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The Alpine Union School District Prepares for the Upcoming School Year with Different Learning Options

June 2020 – The Alpine Union School District is helping students continue to receive the best education through the end of the year and going into the next school year as well. The district is taking steps to carefully create successful learning plans for the upcoming school year that will accommodate students, families, and teacher’s needs. With the future uncertain, Alpine Union is creating different options for students to pursue their education that will help everyone be productive and safe.

The options for students in the Alpine Union School District for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year include returning to school, distance learning, a hybrid option, and a homeschool option. The goal of providing multiple ways for students to learn is to allow families to make the decision that will work best for them, without having to sacrifice their kid’s educational needs. With the distance learning option, the district is working to improve the currently installed
program to be able to continue offering great lessons and engaging activities next year. Students can choose this option and continue to engage with their teachers and groups of students while at home.

A homeschool option would allow all learning to be done at home on the student’s own time through online assignments. For some students, this option may be easier or more viable. A hybrid option would consist of a mix between distance learning and homeschooling, allowing families and students to benefit from both methods and have the best solution for their individual situations. Dr. Richard Newman, the school superintendent, described how the district is also, “looking at
options such as a modified schedule so students will have some time in school learning, as well as some before or after school focused time so parents can go back to work. If we have to limit the number of students and continue with some amount of social distancing, it’s important to really support our community as a whole”.

The Alpine Union School District is taking all of the necessary steps to make sure when students do return to the classroom or any school campus, that the school will be well equipped to manage safety. Some of these safety measures include thermal thermometers, plexiglass dividers for front offices, and lots of hand sanitizer.

To learn more about the options for next year and the steps being taken in the Alpine Union School District, visit the district website!

About Alpine Union School District
Alpine Union School District is nestled in the Cuyamaca Mountains of east county San Diego and serves approximately 1,750 students in grades K-8. AUSD offers a range of programs including dual spanish immersion, performing arts, homeschool, hybrid learning, robotics, and much more. We pride ourselves on having a “hometown” feel where students and families come first! Alpine Union School District has a rich history, is eager to build upon its traditions, has a strong track record of putting student excellence first. Community participation is a key ingredient which makes Alpine so unique and special.

Visit our website at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Alpine Union School District Supports Students Through Excellent Distance Learning Program

June 11, 2020
The Alpine Union School District is continuing to support and uplift students in obtaining a top of the line education amidst school closures. On the day of school closures, the school staff was able to implement an emergency plan and provide school meals for pickup the following Monday, as well as collaborate with teachers to create an excellent distance learning program that is seen as a model for other districts.

The Alpine Union School District’s distance learning plan focuses on helping students continue to progress towards their end of the year goals with online teaching to accommodate for safety. The district has utilized Google products in previous years and continues to take advantage of the many tools and benefits that Google Classroom provides in its distance learning program. Using great tools and technology, the district has created a plan to include multiple types of learning that will keep kids engaged and active throughout the day. The district is helping provide the necessary technology to students, with over 50% of students in the district having checked out Chromebooks. However, Alpine Union is aiming to keep learning interactive and not just on a screen all day. To do this, Alpine Union is utilizing three different methods, they

Synchronous Learning
Synchronous learning includes things like virtual classes, live streams, and chats. These interactions are real-time and help keep students engaged with fellow students and their teachers.

Asynchronous Learning
Asynchronous learning includes interactions that occur with others but are not real-time, examples of this may include comments on discussion boards and collaboration on google documents.

Low tech/no tech Learning
Lastly, there are low tech and no tech options for students to learn, this may include things like packets or activities completed away from the computer.

The Alpine Union School District is working to help students increase their digital citizenship, keep lines of communication with students and families open, and create an enjoyable and attainable at-home learning experience for everyone. This includes providing social and emotional support from school counselors and social workers from Monday through Friday.

To learn more about Alpine Union School District’s distance learning program and to stay up to date on the latest events, visit the district website!

