Sunday, May 31, 2009

IN THE NEWS: SDUSD Schools Win CIF Championships

Here's a salute to the teams at University City High, La Jolla High, and students from all over the district are honored on the San Diego Union-Tribune's All Academic Team.

Ninth Grade Intervention Initiatives Honored

San Diego Unified has received the ‘Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III Model of Excellence Award’ for our new Ninth Grade Intervention Initiatives and 10-to-Succeed. The award was presented at the College Board’s ‘A Dream Deferred Conference: The Future of African American Education 2009’ recently held in Los Angeles. Accepting the award on behalf of the district were Morse High School Principal Todd Irving and Security Assistant Winston Neely, and Becky Phillpott, Intervention Initiative leader. The trio also presented a session on our Ninth Grade Intervention Initiatives at the conference to a standing-room-only audience.

The Award recognizes individuals or organizations that have encouraged African American students to strive for academic success. Please join me in congratulating Becky Phillpott and all our ninth grade intervention teams for a job well done!

Read more in Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Performing arts magnet to hold Salon Series for public

There's more to San Diego's premier performing arts school than the big show.

To demonstrate the blood, sweat and tears that go into becoming a dancer, musician, actor or artist, the School of Creative and Performing Arts is opening its doors to the public with a series of salons that showcase and explain the work behind the glitz. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Food Services Department Job Opportunities

The Food Services Department of San Diego Unified School District is now hiring for Food Services Substitute Workers.

If you are a parent of school-aged children, a retired member of our community or a college student looking for part-time work and enjoy working with students of all ages, please visit us at or contact the Food Service office at 858-627-7321 for additional information.

Friday, May 29, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Garcia Joins Forces With Rockola at Morse

Growing up the son of a mariachi performer, Morse High senior Sergio Garcia developed an early ear for Mexican music and a fascination with music in general.

“My first introduction to music was through my church. My dad was part of a mariachi band and they used to play there. I couldn’t stay home by myself, so I would go with him." Read more from La Prensa San Diego

Board of Education Tackles Budget at Special Tuesday Meeting

After hearing about the need to cut an additional $135 million from its budget at the special May 26 session, the Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting to deliberate further at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 2, in the Education Center auditorium, 4100 Normal Street.

Details on options for reducing the deficit are on the district's budget web page.

The meeting is open to the public and public testimony will be taken. It will be televised on cable Ch. 16 (Cox/Time Warner within the district boundaries) and streamed over the internet from the district website.

IN THE NEWS: Linda Vista Elementary Student is "Bikes for Kids" Winner

Geovany Sanchez of Linda Vista Elementary School is the latest "Bikes for Kids" recipient from NBC 7/39 and the Salvation Army. See Video from NBC 7/39.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Crime Stoppers Honors Outstanding District Officer

On Tuesday, May 26, 2009, School Police Officer Carla Kuamoo was honored at the “Enough is Enough” Crime Stoppers luncheon held at the Doubletree Hotel in Mission Valley. Carla who is respectfully referred to as “Officer K.” by the students at Monroe Clark Middle School has been a police officer for seven years. This past year, Carla has received nearly 50 Crime Stoppers tips from Monroe Clark students.

Monroe Clark has nearly 1,300 students and is considered to be among the most active schools in San Diego. Before Officer Kuamoo was assigned to the school, the campus had been without a full-time police officer for two years. As a result, several students had developed a genuine distrust of police and several of them had been recruited into gangs.

Initially, students were afraid to speak to Officer Kuamoo about crime for fear of retaliation. She knew if she was going to make a positive impact on campus, she would need to gain their trust. She did this by using the Campus Crime Stoppers Program. She conducted classroom presentations and encouraged students to report crime using Crime Stoppers’ anonymous tip line. Within months, she had received more tips than she could have imagined. These tips have led to numerous felony and misdemeanor arrests of gang members for weapons, fighting and drug possession on campus. By their participation, the students of Monroe Clark have shown their desire to have a safer school without gangs.

Officer Carla Kuamoo was honored for her tenacity and dedication to her students and the Campus Crime Stoppers Program. Her leadership has made a difference on campus and in the community of City Heights.

Standley Middle School's Alex Wells Knocked Out of National Spelling Bee

Alex Wells was knocked out of the National Spelling Bee Thursday in the second semifinal round.

