RUSD Highlights

Whitney High School Makes Top 50 Semi-Finalist for Vans
Custom Culture Art Competition – Needs Community Vote
to Make It to Top 5!
Whitney High School is one of the Top 50 finalists in the Vans Custom Culture art competition! Our talented students were provided with four pairs of blank Vans shoes, which they have been tasked to design the four themes of Vans’ “Off the Wall” lifestyle: action sports, arts, music and local flavor!

The competition culminates in a final event this June where five schools will be awarded with an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles to showcase their designs to a panel of celebrity judges. The top finalists will be selected through public voting starting now until May 10. YOU CAN VOTE EVERYDAY! Whitney High School is currently listed along with all the other finalists at where people can go in and vote!

The winning school will receive $50,000 towards its art program and the potential of one of its designs sold in Vans retail location. The four-runner up schools will be receiving $4,000 towards their art program.
Vans Custom Culture eighth annual art competition was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets.

Our CA-954 Wins 7 out of 8 Categories at the
2017 NorCal Drill Meet
CA-954, AFJROTC representing Whitney High School (team includes five RHS cadets as well) captured Overall First Place (Sweepstakes) at the 2017 NORCAL Drill Meet this past Saturday, April 22. The event was hosted at Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento. The team won First Place in seven out of eight categories!!! First Place trophies were garnered in the following categories with the commanders of each team listed.
First Place – Color Guard Inspection / Cadet Colonel Jack Scaglione
First Place – Color Guard Regulation Drill / Cadet Colonel Jack Scaglione
First Place – Unarmed Inspection / Cadet Lt Colonel Mikaela Becker
First Place – Unarmed Regulation Drill / Cadet Lt Colonel Mikaela Becker
First Place – Armed Inspection / Cadet Colonel Julien Hale
First Place – Armed Regulation / Cadet Colonel Julien Hale
First Place – Armed Exhibition / Cadet Captain Ellisia Quintana
Special thanks to Michael A. Fernandez, Colonel, USAF, Senior Aerospace Science Instructor at Whitney High School for sharing this information!
Exciting News from Rocklin High FCCLA!
Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) state leadership meeting was last week and the Rocklin High School chapter had some exciting achievements we wanted to share:

RHS had 3 competitors in Culinary Display: Chloe Johansen in Patisserie, Tyler Corey in Tortes and Morgan Robertson in Appetizer. The level of competition this year was really impressive and our students’ displays were right at home with the fantastic displays from all over the state. Morgan Robertson won first place with her appetizer display.

Everett Andrew competed in Menu Planning and Table Display and he was installed as the Region Treasurer and Reporter for the 2017-18 school year.

RHS chapter won Superior Chapter - Silver level and Taudine Andrew, Culinary and Hospitality Teacher, Rocklin High School won Outstanding Adviser- silver level.

Five of their members earned their chapter degree - an acknowledgment of service to the community, leadership development and knowledge of the organization: Julianna Henderson, Samantha London, Jeremy Turangan, Everett Andrew and Lucy Andrew. They also received an award for first to affiliate in the region.

The other really exciting news is that Lucy Andrew, the current Region 4 Reporter was elected to state office. She’ll be serving as the FCCLA State Historian. She is blazing a trail as their first state officer and she’ll be preparing a run for national office next year!
All of the 10 students who attended state leadership meeting participated in committees, a college and career fair, career workshops, industry tours and an important letter writing campaign to our legislators in support of funding for Career and Technical Education at the secondary level. We are very proud of their professionalism, integrity and growth. Due in large part to their experiences at state meeting, at least 3 of the attendees are planning on running for chapter or region office. We are growing leaders!

"We are grateful for the support both financial and moral we’ve received from so many in the RUSD family. We especially want to thank the Rocklin Education Foundation, Our district office especially Marty Flowers, Jordan White and Diana Capra, our RHS Principal Davis Stewart and Assistant Principal Jill Meshwert, and our RHS Associated Student Body lead by John Thompson. Were it not for the financial support they provided, our students would be missing out on the leadership development opportunities that will shape their future. I am so grateful to be a part of a district and community that values and supports Career and Technical Education and leadership development." says Taudine Andrew, Culinary and Hospitality Teacher at Rocklin High School.

Special thanks to Taudine Andrew, FCCLA Adviser for sharing this information and pictures!!!

Special Recognitions at April Board of Trustee Meeting!
April 2017
Diana Capra, Chief of Communications and Community Engagement, introduced Beth Davidson, Principal, Spring View Middle School and Bill MacDonald, Principal, Sunset Ranch Elementary School, who presented the Sears family (Spring View) and the Hertzell family (Sunset Ranch) to Trustees as part of the District’s “RUSD Family Partners in Education Program.” The program recognizes families who have made an outstanding contribution to a RUSD school site. Trustees thanked the families for their outstanding school service, including the giving of their time, energy, and talents which has translated directly into student success.

Spring View Middle School
Spring View Middle School honored the Sears family for their school and community service. The Sears family currently span all three school levels, and four different sites, including Rocklin High School, Whitney High School, Spring View Middle School, and Rocklin Elementary. The Sears family believes whole-heartedly in providing the best possible education to individually meet the needs of each of their children, which requires an incredible amount of time, effort, and energy on their part (particularly with two school students attending different high school campuses).

Jamie Sears is an active participant at both the site and district level. At Spring View, Jamie is treasured for her ongoing efforts to acknowledge the efforts of our staff. She takes the lead with organizing parent volunteers to donate food and organize beautiful spreads in the staff room in appreciation of the Spring View staff. She also volunteers her time to support any and all opportunities for students, including Spring View  music events and National History Day competition. Jamie is also a long standing member of our site council, where she serves as an advocate for all students. She has also taken an active role in both our site and district strategic planning teams. Jamie’s site action team focused on utilizing parent and community partnerships. As a result of this work, this year Spring View initiated a Spring View parent “meet and greet” opportunity at the start of the year to provide teachers and parents with an opportunity to get to know one another before the start of the school year. In addition, the team identified a need to provide guidance to both students and parents through the use of technology and informational events. As a result, they were able to offer the first Internet Safety Summit on March 21st, with participation from the FBI, Sacramento Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force, in addition to many district and community stakeholders. Jamie also serves on the SVMS music boosters where she plays a vital role in fundraising in order to support field trips, participation in competitions, and ensuring students have access to a wide array of music and instruments.

“In addition to her efforts at Spring View, Jamie is the current President of the District Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Advisory Committee, and is currently Spring View’s Parent Representative. She supports Rocklin Elementary in a variety of ways as well, including her work as the lead Art Docent, Site Council member, and PTC member,” said Principal Beth Davidson. “The contributions of the Sears family benefit students, staff, and the greater school community. Our District and schools would not be the same without their presence, positivity, and commitment. The Sears family embodies our aspirations to create both District and site partnerships between families and schools. The entire Spring View school community extends its deepest appreciation for everything they do."
Sunset Ranch Elementary School
The Sunset Ranch staff, students, and community honored the entire Hertzell family for their incredible, tireless, and ongoing support of our school. Principal Dr. Bill MacDonald  would like to recognize all of the “Hertzell Heros” for their individual and collective contributions to Sunset Ranch. “Jennifer is a Wonder Woman. She is the Vice President of our Parent-Teacher Committee (PTC). In this role, she takes great pride and responsibility for organizing and executing (flawlessly and with style) the majority of our major school events including Carnival, the Hoe Down, the Sunset Ranch Amazing Race, and the Whitney Ranch Lip Sync Battle. She has also organized our Back-to-School teacher brunch and countless class parties all exceptional creatively, flair, and attention to detail.  Not only have Jennifer’s efforts resulted in fun and community building but have raised a great deal of money to support important extracurricular programs at our school including science lab, Spanish, and STEM.  Watch out when you sit down with Jennifer, with her enthusiasm and cunning smile she can talk you into just about anything!  We are fortunate to have her in our pack,” said Dr. MacDonald.
Jason is the second part of the dynamic Hertzell duo - a regular Rocklin Superman! Jason is equally involved in all Sunset Ranch events and fundraising and always steps forward to lead the charge, frequently at the Whitney Ranch Lip Sync Battle where he is an annual phenomenon. Jason is a Coyote Dad who is not afraid to man the grill at Book Fair, rustle a miniature cow at the carnival, or dance with a box of ping pong balls tied around his waist.  Jason is probably most recognizable to students as the “guy who lands his helicopter on the field” during Red Ribbon Week. That’s right, this year Jason, a pilot, landed his rescue copter on the Sunset Ranch field to share a great message with the entire school about drug awareness, resilience, and goal setting.  Regardless of the role he plays, Jason is in to win it and an incredible asset to Sunset Ranch.  
Julianna is a sixth grader at Sunset Ranch and Study Body President - the Leader of the Pack! She is a natural leader who has been a speaker and performer at our assemblies, helped organize several giving campaigns, led ASB fundraising efforts, and promoted and designed spirit days. Her teachers love her smile and describe her as collaborative, kind, respectful, and someone that they can count on. Like mother, like daughter, Julianna always has flair and is dressed to impress. If that was not enough, she is an accomplished dancer. We are proud of Julianna and her efforts.
Jenna is a fourth grader and another fabulous Hertzell hero. She is a accomplished student and dancer who participates in all school activities with passion and excellence. Her teachers call her a “true joy, kind, respectful, responsible, hilarious, and a huge help to her peers.” All who meet Jenna agree that she will leave her mark on both Sunset Ranch and the world!

In closing, the Hertzells are amazing and use their superpowers constantly to improve and assist Sunset Ranch! As one teacher said, “I was fortunate to have both Hertzell girls in my class, and with the Hertzells you get the whole family. They are one of the most genuinely caring families I have ever met, they are extremely generous with their time for the good of everyone at Sunset Ranch.” The Sunset Ranch staff couldn’t agree more and are thrilled to present the Hertzell family with this award.  
Thank you Leatherby's Family Creamery and Cookie Connection for your generous donations to our Family Partner Recognition program!
Trustees recognized the 2017 Placer County Spelling Bee Oral Competition Winners: Sarah Yee (Rocklin Elementary, 5th grader) and Raajshree Reddy (Granite Oaks Middle School, 8th grader) both placed 1st in their grade level and will compete in the State Finals.  Abhinav Sharma (Rocklin Elementary, 6th grader) and Karina Andersen (Granite Oaks Middle School, 8th grader) placed 2nd at the county level. Jasleen Bal (Granite Oaks Middle School, 7th grader) placed 3rd.

