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secnes of kids in expanded learning programs
As parents everywhere know, there’s never enough time in a day to do everything they want to do. The same is often true for our children. Across Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD), students have the opportunity to enrich and advance their elementary school experiences, thanks to NMUSD’s Expanded Learning programs.

Parents of students at Adams, College Park, Killybrooke, Paularino, Pomona, Rea, Victoria, Whittier and Wilson Elementary Schools can enroll their children in one or two no-cost programs that meet beyond the school bell: a new enrichment program that runs three days a week and Project Kidz Connect, which runs five days a week.

“Both of our after-school programs allow our students to build on the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in a safe environment,” said Expanded Learning Coordinator Laurie Virtusio.

Enrichment Program

Approximately 600 students have participated in the after-school enrichment classes this year. The program offered to elementary students utilizes some of the same community partners from the summer 2022 program. For each nine-week session, students are given the choice between three concentrations: Science, Technology Engineering, and Math (STEM); dance and performing arts; or sports. 

BrainStorm STEM Education and Discovery Cube Orange County work with NMUSD to provide hands-on, engaging, standards-based learning activities, while Beyond Athletics Orange County and Pure Game lead students through a variety of sports and United Studios of Self Defence teaches the basics of karate. “Students in younger grades not only strengthen their coordination and gross motor skills, but they also learn sportsmanship. For older students, it’s a way to introduce them to sports they could play in secondary school, such as basketball and volleyball,” Virtusio said.

Students who participate in an arts focus are guided by the Arts & Learning Conservatory through the mechanics of a children’s play, and Active Learning leads students in a dance performance.  

Parents are encouraged to check with their schools about availability in the next session.

Project Kidz Connect

More than 900 students gather daily at their school sites for the engaging activities offered as part of the after-school Project Kidz Connect program.  

Students are separated into small groups and follow a schedule that incorporates peer-community building, homework assistance, active games, and learning activities that also build on what was learned in the classroom. These enrichment activities are in partnership with YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, and Strategic Kids

Every school day, students gather in a community circle activity to check in with one another and answer a fun question such as “If you had a super-power, what would it be?” This activity encourages active listening and engages students’ creativity, while also building relationships among one another and the staff. Afterward, students often get started on their homework and work with instructional assistants, who provide assistance and review homework assignments. 

Students are challenged with daily STEM and arts opportunities to further stimulate their creativity. Younger students might practice sorting and strengthen fine-motor skills by creating beaded jewelry, while older students might learn about physics through the building of miniature catapults. 

Parents interested in enrolling their children in Project Kidz Connect should check availability with their school. Students are enrolled on a monthly basis based on availability.

These fun, educational programs are offered in partnership with community organizations that provide additional staff, which allows NMUSD to increase student participation. Students may be enrolled in both programs simultaneously.  

“The goal of NMUSD’s enrichment opportunities is to foster our students’ interests. We’re exposing them to new things in a fun atmosphere,” Virtusio said. 

Funding for this program is made possible through the State’s Expanded Learning Opportunity Program (ELOP), which targets specific student populations. However, the district is always looking for ways to expand student programs and hopes to add expanded learning programs to additional elementary schools in the 2023-24 school year.

For more information about NMUSD’s Expanded Learning programs, visit our website.

Posted 3/16/23

NMUSD logo

Elementary Summer Program flier

Elementary Summer Programs 2023

Registration Deadline: June 1st

July 5-August 1, 2023
Open to incoming K-6 grade current NMUSD students


  • 7:30-8:30 am: Optional Breakfast & Activities
  • 8:30 am-12:30 pm: Academics, enrichment, & lunch provided
  • Pick-up @ 12:30 pm

Extended Full-day
Students must attend the morning session to be eligible for extended full-day.

  • 7:30-8:30 am: Optional Breakfast & Activities
  • 8:30 am-12:30 pm: Academics, enrichment, & lunch provided
  • 12:30-4:30 pm: Music, Drama, Visual Arts, PE, STEM, & Snack Provided
  • Grades K-3 will experience a rotation of enrichment
  • Grades 4-6 will select their enrichment speciality
  • Pick-up @ 4:30 pm
  • Transportation available for extended full-day program.

All students will be assigned to a summer site at or near their home school.
Sign-up using the Aeries Parent Portal: 3/10-6/1/23

Visit for enrollment instructions.

Posted 3/13/23

Estancia Medical AcademyTaking college-level courses builds on the foundational knowledge students obtain in their high school classes and allows them to expand their interests and get ahead on college coursework. Thanks to a Dual Enrollment partnership between Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) and several local community colleges, students can take courses that meet college entrance requirements, at no cost. This allows high school students the opportunity to explore career interests while obtaining credit toward a college degree or certification.

While a few courses are offered on NMUSD campuses, most Dual Enrollment classes take place at Coastline College, Orange Coast College (OCC), Golden West College, Irvine Valley College, Saddleback College, Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College

“Students love being able to take outside classes that carry college credit. It’s an excellent opportunity to get ahead while still in high school,” said Corona del Mar High School’s (CdMHS) College and Career Programs Coordinator, Mary Russell.

Students at CdMHS can enroll in the History of Rock Music, which focuses on the social and musical impact on American culture of rock and roll from the 1950s through the present, while earning credit toward the art requirement for a high school diploma and credit toward their college degree as well. The Coastline College class is offered on the CdMHS campus.

Students at Estancia High School can enroll in the Estancia Medical Academy, a Career Technical Education pathway that includes on-campus and off-site classes that expose students to a variety of health-related careers. Students take such courses as Emergency Medical Responder, which builds on their basic knowledge of biology to prepare them for a career in fire service, sports medicine, lifeguarding and other emergency medical services. Through this course, students also have the opportunity to earn a Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers card from the American Heart Association.

Among the choices for Costa Mesa High School students is the Child Development pathway, which includes a Careers With Children Internship that not only allows for high school and college credit, but also gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience working with children attending NMUSD preschools

Newport Harbor culinaryFor Newport Harbor High School students enrolled in the award-winning Food Service and Hospitality pathway, Orange Coast College’s Culinary Arts classes earn them dual enrollment credits while working in a restaurant-grade kitchen with professional tools.

Other college courses offered to all NMUSD high school students as part of Dual Enrollment include astronomy at OCC, which allows students access to industry equipment and the planetarium, and automotive technology at Golden West College. There are also courses in business and entrepreneurship, psychology, fire science, dental assistance, nursing, and more.

Students who complete two or more college classes through dual enrollment earn a special Seal of Excellence on their high school diploma. This distinction of the rigorous educational path they took is noted on their official high school transcripts and highlighted in the commemorative program when they graduate. “It’s a very prestigious symbol of their achievement, and every little thing helps with college admittance,” said Russell. 

NMUSD also has a high school dedicated to Dual Enrollment, Early College High School (ECHS). Students at ECHS can earn one year or more in college credit while still in high school. In partnership with Coastline College, ECHS blends high school and college coursework in an Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), allowing students the opportunity to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. The IGETC satisfies specific college freshmen- and sophomore-level requirements so students can transfer to a University of California or California State University school as a junior, directly from high school. In 2022, 11 of ECHS’s 44 graduates had fully completed the IGETC.   

For more information about Dual Enrollment, visit our Early College Credit webpage.

Posted 3/8/23

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Newport-Mesa Unified School District is proposing an instructional materials adoption for TK-5 History-Social Science. This public review is an opportunity for the community to view the student materials and provide feedback to be considered when the Board of Education takes action on this item on April 18, 2023. Please submit any comments about these materials using this Google form

  1. Go to and click “Login” at the top right. 
  2. Log in to the platform. 
    Password: Demo1234!

  3. Click on CA Social Studies TK-5.

  4. Then access the grade level.  

The online version is the same as the print version. If you prefer to view a hard-copy version of the materials instead of the online version, email Tracey Nelson for an appointment.

Posted 3/8/23

Women in Engineering flier

Join Us!

Women in Engineering
March 29, 2023 | 6:15-8:30 pm
Norma Hertzog Community Center
1845 Park Ave, Costa Mesa, CA

Connect with professional women engineers in:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Bio Medical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Question & Answer session
  • Engineering demonstrations
  • Parents/Guardians welcome
  • Transportation available

Register Today!
Registration for secondary students closes March 22

Posted 3/7/23

NMUSD logo

The School Accountability Report Card (SARC) has been updated for all NMUSD schools. Hard copies are available upon request. Please visit the main office at your school for more information.

Posted 3/2/23

As in previous years, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) is participating in the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS). The CHKS is a survey designed to help us better understand and support student needs. 

The survey measures students’ experiences related to school climate and culture, health risks, behaviors, and youth resiliency. It is anonymous and confidential, and the data collected from the survey will be used to make data-driven decisions to improve school climate and student learning environments.

The survey is focused on five areas for guiding school and student improvement:

  • Student connectedness, learning engagement/motivation, and attendance;

  • School climate, culture, and conditions;

  • School safety, including bullying;

  • Physical and mental well-being; 

  • Alcohol and other drugs (secondary students only); and

  • Student support, including resilience-promoting developmental factors (caring relationships, high expectations, and meaningful participation).

The CHKS is administered to students in grades 5, 7, 9, and 11 during the NMUSD testing window, February 27 to April 7, 2023. Students can skip questions they are not comfortable answering. Your child’s school will determine a specific administration date within this window. You may have received communication about this already or may soon receive information from your child’s school.

Students in grade 5 require a parent to complete an opt-in form to participate in the survey. Students in grades 7, 9, and 11 will take the survey unless a parent/guardian completes an opt-out form. 

Your child’s school will share additional information about the survey (if they haven’t already), including options to opt-in (5th grade) or opt-out (grades 7, 9, and 11). For specific information about your school’s testing window or the survey, please contact your child’s school. 

