June 12, 2020
Dear Moreno Valley Unified School District Community:
The 2019-20 school year brought us many challenges. Our strength was tested, but our resolve proved stronger. Together, we helped each other Lift to Rise. Although we were not able to be physically close through much of it, I think the year still brought us closer together in spirit and in community.
It is difficult to remember everything that happened prior to the school closure; however, during the year, we earned several awards and accolades that prove MVUSD Shines Brighter:
- Designated one of three Advanced Placement Districts of the Year
- Named a National Schools to Watch District – becoming one of only 20 districts in the nation with the designation – with all six MVUSD middle schools being named National Schools to Watch
- Recognized by California State S.A.R.B for our exemplary attendance improvement program
- Honored with the National School Boards Association’s 2020 MAGNA Award for our homeless assistance program
- Received two Golden Bell awards for our Community Wellness Center and Professional Development and Digital Learning Department
- 25 Schools earned top awards for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support Implementation
- North Ridge Elementary School honored with the CA Distinguished Schools Award (one of only nine in the county)
Our students participated in online VAPA contests; won video competitions; moved onto Nationals in History Day, cheerleading, and youth football competitions; and excelled in robotics. Donna Woods, a Canyon Springs High School teacher, was one of the first two educators in the United States to receive an inaugural Presidential Cybersecurity Award from Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education.
Grants are one way organizations show confidence in school districts, by investing in them because they demonstrate promise or best practices. This year, we secured nearly $1.5 million in grants:
- $150,000 NEA Education grant to expand our STEM program.
- $650,000 three-year NOVA grant
- $695,000 Student Success and Academic Enrichment Art Grant
donating PPE and illuminating the District Office in blue since April. Recent facility improvements have saved 21 million gallons of water each year. We also opened an on-site CNG (Natural Gas) fueling station that provides us with our own renewable, near-zero emission fuel source that will save the District just over $2 million over the course of the 10-year agreement.
Even with all the good, we need to acknowledge this year began with the tragic death of Diego at Landmark Middle School and ended with school closure due to a global pandemic. My commitment is that these events will not be in vain and we learn from them, and grow. As a district, we created the Hearts YOUnited campaign that has engaged the community throughout the year to inspire youth to stand up and speak out against bullying and violence. Our teachers received thousands of hours of professional development in order to engage in distance learning. Our teams also were able to secure Chromebooks so we are now a TK-12th Grade one-to-one district, providing every student with technology at home.
Looking ahead, there are two challenges facing us and the rest of the country:
The economic impact caused by COVID-19 will translate into hard decisions for the state and its schools. As we look to create savings and prioritize spending, we are getting input from various stakeholder groups.
- On May 27, the Joint Fiscal Management Council (JFMC) met. This group consists of representatives from classified, certificated, management and cabinet and they agreed to delay filling positions and freezing spending in order to preserve jobs and avoid any layoffs. They will meet again during the summer.
- On June 16, at 7 p.m. the board will get a budget update as part of a public hearing. They will then vote on the budget at the June 30 board meeting.
I hope to have our plan to reopen schools to you by mid-July. I wish we could tell you now, but there are still too many unknowns that the plan could change. Like with the budget, we are engaging all stakeholders.
- We participate in weekly County Public Health meetings to get health updates and guidance.
- Our board president, superintendent and several district staff members participated on a Riverside County Office of Education Taskforce on reopening of schools, which will lead to a guidance document for districts and schools throughout the county.
- On June 12, we launched a parent survey to get input and opinions from parents.
- On June 18, CAMM (comprised of leadership from various district employee groups) will meet to discuss the reopening of schools.
- We have started to draft a districtwide plan, which we will continue to add to and revise as we gather input and then make available to staff and parents.
During the summer, we will continue to communicate regularly and provide updates via email, text and phone Mondays and Thursdays. We stand committed to working with our parents, staff, and associations as we look to 2020-21. Our district - students, parents, staff, and community - showed that we could come together this year. I know we will use the same determination and collaboration as we step into the new year.
Superintendent of Schools
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