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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

News & Updates

News & Updates

VUSD Hires New Chief Innovation Officer - Tuesday, October 13, 2020

VUSD Hires New Chief Innovation Officer

The Ventura Unified School District Board of Education, in their meeting on Oct. 13, voted, 5-0, to hire VUSD’s new Chief Innovations Officer, Dr. Rene Rickard.

Dr. Rickard has worked in education for the past 33 years.  She has served with VUSD since 2008, as the Director of Assessment, Accountability and Program Evaluations as well as the Interim Director of Multilingual and Multicultural Education. She has also held various leadership roles in the Los Angeles Unified School District and Oxnard Union High School District, serving as both Assistant Principal and Principal at the high school level. 

Dr. Rickard comes to us with a breadth of knowledge in the world of Career Technical Education (CTE) in her work at the high schools and in her volunteer work for First Robotics and the Ventura High School Robotics team. Dr. Rickard also has extensive knowledge in grant writing and overseeing programs that require state and federal reporting.  All of this will prove invaluable in her role of expanding and improving upon the CTE programs the District offers.

Dr. Rickard will report directly to the Superintendent, ensuring that innovation and creativity are looked at and implemented at all levels while listening and working with our students, teachers, and community partners. She will lead the District’s Industry Advisory Board to continue to cultivate and maintain strong relationships with those in the community that can help guide and direct our programs in a way that aligns with the needs of employers in our region.

We look forward to Dr. Rickard building upon the great work of Ms. Chandler, who recently moved into the role of Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. Dr. Rickard will continue to work on the projects that are already in motion and look for new and innovative ways to grow our students' opportunities.

VCOE Press Release About Reopening Schools - Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Ventura County Office of Education Press Release 10-6-2020
Schools Will Consider Reopening Dates as
Ventura County Coronavirus Status Improves

Today, Ventura County moved off the most restrictive tier of the state’s COVID-19 watch list, which means schools could soon have the option of reopening for in-person instruction at all grade levels. If Ventura County maintains its status for two additional weeks, schools may choose to reopen as early as Wednesday, October 21. However, it will be up to each individual school district to determine exactly when they can safely begin welcoming students back to class. Some schools may choose to reopen their campuses later than October 21 for a variety of reasons.

When they do reopen, schools will need to maintain strict social distancing, keeping students and staff at least six feet away from each other. This means classrooms can only be filled to a fraction of their normal capacity. Schools are also required to keep the same groups of students together to the greatest extent possible to limit the number of people each student is exposed to throughout the day.

In elementary grades, many schools will comply with these rules by bringing only a portion of students to class each day. On the days they are not in class, students will continue receiving instruction through distance learning. This hybrid approach will allow all students to have some in-class instruction a few days per week.

The situation becomes much more complicated in middle school and high school where students switch classrooms and mix with different groups multiple times a day according to each student’s unique schedule. Because of this and the fact that classrooms cannot be filled to capacity, it will be extremely difficult to create a workable in-person schedule at the middle and high school levels. As a result, some schools may determine that the best option is to continue with full-time distance learning.

In addition to scheduling and safety considerations, school districts need to ensure there are enough teachers available to resume in-person instruction. Many teachers are in high risk groups, which could prevent them from returning to class. Others may have reservations about being in a crowded school environment while the pandemic is ongoing.

Another issue that complicates reopening is transportation. Because of social distancing requirements, school buses will not be able to carry the usual number of students. It’s very likely there will not be a sufficient supply of buses and drivers to provide transportation to all students who may need it.

“We recognize that people have passionate feelings on both sides of the school reopening issue, and we want nothing more than to get students safely back to class,” said Stan Mantooth, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools. “I urge everyone to understand that school district leaders are working to reopen in the most responsible way, which may mean spending additional time on distance learning at some schools.”

All Ventura County schools have prepared detailed reopening procedures that will help ensure the safety of students and staff when they return to campus. They include:

  • Face coverings will be required for all staff and for students in third grade and above.
  • Classrooms will be arranged to keep everyone at least six feet apart.
  • Students will be kept in consistent groups (cohorts) as much as possible.
  • Parents will be instructed to keep students home whenever they have a temperature or show symptoms.
  • Anyone experiencing symptoms at school will be sent home.
  • Facilities and equipment will be disinfected on a regular basis.
  • School officials will work with Ventura County Public Health on contact tracing if positive cases arise.
  • Athletic training and conditioning are allowed with social distancing, but actual competitions are on hold pending further guidance from public health officials.
  • Staff will receive COVID-19 testing as required by state and local regulations.
  • Staff and students will receive health screenings on a regular basis.

Each school district is communicating independently with parents and students about their reopening timelines. For additional information about reopening protocols, see the Framework for Reopening Ventura County Schools at


Phase One High School Athletics - Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Phase One High School Athletics- 09-08-2020

The following message was sent to Buena, Foothill and Ventura High School families this evening,

Good afternoon VUSD families,

We hope this message finds you enjoying our beautiful weather.

We have an update for you this evening regarding high school athletics. Thanks to clear guidance from Ventura County Public Health (VCPH) relevant to youth sports and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) relevant to high school sports, VUSD has developed a plan to open Phase One of Fall high school sports. Phase One includes strength training and conditioning only, not competition. The Fall sports coaches are given clearance from the District to begin these Phase One activities on Sept. 22 but must have completed all necessary training before starting.