You may also visit the District’s California Healthy Kids Survey Website for additional information, including copies of survey questions.

Posted 3/1/23

Virtual Parent Education
Cyberbullying and Digital Drama

March 15, 2023 | 6-7 PM

Azizi A. Gates from the Orange County Department of Education's
Educational Services Division will give a presentation on how to keep kids safe, happy and healthy in the digital age.

Topics include:

  • What cyberbullying looks like
  • How cyberbullying affects youth
  • Warning signs to watch for
  • How to access available resources
  • Strategies for preventing and addressing cyberbullying
  • How families can be a positive influence

Help spread the message: Bullying behavior is unacceptable.

Join us online

Posted 3/1/23

student with artworkAlmost every year since 2013, children around the globe have received a little handmade love from students at Costa Mesa Middle/High School. In a bright classroom filled with high tables and artistic influences, Art Teacher Keli Marchbank flips through a binder filled with the photos of Ukrainian refugee children she was sent from the Memory Project. “The kids look forward to this project every year. They sign up for it because they want to make that connection,” she said.  

The Memory Project was started by Ben Schumaker in 2004 as a way to foster cultural connections between youth around the world through art. Teachers who sign up with the program are provided a list of countries where there are children in need. Marchbank says she usually picks a place based on where she is in her art curriculum. She is then sent photos and basic information about the displaced children, such as their favorite color and what they like to do, plus three words they believe describe themselves. 

Marchbank’s students decide their subjects and whether to create a portrait of the child or art inspired by information that the child submitted. “When you look in someone’s eyes, you can see so much about who they are. There’s something my students see in those kids’ eyes that connects them. Maybe they relate to someone younger and what they went through when they were that age, or maybe they relate to a child their own age,” Marchbank said.

Students in eighth through twelfth grades used various mediums and styles in their artwork. While some students drew direct representations, others added details from the children’s profiles, like changing a young girl’s hair to be her favorite color or adding gymnastic rings. Some students developed their own styles, such as using color-blocking techniques. Still others made representative drawings that pulled from the details the children shared, such as a love of photography.    

The student artwork is returned to the Memory Project with a short note and photo of the artist. This year, Schumaker’s team hosted a party in Poland for the Ukrainian refugees who participated. They took video of the event and shared an edited version with participating teachers and young artists so they could see the reactions of the children and their families to the art created specifically for them. “It’s amazing  to see the students’ reactions. It’s beautiful and touching. I cry every year,” Marchbank said. “Sometimes kids in these situations might think they’re invisible, that no one can see their struggles, but we at Mesa see them,” she said.

In previous years, artwork from Costa Mesa Middle/High School students has reached children in Mexico, India, Ethiopia, Syria, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Malaysia and Cameroon.

Posted 2/28/23

NMUSD logo

Newport-Mesa Unified School District is now enrolling new students for the 2023-2024 school year. Students currently attending an NMUSD school do not need to re-enroll. Visit for more information.

Posted 2/27/23

Model UN group with Nigerian advisorOn February 16, the California Department of Education formally recognized Corona del Mar High School (CdM) with a 2022 Civic Learning Award of Excellence. Only one high school in the state is chosen annually for the award, which honors programs, projects, classes and individuals engaging students in civics and promoting positive citizenry.    

CdM’s Speech and Debate/Model UN team applied for the award last year through a series of essays focusing on fostering civic engagement within the school and throughout the community. The team’s elected Student Board Members had to show examples of how the program:

  • Provides instruction in government, law and democracy;

  • Incorporates discussion of current local, national and international issues and events, particularly those that students would view as important;

  • Was designed and implemented to allow students to apply what they learn through community service, classroom curriculum and instruction;

  • Offers extracurricular activities that provide opportunities for students to get involved in their schools or communities;

  • Encourages student participation in school governance; and

  • Encourages students’ participation in simulations of democratic processes and procedures.

“Speech and Debate/Model UN is a great way to meet new people. It’s a wholesome activity that keeps students engaged and excited about civic engagement,” said Teacher Laura Mayberry, the team’s faculty advisor. 

The team has doubled in membership within the past year. In addition to weekly meetings in which students debate current events at the local or state level, students watch televised political speeches and election returns, attend city council meetings, host a series of high-profile guest speakers and voter-registration drives, and engage in thought talks. Less structured than a debate, thought talks allow everyone an opportunity to discuss the topic in a more flexible format. While the focus is largely academic, the team also enjoys occasional trivia nights.

All CdM students are welcome to join Speech and Debate/Model UN, regardless of speaking experience. “It’s a great way to improve public speaking skills in a supportive environment,” said Mayberry. 

The group will travel to New York for the National Model UN Conference in April.

Posted 2/17/23

DECA students at conference

Students who attend Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) conferences are serious about business. And the Newport Harbor High School (NHHS) students who competed at the Southern California District Career Development Conference in Anaheim earlier this year won silver and bronze in multiple categories.

The students, all of whom take International Baccalaureate (IB) Business Management classes as part of NHHS’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, were given scenarios to role-play or case studies to analyze in categories such as marketing, management and sales. These challenges call on students to utilize the knowledge acquired in the classroom as they demonstrate their creative, industry-relevant problem-solving skills to find practical solutions. 

“The beauty of the Business Management curriculum at Newport Harbor is that it seamlessly blends the CTE pathway with the IB program; case study analysis is part of what our students do. They’ve gone to chamber of commerce meetings and professional conferences; they’ve done community-service projects. So when we go to DECA conferences, our students are prepared to perform for the judges, who are industry leaders,” said Teacher Sheridan Hirst. 

DECA prepares students to be leaders in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Newport Harbor’s first DECA charter was formed seven years ago, with students attending conferences every year since. 

Earning second-place DECA Glass trophies were Logan Hardy in the Hotel and Lodging Management category and Maggie McWhertor in Marketing Communications. Hailey Wall took home a third-place for Apparel and Accessories Marketing.

Winning silver medals in their categories were Wall, Hardy, McWhertor, Josh Dodman (Marketing Communications), Abby Valdes (Retail Merchandising) and Kate Stake (Sports and Entertainment Marketing). Hardy and McWertor also earned bronze medals. 

Moving on to the State Career Development Conference in March are Wall, Hardy, Dodman, McWhertor, Valdes, Kate Stake, Kendall Stake, Isabelle Goodman, Grayson LaBonty, Hana Schimmelpfennig, Addie Jardim, Kali Lukei and Caroline Close.  

Newport Harbor is one of two Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) schools offering the Business Management CTE pathway and the only campus with an IB program. For more information about NMUSD’s CTE pathways, visit the CTE website.

Posted 2/14/23

NMUSD logo

We want to inform you that Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) plans to pilot the college and career readiness web-based platform, which is a component of the state’s initiative to help students and their families plan for, apply to, and pay for college. It also helps streamline the college and financial aid application process and monitor the status of college and financial aid applications.

Features/Resources Benefits
Career exploration tools, college and major search tools and financial aid lessons. Supports your student’s plans for life after high school.
California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) eligibility tools to view progress toward meeting the “A-G” course requirements. Assists your student’s awareness of taking the right courses in high school to meet their goals after graduation.

College and financial aid application integration allows your student’s verified course information to be shared directly with community colleges and CSUs.

Helps those colleges make faster and better decisions about admission, placement, and financial aid.

These resources are available when students’ transcript data, such as demographics, class courses, grades and GPA, are uploaded into the statewide system (in accordance with all state and federal student privacy laws).  

Should you wish to opt-out from the district’s disclosure of your Student Information, please complete and submit the opt-out form to your child’s school’s counseling office by March 3, 2023. Opting out will remove your student’s access to’s transcript-informed functionality and application integration.

If you have any questions, please contact your school’s counseling office.

Posted 2/10/23

At its meeting on February 7, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) Board of Education recognized employees who go above and beyond with an Employee Excellence Award. The nine recipients were selected for their dedication to the district’s mission; creating a positive environment for students, staff and community; and continuously displaying initiative with a high degree of excellence, professionalism and integrity.

The honorees are:

Melissa Ault, Special Education Teacher, Corona del Mar Middle School

Melissa AultMelissa Ault is dedicated to ensuring every student is set up for success. She inspires a love of learning not only in her students, but also in her colleagues, with creative, hands-on lessons and infectious joy. Rather than just explaining a concept, she actively involves students, as she did when teaching them about assembly lines by lining her class up and giving each student a task toward creating a finished product. And when things don’t quite go according to plan, Ault remains unflappable; she is known for saying, “That’s a tomorrow problem.” She treats students with kindness and respect, making everyone feel equally valued. That care for others extends beyond her classroom; when one student transitioned out of her class and into a more specialized program, Ault continued to check in on that student’s progress. She is a shining example of the whole-child support to which NMUSD is committed.  

Kim Barone, Teacher, Victoria Elementary

Kim BaroneKim Barone is known throughout the Victoria Elementary community for meeting every student where he or she is, whether that child is struggling or ahead of the class, then challenging each student to do his or her personal best. She also continually encourages students to develop a passion for reading. Through the course of the year, she raises the funds to purchase books for each student to take home a small collection at his or her reading level that’s matched to that student’s interests. Barone then guides her class through writing thank you letters to donors. An avid writer herself, Barone sends each student a handwritten letter once a month, recognizing their accomplishments, whether great or small, and expressing words of encouragement. Whether writing grant proposals for field trips and programming, serving as the teacher representative for Victoria’s Spanish after-school program, or volunteering at PTA events, Barone always goes above and beyond for students.  

