TVUSD Press Releases
TVUSD Works to Improve Student Attendance
The Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) continues to be a high-performing district with high rates of student attendance, but they are now focusing more strategically to ensure that all students are attending regularly. “Our teachers and staff do a remarkable job of designing and delivering high-quality instructional programs, and students who attend school regularly benefit immensely,” shared TVUSD Deputy Superintendent McClay.
In an effort to address chronic absenteeism, the Temecula Unified School District has established a goal this year to maintain an attendance rate of 96% or higher. In order to do this, they have developed a strategic plan to assist each student in having no more than seven days of absence during the school year.
The California Department of Education recently released the first statewide data on chronic absenteeism and it showed that 1 in 10 California students was chronically absent last year, with foster children, homeless students, African-American students, and Native American students posting the highest rates. Interesting to note, kindergarten students are the most likely of elementary school students to be chronically absent. “This is particularly problematic,” shared Deputy Superintendent McClay, “as kindergarten is a critical year for learning early reading skills, number sense, and social skills.”
“We know that attendance at school is directly tied to increased student achievement,” shared McClay. In fact, eighty-three percent of chronically absent California kindergartners and first graders were unable to read proficiently by the end of third grade. “So the District has initiated a campaign to remind parents and students of the importance of being in class, every day,” McClay added.
The plan involves a three-tiered approach, with the Tier I strategies being universal and low-cost and increasing to individual plans and higher cost in Tier III. Examples of Tier I strategies, aimed at at-risk students who are missing 5-9% of school, include creating positive relationships, ensuring a positive school climate, and building the understanding of the impacts of absenteeism among parents. Tier III strategies, which target students who are missing 20% or more of school, involve interagency support from throughout the county.
While all 27 schools within the TVUSD are mindful of their attendance rates and working to improve levels of absenteeism, the district identified eight schools to serve as pilot schools for an attendance campaign this year. “The schools were selected after an in-depth analysis of absenteeism at the sites, broken down by student groups,” shared McClay. The pilot schools are utilizing an Attendance Toolkit, which provides campaign materials like attendance letters, marketing brochures, school site incentives, and other resources. Personalized attendance banners and posters were also created for each TVUSD school site to proudly display on their campuses.
As part of the program, monthly reports are pulled to review each site’s data, including a specific review of individual students who have struggled with attendance. “When a student continues to have high levels of absenteeism,” shared Deputy Superintendent McClay, “a Student Review Attendance Team (SART) meeting is convened, which includes a counselor, psychologist, teachers, social/emotional staff member, and district office administrator.” McClay went on to share that the district believes the inclusion of a social/emotional expert on the team has become a valued component, as these staff members are able to provide emotional and behavioral supports as well as help parents access outside resources.
Promoting Effective School Leadership, Through TVUSD’s Principal Mentoring Program
A mentoring program introduced by Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay provides ongoing leadership support for the district’s 27 school principals.
“Having been a new principal at one point in my career, I realized a need when I came to the district office in 2007 to provide more on-site support, especially with the ever-changing demands of school leadership,” says Deputy Superintendent McClay. The program began by focusing on new principals, who received site visits every week to offer advice on educational strategies that advance student achievement and guide teachers toward effective classroom practices.
McClay points to findings by the Institute of Education Sciences, the nation’s leading source for rigorous, independent education research, evaluation and statistics, which indicate that the school principal is a key driver of student achievement, second only to the classroom teacher. In brief, the principal sets the tone for a positive school climate, student development and motivation, academic learning, and quality instruction.
“This program has evolved over time,” says McClay, “as new principals asked for ongoing mentoring and on-site visitations even after their first two years.” She explains that each of the school sites within TVUSD has a district-level mentor, who once excelled as a site principal, positioned in the Educational Support Services (ESS) Division.
“These mentors,” according to McClay, “visit the schools at least every other week, but check in with new principals each week. They provide another set of eyes and ears to analyze the quality of teaching and learning on the campus. And they work collaboratively with the school’s instructional team to ensure that learning on the campus is top-notch.”
Each mentor coaches 5-9 schools, and while it takes a great deal of time (at least two hours per visit), they concentrate on meeting the needs of each school. According to McClay, “This allows us to differentiate and support the creativity and innovation of each site administrator and leadership team.” Another plus, she says, is that this mentoring program puts district staff in classrooms to observe exactly how curriculum, instruction, and assessments are being utilized to impact student learning.
