Friday, January 13, 2017

January 13, 2017

We survived the monsoon like rains over the past week and started our second term on Wednesday.  Other than a few leaky roofs, our schools are pretty much unscathed.

Linda Park
At the Board meeting Tuesday night, Trustee Linda Park announced that she is resigning her position.  Linda’s family has moved their business back to Nevada and the whole extended family is relocating.  Linda has been a stellar board member who brought passion, insight and incredible empathy to leading our district.  She poured herself into the work of understanding the incredible complexities of the school system and has become a tremendous asset because of her knowledge.  Linda loves kids.  She relished the opportunity to meet and to get to know many of the amazing teenagers that cross our thresholds.  She has a deep affinity for kids who are struggling or who face obstacles in their lives and has been a fierce advocate for Adelante, Independence,  Roseville Adult School and all of our site intervention efforts.  Most recently, I am certain that Measure D would not have passed without Linda’s tireless commitment and leadership of the campaign.  Our district and our community will be enjoying awesome facilities for the next 50 years because of her efforts.  For me personally, I will miss most her unbridled commitment to do what is right for our students.  She will be sorely missed.  The Board has determined to appoint a successor to serve out the rest of her term.  We hope to complete the application, screening and selection process in the next 6 weeks.

The EdTech Summit is this weekend.  Formerly known as Googlefest (I still like that title better!), this is our fourth year of hosting one of the premier educational technology events in Northern California. Over 100 of our teachers will be joining folks from across the region to get training on the latest, greatest innovations to accelerate learning in our schools. If you are unable to attend you can still access the resources online. 

For the second year in a row, Oakmont High School students, staff and the Roseville Community banded together to help fight cancer with the Me-One Foundation 5K run at Maidu Park. Me-One assists families of cancer victims “get away” for a weekend.

Soccer season has had a cold and wet beginning.  If you have noticed the stadium lights on each evening, it is because the Sac Joaquin Section moved both the boy’s and girl’s soccer seasons to the winter.  This will enable the State to conduct a true State Championship tournament for soccer.  It also has meant a number of cold, wet soccer matches as our coaches and teams are dealing with the elements with the first really wet winter we have experienced in years.  Perfect timing!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December 21, 2016

On Tuesday, Joe, Suzanne, Brad, Jess, Steve  and I had a blast traipsing around the district to spread a little holiday cheer! It is the 11th year of a tradition that John, Steve and I started our first year at the District Office. It is so cool to see the positive energy at each site as we wrap up the fall term and get ready for some badly needed rest and relaxation. 

Roseville High had a beautiful holiday banquet at lunch on Tuesday, followed by some recognition awards and a compelling presentation by Mr. Byrd celebrating all that has been accomplished in the first term. Those warm, fuzzy feelings were immediately undone as Dave and Jeff Clark engaged in a donut eating contest.  Both gentlemen have been talking trash for a couple of months about their eating capabilities so they had this event to settle things once and for all.  With a buildup like a championship heavyweight fight, the two contestants took the stage. Six minutes later, Mr. Clark was prancing around like Rocky, victorious with the consumption of 14 Krispy Kreme doughtnuts. The audience of staff and some bystanders will be trying to unremember this for the rest of our lives. It wasn’t pretty, but it was pretty funny!

We had a spectacular meeting with the architectural firm who will be designing the new theater at Antlelope High School on Monday.  We have established a clear vision for the project. Unfortunately, our credibility may be at risk.  Over a wonderful lunch at a nearby Chinese Restaurant (FAT’s), a waitress suddenly appeared with a plate with a cheeseburger and fries on it.  It turned out that she was not lost. An unnamed assistant principal from Antelope High School actually ordered the food.  Who orders a burger and fries at a Chinese restaurant?

Finally, I just want to thank everyone for your commitment to students, your hard work, and the passion and creativity that makes our district so unique.  You are amazing!  Now get some rest and enjoy your families over the break! 

Happy Holidays to all!

Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016

Left to right; Julie Hirota, Gary Johnson & Paige Stauss
At the board meeting on Tuesday, Paige Stauss, Julie Hirota and Gary Johnson were sworn in. Paige Stauss was reelected for her fourth term on our board. She is not only a key decision maker in our district, she also serves on the Executive Board for the California School Board Association. Gary Johnson is a veteran of the Air Force and the Coast Gaurd Reserves. He has also worked in law enforcement for 32 years. In addition, Gary has served on school boards for the past 16 years in Sonoma County and Placer County. Julie Hirota has a background in mechanical engineering, working for NEC and HP, which is what brought her to Roseville 23 years ago. Julie serves as the board president for the Roseville City School Foundation, served four years as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Roseville and serves as a Vice President for the Placer County Visitor's Bureau. Julie ran for our school board because she has a vested interest, her two children Ben (11) and Gracie (14). She pledges to support equitable and accessible opportunities for every student and every campus. 

