Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Job Shadow Convinces Students to Pursue Aerospace Engineering Careers

Cedric Jerratt and James Acosta, seniors at Kearny’s Construction Tech Academy, participated in a recent job shadow at Aerostructures, an Aerospace Engineering facility in Chula Vista.

The students benefitted from interacting with four aerospace engineers, who are all recent college graduates rotating through the company’s various engineering disciplines before settling on a permanent position.

Read more.

Monday, June 29, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Construction summer camp for high school girls

Reporter Carlos Rico visits the 2009 MAGIC -- Mentoring A Girl In Construction -- Summer Camp, which kicked off Wednesday. See more from San Diego Source.

Serra, UC high schools get '09 "Unity in Action Award"

Serra High’s ELEVATED Student Relations Committee and University City High’s Power of One program have received first place awards in the annual Unity in Action contest from the San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition.

The Unity in Action contest was developed as a way to recognize programs in our schools that promote unity, diversity and/or tolerance. The Coalition found that there are many excellent programs in San Diego County.

“Both of these programs -- University City’s The Power of One and Serra’s Elevated Students Relations Committee -- clearly embrace the mission of the Hate Crimes Coalition” said Deputy District Attorney Oscar Garcia, who is Coalition Chairman.

"We promote the appreciation of diversity and the prevention of bias motivated behavior," he said. "It is certainly refreshing to find our youth committing themselves in such a positive manner for the betterment of our community. We are proud to honor them with this award.”

University City High’s Power of One is a program within a class, which has a goal of personal responsibility through diverse teamwork and community role models, according to its contest entry form.

“The Power of One is an ordinary psychology class doing extraordinary things,” its teacher, Lauriann Stanley, said. “The curriculum is modeled on a university course entitled Happiness 101. The basic premise is that students are unhappy today because they feel they can not make a difference in their world. This course gives to them the opportunity to daily do something for others. After in-depth psychological studies, the course requirements include weekly volunteer projects, random acts of kindness, letters of appreciation, cultural plunges, guest speakers and intensive group discussions.”

Serra High’s ELEVATED Student Relations Committee is an all-inclusive group with the main goal of unifying the diverse groups on the school’s campus, according to its entry form.

“ELEVATED is about breaking down barriers and creating unity,” according to the program’s advisor Krissie McClain. “Two of the topics they chose to work on this year were racial segregation and homophobia. The goal is to start out small-scale on Serra High's campus and further reach out to other schools, families, and the community.”

The San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition was formed eleven years ago to unite law enforcement agencies with community-based organizations to tackle issues presented by hate crimes in our community. Members of the Coalition include representatives from all law enforcement agencies in the county and members of many diverse community-based organizations.

In The News: Ozzie Roberts | Tough teacher changed lives; now her life changes

Crandallyn Graham – “Mama,” “Ms. G” – is so down-to-earth, with such laser-sharp wit, she makes you feel she's tough as tacks. And that you have to be just like her to pull up a chair in her room.

Yet when Joanna Ibay starts crying as a homemade video montage plays out on a TV screen in Ms. G's room at Morse High School earlier this month, Joanna doesn't feel one bit out of place. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Fire Techs are Hottest in State

Physical Plant Operations (PPO) Center Fire Equipment technicians Roger Coats and Mike Prendergast successfully passed their State Fire Marshal's Fire Extinguisher certification tests.

The pair scored first and second out of 82 participants in the San Diego region, and third and fourth in the state.

The team coordinates the maintenance of more than 14,000 fire extinguishers located throughout district facilities.


For more district news, read Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Balboa Elementary School gets makeover

SAN DIEGO — One of San Diego's most distressed campuses got a face-lift from a swarm of past and future teachers who painted, planted and assembled in nearly every corner of the school yesterday. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Internship Videos on ITV

Congratulations to the student production teams from San Diego Unified high schools that produced documentaries for San Diego County Office of Education Instructional Television’s “First Vote with the Democrateens” series.

The show, which will air on iTV cable Channel 16 on Sunday, June 28, at 6 p.m., will feature final projects from the San Diego Met/Point Loma/High Tech Media Arts team with “21st Century Learning,” Point Loma High School with “San Diego: City in the Red,” and Kearny High School with “San Diego’s Water Crisis.”

More videos are available


For more district news, read Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Things to do this summer

As a community service to our parents and families, San Diego Unified maintains a partial listing of free and low-cost summer resources. The list includes youth programs, safety tips, health and wellness resources, and employment opportunities. These resources are independent, community-based and are not run by the district.

Go to Summer Resources page.

IN THE NEWS: Focus on school foundations

District wants guidelines on how nonprofit donations are spent

As schools turn to private foundations to help fill gaps left from budget cuts, parent-run nonprofits are getting new scrutiny from the San Diego school district — prompting concerns they might lose the ability to spend donations as they see fit. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: Student Spotlight: Zulma Monsalvo

Her brother got an electric keyboard when she was in elementary school, but he didn't use it much. So, Zulma Monsalvo taught herself how to play.

Now 18 and a recent graduate of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, Monsalvo has spent the years since taking piano and singing lessons, and helping start a children's choir at her church. She plans to attend Point Loma Nazarene University this fall and is part of the first generation in her family to go to college. (Her older sister attends the University of California San Diego.) Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Filling a need for nutrition: Children get healthful meals at free summer lunch program

Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?

An annual summer lunch program designed for children from low-income families began this week at nearly a dozen parks and recreation centers from Kearny Mesa to Encanto. An additional 12 sites will open next month.

IN THE NEWS: Hoover High Hoops Star Hopes to Play for US

When Angelo Chol was one of 21 players invited to try out this month for the USA Under-16 national basketball team, he was excited.

