Friday, January 10, 2020

Siskiyou Snapshot

Dear SUHSD Staff,
Welcome back to the second semester of the 2019-20 school year. I hope you had some restful and rejuvenating time away with family and friends. I had the opportunity to spend my time here at home in Siskiyou County and sure enjoyed our beautiful surroundings and of course the Ski Park. As we move into our very busy second semester, let's remember to take care of ourselves and make sure that we are ok. Education is a very intense and all consuming profession and as Roni Habib as indicated to us, we must be well so we can help our students be well and experience growth and success. Thank you for all you do to support our students' social, emotional, and academic needs. 

To address some of the areas that were brought to my attention in the survey provided to me by CTA, I and the cabinet will be providing all staff with a weekly Siskiyou Snapshot. This will be published following our Cabinet meetings and will consist of key items from our cabinet and district work. As we move into negotiations, 2020-21 staffing and budgeting processes, and continue to implement our many educational endeavors outlined in our district LCAP, I recognize how important it will be to provide our staff, students, parents and communities with transparency and as much information as possible. Please do not hesitate to ask questions to clarify any of the information provided, express concerns, and help us seek solutions that will support the work of educating our students. 

The format of the Snapshot follows our weekly cabinet agenda. This Snapshot is longer then the future Snapshots will be because I am catching up with a number of these items. 

Current data: 
  • Enrollment:  HCHS - 47, MHS - 29, MSHS - 268, WHS - 183,  Total District  = 527
  • ADA Month 4 P2: HC-43.39, MHS-27.27, MSHS-257.34, WHS-172.57, Total District = 500.58
  • Chronic Absence % (students absent for any reason) is currently HCHS 21.3%, MHS 17.2%, MSHS 13.0%, WHS 14.9%, Total District = 14.6% (of our students have missed more than 10% of the school year to date) 

Victories and Reflections
Congratulations to Greg Eastman and the combined MSHS, MHS, and WHS Choral programs for a wonderful Candlelight Concert just prior to vacation. What an incredible showing of our students talents and learning potential. Congratulations Greg and all of our student performers. 

Congratulations Happy Camp High School and the Happy Camp Community for working on and receiving a Ford Foundation Grant to develop and implement an after school program for students. What a tremendous opportunity for our students and a great collaborative effort from the Happy Camp Community. 

Congratulation to all district staff and students. We are seeing some positive increases in our CA State Data Dashboard Indicators in the areas of Graduation Rate Blue - Indicator (+3 levels), College and Career Ready - Green Indicator (+3 levels), ELA - Green Indicator (+2 levels, Math - Yellow Indicator (+1 level). You can see the full SUHSD and individual site Dashboards Here: CA Schools Dashboard

Calendar and Announcements
January 14 2020 Cabinet Meeting at DO
January 15, 2020 SUHSD Board Meeting/MS Community Input Meeting at 6:30 pm
January 20, 2020 No School-Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 22, 2020 Cabinet Meeting at MHS
January 22-23, 2020 VAPA Content Area Meeting
January 23, 2020 Admin and Secretary IS meeting at 1:30 at DO
January 27, 2020 Student Success Task Force Meeting at 4:30 at MSHS
January 29, 2020 District Athletic Director Meeting at 1:30 at DO

2020-21 Calendar - Links to draft 2021 calendars the board will be considering at January meeting. I am working with our feeder schools to align calendars so I would like to get a draft approved to help support this alignment process.  Here are Links to Draft B and C. B is very similar to this year with an August 25th start and June 11 end date.  C has an August 24th start with a president’s week included and a June 11th end date. Both have Spring break the 4th week of March aligned with COS.

2020 Census - our county is working to increase the participation rate of the census count for 2020. Traditionally 18-22% of our population is missed. This represents potentially millions of dollars in lost revenue and services. Here are some interesting resources for schools to use to help in this process:

Restorative Practices Handbook - The COE provided administrators with a copy of The Restorative Practices Handbook For Teachers, Disciplinarians and Administrators, by Bob Costello. This 100 page book is a great reference and quick read full of restorative practice strategies for all. We are purchasing some copies for each site to have on hand. Please see your site admin for a copy. 

