San Marcos Unified School District

engaging students... inspiring futures


San Marcos Unified is a collaborative community with many different voices throughout our district. 

  • Friday Spotlight: Gabi Dunham

    Posted by Anna Lucia Roybal at 5/1/2015
    Friday Spotlight: Spectacular Students   
    This Friday, we shine the light on Gabi Dunham, MHHS Senior and newly elected Southern Director of the California Association of Student Leaders (CASL) State Board. 
    Gabi Dunham   

    Tell me about your experience with student clubs and leadership?

    Since middle school, I've been involved with sports, ASB, and volunteer work through the Best Buddies program.  That ended up translating into continuing athletics through lacrosse and cheer, running for freshman class president and continuing my volunteer work through Circle of Friends at Mission Hills High School. I became the Executive President of the ASB class, as well as the Co-President of the Bear Buddies club, which connects students to their community by fostering great friendships and pairing them with special education students.   
    How did you get involved with CASL?    
    I originally heard about CASL when I attended a session of the California Association of Directors of Activities camp at UCSB this summer.  My council leader, an ASB director in Los Angeles, asked me if I had ever tried to run for a position on the board.  She continued to try to convince me to apply for the duration of camp, and even had one of her CASL students approach me. Without their encouragement and inspiration, there is no chance I would have had the courage to try for something so large and so new to me.  
    CASL Conference  
    Tell me more about the your recognition by CASL    
    To be elected as a Southern Director of the CASL State Board, I had to go through an application process - which included essays, a leadership resume, a presentation flyer, two letters of recommendations from teachers or coaches, and approval from both Mr. Goode and Mr. Resultan.  The number of applicants was then narrowed down from over 100 to 10 finalists from the southern region and 10 from the northern region.  Each finalist was required to attend the CASL Conference where we would be interviewed and expected to verbally campaign for our positions. I was extremely nervous, especially since our interviews were held in front of groups of up to 10 entire ASB classes per room.  Once I was given my letter of acceptance, I could not have been more thrilled. The greatest emotion I felt when I saw those two words, "Congratulations Gabi!" was definitely gratitude. I was so beyond grateful that I had listened to my council leader, that my ASB director took the time to make this trip with me, and that I was able to experience this all in the company of the most amazing leaders and people I've ever met in my life.    

    What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?

    As a southern director, I am most excited to help other students with their leadership through CASL's Leadership Development Days. I am also hoping to use the ideas and strategies I find through my CASL experience to better my own school and our community of San Marcos as a whole. 
    CASL Students   
    What are your future plans after high school?

    After high school, I hope to get into a college that will best suit my needs to become a Sports Broadcast Journalist.  Sports have always been a passion of mine and to make a career around my passion would be my greatest dream come true.   

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  • SMUSD's Farmer's Market Program

    Posted by Kelly Bowman at 4/8/2015

    Farmer's Market Veggies  

    The Child Nutrition Services (CNS) Department made the decision to develop and implement a Farmer’s Market Program that would be operated solely by CNS.  We successfully piloted the new program at Alvin Dunn Elementary School. 
    Complete with tents, a variety of fresh produce, and a nutrition education segment for the students, the new Farmer’s Market Program was extremely well-received by students, teachers, and staff members.  By hosting a group of three classrooms approximately every half hour throughout the school-day, each student had the opportunity to learn about the importance of fruits and vegetables followed by a “shopping” trip where they could select from a variety of fresh produce to share with their families. 

    Based on the feedback received from the pilot event, we plan to refine and test the program once more by hosting an event at Twin Oaks Elementary School towards the end of the 2014-15 school-year.  Starting in 2015-16, CNS hopes to offer our Farmer’s Market Program to all elementary schools within the district. 

    Through this program, we hope to demonstrate to students the significance of the farming industry in the state of California, the connection between farming and the produce items offered at markets and stores, and the importance of consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day.
    For more information about the Farmer's Market Program, please visit our website or contact Kelly Bowman at or via phone at (760) 752-1297.  You can also follow Child Nutrition Services on Facebook.
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  • Combating Microaggressions and Empowering Our Girls

    Posted by Anna Lucia Roybal at 2/20/2015

    I’m addicted to HuffPost.  From Politics to Entertainment, which are sometimes the same thing, it’s a lot like ampm - too much good stuff.  Working in education, I’m always interested in issues that affect K-12.  There was a recent HuffPost Teen story on self-esteem that caught my attention.  Besides just being impressed by the fact that the content was created by teens for adults, the message itself made a strong impact.

    Think about what you’re saying seems like a simple enough concept.  As adults, we worry about bullying, what kids are saying to other kids, but are we cognizant of the kind of damage we can do to a teen’s self-esteem with a simple, but exceedingly dumb comment?

    The video below, created by SheKnows Media, tackles the concept of microaggression, a form of unintended discrimination.  The girls in the video do a phenomenal job of explaining why this is something that needs to be brought to our attention: 

    Building a generation of strong, confident women starts with us – the words we say and the example we set.  I don’t believe that it’s unrealistic to expect that someday, in the near future, the Always commercial #LikeAGirl will be ridiculously outdated, the glass ceiling will have been smashed, and we won’t need to discuss how to lean-in.