A chance to compete against the best players his age in this country and abroad seemed like a great opportunity. Read More from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

SCPA Star Student Heads for New York

Chauncey Matthews (in photo with The Old Globe CEO/Executive Producer Louis Spisto), from San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), is one of two San Diego County students selected to receive Globe Honors by the Old Globe Theatre.

The program for high school students rewards excellence in theatre performance. Students from more than 30 schools competed for the honor to represent San Diego in New York City for the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, June 25-29.

Chauncey, who played the “King” in The King and I at SCPA, will travel on an all expenses paid trip to New York City for the national competition.
For more district news, see this week's Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Free Lunch for San Diego's Kids

For San Diego's kids there is such a thing as a free lunch this summer, as the Summer Fun Café opens in locations all over the city,

For the sixth year, San Diego Unified School District is partnering with the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department to bring the US Department of Agriculture's "Seamless Summer Feeding Option" to local children. Nearly 40 sites around the city -- including MCAS Miramar -- will be serving lunch to kids Monday-Friday. For the complete schedule and locations, go to www.sandi.net/food and click on "Summer Fun Café."

"There's no paperwork, no qualifications, just lunch," said Gary Petill, San Diego Unified's Food Services Director. "Good nutrition is very important to a child's growth and parents can be assured that their child is getting a good lunch at their school or recreation center."

The following schools will be serving lunch June 22-July 17

  • Bell Middle School 620 Briarwood Rd. (92139) 9:40-10:00
  • Alcott Elementary School 4680 Hidalgo Ave. (92117) 12:45-12:55
  • Encanto Elementary School 822 65th St. (92114) 11:50-12:10
  • Field Elementary School 4375 Bannock Ave. (92117) 12:05-12:25
  • Florence Elementary School 3914 First Ave. (92103) 11:20-11:40
  • Hage Elementary School 9750 Galvin Ave. (92126) 12:00-12:20
  • Lafayette Elementary School 6125 Printwood Way (92117) 12:15-12:35
  • Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School 4133 Mt. Albertine Ave. (92111) 1:35-1:55
  • Mann Middle School 4345 54th St. (92115) 11:40-12:00
  • Marvin Elementary School 5720 Brunswick Ave. (92120) 12:05-12:20
  • McKinley Elementary School 3035 Felton St. (92104) 1:30-1:40
  • O’Farrell Community School 6130 Skyline Dr. (92114) 11:55-12:15
  • Rolando Park Elementary School 6620 Marlowe Dr. (92115) 1:40-2:00
  • Roosevelt Middle School 3366 Park Blvd. (92103) 12:00-12:20
  • Taft Middle School 9191 Gramercy Dr. (92123) 10:30-11:00
The following schools will be serving lunch through July 3
  • Crawford High School, 4191 Colts Way, (92115), 11:45-12:10
  • Kearny High School, 7651 Wellington St., (92111), 1-1:15
  • Madison High School, 4833 Doliva Dr. (92117), 12:10-12:30
  • Mission Bay High School, 2475 Grand Ave., (92109), 12:30-12:45
  • Morse High School, 6905 Skyline Dr., (92114), 12-12:15
  • Point Loma High School, 2335 Chatsworth Blvd., 92106, 12:20-12:40
City of San Diego Recreation Centers
Lunch served Monday-Friday, through August
28. Note special family barbecue date.Linda Vista, 7064 Levant St. (92111), (858) 573-1392, 1-2; family barbecue day July 30;
  • Martin Luther King Jr., 6401 Skyline Dr. (92114), (619) 527-3415, 12-1; family barbecue day July 10;
  • Mid-City Gym, 4302 Landis St. (92105), (619) 516-3082, 12-1; family barbecue day July 28;
  • Mira Mesa, 8575 New Salem St. (92126), (858) 538-8122, 1-2; family barbecue day July 9;
  • Morley Field Sports Complex , 2221 Morley Field Dr. (92104), (619) 692-4919, 11:30-12:30; family barbecue day July 1;
  • Skyline Hills, 8285 Skyline Dr. (92114), (619) 527-3486, 12-1, June 24;
  • South Clairemont, 3605 Clairemont Dr. (92117), (858) 581-9924, 11:30-12:30; family barbecue day July 17;
  • Stockton, 330 32nd St. (92102, (619) 235-1163, 12-1, June 26;
  • Tierrasanta, 11220 Clmt. Mesa Blvd. (92124), (858) 573-1393, 11:30-12:30; family barbecue day July 22;
The following recreation centers will be serving lunch on July 3
  • Azalea, 2596 Violet St. (92105), (619) 235-1162, 12-1, Aug. 28;
  • City Heights, 4380 Landis St. (92105), (619) 641-6125, 12-1, Aug. 4;
  • Colina Del Sol, 5319 Orange Ave. (92115), (619) 235-1144, 12-1, Aug. 14;
  • Willie Henderson Sports Complex, 1035 S. 45th St. (92113), (619) 527-3407, 1-2; family barbecue day July 31;
  • Mountain View, 641 South Boundary St. (92113), (619) 527-3417, 1-2, Aug. 21;
  • North Park, 4044 Idaho St. (92104), (619) 235-1152, 12-1, Aug. 7;
  • Paradise Hills, 6610 Potomac St. (92139), (619) 527-3419, 12-1, Aug. 13;
  • Penn Athletic Field, 2550 Dusk Dr. (92139), (619) 527-3458, 12-1; family barbecue day July 23;
  • Southcrest, 4149 Newton Ave. (92113), (619) 527-3413, 12:30-1:30; family barbecue day July 24.

Mann Middle School Receives Generous Grant Support

Horace Mann Middle School recently received a $40,000 grant from the VH1 Music Foundation.

VH1 Program Manager Jaclyn D. Shea traveled from New York to visit the middle school and play with students.

