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There is no better way to understand the magnitude and value of the investment we make in our students than to learn about our graduates. Over the next few months, we will be spotlighting some of our graduates and we encourage you to check back regularly so you can learn about their educational journey and future plans.

The most recent stories will appear first, use the links below to read other stories in the series:

Yizel Solano Gonzalez and Itzel Solano Gonzalez (VHS)

Kyla Martin (ACHS)

 

Double Feature

Meet Yizel Solano Gonzalez and Itzel Solano Gonzalez

 

Yizel and Itzel are twins that attended Salvador Elementary School, Redwood Middle School, and will graduate in June from Vintage High School. Educational Talent Search, AVID, migrant education and music are programs that shaped their journey through our district. According to the sisters, the programs provided an outlet to express themselves, explore their interests, and discover their strengths. 

 

Both have fond memories of their four years in the Vintage High School band. Yizel vividly recalls her first day of band camp under the hot sun with sweat dripping down her face, singing on bus trips at the top of her lungs, and playing under the Friday night lights in front of what she describes as, “the enormous stadium filled with thunderous crowds.” Yisel also sentimentally remembers “the fierce chanting of ‘We believe we will win, we believe we will win!’ during [marching band] competitions.”  These are but a few of the memories that Yisel shared that she says, “are kept in my heart.”

 

Itzel’s experience leading the flute section was a cherished memory. “When I walked into Memorial Stadium, all I could hear was the loud rumble of the audience and the stadium lights reflecting on the field,” she said. “Leading the flute section and marching to the cadence of the drum as we walked in with the football team. The crowd went wild…it was surreal.”

 

Prepared for the Future

Reflecting on her time at NVUSD Yisel said, “The district prepared me for my future by having amazing programs, teachers, and community. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for my teachers who have always encouraged me to strive for more.”

 

Itzel noted that she has been a student at NVUSD for seventeen years. “[It has] helped me flourish into an adult ready to take on the next chapter of my life,” she said. “It has offered me many opportunities and support during my learning years. I was introduced to the music program in 5th grade, and from there I had opportunities to meet wonderful teachers and counselors that have shaped who I am today.” She continued, “not only that, but the Napa Valley Community has supported me with scholarships and volunteering opportunities.”

 

While Yisel and Itzel credit their success to their teachers, programs and community, their teachers provide their own lens. Yisel’s band director at Vintage High School, Brendan Galvin, describes her as, “One of the most hard working students in the music program during her four years at Vintage. While seemingly reserved, after talking with Yizel, one without a doubt realizes that she has extremely mindful insights to share with the world.”

 

Jen LaMonte, an English teacher at Vintage High School, made a similar observation about Itzel. “In person, Itzel carries herself with a quiet gravitas. She is not given to careless chatter in class, but when it is time to speak, people listen,” said Ms. LaMonte. “In January of 2018, Itzel blew us away during the schoolwide Poetry Out Loud recitation contest. On stage, her presence was remarkable and electric. The understanding and emotional depth she communicated through her performance showed compassion, maturity and courage.  Whatever her achievements will be after graduating from Vintage, they are sure to be dazzling.”

 

Post Graduate Plans 

Discussing her future plans, Yisel says that she was raised by her mother to value education. She remembers her mother saying to her, “Mija tienes que estudiar para tener una carrera y un buen futuro.” This translates to: “Daughter, you have to study to have a career and have a great future.” She hopes to honor her mothers words and her fathers “deep callused hands, from making cement all of his life” by prioritizing her education. 

 

She is well on her way to fulfilling this commitment, having received a full ride to UC Davis where she plans to major in viticulture and enology. Equipped with this education, Yisel says, “someday, I will own my own winery and provide jobs to many immigrant people who have come to this land for an opportunity to thrive for a better future; as my parents did for me.”

