Dear GUSD staff and families,
Twelve weeks ago, our district began an entirely new learning experience as our physical schools closed and our school communities transitioned into a distance learning platform. Back on March 13, when we shared with you that our schools were closing physically in order to ensure the safety of our community and neighbors and do our part to slow the spread of the first pandemic on record in the last century, I was fearful. I knew that transitioning to distance learning for many of our students and families would be a great challenge. For so many of our students, our schools provide a safe haven, with loving relationships and clear sets of expectations.
Our schools are places where bodies are nourished with nutritional meals and minds are expanded through wonderful teaching and exceptional teachers. Our schools provide places for students to build relationships with their peers and adults around them. It is in our school settings where students can practice social skills that will serve them as they transition from childhood to teenagers and then to adults. Our schools are places for children to fall in love with learning, in the traditional sense, but also with things that fill them with wonder. Many times, it is through opportunities in our schools that our children discover what they are passionate about and how that passion can serve our community, our country, and the world.
Most importantly, our schools are places where we can address world issues and provide clarity in moments that seem unclear. Whether it is a traditional lesson, a conversation on the playground or during passing periods, or an impromptu question in a classroom that sparks a greater discussion, there are opportunities for learning at all times.
On March 13, school changed for the 11,000 students in our district, the families who support those students and our staff members. In the past twelve weeks, I have watched as our school communities transitioned to online learning with just an idea of how things would unfold. So often, the road in education is paved by a tried and true map, with clear expectations and established outcomes. That was not the case for the end of this school year, especially in the last few weeks. As our students, staff and families settled into online learning, different challenges arose, and now are at the forefront of our nation.
As we close out an unforgettable year, I send my gratitude and congratulations to each of you. Because of your efforts and dedication to our students, we were able to tackle a learning environment that no one ever dreamed would be a reality. Your children have shown that they are adaptable and resilient. They have shown that they are capable and hard-working. They have shown that they are responsible and faithful. And they have shown that a classroom can take many forms, and that regardless of where they are, that learning continues to take place.
I want to assure you that as we continue to plan for the 2020-21 school year, the health and safety of our staff and students is our highest priority. I am excited for the days when our school communities are together again, and we are doing all we can to make sure that our classrooms and schools are ready to accommodate everyone when we are able to reopen.
This week we have celebrated three virtual high school graduations: Mt. Madonna on June 2, Gilroy High School on June 4 and Christopher High School on June 5 and our middle school students on June 3. Congratulations to all of our students who are making big transitions in their educational journeys from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school, and from high school to graduation. Many thanks to our staff and parent groups who have celebrated the accomplishments of all our students. We also held our first-ever virtual retirement celebration where we honored 29 employees and their more than 608 collective years of service to our district.
Here are some end-of-year updates for you:
Fall Reopening and Distance Learning feedback survey
Our Ed Services Department is requesting your input on the reopening of schools in the fall and your experiences with distance learning. You can access the survey here: https://forms.gle/NDqtPXcTg43JEiJ89, and I invite you to please share your answers with us by tonight, Friday, June 5, 2020.
Summer Food Service
Beginning Monday, June 8, our Child Nutrition Department will begin their summer food service schedule. Food for children 18 and under will be offered at four school sites: Eliot Elementary, Glen View Elementary, Rod Kelley Elementary and South Valley Elementary, between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm, three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Meals will be available for pick-up at the sites listed. Children do not need to be present and one family member may pick up all meals for all children in the household.
Monday meal bags will contain meals through Wednesday morning.* Wednesday meals bags will contain meals through Friday morning.*Friday meals bags will contain meals through Monday morning.*
For information or if you have questions, please contact the Child Nutrition Department at Gilroy Unified School District: (669) 205-4000, ext. 4044.
GUSD Chromebook returns for non-returning students
If you are a returning student to GUSD, please keep any district-issued Chromebooks through the summer. Once we return for the 2020-2021 school year, we will communicate with you about how and when you should return your district-issued Chromebook.
If students are NOT returning to GUSD, regardless of grade level, please return your district-issued Chromebook to your school site per instructions sent to you by your site principal once you notify them that you are not returning.
Class of 2020 students from any of our four high schools should return their district-issued Chromebooks during their diploma pick-up appointments, with details communicated to you by your site principal.
If you have any questions about Chromebook returns, please contact your site principals.
Santa Clara County Library District Summer Reading Program
SCCLD’s Summer Reading Program Dig Deeper: Read, Investigate, Discover!, encourages readers of all ages to dig below the surface and discover everything from the science of everyday things, to the envisioning of the future, discovering other cultures, peering into nature and the environment, delving into the unknown and exploring a treasury of knowledge. All readers are invited to join June 1 through July 31. It's free and fun for all ages! For more information, and to join the SCCLD Summer Reading Program, visit: https://sccld.org/summer2020/.
Instructional materials adoption
The Gilroy Unified School District is in the process of adopting new materials for the following courses: AP Statistics, AP Macroeconomics, Middle School Science, Elementary Science, and High School Math I, II, & III. You are invited to virtually preview the recommended materials and provide any feedback prior to June 11, 2020, when the Board will decide whether to adopt the materials at their regularly scheduled meeting. Preview the materials here and provide input: https://bit.ly/GUSD2020TextbookAdoption
This week, we recognized Rod Kelley Elementary School second grade teacher, Colleen Chapman, and Gilroy High School Science teacher, Jennifer Spinetti-Lightfoot, as GUSD’s Behind the Scenes All-Stars. Read about their contributions to the success of our district here: https://www.facebook.com/236268986966663/posts/616435692283322/.
Again, thank you for your contributions to the success of our students and staff, this year, and especially in the last twelve weeks. I am so proud of us.
Take care of each other,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Gilroy Unified School District