In addition, Taylor Guitar, a local music company, recently donated guitars worth $40,000.

Mann students and faculty are appreciative of these generous donations. For more information, please call Vice Principal Courtney Young at (619) 582-8990.

For more district news, see this week's Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Moving Ahead with 21st Century Classrooms

More than ever, schools across the country turn to the web to access online materials to supplement and enhance instruction. San Diego Unified schools will soon be able to access online resources much faster. All elementary schools are scheduled to receive a much-needed boost in internet speed by the end of June.

This is part of a district-wide fiber optic network centralization that will be 400 percent faster and will eliminate out-dated T1 lines (copper wire networks). The network is mostly paid for through the Federal e-rate program, offering more than a 70 percent discount.

The Board of Education has placed a priority on digital learning that will provide teachers and students with essential skills to succeed in the 21st century. As teachers take advantage of access to web-based resources, more students can take control of their learning and extend learning opportunities beyond the traditional school day.

For more information, please contact Darryl LeGace, chief information and technology officer, at (619) 260-5474.

For more district news, see this week's Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Board of Education Approves 2009-10 Budget

San Diego Unified School District has a budget for the 2009-10 school year and a state-required spending plan for 2010-11.

The Board approved the budget at its regular meeting Tuesday, June 23, with no changes for the 2009-10 school year from the board approvals on June 2. It's a $1.1 billion spending plan balanced based on the Governor's May Estimate, which the state requires school districts to base their budgets on before the state budget is passed.

The state requires a budgets to be submitted to the local county office of education for the next two fiscal years; budgets must show the district has sufficient funds to complete the current year.

The state currently does not have a budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Charger Matt Wilhelm MC's Free Kids Lunch Kickoff

Annual Program Gives Free Lunches for Kids 18 and Under

SAN DIEGO -- For San Diego's kids there is such a thing as a free lunch this summer, as the Summer Fun Café opens in locations all over the city, with a big barbecue kickoff coming up on Wednesday.

Kids are invited to bring their parents to the event, scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Skyline Hills Community Park, 8285 Skyline Dr. (92114). Lunch is free for anyone 18 and under -- and at this event only, for adults, too. Matt Wilhelm of the San Diego Chargers will emcee the event.

For the sixth year, San Diego Unified School District is partnering with the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department to bring the US Department of Agriculture's "Seamless Summer Feeding Option" to local children. Nearly 40 sites around the city -- including MCAS Miramar -- will be serving lunch to kids Monday-Friday. For the complete schedule and locations, go to www.sandi.net/food and click on "Summer Fun Café."

"There's no paperwork, no qualifications, just lunch," said Gary Petill, San Diego Unified's Food Services Director. "Good nutrition is very important to a child's growth and parents can be assured that their child is getting a good lunch at their school or recreation center."

The kickoff event will also include a food distribution by the San Diego Food Bank, Z90.3 Radio live broadcast, a nutrition decathlon, inflatable jumper and craft tables.

Other programs are being offered by other school districts in other parts of the county. For information on where a summer lunch program might be near you, call the county-wide information number, 211.

San Diego Unified Bus Drivers Captures 2nd Place in State Roadeo

On Memorial Day weekend, 46 school bus drivers across the state gathered in Galt, CA to compete in the 2009 Championship Roadeo, sponsored by the California Association of School Transportation Officials.

Six San Diego Unified bus drivers participated in the annual event. SDUSD’s David Lancaster won second place in the individual category. SDUSD’s team also won the second place team prize, missing first place by only three points.

The school bus Roadeo provides invaluable training and camaraderie in a volunteer setting.

For more information, please contact Alex Robinson, director of transportation, at arobinson@sandi.net or (858) 496-8701.

For more district news, see this week's Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Scripps Ranch High Varsity Swimmers Fall Off Diet

107 Patties + Cheese = Monster Hamburger
Team swore off fast food until season ended
Call it a Whopper of a hamburger story. The Scripps Ranch High School varsity swim team succeeded in eating a giant cheeseburger made of 107-patties and slices of cheese. See more from NBC Bay Area.

School Site Role Expands in New Principal Selection Process

As part of an ongoing effort initiated by the superintendent to encourage “bottom-up” decision-making, school communities are being given an expanded role in the selection process for new school principals. With 29 principals participating in the early retirement program, San Diego Unified will be selecting more new principals this summer than ever before. To encourage greater involvement and input from school communities, the superintendent has implemented a new process that seeks input from teachers, classified employees, parent leaders and students in the selection process.

The new principal selection process begins with the school improvement officer (SIO) working with school site staff and parents to develop a profile of desired traits and priority skills for the principal. For high school vacancies, the SIO also seeks input and suggestions from the school’s student leaders. The profile is then used to help screen prospective candidates for each position. Candidates participate in a standardized interview which explores their value systems, leadership skills and experience. The top candidates are then selected who are most qualified and who best match the profile traits identified by the school site.

The top candidates are then interviewed by the School Community Interview Panel made up of at least two teachers, one classified employee, two parents and a principal from a similar school. The school community has the option to add members to the panel. Based on the interviews, the panel presents its recommendation for the principal selection.

As the final step, the superintendent presents the school site’s recommended candidate to the school board for approval. So far, this process has successfully led to the selection of 18 highly qualified principals who will begin work at their new schools this fall. For more information, please contact Dr. Grenita Lathan, chief elementary school improvement officer, at (619) 725-5502, or Sid Salazar, chief secondary school improvement officer, at (619) 725-7772.

For more district news, see this week's Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Fun Cafe Opens Monday, June 22

Free Summer Lunches at Schools (Open to the Public)

NO enrollment, NO paperwork, NO income qualifications. All children ages 2-18 are welcome. Opens Monday, June 22, 2009.