McClay believes that this program has been a critical factor in boosting TVUSD’s student achievement. She cites research by the Wallace Foundation and the Center for Educational Leadership that praise programs similar to TVUSD’s and correlate them to increased student achievement. Principals also share positive remarks about the program, with one recently sharing, “I love the site support model! It is so helpful to have my site mentor coming essentially every other week to answer questions and provide a fresh set of eyes as we walk classrooms and provide feedback on teaching and learning.” Another shared, “The principal mentoring program is extremely helpful! I love that we receive every other week follow-up and feedback. It helps us keep informed and gives us important feedback on instructional practices being used in our classrooms.”
Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Welcomes Visiting Students from China
For the past four years, Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) has been proud to host both high school and middle school students from China.
“TVUSD works with TowerBridge International (TBI) to foster both short-term and long-term visits from Chinese students and their teachers. These visits range from one week to an entire school year,” said Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay. The partnership with TBI also sends teachers, administrators, and students from Temecula each Spring to schools in China.
“This program has been a win-win for all involved,” stated Deputy Superintendent McClay, whose family provided a home-stay for one of the visiting students a few years ago. “Temecula Valley students, as well as visiting students from China, learn a great deal about each other’s cultures, school systems, and life as a teenager.”
McClay added that the district receives a small fee for hosting each of the Chinese students who visit, and utilizes these funds, for example, to support the Visual and Performing Arts programs at the sites, including providing new band uniforms for students in the Chaparral High School band.
Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Students Will Benefit from New California Grant
The Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Governing Board recently approved plans to spend $1.8 million in state grant funds to address the needs of students who perform “below standard” on state assessments in English Language Arts or Math, and who have not been previously supported by external funds. The grant comes from the state’s Low-Performing Student Block Grant (LPSBG), which will run through June 2021.
“This grant will provide resources that will provide for the growing social-emotional needs of our students; professional development in technology, cultural proficiency, and math instruction; a parent education program; an intervention program; software licenses; release time for teachers to conduct assessments and monitor student learning; and much more,” said Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay in a statement to district principals this week.
“Though TVUSD remains the highest performing district in Riverside County, our district is always striving to ensure that students’ needs are fully met, and this grant will provide significant resources to do just that,” added McClay.
Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay Gets Feedback from Teachers through Informal Lunchroom Chats
TVUSD Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay has been taking time to sit and listen to elementary school teachers at each of the district’s 16 elementary campuses.
“While I am on school campuses daily to observe classroom instruction, I do not have as many opportunities to speak candidly with teachers about their concerns, so these lunch visits have proven very helpful,” she said recently.
Deputy Superintendent McClay said she plants herself in the teacher’s lounge at each site on any given day, and as teachers drop in for their lunch breaks, she is able to listen to their concerns and share pans the district is currently working on to address them.
“Much of what I am hearing has validated feedback from other venues and provided an opportunity for me to share what the district is planning in response, particularly about the changing social-emotional needs of our students,” she added.
As a result of these visits, she explained, the district is now adding a Tier II Behavior Specialist at every elementary school to support student and teacher needs. The district is also researching instructional models that could enhance our physical education program and provide more time for teachers to plan instruction.
“Teachers have seemed extremely appreciative and positive during these chats. They are eager to be a part of solutions,” said McClay, who is taking the feedback back to the district leadership team and Governing Board. “I am reminded daily of what an awesome staff we have
Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Improves Transparency through Community Feedback
Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) recently detailed its structured approach to seeking input from all stakeholders served by the district.
“Strategies and plans to ensure ongoing feedback from our community are fundamental to keeping our district focused on the needs of all our students,” said Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay.
The district, in February, held its third regional Community Advisory Partners (CAP) meeting for the 2018-19 school year. Deputy Superintendent McClay explained, “Each of our 27 school sites has an active CAP team, which includes parents, teachers, administrators, and students. They meet monthly on their campuses and come together several times each year for regional sessions. These important exchanges allow for cross-grouping of elementary, middle, and high school teams from the area.”
During these meetings, teams work collaboratively to review data, programs, and services provided by schools and the district at-large. In January, nearly 300 participants came together from each of the three regions to analyze district-wide student academic performance data and to identify strengths and areas of growth.
