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Resources for Helping Students Cope with Tragedy in the News

DUSD Newsletter March 2018

Career Fair Encourages Students to Find Their Passion

Denair High School graduate Randy Jones talked about what it’s like being a civil engineer for the City of Turlock. Sarah Jennings of the Paul Mitchell School in Modesto extolled the possibilities of a career in the hair or skin care industries. Explorer Scouts Landon Zamora and Carlos Lerma discussed what it takes to become a sheriff’s deputy.

They represented just a handful of more than 20 potential career paths Denair students were exposed to Wednesday morning during an informative and wide-ranging College and Career Fair.

The point, explained Principal Kara Backman, wasn’t to direct teens down any particular path, but to open their eyes to many different possibilities. Students from both Denair High as well as Denair Middle School participated.

“We really want kids to figure out what their inner passion is and learn about the kinds of skills they need to develop to attain it,” she said.

The presenters ranged from Turlock orthopedic surgeon Scott Calhoun (another Denair graduate) to a myriad of business owners, a real estate professional who also is a life coach, a police detective, someone from the manufacturing industry, dairy and almond farmers, teachers, an auto mechanic, a social worker, a welder and a dental hygienist.

Students were able to sign up for three 20-minute sessions to listen, watch videos in some cases and ask questions.

Jones, Class of 2005, told students how he turned a lifelong love of math and science into a career as a civil engineer. He talked about working together as part of a team to solve problems and create long-lasting solutions.

His latest assignment, he said is an $8 million project to redesign 1.4 miles of West Main Street between Highway 99 and downtown Turlock.

“Most of the homes along the road are 100 years old. The infrastructure also is 100 years old,” Jones said. “We’re trying to have the least impact on people’s lives and build a project that will last another 100 years.”

Answering students’ questions, he said engineers can expect to earn $75,000 to $140,000 a year after spending up to six years in college. Continue reading “Career Fair Encourages Students to Find Their Passion” »

Denair High School Students Will be “Kicking Butts”

Local high schoolers in Denair are holding events next week for national Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. It will provide good visuals, and this is a completely youth-driven effort.

Denair High School students are taking a stand against tobacco by holding a morning flash mob to rally for tobacco-free living. In the afternoon, they will continue working to create a smoke-free community by organizing a cigarette butt cleanup. Time: 11 AM. Location: 3431 Lester Road, Denair. Contact: Melissa Treadwell (209) 216-8550.

Denair High School’s activities are a part of a larger movement. Students in California will unite against tobacco use on March 21 as they join thousands of young people nationwide to mark Kick Butts Day. More than 1,000 events are planned across the United States for this annual day of youth activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

On Kick Butts Day, students encourage their peers to be tobacco-free, reject tobacco companies’ devious marketing and urge elected officials to help make the next generation tobacco-free.

This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on the progress the U.S. has made in reducing youth smoking and the actions needed to create the first tobacco-free generation. Since 2000, the national smoking rate among high school students has fallen by 71 percent (from 28 percent in 2000 to 8 percent in 2016). However, the fight against tobacco is far from over:

  • Tobacco use is still the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing over 480,000 people and costing about $170 billion in health care expenses each year.
  • Tobacco companies spend $8.9 billion a year – $1 million every hour – to market tobacco products in the U.S., often in ways that appeal to kids.
  • Electronic cigarettes have become the most popular tobacco product used by kids – nationwide, 11.3 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes compared to 8 percent who smoke cigarettes. The latest trend with teens is JUUL, an e-cigarette that looks like a computer flash drive and comes in flavors like mango and fruit medley.

In California, tobacco use claims 40,000 lives and costs $13.29 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 4.3 percent of California’s high school students smoke.

On Kick Butts Day, kids and health advocates are calling on elected officials to implement proven strategies that make up a “roadmap to a tobacco-free generation.” These strategies include tobacco tax increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, raising the tobacco sale age to 21, well-funded tobacco prevention programs and banning the sale of flavored tobacco products.

“On Kick Butts Day, kids are celebrating the progress we’ve made to reduce tobacco use and building momentum to get us across the finish line,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Elected leaders in every state can help create the first tobacco-free generation by supporting proven strategies to prevent youth tobacco use.”

On Kick Butts Day, kids join in creative events ranging from classroom activities to educate their peers about the harmful ingredients in cigarettes to rallies at state capitols.