For the sixth year, San Diego Unified School District is partnering with the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department to bring the US Department of Agriculture’s “Seamless Summer Feeding Option” to local children.

Nearly 40 sites around the city -- including MCAS Miramar -- will be serving lunch to kids Monday-Friday. For the complete schedule and locations, go to www.sandi.net/food and click on “Summer Fun Café.”

Prop. S Committee Special Meeting

The Proposition S Citizens Oversight Committee of the San Diego Unified School district is holding a special meeting at 4 p.m. Monday, June 22, 2009, at the Eugene Brucker Education Center, 4100 Normal Street (92103).

The Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee was established to oversee the expenditure of funds from the $2.1 billion general obligation bond measure, Prop. S., approved by the voters on Nov. 4, 2008.

Regular meetings are held at 4:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the Eugene Brucker Education Center auditorium, located at 4100 Normal Street, San Diego, California unless otherwise noted. Subcommittee meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of the month unless otherwise noted.

All meetings are open to the public.

Madison Joins "America's Best High Schools" List

Newsweek’s Annual Rankings Recognize College Test Success; 12 San Diego Unified Schools Included
Out of about 20,000 high schools in America, Newsweek magazine has selected 12 San Diego Unified schools as being among the best, with the Preuss UCSD charter coming in as No. 10 in the nation. The recently revised list now includes Madison High School, which originally was not ranked.

The 2009 list (as of June 19) includes the following SDUSD schools ( with rankings): 10, Preuss UCSD; 60, San Diego High School for International Studies; 243, La Jolla; 298, University City; 305, Serra; 345, Mira Mesa; 411, Scripps Ranch; 486, Henry; 513, Point Loma; 587, San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts; 1,215, Clairemont; 1,311, Madison.

The rankings can change over time, as schools appeal their location. Madison's staff contacted Newsweek and were added to the list.

"This is a significant showing by a group of very fine schools," said Superintendent Terry Grier. "It is a testimonial not only to the hard working teachers and staff, but the students who excel."

The Newsweek rankings are based on students' success with Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) tests. High school students passing these tests can receive college credit as a result.

Newsweek's scores are determined by dividing the number of tests taken at a school by the number of graduating seniors. The magazine ranked the top 1,478 public high schools.

For the complete list, go to http://www.newsweek.com/id/201160

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Board Continues Budget Deliberations Tuesday, June 23

In order to continue refining budget projections for the 2010-11 school year, the San Diego Unified's Board of Education decided at a special meeting to have further discussion at the Tuesday, June 23, meeting.

At the special Thursday meeting, the Board discussed possible budget cuts for the 2010-11 school year, which must be submitted with the upcoming 2009-10 budget to the County Office of Education by July 1. The spending plan for 2009-10 was unchanged at Thursday's meeting.

Estimates are currently that the State of California will reduce San Diego Unified's funding by nearly $98 million for the 2010-11 school year. The Board discussed a number of funding options for future years, including a parcel tax, which would have to be approved by San Diego voters.

The meeting Tuesday is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Auditorium, Eugene Brucker Education Center, 4100 Normal St. The meeting is open to the public and will be streamed live on the web. For more information on the meeting, go to www.sandi.net/indices/board.htm

IN THE NEWS: A Grad Situation

Seniors from 18 campuses in the San Diego Unified School District graduated Monday, but students at Mount Everest Academy, John Muir School and Garfield and University City high schools got a head start with commencement ceremonies Friday. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: It's 'Ni hao' Not 'Hola' Here

The San Diego Unified School District added a Chinese language program at Barnard Elementary in Point Loma that's free and available to anyone. Read more from NBC 7/39.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Exxon Mobil Teachers Academy

Exxon Mobil Teachers Academy
Ten San Diego Unified elementary teachers will be traveling to Houston at the end of June to participate in the week-long Mickelson Exxon Mobil Teachers Academy. Funded by Exxon Mobile in collaboration with golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy, the program exposes teachers to new approaches to teaching mathematics and science.

SDUSD teachers (pictured above) include Melissa Bird, Freese; Carroll Carinne, Fay; Michelle Collins, Ibarra; Michelle Gonzalez-Clark, Encanto; Diana Dent, Cherokee Point; Nina Dixon, Freese; Holly Hendrickson, Lafayette; Penny Kincaid, Marshall; Allison Vinci, Central; and Kathryn Schulz, Elementary Instructional Support.

For more information, please contact Linda Gohlke at (619) 725-7253

Read more in Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Board to Continue Budget Deliberations

In order to continue to refine not only the 2009-10 school year budget but projections for the 2010-11 spending plan as required by the state, San Diego Unified's Board of Education received an updated report from the district Finance Department that showed the 2009/2010 can be balanced with the budget reductions adopted earlier this month. The Board plans to consider the proposed budget for final adoption on June 23.

Board members have until June 30 to submit a balanced budget to the County Office of Education. The District is also required to include projections for balanced budgets in 2010-11 and 2011-12. District staff presented projections that show a deficit of $77.5 million in 2010-11 that will need to be addressed with additional budget reductions. Board members asked staff to further refine their projections and alternatives for balancing the budget projections for the 2010-11 budget year as part of the staff presentation planned for the June 23 meeting.

Dates for additional special meetings have not yet been set, but notices of the meeting will be posted at http://www.sandi.net/indices/board.htm

EdCAST: 2009 iVIE Grand Recognition Award "The Boulevard"

EdCastCrawford High Multimedia & Visual Arts School (MVAS) students received the 2009 iVIE Grand Recognition Award for their video production, "The Boulevard.” In total, San Diego Unified schools received 5 of the 18 awards at the recent Innovative Video in Education (iVIE) ceremony. To read a complete list of winners, go to http://www.ivieawards.org/ . Watch "The Boulevard".