“The valuable input from these sessions will then be compiled with feedback from other stakeholder groups and presented to the district’s Governing Board,” said McClay. “Our process ensures opportunities for community input which shape and guide the district’s priorities and the Local Control Accountability Plan,” she added.
TVUSD Promotes Cultural Proficiency among District Leaders
A team of Temecula Unified School District (TVUSD) district administrators, including principals, assistant principals, directors, assistant directors, and coordinators, recently met to work with Dr. Erick Witherspoon, National Director of Equity for New York City-based Generation Ready. This organization’s mission is to provide school leaders and teachers with strategies and insights on how to educate a stronger, more vibrant generation of students. During his presentation, Dr. Witherspoon emphasized the importance of fostering a positive and inclusive school environment that enables students to reach their maximum potential. Such a rich learning environment depends on culturally proficient interactions among students, educators, and communities, he explained.
Dr. Witherspoon’s visit to TVUSD is part of ongoing professional development efforts by Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Raymond Johnson to promote cultural proficiency among district leaders. “It is critical that we, as leaders, make sure that we understand how to implement educational practices that will benefit children with different cultural backgrounds.”
McClay and Johnson organized a Cultural Proficiency Leadership Team in the 2017-18 school year to meet regularly on issues of cultural awareness and understanding. Each member of the team is encouraged to attend conferences, read the research, and engage in designing a plan that will soon impact all district staff. At their most recent meeting, the team completed partner and group activities that looked at both productive and unproductive behaviors, barriers to cultural proficiency, and misinformed perceptions about people from diverse backgrounds.
"I believe we have done a phenomenal job of increasing both the knowledge and skills of our team leaders," said McClay. “Our next step is to grow this important work to every site and classroom within the district. We must hone our abilities to build trust and respect among everyone in our school community.”
TVUSD Rolls-Out iPad Program to Train 52 Third-Grade Teachers and Their 1,248 Students
The Temecula Unified School District (TVUSD) launched in October a new "iPad Integration" program for 52 third-grade teachers and their 1,248 students. “The benefits of using technology to enhance learning are immense, and the district is excited to put these tools in the hands of our teachers and students,” said Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay.
The district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) authorized the recent purchase of 650 iPads, Apple TVs, and storage carts for students and teachers in third-grade classrooms.
Deputy Superintendent McClay, who worked closely with Apple, Inc. to bring the pilot program to TVUSD, stated, "We are only in week four, and we are already seeing amazing things. Just the other day, I observed students doing math video projects to communicate their learning about arrays. Student interest and levels of learning are far exceeding what was done before this technology."
For example, students created videos to communicate their learning about the various properties of addition. Students also used strategically-selected applications like Seesaw, Swift (a coding program), and Clips to record themselves reading their written stories. Students also sent home their work with their own QR codes for their parents to see.
According to Deputy Superintendent McClay, the district will be closely following the progress of these students and hopes to expand the work by adding additional devices and grade levels each year.
TVUSD Middle and High School Students Thrive on College Kick-Off Day
The Temecula Unified School District (TVUSD) recently participated in Riverside County’s Annual College Kick-Off Day for the second year. All six middle schools, three comprehensive high schools, and our alternative high school facilitated activities and events to build awareness and preparation for post-secondary success.
“Staff did an amazing job of designing relevant, high-interest activities for students to participate in – from taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) and completing college applications to attending sessions with guest speakers from a variety of career fields, students were highly engaged,” said Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay.
The activities at middle school focused on registering students on the California Colleges Guidance Initiative tool, learning about college options, learning about the planning portal for high school courses that will prepare students for CSU/UC admission, and engaging in fun activities like pennant making and university bingo. “All of the activities were designed to develop our students' college mindedness,” stated McClay.
High school activities included all freshmen and sophomores taking the PSAT, juniors taking the PSAT or career interest indicators like the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), and seniors attending a comprehensive college and career workshop that allowed them to select at least three sessions aligned to their interests or needs. “This year's version of the senior workshop included the most robust and diverse offering of break-out sessions since the start of this program. It was a fabulous day all-around,” added McClay
McClay, who oversees TVUSD’s Educational Support Services division stated, "We are thrilled that this special day has grown so much in such a short period of time. Our Governing Board has established a priority of increasing the number of students who are college or career ready, and this day speaks volumes about our work."
