Share your pride!
The Monthly Bulletin highlights accomplishment, engagement, progress, and success for and within the San Lorenzo Unified School District (SLZUSD). The bulletin is distributed monthly to employees, student families and community members throughout the school year. Please send information and photos to [email protected].
Our district is off to its strongest
start in many years, thanks to all
The opening weeks of the 2023-24 school year have made me proud and also grateful for our families and their enthusiastic support of our students, schools and staff. All of our school-site administrator positions are filled, with strong additions to our leadership team. Thanks to a strong hiring trend, our teacher and non-teaching positions are well staffed across the district, and recruitment efforts continue to benefit from a two-year, 20% increase in pay and benefits. (Pictured: Dr. Camp on Aug. 19 with students in Susana Rojas’ first-grade class at Hillside Elementary School.)
Our principals led informative and well-attended Back to School Night events from Sept. 13-23, each with its own unique character. On Aug. 24, we celebrated community-approved modernization of our schools at all levels with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Lorenzo Manor Elementary School (pictured), and we look forward to similar events as we open new classroom buildings at San Lorenzo and Arroyo high schools early next year.
Our assistant superintendents and I were pleased to highlight these and other milestones during a Virtual Town Hall for families and employees on Sept. 18. Be sure to join us on Oct. 16 for a second community town hall via Zoom, starting at 6:30 p.m. (employee session at 5:30). Additional town halls are set for 6 p.m. on Jan. 31 and April 24, using the same link. Thank you for all you do to ensure that the San Lorenzo Unified School District remains a place Where Leaders Grow!
- Daryl Camp, superintendent
Help us share inspiring stories of
SLZUSD’s striving young alumni!
We are pleased to introduce a new and ongoing Alumni Showcase feature to share and celebrate the accomplishments, milestones and adventures of San Lorenzo Unified School District graduates over the past 10-15 years, including the Class of 2023.
Tell us about a family member, a former student or someone else you know from our community who graduated from SLZUSD and is actively pursuing their goals in college, career and life, either locally or elsewhere.
These stories may feature current employment and/or post-high school academic studies in a wide array of trade, technical and professional fields, including military service, as well as travel, public service and more. When you share your Alumni Showcase nomination, please include that person’s contact information and a photograph if possible and also indicate whether the graduate is willing to be interviewed and featured in district media.
Email information and questions to [email protected]. Thank you for helping us highlight the many diverse stories of our world-changing graduates!
Large and diverse Latino population
makes Hispanic Heritage Month special
In one way or another, every month is Hispanic Heritage Month in the San Lorenzo Unified School District, although Latin American history and culture will continue to receive special recognition through the annual observance that officially ends on Oct. 15.
Sixty percent of students identify as Latino, and 39% speak Spanish at home. Latino students and families continue to move into SLZUSD, not only from Mexico but also from such Central American nations as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Among the 2,539 students in the district’s program for English language learners, 75% are Spanish-speakers, and 58% of the 216 immigrant students in the Newcomers program are from Latin American countries.
This segment of the district’s richly diverse population is appreciated and supported in a number of ways, including family organizations such as the districtwide Latino Family Advisory Council; student clubs like those at Arroyo and San Lorenzo high school; and Spanish-English dual-language immersion starting with transitional kindergarten, as well as comprehensive translation services, adult school ESL classes, preschools and more.
Also, Spanish-speakers have been prominent among the Promotoras de Salud program, which over the past two years has trained 36 parents or guardians to provide health and promotion in their own communities.
Environmental science students at Bohannon Middle School observed Hispanic Heritage Month the week of Sept. 18 by preparing and sampling Mexican salsa made with tomatoes and peppers they picked from their own school garden. The learning continued with a video about salsa and its origins and a discussion about the expression of culture through variations in salsa ingredients. (Pictured: Bohannon science teacher Amber Vijeh fills bowls with salsa on Sept. 21.)
Celebration plans elsewhere included a Latine Heritage Assembly and Latin dance and music at East Bay Arts High School, and parents at Arroyo High School kicked off the month on Sept. 14 with a meeting to launch a new Padres Unidos group at the initiative of Principal Angela Webster. Read the full story.
