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June 4, 2021 update from Superintendent Flores: school's out for the summer, summer food service, get vaccinated and congrats Class of 2021!
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD staff and families:

I am penning my last letter to you for the 2020-21 school year.  I am still in disbelief that the end of another school year is here, and what a wild ride it has been!  Today’s letter will be short.  There are just a few updates that I’d like to share with you.  Mostly, I want to convey how proud I am of our staff, students, and families for having persevered under the most trying circumstances that I have ever witnessed in my educational career.  This time in our history will be shared with generations to come and I will remember this school year always.

While most of our students will take the next two months to enjoy a well-deserved summer break, I can assure you that our staff will continue to plan and prepare for a full return to in-person learning at all 14 of our school campuses.  We can’t wait to see all of our students back in our classrooms on August 18, 2021.

I want to extend my sincere gratitude to the staff who will be working in our summer program beginning on June 14 which will also be in-person at El Roble, Glen View, Brownell and Gilroy High.

Congratulations to the Class of 2021

I’d like to extend my congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2021 for all of their accomplishments throughout their high school careers.  Whether you are off to college, career, or are still deciding the next step in your journey, I have no doubt you will find success.  I hope that your educational experience in the Gilroy Unified School District has prepared you for fulfillment in the next chapter of your life and that you find happiness in whatever you do.

Congratulations to our fifth-and eighth-grade students as you embark on the next steps of your educational journey in the Gilroy Unified School District.  I have no doubt that your resiliency and drive, combined with the efforts of your teachers and other staff members, have prepared you well for a new adventure at a new school.  I’m looking forward to following your successes and accomplishments as you continue your learning at our schools.

Vaccines

Vaccinations continue to be the key to mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 virus.  In consideration of our community, family and friends, please make use of the vaccine resources that are available to you and your children.  The vaccine clinic at Gilroy High School continues to offer vaccines by walk-in or appointment.  Santa Clara County is also offering a number of vaccine clinics.  You can book an appointment or find out more information about clinic availability at sccfreevax.org or by calling 2-1-1.  Vaccines are now available for anyone age 12 and older and are the greatest safety measure we can offer each other. 

Summer Food Service for Gilroy children, 18 and under

There is no food service at any school site the week of June 7-11.  GUSD’s summer food service program begins Monday, June 14, at four school sites: El Roble Elementary, Glen View Elementary, Brownell Middle, and Gilroy High.  Breakfast will be served from 8:30-9:00 am, and lunch will be served from 12:30-1:00 pm, Monday-Friday, through July 27. 

Gilroy Library Summer Reading Program

The Gilroy Library has launched their summer reading program for kids of all ages. In addition to the reading program, there are virtual clubs and online programs to keep kids engaged all summer long. Learn more and sign-up here: https://sccld.org/summer2021/

This summer, I hope you are able to decompress and rejuvenate, while spending time outside with family and friends.  I hope your days are filled with smiles and laughter, and that you can find some perspective on all that we have accomplished in the last 15 months.  I wish you all the best over the break and am looking forward to seeing our staff and students on-campus, in-person, in August.

Take care of each other

 

/sig/

 

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May 21 update from Dr. Flores: vaccines, end of year schedule, technology updates, yellow tier criteria, and community service updates
GUSD Communications

Dear Families and Staff,

Happy Friday!  Can you believe there are only two weeks left in the school year? This is one of my favorite times of the year with end-of-the-year celebrations, high school graduations, senior awards night and reflection on the accomplishments and achievements of the school year.  As for most of you, I will never forget this school year, because in spite of its challenges, our school communities continued to persevere and triumph.

New Public Health Orders

All of the COVID-19 indicators are moving in the right direction with the lowest positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths in a year throughout the state, Santa Clara County and in Gilroy.  The County has one of the highest vaccinations rates in the state which has contributed to the significant decrease in COVID-19 case counts.

On Wednesday, May 19, Santa Clara County moved into the State’s Yellow Tier and new health orders were issued.  Although there were changes in the health order regarding masks for the general public, for school districts, everyone must still wear masks until the end of the school year. 

The most significant and immediate change for the district is the new requirement that employees must certify they have been fully or partially vaccinated with their employer.  The Gilroy Unified School District has been asking for this information on a voluntary basis from our employees, but now it is required under the order. 

Under the new health order, individuals that are unvaccinated or decline to certify their vaccination status will be required to wear masks.

Governor Newsom is planning to return the State to normal operations on June 15, 2021.  We are anxiously awaiting guidance from the California Public Health Department for schools as the result of this move back to normal operations.

