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August 5, 2022 update from Dr. Flores: Back to School!, test kits, updated cell phone policy, elementary school pick-up and drop-off, and more!
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Families and Staff,

I hope you have had a good summer!  I am looking forward to the start of the 2022-23 school year in just 12 days on August 17.  This is my first Friday letter of the year.  I will continue writing to you on Fridays at least once, and usually twice, a month throughout the school year.

COVID-19 Test Kits

The most important message in today’s letter is to remind you to use the COVID test kits that staff at the school sites distributed to you at the end of the last school year.  Please use the kits to test students 24-48 hours before returning to school on the first day.  Santa Clara County is still in a COVID-19 surge with many people contracting the latest variant as it is highly contagious.  Everyone did a great job last school year staying home if they tested positive or if they exhibited symptoms. 

Thankfully, we were able to keep our schools open all year even during the worst surge during January and February 2022.  Our goal is to minimize the spread of the virus at schools and to keep our classrooms and schools safe and open.  If you need a test kit, please contact your school site and they will provide you with a kit.  You can also contact the district office at (669) 205-4000 to pick up a test.  For more information about COVID-19 protocols in GUSD, visit our website.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Updated Guidance

The California Department of Public Health recently issued new guidance for K-12 schools.  The CDPH still strongly recommends that all staff and students be vaccinated.  As we did last year, the District will host vaccination clinics in the fall.  Masks are no longer required indoors but are still recommended for specific situations. Masks will be available at each site for anyone who wants one. We will continue to encourage frequent hand washing with soap as this is a good practice to prevent the spread of germs.  As I shared last year, all 1200+ of the district’s HVAC’s have been serviced and repaired when needed and filters replaced at least two times per year.   Events involving large groups will continue to be held outdoors. Volunteers will be welcome on campuses, but must be cleared by the district first and approved by the principal.  Please see the instructions below.

Only parent volunteers who have completed the District’s clearance process will be allowed on campus during the school day and only at times approved by the principal.   All parents will be invited to back-to-school nights, parent conferences, special activities and many other events during the year.

District staff will be sending out a recertification task list for all existing approved volunteers in the next few days.  Recertification is a quick process and will ensure active volunteer status and maintain existing fingerprints on file.  Existing approved volunteers who recertify will not need to fingerprint again.   If you have any questions on the recertification process, or are interested in becoming an approved volunteer, please email or visit our website for more information.

Cell Phones on campus
The GUSD Board of Education believes that a productive learning environment is one that is free of unnecessary distractions; and therefore, the District has updated the regulations for Possession of Cellular Phones and Other Personal Electronic Signaling Devices on school campuses.

Each school site will be sharing the updated policy with all students and families. Here are a few highlights in preparation for school:

Elementary School (TK – 5th grades): Cellular phones, smart watches and other electronic signaling devices are prohibited to be used on campus.

Secondary (6th – 12th grades): Cellular phones and other electronic signaling devices must be turned off and kept out of sight during class time. Electronic signaling devices shall not be left on in vibrating mode. 


  1. Students bring electronic signaling devices on campus at their own risk. The school is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged electronic signaling devices
  2. If a student is found to be in possession of an electronic signaling device without proper authorization, a district employee will confiscate the device and turn it over to the administration.

We appreciate your cooperation in helping to maintain a distraction-free learning environment for our students.

Elementary Drop-off and Pick-up

Our elementary school sites are following the same procedures for arrival and dismissal from campus as last school year.  Parents will drop-off and pick-up their children at the gated entrances to campus.   Your school’s principal will communicate more detailed information about drop-off and pick-up closer to the start of school.

South Valley Middle School Construction Project

Over the summer, there was tremendous progress at the South Valley Middle School site.  The new classrooms on Murray Avenue were completed and furniture is arriving and being set up this week. The contents of the old buildings were removed and the buildings were demolished except for the gym which will remain until next winter. Here are some recent photos for you to see the progress.

