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News & Updates

vusd superintendent Dr. Roger Rice
Marieanne Quiroz

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) Board accepted a letter of retirement from Superintendent Dr. Roger Rice, effective September 3, 2022, during the May 10 Board meeting. 

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) Board accepted a letter of retirement from Superintendent Dr. Roger Rice, effective September 3, 2022, during the May 10 Board meeting. 

  As the Superintendent who led the District through incredible gains and the pandemic, Dr. Rice worked to prioritize student achievement, innovation, access, and sound financial stewardship during his tenure. 

"The last two years have been exceptionally challenging for educators across the State. Yet, throughout the pandemic, Dr. Rice never wavered in his commitment to our community's children, their bright futures, and safety. Often working around the clock to problem solve in an ever-changing landscape, he led our District with honor, passion, and dedication,” stated Board President Sabrena Rodriguez. “We will forever be grateful for his time as our Superintendent. We wish him all the best in his retirement."

"For the success of every student."

Under Dr. Rice's leadership, the District has focused its attention on implementing systems and processes to ensure every student succeeds in the Ventura Unified School District. In addition, the District has focused on equity, alternative educational options, improving educational services, technology, facilities, fiscal responsibility, communications, and professional development during his tenure. 

Since Dr. Rice joined the VUSD team in 2019, VUSD has focused on equity and access by transitioning the District to becoming technology-driven, providing each student with a device and wifi when needed, and implementing the CANVAS content delivery system. In addition, new technology platforms were purchased, including:

  • Traversa, a new online bus routing system
  • Facilitoron, an online work order, and facilities rental system
  • Allovue, a budgeting software system allowing site administrators to view and monitor their budgets in real-time
  • ParentSquare and PeachJar platforms to streamline communications to parents/guardians
  • Launched all new school and district websites. 

"Access for every student."

Always a proponent of "access for everyone," Dr. Rice came in and started the Special Education District Advisory Committee, the African American Parent Advisory Committee, increased 

diversity in school and District leadership personnel, and adopted culturally responsible curriculum and instructional materials. In addition, he focused his attention on providing innovative programs for all students and ensured that all Career Technical Education courses would be A-G compliant. In addition, he envisioned and broke ground on a one-of-a-kind organic farm housed at Pacific High School, Sa'Aliyas Ranch, that will allow students to see all aspects of a successful agricultural farm, including the technology, finance, and marketing that goes along with running it. Finally, under his leadership, VUSD built a Business Advisory Board to ensure CTE courses utilized updated equipment and methodologies and created a pipeline for students into careers upon graduation. 

"Funding for students should be managed prudently."

Upon his arrival Dr. Rice began to right-size the District. Through attrition, Dr. Rice led Human Resources on a project to reevaluate every open position to determine if it was needed or if the resources may be needed in other areas. In addition, he led the 7-11 Committee process that declared several District properties surplus, allowing the District the freedom to consider renting, repurposing, or selling properties not currently being used for student learning. He also worked to support and pass the Parcel Tax Ballot initiative.

"Every student should have a choice."

Under Dr. Rice's leadership, the District opened up all schools to the Schools of Choice process, which now allows all families to put in for a lottery drawing for any school in VUSD they feel is the best choice for their child. This year, the District increased its K-8 offerings by opening Lemon Grove School and expanding ATLAS Elementary to K-8 for Fall 2022. In addition, he implemented the new FLEX program that allowed multi-site attendance and distance plus live classroom attendance for each student in the program. 

"Every student deserves access to excellent staff and teachers."

Under Dr. Rice's leadership, professional development opportunities grew exponentially. He saw talent within the District and began an Aspiring Administrators Academy that allowed current staff to learn from, be mentored by, and shadow the District's most exceptional administrators. He also implemented the VUSD Gratitude Awards recognizing employee, student, volunteer, and administrator excellence.

In addition to all of the above, Dr. Rice navigated the District through the COVID-19 crisis. He advocated ensuring that the State considered how decisions would impact students at the state level. He led the Ventura Unified staff to be the first District to return to full-time, in-person learning and offered multiple options for families who were not ready to return in person. 

