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school counseling week logo 1
Marieanne Quiroz

VUSD is celebrating National School Counseling Week, Feb. 6-10.

School Counselors Celebrate During National School Counseling Week Feb. 6–10, 2023

National School Counseling Week 2023, “School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big,” sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), is being celebrated by Ventura Unified this week, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems and how students are different as a result of what school counselors do. National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. 

VUSD recognizes our counselors for being actively engaged in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests and talents; for working in a partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today’s world; for focusing on positive ways to enhance students’ academic, career and social/emotional development; and working with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic and optimistic aspirations for themselves.  School counselors are certified, experienced educators with a master’s degree in school counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program.

“School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing students’ academic concerns, career options and social / emotional skills,” said Jill Cook, ASCA executive director. “School counseling programs help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators. School counselors are integral to student success.”


Sadie Engelhardt running
Marieanne Quiroz

Gatorade has announced Sadie Engelhardt of Ventura High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Player of the Year!

In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Sadie Engelhardt of Ventura High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Player of the Year. Engelhardt is the first Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from Ventura High School.  Sadie also won this game honor for Track last year and is the current World Record Holder for the mile, 15 years or younger. 

The 2022-23 Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Player of the Year award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Engelhardt as California’s best high school girls cross country player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Player of the Year award to be announced in January, Engelhardt joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners, including Natalie Cook (2021-22, Flower Mound High School, Flower Mound, Texas), Katelyn Tuohy (2019-20, North Rockland High School, Thiels, N.Y.), Megan Goethals (2009-10, Rochester High School, Rochester Hills, Mich.) and Jordan Hasay (2008-09, Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, San Luis Obispo, Calif.).

The 5-foot-7 sophomore raced to the Division 2 individual state championship this past season with a time of 16:57.84, leading the Cougars to a fifth-place finish as a team. Engelhardt also won the Woodbridge Classic, the Southern Section Championships, and the Champs Sports West Regional Championships. She took 10th at the Champs Sports National Championships, earning All-America honors in the process.
Engelhardt has fundraised for Runners for Public Lands to help memorialize a teammate who was killed by a distracted driver. She has also volunteered locally at running events and marathons in addition to working at a local running store. “Sadie Engelhardt overcame illness that interrupted her training on multiple occasions to demonstrate why she is still one of the most impressive athletes in the country,” said Erik Boal, an editor for “In addition to winning a state championship and the Champs Sports West Regional title, she earned All-America honors at the Champs Sports National Championships. Sadie also produced one of the best 3-mile cross country performances in prep history, clocking 15:42.60 to prevail against an exceptional field at the Woodbridge Classic.”

Engelhardt has maintained a weighted 4.50 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her junior year of high school this fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
Engelhardt joins recent Gatorade California Girls Cross Country Players of the Year Dalia Frias (2021-22, Mira Costa High School), Riley Chamberlain (2020-21, Del Oro High School), Carlie Dorostkar (2019-20, Canyon Crest Academy), and Kristin Fahy (2018-19, La Costa Canyon High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.

police officer talking with student
Marieanne Quiroz

VUSD will create a new Public Safety/Emergency Response pathway open to all District high school students.

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) has been awarded $1,000,000 in 2022-2023 K12 Strong Workforce Program (SWP) funds. VUSD is one of ten Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to be funded by the South Central Coast Regional Consortium (SCCRC) and will use the funds to create a new Public Safety/Emergency Response Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway at Buena High School.

VUSD's strong partnership with Ventura College, Oxnard College, Ventura Police Department, Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Ventura County Fire Department, Ventura County District Attorney's Office, and other community partners will allow the District to design and implement a robust and relevant pathway for high school students to transition into high-wage high-demand careers in Public Safety and Emergency Response after graduation. This pathway will be available to all high school students in the District via multi-site agreements.

Dr. Rene Rickard, VUSD's Chief Innovation Officer, shared, "Ventura Unified is excited to work with our community college and first responder partners to prepare our students for these critical careers in our region. We look forward to establishing this career pathway and watching it thrive at Buena."

measure e oversight committee announcement
Marieanne Quiroz

VUSD is accepting applications until 4 pm on Tues. Feb. 14, 2023.

The Ventura Unified School District is establishing a citizens’ oversight committee to oversee expenditures of Measure E bond funds, which was the bond measure approved by District voters on November 8, 2022. The District is presently accepting applications from interested citizens to serve on the committee. The committee will consist of seven to eleven members who meet, review and report on expenditures of bond funds to ensure money is used only for voter-approved purposes.

Interested persons may download the Measure E Oversight Committee Application at or obtain a paper copy from the Superintendent’s office, located at 255 Stanley Avenue, Ventura, California. Applications are due by Tuesday, February 14, 2023, by 4pm either by email to or in-person or by US Postal mail to:

Ventura Unified School District
Attn: Vanessa Cordero
255 W. Stanley Ave.
Ventura, CA 93001