Ribbon-cutting celebrates $213 million
in bond-funded school improvements
The greater San Lorenzo community joined with the San Lorenzo school district on Aug. 24 to celebrate a 15-year, $213 million school-site modernization that includes new and renovated classrooms and libraries, heightened security, parking and family drop-off areas, playgrounds, athletic fields, upgraded restrooms and roofing.
The afternoon event at Lorenzo Manor Elementary School featured a ribbon-cutting to dedicate a three-classroom building (pictured below) completed in 2020, with student speaker Leia Carranza, a fifth-grader, joining in the ceremony (pictured at left), along with Principal John Shimko.
District voters in 2018 approved the $130 million Measure B bond with 68% support. In 2008, Measure O, for $83 million, passed with 74% of votes cast, and in 2004, voters approved Measure E, totaling $49 million, also with 74% “yes” support. Future bond needs may include heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, as well as additional infrastructure to teach students about rapidly evolving technology, such as artificial intelligence.
"We can never say ‘thank you’ enough for the voters' confidence and belief in the absolutely vital work we do as a district," said School Board President Kyla Sinegal. Board trustees Penny Peck, Alicia Gonzalez and Juan Campos also took part.
Additional ribbon-cuttings are anticipated in early 2024, when students move into nearly completed classroom buildings at the district’s two comprehensive high schools, San Lorenzo and Arroyo. Two buildings with a total of six classrooms at SLzHS will replace nine current portable classrooms, and an eight-classroom building at AHS will allow for removal of 12 portables.
Including more work this fall, all of San Lorenzo’s elementary and middle schools will have new security fencing, electronic door locks, access controls and video intercom systems; renovated restrooms with full American Disability Act compliance and updated facilities for special education; new roofing and gutters; new parent drop-off areas; and updated paths of travel for all school users. In addition, playgrounds have been resurfaced at Grant and Lorenzo Manor elementary schools.
Bonds O and E provided such improvements as new middle school gyms, new middle and high school science labs, new playground equipment, playground resurfacing and new and modernized libraries.
Vision to Learn continues screening
Students to catch eyesight challenges
Vision to Learn, a Los Angeles-based organization, will screen about 3,900 SLZUSD students this school year for vision problems and provide them with free prescription eyeglasses, if needed.
Screening has already occurred at Royal Sunset and Arroyo High schools and Washington Manor Middle School and is scheduled for Nov. 28 at Dayton Elementary School, Dec. 4 at Bay Elementary and tentatively on Jan. 11 at Del Rey Elementary. Vision to Learn visits different schools each year, with a priority on those serving a high percentage of low-income families.
As occurred Sept. 20 at Arroyo (pictured), students’ eyes are examined with a spot vision scanner that can detect common risk factors such as myopia and astigmatism in children as young as 6 months old. Based on those results, an estimated 56% of participating students will be referred for follow-up screening, and close to 900 will likely receive free glasses as a result. Parents are given a chance to opt out at each step.
“The ultimate goal of better vision for students is connected to our greater goals as a district, such as improved reading outcomes,” said Diana Maravilla, health and wellness coordinator.
Three student members serving on
San Lorenzo school board for 2023-24
The SLZUSD Board of Education has three student members this year, including two who were reappointed after serving during 2022-23.
The returning members are Arroyo High School senior Zahara Safiq and East Bay Arts High senior Camila Araya Guizar, and the new member is senior Faris Eltaki of San Lorenzo High. Superintendent Dr. Daryl Camp administered the oath of office to Araya Guizar and Eltaki on Aug. 1 (pictured with Dr. Camp), and Safiq was sworn in on Aug. 15.
Following interviews on May 24, the three were selected from among seven applicants by a panel that included board members, school-site and district administrators, students and bargaining unit representatives. The student members are expected to represent all students as they participate in board deliberations at meetings and serve on board committees.
“It’s amazing to see so many people coming together to support the new generation and support the needs of a lot of people that are often misrepresented or underrepresented,” Eltaki said after being sworn in.
Child Nutrition continually innovates
to better serve students and schools
The SLZUSD Child Nutrition program continues to innovate in order to best serve students, promote their health and wellness and encourage them to attend school to take advantage of the healthy and appealing offerings available at all school levels.