City of Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan was honored at our board meeting this week for her work on Measure D. As co-chair of the campaign with board member Linda Park,  she provided great expertise and insight, and brought a deep understanding of the community to our campaign process.  She has always been a great advocate for schools in her role on the Roseville City Council.  We are forever in her debt.  Similarly, Linda worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the bond.  Her network of friends and colleagues in the political community gave us access to key opinion leaders and provided us the opportunity to build relationships.  They were a terrific team who led a monumental effort which will impact the quality of life for students in our community for generations.  Thank you Susan and Linda! 

Oakmont High School students traveled to FC Joyce Elementary School which is time-honored tradition known as "Santa's Helpers". Oakmont students are paired with the elementary school students they spend time reading, doing activities and playing games. The students then gather in the multi-purpose room where the elementary school students open their gifts. A great way to celebrate the season!

Antelope High School provided a tour of their PLTW Engineering and Biomedical programs to Roger Niello, the CEO of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce.  He was quite impressed!  The Biomedical students in the capstone course provided their final project presentations last week.  On Thursday, the Engineering students had their turn.  The theme this year was "Our Campus, Our Legacy".  Each group designed something that would improve and enhance Antelope High School.  One group designed a new theater and another came up with road and traffic improvements.  The group working on major improvements to the Athletic fields had amazing ideas but somehow forgot to include a luxury box for the Superintendent!  Maybe next year!

Phil Boyte has been a great friend of the district for years and has helped us to shape the cultures on each campus.  He invited me to do a podcast with him where we talked about how you build trust on a high school campus and how you respond when trust is inevitably broken.  It freaked me out a little as we skyped this event (Phil was in North Carolina), but it is always awesome to get to chat with Phil.  The link is provided below and you can also scroll down to hear a similar podcast with Antelope High School, Activities Director, Kristin Patten. 
Podcast click here

Friday, December 9, 2016

December 9, 2016

Last week Woodcreek High School's National Honor Society put on their annual Santa's Helpers at Kaseberg Elementary School. Huge thank you to Dr. Mathis, the National Director of NHS who flew out to support us and attend the event.  It was amazing and was as memorable for our students as it was for the elementary school children. Thank you to Natasha Schaefer, Jennifer Marsh, and all of WHS NHS!

Congratulations to our cross country teams. In Division I, the Woodcreek girls finished 9th at the State Meet.  It is their best finish ever. In Division II, the Granite Bay High School girl's team finished 13th.
Alize Hartke (left) and Alexandra Beitia (right)
Oakmont High School junior Alize Hartke and Granite Bay high school senior Alexandra Beitia competed in the Cross Country state meet. They both placed individually in the top 15!  That earned them the opportunity to  compete this past weekend at the Footlocker Western Regional held at Mt. SAC. This is a competition between athletes in the 16 Western States where they have to finish in the top 10 advance to Nationals and represent the Western Region of the Country. Both girls ran great races and Beitia will go on to compete at Nationals.

Roseville High School senior, Shelbie McKay,  scored her 1,000 career point,  becoming the third player in Roseville High School history to achieve at least 1,000 career points. Congratulations!

One of our core values as a district is to Value People. This means that we value all people, all of the time. With the flurry of emotion after the presidential election, I have had staff and community members ask how our district will respond.  I tell them this. No matter what changes occur around us,  we will continue to value people.  In our world, every student has the right to come to a school where they are respected, cared for and appreciated.  Same goes for staff.  There is no room in that world for intolerance, racism, sexism, bullying or any other attitude or behavior that is rooted in hate! Tolerance and safety is but the baseline expectation. What we aim for is acceptance, friendships, and a sense of belonging. That is what “value people” means in the RJUHSD.
      Immediately after the election we dealt with a couple of incidents of taunting and with a student who drew some swastikas, defacing school property.  Each incident was dealt with quickly and forcefully.  One student is facing expulsion. There is no room for either type of behavior in our schools.  And the expectation is that as a community, we do not stand by and watch as others are subjected to unkind treatment. We report inappropriate behaviors. We intervene. We stand up for every student and person in the RJUHSD.
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 As we move through the rest of the school year and beyond, we will always come back to our core. We value people.  We celebrate the diversity of our district. That rich diversity has been a unique feature of the American experience since our origins as a nation. California, and our schools, are a melting pot of religions, races, languages and belief systems. We are preparing students who will be competing in a global economy.  So, we learn from each other, we appreciate that we all bring something different to the table of relationships, and we help each other to grow, overcome obstacles and to thrive.  

