Safety in AUSD Schools
about 1 month ago, Richard Newman
Safety
Dear AUSD Families, Unfortunately, two of our campuses, Shadow Hills Elementary and Creekside Early Learning Center, were vandalized this past weekend. We are working closely with the Sheriff’s Department and seek your assistance in identifying those responsible for damaging classrooms, the little league fields, and recovering stolen computers. Individuals on four motorcycles drove through campus and are believed responsible for the damage and theft. If you have any helpful information, please contact the Sheriff’s Department. Sincerely, Dr. Newman
4 months ago, Richard Newman
Dear AUSD Families: Earlier this week California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that masks will no longer be required in schools starting March 12, 2022. The announcement by the Governor and CDPH gives me hope that regular life can once again resume. As we enter this new phase, I once again ask for your grace as we move forward. I encourage everyone to remain kind and respectful and appreciate the personal choices of our classmates and staff members. While the last two years have not been easy I am encouraged by the resolve our school community has shown. I am deeply proud of how our District and community have partnered throughout the pandemic. Our work together and especially the work of our staff has set an example for the county, state, and country. Onward and upward, Dr. Rich Newman Proudest Superintendent and Principal on Earth Alpine Union
4 months ago, Richard Newman
Liberty Charter High School Showcase and Open House! Coming to Alpine in August of 2022!
4 months ago, Richard Newman
Liberty
The JMMS Snack Bar OPENS TODAY!! We are as excited as the students!! The Snack Bar will be open during lunch time only. Snacks and drinks will be available to purchase with cash or School Café Funds. All students will need to know their student ID number to purchase items from the Snack Bar, please remind your student to memorize their number. Please email me if you have any questions, kmassey@alpineschools.net.
4 months ago, Kelly Massey
Snack Bar Menu
The Snack Bar at JMMS will OPEN next Monday!!! The Snack Bar will only be open during the lunch break. We will have snacks and drinks available for purchase with cash or School Café Account funds. If your students is using School Café funds, they will need to know their student ID number. Please go to www.schoolcafe.com to add funds to your students account. If you have any questions, please email kmassey@alpineschools.net.
4 months ago, Kelly Massey
Snack Bar Menu
Dear AUSD Families, When I began in AUSD almost six years ago, I became connected to an amazing community that was rich in tradition, and proud of its heritage. While we have tackled many issues together, the hope of bringing a high school to Alpine has remained an elusive and unfulfilled goal. The Board and I have continuously kept our eye on that prize, with a high school remaining a top goal for our Board. There has been a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes over the years to make an Alpine high school a reality. I am over the moon to announce that on Thursday, the Board of Trustees will meet to approve the leasing of the Alpine Elementary School site to Liberty Charter High. They will begin operating in August 2022, and renovations of the buildings will begin immediately with the plans to turn it into a state-of-the-art high school learning center. While the high school will operate separately from AUSD, Debbie Beyer, the Executive Director of Liberty Charter, and I have been collaborating very closely to ensure that there is a strong partnership and synchronicity between our schools. Debbie and I have worked to ensure that our students will be given priority status to enroll. I know that our Alpine community will ensure that Liberty Charter gets a very warm welcome. Liberty Charter is one of the longest-serving high school charters in the state. It is also one of the highest-performing charter high schools in San Diego. Liberty offers a rigorous curriculum including AP, Honors, and CP courses, career exploration, and dual credit classes. Students have travel opportunities, national and international, community service, competitive sports teams including CIF championships, and involvement in a wide variety of clubs. Along with developing critical thinking and STEM skills, students also learn soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, camaraderie, public speaking, project management, time management, marketing, and grant writing. A Liberty High School senior class receives, on average, a combined total of close to four million dollars in scholarship awards, including merit-based and athletic-based scholarships. I look forward to a long partnership with Liberty and to seeing a high school finally join our Alpine Community. To a new partnership, Dr. Rich Newman Proudest Superintendent and Principal on Earth
5 months ago, Richard Newman
The Snack Bar at Joan MacQueen Middle School will OPEN on Monday, February 28th!!! We will have snacks and drinks that are available to purchase with cash or School Café funds. Please see the attached menu to see what we will be offering and prices. You can add funds to your School Café account at schoolcafe.com. Please email kmassey@alpineschools.net with any questions.
