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NVUSD has reviewed the petition and has provided the following findings and recommendation. This item will be presented and discussed at the Board of Education meeting on December 9.

 

The findings and recommendation and can be viewed here

Posted 11/22/21

Napa's New Technology High School Brings Real World Learning to College-Bound Students

 

What are your hopes and dreams for the school year?"

 

This question was asked of New Technology High School students in August. It was a great way to kick off a new school year after the worst of the pandemic -- and also underscored what was front and center on the minds of students -- a combination of academic goals as well as a focus on community and connection. Through drawings and words, students expressed what they were looking forward to. 

"Get into College", "Stay Healthy", "No more Zoom!" and "Become eco-centric" were just a few of the visual representations that will be framed and installed throughout the walls of the school.

One commonality was the eagerness to get back to learning, reflecting the strong program in place for more than 25 years of engaging students in project-based learning and providing real world experiences outside of the classroom.

 

Bringing College to Life

 

New Tech has many programs in place to prepare students for life beyond high school and college. Each student is required to take at least three UC/CSU transferable college credits as well as a 50-60 hour internship by the time they graduate.

 

According to Principal Susan Miller, one of the most impactful opportunities for students is the "Dual Enrollment" program where students take college courses at the local Napa Valley Community College. "This program gives students first-hand knowledge of what it feels like to be in a college setting and learn alongside other students," said Miller. "This real-world experience teaches them to engage with professors and gives them insight into what college-level work requires."

 

Case F. is a current junior at New Tech High and has already completed three courses at Napa Valley College, including Introduction to Anthropology and a College Success class. He explains that this on the ground experience really helped him understand how college classes work. “For me, I think being dual-enrolled in these college classes while also in high School gave me a foundation on how to enroll in college, and how to manage requirements like taking notes to succeed in these classes,” he said. “It’s definitely one of the most valuable things I’ve learned while at New Tech.” 

 

About 40% of New Tech High School students are currently participating in the dual-enrollment program.

 

Along with its strong academic program, New Tech is also focused on the vital importance of building community and culture. This year, the school launched a new homeroom structure and community circle activity that bring the students together with teachers and provide a safe and social palace for connection and support. 


If you are interested in learning more about New Technology High School, visit their website, or visit the NVUSD Enrollment page to learn about Open Enrollment options.New Tech High School Students

Posted 11/18/21

Coming Home: How One Principal is Paying it Forward and Supporting Elementary Students

 

Nestled in the hills just east of downtown Napa is Alta Heights Elementary School with its new principal who is passionate about making students feel seen and known.

The new principal of Alta Heights, Ted Ward, is a product of the Napa Valley Unified School District. In fact, when he was a senior at Vintage High School he volunteered in a third-grade classroom, which he said was “ an aha moment for me...I really liked working with younger kids. I felt a value and a sense of connection in that volunteer service.” 

Now, as the Principal of Alta Heights, Ted wants all of his students to feel like they are seen and known. To make this happen he committed to learning every returning student’s name, about 285 in total, within the first two months of the school year. This focus on seeing and knowing kids hasn’t gone unnoticed. According to Whitney Farris, current parent and former Family Faculty Club (FFC) president and treasurer, “ Ted is doing amazing work. He makes a huge effort to get to know the kids and you can tell...the kids love him!”  

Alta Heights Elementary School

Thinking about the first months of the 2021 school year, Ted is impressed with the hard work of his teachers. He especially praised them for the high quality of their grade level Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) -- a group of grade-level teachers who study student data to use in planning lessons and to reinforce content and skills. He noted that careful, advanced, planning like this “ helps teachers know their students and to really see their strengths and weaknesses, allowing for individual student attention in class.” Coming off of a year of hybrid learning, Ward believes that this level of attention will be necessary to help all students “get what they need in order to make at least one year’s growth in one year's time.”

Alta Heights doesn’t just have great teaching that leads to individual attention. The school also has programs such as their “ class buddy program” where 5th-grade students meet weekly with their 1st-grade buddies to build community. They also provide a strong leadership club for 4th and 5th grade. Not to mention the garden program that gives students the opportunity to learn and connect with each other in the beautiful, natural environment of the eastern hills of Napa. 

Ted also praised the value of their strong Family Faculty Club (FFC) that creates spaces for community and opportunities for student enrichment. In the past, the FFC has organized annual community-building events such as their Harvest Festival, Festive Winter Celebrations, and a May Fiesta. However, he is most excited about FFCs plans to relaunch its after-school extracurricular experiences, including classes such as gardening, cooking, art, science, technology, engineering, and math. Farris was also very proud of the in-school programs the FFC has sponsored over the years such as the arts curriculum Meet the Masters where students study a famous artist and then reproduce one of their great works.

If you are interested in learning more about Alta Heights, visit their website to schedule a tour of their campus, or visit the Enrollment page to learn how to register.