Driven to educate and innovate, he was honored in 2022 with the Superintendent of the Year Award for Region 13 by the Association of California School Administrators. 

Dr. Rice will continue to serve as Superintendent until September 3, 2022. The Ventura Unified School District Board of Education will begin the hiring process immediately, beginning with searching for qualified candidates. 

VUSD Launches All New Websites!
Marieanne Quiroz

VUSD has launched all-new K-12 and district websites*. The launch of these new sites is the culmination of two years of communications platform upgrades for the District which also includes ParentSquare and Peachjar implementations. The new websites are now mobile-friendly, and families should notice a similar design to find things quickly when navigating between school and district websites.

VUSD has launched all-new K-12 and district websites*. The launch of these new sites is the culmination of two years of communications platform upgrades for the District which also includes ParentSquare and Peachjar implementations. The new websites are now mobile-friendly, and families should notice a similar design to find things quickly when navigating between school and district websites.
 
All information previously available on the old websites, including documents, has been updated and carried over to our new platform. Some features of our new sites include:

-new website designs, including updated school logos and colors and a modern concept

-better accessibility features 

-streamlined navigation for ease of use

-new platform that more easily allows our schools to update their sites

-icons on the home page to the most frequently requested items

-school calendar and news on the homepage of every site

You can find the District site at www.venturausd.org, and you can find a list of the schools with links to their new sites at https://www.venturausd.org/schools.

There are a few minor bugs the team is fixing, and we will complete those fixes as soon as possible. Phase 2 of our website upgrades will include more “bells and whistles,” including more video, graphics, and photos on the sites and adding additional content that was not on the original site.
  
*Ventura High School and Ventura Adult and Continuing Education will be launching their sites in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, several technical difficulties led to the postponement of the launch, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

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a watercolor of a young woman done by Pacific High Student Kimberly Perez
  • Arts
Marieanne Quiroz

After a challenging two years, the Ventura Unified School District and Museum of Ventura County are happy to announce that the annual VUSD Districtwide Student Art Show is back!

After a challenging two years, the Ventura Unified School District and Museum of Ventura County are happy to announce that the annual VUSD Districtwide Student Art Show is back!

Please join us in celebrating our young artists. The show will be held at the Museum of Ventura County through the efforts of the Ventura Arts Collaborative, a cooperative program of Ventura Unified School District, the City of Ventura, and the Ventura Education Partnership. The juried show will highlight our incredibly talented high school, middle school, and elementary school student artists.  In total, over 50 works by high school students have been selected from hundreds of submitted pieces – including watercolors, photography, acrylic paintings, mixed media, and pencil drawings.

Our Ventura public schools offer an incredible array of art education beginning in elementary school with curriculum-aligned art instruction for all students.  This continues in our middle and high schools where students explore a variety of artistic mediums. Students at Buena, Ventura, Foothill and Pacific High Schools study diverse artistic styles; art history, contemporary and classical artists, as well as ceramics and digital photography.  The caliber of these student artists is a testament to the investment our community has made into preserving and expanding Arts education.

According to Elena Brokaw, executive director of the Museum of Ventura County, “This partnership between the school district and the museum is a direct result of our community’s commitment to the Arts.  Ventura is a city where art and artists are celebrated and welcome. We are proud to be a part of this annual tradition.”

"With the passage of Measure Q, Measure R, and the passage of art specific parcel tax Measure H in 2020, the citizens of Ventura made it very clear that they believe in the value of art education in our public schools.  Preserving and supporting a diverse array of educational opportunities is very important to us as a school district. This is nowhere more evident than in our continued support of Arts education for all students,” stated Sabrena Rodriguez, VUSD Board Member and longtime Arts Collaborative member.

The VUSD Art Show will run from June 2 to June 19, 2022Opening night reception is Thursday, June 2 from 5-8 pm.  All are welcome and student musicians will be performing during this event. Following the viewing, high school student awards will be presented at 6:30 pm.  This is a free event and we welcome all to join us.

Mark your calendars. You don’t want to miss this event!  Let’s celebrate the artists, arts education, and our wonderful community.

 

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