Saturday, December 19, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Local student to ride float in Rose Parade

From the San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO: D’rell Gist, a sixth-grader at the Language Academy magnet school in San Diego, will get to view the 121st Rose Parade on New Year’s Day from a special vantage point.

He was chosen to ride on a float sponsored by the Kaiser Permanente health system.

D’rell, 11, of San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago.

He receives six to eight insulin shots daily to maintain a proper blood-sugar level.

Kaiser officials selected eight pediatric patients for the parade ride.

The float will feature whimsical merry-go-round animals and a giant cornucopia overflowing with fruits and vegetables.

IN THE NEWS: Board Members Assail State Budget Cuts

In a news conference Dec. 17, the new President and Vice President of the Board of Education say cuts in state funding could force a catastrophic $220 million cut in general fund budget.

See reports from:

Friday, December 18, 2009

PB Middle International Baccalaureate Goes Global

Pacific Beach Middle School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) social studies students participated in a unique cultural exchange with students from the Children Walking Tall Charity in Goa, India.

Dedicated to providing education and assistance to the children living in the slums of India, Walking Tall Charity provided a unique opportunity for PB Middle IB teacher Erin Knight (at left in photo) who traveled to India to hand-deliver the PB Middle pen-pal letters.

“The children in the charity were excited by our delivery and immediately sat down to write back to their pen-pal,” said Knight. “Not only did this service learning project bring awareness to the issues faced by children living in the slums of India, but our students were able to establish meaningful friendships across the world.”

For more information, please contact Jennifer Sim, IB coordinator, at (858) 273-9070 ext. 2357or

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Students Spend Time at Sony Online Entertainment

Students from Serra High School's Computerized Graphic Design and Multimedia classes recently spent the morning at Sony Online Entertainment to learn about what it takes to be a video game designer.

Students learned about future opportunities in the field and took home special Sony gifts, including video game software.

For more information, please contact Stacy Brennan, employer outreach specialist, at (858) 496-8342 x 241 or

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation Grant Awarded to SD MET High

The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded the San Diego MET High School a $35,000 grant for professional development, technology, SAT/ACT fees and other college-application costs for students, and family engagement programs.

The grant was a result of a collaboration with Stedman Graham & Associates, and is sponsored by Wells Fargo. All San Diego MET High freshmen participate in Graham's "Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps for Success" training program.

The mission of The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation is to build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life, and make a positive difference. They recognize that the MET, located on the Mesa College campus, is accomplishing these goals and many others through their internship program that partners with more than 400 local businesses for real world projects and authentic assessment.

For more information, please contact Principal Mildred Phillips at (619)388-2296 or

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

5 SD Unified Schools on US News Top High School List

US News AwardFive schools in the San Diego Unified School District have placed on the annual US News and World Report "America's Best High Schools" list, with two schools, Preuss UCSD Charter and the School of International Studies at the San Diego High School Educational Complex, ranking in the prestigious Top 100.

Preuss ranked No. 32 of the top 100, with International Studies coming in at 44. Other schools recognized in San Diego Unified were: LEADS at San Diego High, San Diego MET and School of International Business at Kearny High, in the Bronze category; and La Jolla High with an Honorable Mention.

The magazine, in a partnership with School Evaluation Services, looked at more than 21,000 high schools around the nation, doing a detailed analysis on 1,750. The study analyzed academic and enrollment data, placing them into gold, silver, bronze, or honorable mention categories. Results were released Dec. 9.

Media coverage from KNSD-TV »

View more news videos at:

Clairemont High Clothing & Design Wizards

Mastering sewing and draping techniques, Clairemont High clothing and design students helped to create costumes for the drama department’s production of the The Wizard of Oz.

Funded by the 21st Century Grant, the after-school program gave students the opportunity to create costumes for the Emerald City scene.

"It helps me develop skills for my career goal in fashion," said student Coldy Vilzaysane.

For more information, please contact Pamela Sherwood, program teacher, at (858) 273-0201 x 4114 or

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Millennial Tech Students Working as Scientific Researchers

Millennial Tech Middle (MTM) School's Conservation Science students recently worked as researchers at the Wild Animal Park's Beckman Center. With the goal of restoring the native habitat of the endangered Cactus Wren, students used technology to develop a plan for identifying suitable places to plant cactus.

In partnership with Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek, MTM Conservation Science students participate in outdoor research labs and field projects on MTM’s four-acre Earth Lab and in the local canyons of the southeast community.

Click here for more photos or contact Heather Potter, vice principal, at (619) 527-6933.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Business Community Recognizes 13 Schools

Thirteen San Diego Unified schools have been named to the California Business for Education Excellence (CBEE) 2009 Honor Roll.

District honorees are Cadman, Ericson, Field, Florence, Hickman, Juarez, Lindbergh Schweitzer, Mason, Ocean Beach, Penn, and Vista Grande elementary schools. Also making the grade are Preuss School UCSD and Kearny High International School of Business.

The Honor Roll includes public elementary, middle and high schools that have been recognized by California’s business community for demonstrating consistent high student academic achievement and making significant progress toward closing achievement gaps among all students.

For more information, contact Kearny Principal Ana Diaz-Booz at (858) 496-8370 or .

Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Joint-Use Library Opens in Logan Heights

The Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for the new Logan Heights Branch Library was held Friday. In the first partnership of its kind, San Diego Unified and the City of San Diego have come together to create a beautiful new 25,000 square-foot library that is located on a portion of the Logan K-8 School campus.

The two-story, joint-use library will serve the three adjacent schools -- Logan K-8 School, Memorial Preparatory School for Scholars and Athletes, and the King-Chavez Charter -- and the neighboring community.

The library features a digital reference center, a 35-computer lab, a cultural center for student programs and more. For more information, please contact Randy White, real estate specialist, at (858) 637-6268 or

News Coverage

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Working Together to Make a Greener District

All students and staff are instrumental in the district’s effort to reduce waste. Many schools, including Perkins, Encanto, Holmes and Sunset View Elementary, are organizing Planet Protector Clubs that introduce students to a different set of “3 R’s”: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Students conduct contests, clean ups, fundraisers and other activities as part of the program. Two elementary schools, Perkins and Holmes, in conjunction with the Energy/Utility Management section of the Physical Plant Operations Department, have developed special recognition banners to recognize individual classrooms for their recycling efforts. These colorful banners (see photo) will rotate among the Perkins and Holmes classrooms that increase recycling efforts for the month.

Remember, all recyclables -- bottles, cans, newspaper, white paper, magazines, etc. -- should be placed in the blue recycling bins.

For information, please call the district’s recycling hotline at (858) 627-7376, or J. William Naish, supervisor, energy/utility management, at (858) 627-7217.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Patrick Henry Soccer Player Meets Goals

— When Anthony Rosales joined the Patrick Henry High soccer team as a freshman, he wasn’t interested in listening to the older players.

Rosales was brimming with talent. He admits to being cocky, but it’s easy to understand why. Rosales believed with unshaken confidence that he was destined to become a professional soccer player. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: New Logan Heights Library at Logan Elementary

— Logan Heights is getting a new, $14.5 million library more than 30 years after it was first proposed.