Trustees recognized the following employees for being named as RUSD’s nominees for Classified Employees of the Year and Teachers of the Year, in conjunction with the Placer County Office of Education, in the following categories:
Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities - - Gordon Stizzo, Grounds Mechanic, Maintenance and Operations
Office and Technical - - Janet McAlexander, Technician I, Human Resources District Office
Para-Educator and Instructional Assistant - - Sarah Counter, Instructional Aide, Sunset Ranch Elementary
Support Services and Security - - Lisa Ennis-Panganiban, Health Aide, Twin Oaks Elementary
Transportation - - Keith Dias, School Bus Driver, Transportation
Elementary Teacher of the Year - - Craig Haviland, 5th Grade Teacher, Sunset Ranch Elementary
Secondary Teacher of the Year - - Pilar Padilla, Language Arts Teacher, Rocklin High School
                  Classified Employees of the Year                                      Gordon Stizzo, Grounds Mechanic
                    Janet McAlexander, Technician I                                     Sarah Counter, Instructional Aide
              Lisa Ennis-Panganiban, Health Aide                                  Keith Dias, School Bus Driver
                Pilar Padilla, Language Arts Teacher                              Craig Haviland, 5th Grade Teach
Teachers of the Year

Spring View Middle School Internet Safety Summit
March 2017
Several hundred students and families turned out for this extremely informative event. Thank you to all our law enforcement community partners who took the time to make important presentations!  If you could not attend we have some wonderful information provided by some of our presenters. See below for information provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Sacramento Field Office! Much appreciated!
FBI Safe Online Surfing program (K-8; matches state and federal curricula mandates):
The FBI Child ID app accessible via Google Play and iTunes. More information about the resource can be found via the following link:
Link to all local community resources:
Our Sunset Ranch Superstar Sofia is once again a TV Star!
March 2017
Check out the latest Target commercial featuring Sunset Ranch’s Sofia Sanchez. “This is Sofia's third time working for Target in their marketing campaigns,” According to Sofia’s Mom Jennifer!  “We love that she beautifully represents inclusion and diversity in their ads! Sofia is an ambassador for Changing the Face of Beauty (a non profit committed to equal representation of people with disabilities in advertising and media worldwide). Sofia hopes this is just the beginning of a lifetime of opportunities to work as a model/actress/self-advocate!”
World Down Syndrome Day Whitney High School Treat!
March 2017
Thanks WHS Resource Education Specialist, Head Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Nick French for sharing these wonderful pictures!

McKenzie Muir is one of our students here at Whitney High School.  McKenzie and her mom Nancy brought doughnuts to many of the students to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day 2017!  

McKenzie is the absolute best and we are all so happy to be celebrating this day with her and her family!!  

Two Great Families are Honored at the RUSD
Board of Trustee's Meeting!
March 2017
Ruhkala Elementary School
Tireless service is why Leslie and Andrew Vanden Akker are being honored by Ruhkala Elementary! As the Parent Teacher Student Council (PTSC) President and Vice President they are involved in supporting students, staff, and the entire Ruhkala community. They also support students by organizing and facilitating many events. This includes everything from Ruhkala’s Jog-a-Thon to the fall harvest festival. They also run a monthly Monday Madness session where students can sign up to stay an hour after school and take part in physical activity. They are currently working with the Ruhkala Running Team, which meets after school once a week to train for Run Rocklin. Ruhkala staff is supported by their efforts as well. This support comes in many forms. The Vanden Akkers organize and coordinate parent volunteers who often bring in healthy lunches during those times of year when staff is feeling particularly busy. Throughout the year, staff has enjoyed this treat during conference week and the holiday season. Thanks to these efforts staff comes together and has a little time to unwind. Under the Vanden Akker’s facilitation fundraising goes directly back to classrooms and therefore students! Just this year Ruhkala has been able to start the transition of their computer lab to a 21st Century learning space using this fundraising for mobile white boards and a green screen. The Vanden Akkers are fixtures of our Ruhkala community and it would not be the same school without their presence and involvement. They are models for what the partnership between school and family can create. The entire Ruhkala community offers a heartfelt thank you for everything they do.

Sierra Elementary School
The Hetrick Family has gone above and beyond to support Sierra Elementary School. Kali Hetrick is an eager volunteer and has stepped up to lead and participate in just about every possible way to support her children’s education. The Hetricks have been part of the Sierra family for the past 3 years. During this time Kali has been a strategic planning action team member, School Site Council secretary, PTC Secretary and Vice President, frequent substitute during lunch, and daily classroom volunteer. Most recently, Kali has also chaired Sierra’s  FUNd Run and is chairing the school’s auction. Our school owes the Hetrick family a debt of gratitude for how giving Kali has been with her time.  

As a strategic planning action team member, Kali helped reshape how Sierra would partner with the community to bring exciting enrichment and extension to the Sierra campus. During Sierra’s Site Council meetings and PTC meetings, she has kept clear and concise minutes, ensuring progress and conversations are well documented. As PTC vice president, she attends two PTC meetings per month and is the liaison to the event chairs. Thanks to the hard work of Kali and her team, the Sierra FUNd Run was bigger and better than ever. All students were able to launch their own event webpage, get a T-shirt for the run, and run through bubbles on the day of the event. This year’s event raised over $26,000, which goes to fund ongoing Spanish instruction at Sierra and much more!  She is also the lead on this year’s auction set to take place on March 11. The Sierra community is so thankful for her efforts and can’t wait to participate in this fun event!

As if this level of participation isn’t enough, Kali is a frequent substitute during lunch and ensures that procedures are followed so students feel safe. According to Principal Hannah Anderson, “Kali also has stepped up on numerous occasions as a long-term noon duty sub while we look to fill positions and we are so grateful that she is dependable and always willing to help out. Kali also plays a crucial role by supporting instruction at our school by volunteering in her children’s classrooms regularly and supporting them at home. This year, she has been a daily volunteer during our Shark Shuffle for Success and is working with students in 1st grade to research and present their findings. This program and everything she touches at Sierra wouldn’t be nearly as successful without her support. We are so lucky to have Kali and the Hetrick family as part of the Sierra community!”
Thank you Leatherby's Family Creamery and Cookie Connection for your generous donations to our Family Partner Recognition program!
March 2017
After two days of trials (Sat and Sun) Varsity took 1st place (undefeated in all rounds). JV took 2nd place and only lost to the RHS Varsity. Both teams beat the other two teams, Oakmont and Del Oro. Varsity now heads to the state competition in Riverside, CA at the end of the month. Judge Curry said that RHS is a power house.  Congratulations to the team Coach Laura Woodward and Attorney Coach Melissa Begley. The 36 RHS students are amazing!!! Special thanks to Gov/Econ/AP Gov RHS Teacher Colleen Crowe for this wonderful information!

Varsity Prosecution
1.    Casey Silver
2.    Drew Navarre   
3.    Elena Morrill
4.    Jackson Dewitt
5.    Matt Lang
6.    Audrey Trejo
7.    Suman Mann
8.    Aliena Pitts
9.    Luciano Gonzales

Varsity Defense
1.    Ashley Hay
2.    Sweta Parija
3.    Serene Tarazi
4.    Raymond Matthews
5.    Casey O’Brien
6.    Megan Campbell
7.    Jessica Risney
8.    Delaney Hertel
9.    Logan McDevitt

JV Prosecution:
1.    Sienna Giampaolli
2.    Adarsh Venkat
3.    Mridini Vijay
4.    Ella Schwasnick
5.    Alec Pitts
6.    Sanjana Ramanujam
7.    Amalie Yach
8.    Kelly O’Flaherty
9.    Minji Kim

JV Defense:
1.    Tyler Wong
2.    Kabir Chitre
3.    Sydney Pooler
4.    Sydney O’Brien
5.    Mandana Jahangirian
6.    Catherine Rainey
7.    Dominic Sobrepena
8.    Daniel McElhinney
9.    Josh Almaguer
Two Amazing Families Honored at the
RUSD Board of Trustees Meeting!
March 2017
Our Board of Trustees honored two families this month who has gone above and beyond for their school community!
Meet the Durose Family of Rocklin High School:
Mom Kristi is currently serving as RHS Parent Club President and has been part of this organization for the past four years. She has played a vital role in this group's transition from primarily an athletic boosters known as the "Blue Thunder Boosters" to the Parent Club, as it is known today, serving the entire RHS campus and its programs. Over the past two years with Kristi's leadership, this nonprofit group has been brought into full compliance, meeting all state and federal standards. Kristi's and the Parent Club's accomplishments include raising thousands of dollars for the school and its programs. Some of the fundraising endeavors that Kristi has spearheaded include RHS's Night of Thunder, annual Paper Drive, and Wellness Programs. Looking out for student's emotional well-being has become the central focus of the Parent Club this past year and the RHS school community is indebted for these efforts. This group is a vital entity on campus as it provides invaluable services for the athletic teams and clubs with purchases as well as fundraising. This past year with Kristi's leadership and working with former Mayor Diana Ruslin, Rocklin High School was able to offer Chrome books for sale at a discounted price for RHS and community. This effort helped RHS move closer to meet its goal of 1:1.
Meet the Wetzel family of Rocklin Independent Charter Academy (RICA):
Although the Wetzel's are not new to Rocklin Unified, they are relatively new to RICA and Interim Principal Skott Hutton says: "I often wonder how, prior to their arrival, we ever managed without them!" In this short time, Mom Joanne has been an ongoing member of the RICA Site Council and was an active participant in RICA's recent WASC Accreditation visit; undoubtedly, a key contributor to that success. Joanne is a participating member of the RICA LCAP Advisory Committee and she is a member of our Strategic Planning Team.
Dad Dave is also to be credited! If it were not for his dedication to his family, Joanne's time spent with RICA related activities would not be possible. Then there is RICA 11th grader Jacob! Jacob is truly a remarkable student. His character, intellect and demeanor represent what any educator covets in a student. Jacob's Core Teacher, Mrs. McQueen, could hardly contain herself when asked about her appreciation for Jacob. She said: "Jacob is a beloved student that never hesitates to help out his classmates. Perhaps this is why his classmates respect him so much. In addition, Jacob's excitement for learning is contagious, especially when it comes to history. His knowledge and enthusiasm permeates the classroom each Wednesday! Jacob is truly an outstanding addition to RICA." Mrs. Mangelsdorf, Jacob's Integrated Math II teacher, shared: "Jacob is an absolute joy! He is always prepared and eager to learn, sharing his ideas and questions. His pleasant demeanor permeates through the class. His strong work ethic matched with his determination and drive are just some of the qualities that have provided him success in the classroom. Jacob is a wonderful young man and I am glad to have the opportunity to work with him." As a family of four children, you can imagine that time is a precious resource for the Wetzel's. Yet Joanne has made it clear on multiple occasions that she and her family volunteer their time for no other reason than they want to. "There is a wonderful quote about volunteers, which reads, 'Volunteers don't necessarily have the time; they have the heart.' To date, I have not met a family who fits that description more succinctly than the Wetzels. Although Luke, Mei and Kai do not attend RICA, I know I speak for all of us when I say we are blessed to have the Wetzel Family throughout Rocklin Unified School District," says Mr. Hutton.
Thank you Leatherby's Family Creamery and Cookie Connection for your generous donations to our Family Partner Recognition program!
Teachers of the Year
March 2017
This year, the District reached out to all staff for nominations for the Teacher of the Year for Elementary and Secondary. Each nomination was to provide commentary on why they thought their candidate should be Teacher of the Year along with specific examples of contributions and accomplishments in education, professional skills and growth, student progress, and school/community involvement. 

A total of five (5) nominations were received for Elementary and four (4) received for Secondary.  The following teachers were selected to represent Rocklin Unified School District (RUSD) as Teachers of the Year for their specific category.

Craig Haviland, 5th Grade Teacher at Sunset Ranch Elementary was selected for the Elementary Teacher of the Year.  Craig has been with RUSD for over twelve years. He has served on the RETT Committee the last six years and supported Sunset Ranch to become the first elementary school with Wi-Fi in all classrooms. He is known to be dedicated to his profession by his peers; is hard working, involved and highly respected by staff as well as the students he serves.

Pilar Padilla, Language Arts Teacher at Rocklin High School will be our Secondary Teacher of the Year. Pilar has been with RUSD for over fourteen years. Her passion has been to create a safe environment has reached beyond her classroom as she has sponsored clubs and led campaigns for student’s mental wellness making Rocklin High a better place. Her mindfulness practices captured the attention of Sacramento County Office of Education who requested she present a series of workshops on how to introduce these practices in the classroom.

