Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Policy on Students Obtaining Confidential Medical Services

At its regular meeting March 30, the Board of Education approved changes to district policies regarding parental notification and early release of students to obtain confidential medical services.

The revised policies are: Board Policies F-2600 and H-3500PDF, and Administrative Procedures AP-4255PDF and AP-6156PDF.

The changes clarify to district policy and procedure related to the privacy rights of students, and to facilitate the early release of students, as specified by law, to obtain confidential medical services they are legally entitled to obtain.

Staff will work with schools and other staff to ensure that appropriate practices are put in place to protect the privacy rights and health of students.

In 2007, members of the community and district staff raised the issue of the need to update our policies and procedures concerning our obligation to allow students opportunities to access confidential medical services as defined in California Law and to respect student privacy. Thereafter, district staff sought legal advice regarding the changes necessary, and conferred regarding the practicalities of proposed changes.

Theater Arts Students on Stage with Sacramento

Their passion and talent for theater arts sent six district students to the state capitol March 16. Last week, three students from Valencia Park Center for Academics, Drama and Dance, two students from Scripps Ranch High and one student from Henry High flew to Sacramento to participate in the 12th annual California Youth in Theatre Day.

While in Sacramento, the students met with Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) and Assemblyman Marty Block (D-San Diego) to thank the legislators for supporting theatre in education and to explain why it really mattered to students like them to keep the arts alive in schools. For more information, please contact Valencia Park Principal Penny Simmons at (619) 264-0125 or

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Food Services Heads to Congress

District Food Services Director Gary Petill was invited to speak to the Congressional Education and Labor Committee in Washington, D.C., this week. His visit was part of an effort introducing legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, (D-Colorado) and the Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine aimed at improving the health and nutrition of school meals. The legislation also urges more vegetarian options for children across the nation, in the interest of promoting health and combating rising childhood obesity. On his visit, Petill met with several members of the California congressional delegation along with both Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to gain their support for better school lunches. For more information, please contact Gary Petill at (858) 627-7301 or

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Superintendent Search Committee Seeks Public Input

Five Town Hall meetings have been scheduled to provide parents, employees, students and the public with the opportunity to give input on the qualities sought in the district’s next Superintendent. Interested individuals can attend any or all of the following scheduled Town hall meetings:
 All meetings will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. For more information, please visit or contact Bernie Rhinerson at

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Science Fair Winners Head Into Future

San Diego Union-Tribune photoPatrick Henry's Anna Kornfield Simpson was one of the top winners at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.

Crawford and UCSD -- A Winning Partnership

Crawford CHAMPS and other students from the Crawford High Educational Complex regularly attend an Education Studies class at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). Crawford CHAMPs has formed and continues to strengthen a partnership with UCSD where CHAMPs students participate in a lecture/discussion on current issues and trends in education. In exchange, UCSD students tutor in CHAMPs classrooms and after school in the Mu Alpha Theta Math Center. For more information, please contact Principal William Laine at (619) 583-2501, ext. 2450 or

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Lincoln Hornets Win State Div. II State Championship!

With Norman Powell and Victor Dean leading the way with 24 points each, the Lincoln Hornets topped St. Francis of Mountain View 74-59 to take the Boys Division II state championship game Friday night in Bakersfield. Read coverage from San Diego Union-Tribune.

More Coverage

2009-10 Hornets
Go Hornets! Lincoln boys basketball team are state Division II champions!

Lincoln Basketball to Cap an Amazing Season

by Mark McCann
March 25, 2010
There’s a buzz spreading around the San Diego athletics community. The Lincoln high school boys basketball team completed its regular season going 12-0 in the Western league, and had an overall record of 21-2, heading into its post season on a 16 game winning streak. Lincoln continued its winning ways through the San Diego sectional bracket to the finals where it beat reigning champion Hoover. Advancing through the Southern California regional bracket, the Hornets kept won their way to the championship game where they beat Compton High.

Led by junior shooting guard Norman Powell -- averaging 20 points per game - and senior Victor Dean – averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds -- Lincoln has advanced to the California division II state championship game. With an opportunity to be the first San Diego team to win a division II state championship, Lincoln will face the Northern California regional champion St. Francis from Mountain View. The game will be played at 8 p.m. at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, California Friday, March 26, 2010.
News coverage

San Diego Union-Tribune
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Science Comes Alive This Weekend in Two Free Events

Great minds will be at work this weekend for a double dose of scientific celebration – all free and open to the public.

Today through Sunday, March 28, will be the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair, and all the latest and greatest discoveries of San Diego’s youth will be on display, including strong participation from district students. The Science and Engineering Fair his event is one of the premiere science fairs in the nation, an annual tradition since 1955 that has inspired countless generations. The fair is being held at the Balboa Park Activity Center, off of President's Way in Balboa Park. For information, please visit or contact Robin Nelson, GATE Department, at (858) 573-5992.