The two-story, 25,000-square-foot Logan Heights Library Branch, at 28th Street and Ocean View Boulevard, opened Dec. 11 in a densely populated, predominantly Latino neighborhood where the literacy and graduation rates are below the county average. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Guidelines Regarding Student Fees, Donations and Fundraising

Recently the issue of fees, charges, deposits, donations and fundraising related to student courses and activities has been at the forefront of public attention locally and nationally.

In response to this issue, the district Legal Services has developed guidelines for staff and parents. Taken as a whole, the intent of these guidelines is to emphasize that the question is not whether schools and their communities can raise money to support programs -- they can -- but how funds can be raised through lawful means.

For more information, please contact Kristi Dean, interim chief elementary school improvement officer, at (619) 725-7170, or Sid Salazar, chief secondary school improvement officer, at (619) 725-7772. Read the guidelines.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Math Scores Up in National Test

San Diego’s eighth-graders are in the national spotlight for making the most progress on a federal math assessment administered in the nation’s largest urban school districts.

Released yesterday, the “Nation’s Report Card” shows results from math tests taken by fourth- and eighth-graders last academic year in 18 big-city districts. Although the San Diego Unified School District made overall gains in both grade levels, the eight-point jump made by eighth-graders has academics buzzing. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Also covered by:

  • KPBS-FM: San Diego Eighth Graders Earn High Marks In Math
  • SDNN: National Math Tests Show Gains for San Diego
  • KGTV-10: 4th, 8th Grade Math Scores Rise
  • Voice of San Diego: Math Scores Keep Rising

Donations to Schools by Local Companies TCR Services and Sony

Thanks to TCR Services, a local toner cartridge and laser-inkjet repair company, and Sony Corporation, which has its U.S. headquarters in San Diego, 15 printers and 50 toner and inkjet cartridges will soon be in classrooms.

The printers came from Sony, which had removed the equipment from service. TCR Services would normally have refurbished, then sold the equipment, but decided to donate the equipment and supplies to the district.

“Our schools, students and teachers are hurting for the resources they need to become successful,” stated Laura Olsen, TCR's Sales Manager. “TCR decided, together with Sony, that the donation would ease the burden of having to come up with additional funds for new equipment and supplies.”

For more information, please contact Ellen Tiffany, community relations manager, at (619) 725-5594.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SDUSD Math Scores Show Big Gain In National Survey

'Nation's Report Card' Gives Top Scores to Fourth, Eighth Grade Skills

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Unified's eighth grade students showed dramatic gains in mastering math skills in 2008-09 and fourth graders also raised their scores, according to results of "The Nation's Report Card" for urban school districts, released today.

Both grades 4 and 8 continued the upward trend in nearly every student group, with eighth graders rising 8 points over the last test in 2007 and 16 points higher than when the first test was administered in 2003. These eighth-grade students continued the improvements they made as fourth graders, when a similar increase was registered.

"This goes to show what sustained progress and determination by our hard-working teachers and students means over the long run," said Bill Kowba, Interim Superintendent. "Not only is the increase this year very impressive, but the fact that these students were able to repeat their fourth grade success as eighth graders is even more noteworthy."

The "Report Card" is a product of the National Assessment of Educational Progress and began in 1969. The current results from the Trial Urban District Assessment compare 18 big-city school districts, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, the District of Columbia, Los Angeles and New York City.

The test looks at a level of proficiency above State of California standards and is designed to challenge the students in a number of areas. Among eighth graders, only Austin and Charlotte beat the national average of 282 points, while San Diego Unified was about equal at 280. A "basic" knowledge score was set at 262 points, while the large-city median was 271.

For fourth graders, proficient was set at 249 points, the average national score was 239, and the large city average was 231 points. San Diego joined Boston, Houston and Miami-Dade County at 236 points, surpassed by only the Charlotte and Austin districts. The basic knowledge score was 214 points.

The achievement gaps between student groups persisted in the 2009 scores. Nearly all student groups in the district saw improved performance compared to 2003. However, compared to 2007, fourth-grade performance declined for several student groups, including students who are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch, an indicator of their family's income.

Read More

Results from the reading portion of the test are expected to be released in the Spring.

Special Education Hotline

A Special Education Parent Hotline has been established to help address concerns regarding special education services at San Diego Unified.

Parents can call (619) 725-7057 and leave their name and phone number, their student's name and birth date and a brief message regarding their concern(s). A return phone call will be received within 24 hours.

For general special education information, please call (619) 725-7700.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Board of Education Holds Rare Friday Evening Meeting

The Board of Education holds a special meeting at an unusual time this week, 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, at the Education Center, 4100 Normal St. The meeting is open to the public. Information and the meeting's agenda is available online.

IN THE NEWS: Parents Outraged at Upcoming Budget Cuts

From KUSI-TV, coverage of the Dec. 3 budget town hall:

Grant races to three high schools

Jimmie Johnson Presents Point Loma With a CheckOn the heels of winning his fourth-consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, San Diego native Jimmie Johnson showed that he’s a champion off the track as well. Chandra and Jimmie Johnson announced donations totaling $922,000 for the 2009 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grants on Monday, November 30. San Diego Unified Crawford IDEA; Crawford MVAS and Point Loma high schools were three of the schools celebrated at a special ceremony held at Crest Elementary in El Cajon where Johnson attended school as a boy.

Crawford High School of Multimedia & Visual Arts School received $87,000 to create an art fabrication lab that will prepare students for careers in the local media arts industry by allowing them to design high-tech community-based projects. Under the direction of instructor Brian Black, MVAS students will use the lab to design and produce media art projects that will improve the quality of life in the City Heights community.

Crawford High School IDEA was awarded $32,495 in support of the career technical education program related to transportation technology and alternative fuels. Under the direction of instructors Carl Kingsly and Greg Quirin, students enrolled in the automotive classes at the school will convert gasoline powered engines to operate on cleaner, alternative fuels.

Point Loma High School received $90,000 to build a weight room and exercise facility for students. Athletic Director John Murphy believes that this facility, which will be used by student athletes and students participating in physical education programs, will help the young people focus on health and fitness using state-of-the-art equipment.

“This is what the foundation is all about, being able to give back to communities in need. We are grateful for the partnership with Lowe’s and their guidance as our foundation begins its work in education,” said Johnson.

For a complete list of 2009 grant recipients and projects, please visit the foundation's website.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

GATE Distinguished Lecture Series Wednesday

The first in a series of lectures sponsored by the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program will be held Wednesday, December 9, at the Education Center.

A Continuum of Differentiation by Dr. Sandra Kaplan will be presented to staff from 4 to 6 p.m., and to parents from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the auditorium at the Education Center.

For more information, please contact the GATE Department at (858) 573-5998.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Enrollment Options Catalogs In The Mail

The San Diego Unified School District has sent out its annual enrollment options catalog to households throughout the city. Parents who want their children to attend a campus other than their neighborhood school have until Feb. 15 to apply. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Friday, December 4, 2009

H1N1 Flu Update for Dec. 4

Local and national reports indicate a decline in absences due to the H1N1 flu.

However, it’s important to continue to take precautions to protect yourself and family from the flu, particularly since the regular flu season starts in January.

Physicians and other health care professionals recommend the following actions to help prevent the spread of H1N1 and seasonal flu: stay home when sick, cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently and get the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines as soon as possible.