5 months ago, Kelly Massey
Snack Bar Menu
Dear AUSD Families, Like many others, I was disappointed by California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly’s Monday announcement regarding masking. Dr. Ghaly’s announcement lacked a roadmap with timelines, metrics, and rationale to safely guide us away from pandemic restrictions, especially universal masking in schools. Once again, we must wait until the next announcement on February 28. This information comes on the heels of my discussion last Friday with Dr. Sohil Sud, Co-Director of the Safe Schools for All team at the California Department of Public Health. On that call, I specifically asked about the enforcement mechanism that is required by school districts. In particular, I discussed our policy of meeting the CDPH guidelines if we allowed students who declined to wear a mask to remain in a class by offering a mask or face shield to them. Following that meeting, I reached out to Dr. Wooten, Public Health Officer for the County of San Diego. On Monday, I, along with a small group of superintendents, met with Dr. Wooten. I once again voiced my deep concern about the impact the continuation of the mask mandate is having on our community, students, and staff. I outlined our local context and the work our District has done to ensure the safety of students, staff, and community. I shared with Dr. Wooten our protocols and policy going forward and our strategy to keep all students in class learning. In short, if a student arrives at school without a mask they will not be removed from the classroom. We will work closely with our parents and implement the following protocols: Students will be offered a mask or face shield Parents will be informed about the importance of wearing masks Independent study will also be offered as an option to in-person learning From the start of the pandemic, our school district has been focused on ensuring a safe, healthy working and learning environment to meet our moral obligation of providing our students the opportunity for in-person learning. We positioned our schools to be models for how to safely open. We remain steadfast in our desire to continue to work with our families and community. Over two years have passed since the pandemic began and our commitment to these goals has not changed. Our school staff (and all school employees) have done their part in making our schools safe while continuing to adhere to every safety guideline and protocol. Schools need to return to a place where the only focus is teaching and learning and not where political battles are waged. It is time for our state leaders to do their part and share a plan that is sensible, transparent, and provides actual metrics and goalposts that would move us forward. Looking forward to a return to normalcy, Dr. Rich Newman Proudest Superintendent and Principal on Earth Alpine Union
5 months ago, Richard Newman
Dear AUSD Families, On Friday, I, along with San Diego County Superintendent, Dr. Paul Gothold, and two other San Diego county superintendents, had the rare opportunity to speak directly with Dr. Sohil Sud, Co-Director of the Safe Schools for All team at the California Department of Public Health. In representing Alpine Union, I voiced my deep concern about the impact the continuation of the mask mandate is having on our community, students, and staff. I shared my disappointment that schools have become de facto public health agencies and that we must continue to implement a mask mandate that will soon not be in place in virtually all sectors of our state. I advocated for choice in wearing masks. That is, the choice for students to decline or choose to wear a mask. Just as importantly, I advocated for providing clarity on what the state plan is to lift the mask mandate in schools. I outlined the social and emotional impact the mask mandate continues to have on all of us. I shared that many of our finest staff, teachers, and principals are updating their resumes and contemplating leaving Alpine as the pressure around trying to balance keeping all students safe and respected while focusing on teaching and learning has become virtually untenable in the emotional and polarizing climate in which we work. I shared that local context should matter and that how we, as a District, continue to respond to the pandemic should be taken into consideration in reducing the mask mandate. In fact, our local plans and context were a critical factor when we received the initial waiver from the state to open. My colleagues and I also asked specifically for a public health roadmap, with timelines, metrics, and rationale, to safely guide us away from pandemic restrictions -- such as universal masking in schools -- to less restrictive endemic mitigation strategies. We strongly recommended in the most respectful way possible that this plan be shared publicly before Wednesday, February 16, when the relaxation of the indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals in most public settings goes into effect in California. It was confirmed on the call that we can expect an announcement early next week about the state’s next steps regarding masks in schools. Following the call, I also reached out to Dr. Wooten, Public Health Officer for the County of San Diego, in an effort to get clarity on the mask mandate in schools and what can be expected. I very much look forward to that conversation in the coming days. The past several weeks have been incredibly challenging, and in many respects, disheartening. Emails and calls demanding that we defy public health orders, whether to go beyond them or to remove them, are a tremendous distraction from our primary work of educating students. Our job in public education is teaching and learning. Educators are not epidemiologists, health practitioners, or politicians. Simply put, threats and intimidation have no place in our schools or community. I am proud of our district and incredibly honored to work alongside the amazing staff we call TEAMAUSD. Our school and district leaders will continue to advocate on behalf of all of our students, and I continue to ask for your grace and patience as we develop plans and potential next steps while staying focused on the ultimate prize - ensuring our students reach their potential. Honored to serve Alpine Union, Dr. Rich Newman Proudest Superintendent and Principal on Earth
5 months ago, Richard Newman
COVID-19 Testing Change Due to decreased interest, AUSD will no longer have saliva testing in the JMMS staff parking lot on Mondays. In addition, CovX swab testing will only be held on Wednesdays from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm at the SHES parking lot. No testing on Fridays.
