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Friday, May 31, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special M-End Edition): On The Mueller Report - A PBS NewsHour/FRONTLINE Special

Earlier this week, Special Counsel Mueller broke his silence and made a statement before formally resigning.   President Trump on Thursday came out and attacked the report.    A retrospective was produced by PBS on the Report which we hereby present for a special Month-End Edition of Notations here in our Education Property as we look forward to our continued commitment to serve.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special Local Edition): Showcasing Our Schools

 Schools are a source of pride for our community and the achievements are to be savored.    We are pleased to present a snapshot of what our local school district is up to.
Please enjoy!!!

May 16, 2019
Capistrano Unified School District:
An Unwavering Commitment to
Student Success 
Congratulations to our 2019
Classified Employees of the Year!
Over 100 Nominees Honored and 6 Classified Employees Announced

Six Capistrano Unified School District classified employees have been named “2019 Classified Employees of the Year” for their outstanding commitment to enrich the lives of all students. District officials, colleagues, friends and family gathered to honor 134 nominees at the district’s annual Classified Employee of the Year Awards Ceremony on May 6, 2019.

The annual event announces one exceptional school employee from each of the six categories: Office and Technical Support; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; Maintenance and Operations; Transportation; Support Services and Security; and Child Nutrition.

“Our classified employees are extraordinary examples of our dedicated and professional staff who work so hard to support the teaching and learning of our young people each day,” said Superintendent Kirsten Vital. “Oftentimes, they are providing support for our students and families out of the spotlight and behind the scenes, but what they do is critical to the social, emotional, and academic success of our students, and we could not operate our district without them.”

Below are this year’s honorees:

Office and Technical
Fernando Sotelo, Academic Advisor of San Juan Hills High School 
Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance
Karen Pedroza, Independence Facilitator of Dana Hills High School 
Maintenance and Operations
Roman Sangalang, Custodian III of Capistrano Valley High School 
Lima Omar, Transportation Dispatcher
Support Services and Security
Heliodoro Ortiz, Storekeeper/Delivery Driver
Child Nutrition
Dawn Kardos, Lead Food Service Worker II of Marco Forster Middle School
Congratulations to all our nominees and award recipients!
Thank you for all you do to support our students, schools and staff! #CUSDProud

MTSS Focus
System of Supports

What is MTSS? 
CUSD is making a commitment to increase the social emotional, behavior, and academic support for all of our young people. We call this focused approach to organizing and providing support: “Multi-tiered System of Supports” or “MTSS.”

Click HERE to access the new Parent Guide to MTSS for more information about our support system in the areas of social emotional, behavior, and academics.

MTSS Focus for May:
Mental Health Awareness Month
For the month of May, we are focusing on mental health awareness. Did you know that half of all mental illness begins by age 14? When children and youth living with mental illness have access to effective services and supports, they can develop close relationships with family and friends, learn to cope with challenging symptoms and gain the educational and social experiences they need to succeed in life.

Family Resources
The following articles and resources are available for your family to learn more about mental health:

Parenting Workshops for May
To support our families and provide parenting strategies to support their children’s social emotional and behavioral needs, we offered the following parent workshops during the month of May:
  • Youth Suicide Prevention
  • School Safety Community Forum

Future Workshops
Make sure you're following us on social media for upcoming parenting workshops!


A news site designed to inform and educate the community about CUSD's outstanding students, teachers, staff and schools is coming!

On June 7, 2019 please check out the comprehensive coverage we have planned for our high school graduations.

Have a student, teacher or staff member we should feature? Please send your ideas to!
Aliso Niguel High School Student Recognized
for Vocal Musical Talent
Named OC Register Vocal Artist of the Year AND
Grand Prize Winner in the Music Center Spotlight Awards

Congratulations to Eilyssa Maclean, Aliso Niguel High School Madrigal singer!!

OC Register Vocal Artist of the Year

Eilyssa was named one of the 2019 Artists of the Year by Orange County Register last month. This year, over 500 students were nominated by teachers and private instructors from 88 Orange County high schools and arts organizations in theater, dance, film, vocal music, instrumental music, 2D visual arts and 3D visual arts. Once nominated, the students submitted applications with videos of performances, samples of artwork and answers to questions about their work as artists.

