Letter from the Principal

  • Dear Vikings,

    Welcome to the start of the school year!  I hope your family enjoyed a safe and restful summer.  At Mills we are proud to have served generations in our community for over 60 years, inspiring learning for growth and empowering young people to make a positive impact on our world.  Our students are remarkable in every regard. While Mills could easily rest upon our laurels of excellence, we don’t.  As a faculty and staff, we continually strive to do better for our students.  Thank you for selecting Mills as your home.

    At Mills, we prioritize building relationships with our students and community to strengthen our ability to support all students, while providing the best, most engaging and rigorous learning experience we can. Our teachers, staff and administration have years of experience supporting and teaching students! This work is our calling, and there is a place for every student at Mills. The diversity of our staff and student body and staff reflect our values as a school and our mission to provide a safe, vibrant and inclusive learning environment that promotes equitable opportunities for all students to achieve academic goals while giving them the tools and resources to access personal growth, well-being and balance.

    I will cover some important information and dates and events in this email, but please be sure to frequently read your emails sent from our school and from the District. We will always share information with you in a timely manner once plans are finalized for these events. We will also post pertinent information throughout the year on the Mills website at https://www.smuhsd.org/millshigh.

    Here are some important dates/events and information for August:

    • There is no registration or orientation prior to the first day of school on Wednesday, August 16th, due to construction on the campus.
    • Class schedules will be emailed to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students and parents/caregivers on August 15th. On August 16th (first day of school), 9th grade students will receive a printout of their schedule during orientation. Please note that staff and school counselors will be unable to share details about individual class schedules prior to August 9th. A course change form will be posted on the School Counseling website to allow students to request changes. Students are expected to attend the classes on their schedule until contacted by their counselor. 
    • New and incoming 9th grade students who have not yet selected courses for this year should contact Andrea Crowley, Staff Assistant, at acrowley@smuhsd.org.
    • On the first day of school, 10th to 12th graders will attend periods 1-7 and participate in a school-wide orientation with their assigned classroom teacher from 8:30am - 10:25am. 
    • On the first day of school, August 16th, all 9th graders will meet together for a full day orientation from 8:30 to 3:45pm, during which they’ll receive a printout of their class schedule. School will end at 3:45 pm.
    • Students will take school pictures the first week of school by grade level. Freshman will have photos on Wednesday, August 16th, Sophomores on Thursday, August 17th, Juniors on Friday, August 18th, and Seniors on Monday, August 21st. Learn how to order photos
    • Prior to the first day, read this handbook and electronically complete the signature page. Click here for the electronic Student Signature Page.
    • See the below schedule for the First Day, August 16th. Thursday & Friday, August 17th-18th, students will be on a 1-7 schedule.

    First Day Instructional Schedule, Wednesday, August 16th

    First Day Instructional Schedule for August 16, 2023


    School Counseling Updates

    Students are assigned to a school counselor by alphabet, which have been modified this year (see below). Returning students and parents can also view their counselor assignment through their Aeries portal. Freshmen counselor assignments will be listed on students’ class schedule printouts. 

    Rachel Mack: Last names A to Gi

    Jayde Tijero (formerly Nieve): Last names Gl to Lo

    Kalani Vasquez: Last names Lu to P; Spanish-speaking families 

    Jonathan Fong: Last names Q to Z

    Beginning August 9th, students wishing to request schedule changes may submit a request form through our School Counseling website. Students are expected to attend the classes on their schedule until contacted by their counselor. Please note that requests for changes are granted on a limited basis, pending available space. August 25th is the deadline to request schedule changes. 

    Athletic Updates

    Summer workouts have come to a close and the Fall season is quickly upon us!  Beginning Friday, August 4th, Fall programs (Football, Boys and Girls Water Polo, Girls Golf, Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Cross Country, and Girls Volleyball) are allowed to resume general conditioning workouts.  Coaches that are taking part in general conditioning have already reached out to their athletes.  

    Friday, August 4th opens the season, and coaches are allowed to begin practices. Due to all the construction projects on site, most programs will begin Monday, August 7th.  We will have the exact start dates and times for each program on the athletics page of the school website on August 1st.  The website is currently up to date with all Fall season competition schedules.