And Saturday, March 27, will be a huge finale to the weeklong 2010 San Diego Science Festival. It’s a big science party free for all to explore at EXPO DAY at Petco Park, featuring more than 150 hands-on activities and lively stage shows. For more information, please visit contact Dianna Carberry at

All Schools on Spring Break March 29-April 2

All San Diego Unified campuses will be closed the week of March 29-April 2 for Spring Break. District offices are open. Schools on year-round schedules return April 20.

Serra NJROTC to Compete in Navy National Drill Meet

The Serra High School NJROTC Drill team placed 2nd overall while competing against the best Navy JROTC units in Southern California and Arizona, and are now invited to the Navy National Drill Meet in Pensacola, Fla. Serra NJROTC has competed in the Navy National Drill Meet for eight of the last 10 years, and has won the Navy’s Distinguished Unit Award as one of the top units in the country for 14 straight years. Well-done cadets and good luck at Nationals. For more information, please contact Shawn Loescher, CCTE director, at (858) 503-1738 or

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

IN THE NEWS: 'State of the District' Faces Challenges in 2010


San Diego Unified faces challenges in the coming year, but a united community will be able to create change for the better in student achievement and reviving California’s historic leadership in education, San Diego Unified Board President Richard Barrera said Wednesday night.
Barrera, delivering the annual State of the District address, told an audience of nearly 500 at Cherokee Point Elementary School -- including Mayor Jerry Sanders -- that participation by all in the community is necessary to continue the excellent progress made in student achievement while funding has decreased.
“Our vision embraces what our school communities have understood for years, that a student’s education must involve more than drilling for standardized tests,” he said.
Delivering his first address as Board president, Barrera reminded the audience that education is an investment by taxpayers in the future of their communities.
“I believe that if we have a loud, persistent and UNIFIED voice,” he said, “we can be heard in Sacramento and we can begin to turn around this budget and prevent the train wreck we are facing in public education.”
Despite budget issues, Barrera said the district will continue its commitment to support innovative and imaginative programs, such as bi-literacy, world languages, the arts, student and teacher internships, unique magnet schools and traditional neighborhood campuses.
“To create great schools -- blue ribbon schools -- in San Diego, we need to honor the investment made by past generations of Californians,” he said, “and once again fight for the resources that will allow our kids to do great things in this world.

Nordstrom Donates Steinway Grand Piano to Muir School

Before their Talent Show on March 12, John Muir students were surprised by Nordstrom employee Anita Crandall who presented a donation of a Steinway grand piano. Crandall, a grandparent of a Muir 11th grade student, was able to enjoy several students perform on Muir's newest possession. For more information, please contact Caryn Maroni, magnet resource teacher, (858) 268-1954, ext. 145.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kindergartner Captures Youth Art Exhibition Prize

Congratulations to Kai-Dylan MacFarland, a kindergartner at EB Scripps Elementary School, whose mixed media piece has won the San Diego County Youth Art Exhibition Kindergarten division. Kai-Dylan's piece was entitled "Sunny Landscape." His teacher is teaching artist Kathleen Kane-Murrell. For more information, please contact the VAPA Office at (858) 539-5349.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Longfellow Student among Winners in Essay Contest

Amanda Becerra, seventh grader at Longfellow Spanish Immersion Magnet School, placed third in the Jr. High/Middle school category in the Black History Essay Contest sponsored by the San Diego Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Annually, the San Diego Alumnae Chapter sponsors this contest to increase awareness of the contributions of African Americans. For more information, please contact Josie Ramirez, magnet resource teacher, at (619) 276-4206.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

IN THE NEWS: High Schools Make Digital Connections With Tech-Savvy Students

High schools are changing the way they teach, knowing their “digital native” students have unprecedented access to Internet use and have acquired a host of related skills. Read more from the San Diego Business Journal»

Councilwoman Emerald Hosts Conference on At-Risk Youth

On Feb. 20, City Councilwoman Marti Emerald convened a meeting of her community advisory group to focus on helping at-risk youth. A panel of youth experts, including School Board members Katherine Nakamura and Shelia Jackson, Mid-City Division Police Captain Lawrence McKinney, and representatives from Youth Empowerment Focus, STAR/PAL, Motivating the Teen Spirit, San Diego Youth Services, and SAY San Diego, described the challenges facing young people today. The Crawford High Educational Complex hosted the meeting. For more information, please contact William Laine, Principal of Crawford CHAMPs, at (619) 583-2501 ext. 2460 o

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Garfield High School Foundation Receives $5,000 Barona Education Grant

On Friday, March 12, the Garfield High School Foundation was awarded a $5,000 education grant from Tribal Chairman Edwin Romero of the Barona Band of Mission Indians and Assemblywoman Lori Saldana. This grant supports the purchase of college textbooks for Garfield High School¹s college program. For more information, please contact Tina Tomaschke, employer outreach specialist, at (619) 525-2059 ext. 1112 or

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sunset View Tops in State for Fundraising Efforts