Alfonso Bravo, School Community Facilitator, Whittier Elementary

Alfonso BravoAlfonso Bravo knows how to pull a community together. He organized Whittier Elementary’s Fall Festival, bringing together students, families and school staff in support of Whittier’s Parent Teacher Association without showing any hints of the stress such an endeavor brings. He regularly collaborates with administrators, teachers and families to provide positive experiences for children overcoming adversity, handling his duties with a warm smile. He is commended by families for listening to their needs and providing them with the resources to ensure both they and their students are engaged in school. Spanish-speaking families often express their gratitude for Bravo’s presence at meetings and events, as he translates for them and shares information vital for their involvement. He gives parents and students alike the confidence they need to be informed and successful in school. Bravo’s unflagging positivity is a beacon to the Whittier community.   

Carol Brunell, Office Manager, Mariners Elementary

Carol BrunellDescribed as the “heartbeat of Mariners Elementary,” Office Manager Carol Brunell greets everyone who enters the campus with a palpable kindness. Whether a parent, student or a colleague, she wants everyone to feel welcome at all times. To cultivate this feeling, Brunell led efforts to redecorate the staff lounge, adding new tables and chairs, placing small plants throughout, and adding words of encouragement throughout the lounge. Adding to the atmosphere are photos of employees with fun facts she culled from a “Did You Know” questionnaire she sent to colleagues. Brunell welcomes new hires with sweet treats of a home-baked cookie and kind notes. No matter who she is interacting with, Brunell leads with kindness.   

Dr. Dave Martinez, Principal, Early College High School

Dave MartinezThe face of Early College High School clearly belongs to Dr. Dave Martinez. Every morning, he is stationed in front of the school to personally welcome his students to another great day of learning. He makes students and families feel valued by maintaining continuous communication  to ensure that everyone is well-aware of school happenings and community and academic resources. Every month, Dr. Martinez hosts interactive virtual chats, sometimes inviting guidance counselors to give brief presentations so that families feel prepared for what to expect as their students move forward in school and in life. Even though Early College offers a more college preparatory approach to students, Dr. Martinez encourages them to have fun, too; he oversees a “house” system in which all students are part of one of four collaborative, student-led groups that engage in meetings, team-building exercises and friendly competitions. Through it all, families know that Dr. Martinez is there for his students, from the start of the day until the last student leaves campus.  

Steve Moreno, Head Cross Country and Track & Field Coach, Costa Mesa High School

Steve MorenoAs the head coach for the cross country and track and field teams, Steve Moreno often reminds his athletes, “You become what you repeatedly do.” Moreno inspires his students in a positive, respectful manner, fully embracing a “do as I do” approach. Before every practice, he shares a quote aimed at encouraging everyone to have their best day, whether in the classroom, on the field or at home. He then follows up with students daily to ensure they have the resources they need academically, emotionally and financially to succeed. Moreno has helped his students obtain school supplies, athletic equipment, even prom tickets. He volunteers his time during the summer to coach his athletes and year-round to raise funds for his teams. Moreno’s students rely on him for motivation and encouragement, as he is a role model who inspires future leaders.   

Diana Nichols, Librarian, Eastbluff Elementary

Diana NicholsThere’s a phrase that says, “Reading is fundamental,” and Librarian Diana Nichols truly excels at putting the “fun” in fundamental. She transforms the Eastbluff Elementary library into new worlds based on the themes of her lessons. For example, to encourage students to try new books, she created an exciting cafe that invited students to get a “taste” of different genres. She has also taught students a twist on a classic game by playing musical books, allowing them to move and groove while also introducing them to a variety of books they may have never stopped to check out in an ordinary day. For students who  prefer a quiet space during recess, Nichols welcomes them into the library to read, complete crafts, help with library tasks, or engage in a friendly chat. As the student council advisor, Nichols coaches student leaders in how to facilitate meetings, plan activities and turn their ideas into realities, while also helping raise funds for the school. She is also very involved in the community; in partnership with the National Exchange Club, Nichols teaches upper-grade students about the historical documents and events spotlighted in the school’s Freedom Shrine. Nichols is always ready to feed the minds of Eastbluff’s Otters with creativity. 

Claudia Padilla, Instructional Assistant-Behavior Intervention, Harbor View Elementary

Claudia PadillaAn instructional assistant specializing in behavior intervention, Claudia Padilla is often referred to by her colleagues as exemplary. Her excellent skills and positivity allow her to build connections with students and make a positive impact in students’ lives. She draws from a breadth of experience to ensure the students in her care feel supported emotionally and academically in their plan for success, which includes realistic milestones they devise together. Padilla makes sure students feel seen and heard while teaching them to make better choices, resulting in students trusting her and striving even more purposefully to reach the goals they set. Students and staff appreciate and rely upon her unique approach to behavior management; colleagues at Harbor View Elementary often go to Padilla for advice on how to help their students succeed in behavioral expectations, knowing that she has collected the data necessary to make informed decisions. Padilla has a proven track record of setting students on the path to achievement.  

Yesenia Rosales, Lead Instructional Assistant-Extended Day Program, College Park Elementary

Ysenia RosalesAfter a long day, students at College Park Elementary can rely on Yesenia Rosales to be ready with fun, educational activities. As the Lead Instructional Assistant of the school’s Project Kidz Connect (PKC) program, she leads the way in creativity and caring. When the program expanded to include Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten students, Rosales took on new responsibilities and challenges with a cheerful demeanor and a lot of flexibility. Though her site serves more than double the students at other district schools’ extended-day programs, she maintains a collaborative approach with colleagues and the district to provide a positive, enriching experience for everyone. With nearly 180 students on campus after school, she organized ways to accommodate students in each activity. She advocates for the specific needs of students, and students and their families trust and respect Rosales to carefully listen to them and make thoughtful decisions, whether in regards to academic concerns, behavior issues, or tricky custody situations. She helped to create a guide to orient substitute teachers not only at College Park, but at other school sites as well. Rosales knows how to bring people together to build a strong community.  

We salute the winners of the 2023 Employee Excellence Awards, all of whom bring their best to the NMUSD community every day.  

Posted 2/8/23

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Some of you may have seen news reports surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI) and OpenAI, which is the company that created the tool called ChatGPT. ChatGPT is an AI language model that is capable of generating human-like text. It is trained on a massive amount of text data and uses that information to answer questions, engage in conversations, and complete tasks such as summarization and translation. The goal of ChatGPT is to help computers understand and respond to human language in a more natural way.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) believes ChatGPT can be used as a teaching tool to enhance student learning. NMUSD is working with teachers to learn about this new tool and determine ways it can be used to enhance learning opportunities for students. 

Below are some resources that you may find helpful. Additionally, we have a Virtual Parent Education event on February 15 on Raising Responsible Digital Citizens and will touch on this topic during that webinar.

What is Open AI?

OpenAI (creator of ChatGPT) is an AI research and deployment company. Their mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.

Learn more: Open AI/ChatGPT - Resources (Recursos de Open AI/ChatGPT)What is ChatGPT?ChatGPT is a tool that uses machine learning to generate text in response to a wide range of prompts.Is ChatGPT free?Currently, ChatGPT is free but is expected to change to a tiered payment model at some time in the future.

Is there an age requirement to use ChatGPT?

ChatGPT should not be used by children under 13 (data collection from children under 13 violates the United States’ Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule - COPPA).

As a general rule, it is intended for use by adults and should be used responsibly. If you are under 18, it is recommended that you use it under the supervision of an adult. A phone number is required to sign up.
NMUSD is not creating ChatGPT accounts for students.Why does ChatGPT require a phone number?When you sign up for their platform, they require a phone number for security reasons. Read more here.Is ChatGPT an approved NMUSD web-based tool?ChatGPT is currently open-source and free on the Internet. ChatGPT is a tool, the company is not working with schools to protect student privacy at this time. NMUSD is not currently blocking this on our network.Is ChatGPT safe?

As described by ChatGPT itself: As an AI language model developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is generally considered safe to use. OpenAI has implemented measures to prevent the model from being used for harmful purposes, such as filtering out explicit or hate speech content. However, as with any technology, it is important to use caution and be mindful of the information shared through the model, especially when it comes to sensitive or personal information.

Why isn’t NMUSD blocking ChatGPT?ChatGPT is a tool on the Internet. NMUSD would rather educate teachers, students and parents about the tool. Blocking it within the NMUSD network will provide a false reassurance as this tool would remain accessible on personal devices or students could simply use friends as proxies to access ChatGPT.Will NMUSD teachers be using ChatGPT?

If there is a substantial amount of writing to prompts within a class,  it is recommended that teachers address ChatGPT explicitly with their class, and even demonstrate the shortcomings and challenges of using it to generate truly effective writing for the types of prompts typically used in classes. Working directly with students is one of the best ways to avoid academic integrity issues.

*See Board Policy 5131.9: Academic Honesty How can a teacher tell if a student is using ChatGPT?

Many teachers collect writing samples from each student at the beginning of the year.

There are also detectors that are available:

GPT-2 Output Detector

AI Writing Check


Sneak preview of Turnitin’s AI writing and ChatGPT detection capability

What is NMUSD doing about ChatGPT?We will continue researching and evaluating ChatGPT, both for potential pedagogical uses and in the context of academic honesty violations. As various tools and information become available, we will share them through a range of channels, including Schoology, email, and various meetings.Where can I find resources to learn more about ChatGPT?Open AI/ChatGPT - Resources for Parents
(Recursos de Open AI/ChatGPT)


Posted 2/7/23

The February 2023 issue of School News Roll Call, a third-party newsletter featuring highlights of our District schools and programs, is now available online. Visit the School News Publication webpage to view previous issues.

school news - February 2023

Posted 2/7/23

threat assessment training
We are committed to continuously updating you on the progress we make surrounding school safety. Together with input from our safety task force, Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) has been making concerted efforts to improve safety throughout our district schools and offices. Please see below for a few updates. 


The Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is a uniform, planned and practiced response to an incident.  It creates common language used in emergency situations. NMUSD has selected “I Love You Guys” as the District-wide SRP.  “I Love You Guys” clearly defines the five actions to take in an emergency: hold, secure, lockdown, evacuate and shelter.