Alex, an eighth grader from Standley Middle School in University City, was felled by the word "dansant," which means an informal or small dance.

He gave its spelling as "daissant."

Wells had earlier advanced spelling the word "kinetosis" correctly during the first round of the semifinals Thursday.

Alex, 13, won the San Diego region's contest in March. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

  • More on Alex's competition from
  • Video from Wednesday's visit by KFMB-TV to Standley Middle School.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Standley Middle School Cheers On Alex Wells

Spelling Bee Champ is cheered on by his classmates at Standley Middle School in University City. Watch Video.

IN THE NEWS: Supt. Terry Grier Discusses Budget Cuts

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Terry Grier talked about the most recent round of budget cuts. See More at KUSI-TV.

IN THE NEWS: Standley's Alex Wells Advances In National Spelling Bee

Alex Wells, who won the countywide spelling bee in March, advanced Wednesday to the semifinals of the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Wells began facing 292 competitors in the preliminary rounds of the spelling bee competition Wednesday morning. He is one of 41 spellers who will compete in the semifinals on Thursday.

The semifinals will be aired live on ESPN from 7 to 10 a.m. Pacific time. Read More From the San Diego Union-Tribune.

See photo from Reuters via

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Board Facing Tough Choices at June 2 Meeting

Superintendent Lists Possible Cuts to Close $135 Million Gap

Nearly $135 million in budget cuts for the 2009-10 school year will be considered by the Board of Education at its special June 2, 2009 meeting.

The cuts, a result of a reduction in funds from the State of California, are on top of $45 million approved by the Board on March 10.

Superintendent Terry Grier presented a list of alternatives to the Board at its budget workshop on May 26, which included a variety of program and staff reductions. In a video to the school community recorded on Friday, May 22, Grier said that expenses have continued to grow even though the funding will decline for the 2009-10 school year.

“Never in my career have I experienced the budget disaster that is now impacting California’s schools,” said Grier.

The Board spent more than two hours discussing the budget situation, which is a result of the defeat May 19 of several statewide budget propositions and lower than project tax receipts.

The May 21 revised budget statement from the Governor is a $26 million cut in the current, 2008-09 school budget, and an additional $62 million reduction in the projected 2009-10 funding, as well as $3.5 million in Title I funding. Schools must present a balanced budget for the ending, new and next school year by July 1.

Current estimates are that the district has projected expenditures for the 2009-10 school year of $1.3 billion, with funding of $1.1 billion.

Backup materials for the May 26 meeting are online; as is a full list of the proposed reductions.

Among the proposed cuts:
  • Off-Campus Integrated Learning Experiences (OCILE) programs closed; these are the weeklong Old Town (4th grade), Balboa Park (5th grade) and Palomar Mountain (6th grade camp) programs.

  • Class Size Increases: 9th grade English classes, removes 15 students to one teacher ratio; K-2 (15:1 in 29 schools) and K-3 (under state-mandated 22); GATE Seminar from 23:1 to 25:1.

  • Positions: 19 landscapers; 28 elementary counselors; 91.5 health techs; 18.5 district librarians; 43 vice principals; 110.89 central office positions.

  • 25 percent reduction in school site supply budgets.
Additional items are awaiting negotiations with employee unions, including changes to the healthcare package, a district-wide salary rollback and increasing class size in grades 6-12.

Other options not currently under consideration but available for Board review are elimination of the Visual and Performing Arts Programs, athletics in grades 9-12 and reducing the district’s reserve contribution.

The time of the June 2, 2009 meeting has not yet been announced. For the agenda and other information on the meeting, go online to the district’s website,

IN THE NEWS: Standley's Alex Wells in National Spelling Bee

Local Boy, 13, Competes In National Spelling Bee

SAN DIEGO -- A 13-year-old boy from San Diego began competing Tuesday in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., joining a field of 293 students vying to win the crown as the country's best student speller.