Planning for the Antelope High School performing arts building is underway!  An architect firm that specializes in theaters is working on the plans which will be submitted to DSA this spring. Currently, they are gathering information about our needs and vision for the project. The project has been made possible because of the passage of Measure D. We will also be submitting final plans for Phase one of the 6th High School in the next two weeks. It takes 8-12 months for the Division of State Architects to review and return plans so we are on target to break ground in the spring of 2018!

Brian and his family!

For nearly two decades Brian Gruchow has served our district as Director of Maintenance and Operations. When Paul Anderson retired in 2010, Brian took on overseeing the Transportation department as well. Brian has provided great leadership for both departments. Our schools are noted for how well maintained and cared for they are. Brian is the person who makes that happen. His work ethic, sense of humor and commitment will be missed. We wish him well on his retirement. We are pleased to announce that long time District employee Kris Knapp has been appointed to take over as Director of Maintenance and Operations. We will be interviewing for a new Director of Transportation in the next week. 

Looking for a way to get into the spirit of the season? Attend one of many holiday performances happening at all of our schools!

Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2, 2016

Congratulations go to Roseville High School and their AVID team, led by AVID coordinator Melissa Jones.  The school was recently visited by a team from AVID to determine whether the school should be recertified as National Demonstration Site.  The school received a three year (max possible) recertification!  The AVID program has long been a hallmark of Roseville High and has impacted the lives of hundreds of students. Awesome!

I attend a ton of student performances each year.  A few times each year, I walk away from the experience thankful that I got to be part of something incredible.  The Antelope Football teams win over Grant High School right before the break was one of those moments.  Two great teams battled for every minute of four quarters.  There were lead changes, momentum shifts, incredible displays of athleticism and enough drama for a whole season.  The stadium was packed and both schools bands and cheer sections were going crazy.  In the end, after a magical two point conversion, the last gasp pass into the end zone by Grant was knocked away.  It was a classic high school football game that everyone on both sides will long remember!  And, we are really proud that although some of the top programs in the area are filled with students who are transfers from other schools, our programs are generating success with kids who grew up together in the local community. 

Roseville High School held their first Career Fair this week over 40 businesses and schools were able to share their experiences, educational pathways and offer post-secondary educational career information to students. Mike on the Mic from the Sacramento River Cats emceed the event in addition to being a representative of sports broadcasting and media.

Oakmont High School girls water polo went undefeated this season, senior, Morgan Jones was named MVP. Oakmont High School senior, Denise Arendain, was the CVC tennis champion and MVP for the fourth time! Congratulations to all of our student athletes!

Right before the break, Oakmont Student Government had “Dude be Nice week!”  I love the simplicity of the message

Keep the folks at Woodcreek High School in your thoughts and prayers.  The school experienced their second suicide this year as a young man took his own life on Sunday night.  Folks around the district have responded with counseling and grief support.  The two events were totally unrelated and both took family, friends and school personnel totally by surprise.  It is a good reminder that we need to really look out for each other.  Really sad! The school leadership team and their teachers and support staff have had their hands full but have done an amazing job supporting our students and their families.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

November 18, 2016

Gayle Garbolino-Mojica (left), Linda Park (right)
Monday night, Board member Linda Park was honored as one of the Placer County Trustees of the year!  Linda has a huge heart for students and has been deeply committed to the intervention efforts in our district.  Recently, she co-chaired the Measure D campaign that resulted in the successful passage of a $96,000,000 bond that will help our district to have awesome facilities for years to come.  She has worked tirelessly to help bring together the different political factions in the district to focus on how we can best serve our schools and our kids.  She is very deserving of this recognition.