Personnel and Human Resource
Reminder if you have an address change to complete the Employee Change of Info sheet in the PLC and send it to the district office.

Planning for the 2020-21 school year It is that time of the year when we start the process of planning for the 2020-21 school year. So that we can plan appropriately with as much information as possible, we ask all staff that are considering retirement, resignation, leave, or change of assignment requests, to inform the district in writing of your intentions for the 2020-21 school year. If you are planning a change of your employment status, please send a letter to me or Bonnie Rodgers stating your intentions. Please do this by 4:00 pm on Friday, February 7, 2020. Certificated employees considering retirement should review CTA Contract Article 7.7 -(d)   The Governing Board may allow certificated employees the opportunity to work on a part-time basis before retirement without jeopardizing full retirement credit. The Superintendent or designee may establish regulations which allow certificated employees who are members of STRS or Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) to reduce their workload from full to part-time, receive service credit and maintain the retirement benefits the employee would have received if the employee had been employed on a full-time basis. (See Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 4117.11). This information helps us plan and make appropriate decisions with the least amount of stress and impact on our programs and your colleagues.

Curriculum and Instruction
Administrative and Deans Evaluation Process - We are in the process of developing a new Administrator and Dean of Students Evaluation. For administrators we are looking to use the same process that was developed with CTA for certificated teachers. We are considering using the  California Professional Standards for Education Leaders - CPSEL as the standards and rubric. We are currently reviewing the rubric and adding any language to make sure it represents SUHSD and local practices. We will be presenting this concept at the January Board meeting and gathering input from the Evaluation Committee on Teaching and Learning, The Student Success Task Force and all site staff members. You can see our draft live CPSEL working document here. For Deans, we will be meeting with Deans to identify and develop a process and rubric. 

5D Certificated Evaluation Process - As we are working through our first year of full implementation of our 5D Instructional Evaluation Process, we appreciate everyone's participation and attention to the details of this important process. 
For formal evaluees, we are moving into Mid-year conferences to:
  • Check-in on progress toward goals 
  • Debrief Fall Observations
  • Debrief student surveys
  • Plan for the Spring semester
For informal process staff members, you should:
  • Check-in on progress toward goals 
  • Meet with peers to discuss and/or set up possible peer observations
  • Participate in collaboration meetings focused on the 5D process

Student Success Task Force/LCAP - Here is the link to the SSTF/LCAP meeting Notes and Agendas. At our December meeting, the committee came to consensus on a graduation credit requirement of 250 units for all schools. We also developed the following vision/purpose statement for senior project:

Draft Senior Project - Vision/Purpose Statement
Must have the three components of written, physical, and oral which demonstrates college and career readiness for post-secondary options. Can include multiple ways to demonstrate proficiency in the written and oral areas. May include the concept of a portfolio process as evidence of completion of the components. 

Prior to our next scheduled meeting, each school site should meet to review this statement and develop ideas regarding the process and implementation of the senior project at their site. 

Professional development  
Flex PD Midyear check in - Just a reminder that all certificated staff need to complete their 13 hours of professional learning: Am I on track for completing my Flex PD Plan?  How many of my 13 hours of professional learning do I have remaining? Do I need to adjust any part of my Flex PD Plan to meet my learning goal?

The district conducted budget workshops for our CTA and CSEA units. Here are the materials that were presented at the two workshops. Please do not hesitate to see Sarah or I if you have questions regarding district or site budgets and the budgeting process. 

Please remind our students of winter driving-safety and communication tools for possible emergency closures, ie: radio stations, Aeries Communications, etc. 

Culture of Safety
Please make sure you have completed your Keenan Safe Schools modules. At this point we all should have completed the following: (Here is the link to Keenan so you can check on your progress)

From the County
County Office of Education Professional Learning Calendar Link is Here, Folder of resources link is Here.

Thank you for all of your dedicated work - Have a great Friday and weekend 


Mike and the District Cabinet

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 15, 2018

Dear Staff

Culture of Safety: Snow and ice are coming soon; please be careful. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear, don't walk and text, and report any safety issues right away. We will be issuing the next Keenan training: Slips, Trips, and Falls very soon.  Please help us prevent accidents.