Both nominations will be forwarded on to the Placer County Office of Education (PCOE) to compete at that level.

Both Teachers, along with Classified Employees of the Year will be brought to the Board for recognition at a future Board meeting pending PCOE notification timelines.

And Our Latest Family Partners in Education Honoree is….
February 2017
Rock Creek Elementary School’s Alcala family was honored for the tremendous impact they have had on Rock Creek elementary over the past few years. The biggest contribution, among many, is Mom Cristina Alcala’s hard work in starting a thriving Science Docent program that continues to grow each year. Starting from scratch, Cristina set out to bring her love of Science to the students of Rock Creek. Currently in year 4 of the Science program, any observer can walk into the science room and see students actively engaged in experiments and activities centered on the love of Science which is operated by a vast amount of parent volunteers.  Over the past four years, Cristina has not only recruited and trained parent volunteers, but also set out to secure funding for the supplies. She did this by working closely with the former Principal and applying for (and receiving) local grants. This is in addition to building the curriculum and writing many of the lessons that are run on a weekly basis. In addition to her work in founding the Science Docent program, Cristina somehow finds time to assist with the Art Docent program and participates in PTC events, in addition to being an active member on the school’s Strategic Planning Team.  
Cristina was recognized by our Board of Trustees at the 2/15/2017 meeting and was joined by her husband (Jamie Mora) and son Massimo who is a 6th grader at Rock Creek. “Massimo follows in the footsteps of his parents in that, while never one to seek attention for the work he does, he has quietly demonstrated the very best of what Rock Creek students have to offer due to his hard work and most importantly his compassion for others,” according to Principal Mark Williams.  A few quotes from his teachers that symbolize the type of student and person Massimo represents are: ‘smart,’ ‘creative,’ and ‘kind to his peers.’ In addition to Massimo, son Marcus, in the Gate Program at Rocklin Elementary was also their for the special recognition presented by Rock Creek Principal Mark Williams!

Special thanks to our community partners who made the night special with donated gifts including passes to Studio Movie Grill, a  special cake from Nothing Bundt Cake, dozen cookies from Cookie Connection and Ice Cream certificates to Leatherby’s Creamery!
Check out the CA-954 AFJROTC February newsletter. 
The cadets put together a monthly newsletter which goes out between the 15th to the 24th each month.  It contains information on both past and upcoming events!  Thank you MICHAEL A. FERNANDEZ, Colonel, USAF (Ret), Senior Aerospace Science Instructor CA-954
Thank you Whitney High School Distinguished Unit 2015-2016 for sharing!
To download CA-954 AFJORTC February Newsletter click here>>

Spring View Middle School Teacher Receives Placer County
U. S. History Teacher of the Year!
January 2017
Mrs. Lynne Meiers, an eighth grade teacher at Spring View Middle School, was recently honored at a luncheon at Woodcreek Golf Course from the Daughters of the American Revolution organization for U. S. History. They named her ‘U.S. History Teacher of the Year in Placer County.’ Her nomination will be forwarded to the state level as well as for the National Society of the American Revolution 2016-2017 Outstanding Teacher of American History Award.

Mrs. Meiers was recommended by her colleagues, former students, and school administration for her innovative curriculum and school’s participation in National History Day.

Congratulations Mrs. Meiers for your hard work and dedication in educating the young people of our community!

Special thanks to Beth Davidson, Principal at Spring View Middle School, for sharing this wonderful information.
Two Special Families Honored by Our RUSD Board of Trustees!
January 2017
Each month we honor families for their service to each of our wonderful schools! We love all our families!
Meet the Ransford family of Victory High School:
The Ransford family is a wonderful example of parental support and involvement for their Victory High School student. Jordan Ransford is a junior at Victory High School and because of his family’s as well as Victory’s staff support, he has had a great amount of academic success since enrolling here this fall. He has earned A’s in all of his classes, as well as various academic awards, including the award for top student in the school.

In speaking to Mrs. Ransford about Jordan’s success at Victory High School, she explained that coming to Victory High School was a family decision. Jordan has always been a conscientious student and tried his best, but he found that the class sizes and the enormity of the traditional high school caused him great anxiety and made education difficult for him. The Ransford family decided to enroll Jordan at Victory High school because of the smaller class sizes, the alternative form of education provided here, and the fact Jordan wishes to enroll at a trade school post graduation. These factors made Victory High School a very good choice for the Ransford family.

The Ransford family has supported Jordan in his educational career, working with Victory High School staff extensively to ensure his academic success. Jordan will graduate from Victory High School this year as a junior!

Meet the Pelly family of Valley View Elementary:
Every member of the Pelly family has made contribution to the Valley View School community!

Mom Laura has been involved with the Parent Teacher Club since arriving at Valley View in some capacity including oversight and involvement of spirit nights, obtaining donations, planning and providing regular staff lunches, the annual carnival and bingo night. If she did head the event, she was working fervently behind the scenes. In addition to her PTC volunteering, Laura has been art docent for the 3 children’s classes, our costume designer and creator for the school musicals and dance performances, the class party planner for the 3 children’s classes, a Girl Scout leader, and also worked in the summer at Camp Invention at Valley View. If this is all not enough, we are so fortunate that Laura is also our health aide that tends to all of our students’ health needs with such love and care as if the children were all her own. Laura does all this with the most positive and professional, can-do attitude you can imagine.

Dad Al Senior is known as Laura’s partner in fun and generosity. Mr. Pelly is very creative with his engineering mind. He has highlighted engineering skills at a student level at Valley View’s annual STEM expos. His booths included a mini zip line, an Oreo tower and clay damn with demonstrations of each of the science concepts. Al has also assisted in multiple carnivals, even making a dunk tank! Although Al’s job takes him out of town from time to time, he somehow find a way to always support his family with his presence at their many events.

Al Jr., Adela and Lauren all follow in mom and dad’s footsteps of their awesomeness too, as they are equally as creative and thoughtful. They are involved in a variety of activities that further require mom and dad’s support, including, scouts, dance lessons, science club, coding club, STEM academy, student council, Kindness & Compassion club, summer camps, musicals, talent shows, basketball, softball, and more. By their parents’ example, Al, Adela and Lauren are model students who regularly demonstrate great character.
Thank you Leatherby's Family Creamery and Cookie Connection for your generous donations to our Family Partner Recognition program!
Give the Best Gift to Your Child: RUSD
Transitional Kindergarten/Kindergarten!
Momentous occasion at December Board of Trustee meeting!
December 2016
The Whitney HS's fantastic Choir, ROTC, Trustees sworn in and Parker Whitney Elementary family recognized! It was a special night celebrating the formal swearing in of Trustee Camille Maben and new Trustee (and RUSD alum) Eric Stevens! Truly a fantastic night at the Trustee meeting where important business took place but first the tributes!
Parker Whitney's Blackwell family was honored as our Family Partner in Education! Principal Melody Thorson talked about how the the entire Blackwell family is a contributing factor to Parker Whitney Community. Nicole is not only an incredible instructional aide, she organizes and manages an Early Intervention Support Program, often on her own time. Nicole oversees and operates all their audio-visual equipment for performances, as well as leads school talent show and other after school extra curricular activities.
"The Blackwell children, Jordan, Hannah and Jake, all former Parker Whitney students volunteer constantly as well, from selling concessions, helping with set-up and tear down of events, or anything we need. Josh Blackwell is here to help with whatever we need and supports Nicole in all her time she dedicates to the Parker Whitney Partner Family!" said Principal Melody Thorson.
Thank you Blackwell family: Mom Nicole, Dad Josh, and Jordan, Hannah and Jake! Thanks also to Nothing Bundt Cakes, Cookie Connection and Leatherby's Family Creamery for the wonderful donations/gifts to our family making the night and honor extra special for them!
Family Partners In Education November Honorees!
November 2016
Our Board of Trustees honored Granite Oaks Middle School’s (GOMS) Bezanson Family for all of their contributions to our school and community. Mom Tammi and her family have contributed greatly to the success of GOMS over the last three years. Tammi fearlessly volunteered to become a Granite Oaks Parent Falcon Club (PFC) member even before her son began attending classes at GOMS. At the time, the GOMS PFC was in desperate need of parents to step in and take over the leadership roles within our organization.

Tammi not only stepped into becoming a PFC member, but volunteered to take over the entire organization and become our PFC President. Thankfully, Tammi jumped into the role with both feet and never looked back. She has been responsible for over seeing or running our pledge drives, fundraisers, 8th grade promotion dances, monthly meetings, PFC finances, and teacher appreciation. Under Tammi’s watch, the Granite Oaks Middle School Parent Falcon Club has raised over $40,000 dollars that has helped support many facets of our school. The money raised by Tammi and our PFC has been used to fund clubs, purchase computers and Chrome books for classroom use, and supported staff appreciation activities. Tammi’s hard work with our PFC truly makes a positive difference in making our school the best middle school in Northern California. We are indeed lucky to have Tammi working hard to make our school a wonderful place to learn and grow. Meantime, GOMS 8th grader Luke Bezanson is a wonderful student that was celebrated as October’s Student of the Month for the Quest Academy. He is an extremely hard worker, and a member of the GOMS Cross Country Team. Luke is a fantastic and creative student who is well liked by his peers and teachers and is maintaining a 4.0 grade point average!
Principal Jay Holmes addressed out Trustees about the family and in addition to a special recognition certificate, they were presented with some neat gifts from our community business partners including a dozen cookies from Cookie Connection, a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes and delicious and huge Ice Cream Sundae  from Leatherby’s Creamery!
Thank you Bezanson Family!

For those of you that represented our country, we thank you for your service.
Image result for veterans day
Steve Balko, Maintenance Department, United States Coast Guard - 9 Years
Terry Barber, Whitney High School, United States Air Force - 29 Years 2 Months - Senior Master Sargeant,
Air Force Junior Officers Training Corps (AFJROTC)
Mike Booth, Transportation Department, United States Army - 12 Years
James A. Bross Jr., Maintenance and Operations Department, United States Army - 1985 -1994
Heather Conn, Rocklin Elementary School, United States Marine Corps - 1994-1998, Sargeant
Greg Daley, Rocklin USD Board of Trustees, United States Air Force, 20 Years
Keith Dias, Transportation Department, United States Navy - 4 Years
Doug Ennis, Valley View Elementary School, United States Army - 4 Years - 1989-1993, Combat Medic
John Eriskson, Whitney High School, United States Air Force, 23 Years
Michael Fernandez, Whitney High School, United States ir Force - 28.5 Years - Retired - Senior Aerospace
Science Instructor, Air Force Junior Officers Training Corps (AFJROTC)
Tod Furtado, Whitney High School, United States Army - 24 Years, Lieutenant Colonel,
Retired - Veteran of Operation Just Cause
Gregory Giammona, Granite Oaks Middle School, United States Air Force - 1992-1999, F-15C
Avionics Specialist, Operation Southern Watch, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain
Shana Gysen, Spring View Middle School, United States Air Force - 4 Years, Medical Lab
Michael Hammer, Maintenance and Operations Department, United States Army - 4 Years
Michael Handling, Victory High School, United States Army - 10 Years, Iraq, Bosnia and
Tori Hayes, Spring View Middle School, United States Army - 22 Years, Sargeant First Class -
Retired, Served in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as an AirBorne Medic
Jeremy Jeffreys, Rocklin High School, United States Air Force Reserve - 1992 - 2014, Retired
November 2014
Melissa Locketz, District Office, United States Navy - 1994-1999 - Hospital Corpsman - Marine
Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twenty-nine Palms, CA
Heather McCoy, Rock Creek Elementary School, United States Army Reserve - 6 Years
Paul Morrison, Rocklin High School, United States Army Reserve - 1986-1988
Al Nord, Transportation Department, United States Air Force - 4 Years
Joe Perretta, Maintenance Department, United States Army - 4 Years
Bill Pruett, Facilities, Maintenance and Operations, United States Army Reserve - 6 Years
Darlene Romero, District Office, United States Air Force - 17.5 Years, Master Sargeant - Retired
Joseph Sarantis, Maintenance and Operations Department, United States Army - 2 Years, Vietnam Veteran
Mark Webber, Maintenance Department, United States Air Force - 22 Years
Brandy Wright, Antelope Creek Elementary School, United States Air Force
Christina Wright, Antelope Creek Elementary School, United States Army