 

Posted 11/9/21

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

Posted 11/4/21

NVUSD Students Receive Free, On-Campus College Placement Testing

 

Over 1,400 high school students began their college exploration journey last month by participating in free offerings of the PSAT and SAT tests. The district covered the cost and administered the test on campus during the school day to ensure accessibility to all. In the past, students tested on a Saturday at various host schools, some outside of the local area. 

Students take the PSAT in preparation for the SAT  and is an integral part of the college application process for many four-year colleges. “By making this crucial first step in the college pathway convenient and available to all, we are supporting their future success - in whatever post-secondary journey they embark on, said Monica Ready, Director III Curriculum, Instruction, and English Learner Services.

Since 2019, NVUSD has paid for students to take either the PSAT or the SAT, supporting the district’s strategic plan goal to have all students graduate college- and career-ready.

"Taking the SAT can be such a stressful test to prepare for and to engage in; I know that's extremely true for myself. However, having the school administer free testing has been super helpful in me achieving my best possible score,” said Sophia T., a senior at Napa High School.  “It makes me feel supported by our administration and district, so I really appreciate Napa High for providing this benefit. "

SAT

Posted 11/1/21

Ready, Set, Action!

Snow Elementary Students Unlock the 

Power of Learning Through Filmmaking

 

Step aside, Hollywood, and make room for the 5th graders at Irene Snow Elementary School! These lucky students are part of a transformative program called the Youth Cinema Project which brings professional filmmakers into the classroom to teach kids how a movie is made.

 

Founded by the famous actor, director, producer and humanitarian Edward James Olmos, this program brings a fresh, fun and fully unique approach to learning. Instead of teaching concepts from the book, students learn real-world skills like problem solving and collaboration while building their confidence and ability to express themselves.

 

Working directly with filmmaking mentors, 5th graders are learning the entire process of making a film --  from idea generation to scriptwriting to pre-production, filming and editing. As they go through the process they are treated like colleagues. This week, students were learning concepts such as the “hero’s arc” and “character flaws” to help as they begin scriptwriting. 

Youth Cinema Project Collaboration

Principal Oliva McCormick was visiting the class during one session and noted, “it was exciting to see students so engaged and asking questions,” she said. “This is project-based learning at its best and I think it goes a long way in keeping them interested in learning across all subjects.” 

 

After conducting a qualitative assessment of the program in 2019, Stanford University praised Youth Cinema Project for what it brings to students, such as “in-depth active instruction of vocabulary practices across multiple modalities,” and “cultivates social-emotional learning competencies”


Stay tuned for an update on this story when we have the final films. Want to learn more? Grab some popcorn and visit the Youth Cinema Project website where you can view the final films from other California school students.

Posted 10/28/21

The Napa Valley Register's Jennifer Huffman shares the Skakeri brothers efforts to collect backpacks for Afghan refugees in the Bay Area. Check out the article here: Napa students collect backpacks for Afghan Refugees 

Posted 10/25/21

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

Posted 10/21/21

The NVUSD Board of Trustees on October 14, formally adopted the new name for the new middle school language academy, which will be housed at the current River School campus, located at 1850 Salvador Ave, starting with the 2022/23 school year. Unidos Middle School was put forth as a formal recommendation from the Citizen Advisory Committee, formed specifically to review name suggestions and submit recommendations for the Board’s consideration. Since August, the nine-member committee has met to identify a process for reviewing and recommending a potential name.  Also, students from Pueblo Vista and Napa Valley Language Academy (NVLA) engaged in the process of visioning a new name for the location by providing name suggestions, drawings, and words that reflect the spirit of the new school. 

 

"The name Unidos Middle School was actually suggested by one of my students and then it was adopted by the committee as the final choice,” said Franklin Hernandez, a teacher at NVLA and a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee. “The student suggested the name because it means “united” in Spanish and he believes this school will bring students together from all over the Napa area. I definitely agree and it’s a name that can bring forward the idea of unity for so many in our community who have struggled with so many changes the past two years,” said Hernandez. 

 

Unidos Middle School will open with a rich dual-immersion language program, serving as a connecting pathway between elementary and high school dual language immersion (DLI) programming. Current DLI students matriculating to middle school from Pueblo Vista, Napa Valley Language Academy (NVLA), and Harvest, as well as current River students, will be automatically enrolled in Unidos but have the option to enroll elsewhere. Students who are not in the groups automatically enrolled can choose Unidos during the Open Enrollment process from November 1-30. 

 

Alejandra Uribe has been chosen to lead Unidos Middle School as its first principal. A veteran principal and expert in dual immersion language programs, Ms. Uribe currently serves as the principal of NVLA where she has worked for the last 20 years. She will continue in that role while she leads the preparations for the launch of Unidos.

 

“We look forward to Unidos Middle School bringing together students and staff who are committed to the goals of bilingualism, biliteracy, and biculturalism. Our new middle school solidifies our very sought-after dual language pathway, offering families a unique educational opportunity to learn in two languages seamlessly and simultaneously,” said Pat Andry-Jennings, Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services.

Posted 10/14/21

Maycamas Charter Middle School Petition Available


The charter school petition for Maycamas Charter Middle School has been received and can be viewed here. 

Posted 10/13/21