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Superintendent Welcome Back Message
Janet Watson
Monday, August 24, 2020

Welcome back to the 2020-21 school year!

School started on Thursday, August 13, 2020, in a Distance Learning model. Teachers officially began on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.  Our teachers and supporting staff were offered training on Thursday and Friday, August 6, 7, 10, and 11, 2020, on a variety of distance learning applications, including social-emotional learning.  We learned much over the last six months regarding our online learning and the delivery of instruction to students. The challenges we faced in March 2020 were insurmountable, but we rose to the occasion. Distance Learning for the 2020-21 school year follows a structured day format, and all students require attendance and participation. The District has chosen Google Classroom as its Learning Management System, as a way to deliver and receive assignments and provide an opportunity for parents/guardians to follow the academic progress and two-way communication in a virtual environment.  Please see the Aromas-San Juan Guide for more information on Distance Learning for the District.  

As we stretch our knowledge through virtual learning, we are excited and ready to take on technology in a 21st Century environment. Technology in the classroom is allowing us to align classroom learning with real-world situations in the United States and beyond through integration and expansion opportunities for critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity into daily teaching and learning.  Education after COVID-19 provides a perfect opportunity to reimagine learning.

Students and families are experiencing challenges related to staying home. Students are often feeling isolated and struggling on where to find help with school work within the household.  These feelings are often overwhelming for them.  Last year, the District increased the level of counseling provided to our students from one day a week to three and four days a week. We continue to provide support for our students, even in a Distance Learning Environment.  The Proposition 47 Grant, California Learning Communities for School Success Program (LCSSP) provides an opportunity for the  San Benito County Office of Education, Hollister School District, San Benito High School District, and Aromas-San Juan USD to form a consortium to support students social-emotionally. This three-year grant will provide the District with a social worker for three days a week, one day a week for each site.  We have significantly increased the social-emotional support to our families in the last two years through a partnership with the San Benito County Behavior Health Department, Harmony-at-Home, and the Consortium with school agencies in the County.

We will continue to build relationships with our students, parents, and community in support of the teaching and learning that occurs every day in our classrooms.

Leading us this year at our sites and in our departments are:

Dr. Elizabeth Cord, San Juan School, Principal

Ms. Heather Howell, Aromas School, Principal

Ms. Angela Crawley, Anzar High School, Principal

Mr. Anthony Miranda, Special Education Director

Ms. Elizabeth Wilson, Chief Business Official

Ms. Marie Barros, Transportation Manager

Mr. Dan Carrillo, Maintenance and Operations Manager

Ms. Janie Cecena, Food Services Manager

Mr. Jose Garcia, Migrant Education

We congratulate Mr. Erik Blomquist, 5th Grade Teacher, Aromas School, Ms. Vickie Luke, 5th Grade Teacher, Aromas School, Ms. Cindy Guajardo, Preschool Director, and Mr. Anthony Miranda, Special Education Director, on their retirements. Mr. Miranda will be with us until October 1, 2020.  The District is currently recruiting for both positions and anticipate new hires coming on soon. We welcome Mr. Jose Garcia, Migrant Ed, who is supporting our middle and high school migrant students with academic counseling.  Our students and families know Mr. Garcia well, as he has been part of the migrant program over the past two years. Our administrative team will continue to foster a positive culture and provide academic and social-emotional support to our students.

Please be sure that your contact information is up-to-date, as we are utilizing text messing, emails, and voice messaging to push messages out to students, parents/guardians, and community. Be sure to visit your school's website for upcoming events and messages.

Our "Superintendent/Principal Coffee Hour" is held at each school site monthly. It's an opportunity to provide two-way communication for students, parents, and the community to share ideas and hear updates from the District.

If you are new to our schools, please stop by the front office and say hello to the staff and the Principal. Your teachers are an excellent resource for questions. I look forward to seeing you on Zoom at Back-to-School-Night, the dates are:

Anzar High School – Wednesday, September 2, 2020, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Aromas School – Thursday, September 3, 2020, from 5:45 pm to 7:00 pm

San Juan School - Tuesday, September 1, 2020, from 5:45 pm to 7:00 pm

I look forward to seeing you on our campuses and in the classrooms.

Best,

Michele Huntoon Superintendent

 

"In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity."

    – Albert Einstein