For a list of SD County H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine clinics, visit the county's H1N1 flu site; more information is also available on the district's flu website.

For more district news, subscribe to the Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Check Out This Week's Friday Notes

The Superintendent's Friday Notes are now online.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SDG&E, SD Unified Partnership Saves Parents Money

Data Sharing Increases Enrollment in Utility Discount Program

An innovative partnership between the San Diego Unified School District and San Diego Gas and Electric Company has reduced gas and electric bills by 20% for 2,719 San Diego families, with more to come.

Under this innovative partnership, the school district is sharing its list of families qualifying for the federal Free and Reduced Priced Lunch Program with the utility. Chances are, families whose children qualify for free lunch also qualify for the California Alternative Rate for Energy (CARE) program. The program also helps the school district, since SDG&E provides a $15 per household payment for each new CARE program participants from the program.

The first check from SDG&E to San Diego Unified, for $40,785, was presented at the Board of Education meeting on Nov. 17.

“We’re happy that SDG&E is able to bring this program to our families,” said Shelia Jackson, SDUSD Board of Education President. “In this difficult economy, every bit helps.”

The CARE program offers income-qualified households a 20 percent discount on their energy bill.

“This extraordinary partnership between the school district and SDG&E just shows how much caring there is for our San Diego families both at school and at our company,” said Mitch Mitchell, regional vice president for external affairs for San Diego Gas & Electric. “This is a program that’s available to all low income customers in California. Working with San Diego Unified has made contacting these families just that much easier.”

The first phase of the program resulted in 2,719 families signing up for the CARE program. At least two more groups of addresses will be forwarded to the utility over the coming months.

For more information on the CARE program, contact SDG&E at (800) 6

Einstein Academies Video Earns a Healthy Makeover

Albert Einstein Academies recently entered and won the Whole Foods Lunchroom Makeover contest. The school produced a video of students supporting healthy eating on school campuses.

As winners, the school will receive a healthy lunch coaching session from Chef Ann, a renowned chef who travels the nation promoting changes to cafeteria programs.

For more information, please contact Principal Jeanette Vaughn at (619) 725-1190, ext. 2124 or

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Morse coach knows life lessons are crucial to turnaround

SAN DIEGO — Sophomore Trey Roberts is generally a happy sort, but he got real serious when asked about the darkest period in the history of Morse High football.

“That, going 0-10, will never happen again,” said Roberts, a running back and strong safety. “We're going to try to make it so no one remembers that. No one.” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

SD High Int'l Studies Teacher Receives Milken Prize

The tables turned at a schoolwide assembly Nov. 16 when the Milken Family Foundation honored — and stunned — Jaime Enochs of the School of International Studies at San Diego High with its Milken Educator Award, which comes with a no-strings-attached cash prize of $25,000.

Foundation Chairman Lowell Milken, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, State Assemblymember and Speaker Pro Tempore Lori Saldaña, San Diego Unified School District Interim Superintendent Bill Kowba and San Diego Unified School Board President Sheila Jackson were among the leaders participating in the surprise celebration to honor the International Baccalaureate (IB) English department chair and youngest in the department.

Dubbed “the Oscars of teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards were conceived by Lowell Milken to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter the teaching profession. Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken Educator Awards have no formal nomination or application process. Each year exceptional teachers, principals and specialists—recommended without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each state’s department of education—are surprised with the news of their awards.

“Highly effective educators are the human capital that will equip America’s youth in this increasingly competitive global economy,” said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. “By shining a national spotlight on exceptional people like Jaime Enochs, the Milken Educator Awards send a powerful message of the critical role that talented teachers play in preparing young people for a bright future.”

At the School of International Studies located at the San Diego High Educational Complex, Jaime Enochs has developed innovative ways to navigate students through the rigors of IB curriculum. From this blend of creativity and critical thinking emerged her section on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which Enochs created a “character meter” for her students to track Hamlet’s anxiety level during each act. Her artistic skills are no secret, as she decorates her classroom with elaborate charts and décor she makes herself. She also fashioned pins for her IB English seniors—bees with large eyes to symbolize “IB”—to wear for confidence and solidarity during their rigorous IB testing. Almost 100 percent of her seniors went on to pass the California IB English language exam. The worldwide average is 60 percent.

In addition, almost 100 percent of ninth-grade students passed the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), and scores are far above state averages under Enochs’ direction. The principal attributes these numbers to Enochs’ staff preparations as the coordinator of the school-wide testing program. Enochs’ leadership also triumphed in 2008, when she was the coordinator for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) committee. Under her leadership, the School of International Studies received the highest rating possible with a six-year accreditation. This was the first time a San Diego school had received this level of accreditation in nine years.

Enochs joins 2009 California recipients Roberto Gonzalez of Los Angeles’s Virgil Middle School and Ana Higuera of Lynwood High School.

Since first presented in 1987 to 12 exemplary California teachers, the Milken Educator Awards program is now the nation’s largest teacher recognition program having honored more than 2,400 educators from coast to coast with over $60 million. The Awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary educators. This year, 54 educators are being presented, with cash prizes totaling 1.35 million.

In addition to their cash prizes, the recipients will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the Milken Educator Forum, a national gathering of award-winning educators to address innovative strategies for advancing teacher effectiveness. A highlight of the Forum will be the presentation of the $25,000 Milken Educator Awards at a recognition dinner and ceremony. They will also join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education.

Award Criteria:

Candidates for the Milken Educator Awards are selected on the basis of the following criteria:
  • Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;
  • Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;
  • Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight;
  • Early- to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and
  • Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

For more information about the Milken Educator Awards and the surprise notification events held across the nation, visit or call (310) 570-4774. Follow the tour on the Foundation’s National Notifications blog (via ), YouTube (, Facebook (Search for “Milken Educator Award.”) and Twitter (

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fox 5 visits Pt. Loma High

Fox 5 San Diego's Morning News "Show Us Your School" segment visited Pt. Loma High School on Friday, Nov. 13.

Watch video (click here if you don't see video window).


Number of National Board Certified Teachers Grows

Teachers Achieve 2009 NBCT Recertification
Congratulations to the following district teachers who have been recertified as National Board Certified Teachers by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards:
  • Maria Nichols, Magnet Program Office
  • Bonnie Paget-Milse, Dailard Elementary
  • Rebecca Reid, Sunset View Elementary
  • Amy Sanders, Nye Elementary
  • Betsy Shirazi, DePortola Middle
  • Jon Strebler, San Diego High School of International Studies
National Board Certification is a recognized symbol of professional teaching excellence, which exemplifies a teacher’s significant commitment to professional growth and development. For more information, please contact Kathy Siverio at (619) 725-7431 or

For more district news, subscribe to the Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Friday, November 13, 2009

H1N1 Update for Nov. 13: Prevent Spread of Disease

As reports of H1N1 flu cases increase across the country and in our region and schools, it’s important to review and practice what we can do to protect our children, our families and ourselves:
  • Wash hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol are most effective.
  • Do not to share personal items like drinks, food or unwashed utensils.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues; or use the elbow, arm or sleeve when tissue is unavailable. Dispose of used tissue immediately and wash hands.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of the flu, which include fever 100° F (37.8° Celsius) with a cough and/or sore throat. Other symptoms may include a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • If you or your child has a pre-existing health condition, notify your doctor or healthcare provider if flu symptoms develop.
  • Get vaccinated for seasonal and H1N1 flu as soon as possible. The H1N1 flu vaccine is recommended even for those who have had suspected H1N1 influenza.
As San Diego Unified continues to work closely with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency in monitoring absences due to flu-like symptoms, schools will remain open for students who are well. For more information about the H1N1 flu virus and vaccine, visit , call 2-1-1 or call the district H1N1 Flu Information line at (619) 260-5409.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

School Choice Enrollment Period Kicks Off

The enrollment period for 2010-2011 School Choice is Nov. 1, 2009 to Feb. 15, 2010. Families can apply for district programs, such as Magnet Schools, the Voluntary Enrollment Exchange Program and Open Enrollment.