November 2016
The Rocklin Educational Excellence Foundaiton (REEF) hit it out of the park with the first annual Starlight Soiree 11/5!  We knew it would be good but this farm to fork feast Rocklin style was truly GREAT! The setting: beautiful Quarry Park, generously made possible by the City of Rocklin, was transformed into an elegant setting with an amazing 4 course dinner prepared by innovative and award winning Chef Erick Johnson of Rocklin’s The Chef’s Table. The goal was accomplished: Community and business leaders came together to celebrate the many successes of the Rocklin Unified School District (RUSD) and support provided REEF. For the past 8 years, REEF has been dedicated to the continued success of the Rocklin public schools. We know having high quality public schools is a high priority for the families in our area. In fact, it is the primary reason people move to Rocklin. RUSD staff work day in and day out to keep the reputation RUSD has for great schools! “REEF’s mission has been to connect our community to their public schools in meaningful and tangible ways. We have raised over a quarter million dollars so far and are looking to double that goal in the years ahead. We allocate these funds in strategic ways to give our students a competitive edge,” according to REEF Executive Director Tom Delapp. The Foundation does that in many ways including supporting the Career Technical Education, following RUSD’s outstanding CTE master plan,  which allows students to apply 21st century skills through real world applications. Another impactful way REEF makes a tremendous difference in the lives of our students, families and staff is in the vital arena of Wellness, Culinary and much more! Rocklin High School Principal Dave Stewart and Granite Oaks Middle School Principal Jay Holmes both told the enthusiastic crowd how REEF has helped their programs. Our principals rock!
Among the many highlights of the night were also remarks from  Roger Stock, RUSD Superintendent followed by inspirational words from other education leaders who served alongside Stock as honorary hosts: Willy Duncan, President of Sierra College, Eric Hogue, Chief Development Officer of William Jessup University, Dr. Robert Nelsen, President of Sac State.   Former Rocklin Council member and super RUSD parent Diana Ruslin even came back from her new East Coast home to enjoy the night. “She has been a driving force behind the success of REEF since our inception in 2009. She is a one-woman dynamo. Although she is now three time zones away her imprint is still being felt, especially for this event,” said DeLapp.
Thank you to - Pegasus Sponsors: ATI Architects & Engineers, – Brian Whitmore – BCA Architects, Mercedes Benz, The Ridge Golf Course & Event Center, Thunder Valley Casino Resort. William Jessup University. Aurora Sponsors: Halldin Public Relations, Lozano Smith Attorneys, McDonald’s of Rocklin, Placer Ranch/Sacramento State,Rainforth Grau Architects, SAFE Credit Union, Scott Yuill Insurance & Financial Services – State Farm, Sierra College. Centaurus Sponsors: Dino Sammakieh, McDonald’s Owner – Folsom locations, WLC Architects. Our Swag Bag Sponsor: Landmark Construction. Orion Sponsors: The Broadway Family, Communication Resources for Schools, Wellness Together. In-kind and vendor sponsors: Bouchard Communications for the publicity and graphics, The Chef’s Table – Dinner Sponsor, Out of Bounds, Pairings., City of Rocklin – Venue Sponsor, Sharif Jewelers. Event Planner: Noel Smith Events. Fantastic music entertainment provided Doug Martin! KCRA Meteorologist Tamara Berg served as Mistress of Ceremonies.
Special kudos to REEF Board members Todd Lowell and Ann Bouchard for their tremendous work on the Soiree Planning Committee! Look for next year’s date soon to mark you calendar!
Special to RUSD Highlights by Rob McAllister-Vice President,
Halldin Public Relations Inc., Positive Alliance Board Member and
Rocklin HS graduate!
October 2016
For 24 seasons, Roc Murray could be seen roaming the baseball diamond at Rocklin High School leading fielding drills, fine-tuning a player’s swing or signaling pitches from the dugout.
But to his players, he was much more than a coach. Murray not only helped our student-athletes become better players, but better people off the field as well.
His contributions have been noticed by Rocklin players, parents and fellow educators for several decades, but this summer Murray received national recognition for his contribution to youth sports. Murray was one of 50 coaches in the country presented with the Double-Goal coach award. Murray was honored during the Positive Coaching Alliances’ Jeans and Jerseys event that featured San Francisco 49ers Hall-of-Fame quarterback Steve Young, developer and former high school coach Phil Oates and various distinguished regional athletes.
“More than a baseball coach, Roc Murray served as a mentor to hundreds of his former players,” said Zach Streight, Executive Director of the Positive Coaching Alliance Sacramento Chapter. “Murray embodies the spirit of Positive Coaching Alliance and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to honor a legendary coach who went above and beyond every single day.”
The Double-Goal coach is awarded to youth and high school coaches who strive to win, while also pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports.
Positive Coaching Alliance is a national nonprofit organization that strives to develop BETTER ATHLETES, BETTER PEOPLE through resources for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes. More than 30,000 athletes, parents and coaches have attended a PCA workshop in the Sacramento region to date.

The Mazon Family/Cobblestone chosen as RUSD Board of Trustee’s
outstanding  Family Partner in Education winner!
October 2016
We value each and every one of our families at RUSD and we started this special recognition program to honor one at each school during our Board of Trustee meetings. It’s a cool way to kick off each meeting too!
The Mazon family is our latest winner and will be our Face book cover family until the next family winners are announced at the November Board of Trustee meeting! They have been an active and supportive part of the Cobblestone community for the past 7 years.  Both Darren and Kylee have attended Cobblestone since kindergarten and are students who throughout their school career have been recognized as kind, respectful, polite, charming and positive role models! While Kylee has graduated from elementary school, Cobblestone Principal Kathy Goddard says “We often think that Darren could be an incredible school ambassador with his outgoing and personable demeanor!”

Not only are Darren and Kylee amazing kids, their stay-at-home-dad, Dave Mazon, has volunteered hundreds if not thousands of hours to support our school and students. He helps in the office preparing our first day packets, chaperones field trips, assists in classrooms reading with students and encourages students every week.  He even dressed up as a Lion to make Art Docent lessons something Cobblestone students and staff really look forward to and even served as a substitute instructional aide.  In addition, Dave served as PTC president for two years and organized fun, community-building events including welcome back picnics, jogathon, movie nights, daddy/daughter dances, and mother/son activities. Under his leadership, funds raised by PTC have provided additional instructional materials to our classrooms, field trip scholarships for students in need, special assemblies and two new chromecarts! Staff  describe Mr. Mazon as positive, dependable, devoted, kind, respectful, generous, and a real helping hand serving ALL students and ALL staff at our school! The Mazon family has made a real difference to Cobblestone School and we are so appreciative of their ongoing support!

Thank you to our generous community partners who provide donated gifts to our family honorees! Donated gifts include passes to Studio Movie Grill, delicious cookies from Cookie Connection, special Nothing Bundt Cakes Cake and Ice Cream Sundae Party of 4 Leatherby’s.

Rocklin High Sophomore Hayden Douglass Heads to the Nationals
October 2016
Special Thanks to Thomas Douglas, Rocklin High Music Director for this terrific information!

Sophomore Hayden Douglass has accomplished something usually reserved for upper classmen. He’s played his way into the All-National Honor Ensemble Concert Band.

A French horn player, Hayden practiced with dedication to earn his chair in this highly coveted honor band. He is one of only two students from the Sacramento area to be chosen. He’ll be playing with the “best of the best” for the National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) 2016 All-National Honor Ensemble on November 13 during NAfME’s National In-Service Conference in Texas.

“I am very excited to be able to represent Rocklin High School in Texas. This is a great opportunity to learn from other musicians and conductors from all over the U.S.,” said Hayden.

Hayden has been playing French horn for four years. Musical talent runs in the family. His father Thomas is the Musical Director at Rocklin High. A multi-talented musician, Hayden plays French horn with the Rocklin High Symphonic Band and Symphonic Orchestra, Trumpet with the school’s Jazz Band and Mellophone with the Marching and Pep Bands.

NAfME’s (National Association for Music Education) All-National Honor Ensembles consist of a concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed choir, and jazz ensemble. Students were chosen through a rigorous audition process. Eligible students had to qualify for their state-level honor ensemble program and compete against top students to earn their spot in the national honor ensemble. Hayden will be playing with 150 other students from throughout the United States.

Selected students are currently rehearsing a challenging repertoire in preparation for performing under the baton of one of the most prominent conductors in the United States, Dr. Paula Crider Professor Emerita at the University of Texas.

Find out more about Rocklin High Band at: Find out more about NAfME here:
Victory HS Hosts Mock Election for Students to Experience
The Real Process! Get a Feel for the Real Thing!
October 2016
AWESOME EXPERIENCE! Victory HS Social Studies teacher Darren Baham signed VHS up to participate in a state wide Mock Election being sponsored by the California State Department. Mr. Baham created an entire real world environment for the students to participate in. Instead of just designating a day in which the kids fill out their ballot and we count the votes, he transformed a section of the school to reflect a real life situation- a polling station for the kids to run through. They  checked in, with their student ID, waited their turn for a voting booth to open, filled out their ballot in a mock booth, and dropped their important choice in the ballot box. All of this is supervised by the staff. The idea is to show students what they have to look forward to and take the ambiguity out of the voting process in hopes that more of them will participate in the democratic process as adults. Thanks Victory HS and Teacher Darren Baham for this terrific experience for our students!

Years of Service
September 2016
The District was filled with excitement as 111 employees were recognized for their years of service: 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30!
Board of Trustees Greg Daley, Todd Lowell, Wendy Lang, Susan Halldin and Camille Maben along with Superintendent Roger Stock congratulated and awarded the longtime dedicated employees as their co-workers cheered them on! Click here to see our honorees listed by years of service>>

September 2016
Our Board of Trustees meets the winners of the Rocklin Police Department's Patriot Day Essay and Art Contest! Check out some of the neat pictures form the Board of Trustee meeting! Thanks to all students who entered, their families, teachers and principals!


