Tag Archives: San Marcos Unified School District

San Marcos Unified School District is proud to announce District Employees of the Year

San Marcos Unified School District is proud to announce our three District Employees of the Year. Chosen from a group of SMUSD’s 2021-22 Employees of the Year from each department or campus, these three District Employees of the Year embody the passion and dedication to serving students and families and were nominated by their peers and supervisors:

Classified Employee of the Year: Ivy Keim, Occupational Therapist, Early Education Center
As an Occupational Therapist, Ivy brings her expertise to the youngest learners at SMUSD, providing meaningful interventions to develop their skills. Bringing a deep passion to her work, Ivy is known for always striving to do better which is only rivaled by her calming demeanor, kindness, and love for students. 
Certificated Employee of the Year: Kristen Engler, School Counselor, Richland Elementary
Returning to in-person learning posed some social emotional challenges and adjustments this year, and school counselor Kristen Engler never wavered in her support of students and staff alike. Throughout the process of guiding students through the transition, Kristen remained steadfast, always ready to help with kindness and empathy.

Administrator of the Year: Nathan Baker, Assistant Principal, Mission Hills High School
A dedicated and compassionate leader, Nathan is always ready and willing to do whatever is needed to create a safe, caring, and supportive environment for students and staff. An educator at heart, Nathan’s passion to see all students thrive has created lasting relationships and a culture of mutual respect on the Mission Hills campus.
For all of SMUSD’s 2021-22 Employees of the Year, please click here: https://www.smusd.org/news/what_s_new/s_m_u_s_d_employees_of_the_year

San Marcos Unified School District named 

2021-22 San Diego County “Race to Submit” 

District Champion 

The California Student Aid Commission announce winners, SMUSD ranked #1

The California Student Aid Commission (Commission) recently announced the winners of the Race to Submit statewide campaign, which aims to increase the number of financial aid applications for California high school seniors who complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA). In San Diego County, San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) has been named a DISTRICT CHAMPION for having the Highest Percentage of FAFSA/CADAA completions at 66%, placing them in first place in San Diego County in the Small District Category. 

“We are thrilled to have placed first in San Diego County,” said Dr. Andy Johnsen, San Marcos Unified Superintendent. “This clearly illustrates both our commitment to ensuring our students are prepared after high school, as well as the dedication of our school counseling teams.”

Additionally, SMUSD’s San Marcos High School was also recognized as one of two schools in the entire state of California to win the Race to Submit Champion award for 5 consecutive years. 

To view the Race to Submit data and rankings, click here.

San Marcos Unified School District opens enrollment for all students for the 2022-23 school year 

Feb. 7 enrollment opens for TK-12, for current, new, and transfer students 

San Marcos, Calif. Feb. 7, 2022. The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) is opening school enrollment for all grades, including Transitional Kindergarten, or TK, for all students actively looking to return or join the award-winning school district.

“We invite the community to discover all San Marcos Unified has to offer,” said SMUSD Superintendent, Dr. Andy Johnsen. “As an award-winning school district, we know many families move to the San Marcos community and surrounding cities to join SMUSD, and we welcome and encourage that.”

SMUSD also believes that by opening school enrollment for all grades and to all students, helps make the process more convenient for parents. “By shifting to an open enrollment date for all students, including those who are looking to transfer into our district, helps provide a more streamlined process for families and staff,” said Dr. Tiffany Campbell, Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services.

New this year to California is the Universal Transitional Kindergarten program announced by Governor Newsom in July of 2021. The goal is to allow all 4-year-olds in California the opportunity to attend TK by the 2025-26 school year. The state is implementing this with a phased-in approach, where each year new groups of children will become age-eligible to enroll in TK, allowing schools to slowly expand their capacity to more students each year. This coming 2022-23 school year, TK is available to children who will have his or her fifth birthday between September 2, 2022 and February 2, 2023.

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to continue to expand our TK program to our community and serve our families. Early childhood education is the foundation for a student’s academic development and provides benefits long into the future,” said Dr. Campbell. 

SMUSD will offer half-day TK, with a morning option or afternoon option, at every elementary school to students residing in the district. SMSUD will also be accepting requests for inter-district transfer students who are interested in attending an SMUSD school. 

For more information on enrollment, please visit: smusd.org/enrollment 

San Marcos Unified School District is leading the way in making 21st century learning a reality for all students

The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) is actively engaging the community in developing a Portrait of a Graduate, a collective vision that articulates the community’s aspirations for all San Marcos Unified students.