5 months ago, Mary Ann Alvarez
Dear AUSD Families, Since the beginning of the pandemic, and at every crossroad since, we have tried to place the priorities of our community first and foremost. We have consistently focused on ensuring the health and safety of our students and staff. We have pushed to allow for more local control and fewer mandates from the state. We have tried to navigate the waters of the pandemic without having our schools become center stage for the mask mandate debate. From being one of the first districts in the county to open up for in-person learning and making COVID testing available to our entire community earlier on, to working together with staff and parents to develop alternatives if a vaccine mandate should be put in place, we have served as a model for the county, state, and country. All of our efforts have proven very successful, and we have not had to close a single school since the start of the pandemic. I continue to believe, and share publicly in all forums, that our parents should have a choice regarding sending their child to school with or without a mask. In fact, we were the only district in San Diego county that opened the school year with mask choice. Our decision to require masks was a result of two key factors. First, the California Supreme Court declined to hear the Orange County Board of Education’s petition seeking to overturn Gov. Newsom’s statewide mask mandate for K-12 students. Second, we received official communication from the county public health department regarding the state mandate requiring all students to wear a mask indoors. Last week, however, became an inflection point in how we, as a community, would continue to respond to the pandemic. On Thursday, a group of students at JMMS protested their opposition to California's mask mandate. Our students did it respectfully, and with pride, while sharing their perspectives. I spoke with the students and families of those involved, and as a result of their protests and actions, as well as the statewide mask protest that was to take place on Friday, I decided that we would engage our students in the democratic process and give our middle school students the opportunity to write a persuasive letter on any topic of their choice. Topics ranged from opening the new snack bar and purchasing new equipment for lunch, to improving school meals, as well as Governor Newsom’s actions at the recent football game, and ending the mask mandate in California. I believe that part of our work in schools is to teach students the skills necessary to participate actively in a democracy. Our schools and other institutions should reflect democratic principles not only in words, but also in actions. We made a conscious effort to be responsive, rather than reactive, by giving our students a forum to share their ideas on any topic. On Friday morning several of our schools had protests before school began that were peaceful in nature. Even so, we had many parents and students who were upset and felt as though the protests impacted their child’s learning. During the school day, more students participated in mask protests than the previous day. It was incredibly difficult to find a balance between supporting and honoring students protesting and supporting and honoring those students who did not wish to participate. In fact, as the day progressed it did not mirror the respect that I have seen to date. Many students were openly defiant and disrespectful to teachers and staff. I, too, was on the receiving end of disrespectful behavior. As the day continued, threats from parents and wild accusations were made, such as the idea that we are operating an illegal institution. Teachers and administrators were subjected to behavior that was not indicative of how our school community has worked together to date. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in AUSD. Our staff is on the front lines of this pandemic, and I will do everything to ensure the physical and mental health safety of our staff and students. While Gov. Newsom has recently discussed an “endemic strategy” for dealing with COVID-19 and potential changes to the mask mandate, the state requirements and public health guidelines are not something that our school district can choose to ignore. We do not have the option to pick and choose which state requirements we will follow. I implore you to write to our elected officials in Sacramento, including the Governor, to share your views and concerns and not make our classrooms hotspots of dissent and friction. As I have shared many times, the Board and I believe that there should not be a one size fits all strategy for allowing our students to fully return to in-person learning alongside their friends at school. The California Department of Public Health guidelines, unfortunately, do not take the local context of a community into consideration. However, when possible, it is our District’s