Sonoma Valley Unified School District

March 2024 Newsletter

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Message from the Superintendent

Dear Sonoma Valley Unified community, 


As we approach the end of the school year, we are working together to create new and improved opportunities for our students. Our efforts are focused on giving students access to more learning experiences. 


These efforts include modifying our schedules to include seven middle and high school periods. Schedule changes are needed to ensure we meet state minimum instructional minute requirements and to allow our students to have time for electives while maintaining any necessary support classes. Our committed administrators, counselors, and teachers have been working diligently to develop schedules that keep students at the center and take their input into consideration. We will have new electives to offer students thanks to the feedback from our students. We are also hoping to expand some of our programs, like AVID, and we will introduce a new Ethnic Studies course to our incoming freshmen. We want to ensure all our students have access to courses they need to succeed in college or career. 


I would also like to remind everyone that new student registration is ongoing for transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten students for the upcoming 2024-25 school year! Our programs cover a full school day and offer high-quality, caring teachers in enriching learning environments for your child to grow and develop. Each of our elementary schools will have at least one TK class for the upcoming school year and we encourage families to register early. 


Here are important reminders: 

  • Our TK program is expanding. Children whose fifth birthday falls between September 2, 2024, and June 2, 2025, are eligible for TK for the 2024-25 school year. TK is a high-quality early learning program the year before kindergarten. Classrooms are language-rich, joyful, and promote learning through play, social emotional growth, and self-regulation skills. 
  • For kindergarten, children who will be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2024, are eligible to enroll for the 2024-25 school year. Our classrooms offer early literacy, math and language skill development. Our kindergarten program also offers art, physical education, and social emotional learning. 


Summer break is just around the corner, but many achievements are still on the horizon. Thank you all for your commitment to our students. Let’s make everyday count. 



Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez-Chien


Watch a message from Superintendent Rodriguez-Chien

Women’s History Month  

March is Women’s History Month, in which we celebrate all the amazing women that surround us and their contributions. Women have played, and continue to play, a pivotal role in shaping society and breaking barriers across every domain. From the classroom to the sports fields, to the scientific laboratories, women have overcome stereotypes and defied societal expectations.  


At SVUSD, we witness women who inspire, lead, and empower our community every day. We want to take the time to highlight the role of the women here at SVUSD, including our educators, staff members, administrators, and students as well, who are dedicated to bringing positive change to SVUSD. Through learning, we hope to instill in our students a deep appreciation for the contributions of women from all walks of life, as well as inspire all our students to make a positive impact on their community. At SVUSD, inclusivity and cultivating diversity are crucial to creating a safe environment for all. Together, let’s take a moment to honor the women who have transformed the world and continue to inspire us to dream and achieve.

Special Olympics at Altimira 

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming Special Olympics event, now in its third consecutive year. This inclusive gathering will feature students from kindergarten through 12th grade, all set to compete at Altimira Middle School on May 22, 2024, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.  


Spearheaded by the dedicated efforts of the Altimira leadership class and the Physical Education department, this event promises an enriching experience for all involved. Notably, students from both the leadership and PE programs will serve as peer coaches, offering invaluable support to the competing athletes. Among the exciting events lined up are the 50-yard dash, relay race, ball toss, and long jump. It's a celebration of camaraderie, sportsmanship, and the incredible achievements of our students! 

Prom Dress Gift and Thrift 

Welcome to our third annual Prom Dress Gift and Thrift! There is an opportunity to find your free prom dress in Golton Hall, on April 18, 19, and 20.   

  • Thursday & Friday: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm 
  • Saturday: 11 am – 12:30 pm 

You can also donate any new or gently used formal dresses. Please go to the SVHS Front Office (attention Kim Bellach) or 19302 Apple Valley Road, (front porch) or call/text (707) 888-7627 for pickup. These events are hosted by G3 Sonoma & SVHS Interact Club. Please see more details below. Thank you all! 

School Consolidation Committee 

As many of you are aware, SVUSD has had several years of declining enrollment and with fewer students, we have had to make some very difficult decisions. Last school year, we had to close one of our elementary schools and we most likely will have to consolidate more schools. As such, we want to give our school community an opportunity to have input into this process. A couple of months ago we formed a School Consolidation Committee to examine this issue and develop a set of recommendations to put in front of our school board, as they will make the decisions on school consolidation in the near future.

The work of the committee is to examine various data points, including enrollment projections, school capacity, budget resources, and program benefits and drawbacks. The committee will also examine factors such as cost savings, improved educational opportunities, and the impact on the community. The committee holds monthly meetings to discuss the feasibility of various options, including the board’s consideration of a 3- elementary, 1- middle school and 1-high school strategy. At this point, the committee has examined demographer data, our Facilities Master Plan, and has agreed upon school consolidation criteria that will be used to vet the various options. The end goal is to have well-researched, informed, and viable recommendations presented to the board trustees. The final decision on how to proceed with school consolidation will ultimately rest with the governing board. 


The district is utilizing guidelines provided by the California Department of

Education on school consolidation and is working with legal experts that have

experience in working with districts throughout the state on this process. The

committee is composed of parents, district personnel, community members, city and county officials. For transparency purposes and to hear directly from our community, meetings are open to the public. The committee meets monthly via Zoom, and the scheduled dates will be available on the District's website on the following link:  Sonoma Valley School. We appreciate your participation. 

Embracing Cultural Enrichment:

SVUSD’s Folklórico Program  

Our district is bringing forward enrichment opportunities for our students to improve engagement, motivation, and skill development in areas that they may be interested in. One of these enrichment programs is a folklorico dance program in partnership with Grupo Folklorico Quetzalén, Sonoma’s highly regarded dance group.

Established in 2008 and under the guidance of director Victor Ferrer, Quetzalén has grown from a senior project at Sonoma Valley High School into a beacon of cultural heritage for the entire district. Their mission focuses on making arts inclusive and accessible for all K-12 students by providing dance programs that emphasize representation, cultural awareness, and celebrate diversity. 


Available district-wide, SVUSD's folklórico program currently conducts classes for over 70 participating students across three age groups: 5-7, 8-11, and 12-18 years old. These sessions run from January to April, May to August, and September to December and are held after school three times a week at El Verano Elementary School. Each session culminates in a vibrant showcase concert for the community, celebrating the students' hard work and dedication to the art of folklórico. 


For more information about enrollment, classes and upcoming students showcase concerts please visit 

Photos by Genesis Botello 

SVUSD 2023-2024 School Year Calendar
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