Alex J. Clifton Wells, an eighth-grader at Standley Middle School, began the annual competition by taking a 50-word test on a computer keyboard. Read More from 10 News.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Special Budget Update Message from Supt. Terry Grier

As part of our ongoing efforts to communicate with our school community and the public, I recorded a video message to share the facts about the budget challenges our Board of Education is facing to balance our budget for the 2009/10 school year. (If you can't watch the video online, there's a transcript available in English and Spanish. [PDF])

In addition, a letter from the County Office of Education [PDF] was provided to our Finance Division earlier this week. This letter describes the general process for county office approval, denial, or conditional approval of a school district’s budget. It also describes the intervention actions that occur if the county office conditionally approves and/or disapproves a budget.

Thank you for your continued patience and support during this unprecedented budget crisis. If you have any ideas for the Board’s budget deliberations, please share with me at (619) 725-5506 or send me an e-mail.

IN THE NEWS: Hoover Student Featured in Union-Tribune Profile of Graduates

Road to graduation
Four students, four stories of hardships and successes

Kyle Goguen owes a lot to his trombone.

He says it gave him confidence and a reason to go to school. He even credits the horn for a metamorphosis that took him from insecure special-education student to a “Seminar kid” in the San Diego Unified School District's program for the highly gifted. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Students get second chance to make grade

Anthony Mendoza sacrificed his sophomore year of high school to deal with family problems – a decision he knew could cost him a diploma and ultimately make him a statistic in the nation's dropout crisis.

But Anthony got a do-over.

While taking a full course load of senior classes at Serra High School in San Diego this year, Anthony logged onto a computer every day and made up 10 sophomore classes online. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: Teens train for careers in medicine

CITY HEIGHTS — Young men and women tended to nearly a dozen babies, checking for pulses. Finding none, they pressed two fingers urgently into the little chests.

It seemed as if something had gone horribly wrong in a neonatal unit or someone was trying to shape an overwrought episode of “Grey's Anatomy.”

The scene at Hoover High School was simulated – the babies were dolls and the rescuers were teens – but it wasn't for show. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: Duo hopes wristband sales bond community, aid stricken student

Life is made special by friendship — those in-depth relationships that offer unique opportunities to know love in a prickly world. Friendships fill hearts with joys of endless childhood memories, sun-kissed summer days and cozy holiday fun. Friendship lifts people up when life gets them down.

Point Loma residents Matt Alcantara, Wendy Eifert and Will Herrin know the power of friendship. They began elementary school together and are now freshmen at Point Loma High School (PLHS). They’ve known each other for more than a decade now. Read more from the Peninsula Beacon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Special Tuesday Morning Board Meeting Tackles Budget

The continuing budget crisis in California -- and its effects on San Diego Unified -- will be the topic of a special Board of Education workshop starting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, in the Education Center auditorium, 4100 Normal Street.

Superintendent Terry Grier is expected to have budget figures for the current and next school years, based on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's May 15 revised estimate.

Because of the failure of the state budget propositions on May 19 and the continued economic distress in the state, it is expected that Dr. Grier will be proposing additional cuts on next year's school district budget.

The meeting is open to the public and public testimony will be taken. It will be televised on cable Ch. 16 (Cox/Time Warner within the district boundaries) and streamed over the internet from the district website.

The regular, 5 p.m. meeting on Tuesday will still be held. That meeting is also open to the public.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Improvement Continues in Academic Performance Index

Number of “High Performing” Schools Doubles in Five Years
The number of San Diego Unified schools classified as high performing by the state Department of Education has doubled in the past five years, according to the annual Academic Performance Index released today by the department.

An 800 score on the state tests classifies the school as high performing, according to the state. For the 2007-08 school year, 31 percent of San Diego’s schools had scores of 800 or above, up from 15 percent in 2002-03 school year.

“This is a great performance for those individual schools, showing the excellence we have in San Diego Unified,” said Supt. Terry Grier. “Other results, however, show that in some areas we have a long way to go.”

Performance of elementary schools improved, with 40 percent now at 800 or above, up from 19 percent in 2002-03.

Areas needing improvement include a decline in the number of schools at or above the state median and in schools’ rankings. Schools at the state median or higher declined from 57 percent in 2002-03 to 46 percent last year, while schools with a statewide rank of 9 or 10 declined to 17 percent last year from 19 percent in 2002-03. Schools with a 1 or 2 rank increased to 26 percent from 19 percent in 2002-03.

