Peterson's Post

Recently, I attended the MCOE Excellence in Education awards ceremony; events like these always make me feel proud to be an educator.  MHS’s Steve Eccles was honored as MUHSD’s teacher of the year.  GV’s Donna Bandoni was honored as MUHSD’s classified employee of the year.  Congratulations to both of them on the well-deserved recognition. Like many in our district, they represent our willingness to innovate and make the necessary shifts to meet our students’ needs. It is imperative that we continue to show off our best to the public, especially in this day and age of charter and private school competition.

At the event I also heard one of the most eloquent speeches I have ever heard.  It came from Atwater Elementary’s Carrie O’Bara who was named the County Teacher of the Year.  Her speech was about the four principles she lives and works by: 1) Be kind: teach and be a role model of kindness; 2) Be supportive: help students and colleagues find their way; 3) Connect with people: relationships take time and effort; and 4) Be present: take the time to listen and pay attention in the moment.  This is great advice for all of us!

O’Bara’s speech is even more relevant in the wake of recent tragic events such as the horrors of Las Vegas and the devastating wildfires throughout California. Tragedies like these remind us of the importance of showing more gratitude and civility toward each other and our students. No matter your role in our district, I hope you take some time when appropriate to model and talk to students about these two important terms--gratitude and civility.


Student Spotlight

Melina Basso 
El Capitan High School

Melina Basso is a senior at El Capitan. She is the President of the Robotics club, lead mechanic, and drive team coach. Melina is also a member of the digital media club and has been part of the school's Mouse Squad since her freshman year. Melina had no inclination toward STEM fields until she got involved in robotics, Mouse Squad, and digital media team; she now wants to study Engineering at UC Merced when she graduates. 

Tony Doyle, the school's Robotics Advisor and Teacher Librarian says that Melina is "a very well-spoken young lady who shows tremendous leadership skills." Melina is an amazing young lady working toward a bright future. 
Where Are They Now? 
MUHSD Alumni in Action

Chessie Garcia, BCHS Graduate

Chessie Garcia graduated from Buhach Colony in 2006. In 2013 Chessie graduated from CSU Stanislaus with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. She is a registered nurse for Kaiser, runs her own bakery, Chessie's Dreamery, and recently completed her first Spartan Trifecta race.

Chessie is also a native Puerto Rican. After Hurricane Maria devastated her home land, Chessie decided it was time to pack up and go offer her nursing services to her native home. This week, Chessie joined other registered nurses through the Registered Nurse Response Network and headed to Puerto Rico to help. Chessie is selfless and giving in a way we can look up to. 

Do you know a MUHSD graduate who should be highlighted in our Alumni Spotlight? Complete this form to recommend an alumni!

Staff Spotlight

Alma Cervantes
Golden Valley Registrar

Alma Cervantes is the Registrar at Golden Valley. She is fairly new to this position, but not to our district. Alma started in 2001 working in the Special Education Department, from there she took on the role of Community Liaison, and last year, she moved into the Registrar position. Alma has spent nearly her entire career at GV, aside from her first year when she was at MHS. 

Principal Kevin Swartwood had this to say about Alma: "Alma has a calm, friendly demeanor which allows her to communicate with staff and our community in a kind, professional manner. Alma makes sure she does everything possible to make new students and their families feel welcome here at GVHS."

Alma said she was surprised and honored by this recognition, but anyone who has had the pleasure of working with her would not be surprised at all and would wholeheartedly agree with Principal Swartwood's statement. When asked if there was anything Alma would like included in this spotlight, she responded that she wanted everyone to know how grateful, thankful, and proud she is to work with everyone at GV.   

Marilu Vega

Merced Adult School Teacher

Marilu Vega is a teacher at Merced Adult School. Principal Steve Hobbs said that "Marilu has such a passion for her students and she does a great job keeping them engaged!" Marilu is a fantastic resource for her students and an asset to Merced Adult School. 

Around the District

Did You Know?

Board Meeting Briefs 
From EdServices
  • Over 30 teachers, coaches, and administrators will be engaging in 3 days of lesson planning and English Language Learner program development with Dr. Margarita Calderon, Dr. Maria Trejo, and the Expediting Comprehension for English Language Learners (ExC-ELL) staff. The focus of the trainings will be on vocabulary development, reading, and writing across the content. The dates for the training are October 4th and January 25th and 26th. 

from MUHSD Induction
  • The MUHSD Induction program held a seminar for new teachers with a theme of, "Let the Games Begin". Pulling inspiration from Dave Burgess' Teach Like a Pirate, the Induction Mentors used a sports theme to engage probationary teachers in professional learning. The focus was using strategies to support our English Language Learners. 

from Facilities
  • Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held on September 29 for Atwater High School and October 4 for Merced High School to celebrate their brand new state-of-the-art gyms.
City of Livingston Recognizes LHS FFA Program
Livingston High School
October 3rd

The Livingston HS FFA program was recognized by the City of Livingston for their continuous support with the town's Sweet Potato Festival. This is the first time in decades that the school's program has been recognized by the City. Mrs. Kuhr and Mr. Drumonde attended the city council meeting along with students Annika Mires, Jasmyne Gomez, Gurjinder Dhami, Syndey Grossman, and Victor Becerra. 
GV Volleyball PinkOut
Golden Valley High School
October 3rd

