November 2020: Giving thanks in a trying year


Wiseburn families and friends,

As we approach this season where we traditionally reflect and give thanks, I'll be the first to admit that it's tough this year. As I began to draft this letter, I struggled to find the words. So I looked up from my computer screen.

Here in the Wiseburn district office, where some of us work on-site and others remotely, everything has changed from this same time last year. We're all wearing masks, keeping our distance, doing daily safety checks, and continuing to do everything we can to make this school year the best it can be for our students. Even though this pandemic has taken hold of our lives since March, so much of this new normal still feels unfamiliar.

But in the middle of all of this, I have seen so much behind-the-scenes time, effort, and energy our staff have put in to keep things moving. When I sit and think about how impossible a task it seemed for schools nationwide to build an entire distance learning infrastructure, and I think of how our team rose to that challenge, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. How lucky am I to work with a team of people all so devoted to our cause? To work with people who prioritize the education of our future generations, and take that responsibility to heart?

I'm thankful to our outstanding teachers, who work long hours and constantly adapt to new challenges of distance learning and virtual platforms. I'm thankful to our Educational Services team, for supporting our teachers and working tirelessly to do so. I'm thankful to our classified staff, for an endless list of responsibilities they meet to keep our district running: They keep the lights on, the computers connected, the payroll rolling, the school meals coming, the school registrations going, and so much more. (In fact, despite the challenges of the pandemic, our classified staff packed out our enrollment — a truly remarkable feat.) I'm thankful to our Psychological and Child Services Department, including our CARE Team and our Middle School Counseling Team, for being vital and ever-ready resources for the wellbeing of our students, families, and caretakers in this pivotal moment. As the list continues to grow, it's quite clear to me just how much there is to be thankful for this year.

Then, I think of the very people we work to serve, and how grateful I am for the Wiseburn community. These trying times have impacted our families, our students, and the greater community in ways we never could have imagined. The perseverance of our community, the continued collaboration, the patience, and the unwavering support is remarkable. So, as we enter this time of thankfulness and gratitude, I share a special thank you to our entire community for being such an integral part of the work we do for our students. I know it has not been easy and do not take lightly the unique pressure that has impacted our families while supporting distance learning.

Perhaps in the coming months if the COVID-19 outlook improves, I'll be able to be grateful for the way our team and community migrate from distance learning to our hybrid model of instruction — and that will be a long-awaited, happy day for us all. But until then, I'll be taking inventory during this season of thanks for the many, many people who have stepped up to the plate in remarkable ways for a year we never saw coming.

With gratitude,

Blake Silvers, Ed.D., Superintendent

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Open invite: attend a WUSD board meeting

Wiseburn USD encourages the community to join us at board meetings on Zoom to learn more about our operations, plans, and how we're achieving the district's goals. Regularly scheduled board meeting open session dates are listed on our website and both regular and special board meetings are announced on BoardDocs, which you can always access at the bottom of the Wiseburn website.

Submit a public comment
Members of the public can comment on an upcoming agenda online via this form as listed on BoardDocs. Comments will be collected until 2 p.m. PDT on the day of the next meeting and read by a member of the Wiseburn team into the Board record. If you wish to read your public comment yourself live at an upcoming Board meeting, please indicate so on the form. During the public comment portion of the meeting, your stated email address will be added so you may read your comment live.

Regularly scheduled board meeting dates through the end of 2020:

  • November 12, 2020
  • December 10, 2020

Updates from Wiseburn District Departments

CARE Team and Middle School
Counseling Department

"The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them."
Saint Francis de Sales

This month, the WUSD Counselors are focusing on community. If we apply the lesson from Saint Francis de Sales, we are able to reflect on the idea that we can be consumers in our community and receive the support we need while also contributing to our community and helping it flourish. During the month of November, we will provide a series of resources that relate to awareness and appreciation of our Wiseburn community and building social capital (connection to others) during a pandemic. Please review our resources and upcoming events for the month of November!

Hi Dana Families! It is hard to believe that October is over and we are transitioning into the second quarter of the school year. October held the first P.R.I.D.E assembly of the 2020 school year (and first ever virtual assembly!). At the assembly we recognized students who stood out for their preparedness behavior. Looking ahead, the focus of November's P.R.I.D.E. assembly will be Respect. We are excited to honor and celebrate the students throughout the year with these assemblies to encourage positive behavior!

Also in October, the WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) program hosted a Halloween themed trivia event for the entire 6th grade class. We are hoping to do more virtual WEB activities as the year progresses! In November, as part of our social emotional support program, we will start 6 weeks of anti bullying lessons to be delivered weekly during Wellness Wednesdays for all grade levels. This is an important topic for our students and we are excited to encourage learning and growth through our social emotional curriculum!

The CARE Team is proud of our elementary school families for their commitment to creating safe, fun, and bully-free schools for our students. Several families learned about bullying prevention during the month of October and about 150 students and families recorded and posted a video of themselves pledging to help our schools to be bully-free! These recordings were viewed over 4,700 times, which tells us that our community is very interested in creating a safe space for our students and that our CARE Team for Community Flipgrid activity is a great space for students to connect with schoolmates. Make sure to watch highlights of our amazing students and families take the pledge by clicking here. Don't miss out on the November community activity about unique and similar family qualities!


