Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bethune K-8 students become engineers for the day

Middle schSalute to Education Logo ool students from Bethune K-8 got the chance to be engineers for the day thanks to Qualcomm and it's Think-a-Bit Lab. Students received hands-on training in engineering by learning about computer programming and working with code to create a robotic art project. Check out the half cat/half dragon that Bethune students created in this piece from Cox Channel 4.

Qualcomm and San Diego Unified worked together to develop the curriculum for the lab and make it applicable and enjoyable for middle school students.
Link to YouTube (accessible outside district network)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Radio station helps keep the peace at John Muir

Rest assured that the halls and grounds at John Muir are safe and stylish with the Peace Patrol on duty. Peace Patrol students are sporting new uniforms - hats, lanyards and matching shirts - thanks to a generous donation by Magic 92.5’s Jagger and Kristi.

John Muir Peace Patrol

A testament to the old adage, “It never hurts to ask,” the Peace Patrol received their new swag after one student’s mother, Asia Martinez, wrote in to Jagger and Kristi during their Christmas Wishes season asking if they would help the Patrol reach its goal of $700 to purchase hats and lanyards.

The radio station went a step further, inviting Martinez and Peace Patrol advisor Barbara Waller on the show and surprising them with a $1,350 donation to purchase not only hats and lanyards, but shirts as well.

Waller has since returned to the show to talk about the Peace Patrol program and give an update on the uniforms.

Jagger and Kristi visited John Muir on Thursday, March 5 as guest readers for the school's celebration of Read Across America, an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading.

Founded in the fall of 2011, each recess the Peace Patrol assists students with social issues and promotes good character skills by handing out stickers, pencils, bracelets and bookmarks. Peace Patrol students also participate in several service projects each year.

Last year the students raised enough funds to purchase and decorate a Buddy Bench for the John Muir playground.

Each spring, Peace Patrol members recruit students who will be entering 4th, 5th or 6th grade to apply to be in Peace Patrol. To complete the process, students must fill out an application form and submit a teacher recommendation.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New CCTE director, Al Love, comes full circle

A Kearny High School graduate, a coach, an industrial arts teacher, an administrator – these are all titles you might use to refer to Al Love. Now one more title can be added to that list – Director of College, Career and Technical Education for San Diego Unified.

 Crystal Boggio, John Riego de Dios, Al Love
 Crystal Boggio, John Riego de Dios, Al Love
Love started his career at San Diego Unified as an instructional aid in the Machine Shop Technology Program at Kearny High. He then left the district and worked his way up through the administration at various middle and high schools where he oversaw CCTE-type programs.

Love recently found his way back to San Diego upon being selected for the CCTE director position, which he said was a natural opportunity for him to return to his home district. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and confidence that he can make a positive impact on the future of the CCTE program.

As director, Love’s goal is to align the technical skills classes offered through CCTE with “A-G” requirements so that students do not have to choose between gaining real-world application based skills and meeting requirements for postsecondary education. In order to be considered for admission by UC and CSU schools, high school students must complete approved “A-G” courses.

“In the past, these [CCTE] classes were to the side – they weren’t seen as rigorous or as relevant as core classes,” Love said. “I want to show that they can be both. That we are in unison, and that students don’t have to make a choice between one or the other.”

In order to implement this integration, CCTE is developing course curriculum maps that align with the “A-G” requirements. CCTE will then submit those plans to the UC system for approval.

Love sees this as an opportunity for CCTE to continue to grow. A product of the ROP Machine Tool Technology program at Kearny High, 1980, Love knows firsthand the value that these technical and occupational based classes provide.

“It is personally fulfilling to remember what this program did for me and to see it is still helping students today,” Love said.

In addition to keeping students on track for postsecondary education, CCTE is building the certification process into programs so that students will also be career ready upon graduation.

The Machine Tool and Engineering Program at Kearny High is housed in the same room that Love sat in as an ROP student, and the program’s current teacher, John Riego de Dios, was a classmate of Love’s in the ‘80s. The program recently received NIMS accreditation, becoming one of only two schools in California who can boast this credentialing from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.

As CCTE adds accreditation opportunities to its programs and continues to align coursework with “A-G” requirements and Common Core State Standards, the program’s ability to provide students with the tools necessary to succeed in both college and career only grows stronger.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

San Diego Unified celebrates Read Across America

Elementary students throughout the district recently celebrated Dr. Seuss and the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day. During the week of March 2-6, schools honored the beloved children’s author with carnivals, parades, costumes and guest readers.
Students at Field ES
 Students at Field ES.

Read Across America is a year-round program that focuses on motivating children to read through events, partnerships and reading resources. The program culminates each year with a call for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

See how schools throughout the district honored Dr. Seuss and celebrated literacy.

Cabrillo ES: Cabrillo Elementary invited various local professionals to promote literacy and show a love for reading on March 3. Before guests read to students, they held a sing-a-long to Dr. Seuss songs to get everyone in the spirit. After spending time in classrooms reading Dr. Seuss and other favorite books, the guests shared with students the importance of reading in their careers.

Fay ES: Fay Elementary kicked off the week with a spirit assembly on Monday and welcomed guest readers throughout the week. Readers included Board Trustee Richard Barrera, news reporters John Howard and Laura Cavanaugh, and Jagger and Kristi from Magic 92.5.

