  During the extreme heat and corresponding Spare the Air days, students were kept indoors when the temperatures reached the 90’s and/or the air quality was poor.  If classrooms or other spaces did not have air conditioning, the students and staff were temporarily moved to spaces that were.  After school sports and activities were moved indoors, moved to a later time or rescheduled/canceled.  I sent a comprehensive list of the precautions taken during excessive heat events to our families on September 6. 

There are three important events happening in the next week:

South Valley Middle School Community Open House, Saturday, September 10, 10 am-12 pm
There will be an Open House at the new South Valley Middle School campus from 10:00-12:00 tomorrow.  Phase 1, the classroom wing, is completed and occupied and we would like to show it off to the community.  Please join us for the community open house on the new South Valley Middle School campus for a tour of the classroom buildings other parts of the completed project.  The campus open house is scheduled for Saturday, September 10, from 10 am-12 pm.  We will have guided tours, coffee and pastries.  All are welcome.

GUSD Family Resource Fair, Wednesday, September 14, 5-8 pm at the District Office
On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, the first ever GUSD Family Resource Fair and Flu Shot/COVID vaccine clinic will be offered from 5:00-8:00 p.m.  This event will provide families with help in accessing the Aeries Parent Portal, learning how to use the ParentSquare app, onsite fingerprinting and other assistance to complete the volunteer clearance process, information from our Child Nutrition Department, Transportation and After School programs, information about our specialized programs, giveaways, food, and much, much more!  In addition, 20 community partner agencies will join us to provide resources and support for our families.  This event is open to all GUSD families and is free to attend.

Upcoming Vaccine Clinic at the District Office, Wednesday, September 14, 5-8 pm
Safeway is hosting a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine (primary and booster) clinic in partnership with our Family Resource Fair at the District Office on Wednesday, September 14, from 5-8 pm.  This clinic is for people ages 3 and older. Appointments are recommended and can be booked here.  You can download the required consent form attached to this message and bring it with you to your appointment.  Those who are receiving a COVID-19 vaccine should bring their CDC vaccine card.
Important Reminders for families

Update and confirm your digital emergency card in the Aeries Parent Portal

It is important that each school year families update their contact and other information using the Aeries Parent Portal.  Gilroy Unified School District uses digital emergency cards for all students.  Parents and/ or guardians must update (if needed) and confirm the information on their student’s emergency card each school year, even if none of the emergency information has changed

Please access the Aeries Parent Portal using this link: gilroyusd.asp.aeries.net/student  to log in to your account with the email address you have on file with GUSD. You may reset your password if needed.  You may also access this process through the Aeries App on your phone.

When you log in, select “Home” and you will see a notification for the "Student Data Confirmation" process:


**It will be at the bottom of the page if you are using the new Aeries Portal style.**

Please complete this online process as soon as possible.  There are 7,000 students in our District without confirmed emergency contact information in Aeries.

The Aeries Parent Portal login page also has links to several help documents for this process.

If you need any support with this process, please contact your child's school.  Help with the Aeries Parent Portal will also be available at the Family Resource Fair on September 14, from 5-8 pm, at the District Office

Child Nutrition and Meal Service Applications due September 28. 
All meals on our campuses are free for all students in GUSD for the 2022-23 school year. However, GUSD must still encourage families to complete the federal meal applications to ensure our District can continue receiving critical funding for programs. Applications should be completed by all GUSD families should complete a meal application either electronically or via paper (English/ Spanish), even if you think your family doesn’t qualify for services.  These applications help to provide almost $3 million in vital funding to our District, which supports educational programs for all students.

Students and families who qualify for the program can receive reduced fees for AP tests, reduced fees for the City of Gilroy Recreation Programs, and other support.  All families in our District should complete this application by September 28.  You can complete an online application or download and print a paper application attached to this message.  Applications have also been sent home with students.  Meal applications will be available at the Family Resource Fair on Wednesday, September 14, from 5-8 pm at the District Office. 

Gilroy Garlic Festival Night of Football and Flame-up event, September 30

The Gilroy Garlic Festival Association will present an abbreviated menu of Festival food at the football game between Gilroy High and Christopher High on Friday, September 30.  Proceeds from Gourmet Alley will go to each school.

  1. Pre-purchase tickets to the football game online.   Food is only being sold inside the stadium and you must have a game ticket to enter.
  2. Visit the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association Booth at Christopher High School on Friday, September 30 to purchase food items. Food sales will start at halftime of the JV game.
  3. The menu on September 30 includes:
  • Pepper Steak Sandwiches-- $15  
  • Sausage Sandwiches-- $15
  •  Garlic Fries--$10
  • Three pieces of Garlic Bread-- $5

4.       Enjoy your food during the game, or bring it home to enjoy later!

I hope to have the chance to see many of you tomorrow at South Valley Middle School.  Our staff is looking forward to showcasing parts of the new campus to our community.  And we can’t wait to welcome you to the District Office on September 14.  Thank you for your continued partnership in your child’s educational journey.

Take care of each other,

Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Superintendent
Gilroy Unified School District

GUSD Communications

Good afternoon GUSD families --

California, and Santa Clara County, is experiencing extreme and dangerous heat.  Temperatures in Gilroy reached 111 degrees yesterday.  The National Weather Service (NWS) has extended the Excessive Heat Watch through Wednesday, September 7, for the coastal and bayside areas of the Bay Area, which includes Santa Clara County and Gilroy.  Additionally, a Spare the Air Alert has been issued in the Bay Area through Wednesday, September 7.  To ensure the safety of our students, when the temperatures reach the 90's and/or when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect, our school staff members will keep students indoors.  

In addition, after school programs, including outdoor athletics for middle and high school students, will be held indoors, moved to a later (and cooler) timeframe, or canceled. Please watch for more detailed communication from school principals, after school leaders, athletic directors, and coaches regarding these safety measures. 

In the meantime, please encourage your children to:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Limit physical activity during peak heat hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Wear light weight, light colored, and loose-fitting clothing to keep cool.
  • Rest often and find shady places to cool down when outdoors.

The Gilroy Library, located at 350 West Sixth Street, is open from 1-9 pm today and tomorrow as a cooling center.  The Morgan Hill Library and Centennial Recreation Center are also available cooling centers this week.

For more information and resources, visit: https://emergencymanagement.sccgov.org/residents/hot-weather-safety


Thank you,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Superintendent
Gilroy Unified School District 

For media requests regarding the Gilroy Unified School District and our school communities, please contact Melanie Corona, Public Information Officer.