Board Brief: October 13, 2022

BOARD BRIEF: Top things to know from the October 13, 2022 Board Meeting
Posted on 10/14/2022

BOARD BRIEF: Top things to know from the San Marcos Unified Governing Board Meeting

October 14, 2022

The following Board Brief highlights important items from the October 13, 2022 San Marcos Unified School District Governing Board Meeting:

1.  Updates from the Deputy Superintendent & Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. 

Educational Services Update 

Dr. Tiffany Campbell, Deputy Superintendent, provided a brief update to the Board and community sharing that a safety team from each SMUSD school site and the District Office is undergoing Diamond Safety Training through the County Office of Education. 

“We are literally the first school district in the county to have every school and District Office personnel undergo this type of intense and realistic training, including Stop The Bleed and Active Assailant training. These staff can now literally save a life, it’s amazing,” said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Campbell. “They are now focusing on Violence Prevention training and Threat Assessment training. I am so impressed with the seriousness and thoughtfulness of our staff as they approach this work and their role on these safety teams.”

Dr. Campbell then thanked all school site staff for their dedication and hard work, as research has shown that October is the hardest month for educators. “If you have the time to say a kind word or share a note of thanks, October is a great month to do it,” remarked Dr. Campbell. 

Business Services 

Erin Garcia, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, provided two brief updates explaining that the district has been working with outside external auditors who have been reviewing all of the financials from the last school year that ended on June 30, 2022. The final audit report of their findings will be available in December. 

Garcia also shared that the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) will be sharing findings of their recent visit in August, and plan to present their report during the November Board Meeting. 

And finally, Garcia shared an update on the status of the new playground at Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School. While new playground equipment had been delayed due to global supply chain issues, the equipment is now confirmed to arrive during the second week of November. Construction crews will begin work at the end of the month to demolish the existing structure, and pour new footings, so as soon as the new equipment arrives it will be ready to install. 

“We know the Joli Ann community has been waiting for some time for this new playground and we are excited to get this installed for them as quickly as possible,” said Assistant Superintendent Garcia. 

2. Student Board Representatives share school updates. In an effort to encourage student participation and cultivate student leadership skills, the Board has student representatives that participate in Regular Board Meetings throughout the year. During the October 13th meeting, Student Board Representatives Samantha Campos from Twin Oaks High School and Emily Chrysler from Mission Hills High School shared updates from their schools.

Campos’s presentation began by sharing that Twin Oaks High School is an alternative high school that provides a safe environment for students that is free from judgment. She also shared about the tight knit and caring relationship teachers foster with students, which propels student success. Campos also provided an Athletics update featuring the soccer team, a coming new dance class, as well as a variety of afterschool activities students have participated in. 

Chrysler’s presentation began by sharing an update on Fall Athletics with a preview of the upcoming Discovery Bowl against San Marcos High School. Chrysler also shared about recent campus activities including a Teacher Karaoke event hosted by the ASB, a recap of their most recent Pep Rally, and a Hispanic Heritage Month event that involved a variety of students on campus. Chrysler closed her presentation with several Staff Spotlights including ASB Director, Mrs. O’Neil, Mrs. Filice who teaches Child Development and Psychology, and Mrs. McKinney who teaches Social Sciences. All three spotlights were selected by students because these teachers go above and beyond for students and make them feel seen and heard in class.  

3. Principal Update: Woodland Park Middle School. At the October 13th meeting, Principal of Woodland Park Middle School, Daniel Smuts, along with Assistant Principals Steve Chavez and Jennifer Gutierrez, shared a presentation to the Governing Board and community. 

Principal Smuts began his presentation by sharing an overview of the school including students demographics and the commitment of staff to academic success, student safety and wellness. Principal Smuts then shared how Woodland Park is aligning instructional practices to embody the vision of our district, our Portrait of a Graduate. 

Assistant Principal, Steve Chavez, shared about extracurricular activities including Athletics, Band, STEM Club, and intramural sports. He shared that Woodland Park also offers a robust ASB program with over 60 students in participation, and aims to create greater connection with the community. Finally, Assistant Principal, Jennifer Gutierrez, spoke about the schoolwide culture focus to re-engage students in the fun and activities of middle school that was missed during the pandemic. She also shared about two special programs, Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) which provides a transition from elementary to middle school, and AVID Excel, which is an academic course focusing on advancing reading skills as well as academic vocabulary development to prepare English Learners for rigorous high school courses. 


4. Enrollment Report. The Enrollment Report, shared by Assistant Superintendent Erin Garcia, is brought to the Board on a monthly basis as staff monitors the ongoing declining enrollment situation. Garcia explained the latest report illustrates current enrollment at 19,551 students, a decrease of 115 students from this same time last year. “Overall elementary school enrollment is up, while our upper grades are down from last year,” said Assistant Superintendent Garcia.


5. Personnel Update. Several personnel updates were also shared during the meeting, including:

  • Special Education Coordinator, Mallory Thau, was approved by the Board. 
  • Special Education Coordinator, Monica Davey, was approved by the Board. 
  • A new Assistant Principal for Mission Hills High School, Josh Garcia, was approved by the Board.

Additionally, two Memorandum of Understandings were approved by the Board for a new grant funded position for a School Mental Health Counselor and Family and Community Engagement Liaison, to provide mental health support to students and families. 


6. Gifts to San Marcos Unified School District. The Board also approved multiple gifts donated to the District from generous PTO organizations, community members, and businesses, including Kroger, Frontstream, Nordson Corporation and the California League of Schools.   

For a complete and detailed overview of any of the items above, please see the full Board Meeting Agenda by clicking here.

For a link to the Board Briefs on the SMUSD website, please click here.

To watch a video of the Board meeting, please click here.