About Alpine Union School District
Alpine Union School District is nestled in the Cuyamaca Mountains of east county San Diego and serves approximately 1,750 students in grades K-8. AUSD offers a range of programs including dual spanish immersion, performing arts, homeschool, hybrid learning, robotics, and much more. We pride ourselves on having a “hometown” feel where students and families come first! Alpine Union School District has a rich history, is eager to build upon its traditions, has a strong track record of putting student excellence first. Community participation is a key ingredient which makes Alpine so unique and special.

Visit our website at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Alpine Union School District Offers Students Free Grab and Go Meals

The Alpine Union School District is happy to provide students across the county who are 18 years and younger with free meals for pick up during school closures. The district recognizes that it is a stressful time for many families in the community.

Through this service, the AUSD helps to alleviate some of the stress and help the community. The district offers meals once a week on Mondays. Families can pick up the meals at Boulder Oaks Elementary School between 11-12. Meals are provided for any students 18 years old or younger and up to five kids per car. Each Monday, a week’s worth of meals are handed out in a drive-thru system. Parents pull up to the curb and open their trunk or hatch while remaining in the car. This allows the Alpine Union staff to practice social distancing while loading food into the cars. The whole process takes less than a minute, allowing staff to provide food for large amounts of students quickly.

To take advantage of this opportunity, parents or guardians just need to bring and fill out a waiver at the drive-thru. The Alpine Union staff is working hard to provide students and families with support and encouragement. In the past few weeks, the Alpine Union School District staff has been able to provide over 3,000 meals for students.

To learn more about programs in the Alpine Union School District, and stay up to date on current happenings, visit the district website!

About Alpine Union School District
Alpine Union School District is nestled in the Cuyamaca Mountains of east county San Diego and serves approximately 1,750 students in grades K-8. AUSD offers a range of programs including dual Spanish immersion, performing arts, Home School, hybrid learning, robotics, and much more. We pride ourselves on having a “hometown” feel where students and families come first! Alpine Union School District has a rich history, is eager to build upon its traditions, has a strong track record of putting student excellence first. Community participation is a key ingredient which makes Alpine so unique and special. Visit our website at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

District Office
2001 Tavern Rd
Alpine, CA 91901
(619) 445-3236

Alpine Union School District Announces CLOSURE of ALL SCHOOLS for COVID-19 Spread Prevention March 16 – April 14, 2020

March 13, 2020 – Hello Alpine Union Staff and Families,

Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alpine Union, out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with the California Public Health Officials,  Alpine Union School District will close all schools in a statewide effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). School will remain open today with normal dismissal procedures.  Schools will be closed beginning Monday, March 16th with plans to reopen beginning Tuesday, April 14th.  Our District and school leaders have been preparing for potential school closures.  We will be following up with more information including educational resources we will make available to our families and students.


Another update submitted on the same day:

Hello Alpine Union Families,

Earlier today, we sent a letter sharing that schools will be closed beginning Monday, March 16th with plans to reopen beginning Tuesday, April 14th. This decision was made in consultation with the San Diego County Office of Education, California Public Health Officials, and with the superintendents of all of our San Diego County School Districts. While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alpine Union, schools were closed out of an abundance of caution in a statewide effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Monday, March 16th, District staff will be at Boulder Oaks Elementary School between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. We will have a simple drive-up system to check out Chromebooks to any Alpine Union student who does not have technology at home during this closure. Parents must accompany their children to check out a Chromebook. Curriculum packets for all grades will be available for pick up. These will also be available in digital format on our website. We also will be providing lunches and a take-home breakfast for the next day for students. Additional information related to food services and serving locations for students during this closure will be forthcoming.

We know school closure brings on challenges for our families. We are committed to staying in touch often and being responsive to the needs of our students and families. More information will be forthcoming.

Submitted By Mary Ann Alvarez


TELEPHONE: 6194453236

3-12-19 AUSD Board Meeting Update: 5th Grade WILL NOT Move to JMMS, Possible Consolidation of AES & BOES & A High School

Alpine Union – Board Meeting Update – Submitted By George Barnett – March 12, 2019

I attended last night’s board meeting. It was important.