According to data, the number of students graduating from TVUSD who meet the University of California requirements has grown from 52% in 2012 to 73.1% in 2017. McClay asserted that “the number of students enrolling in and completing college, SAT/ACT scores, and advanced coursework exam scores like AP and IB continue to rise in TVUSD! These are direct results of our exceptional teachers, programs, support staff, parents, community partners, and students.”
TVUSD Examines New Leadership Development Strategies with an Emphasis on Strengthening Human Skills
With an emphasis on strengthening the 'human skills' dimension of school leaders, Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay of the Temecula Unified School District (TVUSD) urged 60 administrators, including all principals, assistant principals, directors, assistant directors, and assistant superintendents to view leadership as an affair of the heart. “It’s necessary for us to make sure that we understand how important it is that we show we care through our daily actions,” she said during the district’s leadership team meeting in October.
The team reviewed works of
leadershipexperts such as John Maxwell, Jim Collins, and Stephen Katz, who encourage open communication and a focus on the best interests of those served. They also viewed short videos by Colin Powell, a renowned statesman, and a retired four-star general.
"We are excited to explore traits of successful leaders and increase both the knowledge and skills of our district's leaders," said Deputy Superintendent McClay. "Acknowledging one's sphere of influence and ensuring that stakeholders know how much we care, not simply how much we know, is critical."
The leadership team meets monthly to celebrate successes, share best practices, and focus on advancing progress toward the district's goals. According to Deputy Superintendent McClay, this school year's goals include closing the achievement gap, particularly for English Learners and special education students, building and sustaining a positive school climate, and increasing learning opportunities for students.
While TVUSD remains the highest performing district in the County, the team will continue to study various leadership models and assess their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as areas for professional growth, stated Deputy Superintendent McClay.
Increasing Career Technical Education and Making an Impact - Temecula Valley Unified School District Focuses On Preparing Students for Rewarding Careers
Career Technical Education (CTE) is making a big comeback in schools, particularly in the Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD), according to Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay. "Over 4,000 students participated in a CTE course last year, and even more have signed up at the start of the 2018-19 school year. In addition, we have added or revised 24-course offerings, bringing the total to 29. We now cover 10 industry sectors and offer 12 complete pathways,” says McClay.
TVUSD currently offers the following industry-specific courses: Art, Media, and Entertainment; Building and Construction Trades; Education, Child Development, and Family Services; Engineering and Architecture; Fashion and Interior Design; Health Science and Medical Technology; Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation; Information Communication Technologies; Marketing Sales and Service; and Transportation/Automotive.
“We want to make sure that we are developing students who are educated, trained, and well-versed in current industry-recognized practices, coupled with important soft skills and employability skills so that they are prepared for high-skilled, high-wage, high-demand jobs,” asserts McClay.
The TVUSD CTE program also invites guest speakers from the industry sectors into classrooms to share their experiences with students and faculty, coordinates student competitions and projects judged by career professionals, takes students
on sitetours of local businesses, and introduces them to specific industries with job shadow opportunities and internships. Many students now enjoy paid internship opportunities during the summer and part-time jobs during the school year as a result of these partnerships.
"What’s more, we have a dedicated staff and industry liaisons to foster both relationships and opportunities with local businesses," adds McClay.
TVUSD Continues to Be Highest Performing School District in Riverside County
The state released the 2018 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) test results on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. The (CAASPP) System was established on January 1, 2014. The CAASPP System replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program.
The 2018 CAASPP results show that TVUSD students continue to score at the highest levels in Riverside County. TVUSD has the highest percentage of students scoring standard met and standard exceeded in ELA/Literacy and mathematics. Additionally, TVUSD has the highest rate of college-ready students in English Language Arts and mathematics, according to the Early Assessment Program (EAP) results.
Aaron Adams, City Manager for the City of Temecula, sent a note of commendation to TVUSD, “The reputation of TVUSD remains a top economic development indicator for the attraction of business/residents. Well done.”
TVUSD continues to refine our instructional strategies and professional development offerings for educators to align with the needs of our diverse student learners. Our most important goal this next year is to close the achievement gap, particularly with our special education and English learner populations. Each school has created specific goals based on their data analysis that identifies one student group and content area to focus on intently.
"At the heart of the District’s continued success is the collective efforts and passion for student learning exhibited by our teachers and support staff,” said Superintendent Tim Ritter.
On Wednesday morning, Superintendent Ritter and Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay celebrated the results with the leadership team. "Once you reach the top it’s not easy to remain there," said Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay. “However, in TVUSD, we not only continue to maintain we also continue to raise our achievement levels.”
