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May 6, 2022 update from Superintendent Flores: upcoming events, dress code expectations and welcome new Assistant Principals!
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD staff and families,

On May 3, I participated in the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City event during which I provided an overview about the school district to attendees.  I was particularly interested in information that was shared about the impact that the drought is having on Gilroy and measures that are being taken to address its impacts. 

I was reminded that we can all help in small ways by doing our part to conserve water by taking fewer and shorter showers, watering our yards less, and even turning off the sink when brushing our teeth.  These actions are small, but go a long way in helping in the efforts to conserve water for all.  The district has drastically reduced the amount of water we use by minimally watering athletic fields and landscaping and using drought tolerant landscaping on our campuses and at district buildings.

Upcoming Events

There are many wonderful events coming up in the last five weeks of the school year.  I am looking forward to all of these end-of-year celebrations

Senior Awards

  • May 12—Mt. Madonna High School Senior Awards Night
  • May 17—Gilroy High School Senior Awards Night
  • May 18—Christopher High School Senior Awards Night

High School Graduations

  • May 26—GECA graduation (and Senior awards)
  • June 1—Adult Education graduation
  • June 7—Mt. Madonna High School graduation
  • June 9—Christopher High School graduation
  • June 10—Gilroy High School graduation

Middle School Celebrations, June 8

  • Brownell, 9:00 am
  • Solorsano, 11:00 am
  • South Valley, 2:00 pm (at Gilroy High School)

Other

  • May 16—GUSD annual Retirement Dinner
  • May 27—Minimum day for all students
  • May 30—No school (Memorial Day observed)
  • May 31—Teacher Records Day (no school for students in Tk-5th grades)
  • June 10—last day of school

Dress Code

With the warmer weather, we want to make sure that students are aware of the expectations regarding appropriate dress on our campuses.  These expectations are universal, for all students. 

Allowable dress for students:

  • The “core” of the body must be covered
  • Undergarments must be hidden at all times
  • Tops should have two straps or sleeves (no strapless garments)
  • State law requires appropriate footwear which includes tennis shoes for physical education and closed toed shoes for shop classes and labs during lab times.

Prohibited attire includes:

  • Apparel that promotes drugs or alcohol
  • Apparel that includes profanity
  • Apparel that incites violence or promotes violence against others
  • Apparel that promotes sexual degradation/ violence

Should you or your student have questions about the expectations for appropriate dress in the Gilroy Unified School District, I encourage you to reach out to your site principal or my office for clarification.

New Assistant Principals Appointed at Christopher High and South Valley Middle

The Gilroy Unified School District is pleased to welcome two new assistant principals to the leadership team: Kay Guenther at Christopher High School and Tim Alvernaz at South Valley Middle  The official announcement was made at the May 5, 2022 regular Board Meeting where the appointments were accepted by the Board of Education.

South Valley Middle School Rebuild

The construction at South Valley Middle is moving along at a steady pace.  The new classrooms (on Murray Avenue) are up and will be completed by early August.  You can follow along with the project’s progress online.  Soon after this school year ends, everything will be moved from the existing buildings to the new classroom buildings and then the current buildings will be demolished.  During the next school year (2022-23), the following will be constructed;  administration building, library, MPR, band room, gym, and track and field along with ample parking.

Vaccine Clinics on pause

As of May 5, 2022, the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health is no longer hosting mobile vaccination clinics in our County and therefore, will not be holding mobile clinics at any of our schools.  Santa Clara County is currently at 91.1% of residents ages 5 and older fully vaccinated.

However, the County of Santa Clara mass vaccination sites will remain open for appointments and drop-in services. You can find hours of operation, available appointments, and providers on the County’s website: www.sccFreeVax.org.

Bay Area Community Health is looking at upcoming dates to host vaccination clinics in Gilroy and we will let you know those dates, times and locations when they are finalized. 

Finally, thanks to all of our participants and volunteers for a very successful 2022 Run for Fitness event on April 23.  We had over 400 student participants and over 150 volunteers for the event, and we were thrilled to see everyone back on the track at Gilroy High School.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend.  I am hopeful you are able to do something fun.

