Soquel Union Elementary School

Superintendent's Message
Henry J. Castaniada

Superintendent Henry J. Castaniada

Smarter Balanced Assessments

Dear Parents,

Our new state assessments, Smarter Balanced, will begin for our children during the months of April and May. Before our children begin to take these new assessments they will have the chance to take practice assessment questions that have been approved by the California Department of Education. This link, will provide you with an opportunity to review practice questions that some of our children will be exploring for the next few weeks. One of our objectives is to provide them with opportunities to become familiar with the new assessment formats regarding Common Core Standards. It is most important that we remember that every child in 3rd through 8th grade will be required to learn and navigate a new assessment format. One of our highest priorities is to have our children become comfortable with practice sessions prior to our formal assessment window period. They will take these practice tests in their computer lab at their school or they will navigate these practice tests with new Chrome Books that will be delivered to their school within the next ten days. We are planning to provide our students with multiple opportunities to become familiar with their new Chrome Books before we begin our formal assessments.

The new Smarter Balanced assessments have, unfortunately, been received with mixed results. I have included two links below that will provide you with background information regarding some of the major "controversies" that are being discussed regarding the new assessments. Because of these issues, it is most important that we do not place an overemphasis on the results of this year's first testing period. As you will gather from reading these articles, we need a minimum of 3 to 5 years of assessment data in order to validate our student results. As a parent, the new reporting format may also be "unsettling" to you because the new testing format no longer provides you with a clear indication of your child's grade level standing. I can assure you that when we receive our district results we will create an informational fact sheet that will provide you with additional information regarding this year's assessments. During the 2015-16 school year we will conduct parent information meetings, which will provide further information regarding our new state testing format and protocols. As I mentioned in an earlier communication, our State Board of Education is still working on creating additional documents and protocols for our new assessments...

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Student Highlights & Programs

[ News Archive ]

2015 Alice B. Woolsey Scholarship

To support and further the education of students in our community, and through the gift of funds in loving memory of Alice B. Woolsey, former Soquel teacher, the district has established one scholarship of $500.00 to be awarded to a worthy high school graduating senior who was a graduate of New Brighton Middle School.

Download the 2015 Alice B. Woolsey Scholarship form



Soquel Union Elementary School District

Registration for the 2015-16 School Year
Begins March 2, 2015

(Applies to all families who live in the Soquel School District Attendance Area)

All new students can begin registering at their home school on Monday, March 2, 2015. (For all students entering kindergarten, your child must be five on or before 9/1/15.)

  • Main Street, 3400 North Main St., Soquel - 464-5650
  • New Brighton Middle School, 250 Washburn Ave., Capitola - 464-5660
  • Santa Cruz Gardens, 8005 Winkle Ave., Santa Cruz – 464-5670
  • Soquel Elementary, 2700 Porter Street, Soquel - 464-5655

If you have a child that turns five between 9/2/15 - 12/2/15, you may be interested in our Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program. All registrations for TK will be done at Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary School. If you need further information on the TK program, please call Janet at (831) 464-5639 for further details.

Excitement in Education

Soquel School District Targets Underperforming Latino Boys

Read the article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, published on March 2, 2014.

NBMS Engineering Club

The Engineering Club, run by students from Cabrillo College's Engineering Department, is a popular after school activity at NBMS. The middle school students have been enjoying the challenge of the club which takes place after school, on Fridays, in Room 37. Whether designing windmills and testing the amount of power they produce, or experimenting with building the strongest bridges they can, the students are relishing the challenge of building, testing and refining their designs. As well as testing their design skills, students are also developing their cooperative skills, collectively working in teams of three, using science, technology, engineering and math to solve the engineering challenge of the week. Stop by room 37 at 1:30 PM on Fridays to witness our young engineers in action!

Main Street School's After School Math Club

During weekly after-school Math Club meetings at Main Street School, 25 fourth and fifth grade students work in cooperative groups to develop their mathematical thinking. Students play math games (such as Krypto and Set), solve complex problems, and discuss and present solution strategies. In addition, fifth grade participants will have an opportunity to compete both individually and as a team in the countywide math competition in May. Students love the club so much that one student, Cathryn Perry, exclaimed, "I wish Math Club was every day!" Others have expressed dismay when time is up, wanting to keep working on math problems. Are you ready to test your math skills? Here are two problems students are solving. 1. Christine has homing pigeons and seeing-eye dogs. Together these have 36 heads and 80 feet. She needs 2 pounds of birdseed for every 4 birds, and 10 pounds of dog food for every 2 dogs. How many pounds of each type of food does she need? 2. How many squares are there on a chess board? (Hint: there is 1 large square, 81 small squares, and many more squares in between sizes such as 2 by 2, 3 by 3 squares, etc.) Are YOU smarter than a fifth grader?