“Our mission is to ensure our students are challenged, inspired and poised to excel—as school leaders, we must continually ask ourselves what this looks like in our 21st century global economy,” said SMUSD Superintendent, Dr. Andy Johnsen. 

The district has recruited a dynamic Portrait of a Graduate Design Team, a working group of nearly 100 business & community leaders, local elected officials, parents, students and alumni, to discuss the relevant skills students need, and the aspirations our community has for our young people.

“We want to know what are the hopes, dreams, and aspirations our community has for our children, and what learning experiences will prepare them for the future—and we can’t do that alone,” says SMUSD Superintendent, Dr. Andy Johnsen.

Over the next few months this team will be meeting to embark on this important work which will help shape the future of education in San Marcos. 

The first meeting will be held tomorrow night:

Meeting Schedule:

Meeting 1: TOMORROW January 12, 2022, 5:30pm-8:30pm 

*Due to the recent COVID surges in our county and to provide the safest approach to our meeting, we will conduct this first meeting via Zoom.

Meeting 2: January 24, 2022, 5:30pm-8:30pm 

Meeting 3: February 9, 2022, 5:30pm-8:30pm 

Meeting 4: March 9, 2022, 5:30pm-8:30pm

“It’s essential that our district collaborates with our community to create a Portrait that describes what our students need to be ready for life,” said Superintendent Johnsen. “Success depends on more than just what you know, but also how you communicate, collaborate, innovate, and think critically.”

The district plans to share its progress of the Portrait of a Graduate work with families and community members. 

Submit your questions – The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a SMUSD Board Candidate Forum

The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Candidate Forum for the San Marcos Unified School District Governing Board candidates on Wednesday, October 7 from 5:00-6:30 pm. All candidates were invited to attend. The event is to be held via Zoom Webinars and is open to the public.
This is your opportunity to have your voice heard. The survey below allows you to submit a question or questions to be asked of the candidates. The Chamber’s Board of Directors will vote on all the submissions and the top three (3) questions will be asked of all the candidates. The candidates will receive the questions within 72 hours of the event.
Thank you for participating in this important election. The San Marcos Chamber is proud to facilitate this Forum for our members and the community. Please visit our website for information on the Chamber and to register for this event. The Forum will also be live-streamed on Facebook Live. http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07ehbl3wn4kffw5c17/a011mkfh8jpep/greeting

To The San Marcos Unified School District Community from Tiffany Campbell Ed.D

To Our SMUSD Community:

Last evening at the Regular Meeting of the Governing Board, it was announced that an amicable separation has occurred between Dr. Carmen García and the San Marcos Unified School District. Dr. García’s full goodbye statement can be read here.  We thank Dr. Garcia for her service to the District, its students, employees and community, and we wish her well in future endeavors.

In light of Dr. Garcia’s departure, I have been placed as Acting Superintendent while our district begins the process of transitioning to new leadership. I have had the privilege of being a member of the SMUSD community for fifteen years, serving as principal of San Marcos Middle School and San Marcos High School before moving to the district office to serve as Director of Secondary Education, Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Secondary Schools, and my current position as Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services.  My joy as an employee of this district has been eclipsed only by my joy of being a parent here as I have watched my daughter thrive in her elementary years at Joli Ann Leichtag and blossom into a self-confident seventh grader within the supportive environment of San Marcos Middle School.  It is through this lens, as a grateful employee and thankful parent within the SMUSD community, that I will work to serve as a collaborative partner with all of you as we move into the next phase of our school year.

I am happy to report that our Governing Board approved Safe School Reopening plans for both Elementary and Secondary schools, paving the way for a return to in-person instruction for our students when viable.  Details of the Elementary 2-Day Combo plan with possible phase-in timelines can be found here and the Secondary A/B Hybrid plan with its phases/timelines can be found here. Lastly, a discussion of questions and answers related to the safety protocols and instructional models that will be in place for the in-person return can be accessed here.

One additional note from our Board Meeting highlights.  Last night was the final meeting for Mark Schiel, our current Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.  Mr. Schiel has been an invaluable and trusted member of our SMUSD team for over five years; his knowledge, passion, and innovation has been an asset to our district.  As he transitions to his new role as Chief Business Official of Santa Clara Unified School District, I offer him a collective thank you from our district and a personal one from me; you will be missed.

As we ramp up our preparations for In-Person learning, you will be receiving additional communications in the upcoming days.