Take care of each other,

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

GUSD welcomes two new administrators to the secondary leadership team: Kay Guenther and Tim Alvernaz
GUSD Communications

The Gilroy Unified School District is pleased to welcome two new assistant principals to the leadership team: Kay Guenther at Christopher High School and Tim Alvernaz at South Valley Middle School.  The official announcement was made at the May 5, 2022 regular Board Meeting where the appointments were accepted by the Board of Education.  Superintendent Deborah A. Flores, remarked, “We are thrilled to have Kay and Tim serve as assistant principals at Christopher High and South Valley Middle Schools.”  Ms. Guenther will fill the role of Assistant Principal at Christopher High School beginning in the 2022-23 school year following the retirement announcement of Eric Kuwada.  Tim Alvernaz will join the South Valley Middle School team as Assistant Principal beginning in the 2022-23 school year following the departure of Jonathan Penuliar.

Kay Guenther, Assistant Principal, Christopher High School

Kay Guenther was born and raised in Gilroy.  Currently, she is an Academic Coach and the Coordinator of Educational Technology for the Gilroy Unified School District and has worked in the district since 2005.  

Prior to joining the GUSD management team, Kay taught at Glen View Elementary and El Roble Elementary Schools.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from CSU Sacramento, and both a California Preliminary Administrative Credential and California Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from National University.  She will complete her Master’s degree in Applied Leadership in fall 2023. She was a computer science teacher at Deer Valley High School in Antioch early in her career.

Kay lives in Gilroy with her husband and three sons.  When she’s not cheering for her sons on the basketball court, baseball field or golf course, she enjoys reading, gardening and vacationing in Tahoe.

 

Tim Alvernaz - Assistant Principal, South Valley Middle School

Originally from the small Central Valley Town of Livingston, California, Tim comes to South Valley Middle School with over 16 years of middle school experience.  Tim earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Stanislaus State University and his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University.  

Beginning as a Physical Education teacher in the Berryessa Union School District, Tim is currently Assistant Principal at Morrill Middle School in San Jose.  However, prior to his current position, Tim has a variety of positions at Morrill Middle including physical education teacher, homework club coordinator, department chair and CTA union representative.  Tim currently lives in Gilroy with his family and is excited to be a part of the Tiger family!

April 22, 2022 update from Superintendent Flores: Run for Fitness is tomorrow, important dates for your calendar, volunteer reminders and TK at Luigi Aprea
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Families and Staff,

This is the time of year when the clock speeds up and the calendar is full of end-of-year celebrations and milestones.  This year is one of the most special in all my years as Superintendent because so many activities are scheduled that we missed during the pandemic.  I’m thrilled to be back on our campuses for spring site visits, student performances, upcoming awards nights, eighth grade celebrations, and of course, our high school graduations.  In the next few weeks, please watch for information from your school’s leadership team about end-of-year activities.

Here are some important dates for your calendars as you also begin end-of-year planning:

  • May 12—Mt. Madonna High School Senior Awards Night
  • May 16—GUSD annual Retirement Dinner
  • May 17—Gilroy High School Senior Awards Night
  • May 18—Christopher High School Senior Awards Night
  • May 26—GECA graduation
  • May 27—Minimum day for all students
  • May 30—No school (Memorial Day observed)
  • May 31—Teacher Records Day (no school for students in Tk-5th grades)
  • June 1—Adult Education graduation
  • June 7—Mt. Madonna High School graduation
  • June 8—Middle School 8th grade celebrations (Brownell, ASMS, SVMS)
  • June 9—Christopher High School graduation
  • June 10—last day of school
  • June 10—Gilroy High School graduation

Run for Fitness

The annual Run for Fitness happens tomorrow, Saturday, April 23, on the track at Gilroy High School! This is a FREE event offered to our TK- 12th grade students. Online registration is now closed, but you can still download and print a paper registration form and bring it with you to Gilroy High School tomorrow morning so your student(s) can participate.   Visit https://www.gilroyunified.org/parentstudent-resources/run-for-fitness to download a registration form

All grades have a scheduled time to check in and complete the run. Students who participate will be awarded an official “Run for Fitness” T-shirt and snack bag when their scheduled run is completed. We will run rain or shine!

Volunteers

As a reminder to you, if you are planning to assist in end-of-year activities at your child’s school, you must be a cleared volunteer through the district.  The process is easy to complete, and after you submit all of the required documentation, clearance usually happens within 24-48 hours.  To begin the clearance process visit our website. Parents must provide the following documentation to be cleared for volunteering in district schools;

Parent volunteers who wish to register as volunteer drivers must complete the initial volunteer onboarding before completing additional clearances.