Individual school rankings are available online at the California Department of Education’s website on each school's information website and many individual school websites, and at a school's office.

IN THE NEWS: Alumni Players Keep Tradition Alive

POINT LOMA — Most high school baseball players know about David Wells, who retired two years ago after pitching 21 seasons in the big leagues. Fewer are aware of Don Larsen, who tossed the only perfect game in World Series history in 1956. Read More from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: Big Goals for Swimmer

SAN CARLOS — Some schools offered Brandon Lowe a full scholarship. Others gave the Patrick Henry High senior a chance to be closer to home. Some even provided him with the opportunity to be their No.1 swimmer as a freshman. Read More from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Morse Student Helps Voters

It certainly wasn't a happy day for education, as voters defeated five state ballot propositions, but Morse High student Larry Vida, working at a polling place at Encanto Elementary School, was featured in a front-page photo on Wednesday's San Diego Union-Tribune. See more.

The story with the photo was all about the election, but didn't mention that hundreds of San Diego Unified students work at polls each election as part of their community service projects.

IN THE NEWS: Standley's Alex Wells Takes Off For Next Spelling Bee

Standley Middle School student Alex Wells, winner of the San Diego County Spelling Bee, is getting ready for the nation's Bee , scheduled for May 26-27 in in Washington D.C. As a salute to Alex, everyone at Standley will be wearing ties on Wednesday, May 20; the KUSI Morning News visited that morning. Watch Video from KUSI.

Let's give Alex all the support from San Diego!

(See story from San Diego Union-Tribune when Alex won the title in March)

IN THE NEWS: Barnard Elementary "Passport Through China"

Barnard Elementary School's "Passport Through China" event was featured on KTSD-TV's newscast. Watch Video from KTSD-TV (in Chinese).

Monday, May 18, 2009

IN THE NEWS: School spotlight: Myron B. Green Elementary Academics & Athletics Magnet

Green is a magnet school with a focus on athletics. Patterson and her colleague, Rick Edwards, lead the children in daily physical education classes.

During the final six weeks of the school year, 400 children will take a four-mile bus ride to the La Mesa Municipal Pool for swim lessons. They learn standard skills like floating on their backs, a front crawl or flutter kicks. Read More from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Students discover the building industry

An hour after Patrick Henry High School let out on a recent Thursday, Room 416 was still buzzing with students and visiting adult advisers.

Some were at computer stations, manipulating software and presentation programs. Others were at a table cutting and gluing a model of a proposed 1,000-seat performing arts center. Read More from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday Notes from Supt. Grier are Now Online

Superintendent Terry Grier's Friday Notes are now online.

IN THE NEWS: The Science of Achievement

Students work with researchers
MISSION BAY PARK — Jorge Rivera munched on an apple while concentrating on a PowerPoint presentation on cell biology. Along with about a dozen peers, he began filling out work sheets under the guidance of a graduate student from the University of San Diego.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, 80 degrees outside, with the ocean close enough to smell. But Jorge wasn't looking wistfully out the window. He wasn't forced to be there.
The Herbert Hoover High School student chose to be there. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Calendar of Events Updated

See the latest events coming up in San Diego's schools on the Campus Calendar.

Meet the Magnets at Fashion Valley on Saturday!

The San Diego Unified School District’s Magnet Programs will have a Magnet School Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, May 16, in the Fashion Valley Mall's Center Court, just in front of Macy's.

Magnet school principals and teachers will be available to explain the opportunities that San Diegans have to attend Magnet schools in the district and to share their school’s emphasis. In addition, Oak Park Elementary, a Music Conservatory, will have a performance at 11:30 a.m. For more information, contact Beth Churchill at 619-725-7154.

Classified Man, Woman of Year Saluted

Annual Support Staff Honors for “Backbone of District”

San Diego Unified School District’s Classified Employees of the Year are Amir Rahim, a Race-Human Relations Education Assistant, and Sylvia Garcia, a Student Information System Site Technician II.

The pair, and all classified employees, will be honored at a celebration scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, at University City High School, 6949 Genessee Ave. (92122). As this is a scheduled meeting of the Board of Education, it is open to the public.

“These hard-working men and women are so dedicated to our children,” said Superintendent Terry Grier. “They’re responsible for keeping our schools safe and clean, keeping the grades and attendance straight -- thousands of tasks every day to keep a school running.”

