Tuesday, September 2, 2014

San Diego Unified Welcomes You to the 2014-15 School Year

The first day of school is full of anticipation and excitement. New classes, new faces and the possibilities seem endless for the year ahead.

First Day of School Parents can help prepare their students to return to the classroom, says Superintendent Cindy Marten, by emphasizing the importance of school.

“Build up the excitement about school and talk about what it means to be a lifelong learner,” Marten says.

Next is proper preparation. To get back in the groove of school, the US Department of Education suggests establishing healthy at-home routines for school days, such as consistent waking times and getting-ready patterns. Decide on a regular homework time, and create a comfortable, quiet work space. Set bedtimes that allow elementary-age kids to get 10 to 12 hours of sleep and teens to get 8½ to 9½ hours.

It’s also important to make sure kids have breakfast and lunch to fuel their growing minds. To ensure that all students receive a healthy breakfast and lunch, district programs such as “Breakfast in the Classroom” and “Free and Reduced Lunch” are available to income-eligible families. More information can be found on the district’s Food Services Department page.

When it comes to learning, students who miss school….miss out. They miss out on opportunities to learn, build lasting friendships, and develop the skills and attitudes needed to become good citizens and valued employees. There is a very strong connection between student attendance and student performance in school. Higher attendance equals higher achievement for all students.

As instruction gets under way, there will be many opportunities to visit your child’s school to meet the principal and their teachers, and learn about opportunities to get involved. Research shows that students are more likely to be successful when they have parents that are involved. Check with your school to find out when “Back to School Night” is scheduled and if they host other events like “Coffee with the Principal” and mark your calendar.

Attending these events will also help you get familiar with the curriculum your child will be taught. This year will be the first full year of the Common Core State Standards implementation. Teachers and principals can answer school-site and grade-level specific questions while general resources can be found on the district’s website at www.sandi.net/commoncore.

In addition to Common Core, rest assured that there are many exciting things happening at your child’s school. Be a part of it. Get involved. Help your child make this year one of the most memorable.

Monday, September 1, 2014

State Schools Chief offers his top 10 tips to support student learning

San Diego Unified School District starts classes Sept. 2. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson offers his top 10 tips to support student learning.

"This is going to be an exciting year of new challenges, not only for students but also schools, as we enter a new era of teaching and learning, assessments, and the way we fund schools," Torlakson said. "Our future depends on the next generation of students to lead California. To help support them so they will be prepared for college and careers, I am offering my top 10 tips."

Superintendent Torlakson's Top 10 Tips
  1. Students should not only know their ABCs, but everyone should also know about the CCSS (Common Core State Standards), which is remodeling California's education system so every child will learn real-world skills that will prepare them for college and careers.
  2. Hungry children don't learn. So make sure they eat a hearty breakfast before school and a nutritious lunch at school. Or take advantage of California's many nutrition programs that provide healthy meals and snacks to children.
  3. When children are sick at home or partake in risky behavior, they can't learn. Find out how the state is helping children stay healthy, and avoid alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and other dangerous activities.
  4. Eating nutritious food, being physically active, and well-hydrated, all help children succeed in school. Join Torlakson's Team California for Healthy Kids initiative to find out what you can do to help keep your kids healthy and active every day.
  5. Busy parents can help their children take advantage of expanded learning opportunities outside of regular school hours, by signing them up for before and after school programs.
  6. Having a stable home and dependable support system will help children feel better about themselves and will help them learn in school. Find out about services for foster youth, immigrant students, homeless children, and support for children in military families.
  7. A safe school environment is more conducive to helping students learn. Find out how the state provides guidelines to administrators on providing safe schools environments for children.
  8. Students speak more than a 100 languages in the California's public school system. Learn more about services to help students learn English and how the state helps schools get the word out about important notices through its Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents.
  9. Chronic absences, even among kindergarteners, is an early indicator of students dropping out of school. Learn more about how the state helps prevent dropouts and how School Attendance Review Boards help keep kids in school and learning.
  10. When parents are more involved in their children's education, students perform better in school. Volunteer to help your local school and teachers. Or consider donating school supplies to teachers who often use their own money to buy paper and pencils for their students to use in their classrooms.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Behind the scenes at San Diego Unified

A lot goes into developing an academic, social and physical environment worthy of our students. San Diego Unified's Operations Services Division is hard at work long before most of us wake-up in the morning preparing our schools for the day ahead so that students can focus on learning. Learn more about the Operations Services Division in this brief video.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Preparing for the 2014-15 school year

Kearny High Student San Diego Unified hopes that you have all had a restful summer and are ready to start the new school year. For those of you new to the district - welcome! For those of you returning - we look forward to seeing you again soon. We have compiled some important information parents should know heading into the 2014-15 school year.
  • Start date: School starts on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Please make sure you check with your school for an exact start time.