Elementary Reopening 

The elementary schools have been open for over a month and things are going very well, thanks to the incredible work of our staff and principals.  It’s so great to have students and staff back on our elementary campuses. The teachers are doing a great job of providing instruction to both populations of students – in-person and distance learning.  The students seem to be genuinely happy to be back.

We really appreciate the cooperation of parents regarding drop-off and pick-up procedures.  These procedures were challenging for the first few days of the return to campuses, but are now working very well.

There has been only one confirmed case of COVID19 since reopening, which was acquired outside of school.  Following protocols, the impacted classroom was closed for about a week and there have been no other cases.  Attendance has been good both in person and in the distance learning program.

End of Year schedule

There is no school for elementary school students on Monday, May 24, because it is Teacher Records Day.  All elementary school students will participate in distance learning on Friday, May 28 and Friday, June 4, from 8:00-11:15 am. 

There is no school for all GUSD students on Monday, May 31 in observance of Memorial Day.  Classes resume on Tuesday, June 1.

Fall 2021 GUSD Reopening

The GUSD Reopening Planning Committee met again on May 19 and provided valuable input regarding our fall reopening.  From that meeting, we have gathered a list of suggestions, questions and concerns that we will be addressing through our planning process.

Staff are in full planning mode not just for the fall 2021 return to in-person learning, but for the summer program which will be in-person beginning June 14.  We are going to have a very busy summer preparing for the full reopening for all grades on August 18.

Professional development for staff will be offered during the summer and the days before school begins.

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, staff presented a recommendation to purchase the technology needed to offer a contingency plan at the secondary level if there is another surge of COVID-19 and schools must implement a hybrid learning model.  The Board approved the purchase of 388 interactive displays for our secondary campuses.  These interactive displays will be used in classrooms as soon as they are installed.

At last night’s meeting, the Board of Education also voted to allow high school students to resume in-person community service activities for volunteer hours that will fulfill their graduation requirement. Students may resume in-person community service activities on June 7, 2021.

Vaccinations

To date, the Gilroy High School vaccination clinic has vaccinated over 53,000 people.

The focus over the last few weeks has been on vaccinating teens and more recently, children ages 12 and up.  As of May 20, about 2,000 children in this age group have been vaccinated.  For details about how to vaccinate your child, or to schedule an appointment, visit: sccfreevax.org or call 2-1-1.

Individuals wishing to be vaccinated can either make an appointment or walk-in between 8:30-3:30 pm at the Gilroy High School clinic.  Walk-ins are best in the afternoon.  The County is holding a special vaccination event for students, age 12 and older, on Thursday, May 27, from 2-6:30 pm.  Students being vaccinated during this special clinic can receive a free boba tea. Students ages 12-17 must have their parent or guardian’s permission to be vaccinated.  

Almost 70% of GUSD staff have been vaccinated at this point and we expect more employees will get vaccinated before the start of the school year.  I am proud of their willingness to help ensure the health and safety of their colleagues and our students and families.

I believe vaccines are the key to our District and community returning to normal and hopefully, not having to close again.

As we wrap up the 2020-21 school year, I want to again, share with you how proud I am of each of you, and all we have achieved collectively this year.  We have learned many lessons that extend beyond the classroom and will continue to serve us and our community for years to come.

Take care of each other,

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

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GUSD Names New Early Childhood Program Administrator: Beatrice Magdaleno
GUSD Communications

The Gilroy Unified School District is pleased to welcome Beatrice Magdaleno as the new Early Childhood Program Administrator and newest member of the GUSD leadership team.  The official announcement was made at the May 20, 2021 GUSD Board Meeting where the appointment was approved by the Board.   Ms. Magdaleno will fill her new role beginning July 1, 2021.  As the new Early Childhood Administrator, she will oversee the entire GUSD Preschool program, including staff members, curriculum and instruction, and day-to-day operations.  Ms. Magdaleno replaces long-time GUSD administrator, Kathleen Taylor, who announced her retirement earlier in May 2021.

Superintendent Dr. Deborah Flores highlighted why she thinks Ms. Magdaleno will be successful in her new position.  “She was a preschool teacher before becoming an elementary teacher and thoroughly understands the needs of 3-4 year olds.  Both her principals at Eliot have shared with me her potential to be an excellent administrator based on the leadership roles she has fulfilled already.  Additionally, I have observed her teaching on a number of occasions and she is an outstanding teacher.  She truly understands what it takes to provide a high quality instructional program for young children.”  

GUSD Welcomes New Early Childhood Program Administrator, Beatrice Magdaleno.

