Blog - Sandee Everett - CVUSD School Board

Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students

During my school counseling training at Purdue University, I was privileged to be mentored and instructed by a leading expert in high-ability/gifted students, Dr. Jean Peterson. My understanding of this important student population has been invaluable when making decisions as a board member.

All students are unique. Their learning styles and abilities vary considerably, creating interesting challenges for teachers as they strive to meet the needs of their students.

However, the diversity among gifted students can be extreme. The importance of keeping this population of students engaged and thriving at school is critical not only to their academic success, but to society as a whole – as what they have to offer is a new generation of innovation and genius as we move into an even more competitive and global economy.

Gifted students, especially when they are young, can sometimes be targeted as problems because they are often bored at school. They can also be hard on themselves and demand perfection of themselves. If individual gifted students are understood, their social/emotional needs are met and their thirst for knowledge and achievement is nurtured, they will not fall into the common pitfall of underachievement.

In addition to CVUSD’s current offerings for gifted students, I believe we can provide more options, especially at the grade school level. I support providing effective gifted programs at each elementary and middle school campus that meet the needs of those gifted students who wish to stay at their neighborhood school.

I believe our high schools already do a great job at serving high-ability/gifted students. The Honors, AP and IB level courses, impressive labs, our wide array of foreign language classes and other rigorous class offerings are examples of how our high schools engage and challenge gifted students.

We just need to continually improve our gifted offerings so that when gifted students reach high school, they are already excelling and ready to take advantage of these opportunities rather than bored, jaded and drifting into underachievement.

As a school board member, I support gifted student offerings at all levels and advocate for the individualized needs of these exceptional students. Each one of them has the potential to change the world.

- Sandee Everett, MSEd & California Licensed School Counselor


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Horizon Hills Parenting Program: A Gem Worth Saving

Eilene and SandeeI was given a tour of the Horizon Hills school and its Parenting Program and Preschool by Eilene Green (the director). The philosophy there is that the parents are the students while they fully engage in the pre-school experience with their children. This is an opportunity for parents to learn and put into practice proven, successful parenting skills in a warm, supportive environment. Parents who participate in this program learn important skills that often help them continue being very actively involved in their children’s education throughout their K-12 education.

The setting for this school is truly special. Each of the classrooms are inviting and have access to outdoor spaces – which is an important part of the learning environment the school creates for the children. It is also tucked away in a neighborhood where the playgrounds are private and with plenty of parking for the 200 plus families that attend each day.

This award-winning school serves approximately 700 families at any given time. The Horizon Hills Parenting Program and Preschool is a program that makes CVUSD special. It is impossible to completely understand what this school offers parents until you explore it for yourself. I encourage anyone with young children - who is interested in learning and developing proven parenting skills - to go and take a tour.

The Horizon Hills Parenting Program is a gem in our community.  As a school board member, I value this program and understand how much Horizon Hills means to the parents and families of the Conejo Valley.  

Sandee Everett, MSEd
Trustee, CVUSD Board of Education

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Schools Win When Parents Are Involved

Sandee_Everett_2016.jpgOur schools need engaged parents. I had an experience as an elementary school PTA president that brought this fact home to me. I was asked to speak at career day and share my career as a parent volunteer and full-time mom. All presenters were asked to give a short speech to the entire student body and staff before breaking off into smaller groups to hear from us. I was positioned between the stunt man and the doctor. After the stunt man, I got up and showed my pie-chart entitled “Mom and Volunteer: 24/7/365” which I had divided up into how I used my time each day. I had barely gotten the title out when, to my surprise, the entire gym erupted into applause, then the teachers and staff stood on their feet and gave a standing ovation. Given my apprehension about being compared to the stunt man or the doctor, I was quite shocked by the response.

However, upon reflection, I started to understand their reaction a little better. Schools need parents and parents need schools. When teachers, parents and administrators collaborate and understand each other, children win. When parents invest their time and energy into supporting their children’s education, children win.

As a board member, I have been a critical voice for parents on the Conejo Valley school board. More important than being the only board member with an advanced degree in education, I am one of only two board members with children currently attending CVUSD schools. I bring unique insight into the issues facing real students and real parents every day. For me, the issues are not hypothetical. They are not theoretical. This is real life.

As a licensed school counselor, I am trained to advocate for the educational needs of every individual student, and as a member of the school board, I advocate for you and the individualized needs of your child. I want every student to be challenged and succeed in school. Through better communication between school board, parents, teachers and staff, our children will enjoy even greater success.