September 2016
Congratulations to the Dace family: Breen Elementary School’s Family Partner in Education. Kim Dace (Mom), Mike Dace (Dad), Daughters: Capri, Erin, and Lauren. Son, Dallas.
Capri a 7th grader at Granite Oaks, Erin is in 5th grade, Lauren is in 3rd grade, and Dallas is a first grader.
From Breen Principal Mr. Thibideau: “The Dace family has been a fixture at Breen since 2011. Just about everyone recognizes the family truck and has seen the kids quickly pile out and head to class in the morning. Mom and dad obviously decided early on that school would be a family affair and that their children and all Breen students deserved the best. Kim has never met a fun event or fundraiser she hasn’t liked. When she has an idea, there’s no stopping her. Kim proved to be a special Breen parent early on when she solicited Disneyland tickets for a Family Bingo Night and sold raffle tickets, in front of Save Mart, while wearing a Minnie Mouse costume. Kim has gone on to plan every Family Bingo Night since that time. Business partners know that Kim will never take no for an answer and love her for it. When Target advertised a giving campaign for schools, Kim painted a target on her truck and drove around the neighborhood, urging people to vote for Breen on the Target website. The new curtains on the stage were partially funded by the concessions Kim has organized before all dance shows. Mike knows that when the school carnival comes around in October that he will be loading and unloading the truck before and after the event. Kim has organized farmer’s markets on Friday afternoons, drawing friends and neighbors together in conversation. Kim sets up tables and solicits parents to sell baked goods and crafts with all profits going to the school. What would a Big Daddy Basketball game between Valley View dads and Breen dads be without a halftime show? Kim invited students of all ages to come after school and taught dance routines to be performed at halftime of the game. The most recent example of Kim’s dedication to Breen was submitting an application for a garden makeover with the River Cats and Green Acres Nursery and then helping to garner 2,400 Facebook likes to win the contest!”
Thanks to generous community donors, the Dace family was given tickets to Circus Vargas, a delicious dozen cookies from Cookie Connection, and first grader Dallas’ favorite: An ice cream party for the entire family at Leatherby’s Ice Cream. The sundaes are huge! Thank you once again to all who make this program a huge success and of course our dedicated families who go above and beyond to make the Rocklin Unified School District great!

September 2016
We are so proud of the following students who received top honors in the Rocklin Police Department's Essay contest! All the students who took part worked hard on their essays which described what it means to be a Patriot? It was all part of the 6th Annual Patriot Day celebration held on Sunday, September 11, 2016 to honor “Those Who Serve”, the Rocklin Public Safety Volunteers, Inc. invited Rocklin Unified School District schools to participate in Patriotism based Art (Grades K-3) and Essay (Grades 4-8) contests. The winning group of students, their families and teacher and principal will also be honored at the 9/21 RUSD Board of Trustee meeting featuring Rocklin Police department Chief Ron Lawrence and Crime Prevention Coordinator Wendy Smith and Captain Chad Butler!
Meet the winners:
1st place winners were Landdon Stowers from Winter Hungerford’s Kindergarten class at Breen, Adhvaith Sujay from Marnie Leavitt’s 1st grade class at Ruhkala, Graceyn Nichols from Heather Janis’s 2nd grade class at Rocklin Elementary, Kate Lynch from Lynne Holochwost’s 4th grade class at Ruhkala, Hannah Ereso from Rhonda Taylor’s 5th grade class at Sierra, Domenica Zaragoza from Chaunte Martin’s 6th grade class at Rock Creek and Alexis Samson from Britton Brown's class at Cobblestone.
The Grand Art winner was Dhruv Patel from Sara Gardner’s 3rd grade class at Valley View.
The Grand Essay winner was Karina Andersen from Leah Seabrook’s 8th grade class at Granite Oaks.
September 2016
Our first FAMILY PARTNERS IN EDUCATION honors go to the Barnes family of Antelope Elementary! Hey, we know all our families make a big difference for our schools and our students so we want to start highlighting some of our amazing families! So meet the Barnes Family: Monica (Mom), Sam (Dad) Betty, Toby, Lucy, Roddy and baby Bo!
Principal Brian Arcuri chose the Barnes family because of their strong support of the Antelope Creek community! Year after year they give their time, energy, and passion to the school on multiple occasions.
From Principal Arcuri: “Monica Barnes has been very involved in the PTA at the site and her husband Sam can often be seen hauling supplies, operating the famous Barnes Sno-Cones at the annual school carnival, and designing signs that promote various school events. Monica is so dedicated to our school that even as she was expecting her 5th child last year she continued to lead our PTA as president right up until the week of Bo’s arrival! We are lucky to also have Betty, Toby, and Lucy as part of our student leadership groups on campus. They take time during their school day to give back by taking up leadership positions and by helping us out with whatever we ask of them on a daily basis. They can always be seen helping their parents during school events and have also contributed to an enriched school program for all of the students and families at Antelope Creek. They have given hours of their time and their hard earned money to enrich the educational community at Antelope Creek not just for their family, but for all of the families that attend. This year staff, students, and families drove up to the school and were greeted by a fantastic, “Welcome Back” banner that the Barnes family designed in consultation with the PTA.”

The Rocklin Unified School District recognizes that family engagement and involvement equals student success! It’s why were are the ‘destination district!’ We value each and every one of our families at RUSD and we’re happy to have this special recognition program to honor one at each school during our Board of Trustee meetings. Principals of each school pick the family to be honored! #rusdPROUD
Special thanks to our generous businesses who donated the special gifts for our winning family: Flowers: Abstractions Florist and owner Teri Hafvenstein; Studio Movie Grill Rocklin; Noodles & Company and Aaron Chechourka-Price and Menchie's Frozen Yogurt!

MUST SEE: District Leaders Passing the Learning Torch to
Each Other for Learning Fest Professional Development
Day/Welcome Back to Staff: Igniting Learning!
August 15, 2016
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING SUPPORTERS WHO SPONSORED THE BOARD OF TRUSTEE LUNCHEON FOR OUR RUSD FAMILY: Wells Fargo, Lozano Smith Law Firm, Rainforth  Grau Architects, Carter-Kelly, Inc., Economic and Planning Systems (EPS)and Roebbelen Contracting, Inc.
This is what happens when District Leaders get into the Summer Olympic Spirit! The Olympics, like our students and families are our great inspiration!

District Leaders Passing the Learning Torch

Breen Elementary School was selected to receive
a brand new garden!
August 2016
We asked you, our RUSD family and Rocklin Community to vote last Spring and you did and Breen won a garden Makeover! Hard working, dedicated parents have been busy getting the Garden Of Learning ready for the Green Acres Team! The kids are gonna love it.
There were only 3 schools picked as finalists! Breen Mom Kim Dace entered the contest, beating out many other schools throughout Northern California! “When I submitted the entry, I wrote about "how important a school garden was. It wasn't about just planting and picking, but rather nurturing and taking care of something and watching it grow and thrive. It's about trial and error and really about being patient and helping. These concepts can be applied to more than just a garden, but to the lessons in life," Dace said! Wow! One Mom made a difference with those heartfelt words and now you can help Breen bring home the win…and a new garden!
And once again the Friends of the Breen Garden of Learning came out in full force to help clean up the garden so Green Acres can work their magic, just in time for the start of school! Soo these past two weeks families have been: weeding the pathways, by hand, by shovel, or by gas-powered weed-whacker, weeding the garden beds and the orchard area, by hand and gas-powered weed-whackers, bagging up ALL debris - there are trash bags on site, off-hauling the debris, sweeping up the cement pathway which leads to the garden, and bagging up the dried leaves/litter! Woah! That’s dedication - all for the kids!
‪#‎rusdPROUD‬ for sure! Congratulations and Thank you for all your hard work!
Check out the live TV coverage on KCRA:

Parker Whitney students raise $1,424 for the fallen
Dallas Police Officers by selling lemonade!
August 2016
Meet Brock and Olivia Felkins! Both students have attended Parker Whitney since Kindergarten and know firsthand the crucial role our police and fire departments play here at home and around the country. Dad is one of the true heroes in our own community, a Rocklin firefighter. These two siblings took it upon themselves to raise money for the fallen Dallas Police Officers. After spending a few days during the extreme heat wave in July selling lemonade on the corner of North Star and Argonaut, they managed to collect $1,424.00. Thank you generous Rocklin residents for helping buy their special treat. Thank you Brock and Olivia for making all of us so proud! *Special thanks to Deborah VanLiew for letting us know about this wonderful, heartwarming story!
#rusdPROUD: Rocklin High Alumni headed to 2016
Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after he earns
his place on the Team USA Pole Vault Squad!
by Diana Capra
Communications and Community Engagement
July 2016
2009 Rocklin High School graduate Cale Simmons has landed a spot on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team in the Pole Vault competition! And to those who know him in our corner of the world, he is already considered RUSD Gold!
Cale, following graduating from RHS, went onto the US Air Force Academy where he graduated in 2013. Last September, he was able to leave his Air Force contracting unit at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to take part in the Air Force’s World Class Athlete Program. This incredible opportunity allows superior athletes to train full-time for the Olympics. “It’s a great program. I’m super grateful to be part of that team,” Cale said during a phone interview from Colorado Springs, Colorado a few days after he officially made the U.S. Olympics Team on July 4th.  Amazingly, Cale had been removed from any kind of athletic involvement for almost 3 years at his contracting job so he has been rigorously training since September. His hard work paid off on Independence Day at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon when he made the U.S. Olympic Team by clearing the bar at 5.65 meters-18 feet, 6.4 inches in the men’s pole vault finals. “I am so excited! It was one of the most memorable moments I ever had in my life. My mom was crying, my sisters and my dad were there so my family surrounded me! It was so much to take in and so powerful,” Cale said. “Once you make the top three and you get to go to Rio they hand you a little American flag and tell you to do a victory lap. My family was in the stands and seeing them there was one of the greatest moments of my life! Super cool.” He is still getting hundreds of text messages and his Facebook page “keeps exploding!” “I am still so happy. I’m still on a high and I don’t think that’s ever gonna leave me!” He also gave a shout out to RUSD and specifically coaches like Matt Bumgardner for their guidance!
Voices from RUSD family who knew Cale when…
RHS Coach Matt Bumgardner: "I couldn't be more excited for Cale. It was an honor and a privilege to coach him in the sprints while he was at Rocklin High School. To be honest, I'm not surprised at all by his making the U.S. Olympic Team. He was absolutely an elite, all around high school athlete. He ran with the sprint team at times and even with minimal sprint training (due to extensive pole vault training) he was also a member of the league champion 4x100 relay team and even picked up a 2nd place in the 200 meter dash at the league championship. I was always impressed by Cale's strong mindset. I am confident that this will be an asset for him as he competes in Rio. He always had fun, never seemed to get rattled in competition and always cheered on his fellow competitors.  It was so much fun coaching Cale because of how funny and energetic he was. I just can't say enough positive things about this tremendous young man. All of Rocklin and the rest of the United States will be rooting for him in the Olympics!!!"
Coach Pereira: “I coached Cale and Robbie for four years. I was their cross country coach, but I take no credit for the Pole Vault. They were also very good cross country runners, and Cale ended up becoming a very good sprinter in track so he was not just known for his pole vault. Great kid and family. My fondest memory of Cale and Rob was during a cross country meet at Folsom HS. Someone on the team had thrown a Frisbee on the roof of one of the classroom buildings. Any normal person would have needed to have a few people lift them up so they could get on the roof--not Cale. He just scaled the wall with ease and was up on the roof in a matter of seconds. This is how athletic, wiry, and strong he was. Really excited for him and I wish him the best at the Olympics!”

Antelope Creek Elementary Coach/Teacher Peter Davis: “I worked with the Simmons family at Antelope Creek when he was a student there. He began his "track and field" experiences on the field at AC with the flying Falcons. Adam Salinger, Jenn Dunn and myself coached the team for several years. He was a hard working and dedicated young man. Not surprised in the least to see him at the biggest stage for athletics. I'm certainly rooting for him.”