    Beginning August 4th, all athletes must be cleared through the Health Office.  Please complete and/or update your students' Sportsnet records before attending any workout.  All questions regarding athletic clearance should go to Mrs. Lori Durham at ldurham@smuhsd.org.  For any sport specific questions, please reach out to the specific coach.

    All parents and guardians of a fall sport athlete are asked to come to a Fall Sports Meeting on Tuesday, August 22nd, at 7:00 pm at Mills. Come and meet Fall sport coaches, connect with other parents and guardians, and get essential information about the upcoming season.

    Lockers & Textbooks & Chromebooks

    Lockers will be assigned the first week of school. Textbooks will be distributed via the classroom throughout the first weeks of school. Returning students should bring their charged Chromebooks on the first day of school. Freshman students will be issued Chromebooks on the first day.

    Parent Participation

    In order to best serve our students, we need your help and participation in a variety of ways. Parent participation is a necessity to be able to offer the high quality high school experience that each of our students deserve during the four-year experience at Mills.  The Mills Community offers a number of ways to get involved to strengthen our vision and our experiences for students.  Please consider the following parent participation opportunities and commit your time to supporting our school. All meetings will take place virtually until further notice:

    • Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) of Mills High School ~ This organization is the umbrella of our parent participation at Mills led by our amazing PTO Board and PTO President Joy Henry. The PTO sends out a regular newsletter with up-to-date school information and meets monthly providing guest speakers on a variety of topics pertinent to our school community. See the newly updated Mills PTO website at https://www.millshspto.org. Please consider becoming a member.

    • Latino Parent Group ~ This parent group is composed of our Latino parents and meets monthly to discuss issues of common interest around supporting our Latino students.   The group is coordinated by our family engagement coordinator.  Please reach out to Gina Vannini, Family Engagement Coordinator, at gvannini@smuhsd.org for more information and meeting dates.  

    • Mills Music Arts Group (MMAG) ~ The MMAG is the cornerstone of our music program at Mills High School. Check out the website at https://www.millshsmusic.org. Our band director, David Gregoric, will need parent help and support to continue to make events happen and to build our music program for our students. If you are interested in joining MMAG, please contact us at info@millshsmusic.org or visit https://www.millshsmusic.org.  

    • Drama Guild ~ Each year we see an increasing number of students participate in our Drama program and our Fall Play and Spring Musical.  The Drama Guild seeks support from parents in any way they can help– from procuring our prop list to teaching students how to run our state-of-the-art lighting and sound system.  We are fortunate to have dedicated staff and faculty to spearhead our Drama program, and they need your support.  Please reach out to Joe Hudelson, Drama Director, at jhudelson@smuhsd.org if you can help.
    • Athletic Boosters ~ The Home of the Vikings takes pride in our Athletic Program at Mills. See the accomplishments of our teams and learn more about Viking athletics at https://millsathletics.com. We need your support to help build and coordinate our experiences for our young athletes.  This dedicated group of parents and community members works to ensure that our athletes are supported and recognized throughout the school year. The Athletic Boosters meet once a month. Our Athletic Booster President is Heather Mezzetta and can be reached at president@millsathleticboosters.org.  
    • ELAC (English Learner Advisory Committee) ~ The ELAC is an advisory committee that advises the principal and staff on recommendations for improving our services for students that speak and learn English as a second language in the school setting.  This ELAC advises the School Site Council on the Single Plan for Student Achievement, advocating and ensuring that the needs and development of English Language Learners are at the forefront of our efforts. We are looking for your input and for volunteers to serve on our District ELAC (DELAC). If you are interested in joining ELAC, please email Assistant Principal, Jonathan White, at jwhite@smuhsd.org

    • Mills Planning Committee (MPC)/School Site Council ~ Mills is seeking a parent volunteer to join our MPC, a decision-making body comprised of teachers, staff, students, administration and parents that provides input for our Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA), considers Annual Fund requests, and assists in guiding our overall vision and mission as a school. If you are interested in joining this committee that meets every month, please email me prior to Monday, August 29th.

    Thank you for considering how you can contribute and participate in our active and supportive parent community at Mills.  Your participation is essential, and we are grateful for your time and support.  

    I want to extend my gratitude for the opportunity to continue to serve as the Mills High School Principal for the upcoming school year.  We look forward to a great school year! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions as you prepare for the upcoming school year. 

    Sincerely,

    Pamela Duszynski, Principal

    Poster with text that reads: It's a Viking Thing