  • Enrollment: Students who are new to the district have to be enrolled at their neighborhood school. No enrollment is necessary for students who are returning; or for students enrolled in the district last year that reached the highest grade level of the current school and will be continuing to the next level (they were automatically matriculated to the next school level). To find your neighborhood school, please use the School Finder. All neighborhood schools will be accepting enrollments. Complete enrollment requirements. Most school sites should be open now for those that need to enroll their child.

  • Tdap Immunization: Don't forget that students entering grade 7 and those new to the district in grades 8-12 must show proof of their Tdap immunization against pertussis (whooping cough) prior to the first day of school. Your student will not be allowed to attend school unless you provide proof of vaccination by submitting a copy of the student’s immunization card to your school health office or emailing it to Adrienne Lenhoff RN at alenhoff@sandi.net. For more information about the Tdap vaccine, please read this information statement about Tdap (English) (Spanish). For information about other required vaccines, please visit our Enrollment Requirements page.
  • Uniforms: A few of our schools recommend that students wear uniforms. To find a school's uniform policy, check the school's website, or call or visit the school.

  • Back to School Supply Lists: In California, public schools cannot charge fees or require parents to purchase supplies -- with a few exceptions. Many schools have recommended supply lists, but all necessary materials will be supplied by your school. Read more.

  • Free and Reduced Price Meals: This state and federal program offers lunch and breakfast at reduced cost, depending on family income. Applications are now being accepted. Read more.

If you are new to the district, we encourage you to visit our New to the District section, which has additional information about the district, its academic initiatives and more.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

District's JROTC, San Diego State partner for STEM camp

The San Diego Unified School District JROTC Program and the College of Engineering at San Diego State University (SDSU) partnered for the fourth consecutive year to offer 56 cadets the opportunity to attend the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp this past summer. The program was a fully-funded, five day immersive experience on the SDSU campus July 29-Aug. 2.

JROTC While living on campus and attending classes, students were introduced to the rigors of engineering, bio-medical sciences, robotics, and bio-technology. They conducted hands-on activities such as building and programming robots, dissecting fetal pigs, designing and testing bridges, and practicing modern day forensic techniques.

On the final day, cadets took part in project presentations and a graduation ceremony. The cadets were able to share their projects and new knowledge with friends and family. Generous benefactors donated various electronics that were given to randomly selected cadets, and all cadets received certificates of completion.

STEM Camp was made possible with the support of Dr. Bruce Westermo, Associate Dean in the College of Engineering at SDSU, and LTC David Guzman, the San Diego Unified JROTC Program Manager.

For more information about JROTC, please contact LTC Guzman at  dguzman1@sandi.net.

Jones Elementary students raise money, produce toiletry bags for homeless

When “I Was Homeless” authors shared the story of homeless child Kevin Liu, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Jones Elementary were moved. Moved to raise money to buy toiletries for those in need.

Jones ES students The students gathered funds and sought donations from local retailers and businesses, which enabled them to produce more than 400 toiletry bags with travel size items, including toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, tissue, protein bar, hand sanitizer, hand lotion and bottled water.

Students shopped for the items at Vons and Costco, then assembled the bags with the help of staff, parents and community partners. Vons donated $225 to the school while local dentists donated toothbrushes and toothpaste.

“We could not have done this without the support of our Jones School families on our Fundraising Fridays,” said Principal Rita Powell.

Pastor Louie from the Serra Mesa Community Church, one of the school’s partners, and his wife, Ms. Yvonne, helped to distribute the bags to those in need.

The exercise not only taught the students about math and money while shopping, but about providing service and giving back to those less fortunate.

For more information on the school’s efforts, contact Principal Powell at 858-496-8140.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Local teachers, educators train at MCRD

IN THE NEWS: Local educators learned an important lesson in what it takes to be a Marine recruit by spending a week experiencing military training meant to show teachers how the Corps can shape the right young person’s career. More than two dozen teachers, counselors and coaches got a different kind of education at the week-long training camp. Watch the video at NBC 7 San Diego.