Antelope Creek 6th grade Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher Gloria Chesbro: “Cale was tall, quiet, great sense of humor. I also taught his twin brother and older sister Rachel. Wonderful family! So excited for Cale and the whole family.” This special note-Cale’s twin brother, Air Force 1st Lieutenant Rob Simmons also a standout athlete and pole vaulter is now a C-17 pilot stationed at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. Their sister Rachel is also a pole vaulter and Air Force Academy graduate.

RHS Sr. English Teacher Angela Parker: “I’m so excited for Cale! I remember his quirky sense of humor and amazing work ethic! I also remember his dedication to the sport, so much so that he missed graduation to compete in the state championships. What an accomplishment for him!”

Antelope Creek Elementary Teacher Patricia Shier:  “I too am very excited for Cale. I was Cale's Kindergarten teacher. He was always a sweet, smart, fun loving, terrific student. He was always very creative and inquisitive. I have had the privilege of working with the Simmons family many times. I had Cale in my class as well as two of his younger sisters. They are a fabulous family and I am so thrilled for Cale!

Speaking of terrific alumni, all our former students are appreciated! Are you one? If you are, let me know a favorite memory, staff member, class, experience! We love to take trips down memory lane with good thoughts of appreciation for our staff who work so hard to provide the educational excellence RUSD is known for!!  Email me at Thanks!

And thanks Cale for providing the awesome pictures!

Check out the wonderful coverage Cale received in The Sacramento Bee:
Check out the beautiful pieces created by our own Whitney High School students! They are just some of the handmade fused glass items made by Art III/IV students at Whitney High. The night lights contain book page poetry that students compose. After they complete the book page, they are taught to fuse their own unique imagery into the glass. The necklaces are made after the night lights. Students learn the scientific properties of glass and they actually see physics in action! They start with sheets of glass, which they learn to cut, fuse at 1500° degrees!

Art history paper mache masks like these are also so amazing!

Special thank you to Deborah Lane, Fine Arts Instructor Extraordinaire (Art I, II, III, IV, Honors Art, and AP Studio) for the beautiful pictures and details!

Colored Pencil Paintings Art III/IV
These are hand drawn using Prismacolor which are artist quality colored pencils. All subjects have personal meaning to the artist. Each piece is 10" X 10" on fine art bristol board.
                           Kira DeWitt                                               Rene Pono
                   "Personal Supplies"                                                   "First 2-Wheeler"
                  Roberta Romans                                     Sarah Sage
       "From the Mind Springs Creation"                                             "My Fist Keys"                             
Art II Longboards
Once students learned to create every color with just red, yellow, and blue on their Art History Mask, they are ready to tackle work with more expensive materials. There is also an extra challenge here, which is how to successfully compose artwork on a uniquely shaped substrate.
Paper Mache Bug Specimens

RUSD Principal Gets Slimed!
June 2016
Oh my... what a dedicated principal will do for a million words read! Breen Elementary Principal Mr. Thibideau slimed by 35 top readers! Yeah! Thanks to Breen staff member Chris White for sending us this awesome shot!
June 2016
Check out the Placer County Office of Education featuring just one of RUSD's awesome school activities in a special upcoming video! Thanks staff: Vicki Brown and Megan Anderson for arranging the 4th grade square dance experts! #rusdPROUD Congrats again to Principal Shari Anderson, her wonderful staff, students and families for achieving the coveted CA Gold Ribbon School award!
May 2016
Check out yet another RUSD Success story featured in the Placer Herald!  The cool report, written by reporter Andrew Westrope, details the amazing things our students are doing in the High Altitude Balloon Club let by Instructor Bret Hunter.  "I am so proud of what these students accomplished. This a true capstone project that brings together all of the elements in the educational process of our K-12 district. It makes me wonder what my kindergartener will be creating when he reaches high school," says Hunter who also serves as Whitney HS Energy and Health Instructor, Engineering and ACE Mentoring Club Advisor and 2016 Class Advisor.
Next year, these students will be using CNC and 3D printing technology to reach their new goal of 100,000 plus feet.  Wow! Check out our newest section of our website called 'In the News', a place we put all news coverage of our wonderful people and programs here!
Congratulations 8th Grader From Granite Oaks
Middle School - Mridini Vijay! 2nd Place Winner
in the State!!!
May 2016
On Saturday, May 14, 2016, at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, 49 seventh-, eighth- and ninth- grade students from 26 counties throughout California competed in the 2015-2016 California State Junior High Spelling Bee Championship. Mridini Vijay, Granite Oaks Middle School students won second place! The California State Junior High Spelling Bee Championship was coordinated by the Marin County Office of Education.
Check out the official CA Spelling Bee Press Release!
Rocklin High School Broadcasting Crew Produce a
Series of Videos at Valley View Elementary
By Lilia Arnest
Communications and Community Engagement

May 2016
Our RUSD cameras captured our fantastic Rocklin High School broadcast students helping out the District with their tremendous talent! Rocklin High School students Bryson Jones and Cisco Gomez led by their instructor Jeremy Jeffreys, MA Rocklin HS Broadcast Teacher, are producing a series of special videos for Valley View Elementary. They are Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) videos which will be used to teach school and playground rules to the Valley View Students. Staff and kids will appear in the video early next year! We will post the video when it is complete!

Rocklin High School Baseball Head Coach Roc Murray Celebrated
at His Final Home Game

By Lilia Arnest
Communications/Community Engagement
May 2016
Mixed emotions filled the beautiful sunny day when RUSD staff, Rocklin High students, family and friends came together for his last game and special barbeque to celebrate Coach Murray’s final game after 22 years at Rocklin High School! The “Roc Murray Field” was also packed with baseball alumni and their families. It was a sight to see! All in honor of accomplished and beloved Coach Murray!

Some folks spoke of Coach’s amazing talent as a tremendous leader, others shared how Coach Murray influenced them personally. “Roc has been a stalwart in our baseball program since the beginning of Rocklin High School,” said Ryan Spears, Athletic Director of RHS. “Roc has been instrumental in teaching the important life lessons that student athletes learn from their participation in high school sports. His leadership and dedication to the student athletes of Rocklin High School will be truly missed.”

“Because of Coach Murray’s dedication to Rocklin High School and our baseball program our players are better people, our school is a better place, and our community is more caring and connected. He has been a driving force in establishing an excellence in education, never giving up on students both on and off the field,” said Davis Stewart, principal of RHS.

Coach Murray loves RHS kids and wants everyone to succeed. It was not just about the game, it was all about the kids. “It never really was about baseball,” said Mike Murray, Coach Murray’s son. “My dad has a strong commitment to helping students and his players. Because he is consistent, fair and caring, the players trust him. This trust allows him to have a positive influence. He always makes decisions that are in the best interest of the students above all other things.”

Juan Batula, teacher at RHS spoke highly of Coach Murray: “Roc, you touch a lot of kids lives, you helped model them by teaching them how to compete not only against an opponent, but themselves. You have a great gift and I am happy that I had the opportunity to be part of your journey. Thank you for helping me become a better teacher, parent and friend. Congratulations Roc!”

All present celebrating agree: Coach Murray is a true success story, a winner in life! It was only fitting The Rocklin Thunder baseball team won the game!
Check out the Placer Herald's feature here:

3 of our Elementary Schools Honored at Recent Board
of Trustee Meeting For Receiving
Gold Ribbon Awards!!!
May 2016
3 RUSD schools were selected to receive the 2016 California Gold Ribbon Schools awards. And the winners are: Rocklin Elementary/Principal Amanda Makis, Sunset Ranch Elementary/Principal James Trimble and Twin Oaks Elementary/Principal Sarah James have been recognized as 2016 California Gold Ribbon Schools!
The three elementary schools will be honored as Gold Ribbon Schools at a regional award ceremony on Wednesday, June 1, where the State Superintendent of Public Instruction presents each school with a 2016 Distinguished School plaque and flag. The events and awards are funded by donations from many of California’s most prominent corporations and statewide educational organizations. Schools applied for the award 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 local educational agencies. The Gold Ribbon Awards recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. These include the California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.
The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment and accountability systems. “I am thrilled to be named a Gold Ribbon School! It is a testament to the dedication and hard work the Bulldog staff put in everyday to ensure academic and social excellence for the students. I am so proud of our students and am lucky to have such an amazing and supportive school community," said Amanda Makis, Principal at Rocklin Elementary.
“We are honored by this distinction.  I’m happy to say that everyone on staff, as well as our families and students, work hard to make Twin Oaks a great place to be day in and day out! We have a strong tradition of truly wonderful people and programs focused on developing the whole child. As the first school in Northern California to implement the Leader in Me six years ago, we are continuously amazed by our students’ capacity for learning and leading,” said Sarah James, Principal at Twin Oaks Elementary. “Go Timberwolves!” Nearly 6,000 elementary schools were eligible to apply this year. RUSD Salutes the leaders, staffs and students at all our wonderful schools!

Rocklin HS Annual English Learner Shadow Day and
Celebration Lunch at Rocklin HS A SUCCESS!!
May 2016
Incoming EL freshmen were given a tour of the school by current RHS EL students and were invited to listen to an inspirational guest speaker by the name of Ixel Morell. The event ended with a celebration of success and awards were given to students who have become proficient in English.  

EL Teachers and Aides who organized the event include Laura Sellers, Adrienne Tacla, Christina Ballard, Christina Wilson, Rosa Blancarte Nettle, and Marilyn Brown; and was supported by RHS administrators Davis Stewart, Mark Douglas, counselor Tim Wirth, district personnel Leanne Crutchfield and EL Program Specialist Sarah Soares.  

Special thanks to Sarah J. Soares, ELD Program Specialist, CAASPP Coordinator at RUSD for this wonderful information!
Rocklin High School Student Wins
Donate Life Visual Arts Contest!
May 2016
Congratulations to Rocklin High School sophomore, Caleb DeSouza, the 2016 Donate Life Visual Arts High School Contest Winner! The Donate Life contest was open to High Schools in Northern California and Nevada.
Caleb's winning poster:

Donate Life is a non profit organ, eye and tissue transplant donor network serving nearly 4 million people in Northern California and Nevada. They offer an amazing public education outreach, in which speakers, who are transplant recipients, donor families, living donors, health care professionals, and those waiting for transplants, come to Rocklin HS every year and speak to the students about organ and tissue donation, and the positive impact transplantation has had on their lives. It is a very meaningful and positive program for our students and an important part of our Health curriculum.

If you're interested in learning more about Donate Life or becoming a donor, sign up at
Whitney Signing Day!
April 2016
On April 20th, 2016 the Whitney Athletic Department recognized eleven student-athletes that will continue on to the collegiate level and participate in athletics. The event featured coaches, parents, siblings, and friends as these student-athletes talked about what they learned from interscholastic sports, why they chose to attend the college they did, along with remarks from the coaching staff about each athlete.
The eleven student-athletes are:
•    Josh Daniels (football) - Southern Oregon University
•    Megan Hunt (softball) - Williston State College
•    Ashley Hunter (soccer) - Minot State
•    Aidan Malm (baseball) - San Jose State
•    Shelby Miller (softball) - Rider University
•    Madison Mitchell (softball) - St. Lawrence University
•    Alex Muir (soccer) - Corban University
•    Zack Schall (water polo) - Concordia University
•    Jordan Sienkiewicz (cross country) - Point Loma Nazarene
•    Brian Sterri (golf) - Utah Valley University
•    Valerie Van der Linden (volleyball) - Whittier College
Special thanks to Whitney High School Director Of Student Athletics and Assistant Principal Jason Feuerbach for the terrific Information!