Many thanks to our coaches and Athletic Directors who have been collaborating for the past few months to develop this plan and to put it into action.  Without their hard work, none of this would be possible.

Coaches and Athletic Directors will be providing further details to parents and student-athletes as we move forward. All questions should be directed to coaches and/or Athletic Directors. 

VUSD Resources:

VUSD Phase One guidelines:

VUSD Guidelines for Multi-Sport Athletes:

VUSD Fall 2020 Athletics webpage,

Additional Resources:

VC Reopens Youth Sports Guidance

California Interscholastic Federation Guidelines for Return to Physical Activity-

NFHS Guidance for Opening of High School Athletics

As of now, all elementary and middle school sports are still on hold. We feel safe in opening high school athletics under CIF's guidance as they are the State's governing body of high school sports. There is no State governing body for elementary and middle school athletics, and we are not ready to open these sports at this time. 


Thank you and have a wonderful evening,

Dr. Roger Rice


Buenas tardes familias de VUSD,

Esperamos que se encuentren disfrutando de este hermoso clima.

Tenemos una actualización para ustedes esta noche sobre el atletismo de las escuelas preparatorias.  Gracias a la clara orientación del Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Ventura (VCPH) con respecto a los deportes juveniles y la Federación Inter escolar de California (CIF) relevante para los deportes de las escuelas preparatorias, VUSD ha desarrollado un plan para abrir la Fase 1 de los deportes de otoño de las escuelas preparatorias.  La Fase 1 solamente incluye entrenamiento de resistencia y acondicionamiento, no incluye competencias.  Los entrenadores deportivos de otoño han recibido autorización del Distrito para comenzar estas actividades de la Fase 1 el 22 de septiembre, pero deben haber completado toda la capacitación necesaria antes de comenzar.

Muchas gracias a nuestros entrenadores y Directores Atléticos que han estado colaborando durante los últimos meses para desarrollar este plan y ponerlo en práctica.  Sin su arduo trabajo, nada de esto sería posible.

Los entrenadores y directores atléticos proporcionarán más detalles a los padres y estudiantes-atletas a medida que avancemos.  Todas las preguntas deben dirigirse a los entrenadores y/o directores atléticos.


Recursos adicionales:

Normas de la Fase Uno de VUSD para el regreso al juego

Normas para Atletas Multideportivos de VUSD-

La guía de VC para la reapertura de deportes juveniles:

Normas de la Federación Inter escolar de California para el regreso a la actividad física:

Orientación de la NFHS para la apertura de atletismo en escuelas preparatorias:

Hasta hoy, todos los deportes de las escuelas primarias y secundarias todavía están en espera.  Nos sentimos seguros al abrir los deportes de las escuelas preparatorias bajo la guía de CIF, ya que son el organismo rector del estado de los deportes en las escuelas preparatorias.  No existe un departamento del gobierno estatal para el atletismo de las escuelas primarias y secundarias y no estamos listos para abrir estos deportes en este momento.

Gracias y le deseamos una maravillosa tarde.

Dr. Roger Rice





 After a months-long competitive search, the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) Board of Education has voted, 5-0, to hire VUSD’s current Chief Innovations Officer, Rebecca Chandler, as its new Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. Ms. Chandler replaces Ms. Betsy George, who resigned from her position in June 2020. Ms. Chandler will begin as the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services on October 1, 2020. In this new role, she will oversee various departments, including Budget & Finance, Facilities, Food and Nutrition Services, Payroll, Risk Management, and Transportation. Ms. Donna Rose, who has been serving as the Interim Assistant Superintendent, will continue to work to ensure a smooth transition occurs. 

Since joining the VUSD team in 2019, Ms. Chandler has been highly effective in her current position, working to upgrade systems and structures at the District office and bringing in more than $5 million in support of Career Technical Education in VUSD. 

Ms. Chandler has accomplished all this while cultivating strong working relationships with District and site staff and community, local businesses, and industry leaders. 

“In addition to her strong skill set and experience, Ms. Chandler is an innovative leader with a deep knowledge of teaching and learning. It will be a luxury to have someone guiding the allocation of resources who understands the programs they are meant to support. This has already paid huge dividends as she worked to support our transition to distance learning through her leadership of our implementation of Canvas, the District’s learning management platform,” stated Superintendent Dr. Roger Rice. 

Ms. Chandler previously served in Oxnard Union High School District, VC Innovates at the Ventura County Office of Education, Ventura Community College, Simi Valley Unified School District, and in the private sector. In her various roles, she was instrumental in developing countywide standards-based curriculum, served as a leading expert in the realm of Career Technical Education, implemented numerous software platforms to streamline processes, managed budgets that included state and federal funding and monitoring, oversaw several extensive facilities upgrades and new construction projects and mitigated risk with every project. 

 “Ms. Chandler brings a great deal of knowledge in fiscal and purchasing management, teaching, facilities, risk management, and technology. She is a strong leader with a passion for doing what is best for students. She will make an excellent addition to our Executive Cabinet,” stated Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Dr. Jeff Davis. 

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