Read more in the Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Monday, June 15, 2009

IN THE NEWS: It’s a First: Schools Sell Bonds That Give Investors a Tax Credit

The San Diego Unified School District’s $38.8 million in construction bonds issued June 15 are the first tax credit bonds ever issued under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to the Bank of New York Mellon, the acting transfer agent. Read more from the San Diego Business Journal. Read news release from Bank of Mellon.

Special Board of Education Meeting Set Tuesday, June 16

San Diego Unified's Board of Education has scheduled a special public meeting for noon, Tuesday, June 16, at the Eugene Brucker Education Center, 4100 Normal Street. Among other items on the agenda is a first reading of the 2009-10 budget.

Time certain items are the Small School Discussion and Decision for noon, and Administrative Assignments at 5 p.m. It is projected that consideration of the 2009-10 school budget will be taken up after 5 p.m. The agenda is posted online.

The meeting is open to the public, will be streamed live on the Web and televised on cable Channel 16.

For the agenda and other information, go to http://www.sandi.net/indices/board.htm

Thank You from Dr. Grier

Monday, June 15, marks the end of the traditional school year. Before many of our staff members leave on summer break, I want to extend my deep appreciation for everyone’s hard work and dedication throughout this often challenging year. As we struggle with the ever-widening budget gap, you have all stayed focused on what matters most, our students.

I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and give special thanks to all the teachers, administrators and other staff who are retiring. Many of you are starting a new adventure after - literally - decades of service to our students and staff. We will miss your expertise and experience and wish you all the very best.

For those who will open our classrooms at the start of the new school year, we are grateful for your continued commitment and dedication. Have a restful and enjoyable summer.
Best regards,
Terry Grier

Saturday, June 13, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Student Spotlight -- Catherine Grant of Scripps Ranch High

For her birthday last year, Catherine Grant wanted a Web site.

The 15-year-old sophomore at Scripps Ranch High School decided to focus on helping other kids cope with being bullied – specifically, cyber-bullying. She had quite a bit of personal experience with the subject. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Inspirational Student Story: Nathaniel Nocum

One of San Diego Unified's top one percent graduates, here is the speech given by Nathaniel Nocum of Morse High at the Salute to Excellence event on May 20. Nathaniel is graduating Monday, June 15.

Salute to Excellence Speech
Nathaniel Nocum
Morse High School
May 20, 2009

Good afternoon. My name is Nathaniel Nocum and I’d like to thank you all for being here.

Throughout my life, I’ve faced damaging thoughts time and time again. I’ve felt the panic that may arise with any challenge. I’ve felt the frustration at not comprehending something I probably should. And I’ve felt the discouragement at seeing my colleagues understand things with greater clarity than I. In life, we will face disappointment if we look at everything with such negativity. Rather, we should view it all as a necessary process to realize our potential.

In my sophomore year, I joined my school’s volleyball team. For those of you who aren’t aware of its greatness as a sport, take my word for it. It was difficult; it was tiring; it was a new experience for me. During my first game, I had trouble hitting the ball over the net and keeping the ball inside the court. That was embarrassing. I could have stopped; I could have quit. But I didn’t. I kept going, pushing such thoughts away, because I knew that each attempt was another step towards success, and sure enough it was.

I never would have thought that it would have made such an impact in my life, and yet, it has. I didn’t care much for people then, and truthfully, nor did I care much for anything else; I was very unfocused. I was racked with doubt and insecurity, confusion about who I was and what I wanted in life. Volleyball changed all that. No longer was I so isolated, no longer did I shun myself from others. I had goals and I had ambitions that I worked towards with a sort of passion of which I never knew I was capable. I strove not to be the best, but my best. I learned to live not in the past with my mistakes, but in the present with a drive for the future. On the court, the only things allowed are confidence, faith, and determination. Confidence in ourselves, faith in each other, and the will to keep pushing through. I am different now, because of that. Life is like magic. Magic is wanting something and letting yourself have it. If anything, volleyball has taught me to be a magician.

Sometimes, however, the magic is chaotic. Moreover, it is then that we need someone to guide us as we grow, as we mature; someone who knows us so well as to calm the confusion of our lives. For me, they are my parents. They have given me the fundamental building blocks through which all my strengths and achievements have been built. They have inspired me to do well, to be my best, and I believe that their effect on me is obvious, if not commanding in my character. My parents have always worked hard to provide for my siblings and me, often putting themselves last against our well-being and happiness. They take time out of their day to take care of us, to spend time with us. They don’t even play favorites. All of that for us, doing all the things great moms and dads do. How blessed I am, to have such amazing parents, and I hope that someday, I will be able to emulate them.

In the fall, I will be attending Muir College at UCSD and am to major in Cognitive Science. Briefly, it is the study of the nature of different mental tasks and what the brain does in order to perform them. I’m planning on becoming either a psychologist or physician. Though, admittedly, I’m leaning towards physician, the reason being, I feel I can help more people that way. I’m not too sure where this road may lead, but I do know that science is something I’ve always been good at. And science that helps people in their everyday lives is something I’d like to pursue.

Lastly, the advice I’d like to give my fellow colleagues is this. Studying is important, yes. But we study so that in the long run we can be happy and so that we may pursue our passions. Remember that and don’t kill yourself for your grades. Take time out of your day or week to relax, play a sport, and to help out in the community. Every Monday I volunteer in the Friday Night Live Mentoring program to help promote a drug-free lifestyle at the local middle school. I also participate in my school’s Key Club, and I volunteer at various organization events, such as the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. It is a great feeling to know that I make a difference. I doubt anything feels better than helping yourself and helping others. Thank you.