Elementary Schools Activities and Opportunities

Family Conversations with the CARE Team

This family workshop is intended for parents/caregivers to attend WITH students, to learn, grow, and have conversations as a family.

  • November 10th, 9:00am - 10:00am
  • November 12th, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Zoom Information Here
Meeting ID: 980 3719 6403
Passcode: Community

Conversations with the CARE Team: Community and Social Capital

This parent/caregiver workshop is intended for parents/caregivers to ask questions and consult with counselors. View the monthly presentation prior to our workshop and attend the zoom for live Q & A.

  • November 17th, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
  • November 19th, 11:00am - 12:00pm

Zoom Information Here
Meeting ID: 956 1365 5292
Passcode: Community

CARE Team Fun Friday Recess

Fridays from 12:15 - 1:45pm, grade levels will have a 10 minute recess facilitated by a CARE Team member. Check school-site announcements for grade-level times.

  • Every Friday, 11:00am - 12:00pm

Access through SchoolsPLP Tile.

CARE Team for Community

The CARE Team for Community provides a monthly opportunity for students and caregivers/parents to participate in a cultural awareness/appreciation activity with their school-site.

  • Ongoing

Click here to learn more and access your school-site's Flipgrid.

CARE Team Club Live Classes

The CARE Team Club is an opportunity for every student, not just those signed up for counseling services, to participate in lessons that will help develop social-emotional skills.

Class 1: Empathy
Class 2: Point of View
Class 3: Appreciating Diversity

  • Class times vary Mon. - Wed. at 1:00pm or 1:30pm

Find out more information here and register here.

CARE Team Weekly SEL Asynchronous Lessons

Each student will have access to a weekly lesson that they may work through independently.

  • Ongoing

Access through CARE Team Club SchoolsPLP Tile. Coming soon!

Students Contact the CARE Team

Students can complete this form as often as you'd like just to say "hi" or to request a counselor contact them.

  • Ongoing

Access here and coming soon to SchoolsPLP!

Adults Contact the CARE Team

Consultation, one-on-one, and group counseling services.

  • Ongoing

Click here to contact the CARE Team.

CARE Team Calendar

An activity a day for parents/caregivers and students to complete.

•  Ongoing

Click here to access the CARE Team Calendar

Visit the CARE Team website

Middle School Activities and Opportunities

Family Conversations with the CARE Team

This family workshop is intended for parents/caregivers to attend WITH students, to learn, grow, and have conversations as a family.

  • November 10th, 9:00am - 10:00am
  • November 12th, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Zoom Information Here
Meeting ID: 980 3719 6403
Passcode: Community

Conversations with Dana Counselors: Community and Social Capital

This parent/caregiver workshop is intended for parents/caregivers to ask questions and consult with counselors. View the presentation prior to our workshop and drop in to the zoom for live Q & A.

  • November 17th, 11:00am - 12:00pm
  • November 19th, 4:00pm - 5:00pm

November 17th: Zoom link
November 18th: Zoom link

Da Vinci High School Virtual Information Session

For prospective 8th grade students and families to meet DV school leaders, staff and students and find out what makes DV so unique!

  • November 10, 5:30pm - 7:00pm

Zoom Link:

Consultation, one-on-one, and group counseling services

Please use the link on our counseling website to find important information and schedule meetings with us!

  • Ongoing

Visit the DMS counseling website here.

Visit the Middle School Counseling Department website

Educational Services

This month, the Educational Services team would like to highlight the work we've done to assess the Wiseburn school community's views regarding our distance learning program. We received an outstanding response rate to our most recent family survey, which will allow us to better understand and plan our work. We've compiled and summarized the data from this survey for our community to view — see it now here.

Human Resources

"In Human Resources, we are so thrilled to welcome back two former Wiseburn staff to fill two vital roles on our team. Please join me in welcoming back Karen Chapkhaneh, our newly-named Site Supervisor for Preschool Enrichment Program and Before and After Care, and Peggy Mazzarella, as our Director of Psychological Services. I'll let them both re-introduce themselves below, but once again, a huge welcome back, Karen and Peggy!" — Nisha Dugal, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources

"Hello, my name is Karen Chapkhaneh and I am the Site Supervisor for Preschool Enrichment Program and Before and After Care at Wiseburn Unified School District. I began my journey working with children after I received my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology with a Minors in Sociology in 1996. I have always had a passion for working with children and my goal is to provide a safe, positive and nurturing environment for the families that I have been blessed to work with. I am dedicated to making Wiseburn families' experience the best that it can be." — Karen Chapkhaneh

"After 31 years of experience working as a teacher and administrator throughout the South Bay and north county San Diego, I'm thrilled to return to Wiseburn! My passion has always been ensuring that students with unique learning needs receive the intervention, individual supports, and inclusive opportunities they need to become independent adults." — Peggy Mazzarella

138th St. School Renaming

We are continuing to work on the development of our Community Advisory Committee, which will hold community conversations and provide input on potential names for 138th St. School. In the next couple of weeks, we will be sending out information on the formation of this committee. Our current projections anticipate that from start to finish, this process will take 8-10 weeks to ensure we approach these conversations thoughtfully and methodically, and that we apply the right effort and energy to the renaming process since the name will be with us for a long time into the future.

