Poway Unified School District

Superintendent ~ Poway Unified School District

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March 13, 2015

Dear PUSD Families,

Beginning next week, PUSD students in grades three through eight and grade eleven will join nearly three million California students in taking the first-ever California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). This is the first statewide administration of these new online tests that replace the paper-based, multiple-choice Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program.

At a recent press conference, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson explained the importance of the new CAASPP tests. “These tests reflect the exciting changes taking place in California classrooms. Instead of being asked to merely pick out multiple-choice answers, students are being tested on their ability to reason and think. They must draw logical conclusions and cite evidence from what they have read, and they must solve real-world math problems. And now, like an academic check-up, these tests will give parents, teachers, and schools the feedback they need to help students succeed.”

Superintendent Torlakson explained that although the results from this first-ever California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) will not be used by the State to determine individual school’s Academic Performance Index (API) this year, they will be reported locally, to our District, our teachers, our parents, and to the public. He cautions against making comparisons between CST and CAASPP testing results, noting “The new tests are too different from the old exams to make reliable comparisons between old scores and new.”

The results of the upcoming CAASPP tests will provide individualized baseline data for PUSD students. From this Spring, 2015 baseline, teachers, parents and students can then measure growth in scores from year-to-year, and set specific learning goals.

CAASPP testing is a critical component in our District’s commitment to designing a personalized learning environment for every student and preparing them for success in college and in their careers.

We wish all of our students the best as they take these important exams.

John P. Collins

March 3, 2015

Dear PUSD Middle and High School Families,

Social media has become popular in the lives of middle and high school students across the nation. As you may be aware, there are currently a number of websites and applications available to anonymously post to social media. Poway Unified schools have recently seen a rise in students using these sites to post anonymous comments, usually surrounding a particular school campus or within a certain mile radius.

While students may think their posts are completely anonymous, with Wi-Fi use and cell towers, posts can be traced back to the phone and/or computer that posted the comment. It is important for students to know that all posts on any platform of social media never disappear and are never fully anonymous. This includes personal information, photos, and any form of threat.

When students post threatening or any other types of inappropriate messages (pornographic content, harassment, bullying, etc.) they can and will be charged by the school and/or local law enforcement. Threats are not jokes. They are considered a felony, a crime that may be punishable by imprisonment. In addition to criminal punishment, students who make threats will be referred for expulsion from school. The sharing of pornography involving minors and harassment are also punishable under the law.

Violence against one’s self or others is never the answer. Students feeling they have to hurt someone because they are angry or lost should seek help. Likewise, students who notice any suspicious or threatening behavior on any of these social media platforms should report it to an authority figure. It will immediately be investigated, and if appropriate, reported to law enforcement.

Poway Unified School District has partnered with the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SD-ICAC) and the San Diego Police Foundation to provide tools to help students and parents manage their online lives. For more information on how to protect your family in online environment, visit www.SmartCyberChoices.org.

For the safety of all of our students, we encourage discussions of safe social media and Internet practices in our schools and in your homes. Together, we can continue to keep our students safe and supported in our community.

John P. Collins

February 13, 2015

Dear PUSD Families,

Engaging all of Poway Unified’s stakeholders to develop a vision for “Personalized Learning for All Students” has been one of our main goals for this 2014-15 school year. As we work on our second Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), we want all of our stakeholders to be actively participating in the process.

The LCAP is part of a revolutionary change in the way the State of California allocates funding to local school districts. Under the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), state funding for schools is designed to be more flexible, allowing for more local control over academic spending priorities.

Last year (the first year in the LCAP process) we gathered feedback from a variety of groups in the community, including:

  • District Advisory Committee (DAC)
  • District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC)
  • Parents
  • Businesses
  • Civic Groups
  • Community Members
  • Certificated and Classified Employees
  • Students
  • District Directors
  • K-12 Principals

This year, we are asking those same groups to provide more input, specifically focused on “Five Critical Questions”:

  • Safety: How do we ensure our schools are safe and secure, while maintaining a positive learning environment and a welcoming atmosphere?
  • Learning Experiences: What type of learning environments and opportunities are needed to ensure that all students reach their potential and are prepared to be successful in life?
  • Measures of Success: How do we define and measure student success in order to ensure that each student has a successful personalized learning experience?
  • Fiscal Responsibility: How do we ensure equitable, effective and transparent use of District resources to support student success and build public trust?
  • Communication: What strategies and methods for communication will effectively engage all stakeholders and build public trust?

Your input on these five questions will be gathered at four Community Forums we are holding on different days of the week and in different areas of our community. Parents and community members are invited to attend any or all of these Community Forums.

The four Community Forums will be held:

Tuesday, March 3rd at Bernardo Heights Middle School – RSVP here - http://whoozin.com/CE9-A4M-CACX
12990 Paseo Lucido
San Diego, CA 92128

Monday, March 16th at Meadowbrook Middle School – RSVP here - http://whoozin.com/P37-THP-N6EJ
12320 Meadowbrook Lane
Poway, CA 92064

Thursday, March 19th at Deer Canyon Elementary School – RSVP here - http://whoozin.com/RCW-EJ7-XTQM
13455 Russet Leaf Lane
San Diego, CA 92129

Wednesday, April 1st at Oak Valley Middle School – RSVP here - http://whoozin.com/FRA-KRQ-P4CR
16055 Winecreek Road
San Diego, CA 92127

All Community Forums will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Please RSVP using the link(s) beside the Community Forum(s) you wish to attend. RSVP’s will help us to adequately accommodate and facilitate these evenings.

If you would like to review our first LCAP, visit our website here – http://www.powayusd.com/doc_library/2014-15/LCAP2014_SDCOE_FINAL.pdf.

I look forward to hearing from each of you and thank you for your continued participation in making Poway Unified School District an outstanding place to learn, work and live.

Dr. John Collins


Dec 12, 014

Dear Students, Staff, Families and Community Members,

I received this video greeting from Imagine Learning, a language and literacy software program, and wanted to share it with you. 

The video celebrates the importance of the work each and every one of you does to encourage PUSD students to dream, imagine and be their very best.

Thank you for your commitment to our students and our community.  I wish all of you a joyful holiday season!

John P. Collins


National ConnectED Superintendents Summit at the White House

Future Ready




John P. Collins, Ed.D. 

(858) 521-2700 FAX (858) 485-1075

Tina McDowell
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
(858) 521-2700    FAX (858) 485-1075

Rich Newman, Ed.D.
Director of Innovation, Office of Innovation
(858) 521-2737

Jessica Wakefield
Director of Communications
(858) 521-2707  FAX (858) 485-1075

Wendy Anderson
Executive Assistant to the Board
(858) 521-2700   FAX (858) 485-1075


The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) is an equal opportunity employer/program and is committed to an active Nondiscrimination Program. PUSD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic group identification, ancestry, religion, gender, gender identification, mental or physical disability. All course offerings, student clubs, and extracurricular activities are open to all students. For more information, please contact Tracy Hogarth, Associate Superintendent, Personnel Support Services, Poway Unified School District, 15250 Avenue of Science, San Diego, CA 92128-3406. Annual Notification of Rights | Annual Notification Employee Rights

POWAY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT | 15250 Avenue of Science, San Diego, CA 92128 | 858) 521-2800