I Love U Guys poster

In collaboration with local law enforcement and school resource officers (SROs), safety drills and training are conducted using the common language surrounding school safety: hold, secure, lockdown, evacuate and shelter

Please familiarize yourself with these five actions so that in the event of an emergency you have a clear understanding of the action being taken to support immediate safety efforts.  

Appropriate signage with description of the five safety actions will be displayed throughout our schools and district offices. 

NMUSD staff received initial training in November. Additional training will be ongoing for staff, with student training expected to begin in the coming months. 


The Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC) is conducting physical security assessments of all NMUSD school and office buildings, with participation from local law enforcement. These assessments identify potential opportunities to physically enhance safety measures. Assessments for secondary schools have been conducted and we are in the process of completing assessments for elementary schools and other district facilities. 

Our district has committed to implementing an integrated electronic security system at each of our schools and district offices, which will include equipment to provide controlled entry such as doorbell, camera, and intercom system. Installation of electronic security devices at school front lobbies is expected to be complete by the start of the 2023-24 school year. 

WETIP 2.0 

WeTip 2.0 is a 24-hour anonymous reporting system (tip line) through which suspicious activity and safety concerns at secondary schools can be reported via phone, text and an online form. WeTip 2.0 will be implemented at all secondary schools in the spring. 


NMUSD is working with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team (OC SMART), who is conducting training for specific school employees on the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG), an evidence-based threat assessment protocol. The CSTAG includes steps to help evaluate whether a threat is credible and an appropriate response to potential threats. 


Employees at Newport Harbor High School and Davis Magnet School will pilot an emergency alert system, which allows all staff members to notify the appropriate people of an emergency for them to initiate any of the five SRP actions. The pilot is expected to begin in spring 2023. 

As we continue to collaborate with our school community and law enforcement agencies, we will continue to keep you informed on our efforts to enhance safety. Visit the NMUSD School Safety Webpage for more information. Remember, if you “see something, say something.”

Posted 2/6/23

District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC)

When: Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Sanborn


6:30 PM: Welcome and Introductions
                Laura Dale-Pash, Director Multilingual Programs

6:35 PM: Approval of January 11, 2023 Minutes
               Eduardo Martinez & Carmen Ramirez, Co-Chairpersons

6:40 PM: (Required Topic) Language Census/English Learner Data
                Laura Dale-Pash, Director Multilingual Programs

6:50 PM: English Learner Instructional Programs-Elementary & Secondary
                 NMUSD English Learner Teachers on Special Assignment
                 Laura Dale-Pash, Director Multilingual Programs

7:10 PM: (Required Topic) LCAP Input
                Vanessa Galey, Director of Special Projects

7:40 PM: English Learner Student Panel
                NMUSD Students

7:55 PM: Announcements and Evaluations
                Jackeline Gaitan, District School Community Facilitator

8:00 PM: Adjournment
               Eduardo Martinez & Carmen Ramirez, Co-Chairpersons

Thank you for your active involvement in our schools. We look forward to seeing you at our next DELAC meeting.

Spanish interpretation is provided at each meeting. Please call 515-949-6705 to request interpretation in other languages.

Posted 2/2/23

CTE Month banner

Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) is pleased to offer a robust Career and Technical Education (CTE) program for students. CTE directly prepares students for college and career success! CTE provides elective courses in a sequential pathway focused on a specific industry sector. These courses incorporate math, science, English language arts and CTE state standards. 

The goal of CTE is to provide students with hands-on learning experience that builds teamwork, leadership, creativity, and problem solving skills… all essential skills for employability. These programs are focused on industry-leading fields such as business, health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, hospitality and management, and many more. 

To learn more about the CTE pathways offered in NMUSD high schools please check out the video links below:

Corona del Mar Zone 

CDM Engineering Design Pathway
CDM Design, Visual and Media Arts Pathway
CDM Stage Technology Pathway
CDM Middle School CTE Courses 

Costa Mesa Zone

CMHS Child Development Pathway
CMHS Software and Systems Development Pathway
CMHS Design, Visual, and Media Arts Pathway
CMHS Engineering Design Pathway
CMHS Professional Music Pathway
CMHS Patient Care Pathway
Costa Mesa Middle School CTE Courses

Estancia Zone

​Estancia Engineering Design Pathway
Estancia Patient Care Pathway
Estancia Design, Visual, and Media Arts Pathway
Estancia Residential and Commercial Construction Pathway
Tewinkle Middle School CTE Courses

Newport Harbor Zone

NHHS Business Management Pathway
NHHS Software and Systems Development Pathway
NHHS Food Service and Hospitality Pathway
NHHS Film and Video Production Pathway
Back Bay HS Business Management Spyder Lab Pathway
Ensign Intermediate School CTE Courses

Please visit the College & Career Education webpage for more information.

Tenga en cuenta: aunque el idioma hablado en este video es inglés, están disponibles los subtítulos al español.
1. Abra el video (haga clic en la imagen del video al principio del correo electrónico)
2. Haga clic en el icono de engrane (esquina inferior derecha del video)
a. Haga clic en el símbolo de “>”  a la derecha de Subtitles/CC y después seleccione “Spanish”

Posted 2/1/23

Student with mentor in medical officeFor about 26 years, juniors at Newport Harbor High School (NHHS) have been given the opportunity to connect with a mentor as they explore their future careers. Funded by the Newport Harbor Educational Foundation, the 1:1 Junior Career Mentor Program has grown to include a roster of more than 250 professionals who volunteer to share their experiences in fields ranging from the arts to law enforcement to medical to construction and more. 

“This is an amazing opportunity for students to see what a career is like up close. Their experiences with their mentors can further ignite their passion for something, or it can lead to them discovering a new path in a subject they like,” said Counselor Sara Abdelhadi, who began coordinating the program this year after longtime program director Debbie Brostek retired.

To apply, students must be heading into their junior year at NHHS with a GPA of at least 2.0. In addition to submitting a resume and an essay, they fill out a questionnaire in which they note three career fields they are interested in pursuing. After a vetting process by staff, the program director matches students with mentors in one of those fields. All mentors must be approved through Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s Raptor System, which includes Live Scan fingerprinting and a background check. 

Though it’s not a class, completion of the program qualifies toward the Experiential Learning Project, which is a high school graduation requirement. “It also gives students access to someone who could be a reference for college applications. Even if they don’t choose the same career path, students now have a role model who can offer advice,” said Abdelhadi. 

After hearing about the program from her sophomore-year English teacher, Junior Maya Snowden decided to apply in the hopes of connecting with a mentor who shares her love for writing and could advise her on career options. “Everyone learns the basics in school, but there’s practical knowledge that you can only gain from a mentor,” she said.

Students accepted into the program are given the responsibility of connecting with their mentors and arranging to meet with them at least five times within eight months. After an initial meeting, in which students interview their mentors about their lives and careers, students gain insights into their chosen fields through job shadowing. They also meet with mentors in more casual settings to get a glimpse of their lives outside work, as well as build meaningful relationships. 

“Beyond sharing about my career path and business, I enjoy the big-picture mentoring that happens, more of the life skills coaching and what I wish I’d known about when I was in high school,” said current mentor Carrie Freitas, founder of Kitchen Table Marketing + PR. “The students gain an understanding of what their chosen career could look like, plus some perspective on life from someone else's point of view. That type of exposure can open up new worlds and possibilities for them,” she said.

To complete the program, students write essays reflecting on their mentorship experience. In late March, mentors and mentees will gather on the NHHS campus for the annual Mentor Appreciation Breakfast, during which they are invited to share their experiences. While this is the last official contact between students and mentors, many will stay in touch. As Freitas reported, “I am still in touch with my mentee from 2019 on social media, and she is doing great in college!”

Posted 1/30/23

financial aid requirement flier

Financial Aid Application Requirement

Requirement for High School Seniors
State law requires that all high school seniors complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a California Dream Act Application (CADAA), or a financial aid application opt-out form.

Application Deadline: March 2, 2023
Must complete application or opt-out form by March 2, 2023.

Posted 1/27/23

digital citizenship flier

Virtual Parent Education
Raising Responsible Digital Citizens

February 15, 2023 | 6-7 PM 

Join our Educational Technology Department and learn how to
keep your children safe in an online environment.

Topics include:

  • Student Privacy
  • Social Media
  • Monitoring Student Devices
  • Screentime Recommendations
  • Cyberbullying

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Register Now!

Posted 1/25/23

Patricia Van Sickler and Marco ChirinosNewport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) congratulates the 2023 Classified School Employees of the Year, Marco Chirinos, the head custodian for Davis Magnet School, and Patricia Van Sickler, health assistant for Rea Elementary School. Through this award program, NMUSD recognizes employees who go above and beyond the expectations of their job duties to provide exemplary service to students, staff and the community. 

“Though their jobs are very different, Marco and Pat exemplify our district’s commitment to whole-child support. We are fortunate to have them on our campuses,” said Superintendent Dr. Wesley Smith. “Congratulations, and thank you for your dedicated commitment to our Newport-Mesa community,” he said. 

Marco Chirinos

Though Marco Chirinos has only served as head custodian for Davis Magnet School for three years, his presence looms large on the campus. Students and staff can frequently be heard excitedly greeting “Mr. Marco” as they pass him in hallways and classrooms.

Chirinos is well-known for his unshakeable positivity and can-do attitude. He plays a vital role in maintaining a positive school culture, treating everyone with respect and encouragement, as well as offering support. He never backs away from a challenge, but instead commits to finding solutions that enhance the campus. When a composting system was introduced to the district’s custodians, Chirinos enthusiastically led the way in successfully implementing new procedures ahead of the timeline.

His commitment to keeping the Davis campus clean, safe and healthy for everyone resulted in the students’ Eco Club, no longer needing to spend time after school picking up trash since Chirinos keeps everything so clean and tidy. The club has now refocused its efforts to developing a recycling program.    