Adult Education: We are accepting proposals for Adult Education courses. Courses that help community members gain skills for employment or connect to higher education opportunities are funded. Please call 964-2181 for more information.

Academic Calendar: The end of the first quarter is October 19th.  The Aeries window for grading will open on October 17th. October 19th is a minimum day for students but staff need to be on campus the full contract day.

EQ Strategies: We would love to hear how EQ strategies are being used in your classroom. Are you still connected to your self-care strategies? Please share your successes and questions with your colleagues, site principals,  or on this document: SUHSD EQ Strategies

Personnel: Annual Notifications should be completed. The Mandated Reporter online training through Keenan should also be completed at this time. We have recently issued FERPA training and Slips, Trips, and Falls will be coming soon. These training sessions provide important and necessary information.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

We have added a form to the district PLC folder for any staff that may have address or telephone changes throughout the year-Employee change of information.  Please keep your site secretary informed of any changes to your contact information.

If any employee is injured on the job-the first step is to call Company Nurse, (877-518-6702),  and also to let your site supervisor know as soon as possible.

Happy Autumn!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Great Questions to Ask Your Students

Important Questions to Ask Your Students

Discovering your students’ answers to these questions can help you create positive conditions for learning.
July 30, 2018 Edutopia 

©iStock/Steve Debenport
Resilience and motivation come from having a sense of purpose, believing you have value to others, and engaging in acts of service that confirm that value. When these point in a positive direction, children gain momentum and positive accomplishment; when they don’t, we see downward spirals and increasing distance from college, career, community, and life success.
There are some things we should know about all of our students because knowing them will greatly influence our teaching (and parenting). They reflect the conditions necessary for students to learn, be happy, feel relevant, and be resilient.
Understanding who students are on a deep level also helps us be more understanding and supportive. In his article “Improving Teacher Empathy to Improve Student Behavior,” psychologist and school-climate expert Robert Brooks explains that teachers increase their empathy by asking themselves, “What words do I want my students to use to describe me?” 
The following questions can and should be adapted for youth of all ages because they are as relevant to college students as they are to preschoolers. Knowing the answers tells us what we need to know to help create positive conditions for learning.


These start-of-school questions can be written out on index cards—ask children to write their answers on the other side, perhaps doing one per day during the first week of school.
  • What helps you feel welcomed?
  • How do you like to be greeted?
  • What strengths do you bring to classrooms? The school?
  • What do you like most about school so far? What would you like to see changed?
Another approach with these questions is to make a survey and have students provide responses; these can be anonymous or not. A more interactive approach is to use a morning meeting format and start the school day by having students discuss their responses to several of these questions in small groups and then share their group’s responses with the class.


These settling-in questions can be addressed in similar ways as the start-of-school ones, during the second and third weeks of school.
  • When do you feel competent? How often?
  • When do you feel you are being listened to?
  • When do you feel your voice is respected?
  • When do you feel cared for and about?
  • When do you get a chance to be a leader?
  • When do you feel most safe/unsafe?
  • When do you laugh at school?


Use these questions throughout the school year, followed by supportive discussions, to continue to get to know your students, build their reflection skills, and positively influence their resiliency. 
  • What is your contribution to the school?
  • Who believes you can succeed?
  • What happens in school that makes you afraid? Frustrated? Defeated?
  • When do you feel challenged and supported?
  • What inspires you in school?
  • Who helps you bounce back from setbacks?
  • Who is always happy to speak with you?
  • When do you feel it’s OK to make a mistake, or show that you don’t know something or how to do something?


It often takes a few weeks before students get a clear sense of their answers to the initial questions. By then, they will know who believes they can succeed, and who is happy to speak to them and help them bounce back. (And during those first weeks, students will notice you hard at work becoming one of those reliable and trustworthy adults in their lives.)
The more we know about our students, the more we can help them find answers to these questions, which will allow their energies to be better directed toward building resilience and their growth as learners.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Welcome to our new Siskiyou Snapshot Blog format. This is going to be a resource for district information, announcements, and instructional practice. You can have the blog send you updates whenever an announcement or something new is posted. You can do this by entering your email address under the "FOLLOW BY EMAIL" button at the top left side of the page. Staff will be able to comment and share ideas, practices, and instructional resources with their colleagues from around the district.