Upcoming Vaccine Clinics

There is an upcoming COVID-19 vaccine clinic at El Roble Elementary on April 26, from 3-6 pm. You can schedule an appointment online using these links:  English/ Spanish

Insurance for Chromebooks

Students in middle and high school have a district computer for use at school and at home.  Students and their parents are responsible for the care of the Chromebook just like a textbook.  If the Chromebook is damaged or lost, the parent is responsible for the cost to repair and/or replace it.  Parents have asked the district to provide insurance for the Chromebooks so the district is working with Securranty to provide insurance coverage for a year at $32.95.  For more information, or to purchase insurance, visit: https://securranty.com/gilroyunified.

Transitional Kindergarten (TK)

GUSD currently offers Transitional Kindergarten (TK) at two school sites: Eliot Elementary and El Roble Elementary.  Each site houses two TK classrooms.  California is expanding the eligibility for TK over the next five years and therefore, the District will be adding additional classrooms based on enrollment.  Beginning next year, Luigi Aprea Elementary will also house the TK program. As the number of students eligible for TK increases, the district will add additional TK classrooms. For more information about the TK program or to enroll, please visit: https://www.gilroyunified.org/parentstudent-resources/enroll-in-gusd

I hope to see you on the track tomorrow for one of our District’s signature events and I look forward to connecting with you as we celebrate the end of this most memorable school year. 

Take care of each other,

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

April 1, 2022 update from Superintendent Flores: Chromebook insurance, school climate survey, TK at Luigi and more!
Melanie Corona

Dear GUSD Families and Staff,

Next week is spring break (April 4-8) and the schools will be closed.  Students and staff return to school on April 11 and the school year will fly by from that point on.  I hope you and your family get a chance to relax and recharge your batteries during the spring break as so much happens in those last ten weeks of the school year: state testing, AP exams, end-of-year celebrations, proms, graduations and so much more.

Volunteers

GUSD launched a new online platform for people who are interested in volunteering on March 21.  Over 205 parents and guardians have started the process and 31 are already cleared to volunteer at one or more of our schools.  If you are interested in being a volunteer, you can begin the process online.  Parents must provide the following documentation to be cleared for volunteering in district schools;

  • Complete the Volunteer Interest Form
  • Live Scan fingerprinting
  • TB risk assessment
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination (one dose J & J or two doses Pfizer or Moderna.  There is no booster requirement.)
  • Mandated Child Abuse Prevention Training course through Keenan

Parent volunteers who wish to register as volunteer drivers must complete the initial volunteer onboarding before completing additional clearances.

COVID-19 Test Kits

COVID-19 home test kits were distributed to students and staff this week.  Please use the test on April 9 or 10 before we return to campus.  The new Omicron (BA.2variant) is now the dominant variant in California and it is even more contagious than the prior variant.

Upcoming Vaccine Clinics

There are three upcoming COVID-19 vaccine clinics taking place on our campuses in upcoming weeks:

Date Location Address Time Registration
April 5 Glen View Elementary 600 W. 8th St. 12:30-7:30 pm Walk-in
April 12 Glen View Elementary 600 W. 8th St. 3-6 pm English
Spanish
April 26 El Roble Elementary 930 3rd St. 3-6 pm English
Spanish

Insurance for Chromebooks

Students in middle and high school have a district computer for use at school and at home.  Students and their parents are responsible for the care of the Chromebook just like a textbook.  If the Chromebook is damaged or lost, the parent is responsible for the cost to repair and/or replace it.  Parents have asked the district to provide insurance for the Chromebooks so the district is working with Securranty to provide insurance coverage for a year at $32.95.  For more information, or to purchase insurance, visit: https://securranty.com/gilroyunified.

Transitional Kindergarten (TK)

GUSD currently offers Transitional Kindergarten (TK) at two school sites: Eliot Elementary and El Roble Elementary.  Each site houses two TK classrooms.  California is expanding the eligibility for TK over the next five years and therefore, the District will be adding additional classrooms based on enrollment.  Beginning next year, Luigi Aprea Elementary will also house the TK program. As the number of students eligible for TK increases, the district will add additional TK classrooms. For more information about the TK program or to enroll, please visit our enrollment page.

School climate survey

The School Resource Officer (SRO) Program began in December of 2021.  As the contract renewal for this program is May 2022, we are asking for feedback on the program to date. Please complete this brief survey for each student in your home so that we can share your feedback with the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees. The survey window closes April 3, 2022.  All responses are anonymous.