Teachers Teaching Teachers in Temecula Valley Unified
TVUSD teachers led staff development activities and instruction for their colleagues on TVUSD's districtwide September 14 staff development day. Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) hosted its first full day of staff development on Friday, September 14, at the start of the 2018-19 school year. Under the direction of Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay, the Educational Support Services (ESS) division assisted school principals and teachers in designing presentations that engage their teachers/colleagues in learning new ways to promote student achievement.
In addition to principal presentations at each of the secondary sites, the ESS department facilitated sessions for teachers across the district in Grades TK-5 with 230 teachers presenting educational topics to their colleagues. "Involving teachers in the process of delivering staff development is critical, as our teachers are exceptional and have valuable ideas and expertise to share," said McClay.
McClay went on to add, "We are proud of our sustained efforts to ensure that Temecula Valley teachers have the most up-to-date, research-based strategies and best practices at their fingertips. We believe student achievement, which remains the highest in Riverside County, reflects the outstanding teaching and learning that is occurring in our schools."
Since June 2018, ESS has supported each site leadership team in developing plans that address school climate issues and the challenges of closing the achievement gap. These district-wide and site goals are supported in monthly leadership meetings, monthly horizontal meetings (where principals and assistant principals meet with their peers), and bi-weekly support meetings, where ESS staff observe instruction alongside site leaders on each campus to ensure staff development is producing better academic achievement among all students.
TVUSD Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay Trains 80 New Enthusiastic Teachers
For the 2018-2019 school year, Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) has added 80 new teachers to its existing certificated staff of 1,347. “Bringing in more outstanding teachers to serve our nearly 30,000 students in grades TK-12 will be a big plus for the entire community,” says Jodi McClay, Deputy Superintendent.
McClay trains the new teachers each year on the Essential Components of Instruction, which utilizes research-based strategies that improve student learning. Beginning this week, and continuing over the course of the first two months of school, McClay provides training and conducts informal follow-up observations on each of the new teachers. The sessions, based on the work of educator and consultant Sue Wells-Welsh, include three elements: Formulating and Teaching to an Objective, Student Engagement, and Feedback.
The first group of enthusiastic and bright new teachers included some entering their very first year of teaching and others with as many as 31 years of classroom experience. The group was comprised of elementary, middle school, high school, and special education teachers, with their content expertise ranging from English and Mathematics to Drama and Home Economics. "Good teaching is good teaching, regardless of the grade level or content, and the Essential Components of Instruction are critical for all teachers," said McClay. “I’m very excited about spending four days working with these dedicated new practitioners and then observing and supporting them throughout the year as they work with our students,” McClay added.
This picture features new teacher Debbie Johnson (whom McClay encouraged as a parent volunteer to go back to school for her teaching credential 20+ years ago), along with her daughter, Chelsea Johnson, another new teacher at LaVorgna Elementary School, whom McClay had as a student when she served as an assistant principal. "What a rewarding experience to welcome and support these fabulous new teachers!" added McClay.
Temecula Valley Unified School District Kicks off New School Year with Welcome Back Presentations and Video by Superintendent Ritter and Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay
TVUSD kicked off the 2018/19 school year with a welcome back and opening of school presentation provided by Superintendent Ritter and Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay. Check out our video highlighting students and a superhero bus driver that goes above and beyond!
At this week's meeting of the Temecula Valley Unified School District's Governing Board, Superintendent Timothy Ritter and Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay presented the annual welcome back to
schoolreport. Mr. Ritter provided a detailed report highlighting TVUSD, including the annual welcome back video https://youtu.be/QqlOFTkf5I0.
Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay presented a detailed report on TVUSD's Professional Development Plans. The report included a summary of professional development opportunities provided to our 2,500+ staff members during the 2017-18 school year, as well as plans for 2018-19. McClay shared the Educational Support Services (ESS) two focus areas for the year and how site administrators began working on plans to address both School Climate and Closing the Achievement Gap back in June. Many of the 2018-19 district-sponsored professional development events will relate to one of these focus areas, with ESS staff visiting sites bi-weekly to support the work. McClay emphasized that professional development in TVUSD supports all staff: teachers, specialists, administrators, and support staff and utilizes funding from Title II with an allocation of approximately $540,000 this year.
TVUSD is excited to start our new school year!