Leading toward a supportive learning environment

Welcome Back to the 2020-2021 School Year!

January 2021

With the start of 2021, I want to pause and share my gratitude for the tenacity, innovation, and compassion of our staff, students, and families throughout the turbulence of 2020. This past year has been marked by both challenge and change. It interrupted the routines of our lives and altered the world of education as we once knew it. The pandemic charged us all with the task of moving forward into uncharted territories. This journey has not been easy; however, our district has much to celebrate as we move into the spring semester.

When districts across the country closed, our faculty reinvented schools and brought ingenuity to their work. Since March, our teachers and students have expanded their use of Canvas, Google Classroom, and MasteryConnect. We, additionally, increased our use of technology, as all classrooms were equipped with ViewSonics and streaming devices. Our students maintained access to learning through their Chromebooks and the mass distribution of hotspots, and with the support of our families, we have enjoyed having students back on our campuses since September. These accomplishments have been achieved through our collective efforts.

Regarding academics, PUHSD has also remained steadfast in our commitment to student-centered learning. Using the Canvas platform, teams of teachers collaborated over the summer to develop modules in the core subject areas, thereby assisting their fellow colleagues as they learned the new system. Common assessments were created and implemented in MasteryConnect, and they continue to be revised by PLC teams. As the fall term progressed, teachers throughout the district focused on mastery and remediation in order to help students who needed additional time and instruction, and we also celebrated the adoption of an intervention block at all of our four comprehensive high schools. Finally, despite the obstacles of virtual learning, our students have continued to complete relevant and rigorous hands-on CTE, Dual Enrollment, IB, and AP courses that will prepare them for college, careers, and life.

While this past year has looked all but traditional, one thing has remained constant. PUHSD has continued to create supportive and safe learning environments for all students. From brick and mortar buildings to virtual spaces, student achievement and well-being has remained the focus. In addition to developing engaging instructional lessons, our teachers have also worked endlessly to build relationships with their students despite physical barriers, distancing, and screens. Our administrators, counselors, and office staff have monitored the successes of our students and have worked with families when support has been needed. Food Services, a rock for our community, has provided nutritious meals for all students, and our technology team has answered the call in ensuring that students and teachers are connected. Finally, we give our thanks to Maintenance and Operations for conscientiously keeping our facilities running under new guidelines, and we are indebted to our Mental Health Specialists for caring for the well-being of all during these times of hardship and uncertainty.

As we reflect on the growth of our district despite the adversity we have endured, I celebrate the positive changes we have achieved. Our success would not be possible without the people who make up Placer Union. I thank our staff for their talents and dedication, our students for their resilience, and our community for their trust and support. Together, we have shone brighter.


Dr. George Sziraki

PUHSD Superintendent

George S. Sziraki, Jr., Ed.D.

Desirée Atkins
Executive Assistant


Dr. Sziraki began his service with Placer Union on July 1, 2013. He brings to the Placer Union team extensive experience in teaching, coaching and administering in a high school setting.

He became Assistant Superintendent of the Merced Union High School District in 2008. While in that position---instituting and directing new initiatives in instructional improvement---the MUHSD showed strong growth in the areas most often cited when measuring quality of school districts.

Dr. Sziraki loves the high school environment, looks forward to the challenges ahead, and will forge forward in addressing the district commitment to student learning by creating supportive environments for students and staff.