- Sandee Everett, MSEd

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CVUSD Introduces Home School Option

The CVUSD School Board recently approved the 2016-17 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) which includes a major new homeschool partnership initiative.  The new K-6 Independent Home Study Program is designed to provide a “personalized and flexible home-based learning experience.”  So far, the details of this new program are sparse, but apparently the district is already starting to gather applications for enrollment.

To provide insight on my perspective, I am the daughter of two public school teachers, so I believe in public schools and that they are the best education option for most families. I am also a California licensed K-12 school counselor, and as such, I am trained to help students get the resources and learning environment they require in order to succeed.  But for some students, homeschool is the most appropriate option for their needs.  It is encouraging to see that CVUSD is starting to reach out to this segment of our community.

This type of homeschool partnership initiative was first proposed two years ago by CVUSD trustee John Andersen as a way to serve the needs of certain students and families so that they would not feel like they have to leave the CVUSD schools for private school or home school.

Home study students will have access to resources at Lang Ranch Elementary.  I am told that there is no cost associated with participating in the program.  The K-6 program is now accepting students and people wanting more information should contact Jeanie Valentine, CVUSD Director of Elementary Education at 805-497-9511 Ext. 241, or her assistant, Kate Potter. The website is

As a candidate for school board, I of course support initiatives that will improve the educational experience for more students in our community.  I believe that the new Independent Home Study program has the potential to do this.  And as a member of the school board, I will support expanding this K-6 program to include all grades, K-12.


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Sex Education Curriculum Changes Postponed Yesterday by CVUSD School Board

The CVUSD school board voted 4-0 last night to postpone (until August 16) the vote to replace Board Policy 6142.1 regarding sex education starting in 7th Grade. This policy would implement the new California Law AB 329. Board member John Andersen proposed the delay in the vote so that more input could be gathered from the community.

I hope that this information will be helpful for each family in making “opt-in/opt-out” decisions for your own seventh grade children. 

First, there is an interesting terminology change: Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are now called Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).  It is not clear why this change was made. Additionally, the new curriculum would talk more about the varieties of ways that STIs are transmitted, including tattoos and piercings.  There is content in the new curriculum about the new anti-viral therapies that now mean that HIV is not fatal.

In the past, only abstinence was taught as the foolproof way to prevent STIs.  Now in addition to abstinence, additional methods of preventing infection would be discussed with the seventh grade children.  In the new curriculum there are now “medical” photos of diseased organs versus healthy organs.

The new curriculum would talk about same-sex relationships, definitions of gender, gender identity and gender expression and more broad definitions of family.

As has been done in the past, there would continue to be a pre-meeting for seventh grade parents each year where they can review the curriculum and ask questions before they make their “opt-in/opt-out” decision.

I hope that my overview of these proposed sex education changes will be helpful for you. 

- Sandee

P.S. Here is the link to the full text of California AB 329:

And here is the link to this week’s CVUSD agenda.  The sex education policy section starts on page 36:

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Marrianne Merrill Wins Best Online Supporter for May!

Congratulations to Marrianne Merrill (Los Robles ward) who was the campaign’s top social media influencer for the month of May, with 85 points!  Marrianne wins a free campaign bumper sticker magnet!  Laura Wright and Kim Jones earned 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.  


Points are earned by doing a variety of campaign-related online actions (volunteer, donate, etc.) but the way to get the most points is to refer friends to the campaign, which is done easily by using “Spread the Word” ( These points are set up like a game to add fun to the campaign. 

People can check their points at any time on the Leaderboard page.

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Hello Conejo Valley!

My name is Sandee Everett and I am running for the Board of Education of the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD).  I am a licensed school counselor, but I feel that my most important qualification for this office is that I am the mother of five children, two of whom graduated from Newbury Park High School, and the other three are still in our district schools.

My husband and I will still have children in CVUSD schools until 2023, when our youngest child will graduate from high school.

I will be a compassionate and effective advocate for parents of students because I am actually the parent of CVUSD students right now. None of the current school board members have children in the CVUSD schools.

My current career is as a full-time mom. For me, and at this time in my life, this is the most important job in the world. 

I have a masters degree in education and I am a licensed school counselor in the state of California (K-12).  My background provides me with a deep understanding of the needs of students and how schools should operate in order to foster an optimal learning environment while remaining consistent with community values.  

I sincerely hope that I can count on your support in my campaign and your vote in November.  My commitment is to be your voice on the CVUSD School Board.


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