‘Buddy Bench’ Dedicated in DECA Teacher’s Memory

Mark Selee was known for the special bond he formed with students at Denair Elementary Charter Academy. Not only was he a popular fourth-grade teacher, he also was a frequent presence on the playground, often joining basketball games or other activities with youngsters. He promoted inclusion, interaction and respect among students.

All of which makes the memorial bench recently dedicated in Selee’s honor so appropriate. Known as a “buddy bench,” it is a way to promote kindness and foster friendships on the playground.

“If someone is sitting on the bench, they want to be included in whatever is happening,” explained DECA Principal Kelly Beard at Thursday’s monthly Denair Unified Board of Trustees meeting.

Selee’s sudden death from a heart attack during Thanksgiving break in 2015 rocked the DECA campus and the saddened the Denair community. But the memory of his energetic, positive presence remains for his peers as well as some of the students who were first- and second-graders then.

The bench installed Monday provides a tangible way for all to carry out Selee’s legacy. It is on the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade playground. It has Coyote paw prints, but rather that sport a shade of purple like most items on campus, the bench is painted in gold and black – the colors of Selee’s favorite professional sports teams from Pittsburgh (Pirates, Steelers and Penguins).

“As a staff, we decided we wanted it those colors,” Beard said.

A second memorial bench for Selee is on order, she said. In addition, there is a memorial plaque for Selee in the gym. “Some of our teachers touch it every time they walk in,” Beard said.

DECA also has a memorial bench for a former student on its kindergarten playground.

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Denair Sober Grad Fundraiser – Black Oak Casino Bus Trip

Denair Sober Grad Nite Boosters Club is hosting a Black Oak Casino Bus Trip on Friday, March 9, 2018. They are raising money for the Class of 2018 Sober Grad Nite.

Tickets will be $40 per person, cash or check, or $42 with a credit card. They can process your credit card via Square. Ticket includes roundtrip bus ride to Black Oak, $10 in free play, $5 match play and $5 in food credit. There will also be raffle items to win on the bus ride up the hill. The bus leave at 6:00 pm and will be home by 1:00 am.

If you want to pay via credit card please Caley Rutherford via e-mail or text, using the phone number below.

There is only a limited number of seats available so save your seat as soon as possible. If you have any questions you can call Caley (209) 613-9228.

All passengers must be 21 years of age and have proper identification.

Two Denair Wrestlers End Successful Seasons at Division V Meet

The Two Denair High wrestlers gained valuable experience, their coach believes, before they were eliminated at last weekend’s Sac-Joaquin Division V meet in Delhi.

Cody Martinez (126 pounds) and Quentin Parker (160) both were first-time qualifiers for the Division V meet.

“They were competitive in their weight classes,” Coyotes Coach Jorge Ruelas said. “They succeeded in experiencing a new competitor that they will be able to visualize in their training for next season.”

Martinez, a freshman, was pinned by Hughson’s Trace Huber in his first match. Huber went on to qualify for this week’s Masters meet in Stockton.

Martinez bounced back to pin Michael Alcoriza of Argonaut in the second round, but then got pinned himself by Josh Stubbert of Big Valley Christian in his third match.

Parker, a junior, was pinned by Bryan McCoard of Golden Sierra in the first round. He got a bye in the second round, but lost by technical fall (trailing by 15 points) to Jacob Giles of Bradshaw Christian in his third match.

“The Division V tournament was a good experience in that it allowed each wrestler to extend their knowledge and push themselves physically and mentally,” Ruelas said. “It also showcased different styles of wrestling they were not previously exposed to within their own division.”















California Department of Education LogoStanislaus County Office of Education Logo

The California Department of Education (CDE) is currently engaged in litigation with two non-profit associations comprised of parents and guardians of children with disabilities. The plaintiffs in that litigation have requested numerous documents, as well as student data collected and stored by CDE, which may include personally identifiable student information.

To comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), CDE has been ordered, among other things, to inform parents and students of the disclosure of such information. CDE has requested that school districts and SELPAs post the following link to CDE’s website: The link provides a Notice and Objection Form to allow parents to object, by April 1, 2016, to the disclosure of personally identifiable information related to their children.


Please understand that the district is not a party to the litigation and is not required to disclose any student information, nor does it intend to do so. For more information, please contact CDE directly at (916) 319-0800.

Nondiscrimination Statement -  Click here for more information