Warm Regards,

Tiffany Campbell, Ed.D

SMUSD Informational Webinar on the 2020/21 School Options Recording

Informational Webinar on the 2020/21 School Options recording
Dear SMUSD Parents,
As a follow up to tonight’s webinar, please visit the website link below to access the presentation and video recording. Both will assist with your family’s Learning Pathway selection: Remote Instruction to Start/In Person When Viable or Leading Edge Virtual School.

San Marcos Unified School District UPDATE 3/13/20

March 13, 2020

Dear San Marcos Unified School District Community,

Since the emergence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we have partnered with the San Diego County Office of Education and followed the guidance of the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services in order to ensure the safety and security of our students, staff and community. Based on current information, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in our district.

After careful deliberation and with the support of local public health officials, we decided to close our District schools effective March 16th through April 10th.  This includes the cancelation of all district events and activities on our campuses. We anticipate re-opening our schools on Monday, April 13th.

We know that schools provide many essential programs to our immediate community and understand that closing schools will cause challenges for many families. We thank our Child Nutrition Services Department who will be able to prepare and provide nutritious meals at all of our schools on a “grab & go” style on a daily basis. Meals may be picked up at each school from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Monday through Friday.

Beginning Monday, families and students are encouraged to access our Student Learning Activities tab located on our website. There, you will find resources to engage your children during the school closures. You will also find a School Closure Q&A section about the impact on student grades, SAT testing, among others.

We plan to send separate communication to district employees addressing our immediate next steps.

We will continue to monitor this very fluid public health situation and plan to provide updates during the course of our school district’s closure. In addition to district-initiated communication, please refer to our website (www.smusd.org) and social media accounts for updated information.

Thank you for your support and cooperation during this time.


Dr. García


COVID-19 SMUSD Community Update as of March 12, 2020

San Marcos Unified School District Community:

The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) takes the safety of our students and staff very seriously. SMUSD continues to closely monitor the situation regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We remain in close contact with public health officials and will comply with all of their guidance. The situation is continuing to change rapidly and this represents the most recent updates received from public health officials.

We have been advised by public health officials that closing schools is unwarranted at this time and could create unintended consequences that would hurt efforts to protect our community. Based on current information, there are no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in San Marcos Unified School District. Because schools are considered an essential service providing valuable instruction, meals, security and support resources to children and families, schools in the District are currently remaining open.

On March 11th, officials from the California Department of Public Health released new guidance that includes the following.

  • Large gatherings that include 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled. This guidance does not apply to activities such as attendance at regular school classes, work, or essential services.
  • Smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of 6 feet per person should be postponed or canceled. This includes gatherings in crowded auditoriums, rooms, or other venues.
  • A “gathering” is any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.

Based on this guidance, the San Marcos Unified School District is suspending all before and after school large gatherings, effective March 13, 2020 and through March 31, 2020. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • VAPA rehearsals and productions (drama, music, choir, band);
  • ASB events (dances, assemblies, large gatherings);
  • Fundraising events;
  • Community assemblies (flag salutes);
  • Middle School sports and practices;

District officials are working with CIF Southern Section and San Diego County superintendents regarding the status of all CIF events. We anticipate providing further guidance on March 13th regarding the status of all athletic event competitions and practices.

Principals are also being directed to suspend all non-essential meetings or gatherings, such as PTA meetings, class performances, open houses, and field trips within and outside of the District. Please look for communication from your principal about the cancellation of these events.

In addition, effective Friday, March 13, 2020, the San Marcos Unified School District is implementing visitor and volunteer restrictions. While the District greatly appreciates our parent and community volunteers, at this time non-essential visitors should be restricted on our campuses. Out of an abundance of caution, this includes volunteers and parents entering campuses for non- essential business.

All of the above suspensions are in effect through March 31, 2020. These suspensions will be updated in the future to determine possible extension into April 2020.

The San Marcos Unified School District will continue to operate our Kids on Campus (KOC), After School Education and Safety (ASES), and After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETS).

Parents/Guardians, continue to help us! If your child is sick, please keep them home from school. To help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, follow these important tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap is not available;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Stay home when you are sick and call your school to report fever or respiratory symptoms;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional; and
  • Get the flu shot, if you have not received it already.

We understand and share our community’s concern about student health and safety. Some families have asked about keeping their child home based on the concern or fear of contracting COVID-19 at school.

Although California Education Code attendance guidelines have not changed, it is a parent / guardian prerogative to keep their children home from school. The District will be suspending future SARB truancy letters. This suspension will continue through March 31, 2020. This guidance will be updated in the future to determine possible extension into April 2020.

The District plans to continue sending updated communication regarding this issue. The District also has a list of Frequently Asked Questions on its website which will be updated as needed.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and support.

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