“Davis Magnet School is better because of Marco Chirinos. We are incredibly grateful for this positive, hard-working, caring leader,” said Davis Principal Christy Flores. 

Patricia Van Sickler

Known as Ms. V at Rea Elementary School, Patricia Van Sickler arrives early every day to greet students, families and staff with a big smile and cheerful demeanor. In her nine years as health assistant, Ms. V has become an indispensable member of the school’s staff. She regularly puts her incredible organizational skills to the test in order to maintain impeccable health records and communication logs.

Ms. V views the students as important members of the Rea family, taking the time to learn each one’s name, favorite pastime, family traditions and pets’ names. For students who require a little extra comfort, she keeps an expansive collection of books, coloring pages, stickers and snacks. If a student is injured somewhere on campus, she leaps into action, wheelchair and ice pack in tow, to begin first aid in the field. And just about every first-grade (or above) student can recall visiting Ms. V to get a special treasure box in which to keep a lost tooth.   

She is also instrumental in organizing uniform donations from community organizations and provides them to students in need. Ms. V keeps needle and thread in her desk so she can mend uniforms on the spot.

“Ms. V is the heart and soul of our school. We are fortunate to have her supporting our students and school community every day,” said Principal Lorie Hoggard. 

Chirinos and Van Sickler were each recognized with flowers and cheers at their respective school’s flag deck in December 2022. They will be formally recognized by the NMUSD Board of Education at its May 16 meeting. 

Posted 1/24/23

Somer HardingNewport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) announces the appointment of Somer Harding to the role of Director of Health Services. Harding has been with NMUSD for more than six years, most recently serving as principal for Newport Coast Elementary School. As a collaborative leader and partner, Harding will develop, organize, implement and oversee Student Health Services districtwide. 

As principal for Newport Coast and Newport Heights elementary schools, Harding gained experience in NMUSD’s practices regarding special education, 504 administration and crisis management. During the pandemic, Harding was instrumental in evaluating and implementing strategies to keep students and staff safe. She also served as the chairperson for the state’s Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) and has advocated for students with disabilities and support programs on a national level. 

In her 21-plus years in education, Harding has held a variety of leadership positions, including as a mentor and supervisor for the Clear Induction Administrative Services Credential Program at the University of California, Irvine; member of the advisory panel for K-12 assessments for the California Department of Education; and president of the central California chapter of the Association of California School Administrators. 

“Somer is passionate about the health and well-being of our district community and brings a wealth of experience to her new role. We are excited to enter a new chapter in Health Services with her leadership,” said Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services Dr. Sara Jocham.

Harding obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s in educational leadership from California State University, Northridge. She assumes her new position on January 23. Retired NMUSD principal Christine Anderson will serve as interim principal for Newport Coast Elementary School as the district conducts a search for a new principal.

Posted 1/19/23

Ryan Honary with SensoRy AI inventionRyan Honary was attending a tennis competition in Arizona when the Camp fire erupted in 2018. He noted the terrain on the news looked similar to what he saw at home in Newport Beach, so he called his mom to check in. Though he was relieved to find his family was safe, Ryan was still upset by the devastation he saw, and that spurred him to action. 

Ryan did some research and found that the systems that were commonly in practice did not provide early detection indicators and lacked processes for a timely response to a fire. For his fifth-grade science project, Ryan began developing a wildfire detection system that, over time, grew to involve a network of solar-powered heat detectors that communicate wirelessly with a weather station that transmits data to a computer that then reports an analysis of the situation to a cellphone app he programmed. 

Now a freshman at Newport Harbor High School, Ryan will host a panel discussion and global showcase on “The Future of Artificial Intelligence-Driven Environmental Solutions” at this month’s Learning Planet Festival, an event created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Learning Planet Institute in Paris. In addition to presenting on his innovative system and representing his company, SensoRy AI, Ryan will call on his fellow youth environmental activists to join a Climate Solutions Society with the goal of collectively exploring global conservation efforts. The newly formed nonprofit will assist members who are interested in meaningfully helping the planet find funding, explore technical solutions, etc. “I feel it’s my generation’s duty to help clean the planet up,” Ryan said.   

Founded with help from his father and a grant from the Office of Naval Research as capital, SensoRy AI has allowed Ryan the opportunity to work with local officials to protect lives and the environment. In late 2021, the Irvine Ranch Conservancy (IRC) invited Ryan to bring his low-cost proprietary technology to its seed farm for real-world testing. That opportunity came with additional funding and a mentor in Dr. Nathan Gregory, IRC’s vice president and chief programs officer.    

In addition to Gregory, Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy and Fire Captain Jeff Shelton have joined the SensoRy AI board. 

“Presenting at a UNESCO youth conference is a prestigious opportunity, and I couldn’t be more excited for Ryan,” said NHHS Principal Sean Boulton.

Ryan and his Early Wildfire Detection Network have accumulated many accolades, including the 2019 TCS Ignite Innovation Student Challenge’s $10,000 grand prize; a Naval Science Award in 2020 from the Office of Naval Research, which sponsors scientific efforts for the United States Navy and Marine Corps; a Red Cross Disaster Services Hero Award in 2020; and finalist honors in the 2020 Broadcom MASTERS competition. 

In addition to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities, Ryan enjoys playing competitive tennis, teaching the sport to kids with special needs, surfing, shredding on his guitar and singing. 

Posted 1/18/23

fentanyl crisis flier

Virtual Parent Education
What Parents Need to Know About the Fentanyl Crisis
January 18, 2023 | 6-7 PM

Fentanyl is a potent analgesic medication sold illegally on the streets as a counterfeit pill to unsuspecting teens seeking relief from pain and anxiety. Between 2019-2021, fentanyl-related teen deaths rose 1,800% in Orange County, making it the leading cause of death for minors.

Sergeant Brian Gunsolley with the Orange County Sheriff's Department will provide parents and guardians with valuable life-saving information about the fentanyl crisis and how to reduce the risk of accidental overdose.

Being aware may be the difference between life and death.

Register now!

Posted 1/11/23

electives at TeWinkle

Students are passing papers around a colorful classroom, as a small group quietly crosses the threshold. The energetic teacher at the front acknowledges the visitors with “Hola, hola, Coca-Cola,” as heads swivel and giggles erupt. She then leads them in a group greeting in Spanish. Everything is done in Spanish in Teacher Dilsa Urriola Delgado’s TeWinkle Middle School Spanish classroom, which features cultural artifacts from various Hispanic countries. 

“We’re not just learning the Spanish language in the class. We’re learning about different Hispanic cultures,” said eighth-grader Sergio Alvarez Hernandez. “My favorite part of the advanced class is learning the history,” he added.

Introduction to Spanish and Advanced Spanish are among a host of new elective classes offered at TeWinkle during the 2022-23 school year. 

Our District continually evaluates programs and student offerings district wide to offer students meaningful and purposeful learning opportunities. In response to community input last spring, TeWinkle’s bell schedule shifted to accommodate an additional elective in students’ schedules, and language, art and engineering classes were added to the catalog of offerings.    

In Teacher Fabian Lopez’s art class, his students are learning basic techniques while stretching their imagination. Inkwells are carefully dipped into while graphite pencils scratch at large sheets of sketching paper as fantastical new animals come to life at the hands of middle schoolers. The assignment is to create a unique creature from parts of existing animals. At one table, a blowfish gets puffier under the gaze of white-on-black drawings of various animals on the wall. At another, the group discusses what a capybara really looks like while two students use laptops to look up photos of the square-faced rodent. In the back of the classroom, eighth-grade student Logan Stollenwerk quietly contemplates the black lines of his classmates’ drawings, then studies his own work. “I really like art, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot. It’s fun to do projects like this,” he said.

Lopez, who teaches Art and the new Art 2, says he often gets inspiration for projects from his own time as a student. “For a lot of kids, this class is their first exposure to what art is, so I want them to learn the basics, but I also want them to have fun,” he said.  

Fun is also happening in the Robotics classroom, as Teacher Yassi Ogulnik dispenses lengths of string to students building pull toys. TeWinkle recently added a Design and Modeling elective that strengthens the students’ robotics skills, and students are learning more about computer coding. 

Teams of two fuss over last-minute adjustments to their projects, all of which must feature two working mechanisms, before presenting the finished products to the class. Each presentation must answer a list of questions that are technical and project-based. Not only do the students have to define the specific mechanisms used and demonstrate the project’s workability, but they must also discuss the challenges they faced, whether technical or personal, as well as the outcomes.   

Seventh-grader Jacquelyn Ngo adjusts gears while Damian Garcia, also in seventh grade, checks the design against the team’s sketched plans. The duo searched YouTube for inspiration for the art component, an image of a flappy bird that will bounce up and down as the pull toy is wheeled around. For the most part, they worked well together, they said, though there were difficulties with the drivetrain and the shaft. “We overcame our differences,” Garcia said.

According to Ogulnik, the goal of the class is to inspire students to continue on a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) pathway when they move on to high school and college. “We want them to experience different types of engineering — civil, software, electrical, mechanical — and discover all the different careers open to them,” she said. 

“I like learning about all the different parts you need to make something, then figuring out how to put it all together,” Ngo said. 

The bell rings, and students file out of classrooms and into hallways as teachers reset for the next class. In Delgado’s classroom, she sweeps piles of paper scraps into the trash, then shows off the colorful booklets each student had been working on that allows them to connect the verbs they’re learning in Spanish to themselves in their daily routines and the world around them. “I have this amazing opportunity to teach these kids. The kids are incredible; they come prepared every day, and they are so respectful,” she said. “I love this school and the support I get from everybody,” she added.

Eighth-grade student Ammy Arreola enters the room, fired up for Advanced Spanish. Though she learned conversational Spanish at home, she says she appreciates learning “educated Spanish” and about different cultures. “I’m so excited to continue learning Spanish in high school,” she said.

