Superintendent’s Message

April 24, 2017

  • Welcome to our board meeting and thank you for joining us! We know you have many priorities in your life and we appreciate you choosing to attend and participate in our governance process.DrJanneryWeb


  • We have many examples of student, staff, and school excellence. Tonight, I’ll share some recent successes:


    • The Quadcopter Challenge Program was selected as the Innovate Award recipient for this year’s Innovation in Education Awards by Classroom of the Future Foundation. STEAM Coordinator Leo Ulloa helped organize the program. The award comes with a $5000 grant to continue and grow the program.
    • This past week we had four teams compete in world robotics competitions. RDR – teacher/coach Kirk Braito/Laura Chavez and SYH – teacher/coach Carrie Northum traveled to Louisville, KY with their teams for the VEX Robotics World Competition. ELH – teacher/coach Joel Faust and SOH – teachers/coaches Dr. Hector Arias/Jesus Arias traveled to Houston, TX with their teams for the FIRST Robotics World Competition. All teams proudly represented our district in competence and spirit. Xavier Balladarez, Student Rep for School Board, was selected for the Dean’s List, a recognition given to student leaders who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission while achieving personal technical expertise and accomplishment. This year only 10 students in the entire nation received this coveted honor.
    • ELH students Enrique Tejada Escansan, Ismael Solis, Chris Legaspi, and Anayali Jauregui won 1st Place in the Panasonic Corporation Video Competition called Kid’s Witness News (KWN). Panasonic provides all expenses paid to attend the awards ceremony in New York. Their teacher is Rick Meads. Their 5-minute video is a human- interest piece about taking advantage of the time you are given – specifically, it focuses on a father who doesn’t have time for his daughter and then realizes it too late as she leaves home for college.
    • The CVH Drama Production Class recently won the Ben Vereen Wellness Through the Arts Student Essay/Video Contest. Their video project is the winner of the Top School Group Video Project entitled, “My Best Day.” The students created, wrote, acted, and edited the film, including original music. The video shows students using different Art disciplines to overcome the challenges they identified in their own lives and the lives of their friends:  homelessness, bullying, family discord, and eating disorders. Their teacher is Sharon Maley.
    • SCGA President/Counselor Elvia Estrella has been selected, for the second year, as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship sponsored by CTA. The $5,000 award is given with the purpose to support her doctoral studies.
    • BVH, ORH, ELM, RDR have been selected as 2017 Golden Ribbon Schools Award winners by the California Department of Education. The Gold Ribbon Award recognizes CA schools that have made gains in implementing academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. Each school’s award is based on a model program or practice their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other schools.
    • HH and ORH were named 2016 California Honor Roll by the Educational Results Partnership (ERP). This Honor Roll recognize schools that demonstrate consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time, reduction in achievement gaps, and high college readiness.
    • Congratulations to all!


  • In my message on April 10th, I shared the acronym C.H.L.O.E. as a way we might approach the final weeks of this year.  Tonight, I hope to build on those ideas.


  • As we all know, there are many end of the year activities and events that may contribute to everyone feeling stress. CAASPP testing is close to being completed, AP exams start the first week of May, final projects and grades are just around the corner. Stress is inevitable. But, the consequence of stress doesn’t have to be inevitable as well.
  • Realistically in life, we don’t always have control over activities and events that may lead to stress; however, tonight I would like to propose that perhaps we could have control over how we approach those stressors. What do I mean?
  • Well, do we always have to respond to stress with the full-throttle fight-or-flight reaction? Maybe not. Here is what the Harvard Medical School shares from a Special Health Report, Stress Management, and from a 2015 book called, The Upside of Stress, by Kelly McGonigal.


  • I am hoping as I share these ideas, we all can keep an open mind and heart to the possibility of approaching the stressors in our lives differently.


  • The main idea presented by Harvard Medical School is that overall, the key is not to deny stress, but “to recognize and acknowledge it – and then to find the upside.” It’s a matter of approaching stress differently or with modifications. Let me explain.
    • The report and book talks about two different ways to respond to stress instead of the more typical fight-or-flight:  one way is the challenge response and the other is tend-and-befriend response.
  • Skydiving can be a stressful event! Like the typical fight-or-flight stress response, the challenge response to a stressful event also affects the cardiovascular system. But, instead of constricting blood vessels and ramping up anticipation of injury, this challenge response allows for maximum blood flow, much like exercise.
  • The tend-and-befriend response explains why after events like September 11th in 2001, the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, or the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, people felt the need to reach out to friends and relatives in the community – to assure themselves that loved ones were all right, to comfort the distressed or bereaved, and to shore up social networks. Connecting in this way helps reduce stress. This is because tend-and-befriend increases the hormone oxytocin, which enhances bonding – in other words, it makes the brain’s reward centers more responsive to social contact, an important part of resilience.
  • Finally, in Kelly McGonigal’s book, she makes the following suggestions that could help us all approach stressors in our lives a bit differently:
  • 1. When you notice a racing heart – for example, before you give a presentation or initiate a tough conversation –  realize that your body is trying to give you more energy and see if you can capitalize on that.
  • 2. If you are feeling nervous, pause to consider why, and ask yourself if it’s because you’re doing something that matters to you, and therefore, reinforces your values and gives meaning to your life.
  • 3. Don’t deny the stress, but redirect your energy away from it and toward the task at hand.
  • 4. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work or cares, try doing some small act of kindness for someone and note the mental reward you reap.
  • 5. Nurture your social networks. Caring creates resilience.
  • 6. Try to focus on the larger purpose of whatever you’re doing. When you’re stuck in a traffic jam taking your daughter to school, remember that it’s because you love her and want her to get a good education.
  • 7. Whatever you’re doing, don’t pretend that stress doesn’t exist. People who deny it tend to isolate themselves and reinforce their fears. Instead, ask yourself why you’re experiencing this stress and look for any positive aspects to it. Are you learning something from it? Are you gaining strength? Are you connecting with people on a more fundamental level?
    • Part of approaching stress differently means looking at the upside. I hope these few ideas might present some tools to limit or lessen what we feel, because of stress in our lives. Perhaps you heard a strategy that can change the way you approach and manage stressors in your life.


    • Together, we can support each other to, not just survive, but rather thrive these final weeks of the year.

    Thank you for the opportunity to serve and support each of you!

    Karen Janney, Ed.D.


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