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

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

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.