Next year, according to Principal Ixchel Sanchez, the school will share a drama teacher with Estancia High School so that interested students can explore the subject, then seamlessly continue on at Estancia. “We’re excited to bring more opportunities and more energy to TeWinkle,” she said. Student interest surveys and course registration for the upcoming school year will be forthcoming.

Posted 1/10/23

Save the Dates - Summer Programs 2023

Summer Programs 2023
Save the Dates!

ELEMENTARY: July 5-August 1, 2023
Open to incoming K-6 grade NMUSD students

SECONDARY: June 20-July 20, 2023
Open to incoming 7-12 grade NMUSD students
All content areas: bridge programs, credit recovery, and initial credit

SECONDARY LANGUAGE ACADEMY: English Language Development, July 24-August 10, 2023
English learner students - by invitation

PK-12 EXTENDED SCHOOL YEAR (ESY): July 5-August 1, 2023
Recommendation through Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

More information will be available in the spring.

Posted 1/9/23

Keith CarmonaNewport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) welcomes Keith Carmona as Director of Teaching and Learning for Secondary Education. He brings with him 20 years of experience in public schools.

In this role, Carmona will be responsible for building a cohesive secondary education system using identified data and metrics to monitor instructional and educational improvement; coordinate district-wide secondary curricula, assessments and programs that support responsive teaching and learning; direct and oversee the administrative intern and summer programs; and serve as the District’s AVID director among other duties. 

As Director of Educational Services for Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Carmona expertly led the 34-school district through the Federal Program Monitoring process, ensuring state and national statutory and fiscal requirements were being met at every school. He also successfully guided the development of signature instructional strategies designed to support the needs of English language learners at all grade levels. 

Prior to serving in the director role, Carmona served as a principal for eight years at an AVID National Demonstration School and an assistant principal for three years. He also has experience as a district teacher trainer in technology and served as a teacher leader for schools implementing Professional Learning Communities.

“Keith’s experience is ideal for managing and leading our secondary education program. He is well-respected, with a reputation for being a highly knowledgeable, motivated leader who continuously seeks ways to improve educational achievement. We are excited to welcome him to Newport-Mesa,” said Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Kerrie Torres. 

Carmona received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arizona; single subject credentials in English and social science from University of California, Irvine; and a master’s in educational leadership from California State University, Fullerton

Carmona will join the NMUSD team on January 17, 2023.

Posted 1/5/23

District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC)

When: Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Sanborn


6:30 PM: Welcome and Introductions
                Laura Dale-Pash, Director Multilingual Programs

6:35 PM: Approval of December 7, 2022 Minutes
               Eduardo Martinez & Carmen Ramirez, Co-Chairpersons

6:40 PM: RULER and Social Emotional Learning
                Jodie Palmer, School Counselor, & Heather Krikorian, Behavior Specialist

7:10 PM: (Required Topic) Review/Comment on District Reclassification Procedures
                 Laura Dale-Pash, Director Multilingual Programs

7:25 PM: English Learner Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)
                Laura Dale-Pash, Director Multilingual Programs

7:45 PM: Generate Questions for Superintendent for February 8 meeting
                Laura Dale-Pash, Director Multilingual Programs

7:55 PM: DELAC Calendar of Topics, Announcements and Evaluations
                 Jackeline Gaitan, District School Community Facilitator

8:00 PM: Adjournment

Thank you for your active involvement in our schools. We look forward to seeing you at our next DELAC meeting.

Spanish interpretation is provided at each meeting. Please call 515-949-6705 to request interpretation in other languages.

Posted 1/4/23

flu clinic flier

Community Flu Clinic
Appointments preferred
Walk-ins welcome

January 18, 2023
8:30-11:45 am & 1-5 pm

HOPE Clinic, 2045 Meyer Place (Unit C), Costa Mesa, CA 92627

The Details . . .

  • Vaccines available at no cost for non-pregnant adults and children four years and older.
  • Please wear short sleeves or sleeveless top.
  • If you are sick on the day of your appointment, stay home and reschedule your appointment.
  • Only individuals with appointments will be permitted to enter the vaccine staging area.
  • Children must be accompanied by one parent or guardian.

You cannot receive a flu shot if:

  • You have a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
  • You have previously had a reaction to a flu shot.

Contact us to schedule an appointment or for more information: 949-515-6725 |

Posted 1/4/23

robotics students at Andersen

Just five minutes after the school day has ended, the robotics room at Andersen Elementary is already a whirlwind of activity. Inside the school library, plastic pieces that resemble parts of an Erector Set are being snapped together on a 6-foot-by-8-foot plastic playing field, some students sort pieces on a table, while others scrutinize build plans around a laptop. A tall sixth-grader methodically moves from group to group, asking other kids what they’re working on before conferring with Teacher Jeff Vonnahme on what needs to be done next. The 15 students, ranging from fourth graders to sixth graders, are all working to assemble this year’s VEX Robotics game, “Slapshot.”

Meanwhile, at Davis Magnet School, Teacher Danielle Lopez welcomes into the Robotics Lab about a dozen students who were selected by their teachers for the after-school program. And just like at Andersen, the eager fifth- and sixth-graders are learning the basics of engineering — design, build, test, improve, retest — while putting together their own robots and playing field. 

These young engineers are part of a resurging population within Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD), as some elementary schools (including Eastbluff, Harbor View, Kaiser, Pomona, Rea, Sonora and Whittier) are bringing their robotics programs back to life. The extracurricular STEM activity utilizes students’ problem-solving skills while teaching the basics of engineering and computer coding. Once finished, this year’s project will feature five automated disc dispensers and a drivable robot on a 6-foot-by-8-foot playing field that’s divided by a fence, which separates the driving area from four goal zones for the discs. Interlocking plastic pieces are used to build everything, and once motors are added, students can control their robots through programming they’ve coded using VEX’s educational software. Students also learn to skillfully drive a robot using a remote control, as well as control a driving pattern through software they’ve programmed.

Andersen students building gateThe object of the game is for a player to maneuver a robot to the dispensers, each one fitted with a disc, then launch the discs into the goal zones, each of which is worth a different amount of points. The player then scores additional points by extending a robotic arm over the divider fence and touching a goal zone. 

During competitions, two teams use the same playing field to cooperatively drive their respective robots around the field and score points. Each team also tests driving skills using a remote control, as well as programming skills by driving without a remote control.

The Orange County Department of Education’s Orange County Robotics Consortium has released its first competition schedule since the 2019-20 school year. Davis’ Lopez says her students will be competing in the Orange County Classic in February. “I’m so excited to get the kids out there to build a community with other teams. I can’t wait to see what will happen,” she says. 

NMUSD secondary schools foster the excitement of our elementary engineers by offering Career Technical Education pathways that incorporate the robotics and coding skills learned in these elementary programs. 

Posted 12/20/22

NMUSD logoNewport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) is proud to continue to make strides toward the Board of Education’s goal of pre-2019 academic levels, focusing on early literacy and the expansion of learning opportunities. Those efforts are visible in the California School Dashboard

We are committed to continuous improvement and appreciate the power of the Dashboard as an essential tool in that process. We are transparent in our commitment to meet the needs of all students, and data visualized in this way confirms the board’s goal for educational excellence at all schools. 

Districtwide data (which is from the 2021-22 school year) shows that NMUSD continues to meet standards in the areas of instructional materials and facilities, implementation of academic standards, parent and family engagement, local climate survey, and access to broad courses of study. NMUSD also has high graduation rates and high performance results in English language arts standardized testing. 

The Dashboard shows that our system-wide response to chronic absenteeism must be improved, and we look forward to partnering with families across our district to reiterate the value of school attendance and the support services to mitigate barriers. When our talented and dedicated teachers are given the opportunity to work directly with students, we know the results are powerful. Every moment matters for instruction, and we understand our role in establishing lifelong habits for success including commitment, dedication and perseverance. 

We are diligent in our efforts to meet the needs of all students, in particular the needs of our foster youth students and students with disabilities, who are included in all our conversations and decision-making. 

We take pride in the resilience of our staff and students following the pandemic and understand that the ripples of the crisis and state-mandated school closures are visible in our classrooms today. We will be partnering with local school districts who share our concerns about chronic absenteeism both in our county and throughout the state. We are returning to pre-pandemic levels of achievement and will continue to excel.

Posted 12/16/22

The December 2022 issue of School News Roll Call, a third-party newsletter featuring highlights of our District schools and programs, is now available online. Visit the School News Publication webpage to view previous issues.

School News Dec 2022

Posted 12/15/22

Each year thousands of students in Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) excitedly load into big yellow buses and visit a variety of organizations throughout Orange County and around the world to gain first-hand experiences in putting into practice what they learn in the classroom.

These student experiences further our goal to graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to achieve significant career, educational, civic, and personal goals to enrich our society. These purposeful field trips, from elementary to high school, serve an important role in providing students immersive hands-on learning while building confidence and deepening their understanding of concepts taught in the classroom.
South Coast Repertory

While there are a multitude of opportunities for student experiences outside of the classroom, below are just a few highlights from this school year:

The Arts

NMUSD third grade students were invited to South Coast Repertory to attend a performance of Snow White. This interactive theatrical experience featured a modified version of Grimm’s fairy tale and concluded with students cheering as the curtains came down. In preparation for attending this performance, teachers offered classroom activities that included reading the story, discussing folktales, prose, and production in addition to immersing the students in theater vocabulary.  

The Class Act program offered by Segerstrom Center for the Arts allows elementary students to form a relationship with a symphony musician who serves as a teaching artist presenting lessons to each grade level about the theme and featured composer as well as details about the musician’s preferred instrument and career. Classroom teachers receive specifically designed lessons, aligned with state arts standards, that feature activities, audio recordings of ensemble performances, and interactive presentations. The program culminates with students attending a performance by the Pacific Symphony.