Summer Programs

Summer school programs were successfully operated at three schools this summer – Eliot Elementary, Brownell Middle School and Solorsano Middle School.  These included: high school credit recovery, literacy intervention at the elementary and middle school levels, special education classes and Power School.  We celebrated the graduation of 28 students from our Adult Education and high school programs on August 3 at Brownell Middle School.  Congratulations to all of the graduates!

Back to School

We recently introduced the GUSD Back to School hub on our website that contains ways to prepare for the 2022-23 school year.  We urge all GUSD families to complete a meal application either electronically or 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. Additionally, 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 (English/ Spanish).  Applications will also be sent home with students when the school year begins.  

Other ways to prepare for the 2022-23 school year include:

School Safety

I wanted to share some information with you that I shared with our families in June 2022, following the Uvalde, TX school shooting.   The safety of our staff and students remains the highest priority for our leadership team.  Here are some of the measures that we have implemented on our campuses throughout the years, and continue to enforce on our campuses today and in the future.

Family Resource Fair, Wednesday, August 24

Mark August 24 on your calendar, for the inaugural GUSD Family Resource Fair, which will be held at the District Office from 5-8 pm.  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 and After School programs, information about our specialized programs, giveaways, food, and much, much more!   Additional information will be sent to you shortly.  I hope you’ll join us.  This event is open to all GUSD families.

New Websites in GUSD!

Finally, be on the lookout for completely redesigned websites for the District Office and all 14 school sites. This project has been in development since last year, and we are excited to share our new design with you. More information about navigating the websites will be shared with families and staff soon.  The District Office website will launch next week.

Summer is winding down, and the anticipation of the start of a new school year is at the top of my mind. I’m excited to see what will happen in our classrooms and on our campuses this year, and look forward to celebrating the successes of our school communities.  I also look forward to connecting with you throughout the school year.  Enjoy these last few days of the summer break, and we will see you on campus on August 17!

My best,

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

Welcome New Adminstrators
GUSD Communications

The Gilroy Unified School District is pleased to announce the appointment of two new administrators to the leadership team.  The official announcement was made at the June 16, 2022 regular Board Meeting where the appointments were accepted by the Board of Education.  

Lindsay Granger, Program Administrator, Special Education

Lindsay Granger headshot

Lindsay is excited to join the GUSD team! Lindsay has been working in Santa Clara County since 2008. She is currently a Program Specialist at Franklin McKinley School District where she supports many different facets of special education. In addition to being the primary point of contact for school sites she facilitates special programs including Preschools, Deaf and Hard of Hearing programs, Assistive & Augmentative Communication, and is the district liaison for Non-Public Schools. Prior to FMSD Lindsay worked as a School Psychologist in Berryessa Union, Sunnyvale, and Denver Public School Districts. She is passionate about helping create special education environments that allow students to thrive. 



Lovedeep Sahota, Coordinator of After School Programs

Lovedeep Sahota headshot

Lovedeep Griswold Sahota is a Gilroy transplant for the past five years by way of San Jose. She found her love for working with youth while working with the YMCA of Silicon Valley. In her 16 years of experience, she has developed both grant-funded and fee-based youth programming while partnering with local school districts. Most recently she coordinated emergency responder programs during the pandemic to serve essential workers by partnering with Morgan Hill Community Foundation, Morgan Hill Unified & Gilroy Unified School districts.  Lovedeep’s vast experience working with multiple school districts provided the perfect canvas for program innovation.  Taking the best of the best, she created a new summer program model that integrated teachers within our traditional day camp setting.  Three words that best describe Lovedeep are approachable, dependable, and intentional. Lovedeep holds a B.A. in Psychology.  When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her wife, going to sporting events, and baking at home.  She has a passion for animals and loves her three rescue kitties.


June 3, 2022 update from Dr. Flores: graduation, school safety, summer reading program, drought restrictions and more
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Staff and Families,

This is my last letter of the year as school will be over next Friday, June 10, 2022.   It is an exciting time of the year as we celebrate all of our students’ accomplishments especially those graduating from high school.  Two very successful graduations have already been held: GECA on May 26 and Adult Education on June 1.    We are looking forward to next week’s events and celebrations:

High School Graduations

Middle School Celebrations, June 8

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

A big congratulations to 5th grade students who are moving to the middle school level and 8th grade students who are moving on to the high school level next year.  

