Superintendent's Weekly Update

The return from spring break always brings a busy calendar of activities for our schools. This year is no different. There is so much good information to share about our schools, this week’s update is a bit long. Please check out all of the good stuff!

DHS juniors selected for Camp Venture

Camp Venture is for future Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs that is facilitated by

Rotary.  The goal of the camp is to develop winning strategies to succeed in business through “Xtreme” team building, motivational & leadership activities and the interactive development of

“real” business plans.

Durham High school juniors Seanna Cunningham and Jack Stephens were selected to attend the camp June 19-23 at St. Mary’s College in Moraga.

DHS Competition Cheer Team

It was quite a season for the Durham High School Competition Cheer team. They finished the 2023-2024 season as CIF Northern Section Champions, JAMZ NorCal Challenge Champions and Jamz NorCal School Grand Champions.  

In January, the CIF Cheer Competition Durham won the section titles amongst teams from  Quincy, Redding Christian, UPrep, Oroville and Las Plumas.

In April, the JAMZ competition  included teams from Foothill High School (not the one in Redding), West Campus HS, Faith Christian HS, Tipton, Bidwell Jr High, Lodi HS and Park Middle School. Again, Durham took first place in the school team category.

Competing for the DHS team were: senior Hayleigh Smith, juniors Abigail Southworth and Ashlin Lombardi, sophomores Jaime Garibay, Lyla Troncoso,  and Natalia Bordin, and freshman Evelyn Troncoso. Karley Armstong coached the team.

Picture of the DHS Comp Cheer Team.

Picture of the DHS Comp Cheer Team with their championship banner.

Rethink your Drink

Durham Unified Nurse Kristin Walters along with Chico State nursing student Liezel Sanchez, led a Rethink Your Drink booth at Durham High School and Durham Intermediate School.

The concept to educate students on the amount of sugar in their favorite drinks.

According to Kristin, students were grossed out by the amount of sugar in their favorite drinks.

Picture of the DES Rethink Your Drink presentation.

Picture of the DES Rethink Your Drink presentation.

Picture of the DES Rethink Your Drink presentation.

Former Durham students focus of NVCF article

Durham High School graduate Brissa Ocana was spotlighted in the April 2024 North Valley Community Foundation Digest.

Brissa is a freshman at Chico State and one of seven recipients of the Ethan McCoy Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is named after former DES student Etha McCory, who was lost after a two-month battle with pediatric brain cancer. The focus of the scholarship is to support students planning on studying nursing in college.  

Click on the link to read the full story:

Coliseum updates

Over spring break the lights at DHS were upgraded to LED lights. This included new LED lights in the DHS gym and the coliseum.

Additionally, metal signs with the new board approved rules for using the track were posted at entrances to the coliseum.

Picture of the DHS Coliseum lighting project.

Picture of the DHS Coliseum lighting project.

Picture of the DHS Coliseum lighting project.

Picture of the DHS Coliseum track rules.

DIS Construction Update

DIS Principal Lora Fox and DUSD MOT Manager Eric Kolstad were joined by DUSD Board President Ed McLaughlin and Board Trustee Matt Thorpe in a visit to Enviroplex in Stockton to view the construction of the new buildings for DIS. They were joined at Enviroplex by United

Building Contractors’ Calvin Jackson, and A-line Construction manager Maria Campos. Pictures of the district team and steel frames of the new buildings are attached.

Firstly, the Enviroplex tour was very informative and interesting to see how their processes work at their fabrication facility. It appeared very clean and well planned even with all of the work happening there.

From UBC:

First, the Enviroplex tour was very informative and interesting to see how their processes work at their fabrication facility. It appeared very clean and well planned even with all of the work happening there.


The last of the form boards have been stripped, and hauled off site. The concrete waste debris is being picked up and removed from the site as well. This was a huge step for the site and we are very glad to see the foundations placed and cleaned up.


We have adjusted our site schedule and have begun rough grading and compaction around the buildings. We will begin flatwork baserock next week after we receive passing compaction tests from NV5 for the subgrade around the buildings. We will be leaving minimal backfill out around the modular buildings so Enviroplex can install their buildings when they arrive and so that we can quickly place concrete around them once they are onsite. We will begin concrete placement once all baserock is completed but we will be placing a lot more concrete now rather than after the permanent modulars arrive. We are projecting a pave date near the end of May once we complete most of the concrete not directly up against the permanent modulars.  

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Picture of the DIS foundation pour.
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Picture of the DUSD team at the Enviroplex site visit.

Updates from Principals

DES (from Samantha Brown)

This has been a very busy first week back from Spring Break! We started the week off with our CAASPP training for our 3rd-5th grade teachers during our Monday collaboration time. We discussed all things upcoming through the end of the school year at our April staff meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Miss Castillo's and Mr. Martin's 5th grade classes went on field trips to the Gateway Science Museum in Chico to see their current exhibits " Leonardo da Vinci Machines in Motion" and "Bombus: A Natural History of Bumble Bees.”  Mr. Coffee's 5th grade students will be attending next Tuesday. Our TK classes are studying community helpers and took a walking field trip to the Durham Post Office, had a visit at school from the Butte County Sheriff's department, and dressed like community helpers today (see attached photo). Our 4th and 5th grade classes have been holding their evening VAPA performances of "Interplanetary Jammin'" this week as well. Mr. Martin's 5th grade class kicked off CAASPP testing today beginning with the California Science Test; our other classes will get started next week.  

