Ukiah Unified School District

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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

School Desk Blog: Great Things

It’s on! Let the learning begin! The 2022-23 school year has started, and everyone at Ukiah Unified is overjoyed to welcome our students back. One of my favorite times of year has always been the beginning of a new year. Seeing the buses roll out on the first day and all of the smiling faces of returning students gives me great joy. Ukiah Unified School District has many great things to be thankful for and proud of; it would be difficult to list them all, but I want to tell you about a few.

Partnerships with the City of Ukiah Summer Safari Program, SPACE, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Ukiah helped us serve over 1000 middle school students involved in our summer school program. We currently serve around 1100 students with the same programs during the regular school year. We want to help our students in every way, including providing them with meaningful extracurricular and enrichment activities.  It is crucial to provide a variety of activities because, for many of our students, these activities connect them to school and keep them coming back every day beyond the academic programs. Many of the Summer Safari counselors are our high school students, which helps them develop strong job skills and creates a bond between our students and our community.  The Summer Safari, Boys & Girls Club, and SPACE programs exemplify what school districts can do through strong community partnerships.    

Big Picture Ukiah @ South Valley High has most of its students involved in internships and mentorships around our community. South Valley High School is involved in an alternative education program called Big Picture Ukiah. This program is a student-centered learning system where students pursue their interests with a community of educators, local professionals, family members, and fellow students. Each student is urged and supported to complete a local internship working closely with a mentor and learning in their community. Based on previous years, Big Picture Ukiah will have 75 - 85 students involved in local internships this school year. Many students complete more than one internship, and the staff expects around 120 internships this year! Please email College and Career Specialist Adriana Franco at [email protected] if you have internship opportunities at your organization or want to become a mentor.

Career Technical Education (CTE) at Ukiah High School is Thriving. As I write this, we have 1094 Ukiah High School students involved in 17 CTE Pathways! We just added a new CTE Pathway for Administration of Justice. Jay Montisonti’s Machine Tool class at Ukiah High started building parts for NASA’s International Space Station last year. Now our Fashion students are getting ready to work with NASA sewing gear bags for astronauts! Ukiah High School teacher Brendan Turner will teach an internship class this year, providing our CTE students with the knowledge necessary to go out and get a job in their field of interest by helping them find internships at local businesses or organizations. If you have internship opportunities at your business or organization, contact Brendan Turner at [email protected] or call 707.472.5875.

I am incredibly excited and proud that Pomo Language classes are now offered at Ukiah High School in addition to Spanish and French! The class is open to any Ukiah High student wishing to learn the Pomo language. Sherwood Valley Rancheria tribal member Buffie Schmidt teaches two levels of Pomo Language classes that have been approved as A-G College Entrance World Language classes. In year one, students learn how to introduce themselves, form simple conversations, animals, colors, numbers, and Indigenous names for local places. They are also taught lessons in basketweaving, clapperstick making, whistle making, acorn, and soaproot processing, and guests present oral histories of their tribes. Year two students learn about traditional medicines, work on a children's book and continue to perfect the Northern Pomo Language. 

Sports are underway at our secondary schools, and everyone is thrilled to get back to full seasons, competitions, and matches without the many restrictions we endured throughout the pandemic. I encourage you to get out and attend a few sporting events to support our student-athletes. Ukiah Unified families have free admission to all Ukiah Unified sports competitions and musical performances this year. Follow this link to find Ukiah High School Sports information and schedules. And don’t forget to congratulate Ukiah High School Varsity Baseball for winning the North Coast Section Division 2 Championship! 

Ukiah Unified has much to be proud of, and our future is bright, so please attend our Back-To-School events to experience the magic of our schools for yourself. You can visit classrooms, meet teachers, ask questions, learn how to help your children at home, and find out what’s in store for the upcoming school year.

Back to School Event Calendar 

Calpella, Tuesday, September 13, 5:30 p.m.

Eagle Peak, Tuesday, September 20, 6:00 p.m.

Frank Zeek, Monday, September 12, 5:30 p.m.

Grace Hudson, Thursday, September 15, 6:00 p.m.

Nokomis, Tuesday, September 27, 5:30 p.m.

Oak Manor, Wednesday, September 28, 6:00 p.m.

Pomolita, Thursday, September 29, 6:00 p.m.

South Valley High School, Thursday, October 6, 5:00 p.m.

Ukiah High School, Wednesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m.

UISA, Thursday, September 22, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Yokayo, Thursday, September 15, 5:30 p.m.

Homecoming is right around the corner, which like the first day of school, is another of my favorite times of the year. You’re invited to the public Homecoming celebrations at Ukiah High School. Homecoming Week is October 3 - 7, 2022. The parade and football game will be on Friday, October 7. Come out and feel the excitement and see the joy on our students’ faces and in their eyes as we celebrate Ukiah High School's homecoming traditions!  

I appreciate your partnership in educating our students, and please reach out to me at [email protected] with any questions. Thank you for everything you do to support our students as we start a new school year!