RUSD Librarian Receives an Award!
April 2016
RUSD Secondary Librarian, Anne Mangels, was honored as a 2016 “Seeds of Literacy” award recipient, Thursday, April 14, 2016, at a banquet held at Sierra View Country Club in Roseville. The event was sponsored by the Placer Area Reading Council and honored 11 individuals who have made a significant contribution to the field of literacy.  

At the event, each honoree was given an award and a special tribute by a fellow staff member. Jay Holmes, Principal of Granite Oaks Middle School, paid tribute to Anne and included some wonderful comments by fellow Granite Oaks Co-Workers.

“Anne inspires students and staff each day by promoting literacy on campus! She makes those incredible bookmarks by genre, and she provides support, resources, and a wealth of knowledge to teachers across RUSD," said Cindy Camillucci, 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher.

“She is so wonderful and truly an inspiration. She is someone who is extremely knowledgeable, helpful and kind. A true asset to our campus. A well-deserved acknowledgement," commented Laura Toretta, Counseling Secretary.

“Thank you Anne, for all the support you give our staff and students. Congratulations!" said Terry Hughes, Library Aide.
Anne was a children’s services librarian for a public library before getting her teaching credential and a classroom teacher for six years before moving to the RUSD. She has been with the RUSD for 22 years, starting as the Elementary Librarian in 1994 and in 1999, moving to her current position as the Secondary Librarian.
For more information on the Placer Area Reading Council, visit

Fantastic students bring together law enforcement,
school officials and Placer County Leaders in a
youth-led press conference highlighting youth
advocacy and prevention of underage drinking!
April 2016
It’s a community partnership showing results and amazing students are taking the lead for this life-saving movement!! The youth leaders of the Placer County Youth Commission held a special press conference at Whitney High School to highlight what youth are doing to shift underage drinking norms! These young people are working to change norms, move policies and to educate and engage their communities about steps they can take to lower underage alcohol use. April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Alcohol is a major contributor to teen death and injury, and with new research findings showing how alcohol harms the developing adolescent brain. Recent results from Placer County student surveys indicate that their prevention efforts, paired with those of schools, community, law enforcement and health, are creating significant positive change.       

Youth representatives of Friday Night Live chapters from Whitney High School and Rocklin High School broadcasting programs, Del Oro High School and the Placer County Youth Commission spoke about their activities, why preventing underage drinking is important to them and their hopes for the future. Efforts include video production, leadership by student athletes, countering social misperceptions, and advocating for social host ordinances that reduce the number-one way teens access alcohol, underage drinking parties. 
Special Guests included: Jim Holmes, Placer County Supervisor, Chief Ron Lawrence, Rocklin Police Department; Tammy Moss Chandler, Assistant Director, Placer County Health & Human Services; Shelley Rogers, Director Coalition for Auburn and Lincoln Youth; Christina Ivazes, Director Coalition for Placer Youth, Rocklin, Rocklin Unified School District Superintendent Roger Stock, RUSD Board of Trustees Greg Daley and Susan Halldin.
Last fall, PCYC was awarded a grant to support Friday Night Live (FNL) youth leaders in implementing a variety of strategies to combat underage drinking in their communities. The grant is provided through the California Friday Night Live Partnership, with funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. PCYC reached out to high school FNL clubs to support projects that would actively engage their peers, family members and community members in reducing underage drinking and the health and social problems that result from the behavior.
Students in FNL chapters at Whitney and Rocklin High Schools are creating underage drinking focused videos that target both students and parents.

For more information:
Placer County Youth Commission
11716 Enterprise Dr., Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 886-2811
Fax: (530) 889-6735

April 2016 Strikeout Cancer Game A Win for All!
Thanks Coach Dorchak!
By Diana Capra
Communications and Community Engagement
April 2016
The stage was set for what looked like a normal April baseball game. A sunny day on the diamond at Whitney High School! Whitney High School was slated to play Ponderosa High School but it was no ordinary game! In fact, you might call it extra-ordinary. Whitney HS Coach Rob Dorchak organizes this special tribute game for students to play in honor of someone in their lives battling cancer. The first pitch was symbolic and very special for those who participated. “When Coach Dorchak asked me to throw the first pitch in honor of my best friend Kimm Dekker who passed away in June 2015 it was such an honor to represent her. She loved sports, the staff and especially the students at WHS," said longtime RUSD employee Stacy Velasquez.

Mr. Wildberger will be throwing one out for his son Trevor and the Ponderosa coach will have his father throw a pitch in honor of his mom. The head coach at Ponderosa is a Rocklin High Grad and the Petersons still reside in Rocklin. Ponderosa head baseball coach, Ben Peterson, is a Rocklin Alumni who recently had his mom pass away from cancer. “The kids on both teams will be wearing special shirts for the game and will be wearing a dog tag in honor of someone who has fought or is continuing to fight cancer," said Coach Dorchak.   

“Coach Dorchak’s dedication to this program is outstanding. He provides this annual opportunity to let his student-athletes give back to the community through his baseball program and the response from everyone is overwhelming! The idea of giving people the chance to throw out the first pitch to honor their loved ones is wonderful. I get many positive comments when I wear my strikeout for cancer shirt in the community," said RUSD Superintendent Roger Stock.

Another RUSD tradition making a real difference!

RUSD Board of Trustee President Congratulates
Our Co-Champion Spelling Bee Superstars!
By Diana Capra
Communications and Community Engagement
April 2016
Valley View Elementary 6th grader Jasleen Bal and Granite Oaks Middle School 8th grader were recognized for their co-champion win at a special recognition event and RUSD Board President Greg Daley attended to show his support!  

The twenty-eighth Annual Placer County Spelling Bee. The Spelling Bee was held on Thursday, March 10th at the PCOE Seavey Center in Rocklin.  And it was exciting!  Over 250 students in grades four through eight competed in the Placer County written examination in January, with the top 10 scores moving on the Oral Finals on March 10th. Alan Shuttleworth, Professor of English at Sierra College and retired Placer County District Superintendent, once again served as the “Voice of the Spelling Bee”.  Professor Shuttleworth pronounced the words that the students had to spell correctly.

A new winner was crowned in each grade level throughout the day, starting with fourth grade, and ending with eighth grade. After the winners from each grade level were determined, those five individuals then competed in the Grand Finals at the end of the day to determine who will go on to represent Placer County in the State Spelling Bees.

For the first time in the history of the Spelling Bee, there was a tie in the Grand Finals. After battling each other neck and neck for nearly 60 words, sixth grader Jasleen Bal from Valley View Elementary School in Rocklin and eighth grader Mridini Vijay from Granite Oaks Middle School in Rocklin were declared the co-champions. Jasleen, as well as 5th grade champion, Abhinav Sharma, will now go on to represent Placer County at the California State Elementary Spelling Bee on April 23, 2016 at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Mridini, as well as the 7th grade champion, Melody Gill, will go on to represent Placer County in the California State Jr. High Spelling Bee on May 14, 2016 at the Marin County Office of Education.

“I still can’t believe that for the first time in the 28-year history of the Placer County Spelling Bee, we had a tie in our Grand Finals. However, after battling over 60 words one-on-one, it was the right thing to do. Both young ladies had more than earned the title of champion. They were incredible,” said Kindra Amalong, Placer County Spelling Bee Coordinator.

Congrats to all our super spellers!

Update: 'We won! Thanks to everybody who helped us!'
By Diana Capra
Communications and Community Engagement
April 2016
Breen Elementary is in the running-we need your help! Breen Elementary has a chance to win a garden makeover courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats and Green Acres Nursery. 
All you have to do to help us be chosen is go to the following link and "Like" Bobcats.  It’s so easy! The contest runs through this Friday.  There were only 3 schools picked as finalists!  Breen Mom Kim Dace entered the contest, beating out many other schools throughout Northern California! “When I submitted the entry, I wrote about "how important a school garden was. It wasn't about just planting and picking, but rather nurturing and taking care of something and watching it grow and thrive.  It's about trial and error and really about being patient and helping.  These concepts can be applied to more than just a garden, but to the lessons in life," Dace said! Wow! One Mom made a difference with those heartfelt words and now you can help Breen bring home the win…and a new garden!  
Please pass the word to neighbors, family, and friends! We thank you for your support! Our kids especially appreciate your help!!!
Check out these terrific kids and Moms volunteering at the Breen Garden!  Popular Morning TV show, Good Day showed, all 3 School finalists on the show today! PTC Volunteer and Mom Krista Sender did a fantastic job describing how important our Breen’s garden is.
Check it out here and then vote at link below!
PTC/Booster Club Presidents Meeting at the
Studio Movie Grill!
By Lilia Arnest
Communications and Community Engagement
April 2016
Thank you Studio Movie Grill for hosting our PTC/Booster Club President meeting and for donating lunch! The food was delicious!
The Rocklin Studio Movie Grill hosted our last 2015-16 PTC/Booster Club President meeting! Adam Kennedy, General Manager of the Studio Movie Grill in Rocklin, and his staff served us an amazingly delicious lunch! The Studio Movie Grill is a great supporter of our Special Needs students. They provide free Special Needs screenings for children with special needs and their siblings. Special needs screenings run with the lights up and the sound down so the children are free to laugh, play, sing and even dance while they watch movies. Their next Special Needs screening is scheduled for April 23, 2016. Please check out their website for more information:
Guest speaker Karen Garner, Director of Recreation, Arts, and Event Tourism Department at the City of Rocklin, gave an insightful look into the City and upcoming developments. She along with  RHS Mom/President Diana Ruslin who also wears a Rocklin City Councilmember hat both answered many interesting questions from our hardworking group of parents! Roger Stock, RUSD Superintendent, thanked the group for making our schools great enhancing our already fantastic programs with their dedication, fundraising and special programs making our kids’ educational experience a memorable one!

Thanks to all PTC/Booster Club Presidents for your dedication and hard work! You make a difference!

Monica Barnes, Antelope Creek Elementary School
Christi Jones, Breen Elementary School
Brie Amos, Cobblestone Elementary School
Holly Bray, Parker Whitney Elementary School
Krista Salerno, Rock Creek Elementary School
Laura Vaca Davila, Rocklin Elementary School
Andy VandenAkker, Ruhkala Elementary School
Jamie Wuerthner, Sierra Elementary School
Kate Apostoli, Sunset Ranch Elementary School
Janet Ligas, Sunset Ranch Elementary School
Amy Luiz, Twin Oaks Elementary School
Megan Klippel, Twin Oaks Elementary School
Patty Clark, Valley View Elementary School
Tammi Bezanson, Granite Oaks Middle School
Jamie Sears, Spring View Middle School
Diana Ruslin, PTC Presidents and Council Member, Rocklin High School
Kelli Remington, Whitney High School

Kinder's Learn by Rockin' Out and Making Monsters
at Cobblestone Elementary!
by Lilia Arnest
Communications and Community Engagement
March, 2016
If you walked into one of our Kindergarten classrooms you might be surprised! Our Rocklin Unified School District (RUSD) Kindergarten programs get high scores for going above and beyond the typical classroom environment! Our programs offer a variety of options including Physical Education, Science and Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA). So you might be asking - 'how do you keep little ones engaged for many hours?' How about letting them sign loud and proud or even give them the tools and guidance to make fun monster blobs! Cobblestone Elementary School's VAPA program has found a way to discover and to develop talents in our youngest students in a meaningful and fun way!!! Linda Donohue, our VAPA teacher, puts her heart and soul into educating little boys and girls through crafts, reading stories, singing and dancing! She teachers essential life skills and provides valuable learning through teamwork, arts, crafts, dancing, and singing!
"We are so fortunate to offer our kindergartners specialized Visual and Performing Arts instruction as part of their full day program! The benefits for children as part of a balanced educational program are immeasurable. Our teachers see that the art, music and dance students experience not only contributes to well rounded students but affords children with strengths in these areas the opportunity to shine! I don't know of any other district that is able to offer this to kindergartners the way we do! Our students cheer when they find out it is a VAPA day and love singing songs, and 'doing fun art stuff'!" said Kathy Goddard, Principal at Cobblestone Elementary School.
RUSD believes in the importance of a well rounded education focused on personal development as well as academics. VAPA is one way we continue to build well-rounded individuals. Visual arts in our TK/K programs are actually a part of the basic curriculum. Students have many opportunities to discover and to develop their talents. This is one of the reasons why our district is continually recognized as one of the most outstanding school districts in California and the United States! This year kindergarten students will also be attending full-day kindergarten classes district wide! Your child will benefit from many programs such as VAPA to enhance their learning, including art, musical, and physical education. We are #rusdPROUD of our well experienced, enthusiastic teachers who support and encourage our wonderful young learners!