Run for Fitness

Registration for the GUSD Run for Fitness is open now!  Gilroy Unified is proud to announce that after a two-year hiatus, our annual Run for Fitness event will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2022 at Gilroy High School on the track & field area! This is a FREE event offered to our TK- 12th grade students. Please complete the ParentSquare registration form by April 18.

Each grade level will have a scheduled time to check in and run laps. All students who participate will be awarded an official “Run for Fitness” T-shirt when their scheduled run is completed. We will run rain or shine!

For more information, including day-of schedule, visit the Run for Fitness page on our website.

Vote for Rigo Bedolla, National Custodian of the Year!

We are excited to announce that Las Animas Elementary School custodian, Rigo Bedolla, has been named a NATIONAL finalist for Cintas Custodian of the Year!  Mr. Rigo (as he is known on his campus) was nominated by a coworker, and if he wins, will receive a cash prize as will the Las Animas campus.

We need your help to push him to the top of the list!  Vote for Rigo multiple times a day, every day between now and April 15 at 11:59 pm.  Anyone, anywhere can vote, so share this opportunity with everyone you know!

Vote for Rigoberto Bedolla 

As the weather transitions to spring sunshine and longer evenings, I hope you are finding time to get outside and enjoy the company of your friends and family.  I am looking forward to reconnecting with nature over the break.  My hope is that you enjoy the week ahead, and that students return to school on April 11 ready to finish the year strong.

Take care of each other,

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

GUSDlogo
GUSD Communications

Good evening GUSD staff and families:

At the March 10, 2022 GUSD regular meeting, the Board of Education voted to bring volunteers back to our campuses and classrooms!  The Board and our staff recognize the tremendous impact that volunteers have for our students, and we are grateful to those of you who are able to give your time to support our school communities.  Today, I’m writing to share with you how you can become a volunteer in our district in just a few easy steps.

Note: anyone who wishes to volunteer on our campuses must complete this process, including TB assessment and live scan fingerprinting, including people who have previously volunteered.

  1. Complete the Volunteer Interest Form here (https://forms.gle/hfL7HAVQcEESWwJa8) to begin the registration process.  Make sure you provide an email address in this form that you access regularly.  All communication about volunteer clearance is sent via email.
  2. After you submit the Volunteer Interest Form, you will receive an email from TalentEd, our District’s onboarding management system.  It is important that the email address you use in the Volunteer Interest Form is accurate as this will be where the TalentEd system sends information to you about the registration process.
  3. Use the log-in link emailed to you through TalentEd to register an account and complete the registration process and upload the required documentation as soon as you are able to prevent any delays in processing. 
  4. Complete the Volunteer Registration checklist and submit required documentation, including:
  • State-issued driver’s license, or other government-issued identification.  For example, a California driver’s license.
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccine status.  Current requirements for valid COVID-19 vaccination is two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of J&J.  There is no booster requirement. 
  • Completed TB risk assessment form
  • Complete the live scan fingerprint process, and upload a copy of the completed live scan service form to your TalentEd portal. 

Volunteer processing will begin Monday, March 21, 2022 and we anticipate a great level of interest.  Please allow 3-5 business days after you complete the GUSD Volunteer Interest Form for additional instructions to be emailed to you from TalentEd.  Thank you for expressing interest in providing critical support to our staff and students through volunteering in our district. Your patience and partnership is appreciated. 

All of this information, and more, can be found on the GUSD website.  I encourage you to visit this page on our website should you have questions or need more information about the volunteer clearance process.

You do not need to complete the volunteer clearance process if you would like to attend an awards ceremony, conference, performance or event on campus as a guest.  Your attendance at any of these school functions is welcomed and critical for the success of our school communities as well.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our staff and students.  I look forward to welcoming you back to campus as a volunteer.

Take care of each other,

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

March 11, 2022 update from Dr. Flores: mask mandate ends, volunteers, GUSD Board Meetings, and end-of-year activities
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD staff and families,

Congratulations to the Christopher High School girls’ soccer team for their win at the state championship game last Saturday evening.  It was a nail-bitter with the winning goal happening late in the game.  This championship is the first in the school’s history.  We are so proud of the team and coaching staff for all of their accomplishments!

I am so excited to announce that this year’s Run for Fitness will return to the Gilroy High School track on April 23, 2022.  Online sign-ups will be available in the next week.  We would love to see a big turnout at this year’s event.  T-shirts will be distributed to all of our students who participate.