We would like to thank everyone for all your work to get our schools open and off to a positive start.
Enrollment across the district is up from our June projections. We currently have a district enrollment of 567: (HCHS 56, MHS 33, MSHS 287, WHS 191) See Enrollment Projections Here

Flex PD Check in: With October 1st fast approaching, we wanted to be sure that principals checked in with each of you on the progress of your Flex PD plan for this year. 

Please choose one of the following ways for us to check-in:
Option 1 Check-in By Email: Please send your site principal responses to the following questions by email by 10.1.2018.

  1. Has your learning goal or any aspect of your Flex PD Plan changed? If so, how has it changed from your approved plan.
  2. Where are you in the process of completing your Flex PD plan for this year. How many hours have you completed? How many do you have left to complete? When will you complete any remaining hours?
  3. Are you experiencing any challenges completing your Flex PD plan? If so, what are they and how do you plan to resolve them? Is there anything I can do to support you in overcoming these challenges?
  4. Do you have any questions about Flexible Professional Development or is there anything else I can support you with in completing your Flex PD plan for this year?
Option 2 Check-in In Person:Please send me a date/time during one of your preps between now an 10.1.2018 that we could meet for a 10 minute check-in about your Flex PD plan.
FYI, here is a link to the Flex PD Timeline with all of the important dates and requirements for Flexible Professional Development.
Also, as a reminder, please be sure you are recording your Flex PD hours in the Flex PD Activity Log. You will need to submit this log as part of your documentation when you finish your Flex PD plan.
If you have any questions about Flex PD please review the Flex PD guidelines and the Flex PD FAQ and then feel free to send any questions you still have my way.

Adult Education: We are accepting proposals for Adult Education courses.  Do you have a skill that will help Siskiyou County residents to become more qualified in the job market?  Adult Education courses can be taught at each of our high school campuses, mostly in the evenings, to assist residents to return to work, gain a diploma, or upgrade skills to increase their quality of living.  Courses can be short-term, on the weekends, or offered in the traditional semester format.  Courses must meet the AEBG criteria and must have a minimum of six students to be funded. Please send your proposal or inquiries to Jessica Bowman.

Human Resources: Annual notifications should all be completed and turned in.
Mandated reporter training has been issued, and all employees need to have them competed by September 30th to meet compliance.

Board meetings: The next board meeting is scheduled for October 10th, 4:00 pm, at our Jefferson site. There will be a public hearing at 5:00 pm for Instructional Materials. Any items that need board approval need to be submitted by Wednesday, Oct. 5th for this board meeting.

Transportation: We are receiving a lot of transportation requests, please make sure they are completed (available on the PLC), submitted at least 14 days prior to the trip, and approved by your site before it is faxed to Crystal. 

October CBEDS: Information day is around the corner, it is Data crunch time.  Please be patient with our secretaries.  Please also update student grades/progress weekly and take attendance every class you have students.

District Performance Task: The district wide performance task window is calendared for October 24th to 30th. Thank you to the performance task development team for their preparation work. All staff and all sites should be working to develop and implement stratagies to prepare and assist students for success with this assessment for learning. 

The Evaluation Committee on Teaching and Learning: met last Tuesday. They are in the process of developing the timeline for the pilot group to implement the pilot process for the 2018-19 school year. All staff will continue to learn about and use the 5D Rubric for self assessment and a variety of activities that each site will be conducting during collaboration time. The Rubric and Framework are linked at the top right side of the Siskiyou Snapshot Blog. 

Roni Habib and Emotional Intelligence Strategies: We received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from our day with Roni Habib. Here is the link to his slide deck from the workshop. Please continue to review and implement these important stratagies that will make a difference for our students. 