As a reminder, the instructional calendar for the 2022-23 school year is posted online in English and Spanish.  

Robb Elementary School Shootings

The tragedy that unfolded in Uvalde, Texas at Robb Elementary School on May 24 was so horrible that it is hard to convey my feelings in words.  The loss of a loved one brings such sorrow to a family but for children to die in school as the result of a school shooting is unfathomable.   Our thoughts and prayers go out to every family that lost a loved one and for all the families impacted by the shooting.  Last week, we shared some resources with our families that might be helpful in talking to children about violence.  As a reminder, this information is available here.  

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012, I reached out to the Gilroy Chief of Police and requested a meeting with school principals, my Cabinet members and top GPD officers to begin what is now an almost 10-year long partnership focused on school safety and the prevention of school shootings.   We met within days of the Sandy Hook shootings and agreed on a number of steps that would be taken to increase the district’s preparedness for an intruder or school shooting. Since then, key district personnel and officers from the GPD have worked closely together to ensure that we are doing everything we can to prepare for a school shooting and are constantly evaluating what more we can do.  The attached list outlines the steps we have already taken to prepare for a school shooting and additional steps we plan to take this year. 

Santa Clara County Drought Restrictions

California has been in a drought for almost 850 days.  The State and the County have recently implemented new mandatory drought restrictions. In Santa Clara County, residents are limited to brief watering of landscapes such as lawns to two times per week before 9:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. The district has been doing our part for several years now.  Many areas of landscaping are not being watered at all or very minimally.  We have to water the areas that students use to keep them safe but even these areas are watered as little as possible to keep them from dying.  We all need to do our part about this very serious water issue by watering landscaping as little as possible and conserving in every way that we can.  This article shows 12 easy ways to help our State with conservation efforts. 

COVID-19 Test Kit Distribution

This week, District Office staff delivered COVID-19 test kits to all school sites in GUSD.   Please watch for a communication from your school’s principal about when those test kits will be sent home with students next week.  Please plan to test the children in your home prior to returning to campus for the 2022-2023 school year on August 17, 2022.  

Summer Reading Program

The Santa Clara County Library District launched their annual Summer Reading Program, "Reading Beyond the Path," on June 1!  Readers of all ages can register for the program and enjoy two months of in-person or virtual activities at the Gilroy Library and other libraries in the County.  Program participants, both children and adults, can earn free books too!  For more information or to register, visit: and get reading!

Summer reading is critical, not only for helping kids maintain learning while school is out, but also for fostering social-emotional development, discovering the joy of stories, and elevating the importance of lifelong learning.

As we come to the close of another school year, I am honored to have had a front row to watch your children excel.  We certainly have had our challenges this school year, some of which are unusual given the pandemic, but we have celebrated many successes along the way.  My wish for you and your family is that you enjoy these summer months by creating wonderful memories and experiencing lots of adventures too.  I plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, in nature, during the summer break.  My hope is that you are able to find your happy place as well.

Take care of each other, and we will see students back on campus in August,

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

May 24, 2022 communication from Superintendent Flores: resources for talking about violence with your children
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD staff and families:

This afternoon, news broke that there was another mass shooting in America.  This time, it was at an elementary school near San Antonio, Texas, and 14 children and one staff member were killed by an 18 year old.  

My heart aches for the parents and families of these children, and the entire Uvalde community.  News like this always reminds me of what happened in the our community during the 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival and while I hope that our students feel safe on our campuses, I have no doubt that this news will cause uncertainty and angst for our children.  In 2019, we shared a number of resources with our families about how to talk to children about violence in a community, and it is necessary to share that information with you again.  While we work tirelessly to ensure that this will never happen in our District, I also want to acknowledge very real feelings that might be manifesting for your children today and in the days to come.

Our schools have wonderful partnerships with community organizations to offer support and resources to children while they're at school, and I invite you to utilize these resources for your children at home.  If your child is struggling, please don't hesitate to reach out to their teacher or school principal to find help for them.