goal to provide choice to our parents and families. Our community’s input is important to us and we will continue to listen to the range of perspectives. Amidst the struggles and challenges of this pandemic, I implore all of us to continue to make our schools safe places for learning where our students see all of us working together and honoring different perspectives. We cannot lose sight of the fact that our children are watching and learning from our behavior. Threatening and insulting others has no place in our schools, not with our teachers, students, staff, or families. I remain hopeful that civility and listening to divergent perspectives remains the norm and not the exception. I also hope that each of us models for our students that we must address incivility head-on, and show our children that we will both respect, and seek to understand, each other as a way of supporting our shared values and respect for one another. For those students at any of our schools who do not want to wear a mask at a school, we will continue to offer an independent study and homeschool option. Students not wanting to wear a mask while at school will be offered as many mask breaks as needed and will be treated with respect. Students will be required to wear masks in class, and parents will be called to enroll their child in independent study if they choose not to wear a mask. We are a small but mighty school district, and we will persevere and continue to advocate for ALL of our students, but we must ensure that our schools remain safe places for learning. Respectfully and with a full belief in our school community, Dr. Rich Newman Proudest Superintendent on Earth Alpine Union School District
5 months ago, Richard Newman
COVID testing with CovX will take place tomorrow, Friday, February 4th from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm in the Shadow Hills parking lot. Please pre-register at https://www.covxlabs.com/prereg-form to make sure your registration is complete. Uninsured testers can use any government issued ID. Once registered you will not need to register for future tests.
5 months ago, Mary Ann Alvarez
COVID Testing with CovX will take place Wednesday, February 2nd and Friday, February 4th from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm in the Shadow Hills parking lot. Please register at https://covxlabs.formstack.com/forms/prereg_alpine_schools
5 months ago, Mary Ann Alvarez
COVID testing will take place Monday, January 31 at JMMS in the staff parking lot from 7:30-2:00. You can pre-register at https://www.covxlabs.com/prereg-form Testing is open to all members of the community.
5 months ago, Richard Newman
COVID Testing with CovX will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 28th from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm in the Shadow Hills parking lot. Please pre-register at https://www.covxlabs.com/prereg-form to make sure your registration is complete. Uninsured testers can use any government issued ID. Once registered you will not need to register for future tests.
5 months ago, Mary Ann Alvarez
COVID Testing with CovX will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, January 26th and Friday, January 28th from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm in the Shadow Hills parking lot. Please register at https://covxlabs.formstack.com/forms/prereg_alpine_schools.
5 months ago, Mary Ann Alvarez
COVID Testing
5 months ago, Richard Newman
COVID-19 test
Calbiotech will be in the JMMS Gym on Monday, January 17 during MLK Day to provide COVID saliva tests to staff, students and the community from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm. Register at https://patient.mdiqhealth.com. Please note the change of location from the staff parking lot to the gym for this day.
6 months ago, Mary Ann Alvarez
Dear AUSD Families, We have scheduled a COVID vaccine/booster clinic for Wednesday, January 19. The clinic will take place at JMMS in the staff parking lot from 7:30 am - 10:30 am. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will both be available for all eligible for the vaccine (students and adults). Spots are limited. Here is the link to register: https://kordinator.mhealthcoach.net/vcl/1637119729918 In an effort to make COVID testing easily accessible to our families and community we will continue to make COVID testing available three times a week at our school sites (Monday at JMMS and Wednesday and Friday at SHES). This Monday, January 17 testing will take place in the JMMS gym. We are posting to hire additional custodians to support each of our schools. If you know of anyone interested in this or the many other positions we have available please have them look online or call the District office at 619-445-3236. Keep the faith! We will get through this together! Dr. Rich Newman Alpine Union School District Proudest Superintendent and Principal on Earth
6 months ago, Richard Newman