First Item : Love For Luke: We started with a heart-felt tribute to Luke Hayworth, one of our town’s precious young students fighting cancer. Please support this Alpine family in need by visiting the Love For Luke FB page at

Second : District Re-Organization Proposals: The Board eliminated moving 5th grade to JMMS. Two proposals remain: one – consolidating Alpine Elementary into Boulder Oaks; and two – a high school. They will be addressed at Special Board meeting for next Tuesday. The Board announced a Letter of Intent with Grossmont Union to pursue an Alpine high school program. That sounds like a cooperative and mutually satisfactory joint effort. Wonderful news!

Third : Alpine Union Budget: The budget for the next two years is “okay” because of prudent management. Alpine’s budget is tight, and continued tight management of costs while focusing on academic performance is needed to prosper. Budget charts are attached. (Below)

Aa – California State Revenues : California has not met its expected revenues. This could result in Alpine getting $75,000 less funding.

Bb – State Employee Pension Plans : The cost is growing strongly as decades of under-funding those plans now have to be made up. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 compelled private employers to fund plans starting 45 years ago. State and Federal governments kicked that ball down the road for decades. Time to pay the Piper.

Cc – Alpine Union Revenues : 2019-2020 revenues from the state will decline. Total impact of all sources is down $640,000. A partial recovery of $400,000 could come for the 2020-2021 year. A two-year snapshot – revenues are flat unless we all work together to attract more students.

Dd – Alpine Union Expenses : 2019-2020 school district expenses are up $60,000, and up a further $300,000 in 2020-2021. A two-year snapshot – expenses continue to increase.

Ee – Fund Balance : This is a current snap-shot of funds on hand as a % of annual expenses. It is the district’s rainy day fund when something happens with either revenue or expenses; or a catastrophic need arises. It is 12.57%, $2 million. Sounds like a lot, it represents maybe 6 weeks of operating costs during those weeks school is in session.

While focusing on academic excellence, tight business management of the district must remain!

Alpine Union School District Community Forums Scheduled to Guide the Future of District

Alpine Union School District Community Forums

In the spirit of continued improvement, the Alpine Union School District (AUSD) launched a Thoughtexchange in September where we asked our community to share their thoughts and ideas about the future of our District.

The response to our Thoughtexchange was tremendous. More than 500 ideas were submitted. The level of engagement demonstrated that we have an enormous opportunity to channel the passion, ideas, hopes and dreams of our students, staff, parents and community into an organized, efficient and innovative plan of action to improve our District.

After reviewing the results of our Thoughtexchange and a range of District data, a Superintendent’s Advisory Task Force comprised of parents, teachers, staff, community members and administrators have been working diligently to identify options to help guide the future of our District. The Task Force presented these options to the AUSD Board of Trustees at the January School Board Meeting. At the upcoming February School Board meeting, the Board of Trustees will discuss the options and identify which will be prioritized for future action.

With any potential change to our schools, it requires careful consideration and deep community involvement. We want to make sure that we continue to gather the feedback of our staff, parents, students, and community members. The Board of Trustees has made it clear that we need your continued thinking to deepen and enrich the conversation around any potential changes to our District. We have scheduled a series of community forums at each school site.  Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of the forums. The dates for the forums are listed below:

February 25, 2019 – Alpine Elementary Library – 6 PM

February 26, 2019 – Shadow Hills Elementary Library – 6 PM

March 5, 2019 – Joan MacQueen Middle School Library – 6 PM

March 6, 2019 – Creekside Early Learning MultiPurpose Room  – 6 PM

March 7, 2019 – Boulder Oaks Auditorium – 6 PM

Thank you in advance for your continued support and willingness to engage with us in making Alpine Union the Destination District of East County.