I am holding those families in Texas in my heart tonight, and am holding you and your family close to my heart as well.

Take care of each other,


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

May 20, 2022 update from Dr. Flores: COVID-19 surge, solar structures, state budget and new administrators at Brownell
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD Staff and Parents,

It's hard to believe that there are only 14 days of school left in this school year.  This year has flown by. Overall, it has gone well despite the ups and downs resulting from the pandemic.  I visited all schools this spring and it was wonderful to see things operating in a normal way. 

Senior Awards Ceremonies

In the past week, I have attended Senior Awards ceremonies at Christopher High School, Gilroy High School and Mt. Madonna High School.  Our seniors’ accomplishments are so impressive and the generosity of the donors is just amazing!  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors.

I want to send a special congratulations to the graduates of the Class of 2022 for their efforts in our community.  Despite the pandemic, this year’s graduating class completed almost 60,000 hours of community service.  That is a remarkable achievement and should be celebrated!

COVID-19 Surge

In regards to COVID, we are in another surge.  The Bay Area has the highest COVID infection rate in the State.  Santa Clara County’s 7-day average number of cases has steadily increased from around 150 on April 1 to over 800 yesterday.   Bay Area Health Officers are recommending that everyone where a mask indoors.  Indoor masking at this point is not a requirement so it will continue to be a personal choice whether to wear a mask or not.  They are also recommending testing if someone has symptoms or has been exposed to someone who has COVID, and getting vaccinated and boosted, if eligible.   The district will be hosting the next vaccination clinic at Glen View Elementary on June 3, from 3-6 pm. 

We learned this past week that the State is distributing more test kits to all districts in California.  The test kits just arrived in our county and district staff will be picking them up next week and distributing them to school sites and departments before the end of the year.  The State is recommending that students be tested before attending summer school and/or before returning to school in August. 

In addition, households can order eight free COVID-19 test directly from the federal government.  If you haven’t done so, you can order using this link:

State Budget

The Governor released the May Revise this week which is the revised State budget for the next school year (2022-23).  The Governor’s proposed budget includes an increase in ongoing funding to public schools and some additional one-time funds.  The legislature will deliberate about the budget proposal and when they finalize the proposal it will go back to the Governor.  There is usually a period of negotiations between the Governor and the legislature before the final budget is adopted.

Solar Shade Structures

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, the Board approved a solar project for installing shade structures at the following schools:  Eliot, El Roble, Glen View, Luigi Aprea and Rod Kelley Elementary Schools and Solorsano Middle School.  These solar structures will save the district an estimated $3.6 million in the next 20 years and will provide much needed shade for our students and staff.

Agreements Reached with GUSD Unions

I am very pleased to report that the district has now reached agreements with all three unions.  All GUSD employees will receive a 7.25% salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2021 and the district will cover the increase in costs for health benefits effective January 1, 2022.

New Administrators appointed at Brownell Middle School

At the May 19 GUSD Board Meeting, the Board accepted the appointments of Mike Nebesnick and Deedy Camarena as the principal and assistant principal, respectively, at Brownell Middle School.  Both Mike and Deedy have served in these roles as interim administrators since October 2021.  They will continue to serve as interim through June 30, and assume their new roles July 1, 2022. We are thrilled to have them continue as part of our leadership team in GUSD. Read the full release

 Upcoming Events and Important Dates

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


  • 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
  • August 17, 2022—first day of the 2022-23 school year for all students

There is a fabulous art show presented by students at Christopher High, Gilroy High and Mt. Madonna High School taking place in downtown Gilroy tonight at the monthly Third Thursday Art Walk.  If you are looking for something to do, I invite you to take a look at the incredible artwork our students are producing in the classroom.

Our schedules for the next few weeks are filled to the brim with celebrations and acknowledgements of our students and all of their achievements.  We are looking forward to celebrating with all of you as we look toward what’s next. 

You can find the instructional calendar for the 2022-23 school year online now in English and Spanish

Take care of each other,

Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
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