Classified employees are those without teaching credentials and include custodians, office support staff, classroom assistants, and central office staff and managers. This is the 26th year that the district has chosen Classified Employees of the Year.

Rahim is a Race-Human Relations Education Assistant in the Race-Human Relations and Advocacy Department. A 12-year San Diego Unified employee, he helps students to become responsible and cooperative citizens by assisting school communities in seeking ways to value and respect diversity.

Garcia is Student Information System Site Technician II at Gaspar de Portola Middle School in Tierrasanta. A 24-year San Diego Unified employee, she manages all school data, grades, transfers and the school master schedule, as well as helping with Spanish translation needs.

“Our classified staff is the backbone of our district,” said Grier. “This honor is a small way we can say thank you to all of them.”

IN THE NEWS: Charger Darren Sproles Inspires Students

Darren Sproles spent Thursday morning encouraging approximately 30 youngsters who, like the star running back, battle stuttering issues.

When Alex Scharnitzky, a sixth grader at San Diego’s De Portola Middle School, shook hands with Darren Sproles Thursday morning, it wasn’t just about meeting his favorite athlete. It was about finding common ground with someone who has faced and overcome similar obstacles. Read more from the Chargers website.

IN THE NEWS: Student Athletes and Programs Profiled

The San Diego Union-Tribune has recently profiled three student athletes.
  • The Intimidator: Catcher is Imposing Behind, in Front of the Plate, Mira Mesa High's Dillon Haupt, May 15. Read more.

  • Kearny Turns Things Around: The school's baseball program is headed to the playoffs for the first time in many years, May 13. Read more.

  • La Jolla Runner Winning with Cerebral Kick, Nihal Kayali of La Jolla High, May 13. Read more.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

H1N1 Letter to Parents from Health Department

The County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency has prepared a letter to parents throughout San Diego County. It's an update on the H1N1 virus. To download your copy, go to:


or Spanish:

For more information on this, contact the County of San Diego by dialing 211 (only in San Diego County).

Bow Wow for Ages 13-18 on Saturday

A Celebration to Your Education presents a special concert by Bow Wow for students ages 13-18 years, on Saturday, May 16, from 7- 9 p.m., at the San Diego Convention Center. Cost of entry: $20. School ID required. Students from local high school with the highest grade point average and greatest attendance record will be rewarded with a meet and greet with Bow Wow prior to the show. For more information, visit or call (619) 721-0431.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Soaring Eagles: 2009 Culture Days

This Balboa Park location, within close proximity of a former Kumeyaay Village site, is a comfortable place in today’s urban world for many of our Tribal friends and visitors. The Southern California American Indian Resource, SCAIR, sponsored Soaring Eagles were in prominent, constant and beautiful support of the San Diego Unified School District Indian Education Title VII and the Indian Human Resource Center organized this May 9-10, 2009 culture days program. Read more from

IN THE NEWS: How to turn a struggling reader into a strong reader

Sometimes all it takes for a young, struggling reader to become a successful reader is a reading buddy, a patient adult who listens to her read.

That’s exactly what Marilyn Schmeling and hundreds of other volunteers do through Everyone A Reader, a terrific volunteer program that trains them in just three hours to work with young readers who need a little help bringing out their inner reader. Read More from the

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SDUSD Dropout Rate Half of California Average

9.3 Percent Shows Work Still Necessary, Superintendent Says

San Diego Unified’s estimated dropout rate declined by 8.5 percentage points for the 2007-08 school year, to 9.3 percent, according to figures released today by the state Department of Education, lower than the 20.1 percent average statewide.

The current four-year estimated rate of 9.3 percent also bested other large California districts such as Los Angeles (34.9 percent), Fresno (28.0), Sacramento City (19.6), San Francisco (18.0) and Long Beach (16.2). Among the state’s largest districts, only Garden Grove had a lower rate, at 9.1 percent, according to state figures.

"Making sure our kids graduate from high school is our mission at San Diego Unified,” said Superintendent Terry Grier. “I want to salute not only our hard-working high school students, but our hard-working teachers and staff who have really pulled together show solid improvement."