For example, new this year are made-to-order salad bars at San Lorenzo and Arroyo high schools (pictured, server Menerva Manlicon at Arroyo), where students can now request the items they want on their salad rather than being limited to a prepared salad. Choices include turkey and chicken, a variety of cheeses and fresh vegetables such as lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Oshinksi said the change was suggested by an Arroyo student. “He asked me if they could choose what goes on top of their food,” he said. “We thought it was a great idea, and now they can choose what’s on their salad.”
Also new this year is strategic menu planning to promote attendance on days when fewer students are regularly showing up, such as Fridays before three-day weekends. In partnership with Educational Services, Child Nutrition is offering popular items like cheesy bread with marinara sauce and chicken nuggets on those days so students have another reason to be in school, Oshinski said.
Another upcoming addition to food service options is a food truck, awaiting final review from the county public health department. This new equipment will enable Child Nutrition staff to prepare and serve at school sites and also serve meals in emergency situations.
Hillside teacher receives grant
to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion
Fifth-grade teacher Ashley Wells at Hillside Elementary School used funds from California Teachers Association grant to buy T-shirts, flags, classroom posters and books that demonstrate representation of LGBTQ+ students at the elementary level.
Wells said the Guy DeRosa LGBTQ+ Safety and Schools Grant from CTA, announced in August, recognized Hillside’s work to create safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ students at the elementary level. On Sept. 15, she and other teachers and staff displayed their solidarity by all wearing their “Rise Up for LGBTQ+ Youth” T-shirts. (pictured, with Wells seated at far left).
In her grant application, Wells wrote about what the funds would be used for and how the money could promote safety and understanding of LGBTQ+ students at Hillside. “When we come together as a school, our students feel as though we are all on the same team – that we are all there to listen and love them – and it allows for dialogue to open,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing!”
Arroyo ROP student places ninth in
national collision appraisal competition
Two Arroyo High School students who participated in the program, rising senior Anthony Osegueda and graduating senior Nicholas Rodrigues, competed the week of June 19 at the National Leadership & Skills Conference in Atlanta. Osegueda placed ninth in the nation in Collision Damage Appraisal, and Rodrigues placed 31st in Collision Damage Technology. They were joined at the event by Mt. Eden HS student Nestor Mendez and accompanied by their ROP instructor Daniel Pareja, a 1998 graduate of San Lorenzo High School, and Brigitte Luna, director of educational services for Eden Area ROP.
All three students qualified for nationals by winning gold at the SkillsUSA State Conference held April 13-16 in Ontario, with Rodrigues and Mendez receiving full scholarships to the one-year Universal Technical Institute in Long Beach. Rodrigues and Mendez were also named 2022-23 EAROP Students of the Year for Automotive Collision & Refinishing. Osegueda will continue as an ROP student in the coming year.
Arroyo graduate Dalene Chen won silver at state, also in Collision Repair Technology, and San Lorenzo High graduate Maryam Din took bronze in the Employment Application Process category.
Girl Scouts from San Lorenzo seek
to provide ‘period’ resources in schools
In pursuit of a Girl Scouts award for making a difference in their community, three students from San Lorenzo are determined to help peers gain confidence and avoid embarrassment as they cross a threshold of puberty.
The girls aim to improve availability of menstrual products at elementary, middle and high schools and promote menstruation awareness among students of all genders. They began their project in January after brainstorming ideas that would meet criteria for the Girl Scouts' Silver Award: local, impactful and sustainable.
All longtime members of Troop 33811 in San Lorenzo, the girls have assembled “Period Packs” to assist students just starting to menstruate, while also discouraging vandalism of menstrual product dispensers in school restrooms and raising money for new pad and tampon dispensers within individual stalls. In addition, they have created a website, mybodymyperiod.com, to help newly menstruating students connect with resources and provide factual information to all, boys included.
“One of the aspects of this project was to inspire other girls, so they feel like they can do something about the issues they see in their community,” said Mariah Main, a ninth-grader at Arroyo High School (pictured center). The other two Girl Scouts are fellow Arroyo ninth-grader Haylee Ijames (left) and Samantha O’Brien, who attends Anthony Ochoa Middle School in Hayward (right).
To discourage vandalism of hygiene-product dispensers in secondary school restrooms and destroying pads and tampons, the girls are working with Diana Maravilla, SLZUSD health and wellness coordinator, to print bright blue stickers for the dispensers that say, “Menstrual products should not be wasted, PERIOD.”
They have created an Amazon Wish List for the items in their Period Packs, at full story