On Tuesday, October 3rd, GV hosted Merced HS in volleyball at Cougar Arena. The GVHS athletic department dedicated the evening to Tamara Simmons, the GV School Nurse, who is currently battling breast cancer. The GVHS Football team had t-shirts made in her honor and the volleyball team provided pizza to students who came out in support of Tamara. Read the Merced Sun Star article about the night.
Foods & Nutrition Outreach Day
Merced College
Thursday, October 5th

Over 60 culinary students from Buhach Colony, Golden Valley, and Merced High Schools participated in the Merced College Foods & Nutrition Event on Thursday, October 5th. 

The Culinary Arts teachers, Andrew Calzadillas (MHS), Kaelin Webb (BCHS), and Nick Westerberg (GVHS) accompanied students to this event. GV Associate Principal, Jen Euker said this day offered students the opportunity "to increase their knowledge of the food industry and the careers/certificates available through the pathway. They also hope to gain some knowledge of the college and what it has to offer in the way of services." Merced Associate Principal Jannette McAuley also mentioned that this event is great because it allows students to meet Merced College professors. 
BCHS Focus Group for Mental Health Services
Buhach Colony & Merced County Behavior Health and Recovery Services
Friday, October 6th

Friday, October 6th, Buhach Colony hosted a Focus Group for Mental Health Services Q&A Forum. BC partnered with Merced County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services to put on this event. This was an important opportunity open to the public.

Buhach will follow up this event with their 2nd Annual No Stigma Campaign on October 18th in which students and staff are invited to pledge to help put an end to stigmas surrounding mental health. 
Growing Health Leaders Youth Conference
Central Valley Health Network
Monday, October 9th

On Monday, October 9th more than 200 MUHSD students participated in the 4th Annual Growing Health Leaders Youth Conference at Merced College.

ROP Medical Technologies teacher, Jerry Fragasso has attended the event in the past and had this to say about it: "The CVHN Conference has been held for the last few years and serves to introduce students to different medical careers through hands-on demonstrations, discussions, and guest speakers. Students have the opportunity to network with healthcare professionals, develop and practice their soft skills, and learn more about what the field of medicine has to offer." 
AHS Falcon Futures Career & College Week
Atwater High School
October 9th-13th

This week, Atwater is holding their career & college week for students. Each day, students will participate in college and/or career activities and events. Events include dress up days, the PSATs for juniors, a door decorating contest, and the 10th grade Career Industry Trip at the Merced fairgrounds. The week's culminating event, the Falcon Futures Career & College night, will take place Thursday night from 5:00-7:30pm. 
BCHS Project-Based Learning Showcase
Buhach Colony High School
Thursday, October 12, 2017

On October 12th from 6-7pm, Buhach Colony students in Mr. Camp's Chemistry and Mrs. Smith's Human Anatomy and Physiology classes will be showcasing their projects.

Associate Principal, Marcus Knott said that "These classes are part of MUHSD's commitment to providing alternative and, in some cases, more relevant learning opportunities."  

This event is open to the community. Please come support the students and learn about not only the students' projects, but their efforts to solve real-world and community problems. You will have an opportunity to ask the students questions about their research and the larger benefits of their projects. 
MUHSD Teachers Get Adobe Certified
7 teachers from around the district--Julianne Aguilar (AHS), Alan Bettis (BCHS), Laura Eckman (AHS), Justin Parle (MHS), Judy Pearce (BCHS), Keith Petiti (ECHS), Nathan Terry (AHS)--recently came together to collaborate on mastering their Adobe skills. As a result, they are all now Adobe certified. These teachers, representing Theatre, Business, and Computer Graphics are now able to better support their students' efforts in obtaining their own Adobe certification; there is potential to have over 200 students certified in Adobe this year!

More Chromebook Repair Centers
Open Around the District

There are now Chromebook Repair centers up and running at Atwater, Buhach Colony, El Capitan, Livingston, and Yosemite High Schools! Students at these campuses are learning the ins and outs of hardware repair, customer service, and the IT industry. Students are gaining both technical and soft skills in these classes every day. Many students will earn industry recognized certifications while in the course. 

These courses require teachers who are willing to learn with students and mentor them. Sandy Fairfield, the teacher at Atwater said that she "loves working beside my students; teaching them about IT Essentials and learning new things from them, also. It is amazing to see the knowledge of IT Tech that the students have already acquired."

YHS teacher, Sam Diele said that "Overall the students are excited about the program and learning how the computer works, as well as learning how to fix them." 

LHS teacher, Gloria G. Carrasco said she decided to teach the class because she "wanted the students [at LHS] to have the opportunity to have hands-on skills fixing computers." Gloria said she felt she could relate to these students' desire to tinker with tools and find a working solution. 
Do you have an event or program you would like included in an upcoming MUHSD Matters Newsletter? Complete this form to suggest something!
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Merced Union High School District · 3430 A Street · Atwater, Ca 95301 · USA

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