February 5th, 2021: In an email to SVUSD families, Superintendent Tanya Krause addressed parameters around reopening schools, and makes announcement of longtime SVUSD staff member moving to another district:

Greetings Scotts Valley Community,

Let me start by expressing our gratitude and appreciation for our amazing school counselors as this is National School Counseling Week!

I have received a number of inquiries trying to better understand the status of the reopening plans from the State of California, the status of Santa Cruz County, and specifically the status of Scotts Valley Unified School District regarding reopening. As was recently mentioned, the Governor’s latest proposal is fraught with controversy and challenge and the requirements that he set forth are already being suggested for modification. It is my understanding that two new Assembly Bills have been proposed this week that may replace a portion or all of the latest reopening proposal presented by the Governor.

I know there is a lot of confusing, conflicting, and erroneous information from media sources.

I will do my best to try and clarify some of the confusion regarding the current parameters around reopening schools.  One of the required criteria in the Governor’s most recent proposed plan, includes having a COVID adjusted case rate in the county under 25 for five consecutive days, and on Tuesday, Santa Cruz County announced that we are currently at an adjusted case rate of 25.  However, that is only one of the required criteria for reopening. As of now, in order to open in the purple tier, districts need to have completed a COVID safety plan (replacing the K-6 waiver process), which includes more frequent testing of staff.  It also includes student testing, which we don’t have the capacity for currently. This safety plan requires approval from Public Health and the State of California, and our District is doing everything within our resource ability to adhere to all of the ever-changing requirements and new proposals to reopen.

Superintendents are working very hard with the County Superintendent of Schools to try and get our educators vaccinated, as that is what we are hearing will expedite this process for teachers to feel safe to return to school.  Unfortunately, the Santa Cruz County Director of Public Health has not yet prioritized educators for vaccinations, which would be a great help to open our schools in the purple tier. While there is dialogue about opening in the purple tier, the details required to do so are not as simplistic as reported on the news, and our current agreements with teachers do not allow us to open before we are in the red tier.

Currently, our focus is on securing vaccinations for employees. The priority for the re-opening is primarily at the elementary grades starting with the very youngest students, and we have already begun to vaccinate some of the teachers of our youngest learners.  All sites are focusing on continuing to offer small group support, and the high school is sending out a communication and survey to freshman parents regarding bringing back freshmen in the afternoons for tutorial and social-emotional support later in the month.  If that is successful, we will begin to add other grade-level groups.

Big news – Happy Valley School District made an announcement last night that effective July 1st, Michelle Stewart will be the next Principal/Superintendent for the Happy Valley School District.  Michelle has worked in SVUSD for over 26 years.  She taught multiple grade levels at Vine Hill School before becoming the Principal, and after serving 5 years as the Principal, she came to the District Office and served initially as the Director of Curriculum and Assessment and over the past few years filled the role of Assistant Superintendent. Michelle will be significantly missed but we are thrilled that she will be our neighbor leader!

Please join me in a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Michelle on her well-deserved accomplishment!

Site Highlights:


  • The Middle School has just completed their first full week of the new ACP program (Academic Coaching Program). They are excited about helping students create academic and life goals.
  • The SVMS Student Council is sending out ValenKIND grams promoting kindness through positive messages. Students can get more information about how to send a message of kindness to a friend through their grade level Google Classroom page.
  • SVMS students will have an opportunity to spread positive messages to the community through an art project with Mr. Sampson. Students should see their grade level Google Classroom for more information on how to share ICARE character traits with others.

Elementary Counselors:

  • General class wide Socio-Emotional Videos from Mr. Ryan and Ms. Keller can be found on the School Website Counseling Pages to supplement the “My Feelings Journals”. More videos will be added as they are created from both SVUSD elementary school counselors.
  • Brook Knoll: Our School Counseling Page
  • Vine Hill: Ms. Keller’s Counseling Corner

As a reminder, next weekend, February 12 – 15, is a four day weekend for SVUSD as we combined our Presidents’ Day holidays.


Tanya Krause