We have three DES staff members in the Tiger Spotlight this week:

First we have third grade teacher Katie Perkins. Mrs. Perkins does a super job working with our 3rd grade students and collaborating with and supporting her grade level colleagues. She has brought great, new ideas to her teaching team! She also participates on our School Site Council. She always has a smile on her face, and she makes learning fun for her students. We really appreciate Katie and the pawsitive impact that she has on Durham Elementary School, and we are so grateful to have her on the staff!  

Next we have DES Secretary Yolanda Prentice. Yolanda has worked in DUSD for 27 years, starting her career in the DHS Office and spending the last 6 years in the DES Office. She is the first face you usually see when you walk in our school, and she always makes everyone feel so welcome. She is a wealth of knowledge and definitely the glue to our school! She supports our staff, students and families in so many ways, and goes above and beyond to make sure that she does her job well and on time, despite the many interruptions that she has throughout the day. Congratulations to her and her family on the birth of her newest granddaughter (shown in the photo). We really appreciate Yolanda and the pawsitive impact that she has on Durham Elementary School, and we are extremely grateful to have her on the staff!  

Last, but not least, we have fourth grade teacher Lauren Bandy. Miss Bandy does a great job working with our 4th grade students and collaborating with her colleagues. She brings fresh, new ideas to her team and our school! She jumped right in this year and has participated in so many ways, including PBIS Leadership Team and Optional Staff Meetings working towards a Shared Vision and Mission Statement, with the wisdom of a veteran teacher! We really appreciate Lauren and the pawsitive impact that she has on Durham Elementary School, and we are so thankful to have her on the staff!  

Picture of the DES Tiger of the Week, Mrs.Perkins.

Picture of the DES Tiger of the Week, Miss Yolanda.

Picture of the DES Tiger of the Week, Ms.Bandy.

DIS (From Lora Fox)

DIS is getting ready for state testing week!

Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth graders will be participating in Math and English Language Arts State Testing next week. It is important that our students are in attendance, well hydrated, well nourished, and have their thinking caps on! DIS will start with Math testing on Monday with English Language Arts starting on Wednesday. They will have all week to start and complete their test in their math and language arts classrooms.  

This year, DIS students will have a "testing passport".  Those that are in attendance for testing, demonstrate positive effort, and demonstrate positive classroom behavior during the testing period will receive a stamp on their passport for the day from their testing teacher. Rewards will be given on a daily basis AND for those students who accumulate a full passport with stamps for every day of the week, their passport will be put into a drawing to be held on Monday, April 22nd! Some of the passport prizes for a completed passport will be gift cards, Beats Headphones, sports equipment, Giants hats, and retro DIS uniforms. We are looking forward to a positive week of testing and fun!

Congratulations to the American Legion Auxiliary Essay Contest winners: First place- Ben M., Second place- Kate V. and third place- Haddie H. All of the students are in Mrs Lash’s 6th grade class.

We are getting busy around here! Here are some upcoming events...

April 15: April 19: State Testing

April 17: 8th Grade Promotion Photos

April 19:  CJSF Dance, 5:30-7:00 pm, DIG

April 23:  Honor Roll Field Trip

April 29 - May 3: 6th Grade Shady Creek

May 10 - May 17: DIS all school Olympics

DHS (From Marty Wilkes)

Our senior class has received their acceptance letters, and now they have to make the big decision on which school they will attend. Owen Solano's decision got a lot easier when he received his acceptance letter to Stanford. Unfortunately for the rest of the students, the decision will be a little harder to make.

DHS is finishing up state testing with the 11th grade students.


Softball is 5-10 overall and will be traveling to Colusa today.


Baseball is 11-5 overall and is 4-1 in league. The JV team is also having a very good season and are 12-2-1 overall and 4-0 in league.

Ag Department

April 14  - Showmanship practice

April 15 -  State Degree Ceremony

April 15 -  Ag Boosters Scholarship due

April 17 -  Chapter meeting

April 19 -  All SD forms due

April 20 -  Fresno Field Day

Update from Student Services and Supports (from Marilyn Bertolucci)

This April, as we join hands with communities nationwide during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, acknowledging that countless individuals carry the weight of this experience. Speaking out about sexual assault can be incredibly difficult, but it's important to know you are not alone. Breaking the silence is a powerful act of bravery, and healing starts with understanding, compassion, and open dialogue.

No one should face this alone. This month serves as an opportunity to challenge the stigma surrounding sexual assault and emphasize the importance of support. If you or someone you know has been affected, please know that Care Solace is here for you.

If you or someone you know has suffered from sexual assault, help is available at the National

Sexual Assault Hotline, and by calling 1-800-656-HOPE

If you want to quickly be connected to a mental health care provider, contact Care Solace, a complimentary and confidential mental health care coordination service provided by Durham Unified School District:

•  Call 888-515-0595. Multilingual support is available 24/7/365.

•  Visit and either search on your own OR click “Book Appointment” for assistance by video chat, email, or phone.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help, use the resources around you, and never give up hope.

Community Events  

April 27, 2024 9:00 am-12:00 pm- Discovering What’s Possible: Parent University and Resource Fair at Bidwell JHS.  

Parent University Flyer (English)  Parent University Flyer (Spanish)