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The Paradise Post

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June 2024 Citizens' Oversight Vacancies
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The Morgan Hill Unified School District currently has three (3) vacancies on the Citizens' Oversight Committee. This is a great way to give back to your community, by reviewing and reporting on Measure G Bond funds and ensuring they are spent appropriately. The role requires only one (1) meeting per calendar quarter. Please read more about the committee here.

The three vacancies are as follows:

1) Parent of a Student Enrolled in MHUSD

2) Morgan Hill Business Representative

3) Morgan Hill Resident at Large

Please reach out to Tricia Campbell, campbellt@mhusd.org to apply.

 

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Congratulations Heather McPherson

We are delighted to share some fantastic news: our KAPPA teacher Heather McPherson has received the prestigious California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN) Implementation Award for her exceptional work in launching Visual Supports (VS) as an Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) for Autism. This award demonstrates her commitment to advancing inclusion, excellence, and our students’ potential.

Ms. McPherson’s impact as an educator makes us immensely proud. This award is not just a personal triumph, but a moment of pride for Morgan Hill Unified School District. It is a proof point of our collective commitment to empowering students to achieve their unique potential.

Please join us in congratulating Heather McPherson for her great accomplishments. Educators like her make a difference in our students’ lives and improve the wider community.

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 Silicon Valley Tech Academy Inspires Middle School Innovators
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This summer, middle school students in the Morgan Hill Unified School District (MHUSD) have a unique opportunity to dive into the world of science, technology, and engineering through the Silicon Valley Tech Academy. Now in its third year, this non-profit educational initiative partners with MHUSD to offer rigorous, college-level coursework to incoming 5th, 6th, and 7th graders. The program is designed to ignite a passion for STEM fields by engaging students in hands-on projects that mimic real-world challenges.

The academy's curriculum is split into three segments, each targeting different aspects of technology and science:

Tech 1: Technology, Energy, Space & Water — Hosted at El Toro Elementary School, this two-week course introduces students to high technology, space exploration, water conservation, and sustainable energy solutions. Students will engage in projects such as building Mars landers, designing aqueducts, and constructing solar model cars. A field trip to a local high-tech manufacturing facility in Morgan Hill is also part of the curriculum, providing a practical view of modern manufacturing processes.

Tech 2: Climate Science — This course builds on the foundations laid in Tech 1. Also held at El Toro Elementary, students delve into climate science for another two weeks, exploring the dynamic relationship between our planet and its climate. Through a blend of science, social studies, and economics, the course encourages students to become informed STEM advocates. Projects include constructing wind generators and experimenting with the effects of CO2 on water temperature.

Tech 3: Robotics, Python Programming, and Introduction to Wireless — Taking place at San Jose State University, this segment includes separate one-week sessions focusing on robotics, computer programming, and wireless communications. Students can build and program robots, create Python-based applications, and understand the intricacies of wireless communication technologies.

Pooja Kodoth, parent of rising 8th grader, Sidharth, says, “Our son is very interested in STEM and we felt this program would be very good exposure for him. He has taken Tech 1 and Tech 3, and has been able to expand his knowledge about Robotics and Digital Printing.  Our sole intent of having him attend was to be able to make informed decisions about what career he’d like to pursue. We’re happy to see he’s taken a liking to it.”

Silicon Valley Tech Academy Summer STEM Program facilitator, Tina Kunes, said, “I so enjoy watching the students from all different middle schools bond while creating solutions to real-world problems. The students work in groups to define the problem, design a possible solution, build the design, test it, and then adjust their design to make it better. In my years with the program, I have never sent a student home who didn't really enjoy some, if not all, of the projects.” Kunes, a Math teacher for Morgan Hill Unified School District, added, “Best of all, they have met students they will work with again in high school who they would have otherwise not known.”

To ensure a personalized and interactive learning experience, each class is capped at 20 students. The teachers, all credentialed in math or science, receive specialized training from the Silicon Valley Tech Academy to deliver these innovative courses. High school students from

MHUSD are also recruited and trained as lab assistants, providing additional support and mentorship to the younger students.

“We know this program is a rare opportunity. Our friends in other districts do not have this program available to them at no cost,” added Kodoth.

Enrollment is currently open for these transformative summer sessions. The Silicon Valley Tech Academy continues to pave the way for future scientists and engineers, providing them with the tools and knowledge to change the world. For more information, visit https://techacademysv.com/.

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Morgan Hill Unified School District Education Foundation Opens its Doors  and Expands Possibilities for MHUSD Students

The foundation seeks to provide equitable resources for children’s extracurricular activities.

The Morgan Hill Unified School District is celebrating the launch of an affiliated education foundation. The Morgan Hill Unified School District Education Foundation’s mission is to enrich the lives of District students by raising additional resources to empower them to achieve their full potential.     

The foundation’s current board members include John Horner, Wendy Sullivan, Adam Escoto, Nick Gaich, Cecelia Ponzini, and Superintendent Dr. Carmen García (Ex Officio member).  Foundation directors sought out community feedback, which revealed that stakeholders want the education foundation to prioritize athletics, visual and performing arts, field trips, and guest educator opportunities. The foundation incorporated these priorities and will continue to seek community feedback throughout the year.  

“I look forward to investing in our students’ futures through our partnership with the Education Foundation,” said Dr. Carmen García, Superintendent, Morgan Hill Unified School District. “This is a new opportunity to ensure all students have enhanced opportunities to learn beyond their classrooms and gain experience in new, enriching activities. I appreciate the founding board’s years of planning, investment, and belief in our students.”       

In 2020, then MHUSD School Board members Sullivan, Horner, and Escoto formed an ad-hoc committee to examine comparable foundations to learn about similar efforts to enhance students’ educational experience. That initial research led to the creation of the MHUSD Education Foundation, including all necessary state and federal approvals exclusively using funds provided by private donations.

In a show of tangible support for the new Foundation’s launch, the Edward Boss Prado Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Cecelia and Gary Ponzini, made a $25,000 donation, setting a promising model for future contributions and community impact.  

About Morgan Hill Unified School District Education Foundation: At the MHUSD Education Foundation, we believe that every child deserves access to a high-quality education that prepares them for success in life. We are committed to providing the resources and support necessary to ensure that the students of the Morgan Hill Unified School District have the best possible chance to succeed. Our team is made up of dedicated professionals who are passionate about education and the impact it can have on the lives of young people. We are working to develop resources which enhance student's educational journey by adding support for enrichments such as sports, music, performing arts, visual arts, field trips and more. We are a 501C(3) with tax id # 92-2854932. 

For more information, visit https://www.mhedfoundation.org/

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Welcome to Paradise

great shakeout

 

By The Numbers

22

Teachers

361

Students

TK-5

Grades

1:1

Student to Chromebook Ratio

526

Parents Signed Up on Parent Square