Visit for the online application and other helpful materials. Applications are given a computer-generated random number and are treated equally once received during the open enrollment period -- first come, first served does not apply.

To help families learn more about the many schools and programs offered at San Diego Unified, two enrollment fairs are scheduled:
  • Magnet Schools Fair, Nov. 14, 2009
  • Enrollment Options Fair (all district-run schools and programs), Jan. 30, 2010
Both fairs will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Recital Hall in Balboa Park.

For more information, contact Enrollment Options at (619) 725-5672 or

Monday, November 9, 2009

Budget Town Hall Meetings Set

Parents, students, employees and community members are strongly encouraged to attend one of five upcoming Budget Town Hall Meetings. Attendees will learn more about the budget crisis and offer ideas and feedback for the Board of Education on the best ways to balance the budget for the 2010-11 school year. Each meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

A Board of Education member will officiate at each meeting, which is open to the public.

  • Thursday, Nov. 19: Serra High School, Media Center, 5156 Santo Road (92124). Sub-District B — Katherine Nakamura.

  • Thursday, Dec. 3: San Diego High Educational Complex, Performing Arts Theater, 1405 Park Blvd. (92101). Sub-District D — Richard Barrera.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 9: Mission Bay High School, auditorium, 2475 Grand Ave. (92109). Sub-District C — John de Beck.

  • Monday, Dec. 14: Porter Elementary North, Auditorium, 445 S. 47th St. (92113). Sub-District E, Shelia Jackson.

  • Thursday, Dec. 17: Madison High School, Performing Arts Center, 4833 Doliva Dr. (92117). Sub-District A — John Lee Evans.
For more information, please visit the district's Budget Crisis webpage.

Friday, November 6, 2009

H1N1 Update for Nov. 6

San Diego Unified continues to work closely with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency as the H1N1 flu virus circulates throughout the San Diego region. Schools throughout the county, including some in our district, are experiencing increased absenteeism that may be due to suspected H1N1 flu. San Diego County Public Health personnel are currently investigating numerous San Diego County schools for probable outbreak of H1N1 flu.

San Diego Unified parents will be notified by their school if County Public Health opens an investigation of a possible H1N1 outbreak. If an investigation is opened and/or an outbreak is declared, public health officials advise that schools continue to follow the guidelines established at the beginning of the school year. Schools will remain open. Students who are sick will NOT be allowed at school. Students who are well should attend school as usual. Families should continue to be vigilant about practicing good hygiene. Parents should have their children vaccinated as soon as possible.

For more information about the H1N1 flu virus and vaccine, visit, call 2-1-1 or call the district H1N1 Flu Information line at (619) 260-5409.

Friday, October 30, 2009

H1N1 Update for Oct. 30

On Oct. 29, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency announced it had received an additional unexpected shipment of 78,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine. About 10,000 of those doses were distributed directly to the County’s Public Health Centers. The remaining doses will be distributed to primary care providers (including pediatricians, obstetricians, and family providers), ambulatory and community clinics, and school districts throughout the county. These doses will serve the most vulnerable population groups which include pregnant females, individuals 6 months to 24 years of age, individuals who come in contact with infants under 6 months, individuals 24-64 years old with chronic health problems, and health care and emergency medical services workers.

San Diego Unified continues to work closely with County Public Health Services to organize vaccination clinics at some of our schools pending a signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by the County of San Diego. A limited number of our schools will have clinics. Parents will be notified if and when their school site will host a clinic and should not contact the school or district offices for that information. Receiving the H1N1 vaccine is voluntary and parent permission will be required.

PLEASE NOTE: It’s important for parents to contact their private health care provider or a county community clinic as the preferred means to receive the H1N1 vaccine for their children or other eligible family members. Locations of County vaccination sites can be found at or by calling 2-1-1.

Visit the district H1N1 website to review the latest information.

Henry Navy JROTC Cadets Tour Nation’s Capitol

Washington, D.C. welcomed 73 cadets from the Patrick Henry Navy JROTC last week, in town for 24 hours on a whirlwind tour. In addition to visiting the monuments, Capitol and other American landmarks, they also met with Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-San Diego). On the way back, the Patriot Battalion hitched a ride on a Navy C-40 transport plane, four students were able to ride in the cockpit and observe takeoff and landing. For more information, contact Mark Vizcarra at (619) 286-7700.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crawford IDEA's Green Lawnmower Eyed at Growing Green Careers Symposium

Crawford IDEA students Danny Ngo and Pride McGinnis presented the auto shop's propane-fueled riding lawnmower at the Growing Green Careers Symposium, a recent confab at Cuyamaca College in El Cajon. The mower, which was converted from gasoline to propane by students at IDEA, is the first collaboration between students and district staff to reduce our carbon footprint. In addition to the students, teachers Carl Kingsbury, Mena Abdo and Jon Karanopoulos presented on topics ranging from biofuels, propane technologies and the new Green Technology and Energy program at Scripps Ranch and Sci-Tech high schools. Contact Greg Quirin at (858) 503-1736 or

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chalk One Up for De Portola, Paint the Way for MVAS

Students from De Portola Middle School and Crawford MVAS participated in the Oct. 11 Little Italy Street Painting Festival (photo at right). Eighth graders Chris Gonzalez and Jennifer Tachiquin, from Mrs. Pearson's art class at De Portola in Tierrasanta, recreated Da Vinci's "Lady With Ermine" in chalk on the sidewalk during the Oct. 11, 2009 Gesso Italiano in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood. The pair teamed up, with Jennifer working on the arm and body, while Chris worked on the face. Mrs. Pearson helped a bit as well. Jennifer and Chris were the only middle school students participating in the competition, which shows the amazing talent at De Portola. For more information, contact principal Elizabeth Gillingham at (858) 496-8080. Crawford MVAS students also participated; contact principal Diego Gutierrez at for details.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Montgomery Middle Gets Dutch Treat

Mayors from 15 cities in the Netherlands visited Montgomery Middle School on Oct. 14 to learn about the Safe Passage Program, which works to reduce the number of students threatened by gangs while going to- or from-school. Principal Jonathan Ton says it was a great honor to host the Dutch dignitaries, who not only learned about what goes on at Montgomery, but shared some of their best practices. The innovative program works with the City of San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention and concentrates on students in areas such as bus stops and city sidewalks. For more information, contact principal Ton at, or Lynn Sharpe-Underwood, San Diego Commission on Gangs director, at

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Congressional Page Position Available

Our local Congresswoman, Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego), is looking for nominees for the Congressional Page program. Pages help Members on the floor of the House of Representatives and distribute information around the Capitol complex. Only 72 students are chosen from around the country and must be high school juniors, at least 16 and have a GPA of at least 3.0. For more information, see Rep. Davis's web site. Our district's assistant general counsel, Patrick Frost, was a Congressional Page in 1987 and served the committee holding the Iran-Contra Hearings. Call Patrick at (619) 725-5630 or if you'd like to hear his experiences.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Superintendent’s Message: Budgeting Begins for 2010-11

Our school year has just begun and so has the planning for next year. The Board of Education had an excellent session on Tuesday, Oct. 20 to discuss the prospects of another very difficult budget year, 2010-11. The next Board Budget Workshop is scheduled for November 20.