 

Itzel also plans on being a full-time college student studying biology in a pre-med program at Dominican University. She looks forward to taking on internships and forming connections that will help her become a doctor. However, like Yisel, her ambition goes beyond a career. She says,  “As a Latina, I want to represent my culture and my native town Oaxaca because that is really where my roots are from. Becoming a doctor is not only for me, it's for my family and siblings who are looking up to me.”

 

Yizel and Itzel Solano Gonzalez outside Castillo di Amoroso

Caption: Yisel and Itzel Solano Gonzalez pictured outside of Castello di Amorosa

 

Meet Kyla Martin 

 

Kyla started as a ninth-grade student at American Canyon High School (ACHS). Over the past four years, she has earned a reputation as a successful multi-sport student-athlete and community leader in the school and surrounding community.

 

Reflecting on her time as an NVUSD student, the memories she has from playing soccer and track for ACHS stand out most to her. Kyla noted that “the time learning from and growing with my teammates, competing with other NVUSD students, was really an inviting experience in both sports and something I really enjoyed.”

 

Prepared for the Future

She is grateful for the direct access to people at ACHS who helped her understand how to prepare for college. She specifical referenced access to Napa Valley College which has classrooms located on the ACHS campus. According to her ACHS counselor, Liliana Zmed, “Kyla has the strength of spirit to meet any challenge, the grace and eagerness to change the lives of others, and the intellectual ability to be a leader and agent of positive change in any of her endeavors.”

 

Post Graduate Plans

Next year, Kyla will attend Howard University in Washington D.C. where she will major in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing and advertising sales. She is excited by the opportunity at Howard to network and pursue career opportunities. Her goal is to one day build up and market her own business.

 

When asked about her next phase of life, Kyla said,  “I’m interested in learning more about myself as I grow and enter a new environment with many new, diverse, people who I can build friendships and collaborative networks with.”  She also wants to “take in everything that I can from this point on because this is the start to everything after I graduate and enter a four year college.”

 

Kyla Martin in her American Canyon High School Letterman Jacket

Caption: Kyla Martin stands on a beach in her American Canyon High School letterman jacket.

Posted 5/20/22

We distributed a new edition of our Family eNewsletter today, read it wherever you receive your ParentSquare messages or click here. 

Posted 5/19/22

Unidos Middle School logo

Many people don’t know that NVUSD’s new Unidos Middle School is not only A Dual Language Immersion Pathway but a Language and Cultural Arts Integration Academy as well.

 

In the process of opening Unidos Middle School, two primary questions from parents emerged. To address those questions Director Monica Ready and Principal Alejandra Uribe held a Zoom webinar with Patrick Bolek the Executive Director of Artful Learning; the organization that will provide the model and professional development for cultural arts integration at Unidos.

 

Spanish Language Instruction for All 

The most common parent question was whether Unidos was an option for their child even if they did not attend an elementary school in the dual language immersion pathway. 

 

The answer is yes! While Unidos will serve as the new pathway for our students continuing in the dual language immersion program, it’s also open to all students interested in learning Spanish. The dual language immersion pathway is complemented at Unidos by a pathway for those new to formal Spanish language instruction. Principal Uribe emphasized that this pathway served both new Spanish language learners and “heritage speakers” (home language is Spanish). You can see these two pathways organized in the table below.  

 

Day in the life of a Unidos middle school student schedule

Integrated Arts for All 

The second most common question emerges when parents realize that Unidos does not offer elective courses. This is followed by the question,  “When will my child get to experience the visual and performing arts?” In fact, this is a common question among families making the transition from a DLI elementary school to a DLI middle school as they realize the same limitation in the schedule. 

 

The great news about opening Unidos is that it created the opportunity to solve this yearly dilemma. Because of the integration of cultural arts, students no longer need to choose between formal language instruction and formal art instruction.

 

By design, art will be integrated into every content area in every grade level. According to Bolek, there are four components to the framework of artful learning: experience, inquire, create, and reflect. E b“We train teachers how to reimagine their curriculum and provide an interdisciplinary approach for students that allow them a variety of voice and choice in how they express their understanding,” he said. Reflecting on her past experience as a middle school principal, Director Ready said, “This program will allow students to explore various modalities in the arts. So when they look at elective opportunities in high school such as visual arts and performing arts, they know what they want to dive deeper into in high school.” 