Inspirational Student Story: Andrea Flores

One of San Diego Unified's top one percent graduates, here is the speech given by Andrea Flores of Pt. Loma High at the Salute to Excellence event on May 20. Andrea is graduating Monday, June 15.

Hello and good afternoon as well! My name is Andrea Flores, and I am a senior at Point Loma High School. It is truly an honor to be here, surrounded by the brightest and most dedicated students of this year’s graduating class.

We all have our personal stories describing how we managed to arrive at this exact moment, only days away from graduating and venturing into the unknown. Some of us had relatively easy journeys these past twelve years, and others of us had to struggle greatly.

My personal story began twelve years ago, in a kindergarten classroom. My teacher pointed at a chair and said, “Can you please sit down, Andrea?” All I could do in return was stare blankly. Actually it was more of a blank stare followed by hysterical crying, but that is not the point. I had to overcome a language barrier at the age of five. Ever since that terrifying first day of school, I have stumbled upon many challenges and, quite frankly, I have fallen flat on my face several times. But I have always picked myself up and kept moving forward. Always. Every time I have succeeded, I have benefited greatly; I am now a bilingual student who will be attending UCLA in the fall to pursue her dreams of researching medicine. Could I ask for anything more? By this I mean anything more than the money that will get me through the next several years!

Today is not simply about me, it is about all of us. Have we not all climbed mountains to arrive here? We have all gone to classes, done the work, studied rigorously, but most importantly, we have never lost sight of our aspirations and have never given up hope. We are approaching the beginning of what adults who enjoy seeing flashes of terror in our eyes refer to as “the real world.” In reality, we are continuing the life we have already started, and, because we have built a solid foundation for our future, we are not going to shatter and break.

I’d like to thank my parents right now for teaching me that your personal background does not determine the type of lifestyle you will lead. They completely epitomize this concept. I have been proud of them all my life, and it is time for them to be proud of me.

Now, remember, we are too close to success to fall back now. We are our own future, after all, so let us make it a bright one!

Thank you and I wish you the best of luck!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Board VP Barrera Hosts Meeting Saturday

Board of Education Vice President Richard Barrera is hosting a community meeting to discuss the ways we can work together to support our schools and students during the budget crisis.

Attendees will learn about various school volunteer opportunities and other ways to get involved from the people who know best, principals and parents.

The meeting is scheduled from 2-5 p.m., this Saturday, June 13, at San Diego City College cafeteria, 1313 Park Boulevard (92101).

Contact Bernie Rhinerson, chief district relations officer, (619) 725-5568, for more information. This meeting is free and open to the public.

Graduation Schedule for Monday, June 15

Here is a list of the graduation ceremonies at San Diego Unified School
District high schools for Monday, June 15.

11 a.m.
  • San Diego Met, (619) 388-2299, 7250 Mesa College Dr., Rm. F258 (92111)
    Jenny Craig Pavilion, University of San Diego
    Presenter, Richard Barrera, Board Vice President
1 p.m.
  • Kearny High School, (858) 496-8370, 7651 Wellington St. (92111)
    Golden Hall, 202 C Street, downtown San Diego
    Presenter, Chuck Morris, Deputy Supt.

  • Twain High, (858) 496-8260, 6402 Linda Vista Rd. (92111)
    (1:15 p.m.) Jenny Craig Pavilion at University of San Diego
    Presenter, Terry Grier, Superintendent
1:30 p.m.
  • Madison High, 4833 Doliva Dr. (92117)
    MHS Football Field
    Presenter, John Lee Evans, Board Trustee

  • Morse High, (619) 262-0763, 6905 Skyline Dr. (92114)
    Cox Arena, San Diego State University
    Presenter, Shelia Jackson, Board President
2 p.m.
  • La Jolla High, (858) 454-3081, 750 Nautilus St. (92037)
    LJHS Football Field
    Presenter, Richard Barrera, Board Vice President

  • San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, (619) 470-0555, 2425 Dusk Dr. (92139)
    SD SCPA Circle of the Sun
    Presenter, Katherine Nakamura, Board Trustee
3 p.m.
  • Point Loma High, (619) 223-3121, 2335 Chatsworth Blvd. (92106)
    PLHS Robb Stadium
    Presenter, John de Beck, Board Trustee
4 p.m.
  • Crawford High School, (619) 583-2500, 4191 Colts Way (92115)
    Golden Hall, San Diego Concourse, 202 C Street
    Presenter, Tony Burks, School Improvement Officer

  • Hoover High (619) 283-6281, 4474 El Cajon Blvd. (92115)
    HHS Stadium
    Presenter, Chuck Morris, Deputy Supt.

  • Serra High, (858) 496-8342, 5156 Santo Rd. (92124)
    SHS Football Field
    Presenter, Katherine Nakamura, Board Trustee
5 p.m.
  • Patrick Henry High, (619) 286-7700, 6702 Wandermere Dr. (92120)
    PHHS Stadium
    Presenter, Nellie Meyer, Chief High School Improvement Officer
  • Mira Mesa High, (858) 566-2262, 10510 Reagan Rd. (92126)
    Jenny Craig Pavilion at University of San Diego
    Presenter, Shelia Jackson, Board President

  • Mission Bay High, (858) 273-1313, 2475 Grand Ave. (92109)
    MBHS Football Field
    Presenter, John de Beck, Board Trustee

5:30 p.m.
  • San Diego High School, (619) 525-7455, 1405 Park Blvd. (92101)
    Starlight Bowl, Balboa Park
    Presenter, Richard Barrera, Board Vice President
6 p.m.
  • Lincoln High, (619) 266-6500, 4777 Imperial Avenue (92113)
    LHS Stadium
    Presenter, Tony Burks, School Improvement Officer

  • Scripps Ranch High, (858) 621-9020, 10410 Treena St. (92131)
    Cox Arena at San Diego State University
    Presenter, Katherine Nakamura, Board Trustee

7 p.m.