There are a number of important details outlined below related to updates and changes in COVID-19 protocols.

Mask Mandate Ends

At midnight tonight, the indoor mask mandate for schools in California will end.   Starting on Monday, March 14, masks will no longer be required in public schools indoors.  However, the public health department is still strongly recommending that masks be worn indoors in schools.  This means that individual staff members will need to make the decision about whether to wear a mask indoors.  Parents/guardians will need to decide if you want your child to wear a mask or not indoors.  Everyone will be expected to respect each other’s decisions to either wear a mask or not wear a mask.  Masks will still be available to staff and students who want them at every school site.

 Volunteers

At last night’s March 10, 2022 Board of Education meeting, the Board of Education approved staff’s recommendation to begin processing applications from parent volunteers and other volunteers to provide support and assistance in district schools.  In order to be a volunteer on one of our campuses, volunteers must;

  1. Have a TB clearance
  2. Be fingerprinted
  3. Provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination status.  (Two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or the one-dose J& J.  There is no booster requirement.)
  4. Complete an online Child Abuse Reporting class
  5. Obtain DMV clearance (only for people wishing to transport students)

It will take some time to establish the online onboarding process and hire a part-time staff member to take responsibility for the submission of the documents.  We will notify you of the date that volunteers can start submitting the necessary documents as soon as it is determined.

Test Kits

Spring Break is April 4-8, 2022.  The District’s recent practice of distributing test kits before breaks, in December and February, will take place before Spring Break.  The next round of test kit distribution will occur the week before Spring Break.  Test kits will be sent home through the students.  Further communication about test kit distribution will be sent to you by your child(ren)’s principal.  Please test your child before they return from the Spring Break, on Monday, April 11, and if they test positive, please keep them home and contact your school. 

Vaccination Clinics

The District continues to collaborate with public health agencies by hosting vaccination clinics at our schools.  Upcoming clinics are scheduled as follows;

  • Tuesday, March 15,  El Roble Elementary, 3:00-7:30 pm
  • Thursday, March 17,  Eliot Elementary, 3:00-7:30 pm
  • Tuesday, April 5,  Glen View Elementary, 12:30-7:30 pm

Other Health and Safety Considerations

In light of the decrease in COVID-19 cases and the new guidance from the California Department of Public Health, the District’s interim safety measures that were enacted in January and February have been lifted.  

Operationally, the district is essentially back to normal with the provision that the CDPH is still strongly recommending wearing masks in indoor settings.   Fortunately, the upgrades to our ventilation systems last year will continue to recycle the air in our classrooms and buildings at a high level.  Staff and families should remain vigilant about monitoring possible symptoms of COVID, staying home if sick and getting tested regularly.

GUSD Board Meetings

In an ongoing effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, in January and February, our Board of Education held regular Board meetings virtually.  Last night, the Board voted to resume in-person meetings in the GUSD Boardroom that are open to attendance by members of the public on March 24.  The Board meeting schedule and all past and upcoming agendas can be accessed online.   Should you wish to attend an in-person Board meeting, please be aware that attendance may be capped.  Beginning March 24, people who wish to submit public comment to the Board of Education must do so in-person in the Boardroom.   Our staff will continue to livestream Board meetings via the GUSD YouTube channel.  We appreciate your engagement in our meetings, and invite your continued attendance, in-person, or virtually.

Celebrations, Events, Dances, and Graduations

Principals and their staffs have started planning for end-of-the-year celebrations, senior events, dances and graduations.  They will communicate the specific details about events at their sites in the coming weeks.

District Office Hours of Operation

In the event you need to do business at the District Office, our hours of operation (before the pandemic and since July 1, 2021) are 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Staff is also available by phone and email, and that information can be found online.  

 

This week, I participated in a workshop with superintendents from the county.  One of the topics we discussed was resilience.   As I think about the last two years, our staff, students and families have displayed amazing resilience in the face of so many difficult challenges.  I would like to end with a quote about resilience from author Steve Maraboli, “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”  I am looking forward with great anticipation to March 14, and our further steps back to normalcy for our staff and students.  

 

Thank you for continuing to demonstrate great resilience as we move forward.


Take care of each other,

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

For media requests regarding the Gilroy Unified School District, school sites, staff and/ or students, please contact Melanie Corona, Public Information Officer, 669.205.4095 or melanie.corona@gilroyunified.org.