Sy Karfiol, (left), Ron Severson (right)
I had the honor this week to hear Sy Karfiol, a Holocaust survivor, share his story with Mr. Riehl's third period English class at Woodcreek High School. As a two year old, Mr. Karfiol was sent to live with a Catholic family in Belgium for four years during the war.  His mother was executed in her home, his father survived three years in Auschwitz, and most of his immediate and extended family were killed by the Nazis.  He reunited with his father after the war, eventually relocated to the United States, and had a wonderful career as a software engineer in Southern California.  It was a moving and inspirational story of horror, survival and healing, and an amazing way to give the novel "Night" a real life context for our students.  

Granite Bay Boys’ Water Polo puts another banner on the wall!
Huge congratulations to John MacLeane, Andrew Reego, and Damien Lawrence on a great season. The boys celebrated a great 8-6 victory over the Davis Blue Devils with standout performances by goalie Connor MacDonald and 6 goals from Logan Swanson.
Go Grizzlies!

Click to enlarge
We have spent considerable time over the past two weeks finalizing some of the plans for high school #6.  The plans will go to the Division of State Architects in December and we hope to break ground a year later, as soon as the rainy season subsides in 2018.  The goal is still to have the school open in August of 2020.  Here are some renderings we just received of the gym and field areas.

Many thanks to all who helped with Measure D.  The bond passed with almost a 61% yes vote!  Special thanks go to Roseville Mayor Carol Garcia and County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino Mojica for their robust support of the campaign.  Our co-chairs, Linda Park and vice-mayor Susan Rohan, tirelessly worked to organize the campaign and to raise the money needed.  Their leadership made the difference!  We are madly working on prioritizing projects and setting up the infrastructure we need to take on a number of major construction projects.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

November 11, 2016

After 22 years of service, Tuesday night was the last board meeting for Jan Pinney.  Jan had served on the Eureka Foundation Board for several years before he was appointed to our board in 1995 to fill a mid-term opening.  I arrived as the new principal for Granite Bay High School a few weeks later.  Over the past two decades, I got to know Jan as both a board member and as a parent (three of his children graduated from Granite Bay).  Jan is well known as a fiscal conservative, a very successful businessman, and as a leader in both the community and his church.  He has been both a careful steward of the taxpayers money, and a huge advocate for improving compensation for our teachers and staff to remain competitive in the region.  Over the years, he has developed a deep understanding of how our system works.  He was a catalyst for the adoption of International Baccalaureate, for the effort to increase A-G completion, and for the Equal Opportunity Schools effort to expand our Advanced Placement programs.  His passion, sense of humor and commitment to students have shaped the culture of our board for years.  We thank Jan for his years of service to our district and wish him well.  He will be sorely missed!

Antelope High School Activities Director Kristin Patten was featured this week on the new School Culture by Design podcast with Phil Boyte. Kristin highlights the top 3 things that HAVE to be in place when changing school culture;  consistent expectations on how you want people to behave in all situations, creating positive adult relationships, and creating a place that is safe, positive and fun, in that order. Tenacity is key. To hear the full podcast click here.

Woodcreek High School’s Speech and Debate team won 23 awards at a tournament this weekend which included four 1st place trophies and several top three placements!

On Wednesday, student-athletes throughout our district signed letters of intent to play sports at the next level. Granite Bay High School enjoyed a banner year, with 21 students signing letters.  Join us in congratulating our Collegiate Student Athletes.

Antelope High School and Roseville High School students participated in the future innovators showcase at the 56th annual California Educational Technology Professional Association (CETPA) Conference held at the Sacramento Convention Center. Students were very excited and professional in providing an in depth look into their use of technology inside and outside the classroom. Students from around the state participated showing a wide-array of technology that is preparing them for future careers. Click here for a closer look. 

Click to watch video
Granite Bay High School Media students have been recognized for their hard work by the Journalism Education Association, winning first place for their Carry-in Video, highlighting Granite Bay Art students who were featured at the State Fair. 

Granite Bay, Roseville and Antelope all have first round football playoff games this weekend.  Granite Bay is at Grant High School on Friday.  Antelope is at home Thursday night and Roseville plays at home on Friday. Good luck to all of the teams!

Oakmont InternationalBaccalaureate students gave a sterling presentation at the board meeting Tuesday night that showcased the multiple community service projects they are engaged in.  The service component of IB is seldom talked about, but it is one of the core values of the program. 

Finally, thank you to everyone who worked on Measure D!  The bond passed with a 60% yes vote!  Special thanks go to the campaign committee chairs, Board member Linda Park and City of Roseville Vice Mayor Susan Rohan.  Mayor Carol Garcia and County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica were also key supporters.  It took an army of volunteers to get this done.  Thank you to everyone who helped!