The four-year rate estimates the percentage of students who begin ninth grade and graduate by the end of 12th grade. Much of San Diego Unified’s improvement came from better data, as staff verified individual dropouts as much as possible. In past years, students who transferred to other districts might have been considered dropouts by the state.

In addition, programs such as graduation coaches, credit recovery, providing more options for high school students on campus, the new Virtual High School and San Diego Early Middle College at San Diego City College, expanding career technical education and the small high schools have proven successful for many students.

Grier said the higher, four-year dropouts rates for African American (10.9 percent) and Latino students (13.3 percent) are still a problem.

"We continue to work from elementary to high school to make sure all of our students graduate,” he said. “We should not be satisfied if one student drops out.”

To review numbers for the district and individual schools, go to the California Department of Education’s website,

San Diego Unified High Schools



Percent Change





Crawford CHAMPS




Crawford IDEA




Crawford Law & Business




Crawford MVAS












Kearny CTA




Kearny DMD




Kearny Intl. Business




Kearny SCT




La Jolla




Lincoln not open in 2007








Mira Mesa




Mission Bay








Pt. Loma




SD High Business








SD High Intl. Studies












SD High SciTech




Scripps Ranch








University City




Largest California School Districts




Percent Change

San Diego




Garden Grove




San Francisco




Los Angeles




Long Beach




Sacramento City












IN THE NEWS: UC High's 'Battle of the Bands' Featured on Morning News

KUSI-TV's Mike Castellucci was at University City High School, where on Friday, May 15th, a Battle of the Bands will be held to raise money for participating schools' music programs, including Standley Middle School.

Monday, May 11, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Marshall Elementary, International Rescue Committee on TV

Bridget Naso was down at Marshall Elementary School, where the International Rescue Committee is hosting their "First Things First" program, which provides a unique educational opportunity for the most vulnerable group of refugees: preliterate parents and their preschool children. See more from KUSI-TV.

IN THE NEWS: FACES for the Future Live from Hoover

Mike Castellucci was down at Hoover High School where they've partnered with Rady Children's Hospital to start a program called "FACES for the Future," a program that allows students to work with professionals as they prepare for a career in the health industry. See More from KUSI-TV.

IN THE NEWS: Classrooms benefit directly from donors

All Patricia Craig had to do was ask. Within a week, an anonymous $120 donation gave her 20 second-graders Weekly Reader subscriptions. Over the next two years, Craig posted about nearly $6,000 worth of wishes on the Web. Big ones, for a projector and a document camera. Wee ones, for colored chalk. All of them came true.

The contributions flowed into Room 26 at Hancock Elementary School in Tierrasanta from donors in at least 13 states through The online charitable bazaar has made it easy for people to give $34 million worth of books, field trips and electronics to the nation's schools since its inception nine years ago.

DonorsChoose has personalized point-and-click philanthropy through a matchmaking service that pairs a donor with a classroom. “It's kind of like putting a wish list together for Santa Claus, and often you get what you want,” Craig said.

Since San Diego schools became eligible to participate when DonorsChoose went national in September 2007, the organization has raised $219,622 for projects at 140 local schools. The model taps into a powerful developing movement in charitable giving that circumvents traditional middlemen. Read More from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Reading, Writing and Unruliness: A New Focus on Student Behavior

Alexis Ramirez missed most of kindergarten to sobbing fits. First grade at Edison Elementary was little better. She would cling to the school gates or run from the classroom. Her flustered parents enlisted a police officer to tell Alexis that school was mandatory. Nothing worked.

Missing so much class dragged down her grades. It took heavy cajoling and rewards from her mother and her teachers to coax Alexis, now 8, to the classroom, but slowly she came around to the idea. Now she clamors for books and primps in the mirror each morning before school. Read More from the Voice of San Diego.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Over 1,000 take district's early-out offer

Leanne Lynn has agreed to retire from teaching at Birney Elementary School next month for an extra year's pay and a chance to help save the San Diego Unified School District millions of dollars.

Lynn, who has taught for 36 years, is among the 592 teachers to accept the golden-handshake offer by yesterday's 5 p.m. deadline. Read More from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: Three are named teachers of the year for school district

Three men who teach in the city's urban core have been honored as top educators in the San Diego Unified School District.

