2022-2023 District Updates

  • October 19: Support Programs and Resources Available for SMUHSD Students 


    Wellness Counselors offer a safe space at school where any student can receive confidential and nonjudgmental socio-emotional support. Students can learn positive, lifelong habits that contribute to their well-being and success. 

    Your site Wellness Team provides individual, group and/or drop-in support as needed.  

    To access Wellness services, please visit during drop-in hours, schedule an appointment or connect with your school counselor. 

    To learn more about our District mental health services, community resources, upcoming events and more, please visit our District website.  

    In addition, we currently facilitate several unique offerings through our Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) Program to support students and families.  Below is a highlight of our innovative programs facilitated by our exceptional TUPE Mental Health Therapist Team.

    For more information, visit www.smuhsd.org/tupe or please contact:

    Dr. Jessamy Cadigan, TUPE Mental Health Therapist 

    Our continued commitment to bring the highest level of equity and comprehensive mental health care and preventive programs to our students, families, staff, and communities at large drives our continued development of our TUPE Services. 

    TUPE Programs

    • Vaping Awareness Prevention and Education (VAPE): small group sessions in an effort to increase our students’ knowledge surrounding the harmfulness of vaping and to empower conversation to support awareness about nicotine use.

    • Substance Use Program (SUP): this group provides the opportunity to enhance critical thinking, inform decision making, raise awareness and foster ambivalence towards substance use.  This program is unique in that it offers a family night with multiple families together to discuss the tricky terrain of supporting our teens with their choices around substance use.

    • Alternatives to Suspension (ATS) - Traditional: ATS is a strength based group utilizing restorative justice practices, allowing students to turn their suspension into an opportunity for learning and growth. Students will Increase their awareness of causes for suspension, improve decision-making skills, identify supportive school staff to encourage a supportive re-entry to campus, and receive tobacco and other substance use education and intervention.   

    • Alternatives to Suspension (ATS) - Cyberbullying and Media Awareness: This group provides the space for students to examine their technology use and how it affects their lives as well as the lives of others; it includes discussion of cyberbullying and how to prevent it/address it, social media etiquette, internet safety, and digital citizenship.

    • Alternative to Suspension (ATS) - Consent and Healthy Relationships:  Our Healthy Relationships and Consent Program is designed to support students around challenges such as communication, physical and emotional safety, consent, empathy and respect. The sessions will include scheduled activities giving your student the opportunity to talk about the disciplinary incident that caused the suspension and reflect on their engagement in school and plans for their future.

    • Brief Intervention (BI):  This counseling intervention is for students identified with low level substance abuse, a short history of drug use, ambivalence about changing their drug use, and experiencing few problems with their drug use. Two - Three brief one-on-one sessions via Zoom or in person will be scheduled based on student’s availability, with options for additional sessions and an optional, encouraged parent session.

    • Parent Connect - District Wide:  A virtual parent support group for parent/caregiver(s) of teens who are experiencing difficulties with attendance, behavior, vaping, cannabis & other substance use, and/or COVID-19 related stressors.  We offer these parent groups every 6-8 weeks in both English and Spanish respectively.  These groups are successfully facilitated via Zoom.   

    School Site Wellness Teams

    September 29: State Officials Issue Warning About “Rainbow Fentanyl” 


    Dear Students and Families:

    State health officials have cautioned school leaders about a new and concerning version of the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl.

    Rainbow Fentanyl Last week, the California Department of Public Health issued an alert about “rainbow fentanyl,” a potentially fatal drug that comes in a variety of forms and bright colors. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has similarly noted that rainbow fentanyl looks like candy, which could be a way to attract children and young people.

    Emergency department visits related to non-fatal opioid overdoses in California's youth ages 10-19 years more than tripled from 2018 (379 total) to 2020 (1,222 total). Opioid-related overdose deaths in California's youth ages 10-19 years increased from 2018 (54 total) to 2020 (274 total), marking a 407 percent increase over two years, largely driven by fentanyl. Fentanyl-related overdose deaths in California's youth ages 10-19 years increased from 2018 (36 total) to 2020 (261 total), a 625 percent increase.

