Superintendent's Weekly Update

It always amazes me how fast a school year can come and go. The older I get the faster the school year seems to go!

Thank you to all of our staff who helped our students successfully navigate the 2023-2024 school year.

The joy of the end of the school year is always joined by the reality that not all of us will return in August. First, 72 seniors, most of whom have been part of Durham Unified since Kindergarten, are off to start the next adventure in their lives after last night’s graduation. 

Four staff members - Jona O’Shea, David Coffee, Tracey Strick and Colleen Courts - are taking off into retirement. We wish them a long and healthy retirement!

Several other staff members are moving on to new adventures in different districts, states, or altogether new occupations. We wish everyone the best of luck wherever they are heading.

Thank you to everyone for the impact you have made on Durham students, families and community.

We are grateful so many of us will be back in Durham in the fall - enjoy a restful summer spending time with friends and family and we’ll see you back rejuvenated for another school year in August. 

DIS Construction

If you are around town in June, you may want to make some trips past the intermediate school campus. Buildings start arriving June 12!

DIS Construction Update from UBC


The remaining west parking lot curbs have been poured earlier this week. We will be having our site contractor adjust the finish grade before placing down the parking lot asphalt. They will be here tomorrow cutting out the concrete sidewalk approaches and we will form these Monday and pour them next week. Paving is scheduled for Next Thursday, 6/6.

We have begun to form up and install rebar along the south building lot curbs and flatwork. We are expecting to pour these areas next week as well, after the approaches are poured.

Enviroplex has confirmed that we are on schedule for the modular deliveries on 6/12 and 6/18. We will let you know if anything changes.

 Additionally, we will begin to mobilize into the existing building late next week and adjust our temporary fencing.

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Picture of the DIS build progress.

New Bench in town

In a collaboration between the Durham High School class of 1969 and current Durham High welding students, a beautiful new bench has been placed on the Midway side of Durham Market.

This is beautiful work by Durham High students and a quality community volunteer project that makes the community of Durham a special place.

Picture of the Class of 1969 bench made by the DHS welding shop.

Updates from Principals

District Office Summer Hours

The District office should be open Monday through Friday this summer, but there will be very small staff on Fridays. I would check in by phone before making the trip to the DO to ensure the person you need to talk to is on site.

A reminder that Wednesday, June 19 is a holiday for all district employees.

Updates from Principals

DES (from Samantha Brown)

It has been a whirlwind of a week, but a great and memorable end to the school year!

From our End-of-the-Year Awards Assembly on Tuesday and recognizing the efforts of so many of our amazing students to our 5th grade Advancement Ceremony and Water Day/Field Day on Wednesday to our Variety Show and Staff Performance on Thursday. This morning staff met in the DES Courtyard for our rock placement ceremony as we shared stories, memories, wished them well, and said our good-byes to David Coffee and Jona O'Shea!

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Picture of the DES Awards Ceremony.

Here are our last three Tiger Spotlights of the Year:

First up, we have Migrant Services and Bilingual Liaison, Maggie Mendoza. Maggie is an AMAZING asset to our school district! She does a great job communicating with our Spanish speaking families and translating for our teachers and staff as needed. She is in charge of doing all the initial ELPAC testing in our district in the fall. She helps administer the Summative ELPAC testing at the elementary school in the spring. She attends and translates at our District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC) meetings, helps with our designated ELD program at DES, and she does an amazing job with the Mexican Independence Day and Dia de Los Muertos potluck celebrations, folkloric dancers, and Dia de Los Muertos Museum! Maggie is always so helpful and kind! We are so grateful for Maggie and all the ways that she helps out in our school community and the pawsitive impact that she has on Durham Elementary School!

Next up is Kindergarten teacher, Hailey DuBose. This was Hailey's second year teaching at Durham Elementary School. Mrs. DuBose is a SHINING STAR on our staff, giving our kindergarten students a positive beginning to their school experience. She is always so cheerful, smiling, sweet, and thoughtful. She collaborates well with her grade level team and other colleagues, and coordinates for our Kindergarten-2nd Grade Sunshine group. We appreciate Hailey and the pawsitive impact that she has on Durham Elementary School, her students, and in bringing staff together!

Last but not least we have our new special education paraprofessional that works in our Alternative Learning Environment classroom, Stacey Nash. Stacey joined our staff later in the school year, but we are super grateful for the support that she provides to both staff and the students that she works with in our Alternative Learning Environment classroom. She is helpful and always has a smile on her face. Thank you for all you do, Stacey!

Picture of the Tiger of the Week, Maggie Mendoza.

Picture of the Tiger of the Week, Mrs. DuBose.

Picture of the Tiger of the Week, Stacey Nash.

DIS (From Lora Fox)

This week was a great celebration to a great end of the school year. Thank you to DIS PTS for providing the treats for after the promotion ceremony and providing lunch for our 6th /7th graders at the pool party. The staff thanks them as well for their wonderful staff luncheon and their continued support throughout the year. 

There were some fun activities going on during the last week of school. Mrs. Lincoln's class had "A Great Marble Drop" on the last day of school. 

Congratulations to our 8th graders who earned an award at promotion. We are excited for our 8th graders to move on and be successful in high school. 

The DIS staff is all packed up and ready to move into their new classroom and school. We hope that everyone can come celebrate with us in August to help open our new school with us! Thank you to our community, staff, students, and parents for being patient through "The Year of Construction"!

Picture of Mrs. Lincoln's Marble Drop,

DHS (From Marty Wilkes)

That a Wrap Folks! 72 students went across the stage last night. We saw some remarkable

things this last year. We saw our wrestling team win the Master Championship. It is the first time a small school won the title in modern North Section history. Boys Basketball won their third

straight SVL championship. Golf won the Small school section Championship in Mrs. Coutts final year and our salutatorian will be going to Stanford in the fall.

Speaking of Mrs. Coutts, after 22 years working with our students helping them get ready to

navigate life after high school, she is finally going to chase her own dream and become a

professional golfer... We will miss your smile, your laugh, but most of all your dedication to our

students and school. Mrs. Coutts I hope the greens always cut in your favor.

Update from Student Services and Supports (from Marilyn Bertolucci)

Summer Break is a time for relaxation and rejuvenation. For some students and adults, the lack of a structured environment and routine that is provided by school causes feelings of anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges. Here are some resources that can be easily accessed by anyone needing support. 

BrightLife Kids Personalized support for California families. Kids ages 0–12 get free, expert coaching for sleep issues, worry, social skills, and more. Live, 1:1 video sessions, secure chat, on-demand content, and more.

Soluna Confidential support for 13- to 25-year-olds in California. No cost. No pressure. Chat 1:1 with a professional coach, use interactive tools to destress, or explore quizzes, videos, forums, and more.

Never a Bother Students can ask for support, ask how to support a friend or an adult can seek help for a child. 

CARE Team - The Community, Assessment, Response and Education Team provides support when a young person is suicidal, has attempted suicide or has taken their life by suicide. This is not a crisis line and response time is 24-48 hours. 

Teen Line: 1-800-852-8336 (This nonprofit national teen hotline is staffed by trained teen volunteers.)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (Beginning on July 16, 2022, individuals in the U.S. can reach this line by calling, texting or chatting the number 988.)

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (A national hotline for crisis counseling sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).)

SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357 or TTY 1-800-487-4889 (Referral and information service in English and Spanish for individuals or families facing mental health issues and/or substance abuse disorders.)

988 has been designated as the three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Crisis Lifeline and increase the accessibility of the Lifeline for individuals beginning July 16, 2022. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.