Monday, September 29, 2014

Farb Middle Students Shine at Board Meeting

More than 15 students from the Farb Middle School Advanced Choir sang the National Anthem at the Sept. 23 Board of Education meeting.Watch the video.

Farb MS Choir The students were joined by the Patrick Henry High Navy JROTC, who presented the colors, to kick off the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and Star Spangled Banner.

The choir was led by teacher Robyn Dye. Farb Principal Courtney Rizzo also attended to support of her students.

The students were invited by Board President Kevin Beiser. Each month, one of the board member selects students from one of their schools to present or perform at a regularly-scheduled Board of Education meeting.

Friday, September 26, 2014

District adding text messaging capabilities to mass notification system

San Diego Unified will soon have a new way to communicate with its employees and families.

On Oct. 22, the district will be adding text messaging capabilities to SchoolMessenger, the mass notification system it now uses to deliver important information by phone and email to its stakeholders.

The system will be configured to send text messages to cell phone numbers in SchoolMessenger whose recipients have agreed to receive them. Employees and parents are encouraged to opt-in now to receive texts.

“We have heard from principals that some parents would like to receive texts so we are making this option available to school sites as another means of communication,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “This new tool aligns with the Board of Education’s focus in 2014 on enhancing communications and parent engagement as outlined in Vision 2020.”

The district and its school sites currently have the option of sending recipients either a voice or email message, or both. Now they will also have the ability to send text messages, expanding the tools they can utilize to communicate with parents and staff. It is important to note, however, that recipients will only receive text messages if they opt-in, have a cell phone number on file with the district and the message sender provides content for a text message.

The district will likely limit its use of text messaging to emergency situations, such as lockdowns, in which short, quick communication is helpful. Texts may also direct individuals to an email or a website for more information.

“SchoolMessenger uses short code texting, which is highly reliable and fast because it’s regulated by the wireless carriers,” added Jennifer Rodriguez, the district’s SchoolMessenger liaison. “Our goal is to make sure that the district and its schools have all the tools they need to effectively communicate each day, but especially during emergencies.”

The district will be encouraging all stakeholders throughout October to opt-in to receiving texts. To do this, recipients can text “Yes” to 68453 from each mobile device at which they wish to receive text messages. Should you opt-in and no longer wish to receive messages, or vice versa, the process for switching preferences is simple; either text “YES” or “STOP” to 68453.

For those that have not opted-in on their own, a reminder message will be sent district-wide Oct. 22 to all cell phone numbers on file reminding individuals to opt-in. The message will read “San Diego Unified text messages. Reply Y for aprx 3 msgs/mo. Txt HELP 4info. Msg&data rates may apply. See”

The reminder text message is sent on the same day, Oct. 22, that district and school sites can start sending text messages to individuals that have opted-in.

The district will send reminders throughout the school year to encourage recipients to opt-in. Information about text messaging is available on the district’s Communications Department webpage.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pacific Beach Middle Unveils Safe Routes to Schools Mural

Young artists, school staff, community leaders, school district and elected officials joined residents and Beautiful PB on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. to unveil the inaugural “Safe Routes to Schools” mural at Pacific Beach Middle IB World School.

The award-winning mural, located at the intersection of Diamond and Haines, was designed by former PB Middle and current Mission Bay High student Ciara Gray. Her design symbolizes the beach area students and serves to highlight the community’s commitment to establishing safe routes to schools through high-traffic areas.

“This project engages students and the public in practicing a safe commute – something we cannot take for granted with so many children walking to school through busy streets,” said Kristen Victor, Beautiful PB Board President.

PB Middle Safe Schools Mural  

Friday, September 19, 2014

National honors for San Diego Early/Middle College

San Diego Early/Middle College earned the ranking of 90 out of 500 schools nationwide among Newsweek’s 2014 America’s Top Schools for low-income students. It is the only San Diego County school to earn a ranking.

Newsweek's Best Colleges In its “Beating the Odds” list, Newsweek sought to recognize schools that are performing better than statistically expected for their level of poverty.

“Our college readiness score is 93 percent and we are the only school south of Los Angeles to earn this distinction,” noted Principal Elizabeth Larkin. “We are very proud of our students and out staff for their hard work.”

For this list, Newsweek ranked schools on how well they prepare their students for college, taking students’ socio-economic background into account. The list is the magazine’s way of recognizing schools that narrow the achievement gap.

In addition to the Newsweek honor, San Diego Early Middle College also earned a Silver Medal for U.S. News and World Reports’ 2014 Best High Schools. For more details on this distinction, please visit U.S. News and World Report.

For a complete list of Newsweek honorees, please visit Newsweek’s website.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Keeping parents in loop helped district find its way

IN THE NIn the News EWS: Parents of special-education students in San Diego may not always agree with how the school district educates their children, but they know whom to call when they have a problem, and their phone calls are routinely returned. And when the school district wants to get information out to those families, it has several tools to do so — including emails, texts and robocalls — so that everyone gets the same information at the same time. Read more from the Seattle Times.

Monday, September 15, 2014

District dietitian recognized by FoodService Director Magazine

Jessica Keene IN THE NEWS: FOODSERVICE DIRECTOR Magazine has named San Diego Unified dietitian, Jessica Keene, R.D., to its list of 30 rising young stars in the industry under the age of 30. Jessica has made an impact on foodservice by aligning menus to new regulations, managing special diets and implementing the TrakNOW system.Read more in FOODSERVICE DIRECTOR Magazine.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Minimum Day Schedule on Monday, September 15 for Schools Without 100% Air-Conditioned Classrooms

Minimum Day Info

En EspaƱol

Weather Updates
San Diego Unified is implementing minimum day schedules at schools without air conditioning in every classroom (See list) on Monday, Sept. 15, due to the continued heat wave in terms of temperatures, humidity and the heat index. The schools on a minimum day schedule are those which lack air conditioning in 100% of the classrooms. Schools with 100% A/C in the classrooms (see list) will have regular day schedule and are expected to operate under our Hot Weather Plan guidelines.
The decision to operate these schools on a minimum day is based on information and guidelines from the National Weather Service (NWS) indicating local temperatures of 95 and higher, with a heat index of 103 and higher – a combination terms by the NWS as “dangerous” health conditions (See the latest regional advisory here) and our strong commitment to the safety and well-being of our students. Analysis conducted by a cross-sectional team at several schools on Friday also informed this decision.
The district will closely monitor forecasted conditions for Tuesday, using these same parameters, to see if a minimum day for these same schools on Tuesday – a decision that will be made by noon on Monday. Again, this is only schools without 100% classroom air conditioning.

Schools on Minimum Day Schedule

Schools on Regular Day Schedule