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CUSD Students Triumph in 2024 Tech Challenge "Cosmic Quest"

CSI Team Lunar Eclipse earns the "Outstanding Collaboration" award 

5 students in white hard hats standing in front of cameras as a woman in a pink hard hat holds a microphone  and a man in a pink hard hat listens to what is being said.

Representing their school and the district proudly, Campbell School of Innovation (CSI) students showcased their problem-solving skills at the 37th annual Tech Challenge held on April 28, 2024. Under the theme "Cosmic Quest," the mission was to develop a launcher to transport supplies to a distant moon, simulating a crucial space mission.

Three CSI teams participated, with Team Lunar Eclipse earning the "Outstanding Collaboration" award for grades 7-8. The event, hosted by The Tech Interactive, drew over 540 teams who spent months preparing their innovative solutions to the challenge.

"I am super proud of all of their hard work this year," CSI teacher Amanda Haughs said, noting the students' dedication, ideas and teamwork.

The CSI Teams are:
Team Axis -- Nikhil M., Cash F., Charlie O. Daniel A., James N.

Team Lunar Eclipse -- Joseph T., Claire G., Logan C., Nicola F., Sebastian H.

Team Cosmic Wolves -- Agastya S., Joshua A., Jay P., Abdullah B., Nolan V.

The Tech Challenge encourages students from grades 4-12 to engage deeply in the engineering design process, fostering both collaboration and critical thinking skills. This year's challenge not only highlighted the students' technical skills but also their ability to work together to solve complex problems.

CAASPP Testing Has Begun!

How can you support your 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at home for state testing?

CAASPP testing is here! Our testing window is April 29 - May 26. CAASPP, or SBAC, testing is one way we measure students’ progress over the year. The assessments provide important information to teachers and families about our students. There are many ways that you can help us prepare for it and do our best.

 

As a reminder, we ask that you please do not plan to take your child out of school during this time.

Some more ideas to help you and your student prepare for testing include (from Edmentum.com):

 

1. Prioritize attendance: what is the best (and most straightforward) piece of test-prep advice for caregivers is to do what you can to ensure that your child is fully engaged with his or her classwork throughout the year. 

 

2. Communicate with teachers: regular communication with your child’s instructor can help you gain insight into his or her progress. Your child’s teacher is also a great resource for test-preparation practice or strategies you can use with your child at home. 

 

3. Talk to your child about test taking: the purpose and goals of testing are not always obvious, even to the students who take them. Especially with new test-takers, it’s easy to be intimidated by testing or simply not feel motivated to put forth a lot of effort. Have open, ongoing conversations with your child to explain the benefits of testing, focusing on how it helps them, their teacher, their school, and other educators understand their strengths and weaknesses and figure out the most effective ways to teach. You can also use this opportunity to ask your students how they feel about testing, and offer reassurance or perspective if they have any anxiety around exams.

 

4. Offer positive reinforcement: a little encouragement can go a long way in helping students walk into testing days feeling confident—which, in turn, can have a huge effect on their performance. Praise your child for the work that he or she does to prepare for testing, and share in his or her excitement when he or she has success with a new concept or skill. Similarly, when he or she is struggling with a topic, point out the progress that he or she has made and encourage him or her to continue working. Having already experienced success with the material that he or she will be tested on will help your child avoid test anxiety and perform to the best of his or her ability on testing day.

 

5. Support healthy habits: sleep and nutrition can have a huge impact on your child’s ability to focus and retain information. On testing days, it’s especially important to make sure that your child gets a good night’s sleep, starts the day with a filling breakfast, and goes to school with a water bottle to help stay hydrated.

 

6. Keep testing in perspective: no single test is that important. Avoid putting too much emphasis on your child’s test scores—doing so can make your child feel pressure that will ultimately only affect his or her performance negatively. It’s also important to not be upset by a single test score. Low test scores can occur for any number of reasons; it may have just been an off day for your child.

7. Debrief after the test: after testing has come and gone, talk with your child about his or her results and how he or she felt about the test. By discussing his or her answers, thought processes, and feelings, you can gain further insight into what he or she is struggling with and excelling at and then help him or her better prepare next time. Talking about testing can also help your child process the experience and overcome any anxiety that he or she might have had.

 

Here are some resources that may review:

 

 

 If you have questions about any of the state tests, your student’s academic performance, or your ability to opt your student out of CAASPP assessments, please contact your child's teacher, Ms. Chalfant, or Mrs. Armann.