The district has cut $180 million from our budget in the last two years but thanks to federal stimulus dollars, early retirements and streamlining our organization, for the most part, our classrooms were protected. For the 2010-11 budget year, the district is facing a budget deficit of approximately $80 to $100 million even before new cuts that are expected from the state. That means the Board of Education will once again be facing extremely difficult choices to balance next year’s budget.

The State of California is continuing to face the impacts of a deep economic recession and tax revenues coming in far below estimates for the current budget year. Current projections show that the state may be facing another $8-16 billion deficit, which will mean even more severe cuts for public education. We won’t know the state’s projected budget until January, but San Diego Unified could face an additional $100 million or more in cuts for the next budget year on top of our current projected deficit of nearly $100 million!

In the face of this bleak budget outlook, as Interim Superintendent, I share the strong commitment of the Board of Education to keep budget reductions as far from the classroom as possible. During the coming weeks, our staff will be conducting a complete review our operations and programs to identify a full range of budget reduction alternatives for the Board. The Board will also be considering a targeted freeze on hiring and expenses to help us save as many dollars as possible in the current budget year.
We encourage the public to stay informed about the education budget crisis and to share your concerns. We are launching a community outreach program to give our school communities and the public access to current budget information and provide opportunities for input. This program will include a series of Town Hall meetings during November and December. We also encourage the public to visit our new Budget Crisis website to get the latest information and to share ideas and comments on our Budget Blog.

During this difficult period for public education, I want to assure our parents, our staff and the public that we will remain focused on our primary goal, providing quality education for every student on every school day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

H1N1 Update, Oct. 23, 2009

San Diego Unified has updated its procedures regarding the H1N1 flu virus based on recommendations by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency:
  • Effective this week, school principals will advise parents and staff in the event of an H1N1 outbreak, as defined (PDF) by the California Department of Public Health.

  • Students and staff who are not ill should come to school each day, including schools where an outbreak has occurred. Schools are being given updated instructions to protect the health of our students and staff.

  • Students and staff with flu symptoms may return when fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication during those 24 hours.

  • Children with underlying health conditions (including asthma, immune system problems, neuromuscular disorders, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and pregnancy) who experience flu symptoms should contact their doctor, as they may be eligible for an anti-viral medication.
Early next week, parents will receive a letter from the district, reinforcing preventative measures to take both at home and at school, plus resources to educate students on staying well.

Visit the district H1N1 website to review the latest information.

Achievement Gap Task Force Reports Progress in Closing Gap

On Wednesday, October 14, Interim Supt. Kowba joined County Superintendent of Schools Randy Ward, Poway Unified Superintendent Don Phillips and other local educators, including Kearny High School of International Business Principal Ana Diaz-Booz and student Shayne Kelley, at the seventh annual news conference of the Superintendents’ Achievement Gap Task Force. Dr. Ward announced that the efforts to close the achievement gap between students of different ethnic and socio-economic groups are paying off, but warned that such improvements probably won’t continue if state support for public schools continues to shrink. Please contact Kowba at (619) 725-5506 or if you have questions.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

County Teacher of the Year Awards

San Diego Unified teachers shined at the annual Cox Presents a Salute to Teachers Awards last Saturday night. Kelly Kovacic (2nd from left) of The Preuss School UCSD joins four other outstanding educators as the newest County Teachers of the Year who will now compete at the state level. Kelly teaches social studies at Preuss, a charter school for grades 6-12 that provides a college preparatory education for motivated low-income students who will become the first in their families to graduate from college.

Now in its 36th year, the 2009 Salute to Teachers event honored more than 26,000 teaching professionals throughout San Diego County. Bill Freeman of Porter North Elementary, one of San Diego Unified’s Teachers of the Year, was also honored on stage as one of the ten finalists for the county award. Congratulations to Kelly, Bill and all our teachers for their commitment to our students. For more information, visit

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our Most Valued Cargo

Imagine the responsibility of pulling up to the curb and having hundreds of students anxiously awaiting the ride home on the big yellow bus. Each day transportation drivers meet and transport nearly 19,000 student riders.

As the rider-ship continues to expand, so do the responsibilities aligned to safety in Title 5 California Code of Regulations, which states “students are under the authority of and directly responsible to the driver.”

Our drivers take this responsibility very seriously and appreciate the support of school staff and parents who remind students about the importance of enjoying the ride to and back home from school each day. Students are instructed to be calm and respectful riders so their driver can focus on the roads and freeways for the safety of all.

For information, please contact Lee Eddy, manager of transportation operations, at (858) 496-8781 or

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Governor Signs Compact Helping Military Dependents

Gov. Schwarzenegger's signature on a recent bill means frequently-moving military dependents will have an easier time when they go to a new school. California's participation in the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children means that children with dads and/or moms in the Navy and Marine Corps (as well as Army and Air Force), who are frequently transferred, will have "barriers to educational success" removed. In addition, states are now "ensuring that military dependents are not placed at a disadvantage due to difficulty in the transfer of educational records... or variations in the entrance age or requirements."

About 10 percent of San Diego Unified's students are military dependents, including almost half in the Tierrasanta area, home to Serra High, De Portola and Farb middle schools, and Hancock, Kumeyaay, Miller, Tierrasanta and Vista Grande elementary schools and child development centers. There are many other schools in the district with large military populations. For more information please contact Pam Hosmer at

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Pop Rock Group ‘Honor Society’ Partners with USA Pears

During lunch on Thursday, Oct. 22, Taft Middle School students enjoyed a rare live concert by one of the country’s hottest new acts, Honor Society. The pop band is partnering with USA Pears to promote a healthy lifestyle, rich with fruits and vegetables.

Each student received a fresh pear as part of the concert.

Lead singer Michael Bruno said “we couldn’t be more excited about this cool program with USA Pears. With us constantly on the road, we have to pay special attention to our diets so we are at our best at each and every performance.”

For more information, please contact Gary Petill, director, food services, at (858) 627-7301 or

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Special Budget Meeting of Board of Education Tuesday

The Board of Education holds a special meeting, a budget update, at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the California Coast Credit Union, 9201 Spectrum Center Blvd., Suite 300 (92123). Interim Superintendent Bill Kowba and district staff will brief the Board on the latest state budget news, as well as map out the road to a final approval of the 2010-11 school year budget by June 30, 2010. The meeting is open to the public. Public notice and agenda (PDF).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Lincoln's Test Scores Highlighted

Lincoln High's test scores were highlighted in a report on KNSD-TV. Watch video.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Henry High Student is Studying Polar Bears in the Arctic

Patrick Henry High junior and San Diego Zoo Ambassador, Daniel Straub, is having the experience of a lifetime studying polar bears in Churchill, Canada. He is one of only a handful of teens from around the world taking part in this fantastic opportunity and has created a blog to record his experiences.

