March Parent and Community Newsletter
Dr. Tiffany Morse with Mr. Hess' 3rd grade class on Lake Casitas' Floating Classroom

Superintendent's Message

Welcome to our March newsletter!
One of my goals this year as your new Superintendent is to spend time in each classroom, at all of our 8 schools.   Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Floating Classroom on a trip around Lake Casitas, thanks to our partner in education, Ojai Rotary West . Over the course of a few hours, our students learned applications of water and soil science, biology and history. The ongoing efforts of our teachers, and local organizations, to provide experiential learning opportunities extends our values of wellness and environmental stewardship.

We often hear parents and stakeholders share how much they appreciate a teacher, staff member or administrator. We want to ensure our employees know how much they are appreciated, so we've started the Standing Ovation program. This is an opportunity for you to nominate an employee, or group of employees, by filling out this form. or going to our website. The nominee will be notified and receive a token of our district's appreciation as well.  Thank you in advance for participating in this new program to help recognize our staff members who go the extra mile.
Summer Career Camps - We are excited to announce our FREE summer enrichment programs for OUSD students at all grade levels. Options will include both Summer academic classes and Career Camps where students can explore programs in theater, arts, culinary, the environment, and more!  Classes will run from July 1st to July 24th. Please fill out this form to receive the course catalog, available in the next week.  .

Please keep reading our monthly articles, as they share the work of our students, staff and families, contributing to making our schools the amazing places they are.  

Dr. Tiffany Morse,

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Did you know that we have more than 15 student clubs at Matilija and Nordhoff? We are grateful for the advisors, and the many students who make these opportunities possible.  One  example is Nordhoff High School’s  Mock Trial Club. Last week 11 Nordhoff students, along with Club Advisor Kevin Ruf,  participated in a real-world example of social justice at The Ventura County Courthouse as part of  VCOE's 37th annual High School Mock Trial Competition. For a list of Nordhoff High School's clubs, please click here

Video Production: Nordhoff News
Each week, Nordhoff Video Production students develop and produce a newscast for staff and students to remain informed about happenings on campus!  See their latest issue here.
Spring Musical: Legally Blonde

Sophie Massey and Ethan Foote rehearse a scene with direction from Dr. Marty Babayco

Nordhoff High School's 26th Annual Spring Musical, Legally Blonde, premieres Thursday, March 5th at the Matilija Auditorium, with performances Thursday - Sunday through March 15th. This production is lively, funny and a must-see event and our cast, crew and a small army of volunteers have been working hard for months to bring this production to our community!  Click here  to purchase tickets.  Learn more about this, and other, Spring Musical productions here.
OUSD employees and students receive discounted ticket prices for Thursday, March 5th, Friday, March 6th and Thursday March 12th. Employee tickets are $10.00 each (2 max).Student tickets are $5.00 each. Contact for discounted tickets.

Guiding Coalition/Parent Advisory Council

We have several new initiatives in place at OUSD to help inform and guide the district on issues and important policies, and to enrich the learning experience of our students every day.  
Our Parent Advisory Council - which held its first meeting Thursday, February 27th will meet four to five times during the calendar year to ensure our district practices are aligned with our four values.  Each of our four Guiding Coalitions - which held its inaugural meeting last November - will continue to meet four to five times over the school year for a one-year term of service.  We appreciate the work our community members, parents, and staff commit to these committees, and look forward to a continued collaboration to ensure OUSD continues to deliver the best possible learning experience for The Heart and Future of Ojai. 
We've also been holding Student Nutrition Advisory Councils (SNAC) at each school to learn how we can improve our nutrition services. We look forward to improving our menus and working with the SNACs to taste-testing our new recipes! 
  Learn more here.
Alumni Spotlight

Class of 1998: Brian Holly Class of 1999: Brandon Titus
Local Business Owners, Pax Environmental   

In 2012, Nordhoff Alumni Brian Holly and Brandon Titus, founded Pax Environmental, Inc. an Ojai-based environmental consulting firm offering a range of professional services including ecological restoration; water quality analysis; wildlife biology; environmental regulatory permitting; GIS services; and, multidisciplinary project management.

As friends growing up in Ojai, “....we were always outside, backpacking, and looking for opportunities that put us in the natural environment around us"  Brandon remembers a time they attempted to navigate San Antonio Creek as kids, but were stopped by the bamboo-like plant, arundo. Now, their firm is removing the invasive reed that from the watershed as part of a restoration effort in partnership with The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and The CrewRead more here

Class of 1998: Brenna Furness
Local Business Owner, Coffee Connection
Brenna Furness met her husband, Jon while both were working for the same faith-based NGO in the Amazon Basin, building water filters, teaching English and assisting in dental and medical clinics. While in Brazil, the couple drank cafezinhos, and developed a passion for coffee. While state-side the two began to research businesses, and decided to open their own coffee house, with the stipulation the coffee had to be organic and that as many of the beans as possible needed to be Fair Trade Certified,“ says Brenna, noting “We share a deep love for our community, we believe that coffee brings people together and when people are together, united by even something as simple as coffee, we are the best versions of ourselves”

Coffee Connection opened its doors in March 2006, on a Saturday. “We were afraid no one would come in, so we priced every drink at $1. We made a $100 that day!!”  Read more here