Submitted By Mary Ann Alvarez, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent – Alpine Union School District 619-445-3236 EMAIL:

JMMS Sports Fields and a New Park for Alpine Update – February 6, 2019

Parkland for Alpine – Update February 6, 2019 – Submitted By George Barnett

Along with Travis Lyon, Jim Easterling, and Jon Green, I attended meetings yesterday hosted by Brian Albright, Director of Parks and Recreation for the County of San Diego. Mr. Albright’s executive staff also participated. Two major parkland developments for Alpine were discussed. Following are my personal observations:

Joan MacQueen Middle School Playing Fields:
Concept plans are completed, and Alpine Union School District (AUSD) is moving ahead. The County process for directing developers’ fees to the project from the Alpine Park Land Development Ordinance account was reviewed. Ordinance compliance issues were discussed, and were integrated into the timing schedule. A key component will be the preparing of architectural designs and cost estimates. The matter of well water and irrigation infrastructure for grass fields, and the maintenance of infrastructure over time, has been addressed by the very kind offer from an Alpine resident.

Alpine Community Park:
The County has completed negotiations to buy 98 acres of Wrights Field open space not owned by the Back Country Land Trust. Next steps include the Board of Supervisors final approvals on funding and acquisition expected later this month. Once escrow is completed and the land owned by the County, and once the County concludes an environmental survey of the land, the County will begin community outreach through the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) and by County-hosted community workshops. Those efforts will include the solicitation of ideas, wants and needs from the community. The County expects to begin its outreach late April or early May. Environmental studies on the targeted land site have started. Those studies will indicate how much of the 98 acres can be used for parkland (as opposed to passive use as open space), and will give insight into the types of facilities that could be suitable under California’s environmental law. As Director & Officer of the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT), I pledged BCLT’s and its Partners resources in support to the County on biological resource land management, fire fuels reduction, waterway clean-out and restoration, on environmental education via BCLT’s Living Classroom Program in association with Alpine Education Foundation, and on habitat restoration.

By implication, through the sustained efforts of many, and due to the firm commitment of Supervisor Dianne Jacob to Alpine and to our children, Alpine is destined to have unsurpassed open space preserves, a community park, and refurbished, modern sports playing fields at its middle school! 😁

For clarity, the non-County attendees at the meetings were:

George Barnett (me); elected ACPG member & secretary of its Parks Subcommittee, director/officer of BCLT.
Travis Lyon; elected ACPG member & chairperson, elected Trustee AUSD, and director of BCLT. Jim Easterling; elected ACPG member and chairperson of its Parks Subcommittee; & elected member and President of Alpine Fire Protection District. Jon Green; Program & Outreach Director of BCLT

The above comments are mine personally, and are not intended to be those of the others attending.



JMMS Security Fencing Installed.. “Say Something” Reporting System Info Meeting – February 4, 2019

JMMS (Joan MacQueen Middle School)SAFETY UPDATE – January 30, 2019. Security Fencing Installation is being completed this week at our school. Also we are having a “SAY SOMETHING” Parent information meeting on Monday, February 4, 2019 at 6pm. The “Say something” Anonymous reporting system allows you to submit secure and anonymous safety concerns to help identify and intervene upon at-risk individuals BEFORE they hurt themselves or others. JMMS is located at 2001 Tavern Rd, Alpine, CA 91901. For more info call (619) 445-3245

Alpine Union School District – Reorganization for the Future & A High School

*Submitted By George Barnett – January 16, 2019

I attended the January 9, 2019 School Board meeting, and these are my personal thoughts…..

Based on extensive public input and surveying via the ThoughtExchange process, the Superintendent’s Advisory Task Force has formed three Subcommittees to define forward strategic proposals for improving education in Alpine; the High School Subcommittee, the District Marketing Subcommittee and the School Options Subcommittee.

The members of each Subcommittee are listed in the attachment. Members include a selection of District principals, teachers, service & instruction support staff, parents and community members. Among these are; a manufacturing business owner, a technology innovation business owner, a former school superintendent/education innovation expert, and an assistant city manager/head of a city Public Works Department.

The Board’s priorities are also attached. The first three are; improving student achievement; improving educational opportunities for students; and ensuring fiscal responsibilities. In my mind, the balance nine priorities relate to supporting the first three.  Also attached are 9 proposals being evaluated – and explained below:

The High School Subcommittee is looking at four proposals for an Alpine High School – from working with Grossmont UHSD to different charter operations.