Daniel has been volunteering at the San Diego Zoo from a very young age, and was chosen as the zoo’s polar bear ambassador through an application process. For more information, please contact Principal Pat Crowder at (619) 286-7700. Read Daniel’s blog.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Free & Reduced-Price Meal Applications Impact School Funding

The Food Services Department has processed more than 38,280 free- and reduced-price meal applications in the first four weeks of school. The total percentage of students on the free- and reduced-price meal program at a school directly affects the school’s Title I funding, E-Rate rebates and grant funding. Although the majority of applications are submitted at the beginning of a school year, it’s important to remember that meal applications can be processed throughout the school year. For more information, please contact Pam Kowalski, food service business coordinator, at (858) 627-7332.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Washington Elementary Nominated for Architectural Award

Washington Elementary School has been nominated for an Orchard Award from the San Diego Arch­itectural Foundation. The school’s nomination read, “Washington Elementary, the only elementary school in downtown San Diego, is a hidden gem of Little Italy that was lost in hues of beige under­tones.

In an out-of-sight part of this lively neighborhood, the elementary school was screaming for color! With a few strokes of color, (18 colors to be exact) a whole new light and life has been given to Washington Elementary as a learning community asset.” The winners will be announced on Thursday, November 12.

For more information on the nomination, and to vote, please visit the webpage. For information on the school, please contact Principal Janie Wardlow at (619) 525-7475.

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New Programs Provide Academic Support

The Crawford High Invention & Design Educational Academy (IDEA) has established two new programs designed to provide academic support for students. Through a partnership with Bayview Charities, the school has established Realizing Individual Skills & Knowledge (R.I.S.K.), an African-American mentoring program designed to increase academic performance, self-esteem and emotional development in students. The Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program is designed to provide academic support through hands-on projects and college awareness activities. IDEA will begin working with MESA on projects focused on Engineering. Both programs aim to increase opportunity and achievement for students. For more information, please contact Melissa Woods at (619) 583-2500, ext. 4802 or

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blue Angels Visit Campuses

Students at Mira Mesa and Crawford high schools welcomed the United States Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team and their commander on October 2. The pilots inspired students during a school-wide assembly, sharing information about their career paths, and focusing on the importance of education and doing your best. The pilots also showed a video highlighting the history and inter-workings of the Blue Angels. The flight team was in San Diego for the MCAS Miramar Air Show. For more information, please contact Jennifer Kvalvik, Mira Mesa employer outreach specialist, at (858) 566-2262, ext. 2161 or Melissa Woods, Crawford employer outreach specialist, at (619) 583-2500, ext 4802.

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H1N1 Update, Oct. 13, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the San Diego County Public Health Department are recommending that all parents have their children immunized with the seasonal flu vaccine and the pandemic 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine.

Parents of children with certain ongoing health condition should take extra precautions. Click here to read more (Adobe PDF) . For additional information, visit the district H1N1 website at

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Lincoln JROTC Supports Autism Fundraiser

Fifteen Lincoln High School JROTC cadets learned some valuable lessons when they recently volunteered at the Walk for Autism Speaks. The cadets presented the colors for the opening ceremony, assisted with the set-up and clean-up of informational displays, put away all equipment and assisted in transporting displays to vehicles. They also provided a cheering section for the walkers who were raising funds for autism research and programs. The day’s activities added up to service learning and community service for the cadets, along with the invaluable opportunity to learn and understand autism. For more information, please contact the Office of College, Career & Technical Education at (858) 503-1738.

IN THE NEWS: Food Overhaul Gets High Grades

SAN DIEGO — When student representatives on the San Diego school board recently raved about new meals sold on their campuses, laughter erupted on the dais.

Then-Superintendent Terry Grier commented that never in his career had he heard high school students offer such enthusiastic and unsolicited praise of the school lunch menu. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Story of Success: TRACE-VITAS Hospice Partnership

Communities experience long-term benefits when volunteers with disabilities are regularly included. Partnerships between volunteer programs and disability organizations can create stable recruitment pipelines that form the basis of this transformation. But how do two partners go from meeting to marriage? The district Transition Resources for Adult Community Education (TRACE) program prepares high school students with disabilities for independence. For more than three years, TRACE students have volunteered weekly at VITAS Innovative Hospice Care. An interview between members of the hospice, and TRACE staff and students was recently featured on the Tarjan Center at UCLA Service Inclusion Project website. Read the interview Adobe PDF. For more information, please contact TRACE Principal Bob Morris at (619) 574-1073, ext. 2102, or

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

IN THE NEWS: School Trustee Unhappy With SDSU Admissions Change

San Diego school board member John Lee Evans is mounting a campaign aimed at pressuring SDSU to reverse a decision discontinuing its practice of giving an admissions priority to students from high schools south of state Route 56. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Special Education Community Meeting

Staff and parents are invited to attend a Community Meeting hosted by the Special Education Division, featuring Tom Hehir, Ed.D. The meeting wil be held on Thursday, October 15, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., in the auditorium at Mt. Everest Academy, 4350 Mt. Everest Blvd. (92117). The meeting will give an update on the implementation of Hehir's recommendations for the improvement of special education supports and services as well as provide the opportunity to ask questions. For more information, please contact Debbie Clemons at (619) 725-5653 or

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chargers Huddle at Mann Middle School

As part of the annual NFL Hometown Huddle, members of the San Diego Chargers took over Mann Middle School’s play fields on October 6, holding a mini-camp for the school’s students and other students from around the county. The day ended with a $2,500 donation presented to the school from the team and the United Way. Chargers players on hand included No. 28, safety/cornerback Steve Gregory; No. 92, defensive end Vaughn Martin; and No. 20, cornerback Antoine Cason.

Part of the Star/Pal program supported by law enforcement agencies around San Diego County, mini-camp activities take students through some of the physical training that pro football players go through before the season begins, including running and workouts. Kids have an opportunity to learn football skills and more importantly, spend time with positive role models. Police officers from the district and the county and local fire fighters serve as volunteer coaches. At Mann Middle School, Chargers players stressed the importance of becoming a positive influence in the community while offering tips on the game.

For more information, contact School Police Sgt. Alfonso Contreras at (619) 725-7004 or

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Friday, October 9, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Running with Confidence

For three years, followers of local cross country and track have noticed Clairemont High's Eamonn McCarey. He'd post fast times, one week looking like the miler he was named after, Ireland's Eamonn Coghlan, the next week going so slow and finishing so far back he had people scratching their heads. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Crawford MVAS Students Make a Difference in Community

The Colina Park Neighborhoods First Initiative has formed a partnership with Crawford High MVAS students to create the "Stories of Colina Park," a project designed to increase cultural understanding and neighborhood pride.

It is a two-year service learning project between San Diego Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Boulevard Business Association and the Multimedia and Visual Arts School (MVAS) at Crawford.

During the 2008-09 school year, and continuing this school year, 80 MVAS students have identified and interviewed diverse community leaders, written human interest stories based on these interviews, interpreted the stories through art, created public art installations displayed along El Cajon Boulevard and documented the project through a website and printed materials.