  • Clairemont High, (858) 273-0201, 150 Ute Dr. (92117)
    Golden Hall, San Diego Concourse, 202 C Street
    Presenter, John Lee Evans, Board Trustee

Graduation Ceremonies for Four Schools Friday, Jun .12

Four high schools are holding graduation ceremonies on Friday, June 12.

The schools are:
  • 2 p.m.
    Garfield, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park
    University City, football field

  • 3:30 p.m.
    Mt. Everest Academy, school auditorium

  • 6 p.m.
    John Muir School, Balboa Park Administrative Garden
More ceremonies on Monday, June 15. Open to the public. View the complete list.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Cutting Classes Used to be Fun

The extent of cuts which will have to be made to programs and personnel in city and country schools are coming into focus as new information on state cuts and school enrollment comes in. Those budget challenges are being faced by schools and that is the topic for the next hour.

And we also have, joining us in the studio, the president of the Board of Trustees for San Diego Unified School District, Shelia Jackson. Listen to audio from KPBS-FM.

Two Kearny SCT students Speak at Tijuana Estuary

Kearny Complex Science Connections & Technology (SCT) students Cody Barton and Chris Haugen will be featured in the Speaker Series (Adobe PDF) at the Tijuana Estuary on Saturday, June 20.

The students will present their findings from their sophomore project regarding the water quality of the surrounding beach. In addition, two teams with a total of 15 students from SCT won the Veteran Team Award ($1,000) and the Project Web Page Award ($500) at the 2009 Project Based Learning Showcase.

The projects focused on water in San Diego with topics ranging from drought, water conservation and pollution in the Tijuana Estuary region.

For more information, please contact Joanne Johnson, science teacher, at (858) 496-8370, ext. 4703.

Read more in Superintendent's Friday Notes.

IN THE NEWS: School Board Delays Vote On '09-'10 Budget

Just a week after making cuts to balance the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education learned Tuesday that the district will face an $84 million shortfall the following fiscal year. Read more from 10News.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Licensed Children’s Institute (LCI) Program Shining Star

Student Trista Casey of the Licensed Children's Institute Program has been chosen to give the graduation speech for the high school diploma program at Garfield High School.

Trista, who has been in the foster youth and juvenile justice systems, managed to change the trajectory of her life through her determination and relationships with a counselor and two teachers who refused to give up on her.

Trista is graduating Friday from the Student Apprenticeship Program after successfully completing training in the hospitality industry at the Marriott Marina.

Read her graduation speech (Adobe PDF).

Teachers from San Diego Unified in the Licensed Children's Insitute program provide educational services to students in hospitals and social agencies throughout San Diego. The hospital or agency provides a treatment program for students with emotional difficulties or other issues affecting their lives. The program does not control the student’s admission or discharge. The population served may be in general or special education. For more information, please contact Program Manager Pamela Hosmer at (619) 725-7054.

Read more from the Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Distinguished Schools Honored

Seven San Diego Unified schools were honored recently at the California Distinguished School awards ceremony held in Anaheim.

District honorees included Challenger Middle, John Muir, Kearny School of Digital Media & Design, Kearny School of International Business, Scripps Ranch High and San Diego Met.

Congratulations to all our distinguished schools. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education website.

See more in Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

IN THE NEWS: Teacher Spotlight is Serra's Ericka Senegar Mitchell

Her dream is to take her $2,500 prize and buy a bus. Well, a big van.

“One of the obstacles for me to take these students out in the (biotech) industry is transportation,” said Ericka Senegar-Mitchell, a science teacher at Serra High School. “There's a lot of companies that say, 'If you can get here, you're welcome to come play with us.'” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: Kumeyaay Elementary Students Donate Hair for Cancer Patients

A large group of female students from Kumeyaay Elementary School, and one traffic reporter from KUSI, lined up this morning to donate their hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program. See Video from KUSI-TV.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Regional Occupation Program Automotive Students Awarded Scholarships

Fourteen hard-working students were granted full scholarships to the Miramar College Diesel Technology Program.

Congratulations to Rafael Maciel (Sci-Tech High); Robert Landry (High Tech High Media Arts); Joshua Le Blanc, Irvin Ortiz, Merissa Richardson, Jonathan Lopez, David Ostrowski, Eloy Lopez and Gladys Becerra (Clairemont High); Adam Spahr, Scott Davis, Matt Williams and Nhan Nguyan (Madison High); and Nolan Le Duc (Crawford High), who also received the 2009 Bridgestone/Firestone scholarship award.

The scholarships will give the students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree in diesel technology. Students who complete the program will receive a $500 toolbox bonus.

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

Read more in Superintendent's Friday Notes.

IN THE NEWS: Teen chefs cook up a competitive feast

Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch students show culinary skills

Move over Bobby Flay.

The celebrity chef from the Food Network's popular “Iron Chef America” has nothing on a group of culinary students from Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa high schools.

Recently, the students went head-to-head at a commercial kitchen in their own version of the hit series, which was billed as San Diego's first Teen Iron Chef competition. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Game On! Ninth Grade Attendance Initiative - Celebrating success at five local high schools

San Diego Unified’s GAME On! (Good Attendance Means Everything) 9th Grade Attendance Initiative has seen success in its first year. Five participating schools: Mission Bay, Morse, Kearny Science Connections & Technology, Crawford Invention & Design Educational Academy and San Diego High School of Communication Investigations in a Multicultural Atmosphere, have increased their combined average 9th grade attendance rate over the year by more than 1%, doubling the .5% rate of improvement set by Superintendent Terry Grier as a district goal.