Semifinalists were interviewed and gave presentations to panels of arts professionals and faculty members from Southern California universities and high schools who specialize in each discipline.

Music Center Spotlight Awards

Eilyssa received a cash prize and was named as a 2019 Grand Prize Finalist in the Music Center Spotlight Awards.

Spotlight is a scholarship and arts training program, which empowers students by emphasizing preparation, courage, critical thinking and perseverance while providing an invalueable opportunity for students to hone their skills.

On June 4, 2019, Eilyssa will sing during Music Center's 31st annual Spotlight Grand Finale Performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall! This event culminates a process that began last September, when 1,600 students participated in the Spotlight program.

Congratulations on your accomplishments Eilyssa!
We are so #CUSDProud!
San Juan Hills High School Goes Green on Earth Day
Solar Panel Ribbon Cutting Celebration

CUSD unveiled the first installment of the district solar project at San Juan Hills High School on April 22, 2019. The solar project began in the 2015-16 school year as a student lead coalition focused on a more sustainable and environmentally friendly CUSD. Their powerful movement led the District Board of Trustees to approve an $18 million contract to convert six high schools and the CUSD Education Center to solar power. The total project is expected to save, on average, $849,000 per year, for a total of $21 million in savings. 

The new solar system at SJHHS alone is an estimated total energy cost savings of $8 million over its 25 year lifespan. That’s $8 million that will be put directly back into classrooms for our young people!

Thank you to all our students for championing the effort to lead the District to greater sustainability and to our Facilities/M&O team for your work to this possible! 
Las Flores Elementary School Recognized by OCDE
for Outstanding PAL Program
One of Two Elementary Schools in Orange County to be Honored

Mrs. Kim Belmont's Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) students at Las Flores Elementary were honored by the Orange County Department of Education as one of only two elementary schools in Orange County for their outstanding program!

PAL is a school-based, peer-to-peer youth development program for students, built upon a philosophy of students helping students. PAL peer leaders help build a positive school climate through youth leadership, mentoring, conflict resolution, cross-age teaching, peer helping, service learning, and prevention activities. The PAL program supports the development of 21st Century Skills in the areas of leadership, communication, team building, and problem solving.

This year, the Las Flores Elementary PAL class worked to promote inclusion and anti-bullying by supporting students with a buddy program. They also held several community service projects including collecting socks for a local homeless shelter, and collecting blankets and towels for a local animal shelter.

Congratulations Las Flores Elementary!
Two Students Receive National Honors in
PTA Reflections Art Contest
Congratulations to Laili Aissi (Las Flores Middle School) and Brandon Hill (Tesoro High School) for winning national honors in the PTA Reflections Art Contest!

The National Reflections Contest, established in 1969, is an arts recognition and achievement program for students. The program increases community awareness on the importance of art in education, while providing opportunities for students to express themselves creatively, and receive positive recognition for original works of art.

This year's theme was "Heroes Around Me." Both students were inspired by the work of the Los Angeles Fire Department during the recent California wildfires.

Laili Aissi won an Award of Excellence at the national level in the category of music composition for her work entitled “The Calling”. Laili describes her piano music composition as being inspired by the California firefighters who risked their lives by relentlessly fighting one of the deadliest wildfires in the history of California. Her composition began by depicting a regular day before the fires struck, and as the music accelerates, the firemen rush to extinguish the flames, leading to the music winding down.

Brandon Hill won an Award of Merit at the national level for his film production entry entitled “Life on the Line”. “As an aspiring filmmaker, I always welcome any opportunity to tell important stories," said Brandon. "In light of the fires that we had in Southern California, there was never a better time to honor the heroes around us, by creating my documentary about the brave firefighters of the LAFD. In my film, I explored the lives of these men in an attempt to show what it is truly like to risk your life for others.”

Congratulations to Brandon and Laili for their remarkable achievements!

The Reflection theme for next year is: Look Within. Please check with your school site PTA for details on how to enter the contest next fall.

2019 AVID Senior Standout Recognition
and Scholarship Presentation Ceremony