Every 15 Minutes: Learning to Prevent a Tragedy
An Emotion Filled Event at Rocklin High School
By Lilia Arnest
Communications and Community Engagement
March, 2016
Rocklin High School held its annual two-day Every 15 Minutes assembly. The students were exposed to the dangers and potentially fatal consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol. This wasn’t any ordinary assembly.  It was a dramatic, heart-wrenching presentation. An emotionally charged program. Many students had tears streaming down their faces.  
“Our Every 15 Minutes program allows an opportunity for our students to understand a realistic and real nature of the impact of drinking and driving has on their friends and their families, “ said Jill Meshwert, EFM coordinator and an assistant principal at Rocklin High School.  “We hope that our students reflect and process through this day and are able to take and encourage their friends and others that they know to make the right decisions as they will forward in life.”

The nationally recognized program involved students portraying accident victims and drunk drivers. Every 15 Minutes challenged students to think about the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved.   “It has a really big impact on our students because everyone comes together within the community to do a really good job and make it as realistic as possible and it’s people we can relate to… it’s all around us. People need to make smart decisions. It affects us in different types of way. Everyone did a really good job.” – said Logan Bik, Rocklin High School student.

“This two-day event would not be possible without a collaborative effort by our RHS team, California Highway Patrol, Rocklin Police and Fire departments, Placer County Sherriff’s Department, Sutter Roseville Memorial Hospital, Heritage Oaks Memorial Chapel and our student/parent participants. We are grateful that these agencies, people, parents, and students have given their time to make this impactful event a learning experience for our school community”, said David Stewart, Principal of Rocklin High School.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the moving Every 15 Minutes program possible and absolutely amazing!


Video produced by Rocklin High School Broadcast students under the direction of Instructor Jeremy Jeffries, MA.


Whitney High School Future Business Leaders!

February, 2016
The Whitney High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) attended the Northern Section Leadership Conference at Williams High School on February 6th, 2016.  Whitney High was able to send seven competitors and representatives to enhance their business education and reinforce curriculum and aspirations to pursue further business undertakings and degrees.  Six of the mature and professional Whitney students earned tickets to the State Leadership Conference in Ontario, CA in April.   The students qualified in Accounting, Entrepreneurship, and Management Decision Making.  Whitney will also have competitors enter at the State level in Emerging Business Ideas, Business Ethics, and Desktop Application Publishing. Students placed in their events in team and individual competitions.  The next round will have presentations, competitions, and tests to hopefully earn a place at nationals.  

"Our chapter hopes to grow in subsequent years, and open chapters at the middle school level to better prepare our youth for their future business endeavors. I am extremely proud of our students and the effort, professionalism, and dedication they are demonstrating.  It speaks volumes about the education and experiences they have received at Rocklin Unified School District," said Brian M. Pointer, Whitney High School Accounting and Mathematics teacher and faculty advisor to FBLA.


Three RUSD Win Top Teacher Honors!
February, 2016
And the winners of the 2016-2017 Placer County Teacher of the Year awards go to…..Michelle Hutton, a 6th grade teacher at Rock Creek Elementary School, Justin Thayer, 7th grade Science at Granite Oaks Middle School and Scott Collins, 10th grade AP World History/12th grade Economics and Government teacher at Whitney High School! The three are being recognized for their many outstanding qualities. Winners of this award are those who have gained the respect and admiration of students, parents and co-workers. They play an active role in their communities as well as their schools, often distinguishing themselves as leaders.
Aside from the ways Michelle, Justin and  Scott have gone above and beyond on so many fronts ranging from being involved in the District’s RETT (Rocklin Educational Technology Team) committee to both being lifelong learners when it comes to professional development, these teachers were all praised in the award nomination process for their motivational personalities, encouraging and inspiring both students and staff daily.
Michelle exemplifies the essence of an outstanding educator. She was hired in the Rocklin Unified School District in 2005 as a 4th grade teacher. She became an instructional leader not only at her grade level , site level but also at the District level. Michelle is involved in our Leader in Me program as an advisor to student leadership and is instrumental in Rock Creek obtaining Light House status which is the highest recognition by the Stephen Covey organization. She has conducted service learning projects with Blackberry Creek Animal Farm Sanctuary with Rock Creek Elementary and our community. She has also contributed to making lasting memories for her students every year at the Sly Park Science Park.
Justin goes above and beyond as a Granite Oaks Middle School Science Teacher! He started the garden program at the school and uses it to teach all sorts of curriculum even involving families as well as staff who get to take part in this fantastic program! Justin is always reinventing, re-tooling and looking for new opportunities regarding science related enrichment activities with his students!
Scott came to us highly recommended from a district in Southern California. He was willing to attend AP World training immediately upon hire. He now is instrumental in moving Whitney’s solid AP World program forward and it continues to thrive. Scott has already established himself as a respected teacher and supporter of students. He creatively engages in the classroom and outside the classroom. He also goes above and beyond at rallies by putting himself on the ‘floor’ for the students.

The judging process is quite elaborate. Once an RUSD committee nominates our choice in categories K-8 and 9-12, the PCOE brings a selection committee that consists of retired administrators and the Community Affairs Director to do an actual site visit to see the teacher in action. This committee also does a 30-minute interview with the teacher to get to know them and talk about what they saw during the site visit. The PCOE selection committee then chooses one teacher in each category as the winner. One of our teachers will represent Placer County in the state competition.

RUSD Cabinet members, site leaders and Superintendent Roger Stock surprised each teacher in t heir classroom to give them the news they won Teacher of the Year! Their students also were able to share in the excitement. Michelle, Justin and Scott will also be honored at a Board of Trustee meeting with recognition and at an event hosted by the PCOE this spring. Congrats Michelle, Justin and Scott for being terrific RUSD Success Stories!


 2016 First PTC President/Booster Club Meeting Sparks

Ideas, Concerns and Suggestions!

By Diana Capra, RUSD Director-Communications and Community Engagement


January, 2016
We held our first PTC / Booster Club President meeting for 2016 and first, let me shout out a big THANK YOU to the dedicated parents and families who volunteer to make our schools great!  Fundraisers like movie nights, special dances and science labs not only enrich our student’s learning environment, the money raised helps our schools continue to provide the best education experience possible for our kids! Wow-what a powerful, dedicated group!!  I have been on the job now almost 3 months and met some amazing families. The purpose of this first meeting was to get to know all the leaders of our terrific Parent/Teacher groups and get some feedback and suggestions. Our LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan) Program Specialist Melanie Patterson  spoke to the group about the tremendous value our family’s input is to RUSD. RUSD Mom and founder of School Apptitude, Carin Lane, also made a presentation about the service she offers. Many of our PTC groups have already been able to raise funds by using Lane’s App.

Two wonderful community minded businesses made the lunch special: The Window Box Café in Rocklin donated the delicious meal for our hardworking group and Shiseido Cosmetics (Macy’s Roseville Galleria) also donated some keepsake products for our attendees. Next meeting will be at Studio Movie Grill who also agreed to donate to our hard working parent group!  Check out this link to their wonderful Special Needs Screenings they provide for local families!

Be sure to check this section often for RUSD success stories and links to news coverage we have been getting because of our terrific families, staffs and, of course, outstanding students!

 Journalism Hall of Fame
December, 2015
In 2015 thirteen of our students from Whitney High School attended National High School Journalism Convention in Orlando, Florida.
They collaborated with students from Virginia and Minnesota in a team storytelling event to report live from Walt Disney World. Within a span of just a few hours, this group of 49 students wrote, photographed and shot video with students they had just met, working in teams of 5-6, and they produced more than 20 different story packages online ( and then, the next day, did a “show and tell” session of the digital media they produced in order to critique and reflect on the experience. It was a great way to practice their journalism skills outside our normal atmosphere.

At the convention, the Whitney High School yearbook, Details, was inducted to the National Scholastic Press Association Hall of Fame for 10 consecutive years of All-American ratings in national contest/critique.

In Best of Show competition, with 6,100+ students attending the conference, Details yearbook won Third Place and The Roar news-magazine won Seventh Place.

Individually, theses students competed on site and placed in National Write-off Contests:

-    Sierra Young: Honorable Mention, Newswriting
-    Karrah Codero: Superior, Yearbook Theme Design
-    Abigail Hammond: Honorable Mention, Yearbook Layout
-    Jocelyn Hanks: Excellent, Yearbook Photography
-    Kacie Nicholson: Honorable Mention, Theme Photography
-    Missie Caracut: Honorable Mention, Newsmagazine Layout
-    Rachel Marquardt: Excellent, Review Writing

And probably the best part was that three of our editors were selected to present an instructional session on the program. They taught a 50-minute class called “5 Ways to Boost your Media Program” and were articulate, professional and brilliant in the ideas they shared in the presentation to other convention attendees. They spent the past few weeks putting together the slideshow presentation, visual examples and takeaways to share with peers from all around the country. Their session was packed, and kids stood in a long line afterward to meet them and ask follow-up questions. The student presenters were Olivia Grahl, Sarah Martinez and Jocelyn Hanks.
Congratulations WHS students for your excellence in Whitney High Student Media and for this awesome recognition!

We appreciate your support, especially in terms of conducting photo shoots and interviews to tell the important stories at Whitney High School.
CA-954 Air Force Junior ROTC Team Takes Championship Trophy
November 2015
The CA-954 Air Force Junior ROTC program continued its unparalleled success in drill competitions as the team took home the Championship Trophy for Overall First Place at the 2015 TITAN Invitational Drill Meet on Saturday, Nov 7 at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento. This year’s team is represented by 38 cadets, 32 of which are Whitney High School (WHS) students and 6 Rocklin High School (RHS) students. The team captured eight First Place trophies and two Second Place trophies. The Unarmed Drill Team led by Cadet Captains Jack Scaglione and Jazmyne Metzler amazed the spectators as the team took First Place in all three of their  categories (Inspection, Standard Drill and Exhibition Drill). Cadet Kyle Rhoades  (WHS) took home First Place in the Individual Unarmed Drill Down event having competed against 100 other cadets from around the state. Connor Rainey (RHS) and Collin Santos (RHS) finished 4th and 5th in the Individual Armed Drill Down.  

The team is now preparing for the Rio Linda Drill Meet scheduled for Jan 23, 2016. We will use it as a stepping stone for the Northern California (NORCAL) Invitational Drill Meet Championships in April where we hope to repeat for the fifth straight year.