Middle and high school students also have opportunities to participate in field trips to numerous performances and competitions in vocal and instrumental music, color guard, dance, theater and band.

This year, Newport Harbor High School students will perform vocally at Carnegie Hall and will collaborate with professional Broadway cast and crew. Students will also watch professional performance preparation and grow their own performance skills through feedback and collaboration with Broadway performers and behind the scenes crew members. 

Many of our student musicians also perform at competitions and athletic events as part of band and color guard. 

Students at Tanaka Farms

Visiting local farms is a highlight for many elementary students. In the classroom, kindergarten students learn the difference between living and non-living things, and inquiry through observation. When visiting the local farm, they see first-hand how food is grown, harvested, and they get to taste a variety of vegetables and fruits. 

Students in first through third grade visit the farm after learning economic concepts, specialized job duties, and plant and animal life science. Farm visits solidify their understanding of the economics behind growing and selling produce while allowing them to observe different jobs, consider plants and animal interactions, and discover why bees are vitally important to the food chain. 

The Environmental Nature Center offers a traveling naturalist program for students in first grade through high school. Their unique programs support Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for each grade level, and allow students to attend year after year to build on previously learned topics. Designed to enhance the topics students have learned in the classroom, the visits include hands-on activity and observation on the trails for lower elementary students, environmental science careers exploration including botany, geology, ecology and more for middle school students, and field research and population diversity assessments of plants and animals in different ecosystems for high school students.

One of the most anticipated science enrichment programs is sixth grade science camp. For many, this is their first “sleep-away” camp where students gain independence, self-confidence, and life skills like packing and problem-solving. Outdoor science camp uses NGSS on the trails, which includes an interactive outdoor learning environment emphasizing botany, geology, astronomy, meteorology, ecology, habitats, adaptations, energy and conservation.  

History and Social Studies

In fourth grade, as students learn about the California Missions, several campuses plan visits to the Mission San Juan Capistrano. History comes alive when students see actual artifacts they have learned about in the classroom including tools, plants, games or musical instruments used by the Gabrielino and Juaneño tribes. 

As students enter middle and high school, field trips provide opportunities to sharpen debate skills at competitions. Students from Corona del Mar High School’s award winning Model UN team travel nationally to participate in the model United Nations.

Other high school students are scheduled to travel internationally as a deeper-dive into language acquisition, cultural, historical, and environmental knowledge building. Approved trips this year include France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.

AthleticsNHHS CIF Football Win

Participating in athletic competitions provides students with opportunities to focus on physical fitness, teamwork, sportsmanship, and school pride. Student athletes travel locally and statewide to participate in athletic training and competitions. In October, Newport Harbor High School’s water polo team won the CIF Open Division championship. Throughout NMUSD’s history, our athletic teams have amassed more than 150 CIF Championships and we look forward to more wins this year. 

By supplementing classroom instruction with student experiences such as these, students solidify their knowledge and become active participants in their learning. From a kindergarten student on the farm to picking carrots, to a sixth grader attending his first overnight camp, to a senior in high school practicing the French learned in the classroom by ordering food at a restaurant in Paris, these enriching experiences have become a highly anticipated, appreciated, and vital part of the enhancing the student experience.

Posted 12/12/22

Safety is always at the forefront at Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD), and we have made intentional efforts in meaningfully communicating with and engaging our school community to support improved safety throughout our school district. Please see below for a few updates. 


This summer, NMUSD hosted in-person and virtual School Safety Community Forums in each of the four school zones to solicit feedback about safety measures related to policy, prevention, response and facilities. There was also an online ThoughtExchange (similar to a survey) that allowed employees, students and community members to share their thoughts about school safety. 


As part of the feedback received from the community forums, NMUSD created a Safety Task Force with the goal of reviewing current school safety practices and making recommendations for enhancements. Task Force members included principals, district administrators, parent and student representatives, and first responders from the cities of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. The task force met multiple times to identify potential improvements to school safety, many of which are now in the process of implementation (see below).


This is the emergency response protocol NMUSD is implementing districtwide as part of an effort to streamline terminology used in emergency situations. The SRP clearly defines the five actions to take in an emergency: hold, secure, lockdown, evacuate and shelter.

I Love U Guys posterNMUSD staff was trained in early November, with makeup and new hire training ongoing. Coordination with local law enforcement and school resource officers (SROs) is also a crucial partnership in implementing this SRP as we conduct future safety drills and training.

Appropriate signage and training materials will be provided in the implementation process, for the entire NMUSD community — from staff to parents and students to law enforcement and community members — to be aware of the common terminology surrounding school safety. This updated language will be integrated into each school’s Comprehensive School Safety Plans and Site Emergency Plans.   


NMUSD is partnering with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team to train site-based teams on the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG), an evidence-based threat assessment protocol. The CSTAG includes a series of steps to help evaluate whether a threat is credible and the appropriate response to potential threats. Employee training is expected to begin in February 2023 for principals, assistant principals, administrative interns, school counselors and psychologists, behavioral specialists, school social workers, campus safety personnel and School Resource Officers, as well as other employees.


NMUSD is also partnering with the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC) to conduct physical security assessments of all NMUSD school and office buildings, with participation from local law enforcement. OCIAC is tasked with identifying ways to physically enhance safety measures. District standards will be revised to incorporate an integrated electronic security system that may include surveillance cameras, electronic access control and intrusion detection. 

While OCIAC conducts these assessments, it is anticipated that camera installation at our schools will begin in early 2023. The front lobbies at all school sites also are expected to have equipment installed to provide controlled entry by the start of the 2023-24 school year.

WETIP 2.0 

NMUSD is securing a contract with WeTip 2.0 for secondary schools. WeTip 2.0 is a 24-hour anonymous reporting system (tip line) through which suspicious activity and safety concerns at secondary schools can be reported via phone, text and an online form. The system includes two-way communication, allowing tip monitors to obtain more complete information. WeTip 2.0 is anticipated to obtain approval from the Board of Education in January, with implementation at all NMUSD secondary schools expected in early 2023.

Our elementary school community will continue to abide by the practice of “see something, say something” and report safety concerns to a teacher or other trusted adult on campus. This process allows us to continue to promote parents having direct connection with our elementary schools and continue to foster positive relationships with teachers and principals.


Employees at Newport Harbor High School and Davis Magnet School will pilot an emergency alert system, which allows emergency response team members to initiate any of the five SRP actions. 

While these are just a few current safety initiatives, please know that safety is always top of mind, and we continue to collaborate with our school community and law enforcement agencies to enhance safety. We will continue to keep you informed of our efforts to enhance safety and invite you to visit the NMUSD School Safety Webpage for more information. And remember, if you “see something, say something.”

Posted 12/8/22

ECHS college applications dayDecisions about which college or career paths to take can be stressful for high school students and their families. The pressures of graduating from high school are compounded by deciding on a post-secondary pathway to success. To help ease some of the stress, Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) offers on-campus and online resources to help focus students’ goals.

With the support of such resources, many of NMUSD’s 1,660 graduates from 2022 are now attending top colleges throughout the United States and internationally. They are matriculating at Ivy League schools such as Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Brown University, Cornell University and Columbia University, as well as top colleges such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; and Duke University.

Many 2022 graduates are attending community colleges. Thanks to the California College Promise Program, created by Assembly Bill 19, many students qualify for free tuition at community colleges throughout the state. Every NMUSD high school student is able to dual enroll in on- and off-campus courses through Coastline Community College. Students who take advantage of the program earn college credit while still also attending high school. Early College High School students typically graduate high school with one year’s worth of college credit.

Throughout their secondary education, NMUSD students are encouraged to explore the numerous college and career resources available at SchooLinks, an online college and career readiness platform that offers assessments for students to help students determine how their interests might integrate into a future career, as well as what major they might pursue and what college might fit best.

Most school counseling offices offer college and career exploration fairs, workshops on how to apply and pay for college, college application assistance, as well as help filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a California Dream Act Application (CADAA) and/or scholarship applications.

Many NMUSD campuses host representatives from surrounding colleges in an effort to recruit students. Plus, some schools schedule visits to college campuses such as those in the University of California (UC) system, including UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley, as well as the University of Redlands and Loyola Marymount University.   

Students also are encouraged to enroll in Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways that follow their interests. Some pathways are available starting in middle school. The district’s College and Career webpage shows the different pathways available at NMUSD schools. The College and Career Department also hosted a free Virtual College and Career Night that features workshops and informational sessions, plus interactive panels with industry experts. In addition, some high schools arrange Lunch & Learn panels and presentations with local leaders for interested students.

Whatever path your child chooses for his/her future we have resources and events to help them navigate their future success. Please check with each school’s counseling department or visit the College and Career Night Resources Webpage.

Posted 12/6/22

flu clinic flier

Community Flu Clinic
By Appointment Only

Nov. 9 & Dec. 14, 2022
8:30-11:45 am & 1-3:40 pm

HOPE Clinic, 2045 Meyer Place (Unit C), Costa Mesa, CA 92627

The Details . . .

  • Vaccines available at no cost for non-pregnant adults and children four years and older.
  • Please wear short sleeves or sleeveless top.
  • If you are sick on the day of your appointment, stay home and reschedule your appointment.
  • Only individuals with appointments will be permitted to enter the vaccine staging area.
  • Children must be accompanied by one parent or guardian.

You cannot receive a flu shot if:

  • You have a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
  • You have previously had a reaction to a flu shot.

Contact us to schedule an appointment or for more information: 949-515-6725 |

Posted 12/5/22

kids working on art

It’s a windy morning at Victoria Elementary as parent volunteers arrange art supplies on lunch tables covered in paint-splattered drop cloths. Cups with Mod Podge and paint brushes are carefully placed next to aluminum trays filled with scraps of colorful paper in different textures. Spools of washi tape in fun patterns are added atop the trays, partly to attract interest and partly to keep the wind from blowing the paper onto the playground. The person in change scatters examples of this morning’s project on the tables to provide inspiration as kindergarteners excitedly begin lining up, ready to be creative.