    “Rainbow fentanyl can be found in many forms, including pills, powder and blocks that can resemble sidewalk chalk or candy,” said Dr. Aragón, the state’s public health officer. “Any pill, regardless of its color, shape or size, that does not come from a health care provider or pharmacist can contain fentanyl and can be deadly.” A picture of rainbow fentanyl is included. 

    In August, the DEA and its law enforcement partners seized brightly colored fentanyl, including pills, in 18 states. The federal agency says anyone who encounters fentanyl in any form should not handle it and should call 911 immediately.

    Students who believe they have encountered fentanyl on one of our campuses should alert an adult on campus, right away. Students and parents/guardians can also make an Anonymous Alert to make an anonymous report of any type at any time. Possession of, being under the influence and/or sale of controlled substances are suspendable and expellable offenses. Safety of our students and our campuses is paramount to us. 

    Now is a good time to talk with your teen about substance use. The District has support programs available to our students. Learn more by visiting our website. Students may also use their school’s Wellness Program services if they are experiencing distress for any reason. Our wellness counselors are skilled at supporting our students facing social and emotional challenges. Students can learn more about these services by visiting our Mental Health and Wellness webpage.  

    Thank you for all that you do to support student health and safety in our school communities.


    Sara Devaney, M.S.
    Health Services Manager

    September 15-October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month


    Dear Students and Families: 

    At their August 25 meeting, our Board of Trustees adopted a proclamation recognizing September 15-October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month. As I shared with the Board that evening, the month is recognized by numerous federal and state institutions to pay tribute to the generations of Latino/Latina/LatinX Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. 

    The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

    The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, 18 and 21 respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, (which is celebrated on October 12 in many Latin American countries in lieu of Columbus Day) falls within this 30 day period. To many Día de la Raza represents a time to teach respect, dignity and the inclusion of all people. The holiday serves to remind all people throughout the Americas about the history and challenges faced by indigenous peoples. 

    While it is our District’s intention to honor, celebrate and lift up our Latino/Latina/LatinX community members, we know that holidays and celebrations can sometimes be complicated and fraught with emotion. For example, we know that words matter, and that to many the word Hispanic is offensive for a few reasons. State and federal government agencies have historically used it as a blanket term when we know our population is more nuanced and complex. It also propagates the legacy of colonization in the parts of the world where many of our students come from.  We want to recognize and celebrate this month as we feel that as a District, it is important to celebrate the heritage of our Latino/Latina/LatinX community, and so we used the term Latino in the body of the proclamation as this term is preferred in our District. 

    Please join me in celebrating the rich heritage of the Latino/Latina/LatinX members of our community not just starting September 15 but all year long. Our diverse heritage makes for a better experience for us all.  


    Randall Booker

  • August 23: San Mateo County is in the Low/Green COVID-19 Community Level Category


    Dear Students and Families:

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), San Mateo County has entered the Low/Green COVID-19 Community Level Category, based on case rates and the number of hospitalizations. 

    Per our School Board’s direction, SMUHSD continues to follow the County of San Mateo and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) with regards to COVID-19 Safety Protocols. The District and County continue to recommend that residents stay up to date on vaccines. Staff and students should stay home when sick and test when symptomatic. County Health and the CDPH continue to strongly recommend that all persons, regardless of vaccine status, wear a mask in indoor public settings and businesses

    Please visit the District’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols webpage for the most up to date information.

    For staff and students who work or attend classes at any of the San Mateo County Community College District Campuses - SMUHSD requires its staff and students to follow the guidelines set forth by the College District when on its campuses. At these campuses, face masks are recommended in the Low/Green COVID-19 Community Level and are required in both the Medium/Yellow and High/Red levels. Read more on the San Mateo County Community College District’s website.  

    Thank you for all that you do to promote health and safety in our school communities. 


    Sara Devaney, M.S. 