The Marketing Subcommittee is looking at a multi-faceted program of promoting our District and its superb programs and unique partnerships; and those marketing ideas can be rolled-out right-a-way.

The School Options Subcommittee is reviewing four proposals for consolidating the AES/BOES grade schools; two proposals for keeping AES independently operated; two proposals for consolidating kindergarten into the grade schools.  These are proposals only, and the Pro’s and Con’s need to be developed.  Part of the theme of consolidation is to better align curriculum from grade to grade and from grade school to middle school.  One idea is to be able to offer an education Pathway that is unique to, and better than, other school districts.  And, a proposal to house an Alpine high school within existing infrastructure is part of this.

Each Subcommittee will be developing the Pro’s and Con’s of every proposal, and will present final thoughts and information to the School Board for review, comment and top level prioritization. Of course, each Subcommittee will also determine the Pro’s and Con’s of maintaining the status quo.  That is, doing nothing.

During the period February 13 to March 12, community engagement and feedback will be sought. At the March 13th Board meeting, final Subcommittee recommendations will be presented. The Board may select and approve specific strategies and plans to transform our District for a strong academic future.

If approved, work towards achieving that future would then begin immediately.  It is likely that a transformation might take the entire 2019-2020 school year.  That seems to imply that any high school option could include an opening for the fall of the 2020-2021 school year.

Watch for District notices on this transformation of education in Alpine.


Post 2018 Alpine Election Thoughts – By Mary Harris

Food For Thought: Alpine Elections 2018

Running for a seat on the Alpine Community Planning Group taught me a lot. It was like a crash course on local politics.  I’ve been attending the group for over three years and I can tell you this:  if you have views that are not a carbon copy of the group majority, don’t expect to be warmly welcomed.  When I was campaigning, lies sprouted up like weeds from long term group members, and their friends, on Alpine’s social media sites. Some made little sense. One individual said that I had called Cal Trans and asked them to remove a church banner. This had nothing to do with the election. It was coming from a person grasping at straws, looking to put me in a bad light.

One Alpine woman, who works for Channel 10 News, posted a three year old video (edited) that she made of me and my puppy, walking on Christmas Eve. She was angry that my puppy was off leash in an area where he should have been leashed. I was startled by her abrasiveness. She came at me like a bully, demanding that I tell her my name and where I was from. I was ready to get home after a nice, long walk. I was alone, and, frankly, afraid. Not knowing how to respond to her aggressive demands, I gave her a false name, hoping she would go on her way. Before they left, she gave me this sarcastic greeting, “Merry ****ing Christmas! In all fairness, if one intends to publicize moments like this one, they should either notify the public that it has been edited or publish it in its entirety, which she did neither. She claimed that I gave her permission to do this. While I did tell her, “Go ahead”, it was without understanding her intent. As it turns out, she is friends with planning group members who had their own reasons to discredit me. When she found out I was running for the ACPG, she used the video to make me look bad, saying I was irresponsible, and a liar. Really? Many people were allowing their dogs off leash in that area, and it just emphasized to me how much Alpine needed a dog park. And who has not given a fake name to throw a bully off their trail? None of the good things that I have accomplished were taken into account, and indeed, not many are known by that group. When they want what they want, this is how they go about getting it.

Ironically, it was this meeting along with my discovery of Back Country Land Trust authorizing the use of Roundup at Wrights Field, on the very kind of plants that dogs like to eat, Wild Oats, that brought me to the ACPG in the first place, which was to advocate for a dog park in Alpine. I found out that the planning group had not been able to get a community park here, even after trying for twenty plus years. My efforts then went towards advocating for a community park, with the intent of having a dog park located within the park once it was established.

No one who attacked my character actually knows me. All of this nonsense was just to try to alter the outcome of the election. If someone like me, who is minimal competition, is gone after in such a fashion, imagine what lengths would be gone to in order to affect the chances of one who is significantly greater competition. The only thing I can say is: shame on these manipulators, whose intent is to destroy the names of good people, attempting to discredit them. I hope that the people of Alpine will ‘consider the source’.  As I’ve said, I have learned a lot.

Mary Harris