District Receives "Bold Steps for Children" Award 

Recognition for role in county-wide School Wellness Centers effort

two middle school girls sit at a table and talk to a woman.

Campbell USD was one of 13 school districts to earn the Bold Steps for Children Award from Kids In Common, Santa Clara County’s only comprehensive child advocacy organization focused on children’s issues and policies. The award recognizes the district for its role in supporting School Wellness Centers. 

The Santa Clara County Office leveraged resources to fund School Wellness Centers throughout the county, and Monroe Middle School’s was among the first for middle school students. The program is one of many examples of how community partnerships support our students.

School Wellness Centers provide safe and supportive environments on school campuses where students can visit to de-stress. They provide holistic support addressing physician, mental, emotional, and social support, family support services, and support to school staff.

District Attendance Program Earns State Recognition

Attendance improvement program focuses on support, not punishment.

legs of students walking in a crosswa;l

The California Department of Education has selected Campbell Union School District (CUSD) for the 2024 Model SARB Recognition. This award celebrates the district's effective and compassionate strategy for improving student attendance, emphasizing support over punishment and focusing on comprehensive, community-based efforts to resolve attendance and truancy issues.

Under the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) program, this recognition places a spotlight on the district’s dedication to helping students maintain regular attendance and, ultimately, achieve graduation. It is a collective effort to pool community resources to help families in overcoming barriers to consistent school attendance. CUSD’s team includes more than administrators. Community Liaisons, school nurses, and counselors play an important role in addressing the complexities of absenteeism.

Studies demonstrate that students who are chronically absent—missing 10% or more of the school year for any reason—are at a greater risk of falling behind academically, dropping out of school, and facing severe long-term health, employment, and financial difficulties.

Positive Interventions Make a Difference

“While school attendance is a legal requirement, we strive to remove barriers to attendance through positive interventions rather than punitive measures,” said Pablo Viramontes, Director of Student Services at CUSD. “We work with families to identify the root causes and coordinate resources to address them. It not only improves the student’s attendance; it strengthens our partnership with families and caregivers.”

The district customizes interventions to meet the specific needs and challenges of each student. For some, it might be connecting them to medical care, while for others, it might involve referrals for counseling or other community services. Other cost-effective strategies that boost motivation and punctuality engage students in meaningful roles, such as office assistance and the Check-in Check-out system. These options strengthen student-adult relationships, communication between school and parents, and regular behavior and attendance monitoring. 

The District's supportive approach improves attendance and builds a caring community that addresses the complexities of absenteeism. These targeted strategies ensure that the support provided is both effective and meaningful.

“Exposure to grade level content from effective teachers is the most critical school-related factor in student success,” said Whitney Holton, Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. “If students are not in class, they cannot benefit from these learning opportunities.”

Students Cook Up a Winner for School Lunch Menus

Annual timed cooking competition teaches nutrition, safety, and stress management

4 middle school students (2 boys and 2 girls) standing together and smiling as one boy holds a winners trophy

The air in the CUSD Central Kitchen was filled with music, chatter and the smell of garlic warming in pans at the district’s 3rd annual Lunchroom Cook-Off competition. With a backdrop of industrial food preparation equipment, and dozens of audience members watching, the 10 student competitors had one hour to cook their favorite recipe and win a spot on the district’s school lunch menu.

The 6-8 grade students represented Expanded Learning programs at Monroe, Rolling HIlls, Sherman Oaks and Campbell School of Innovation. The timed cooking event is the culmination of an 8-week after school curriculum about nutrition, food safety, and the special requirements for school lunches. Sponsors included CalFresh, Santa Clara County Public Health, Sutter Health, 5-2-1-0, University of California Continuing Education (UCCE), and University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

Judge Tony Leoffler, chef at Flights Restaurant, was impressed. “It’s great to see the kids learning about nutrition and food safety, especially with the health issues happening these days,” he said.

Joining Loeffler at the judges panel were CUSD Board President Danielle Cohen, Child Nutrition Manager Benny Calderon, Child Nutrition Assistant Manager Vachan Boja, and student judges Angela Park (CSI), Janina Carrera (Monroe), Salim Islam (Rolling Hills) and Madison Rock (Sherman Oaks).

The Sherman Oaks team won the trophy and placement on the school lunch menu with their Enchiladas Verdes (green enchiladas).  

Click to view a short video of the event.