    Health Services Manager

    August 3: Free At-Home COVID-19 Testing Strongly Recommended Before Returning from Summer Break


    Students and staff might be exposed to COVID-19 during the break. If you DO have any COVID-19 symptoms and/or you have tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home and call your school for next steps before you return to campus. Testing at home before returning to school helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Step 1: Get the materials - you will need: 

    • A box that has one Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test and instructions

    • Pick up two test boxes from your school. 

    • A device with internet access. 

    • Please note that all students must register with primary health for the 2022-23 school year. 

    • After you take the test, submit your results here

    • If you do not have a device or internet, please contact your school.

    Step 2: Test your student (or yourself if you are a staff member)

    • Test #1: Take your first test three (3) days before returning to school 

    • Test #2: Take your second test the day before returning to school

    • If you have already returned to school, take a test now and again in three (3) days.  

    Step 3: Share your test results on PrimaryHealth

    Primary Health is a secure website that reports your results to the school and the Health Department.

    Report your results at Primary Health at: my.primary.health/appointment_recoveries


    Step 4: Understand your test results

    If the test is negative:

    • If your student feels well and has no COVID-19 symptoms, return to school!

    • If your student has symptoms please stay home until symptoms are resolved and report absences to your school.

    If the test is positive: 

    • Stay home from school and contact your doctor and your school right away. 

    If the test results are not clear: 

    Contact the school for next steps. Make sure you have a photo of your test.

    August 2, 2022: Back to School Update


    Dear Students and Families: 

    What an amazing feeling it is to join this District as your superintendent. I am so honored to be here with each of you. I look forward to getting to know our students and families and working alongside you to provide the best possible high school experience we can offer to all of our students. 

    The first day of school is August 10, and I want to provide you with an update on the information you will need to dive into the school year, feel confident and be successful. 

    COVID Safety Protocols 

    All of the public health experts agree. COVID is here to stay. Over the past two plus years we’ve all learned to live (and hopefully thrive) in the pandemic. Per our Board of Trustees’ May 5 decision, we will continue to follow the guidelines of the CDPH and County of San Mateo. Our County is currently in the Red/High Tier for COVID cases, and the CDPH and San Mateo County strongly recommend that individuals wear masks indoors. I urge all students and staff to take any measures available to them to slow the spread of COVID and protect their own health and the health of our school community. You can read more about COVID Guidelines on the District’s COVID Safety Protocols webpage.  

    Bond Construction Update

    Our District is so fortunate that our voters and taxpayers supported Measure L - a $385 million general obligation bond to make improvements to facilities across the District. Construction began this summer to encapsulate transite panels at Aragon, Hillsdale and Mills High Schools. These projects will drastically improve the sustainability and appearance of these schools. Phase II will be completed next summer. Work continues on the Sports Complexes at Capuchino and Mills High Schools. These projects will make these complexes the premier facilities in the county and create ideal environments for our scholar-athletes to thrive. Our Board recently approved schematic designs, budgets and schedules for new gyms at Burlingame and San Mateo High Schools. You can follow construction updates on the District website.  

    School Anniversaries 

    Our District and San Mateo High School will turn 120 years old on September 15. We are working with the school to plan a community open house at San Mateo High on October 8. Burlingame High will celebrate its 100th commencement in May. We will share additional details as we get closer to these events. 

    I want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank our staff including the unsung heroes behind the scenes. Our Maintenance and Operations colleagues, School Plant Operations Employees and Student Nutrition and Transportation team members provide the support needed to open the doors to our schools and make our District GO!! Students, when you interact with these staff members, please consider all that they do to improve your experience at school and thank them.   

    Finally, I want to thank our parents and guardians. Raising children is both one of the hardest and most rewarding endeavors in life (I know, I’m a father of two). Thank you parents and guardians for your support of both your students and your school communities. We could not do this work without you as part of our team. 

    And students, if you have taken the time to read this message, thank your parents. They will appreciate your kind words. I’m looking forward to seeing you on your campuses and getting to know you.  

    Now, let’s get to school and make it a great year! 


    Randall Booker