Field ES: Field Elementary followed suit, holding activities throughout the week to celebrate Dr. Seuss and literacy. The school incorporated Spirit Week activities such as Crazy Sock Day, Crazy Hair Day, Pajama Day, Grade Level Color Day and Mismatched Day.

Literacy events at Field included a school-wide Reading Rally; a Rolling Teacher Reader Day, where teachers matched with another class and brought them to their rooms for a read aloud; a Dr. Seuss themed Door/Window Decorating Contest; and a Family Literacy Night.

Franklin ES students
 Students at Franklin ES.
Franklin ES:
Students at Franklin Elementary discovered, or rediscovered, the magic and fun of Dr. Seuss' books during their celebration of Read Across America.
"One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, is my favorite Dr. Seuss book because it has funny, colorful pictures that make me laugh,” said Jackie, a kindergartener at Franklin. “It also has funny rhyming words.”
Each class had at least two guest readers visit and read Dr. Seuss books. Afterward, Cat in the Hat led a parade of students dressed in their finest Dr. Seuss attire around the school.

Lindbergh Schweitzer ES: Fun with furry-friends was to be had at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary on March 3 as the school welcomed 12 Paws'tive Teams Therapy dogs and their owners, dressed in their finest Dr. Seuss attire, to read to classrooms – one class even got to experience a live animal encounter thanks to the Helen Woodward Animal Center. Other classes heard from local guest authors, the San Diego Zoo’s traveling education department and Circus Vargas performers who not only read, but acted out the emotions of the characters.  
Sessions ES Students Sessions ES: Donning Dr. Seuss hats and carrying Dr. Seuss books, nearly 25 military men and women from Point Loma Naval base visited each classroom at Kate Sessions Elementary School and read a book to each class. KUSI visited the school and interviewed Captain Warner, the principal, and Carol Beville, the military liaison, regarding the event. Students loved the visiting military personnel as many of their mothers and fathers are deployed.  

Walker ES: To kick-off Read Across America at Walker Elementary school, Authors, Illustrators and Journalists (AIJ) Academy students created a newsletter for the entire school. Students also celebrated student above and beyond reading goals with a VIP luncheon with children’s book authors Mathew Ward and Henry Herz. The school also held a Barnes and Noble Book Fair and Family Fun Night with the Mira Mesa community.

Fulton K-8 unveils new Mission and Vision Mural

The new Mission and Vision Mural at Fulton Pre-K-8 embodies everything that the school stands for. It is a visual representation of the schools mission, vision and values.

Fulton Mission and Values Mural The mural includes a bridge to the 21st century and a globe made of puzzle pieces to signify the new economy and the importance of collaboration and communication to ensure global success. The space shuttle on the mural represents the limitless possibilities if you dream big. Additionally, the images of students represent the diversity that exists at Fulton.

While the throwing of the tassels in the air is the ultimate goal – graduation from college and competing in the 21st century global economy in a career of the scholars’ choice – the final product was always about setting high expectations for students and conveying that message to the larger community.

The Mission and Vision Mural was a collaborative effort involving the students, staff, community and muralist Matthew Cavanagh. This is one of many murals on the Fulton campus.

Fulton Pre-K-8 School is committed to ensuring that each student is prepared to graduate from college with the requisite aptitude to compete in the 21st century with the skills that higher education requires and the workforce demands.

To learn more about muralist Matthew Cavanagh please visit or or 619-306-2876.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Oak Park students talk social justice with Ghandi relative

Students in grades 3-5 at Oak Park Music Conservatory recently had the opportunity to conduct a Skype interview with Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mohandas Gandhi (known to his many followers as Mahatma).

Oak Park ES students Students have been exploring the roots of the American Civil Rights Movement in their classes taught by teachers Mick Rabin and Mary Beth Milliken. Social justice is an important component of their studies in cultural competence so the students have been reading about the life of civil rights legend, Congressman John Lewis, as well as the very inspiration for civil disobedience, Mohandas Gandhi. Mick Rabin reached out to Arun Gandhi who lived with his grandfather--the man who lead 300 million Indians to independence--toward the end of his life.

Arun Gandhi spoke with the students about his grandfather's nonviolence, finding positive ways to channel anger, and about carrying on the Gandhi torch of responding to the needs of the world's poorest and most oppressed. Now retired, the 80 year-old Arun Gandhi, recalled what it was like to live with his grandfather who modeled a life of simplicity and service to the needy.

The Oak Park students had a chance to ask Mr. Gandhi some questions about his own life and about the peaceful legacy of his grandfather. They composed and shared some poems in honor of Arun Gandhi's famous grandfather and heard some words of encouragement about leading by example and advocating on behalf of the people in society who have the least.

"Thanks to Mr. Gandhi, this will be a day that our third and fourth graders at Oak Park Music Conservatory will never forget," Rabin said.
For more information on the Skype session, email

News Coverage:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bringing STEAM to the mainstream

 Roger Ashworth for A-2.     IN THE NEWS: The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering kicks off on Saturday, bringing six days of experiments, activities and interactions with local science educators and professionals. Rodger Ashworth, 47, a resource teacher and administrator at Washington Elementary STEAM Magnet is one of the event’s participants. The University City resident challenged his kindergarten through fifth grade students to design and build arcade games, which will be on display at the festival’s Petco Park Expo Day on March 21. Ashworth, a native San Diegan who went to Santa Fe Christian High School and Point Loma Nazarene University, explains why art is an important part of science. Read more from UT San Diego.
Photo courtesy of UT San Diego