To check out their work, go to For more information, please contact Principal Diego Gutierrez at (619) 583-2500.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Board President Discusses District Issues

Board of Education President Shelia Jackson discusses a wide variety of issues during a television interview on Oct. 7, 2009.

Watch video

District "Checkbook" Goes Public

San Diego Unified joins school districts across the country that have established online check registers which allow the public to see how district money is being spent. Monthly records of San Diego Unified’s payments to vendors are now posted online. The first report for August 2009 is now online on the Office of the Controller website.

The reports show amounts paid to vendors for various supplies and services. Those wishing more information should contact the Office of the Controller and reference the Voucher ID number, listed by the transaction. For more information, please contact Ken Leighton, controller, at or (619) 725-7667.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mira Mesa Cluster Advisory Board Meets Oct. 12

District A Board of Education member Dr. John Lee Evans will will meet with interested community members at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12, Media Center, Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Road (92126).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Year of the School Volunteer

Friday, October 9, marks the official kick-off of the Year of the School Volunteer, a district-wide initiative aimed at increasing volunteer opportunities for the San Diego community, particularly where the need is greatest. A special emphasis is being placed on the importance of reading. Schools, programs and teachers who need and want volunteers are encouraged to email Ellen Tiffany at Individuals or groups interested in finding a volunteer assignment can simply fill out a Volunteer Interest Form and fax to (619) 725-5599.

Research supports that individual adult attention is a key contributor to student achievement and overall success in life. The district salutes the thousands of volunteers who already give their time and support to our students. We look forward to welcoming more volunteers who share our commitment to making a difference in the lives of San Diego children. For more information, please contact the Volunteer program at (619) 725-5592.

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Lincoln High Area District E Parent and Community Forum

Join Shelia Jackson, District E Board Member and Board President, in a discussion of school issues. 6 p.m., Monday, October 12, at Porter South Elementary School, Auditorium, 4800 T Street (92113).

Monday, October 5, 2009

First Five Gives Reprieve to Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting Program

Thanks to last-minute funding from the First 5 Commission of San Diego County, the San Diego Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting Program is fully funded for the current school year.

The program had been in jeopardy when the state eliminated its funding as part of this year¹s budget cutbacks, but First 5 stepped up with funding to carry the program through the current school year. The program provides case management, counseling and parent child attunement and interaction therapy services to pregnant and parenting youth residing throughout San Diego County.

During the 2008-09 school year, 92 percent of eligible participating students graduated. Congratulations to the students and congratulations to SANDAPP staff for your hard work and dedication to San Diego's pregnant and parenting teens and thanks to our local First 5 commissioners and staff for allowing this important work to continue. For more information, please contact Cindy Grossman at

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H1N1 Update: District Activates Special Info Phone Line

San Diego Unified parents and employees can now call (619) 260-5409 with general questions about the H1N1 flu virus.

The new H1N1 Information Phone Line is set-up to take messages, which will be answered by a school nurse within 24 hours. With more urgent health-related questions, call the Nursing and Wellness Program Office at (858) 627-7580. For non health-related district H1N1 issues, please email

The district continues to maintain an H1N1 webpage with the latest information. For H1N1 issues not specific to San Diego Unified, call 211 or visit

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

High School Science Student Achieves Another First

Patrick Henry High School senior Anna Simpson is the first high school student ever to have an article published on the LiveScience website.

Anna describes first-hand her experiences doing research in a UCSD chemistry lab and presenting her award-winning mobile autonomous chemical-detecting robot at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair as well as the California State Science Fair last spring.

For more information, contact Pat Crowder, principal, at (619) 286-7700 ext. 2208.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Crawford IDEA in "School Spotlight"

With a limited field-trip budget, auto shop teacher Carl Kingsbury decided to bring an automobile exhibit to the kids at Crawford. Earlier this week, the Model T Ford Club of San Diego and the Mossy Automotive Group brought 10 cars to the campus to show students the history and technology of personal transportation. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Watch video from KNSD-TV.

UC High and Scripps Health Form Partnership

Thanks to University City (UC) High School instructor Ellie Vandiver, a new partnership has been formed that will benefit students interested in pursuing health careers. Scripps Health has agreed to accept UC High students for clinical internships at Scripps Memorial Hospital, surrounding Scripps Clinic medical offices, and possibly Scripps Green.

Currently, UC High has more than 60 students enrolled in the Health Essentials Course, a class comprised mostly of seniors who are anxious to have "hands-on" experiences in a hospital setting. This is UC High's first year participating in the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Sciences program, which is designed to introduce students to health sciences and allied health careers.

Project Lead the Way has been working closely with the Regional Occupational Program to expose students to the many career opportunities in health sciences. For more information, please contact Ellie Vandiver at or (858) 457-3040 ext. 150.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Annual Facilities Inspections in Progress

The annual Williams Legislation and School Accountability Report Card (SARC) facility surveys are taking place across the district.

The surveys inspect eight major areas, including plumbing, electrical, heating and ventilation systems, and overall site cleanliness and safety. Williams inspections are conducted by an independent, third-party; SARC inspections are conducted by Physical Plant Operations (PPO) staff.

Physical Plant Operations will use the Williams and SARC facility inspection results to determine where change needs to occur. Comparisons from previous year\'s Williams/SARC facilities inspection results will be analyzed to help focus our business practices and improve customer service.

For more information, please contact Tracy Higgins, support services supervisor, at (858) 627-7151 or

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mission Bay Student Athlete Selected to Play in the All American Bowl

Mission Bay High School student athlete Dillon Baxter has been selected to play in the 10th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl football game on January 9, 2010, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

On Wednesday, September 30, Dillon will receive his bowl game uniform at a special event hosted by the U.S. Army, at Mission Bay High.

Scheduled to appear at the event are the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team and Paul Rudy, host of KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report. The U.S. Army will also provide its Fitness for Life tour for Mission Bay High students. This interactive experience includes a technology pod with robotics, flight simulators and a climbing wall.

The bowl game draws outstanding high school football players from across the U.S. In its ten-year history, the game has featured some of the nation’s most elite young football players, including college and NFL stars Adrian Peterson, Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Tim Tebow and Terrelle Pryor.

For more information, please contact Kathy Agosto at (858) 273-1313.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Three La Jolla Schools Benefit from Festival

La Jolla is celebrating its artist colony roots on October 10 and 11 with the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival. Boasting the flair and energy of a modern European street fair, this event will feature over 300 booths featuring artists from Southern California and Northern Baja, as selected by jury. All proceeds from this event will be going to three local public schools in the San Diego Unified School District: La Jolla Elementary, Torrey Pines Elementary, and Bird Rock Elementary to help fund commonly underfunded programs, including art, music, science, physical education, technology and on-site medical care by a school nurse. Read more from NBC San Diego.

Breakfast in the Classroom Expands to Middle School

Memorial Prep Middle School has the distinction of being the district’s first middle school to be part of the highly-successful Breakfast in the Classroom program. Each morning 617 middle school students receive a complete and nutritious breakfast at the beginning of the school day. Additional elementary and middle schools are scheduled to begin the program this school year. For more information, please contact Gary Petill, director, food services, at (858) 627-7301 or .