Bill Freeman, a fourth-grade teacher at Porter Elementary School in Lincoln Park; Michael Crawford, a science teacher at Clark Middle School in City Heights; and Phillippe Poncey, a drama and French teacher at San Diego High's School of International Studies downtown have been named the district's teachers of the year. Read More from the San Diego Union-Tribune

IN THE NEWS: Student spotlight -- Eric Gunderson

A few weeks after watching a San Diego Karting Association race, Eric Gunderson's parents bought him his own kart. He started racing when he was 11.

“I tried other sports like baseball and football and such, and wasn't a big fan of them,” he said. READ MORE FROM THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Superintendent's Friday Notes Now Online for May 8

Superintendent Terry Grier's Friday Notes are now online.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Border Voices 16th Annual Poetry Fair

San Diego Unified students have been awarded for their poetry as part of the 2009 Border Voices Poetry Fair. Read more.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

H1N1 Virus Update to the San Diego Unified School District Community, May 6, 2009

This is an update to the San Diego Unified School District community on issues related to the H1N1 (swine) flu as of 5 p.m., May 6, 2009.

-- School's Open: With the release by health officials of the Kearny and SCPA sites, all San Diego Unified schools are now in session. Students should be in school unless they are ill or otherwise excused.

-- Illness Defined: Students and staff should stay home for at least seven days if they have a 100-degree or higher fever and at least one of the following symptoms: a cough, sore throat.

-- Flu Issues: Parents and staff with questions about the flu, absences and other health issues can call the district's Nursing and Wellness Department at (858) 627-7580. Staff is available there from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The earlier hotline has been closed.

-- Doctor's Notes for Ill Students: If a student exhibits Influenza-like symptoms -- defined as fever 100 degrees or more and cough and/or sore throat -- the Health Department says that they must stay home from school a minimum of seven days, longer if the symptoms persist. A release from a doctor saying they can return to school will only be accepted if the doctor specifies a different definitive diagnosis is being treated, such as ear infection or Strep Throat. A diagnosis of seasonal influenza must be confirmed with a positive Influenza A test specific to the seasonal virus, or a negative Influenza A test. Notes that state only that the child is released to return saying the only had a "mild virus," or “no evidence of swine flu,” are not being accepted at school. Parents and school staff that are uncertain about a particular note should call San Diego Unified's Nursing and Wellness Department at (858) 627-7580.

-- Regular E-mails End Today: These regular updates by e-mail will end today. The district urges parents and the community to continue monitoring the media for information on this health issue. In addition, our Nursing and Wellness Department has tips for parents on preventing the spread of colds and flu, as well as other good flu information at

Updated H1N1 virus information is on the county's website at, or, in San Diego County, by dialing 211. San Diego Unified's flu information page is at

Community Partnerships with San Diego Unified Saluted

More than 1,400 of the companies, work groups and other members of the community who regularly contribute more than $5.6 million annually in funds, goods and “sweat equity” to San Diego’s school kids are being honored in a at gala Thursday, May 7 at Sea World.

No tickets were left for the 27th Annual “Partnerships in Education Community Recognition Event,” but those attending are in great company -- they’re San Diegans who have given their money, time and materials to help students in the San Diego Unified School District.

“Every one of our partners has a passion to make the difference in the lives of our young people,” said Janet Delaney, Community Relations Director for San Diego Unified. “These are individuals coming together from all levels of San Diego to help the next generation.”

Thursday’s event will celebrate milestones, including 25-year partners Valencia Park Center for Academics, Drama and Dance, and the Southeastern Division of the San Diego Police Department. 20-year partners are (school pared with partner): Cabrillo Elementary with Navy Fleet ASWTC Pacific; Franklin Elementary, Chase Kensington; Johnson Magnet School, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center; SDUSD Community Relations Volunteer Program, California Coast Credit Union, Main Office; Twain High, Mission Federal Credit Union, Old Town; Miramar Ranch Elementary, Kiwanis Club of Scripps-Mira Mesa; Montgomery Middle, University of San Diego Office of Community Service Learning; Rowan Elementary, U.S. Coast Guard San Diego.

Sponsors of the event are Merrill Lynch, Sea World, Higgs Fletcher and Mack, California Coast Credit Union, Target and Murray Lampert Construction.