Students are being recognized for their school attendance as an important step on the road to graduation and becoming productive members of the community. Research shows that a student’s success in the ninth grade is directly linked to the likelihood the student will graduate high school by 12th grade. Schools benefit too, with a bump in state funding for Average Daily Attendance (ADA), which could not come at a better time.

The five schools spent the last year tracking weekly attendance, mentoring students, handing out Game On! t-shirts and pins and rewarding “Excellent” (98-100%) or “Most Improved” attendance. Student rewards included first-in-line lunch passes, local attraction tickets and drawings for DVD players, culminating in Padres tickets, drawings for laptops and end-of-year celebrations.

More than $25,000 in incentives has been donated. Key sponsors include Chris Young’s CY All-Stars Charity Padres Ticket Program, Arey-Jones, Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Alvarado Auxiliary and the Gear Up! grant. Plans are underway to continue the program next year with an open invitation to the community for sponsorship support. Potential sponsors can contact SDUSD Community Relations at (619) 725-5592.

Scholarships for Future Teachers

Future Educator Scholarships were awarded to 14 high school students by the San Diego Education Fund, a fund that has helped train the next generation of teachers since 1954.

This year’s Future Educator Scholars include Katie Foley and Sharita Peyton (Clairemont); Jessica Contreras, Megan Jochim and Amanda Peterson (Henry); Jessica Williams (Lincoln); April Cervantes (Morse); Erica Navarro (Point Loma); Monica Mejia (Twain); and Ronel Dalisay (University City). Scholarship recipients from the Mashin Scholars fund for math- or science-related fields are Cristina Nguyen (Crawford CHAMPS); Biniam Ambrachew and Janet Mercedes Gil (Mission Bay); and Abraham Nguyen (Preuss School at UCSD).

Congratulations to all future educators and thanks to the San Diego Education Fund for more than a half-century of supporting tomorrow's teachers. For more information on the Fund, go to www.sdef.org

Read more in Superintendent's Friday Notes.

IN THE NEWS: Young athletes on mark to show Olympic skills

Students from nine La Jolla elementary schools — both public and private — will gather at La Jolla High’s athletic field Sunday, June 7 to win bragging rights for themselves and their schools.

The 18th annual Junior Olympics, presented by the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, promises to be the biggest yet. With more than 670 registrations as of June 1, the event has already surpassed last year’s record number of 661 participants. Read more from the La Jolla Village News.

IN THE NEWS: Program puts youths to work

Though not yet graduated, 100 high school students will be joining the San Diego State community through a new program aimed at putting students to work.

The Hire-A-Youth program is a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The program focuses on low-income students and provides them with an opportunity to gain work experience for resumes, learn job skills and make money during the summer. Read more from the SDSU Daily Aztec.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

San Diego's School Board Closes Budget Gap

San Diego's Board of Education has submitted a $1.18 billion budget for the 2009-10 school year, as required by state law, on June 30.

The following reductions and reorganizations were approved by the Board for the 2009-10 school year.

-- Shift Cost of Professional Development From Unrestricted To Title II, $2,500,000

-- Special Education Staff Reductions (53.425 FTE), $2,616,350

-- GATE Program Staff Reductions (1 FTE), $96,262

-- Eliminate 9th Class Size Reduction (47 FTE), $3,941,263

-- Eliminate K-2 Class Size Reduction of 15:1 for 29 schools (includes prep time 105 FTE), $8,120,000

-- Eliminate 8 World Language Teachers, $664,000

-- Increase Gate Seminar Program Teacher Ratio From 23:1 to 25:1 (4 FTE), $330,108

-- Increase Class Size K-3 from 20 to 24 (316 FTE) Planning Time Teachers (24 FTE), $14,577,124

-- Eliminate Grant K-8 Magnet Funds, $198,000

-- Increase Lunch Prices by $0.25 (Increase in Revenue), $625,000

-- Landscaping (reduced by 8 positions, currently vacant), $430,256

-- Increase Minimum Bus Rider Number From 8 to 15, $4,238,000

-- Reduce Supplies By 25% at School Sites, $1,500,000

-- Reduce Vice Principals by 30 FTE, $3,360,000

-- Year 2 IDEA, $7,025,000

-- Textbook Adoption and Replacement, $6,500,000

-- School Library allocations that would fund: .5 librarian and .5 library tech at each high school and middle school; .5 librarian and .5 library tech at each atypical school; and .5 library assistant at each elementary school, $2,475,000

-- Merging distribution and warehouse services (Food Services/Warehouse, 18 FTE, $1,100,000

Go to the Budget website for more information.

San Diego's Elementary Math Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Juarez Elementary teacher Melinda Katona on being selected the Elementary Math Teacher of the Year by the Greater San Diego Mathematics Council. Katona, left, with Principal Marceline Clausen, was honored at the Council's awards banquet on May 14. For more information, please contact Principal Clausen at (858) 496-8145.

Read more in Superintendent's Friday Notes.

IN THE NEWS: Rhapsody on the Point trumpets school music programs, supporters

The music of great American composer Aaron Copland and contemporary musician Frank Ticheli generated by the Point Loma High School (PLHS) band during the second annual Rhapsody on the Point on May 29 sounded the depth and breadth of a music program that continues its crescendo in Peninsula-area schools. Read more from the Peninsula Beacon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Kearny DMD Recognized for Exemplary Career Tech Education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell has announced that Kearny High School of Digital Media and Design (DMD) is one of six California high schools recognized for their exemplary Career Technical Education programs.

The special honor recognizes schools for meeting local and regional needs and providing a firm foundation of career preparation in which all students can participate. For more information, please contact Principal Cheryl Hibbeln at (858) 496-8370 or chibbeln@sandi.net.

Read more in Superintendent's Friday Notes.