Art for All was started as a passion project by Julie Haley while volunteering at her kids’ elementary school. She created a program where once a month kids watch a short video on an art medium, and as they are released for recess, students gather supplies needed to make something of their own. 

Each month has a different focus: collage, painting, pottery, etc. Haley says she tries to supply the kids with materials they might not find in the typical classroom so that they always have a new experience. Even though the kids watch a video and see examples, what they do with the material is up to their imagination. “Each project is unique to each child,” Haley says.

Students are encouraged to use their intuition and enjoy the process of creating art. This helps them understand that there are many ways to see and interpret the world around them. The kids sometimes discover that what they start out making can look very different in its final version. 

That program has since expanded to other NMUSD schools. While school-affiliated, parent-and-family organizations fund Haley’s program at some elementary schools, other parent-and-family organizations have brought a similar idea to their campuses.

At Kaiser Elementary, kids in third through sixth grade toss their lunch boxes into colorful wagons as they hurry into the multipurpose room, eager to see what this month’s craft is. Parent Elyse Hardesty displays pictures of the project on tables while parent Sarah Hansen fills paper bowls with pony beads in muted fall colors. In one corner, two parents twist brown chenille stems into spider-like shapes and cut lengths of raffia ribbon. 

“We’re making corn cobs!” Hardesty excitedly tells students as she circulates through the room, showing off a sample of what the finished project could look like and offering gentle tips. 

Hardesty and Hansen coordinate the school’s Recess Art activities as part of the Kaiser Parent Faculty Organization. Each month, a different craft is offered, usually with a tie-in to the season or an approaching holiday; everything is geared toward the kids being able to work independently while socializing. 

“It’s fun to see how their projects turn out. Everyone makes something different,” Hardesty says. 

This loosely structured program is well-attended each month, with kids dashing into the room throughout the staggered lunch period. 

Activities like Art for All and Recess Art bring students a creative option to enrich their school experience during recess and lunch. Check your school’s calendar or parent-and-family organization for activities offered.

Para acceder a los sitios web del NMUSD en español, por favor seleccione el botón “Select Language” en la parte superior derecha de cualquier página web del distrito o escuela y seleccione “Spanish.”

Posted 12/1/22

bus pass renewal flier

Second Semester Bus Pass Renewal

Now accepting bus pass applications renewals for second semester:
Submit your payments by December 23, 2022

Para acceder a los sitios web del NMUSD en español, por favor seleccione el botón “Select Language” en la parte superior derecha de cualquier página web del distrito o escuela y seleccione “Spanish.”

Posted 12/1/22

District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC)

When: Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Sanborn



6:30 PM: Welcome and Introductions
                Laura Dale-Pash, Director Multilingual Programs

6:35 PM: Approval of October 26, 2022 Minutes
               Karla Hernandez, DELAC Chairperson

6:40 PM: Elections DELAC Officers
                Jackeline Gaitan, District School Community Facilitator

6:50 PM: Review/Comment on Parent Notifications (Required Topic)
                Teacher and Instructional Aide Requirements (Required Topic)

                 Laura Dale-Pash, Director Multilingual Programs

7:15 PM: Youth Drug Prevention-Vaping, Marijuana & Fentanyl
                Michel Chavez
                Orange County Department of Education

7:55  PM: Announcements and Evaluations
                 Jackeline Gaitan, District School Community Facilitator

8:00 PM: Adjournment

Thank you for your active involvement in our schools. We look forward to seeing you at our next DELAC meeting.

Spanish interpretation is provided at each meeting. Please call 515-949-6705 to request interpretation in other languages.

Posted 11/30/22

Inclusive Special Ed Preschool flier

Inclusive Special Education Preschool

Now Accepting: 

General education students from neighboring school districts to participate in our Inclusive Special Education Preschool Programs.

Program Overview

Students learn side-by-side with their same-aged peers in structured, caring preschool classrooms. The programs prepare young learners for success in kindergarten, as they participate in small and large group classroom settings, and cooperative play activities.

  • Focus is on language and early literacy skills, including phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge; and
  • Social and emotional independence, fostered through direct teaching and cooperative play.


  • 3 half-days per week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, $200/month
  • 5 half-days per week: Monday-Friday, $350/month
  • 5 half-days per week: Monday-Friday, $250/month (Pomona Elementary)


  • 4 hours/per day
  • Hours vary based on school locations.

Parent Observation

Parents/guardians are invited to participate in a monthly play-based
observation, which includes a 30-40 minute observation of your child’s play, social and language skills, and classroom readiness.
The session includes a circle time, small group activity and free play.

(949) 515-6631

Para acceder a los sitios web del NMUSD en español, por favor seleccione el botón “Select Language” en la parte superior derecha de cualquier página web del distrito o escuela y seleccione “Spanish.”

Posted 11/22/22

Let's Be Kind collage

In 2018, as an eighth-grader at Costa Mesa Middle School, Rebekah Robeck noticed a general unkindness amongst her friends. They would step on her shoes or call her names — behavior that might not get flagged as bullying but was upsetting and frustrating. Her mom, Cristina, suggested she bring some pizza to school as an example of kindness. Armed with pizza boxes emblazoned with signs reading “Let’s be kind to each other,” Rebekah started a conversation and a movement.

What started with pizzas on one middle school campus has grown into an organization that is now positively impacting schools throughout Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD). Formed by Rebekah and her mom in 2019, Let’s Be Kind has garnered support from local sponsors such as Vans, Fill Bakeshop and the City of Costa Mesa. In addition to its partnership with NMUSD, the movement has touched campuses in other Orange County schools, including those in Irvine and Anaheim. 

“Let’s Be Kind helps everyone from students to principals to classroom assistants feel included and a part of their school community, which is essential to the positive environments we want to foster on our campuses,” said Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services Dr. Sara Jocham.  

In collaboration with Let’s Be Kind, elementary schools typically host a week of activities that delve deeper into the message of spreading kindness with students completing a series of kind acts, and in return, they get a letter from the Kindness Fairy.    

On middle and high school campuses, Let’s Be Kind events typically include a DJ, doughnut wall, cotton candy machine, photo and/or 360-degree video booths, confetti cannons, inflatable slides, giveaways, and more for their lunchtime Let’s Be Kind activities. Though the organization provides signs and balloons to make the campus look festive, school ASB students are encouraged to create their own signs and decorations to help build teamwork and camaraderie among students throughout the campus. Schools are also given spray chalk to copy the Let’s Be Kind logo throughout campus as gentle reminders that kindness starts within us. On any given day, you can also see students wearing their signature Let's Be Kind shirts.

Rebekah is now a freshman at Vanguard University, however, she and Cristina are present at all events, handing out T-shirts and spreading the message behind Let’s Be Kind. 

Para acceder a los sitios web del NMUSD en español, por favor seleccione el botón “Select Language” en la parte superior derecha de cualquier página web del distrito o escuela y seleccione “Spanish.”

Posted 11/21/22

As we look ahead to the upcoming break, please take a few minutes to view this video highlighting the many things our students are grateful for.



Tenga en cuenta: aunque el idioma hablado en este video es inglés, están disponibles los subtítulos al español.

  1. Abra el video (haga clic en la imagen del video al principio del correo electrónico)
  2. Haga clic en el icono de engrane (esquina inferior derecha del video)
  3. Haga clic en el símbolo de “>”  a la derecha de Subtitles/CC y después seleccione “Spanish”
Posted 11/17/22


Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD), in partnership with Vital Link, hosted a Virtual College and Career Night on October 19, 2022. Whether you attended the College and Career night or not, we strongly encourage you to access the College and Career Night Resources Webpage, which has a multitude of resources to help you and your child navigate college and career success after high school.

The College and Career Night Resources Webpage includes:

  • Access to more than 200 local and international colleges and universities
  • Video recordings of informational workshops such as NCAA, financial aid and college application assistance
  • Panel discussions from industry leaders about high-demand professions and career opportunities
  • Career technical education pathways information
  • And more…

Instructions to access resources:

Step 1: Click on the 2022 College and Career Night virtual platform link

Step 2: Enter your email and personal password

  • Returning Users: Enter the email and password you used to access the 2022 College and Career Night.
  • New Users: Create an account by providing a personal email and creating a personal password.
  • When prompted, use access code: NMUSD2022

Step 3: Enjoy the amazing college and career information at your fingertips

In addition to the resources mentioned above, we also have this brief video that highlights the many pathways available for your child and includes information on how participation can help your child gain a career readiness advantage available in English and Spanish

Gaining a Career Readiness AdvantageObteniendo una ventaja en la preparacion del las carreras

Para acceder a los sitios web del NMUSD en español, por favor seleccione en el botón “Select Language” en la parte superior derecha de cualquier página web del distrito o escuela y seleccione “Spanish”.

Posted 11/16/22

employee excellence logoNominations are being accepted through December 6, 2022, for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District's (NMUSD) Employee Excellence Award Program

This is your opportunity to nominate an employee who contributes to and enhances the District's mission to create a positive environment for students, staff and community; and continuously displays initiative, going above and beyond in their work with a high degree of excellence, professionalism and integrity.

Anyone can nominate an employee! 

To receive consideration for this recognition, nominated employees must have been at their current position for at least one year and have not received this award in the past five years.

To nominate an employee, please fill out the nomination form in its entirety by December 6, 2022.

Para acceder a los sitios web del NMUSD en español, por favor seleccione en el botón “Select Language” en la parte superior derecha de cualquier página web del distrito o escuela y seleccione “Spanish.”

Posted 11/15/22