Monday, September 28, 2009

IN THE NEWS: San Diego's Fame school, SCPA

Fox 5 San Diego visits San Diego's Fame, the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.


Chargers Donate $200,000 to Morse High Field

On Sept. 22, Morse High School athletes and coaches were joined by the San Diego Chargers, Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Morse High alumni City Councilman Tony Young in celebrating the school’s new synthetic turf football field and all-weather running track. Chargers safety Clinton Hart was among the guest speakers.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation awarded $200,000 in funding for construction of Morse’s artificial turf playing field as part of the “Grassroots Program,” a partnership with the National Football League Youth Football Fund. The Grassroots Program provides nonprofit, neighborhood-based organizations with financial and technical assistance to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of local football fields.

Thanks to the donation, the installation of the track and field took place earlier than planned. Using Prop. S funds, San Diego Unified has begun refurbishing all high school athletic facilities, either installing new synthetic turf football fields and all-weather running tracks, or refurbishing existing synthetic football fields that are approaching their useful service lives. For more information, please contact the Prop. S Communications Office at (619) 725-7252, e-mail or visit the website at .

Saturday, September 26, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Union-Tribune Lauds SDUSD Blue Ribbon Schools

Union-Tribune Editorial: Making the grade | Blue Ribbon Schools

At Ericson Elementary School in Mira Mesa, the staff and students have a school spirit song. Sung to the tune of “You're a Grand Old Flag,” the Ericson song begins, “You're a grand old school, you're a high-ranking school, you're the best in the West we all say ... ” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune

IN THE NEWS: Farmer's Market That Benefits Schools

The Scripps Ranch Farmers Market & Family Festival, a Saturday fixture in the community since 2001, is back where it started. The market recently moved to its original site at 10380 Spring Canyon Road, formerly the home of the Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary School. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kearny’s JROTC Presents US Colors at Mexico Consulate Ceremony

The color guard from JROTC program at Kearny High School participated in a bit of international diplomacy on September 16 as it joined a color guard from Tijuana’s Lazaro Cardenas Preparatory School in a ceremony honoring the 199th birthday of Mexico.

More than 200 people attended the ceremony, hosted by the Consulate of Mexico at La Jolla’s Museum of Contemporary Art. In attendance were the Consul General of Mexico, Remedios Gómez Arnau, and Lori Holt Pfeiler, mayor of Escondido.

The Kearny students presented the US colors, while the Cardenas school students presented Mexico’s colors. For more information, please contact Col. Harry Ridge Jr. at (858) 496-8203 or, or 1SG Theodore Jenkins at (858) 496-8204 or

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Ways to Conserve Water

Spreckels Elementary parent LeeAnn Bates is conscientious about water use. As the school’s Garden Club Coordinator, she is working hard to incorporate drought tolerant and native plants into the school garden – an important lesson for students in these water-challenged times.

To take the lesson further, when the school’s emergency supply of water packets expired and were about to be replaced with new packets, Bates decided to use the expired pouches to irrigate the school’s garden. The empty water packets, similar to foil Capri Sun pouches, were then recycled through Terracycle.

First grade students (see photo) were the first to use expired water packets on their herb garden. Other schools can take a lesson from Spreckels by using expiring emergency water packets for their school gardens or by working with their site landscape staff to water other campus areas.

For more information, please contact J. William Naish, supervisor, energy/utility management, at (858) 627-7217 or

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Clairemont High Auto Shop Gassed Up on Donated Car, New Facility

Johns Hopkins University has donated a natural gas-powered car to the auto shop program at Clairemont High School. Students, under the direction of instructor Larry Engelbrecht, will conduct research and emission testing to learn about alternative-fuel vehicles on the reworked, late model Dodge Stratus.

The ROP National Automotive Technical Education Foundation program is also awaiting start of construction on a project funded through the state Prop. 1D and San Diego Unified’s Prop. S, which will include six service bays, automotive specialty tools and diagnostic equipment. Check out construction progress on all Prop. 1D.

For more information, please contact Greg Quirin, program specialist, Office of College, Career and Technical Education, at or (858) 503-1736.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

District A University City Advisory Board Meets Sept. 26

Advisory boards address the needs of their school clusters, 9:30 a.m., North University Community Branch Library, 8820 Judicial Drive, San Diego. Open to the public. Contact: Contact: Carol Hunter; Email:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Operation of Schools During Hot Weather

All schools in the San Diego Unified School District have "hot weather" plans in place for continued operations of schools during periods of high temperatures. We want to make sure our students are as comfortable as possible in school so that their learning can continue. As a result, our schools have a number of guidelines in place for planning instruction during hot weather.

Instructional Program Modifications

Elementary teachers may rearrange the daily schedule so that basic skills subjects are taught at the optimal time. Physical education activities are limited to less strenuous activities and/or are rescheduled to a more appropriate time. Recess activities are limited to quiet games that require a minimum of physical activity.

Alternative Locations for Instruction

Cooler areas of schools buildings and grounds are used when available. As an example, some teachers may have students gather in shaded lawn areas or move to rooms with better cross-ventilation. Students in non-air-conditioned portable facilities may be merged with other classes in air-conditioned buildings, such as media centers, cafeterias or auditoriums.

Extracurricular Activities

Athletic activities and practices may be canceled due to hot weather, or rescheduled for a more appropriate time. Before- and after-school programs may also be modified or activities rearranged.

Keeping Students Cool and Hydrated

Students are encouraged to bring containers of water to school during hot weather. Water fountains are also available in all schools and teachers are encouraging students to take extra water fountain breaks throughout the day. Many teachers keep spray-bottles with water in classrooms so that they can ‘mist’ students at their request or as needed.

Students are asked to dress in lightweight clothing that is in keeping with their school dress codes. Please also make sure to apply sunscreen to your child before school, as school staff are not permitted to apply it. If your child has a medical condition that may be compromised by exposure to high temperatures, you may keep your child at home or arrange for an early release.

More Information

AP Incentive Program Partners with Borders

On September 4, the Advanced Placement Incentive Program (APIP) hosted its first Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Resource Fair at the Mission Valley Borders store.

Appreciative AP teachers gave the event rave reviews. “The AP resources supplied will go a long way to improving student success in my classes,” “my students will be thrilled,” “you have made the transition so flawless,” and “thank you for the amazing resources” were just a few of the comments made by those in attendance.

For more information, please contact Don Mitchell, director, APIP, at (858) 505-9724.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

District A Madison/Clairemont Advisory Board Meets Wednesday

Advisory panel to Dr. John Lee Evans, District A representative, that allows the community to address the needs of their school clusters. Open to the public. Meets at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Madison High School, 4833 Doliva Dr.

Prop. S to Replace Portables with Permanent Classrooms at Pt. Loma High

Construction of a new state-of-the art classroom building will begin soon at Point Loma High School. It is the school’s first project funded by Proposition S.

Seven portable classrooms will be replaced with a 15,358-square-foot two-story classroom building. The new building will consist of eight classrooms, student and staff restrooms, elevator, stairs, storage room, electrical room, bridge to athletic field, reconstruction of existing ramp to gym, new retaining wall, landscape and irrigation.

Construction is expected to be complete by end of fall 2010. For information, please call the Proposition S Communications Office at (619) 725-7252.

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