    This message is timely, particularly since San Marcos High School will be hosting the Girls World Expo – an empowering event geared towards girls aged 11 to 18 and their families - this coming Sunday, February 22nd.   Girls will have an opportunity to hear from powerful women in our community talk about a path to success, as well as Counselors from MHHS and SMHS who will discuss cyber-bulling and the college search.  The event runs from 12pm – 4pm, and you can acquire (free) tickets here.  

    If you’re in the area this weekend, it’s worth checking out this event.  Bottom line - words matter, people.  Seriously.   

    Anna Lucia Roybal is the Communications Coordinator for the District.  A Southern California girl through and through, Anna Lucia is a UCSD alumna.  When she’s not updating the website, posting to social media and covering school events, you’ll find her falling down the Buzzfeed rabbit hole. 
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  • Our Kids and Social Media

    Posted by Dana Pustinger at 8/29/2014

    Social Media

    My first-born ventured off to middle school this week.  My sweet, Dora-loving, Cinderella princess headed into the world of rotating classes, 1,800 students and…no one who knows that I am her mother.  Sigh.

    I remember my own experience in middle school - your friends were defined by the people who sat with you at lunch.  If you needed the scoop on homework assignments, you picked up the kitchen phone (complete with an actual cord) and called a friend.  If there was a school bully, you knew to avoid them.

    In the technology age, your friends number in the 100’s - way more than can sit at your lunch table.  If you need to obtain your homework assignment, it is from a tablet, iPad or website.  Your kitchen phone, if you even have one, never rings unless it’s a telemarketer.  Bullying has been taken to a cyber level, which leads me to ask...How do you avoid what you can’t see or don’t know? Where do cyber bully’s live?

    Parents need to be educated on all the current technology and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Vimeo, etc).  Are those 100’s of friends a young tween has really friends? Is friend #131 going to tell #66 the left an unkind comment on a picture?  Is #131 going to agree with #66 and your child’s new shirt is gross green?

    With all the anonymity of social media, a single comment such as “I tried that same shirt and it was hideous” can lead to hurt feelings, feelings of being weird or even ugly, when it was merely a picture of a happy girl with a new green top.  A simple comment can take a turn into others “it looks too big”, “it looks too small” and now what was a favorite shirt hangs in the closet taunting a young girl.

    As a recovering helicopter mom, what do I do?  Do I ignore social media completely?  Ban Facebook, Instagram and the rest?  If it is banned, then does it become the forbidden fruit?  Do I allow subscriptions to these accounts and return to sleepless newborn nights monitoring every site like when I previously watched the baby monitor for breathing and movement?  Do I become Robomom, hunting down Cyberbullys?

    Of course, I want my child to experience new technology, but that means I must teach my child the manners and etiquette of social media.  However, are all parents doing this, and are they even aware of the age requirements to create social media accounts?  Most social media accounts require a minimum age of 13 to create a personal profile. 

    The information highway is present in almost every aspect of our lives.  Studies have shown integrating technology into the classrooms increases student learning and engagement.  Social media helps in communication, but, as parents, we need to know that note passing is now speeding along at 6GB/second.  How do we ensure sanity, confidence and freedom from bullying in grades 6-8?

    We educate ourselves.  We make sure that our children understand the Student Responsible Use/Digital  Media form that we received in their packets.  We check out the district recommended site, - they rate, educate, and advocate movies, games, TV, books, apps, websites, and music for kids, families, and schools.  Is that app age appropriate?  Search for it on their site, and it will give you all the information to make a decision.  Their parent blog is so helpful with topics from knowing 15 Social Media Tools Parents Need to Know About Now to the Best New Fall TV of 2014 for Teens and Families

    It’s not easy, but if we can embrace and educate ourselves about the latest technology, we can help our children survive their middle school years.
    Dana Pustinger is an active and involved parent within the San Marcos Unified School District.  Passionate about fitness, food, and fun, Dana started - an online community for fitness and fun for moms on the move. 
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  • Friday Spotlight: Laurie Anastasio

    Posted by Anna Roybal at 8/8/2014
    This Friday, we shine the light on Laurie Anastasio, Teacher of the Year at San Elijo Elementary School.
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  • Friday Spotlight: Monica Duenas

    Posted by Anna Lucia Roybal at 8/1/2014
    This Friday, we shine the light on Monica Duenas, Teacher of the Year at San Marcos Elementary School.
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  • Friday Spotlight: Lynn Sochowski

    Posted by Anna Lucia Roybal at 7/11/2014
    This Friday, we shine the light on Lynn Sochowski, Teacher of the Year at Richland Elementary School.
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  • Friday Spotlight: Patty Browning

    Posted by Anna Lucia Roybal at 7/3/2014
    This Friday, we shine the light on Patty Browning, Teacher of the Year at Woodland Park Middle School.
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  • SMUSD Highlights 2013-2014

    Posted by Anna Lucia Roybal at 6/27/2014
    We had many great moments during the 2013-2014 school year. Please enjoy this short video illustrating some of the highlights.
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  • Friday Spotlight: Marla Rosenthal

    Posted by Anna Lucia Roybal at 6/20/2014
    This Friday, we shine the light on Marla Rosenthal, Teacher of the Year at Discovery Elementary School.
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Last Modified on May 1, 2015