Because the holidays are approaching, we want to start this process without major interruptions and thus are looking to begin in January. This gives us the time needed while navigating the pandemic to also give our community ample time to sign up for our committee and to develop streamlined logistics. Stay tuned to your inboxes for more information to come.

Breakfast and lunch available

Grab and Go breakfasts and lunches are available for students 18 years of age and under at R.H. Dana Middle School between 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Learn more on our website.

School Site Spotlights

Juan de Anza Elementary School

As we continue the school year in distance learning, the Anza community is thankful for all of our teachers who are working tirelessly to create engaging learning experiences for our students on a daily basis. In particular, the Anza first grade team collaborates daily as a team to create lessons and activities for students that build classroom community. They plan weekly spirit activities as a grade level that are fun and create a fun learning environment. Whether "Dodger Day" or "Pirate Day," Anza first graders are definitely having a phenomenal start to their school year!

Anza is also thankful for the dedication and passion from our school librarian, Mrs. Kathy Pittluck. During distance learning, Mrs. Pittluck has taken on the responsibility of technology support for our families and teachers. She saw where our school needed support and she jumped right in to help the Anza community. Although busy with the technology support, Mrs. Pittluck has not given up her love of reading to students. She and fifth grade teacher Ms. McKenna have created "Library with Mrs. Pittluck" videos that are shared with students in their classrooms and posted on the Anza Instagram page. Check out the fun on Instagram @anzaeagles!

Follow Juan de Anza Elementary School:

138th St. School

This month 138th Street School would like to spotlight our amazing librarian, Mrs. Nicole Morris. Mrs. Morris has been at 138th Street school for 19 years. During her time at 138th Street School, Mrs. Morris has worked as an instructional aide, librarian and also is a parent to a 4th grader at 138th Street and a kindergartener at Cabrillo Elementary School.

As the librarian during distance learning, Mrs. Morris has led our school with MyOn and AR. She administered 445 STAR Reading tests. She has also taken the lead on Student Council and supported our 5th grade teachers with reading intervention.

"I look forward to working with students," Mrs. Morris said, "and watching them blossom into readers."

On behalf of the entire 138th Street School Community, please join us in thanking Mrs. Nicole Morris for her commitment to our school and students!

Follow 138th St. School:
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Juan Cabrillo Elementary School

Cabrillo is Grateful!

In the midst of this singular and often challenging school year, it is important to take a moment to acknowledge the truly amazing efforts being put forth by our students, families, and staff each day. It is the strong sense of community at Cabrillo that makes it such a warm and nurturing place for our cubs.

In this vein, there are two groups we would like to especially acknowledge this Thanksgiving season. First, Cabrillo would like to say a special thank you to our amazing PTA. This year our PTA has continued to support Cabrillo's academic needs through things like Scholastic papers for our kinder students. They are also the bedrock of our community events this year, organizing treats for students, events like the Jack-O'Lantern Jamboree drive-through display and Coco drive-in movie, as well as our "Bear Ballot" events inviting students to learn about the voting process by nominating and voting for a name for our new mascot. They even decorate our front entrance with positive chalk messages each week, to help keep our spirits up! All of these activities, supported in partnership by our teachers and families, have kept our Cabrillo community alive and well during this unique school year.

Last, Cabrillo would like to thank the untiring efforts of our classified school staff. Our custodians and office staff have risen to the occasion, providing tireless support for our campus. We would like to especially thank our office secretary, Laura Nilsson, who has demonstrated such tremendous helpfulness, flexibility, and kindness to all who come her way. Cabrillo is lucky to have such a tremendous community of teachers, staff, and families who continue to make our school such a special place!

Follow Juan Cabrillo Elementary School:
Instagram | Facebook

R.H. Dana Middle School

During this time of gratitude, Dana is especially thankful for our student leadership and commitment to building community. Distance learning has provided opportunities for us to engage our students in creative and new ways.

Although we cannot physically be together, Dana has launched a highly motivated Associated Student Body (ASB) consisting of 30 students across grades 6-8. Class representatives were nominated and voted by their peers to represent their entire Pod class for ASB. Students will meet monthly with Mr. Corrinet to plan spirit days, support student activities, and act as a liaison between administration and their Pod classmates.

ASB members will also hold their very first virtual election, using this opportunity to teach students about voting, advocating for their cause, and being a model representative for their classmates. Dana is grateful to have a platform that engages and empowers our students to be leaders and voices for others.

Follow R.H. Dana Middle School:
Instagram | Facebook

Have questions about your school site's communications, operations, or specific issues?

Remember you can always reach out to your school site. Find phone numbers online here or reach out to your school site secretary via email:

Juan de Anza Elementary School: Susan Castellanos (
138th Street School: Kristian Forte-Hill (
Juan Cabrillo Elementary School: Laura Nilsson (
Dana Middle School: Sarah Moulton (