Beatrice Magdaleno

Ms. Magdaleno was born and raised in Salinas. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Santa Clara University and a Master’s degree in Applied School Leadership from National University.  For the past 12 years, Ms. Magdaleno has been an elementary teacher and for the past 7 years, she has served as a 3rd grade teacher at Eliot Elementary.  During her teaching career, she has served in various capacities, including:  PBIS team member, School Site Council, and as a Leadership team member.  At Eliot, she was a Gilroy Teachers Association Site Representative, administrative designee, grade-level team leader, and new teacher mentor.  

Ms. Magdaleno enjoys reading with her son, going to the beach, hiking, and spending time with her family.  She begins her new role as Early Childhood Administrator begins July 1, 2021.

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GECA senior, Claire Huang, named 2021 National Merit Scholarship winner
GUSD Communications

Gilroy, CA – The Gilroy Unified School District is pleased to announce that Claire Huang, a senior at the Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA), has been named a 2021 National Merit Scholarship winner.  The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students across the country who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

About 1.6 million juniors in the United States entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT (PSAT) /National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). From the pool of students who entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program, only about 16,000, or 1%, were named Semifinalists.

Semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis, in proportion to each state's percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors.

In order to advance in the competition, and to be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Claire became a finalist by fulfilling several requirements that included submitting a detailed scholarship application and presenting a record of very high academic performance.

Winners of the 7,500 National Merit Scholarships awarded are being chosen from a group of 15,000 distinguished Finalists.  Less than 0.5% of the high school juniors who take the qualifying examinations are named National Merit Scholarship winners

In addition to the designation, Claire has also qualified for a $2500 National Merit Scholarship to help with school expenses.  She is GECA's Class of 2021 valedictorian.  Claire will be recognized by the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education at the May 20, 2021 Board Meeting. 

In addition, five other GUSD seniors received National Merit Scholar designation:

  • Daniel Tran, GECA, National Merit Scholar finalist
  • Kasandra Maita, GECA, National Merit Scholar semi-finalist
  • Ryan Cottone, Christopher High School, National Merit Scholar commended scholar
  • Jasmine Antrim, GECA, National Merit Scholar commended scholar
  • Jack Fan, GECA, National Merit Scholar commended scholar

For more information on the National Merit Scholarship program, visit:

https://www.nationalmerit.org/s/1758/interior.aspx?sid=1758&gid=2&pgid=424

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  • GECA
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May 7, 2021: GUSD Board of Education approves Reopening Committee's Recommendation for a full return to in-person learning for all students for the 2021-22 school year
GUSD Communications

Dear GUSD staff and families:

I’m writing today to share with you updates about the reopening of our physical campuses following last night’s meeting of the Board of Education.  As I shared with you in my Friday letter on April 30, at last night’s meeting, staff members presented the GUSD Reopening Planning Committee’s recommendation  that all GUSD schools reopen full time, five days per week beginning with the first day of school, August 18, 2021 at the May 6, 2021 Board meeting. Following is a brief synopsis of the recommendation and contingency plan presented to the Board that was approved last night:

  • Assuming COVID-19 cases remain low and state restrictions are rescinded, the GUSD Reopening Planning Committee and GUSD staff recommends a full reopening of GUSD schools, preschool – 12th grades, full-time, five days per week.  In addition, the Gilroy Unified School District will continue to offer the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) for grades kindergarten-12 for families who wish to continue with online learningThe Board voted 7-0 in favor of the recommendation.
  • The Reopening Planning Committee also presented a contingency plan to the Board of Education which may be utilized if necessary.  This contingency plan indicates that if there is a surge of COVID-19 cases and State or County restrictions are reinstated, elementary school students (preschool-5th grades) remain in a continuation of the current elementary hybrid model, and secondary school students (6th-12th grades) transition to a simultaneous instruction model.  With this contingency plan, the Gilroy Unified School District will continue to offer the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) for grades kindergarten-12 as an alternative online model for families.  The Board voted 7-0 in favor of the contingency plan.

 While staff does not anticipate having to enact the contingency plan, we are prepared to do so if circumstances require.

As a reminder, you can watch the livestream and replays of all of the GUSD Board of Education meetings on the District’s YouTube channel: ‚Äčhttps://www.youtube.com/c/GilroyUnifiedSchoolDistrict.  Please follow our social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for regular updates and announcements, and visit our website (https://www.gilroyunified.org/reopening-gusd) for more information.

Finally, I encourage all members of our school communities (staff, families and eligible students) to get vaccinated as soon as you are able.  Gilroy High School continues to offer online appointments (http://sccfreevax.org/) and is offering special clinic hours for high school students 16 and older on May 12, 21 and 27.  Please continue to wear your masks, practice social distancing, and staying safe.  I can’t wait to see all of our students back on campus August 18. 

Take care of each other,

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

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