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May 12, 2023 update from Superintendent Flores: Superintendent finalist, school climate survey, end of year, solar panel installation, and retirement celebration
Melanie Corona

Dear GUSD Staff and Families,

It’s unbelievable to me that it is already May of 2023, and there are just four weeks of school left in this school year.  I’m looking forward to the end-of-year events on our campuses, including: senior awards and graduations, 5th and 8th grade celebrations, the transitions of our students to middle and high school, and the post-graduation plans for the members of the Class of 2023.    

New Superintendent Finalist Announced
I am thrilled to share with you that on May 2, 2023 the GUSD Board of Education announced the finalist for the new GUSD Superintendent: Dr. Anisha Munshi.  Dr. Munshi began her educational career in the Gilroy Unified School District, and she is returning to us after almost seven years at the County Office of Education.  Board approval of her contract is on the May 18 regular meeting agenda, and the Board is hosting a community meet-and-greet on Sunday, May 21, from 1-3 pm, at the Neon Exchange.  Light refreshments will be provided. All are welcome.  If you are planning to attend the event, please RSVP here.    

These days are bittersweet for me, as I am finishing my career in the community that I have grown to love so much.  I’m excited for this next phase in the District, and I am confident that Dr. Munshi is the right leader for the job, and she will further our mission of providing rigorous instruction to our students to best prepare them for college, career, and beyond.   

End of the School Year and Upcoming Events
We have begun the roller coaster of events that mark the end of the school year, and my calendar is already booked.  Some highlights are listed below.  As a reminder, you can find the instructional calendar for this year, and the next two school years, in Spanish and English online here:

  • May 13—Solorsano Tree Planting event, at ASMS, 9 am-12 pm
  • May 16—Gilroy High School Senior Awards, at GHS, 6 pm
  • May 17—Christopher High School Senior Awards at CHS, 6 pm
  • May 21– Dr. Anisha Munshi Meet and Greet, at the Neon Exchange, 1-3 pm
  • May 22—GUSD Retirement Dinner, GHS Student Center, 5-8 pm
  • May 25—GECA graduation, Gavilan Theater, 6 pm
  • May 31—Adult Ed graduation, GHS, 6 pm
  • June 3—Dr. Flores Retirement Open House at Gilroy High School, 11am-1 pm
  • June 6—Mt. Madonna High School Graduation, MMHS, 6-7:30 pm
  • June 7—Middle School 8th grade celebrations (ASMS: 9 am, Brownell: 11 am, SVMS: 2 pm at GHS)
  • June 8—Gilroy High School graduation, GHS, 6 pm
  • June 9—last day of school and Christopher High School graduation, 6 pm

Spring School Climate Survey
On May 11, District Office staff sent parents a request to complete a school climate survey via ParentSquare.  The Gilroy Unified School District is committed to having a safe, supportive and welcoming school environment for all of our students, staff and parents.  The District is asking students, staff and parents at each school site to participate in a brief school climate survey in the fall and in the spring.  Thank you to those families who participated in our fall survey in October 2022.  We look forward to your continued partnership. 
Your input is important and will help us improve school climate and culture. The survey is anonymous and should take 5- 10 minutes to complete.  Information provided by survey answers will help school and District staff to set goals and identify areas for improvement for the school year.
Please complete one survey on behalf of EACH school your child(ren) attend in the Gilroy Unified School District by May 25.  The links you were sent in ParentSquare are unique to the school your child attends. Thanks to those families who have already completed the survey.
Students in grades 5-12 and staff will also complete a survey.  Please contact the GUSD Ed Services team with any questions: 669-205-4026.

Importance of Regular Attendance
As the weather heats up and summer break draws near, I want to emphasize the importance of attending school regularly for the last four weeks of the year.  Research shows that regular school attendance is a bigger predictor of high school graduation than are test scores, and first graders with nine or more absences are two times more likely to drop out of high school. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s (DA's) Office recently released a video highlighting the importance of regular school attendance.  You can watch it here in English or Spanish.  Please help the students in your life finish the 2022-23 school year on a positive note, at school, on time, and ready to learn.  For more information, visit the DA’s website.
Solor Panel Installation at GUSD Schools
Installation of solar panels at two of our elementary schools, Glen View and Rod Kelley, began on May 8.  Solorsano Middle, Eliot Elementary, Luigi Aprea Elementary and El Roble Elementary will have solar panels installed over the summer break, with anticipated completion of all the projects before the school year starts.  Solar panels already exist at Gilroy High, Christopher High and Brownell Middle School.  One of our goals is to pursue solar panel installation at all 14 of our school sites in the future, and we are well on our way to meeting that challenge. 
GUSD Transportation Issues
The nation-wide school bus driver shortage is having an impact on school districts everywhere.  We certainly have not escaped the impacts as we are short 11 bus drivers and have had to contract out some of our transportation.  Unfortunately, recently we have had to cancel some routes when drivers were absent.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused families but it could not be avoided.  We are rotating the routes that are canceled so that the same students are not impacted.  We are recruiting for drivers all the time.  If you or someone you know is interested, please share this link with them

Garlic City High School Spring Art Show
You are invited to attend the Garlic City High School Spring Art Show at 6th Street Studios and Art Center in Downtown Gilroy (64 W. Sixth Street), on Friday, May 19.  Student artwork will be displayed as part of the Third Friday Night Art Walk in Downtown Gilroy.  Art students from Christopher High, Gilroy High and Mt. Madonna High Schools are featured in the show, and 6th Street Studios will host a reception from 5-8 pm.  Drinks and snacks are provided.    

Santa Clara County Library Summer Reading Program
Once again, the Santa Clara County Library District is holding their annual summer reading program from June 1-July 31.  Students and families can preregister for the program between May 1-31, and start logging reading and activities on June 1.  Participants can earn a prize for reading five books and completing one summer activity. The libraries in Santa Clara County, including the Gilroy Library, host an ongoing event calendar during the summer for people of all ages.  All events are free!   To register, and learn more, visit the Santa Clara County Library District website.  Support your student’s learning this summer while encouraging them to read!

Dr. Flores’ Retirement Celebration
I would love to have you join me and members of the Gilroy community at my Retirement Open House, Saturday, June 3, in the Gilroy High School Student Center.  The event is a drop-in visit, between 11 am-1 pm.  All are invited as we celebrate my time in GUSD over the last 16 years.  Light refreshments will be provided, and prepared by the Gilroy High Culinary Arts students, and the day will feature a performance by the Gilroy High School Choir. I am pleased to share with you that the Board of Education has voted to rename the Student Center at Gilroy High in my honor.  You can join us for a short program, at 11:30 am, on Saturday, June 3, as the new signage is unveiled.  No RSVP is required to attend, but if you’re available, please do come and say good-bye. 

I’m savoring every moment of these “lasts” for me.  I am grateful to the Gilroy community for being so supportive of me as I embark on my next adventure.  I hope you are able to take some time during the busyness of this season to enjoy the reasons for our celebrations: our students.  I know I will do the same.

Take care of each other,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Gilroy Unified School District