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August 12, 2013
Esteemed Vista Unified Families
Welcome to the 201314 school year! We are eager to have students return to class, meet the
teachers, and reunite with their friends. For me, last year was an eventful first cycle as the
Superintendent and I am very enthusiastic about the upcoming year. In addition to providing a
warm welcome, the purpose of this letter is to share some information that will be helpful as we
focus our collective efforts on ensuring the success of our students.
Our vision in Vista Unified is to be the model of education excellence and innovation. Our
purpose is to inspire each and every student to persevere as a criticallythinking individual who
collaborates to solve real world problems. Our guiding values are respect, trust, and
All schools and the district have converted to new websites that are organized to provide families
and students with current information. The Vista Unified website (www.vistausd.org) includes
specifics about student safety, special education,and other important services. Each of the
webpages can be translated into many languages, including Spanish, by using a button at the
bottom of each page. Some of the more common informational items families need to get ready
for the 201314 school year are posted on the district website:
● 201314 School Calendar
● 201314 Bell Schedule
● 20132014 Transportation Schedule
● Free and Reduced Online Meal Application
● Basic information about Child Nutrition Services
As we pursue the ideal future of excellence and innovation and seek to actualize our purpose
and values, we have focused a significant amount of effort on developing the infrastructure and
creating a collaborative platform for learning. To that end, you should be aware of the following:
● Network equipment and wireless access point upgrades will be completed at every
school site. Wireless speeds will be 10 times faster than they have been and three times
faster than the wired connection. In addition, the new equipment can support
simultaneous connections for every student in the district.
● Vista Unified is now using Google Apps for Education for staff and students. This will
provide a connected online suite of email, calendars, and webbased documents that can
be accessed from any device that has internet access. For more information:
● Vista Unified will also be using a learning management system called My Big Campus.
This is an online platform where students can access learning resources, collaborate,
complete assignments, and take quizzes and tests. It is important to note that My Big
Campus is a secure, filtered environment to promote student safety and appropriate
conduct. Like Google Apps, My Big Campus can be used at any time by any device that
has internet access. For more information: http://www.mybigcampus.com/#forparents
● Vista Unified is updating the student information system online portal for parents and
students. The new upgraded parent portal will provide language support for English,
Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean. A quick link will be on the District’s web page under
the title Aeries. The portal will allow parents to receive weekly progress reports via email
and access to the portal will be available from any device that has internet access. For
more information: http://bit.ly/12uRQmH.
● Most schools are also now using some form of social media to provide realtime updates
that are easy to access on mobile devices. You can follow me on twitter (@dvodicka)
and check in with your school to find the feeds from your site.
These changes are designed to expand learning opportunities and to improve connectedness
between students, families, and staff. This foundation will be essential as we transition to the
Common Core State Standards and a new, computerbased adaptive testing system in
201415. You should also be aware that our teachers and staff are engaged in professional
development to help us learn the best ways to use these new resources to accelerate student
It should be evident that we are deliberate and yet resolved to taking steps that will help us to
become the model of educational excellence and innovation. I appreciate your support,
encouragement, and partnership as we seek to inspire each and every student to persevere as a
critical thinker who collaborates to solve real world problems.
Devin Vodicka, EdD
Superintendent of Schools