Unidos Middle School was given the tagline, “Language and Cultural Arts Integration Academy” because it is intentionally designed for all students interested in learning in an environment rich in language and art. To learn more about Unidos Middle School and Artful Learning, we encourage you to watch the included video and visit the Artful Learning website. 

 

 

Posted 5/13/22

We distributed a new edition of our Family eNewsletter today, read it wherever you receive your ParentSquare messages or click here. 

Posted 5/5/22

Recently, we shared with you the moment that Rebecca Lacau, a first-grade teacher at Willow Elementary School, learned that she was the 2022 Napa County Teacher of the year. If you haven't watched the moment yet, or you want to see it again, follow these links to our posts on Facebook and Instagram. On May 1, 2022, the Napa Valley Register covered this incredible news in a story that you can read here: Rebecca Lacau of Willow Elementary School named Napa County Teacher of the Year

 

Superintendent Dr. Rosanna Mucetti with Napa County Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Lacau
Caption: Superintendent Dr. Rosanna Mucetti with Napa County Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Lacau. 

Posted 5/5/22

We are proud to announce that the California Department of Education recently awarded our district the California Pivotal Practice Award!  This new award was designed to celebrate districts and schools that implemented innovative practices during the 2020–21 school year when California required schools to offer distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NVUSD was recognized for its innovative practices in the area of Robust Family Engagement and Support. Learn more here.

Posted 4/29/22

We distributed a new edition of our Family eNewsletter today, read it wherever you receive your ParentSquare messages or click here. 

Posted 4/21/22

 

There is no better way to understand the magnitude and value of the investment we make in our students than to learn about our graduates. Over the next few months, we will be spotlighting some of our graduates and we encourage you to check back regularly so you can learn about their educational journey and future plans.

 

Meet Kyla Martin 

 

Kyla started as a ninth-grade student at American Canyon High School (ACHS). Over the past four years, she has earned a reputation as a successful multi-sport student-athlete and community leader in the school and surrounding community.

 

Reflecting on her time as an NVUSD student, the memories she has from playing soccer and track for ACHS stand out most to her. Kyla noted that “the time learning from and growing with my teammates, competing with other NVUSD students, was really an inviting experience in both sports and something I really enjoyed.”

 

Prepared for the Future

She is grateful for the direct access to people at ACHS who helped her understand how to prepare for college. She specifical referenced access to Napa Valley College which has classrooms located on the ACHS campus. According to her ACHS counselor, Liliana Zmed, “Kyla has the strength of spirit to meet any challenge, the grace and eagerness to change the lives of others, and the intellectual ability to be a leader and agent of positive change in any of her endeavors.”

 

Post Graduate Plans

Next year, Kyla will attend Howard University in Washington D.C. where she will major in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing and advertising sales. She is excited by the opportunity at Howard to network and pursue career opportunities. Her goal is to one day build up and market her own business.

 

When asked about her next phase of life, Kyla said,  “I’m interested in learning more about myself as I grow and enter a new environment with many new, diverse, people who I can build friendships and collaborative networks with.”  She also wants to “take in everything that I can from this point on because this is the start to everything after I graduate and enter a four year college.”

 

Kyla Martin in her American Canyon High School Letterman Jacket

Kyla Martin stands on a beach in her American Canyon High School letterman jacket.

Posted 4/21/22

West Park Elementary School students celebrated a Week of Kindness culminating in a community celebration Friday morning with students, parents, school staff, district office staff, and the Superintendent of Napa County Schools, Dr. Barbara Nemko attending. You can read more about the event in the Napa Valley Register's article: Napa students sing “Yes” to kindness.

Posted 4/9/22

We distributed a new edition of our Family eNewsletter today, read it wherever you receive your ParentSquare messages or click here. 

Posted 4/7/22