Roni Habib Slide Deck from August 20 2018 SUHSD 

Share your EQ stratagies with your colleagues here: SUHSD EQ Stratagies from Roni Habib August 20th 

Technology: As part of the new California STATE LIBRARY online initiative we as a district now have access to another resource called  The Site "knows" we are a part of the program so you should see "Siskiyou Union" when you visit the page. 
Start using today
Begin exploring all that TeachingBooks has to offer with our interactive tutorial. To get started: 
  1. Go to
  2. Click 'Begin Interactive Tutorial' and explore
  3. When ready, ‘Sign In’ with your work email to start your access
Fully-funded for all Californians via the K-12 Online Content Project, you now have access to TeachingBooks. We strive to enrich reading for everyone in your community, including librarians, teachers, students, parents, and all who share a joy for books. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

August 8, 2018

Dear SUHSD Staff,

Welcome to the  2018-19 school year. I hope you have enjoyed some relaxing and rejuvenating summer time with your family and friends. A warm welcome to our newest staff members -  Indigo Mack (Happy Camp HS Math), Marsha Yates (McCloud HS English), Emily McIntyre (Weed HS Secretary), Rachel Rinehart (Happy Camp Secretary), Todd Carson (McCloud HS), and Debbie Goltz, welcome to the district office . We are still working to fill a couple of certificated positions. I would like to extend personal gratitude to our maintenance, custodial, secretarial, and district staff for all of their work over the summer to prepare our schools for our students’ and staff’s return. Your enthusiasm and dedication to your schools, the district and your communities is tremendous and I thank you for the difference you make.

It has been exciting to see staff embrace the concept of the flexible professional development concept and work to define an individualized professional learning path. I look forward to hearing about the learning you have done with this process and our staff development internships that many of you participated in.

In June, our Evaluation Committee on Teaching and Learning met and trained in the use and methodology of our adopted 5D Evaluation Instructional Process. Personally, this was one of the highlights of my leadership and professional development training opportunities. To work with and learn from an outstanding facilitator and such a dedicated group of SUHSD staff was so rewarding and really helped me further define instructional practice as our top priority and focus. I am looking forward to continuing to learn about and focus on this process and I am committed more than ever to build our students’ capacity to achieve their goals by focusing on our own capacity to deliver quality instruction. Now, more than ever, our students need instruction that is engaging and rooted in the foundational elements of relationships, emotional intelligence, and restorative practices.

Our opening district-wide day with all certificated staff and instructional aides on Monday, August 20th at MSHS, will bring forward the concepts of emotional intelligence as a foundational element of instructional practice. We are excited to bring Ronen Habib to our district to help us identify and establish this foundation for our instructional and restorative practices. This opening workshop will focus on the importance of creating a cohesive, supportive, and collaborative culture in the school through the use of Mindfulness, Emotional Intelligence, Positive Psychology, and Creative Confidence and on the integration of these practices into classrooms. Here is a link to a TedTalk by Ronen Habib.

We have aligned our district LCAP and goals with the concept of instructional practice as our priority.

By focusing on instructional practice, we will increase achievement for all students and reduce the achievement gap that exists between our All Student group and our identified subgroups. Our specific goals are:

Priority 1 Goal - Increase student college and career readiness/achievement as indicated by: State College/Career Indicator - CAASPP, A-G Requirement Completion rates, Career Path Completion Rates, College Course Completion Rates, AP Course and Test Completion Rates, District Performance Task, PSAT, SAT, ACT (student hope scores)
Priority 2 Goal - Increase student engagement as indicated by decreasing our Chronic Absenteeism rate and maintaining our graduation rate
Priority 3 Goal- Improve the climate and culture of our campuses as indicated by Suspension Rates and the CA Healthy Kids Survey
Priority 4 Goal- Increase Family and Community Engagement as indicated by the Family and Community Engagement indicator/rubric

Each school site and community will work, with autonomy, to define the activities and methods of achieving these goals. Please see the complete SUHSD LCAP Focus Document for the data, targets, and activities related to these priority areas.

As your superintendent, I look forward to supporting your unique, creative, and professional efforts to ensure learning for all SUHSD students.

Mike Matheson

Siskiyou Snapshot

Dear SUHSD Staff, Welcome back to the second semester of the 2019-20 school year. I hope you had some restful and rejuvenating time away ...