On March 16, Sunset View Elementary received a check for $10,690 from the Fresh & Easy Shop for Schools Program. Sunset View topped 642 other California schools in fundraising and received a $5,000 bonus in addition for its efforts. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market launched its first Shop for Schools program last school year in response to local schools’ need for additional funding. This year, more than $670,000 was raised for participating schools in California, Nevada and Arizona. Fresh & Easy plans to bring the program back again in fall 2010 and will soon start accepting registration forms from local schools. For more information, please contact Principal Jackie McCabe at (619) 223-7156 or

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Census in Schools Week

This week, San Diegans began receiving information about the U.S. Census in their mailboxes. In support of this important effort, the Board of Education adopted a resolution on Jan. 12, 2010, and designated the week of March 22-26 as “Census in Schools Week.” All district employees and families are encouraged to complete and return their census questionnaire by April 1. Why is the census so important? California could lose billions of dollars in federal funding and approximately $3,000 a year for each Californian not counted in the 2010 Census. These funds go toward programs such as education, MediCal, child care, transportation and public safety. On a local level, census data help guide planning decisions, such as the placement of schools, hospitals, roads and job training centers. California could also lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history.
San Diego County is the 11th Hard-To-Count place in the nation and in particular, the children of San Diego are significantly undercounted. The California Census School-Based Outreach program has been developed to help school districts get the word out to parents and students about the Census. Census-related lesson plans, parent letters, toolkits, and other activities have been developed and can be found online at For more information on Census in Schools Week, please contact Lisa Sheldon at (619) 725-7265 or For more US Census information, visit

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Friday, March 19, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Small Changes Made Big Difference at Euclid

Euclid racks up some of the highest test scores in the state for schools with high numbers of English learners and poor students, rivaling schools in middle class areas. Teachers rarely leave and suspensions are rare. Children giddily rattle off vocabulary words to Principal Vickie Jacobson on the playground. Read more from the Voice of San Diego »

Scripps Ranch Senior Contends for US Physics Team

Scripps Ranch High School senior Xiang-Yu "Leo" Zhou is a contender for one of 24 spots on the U.S. Physics Team, having qualified for the semifinal.

Nationwide, 312 students qualified, based on a screening exam taken by thousands of physics students. San Diego¹s students constitute 13.3 percent of California's qualifiers and 3.2 percent of the national total. These students will now take a semifinal examination used to determine the U. S. Physics Team. Five students will go on International Physics Olympiad in Croatia in July.

The International Physics Olympiad is held annually and is supported by the San Diego Math Circle. The program is supported by UCSD, the Art of Problem Solving, Inc., as well as corporate sponsors such as Gen-Probe Incorporated and Quintiles International.

For more information please contact Bob Dean, SRHS physics teacher, at (858) 621-9020 ext. 4453.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Board President, State Supt. Discuss Federal Education Bills

As California schools brace for more cuts from Sacramento, we got the bad news early this month that our state did not make the cut for federal Race to the Top money. Guests are State Supt. Jack O'Connell and SDUSD Board President Richard Barrera. Read and Listen at KPBS-FM»

'Learn to Lead' Mentoring Program at Montgomery Middle

Montgomery Students PoseEighth-grade GATE and Seminar students at Montgomery Middle School are now being mentored to prepare them for future roles as leaders within their personal, academic and professional worlds.

The Learn to Lead after-school program focuses on leadership versus popularity, why diversity matters, understanding change and other important topics centered on developing leadership behaviors. The program was created by Steve Smith, a doctoral student in leadership studies at the University of San Diego, in conjunction with Principal Jonathan Ton and teacher Leah LaVelle. Volunteers working in the program include current or former graduate students at USD.

Activities include developing a virtual relationship with a sister school in Malaysia and a leadership spotlight survey for local community and corporate leaders. For more information, please contact Principal Jonathan Ton at (858) 496-8330.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Johnson Elementary Students Present Scientific Explorations

Instructors from Campostella Elementary visit JohnsonBig things are happening in the galaxy of Johnson Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Magnet School.

In February, students presented their scientific explorations in a national videoconference with other schools deemed rigorous enough to earn the NASA Explorer School distinction, as Johnson has. The educational event was also competitive, with the winners earning a free trip to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Last year, Johnson students won a trip to Johnson Space Center.

The school’s program has become so widely respected that a team of instructors from another science magnet school, Campostella Elementary in Norfolk, Va., recently paid a visit to Johnson. For more information, please contact Reba Gordon Matthews, NASA Explorer School team leader, at (619) 631-4436 or .

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H1N1 Vaccinations Available at Joyner Thursday

H1N1 vaccinations are being offered at two schools in the next 10 days. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, in cooperation with San Diego Unified's Nursing and Wellness department, is offering the vaccinations to all district employees and families and community members.

The agency be completing the second dose of the vaccine for students from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Vaccinations will be available to the public from 1:30-5 p.m. Thursday, March 18, at Joyner Elementary, 4271 Myrtle Ave. (92105)

    For questions, please contact Nursing and Wellness at (858) 636-4380.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    PrimeTime Applications for '10-'11 Due May 7

    Applications for next school year's PrimeTime program in the San Diego Unified School District are due May 7.

    The program, once known as Six-To-Six, provides academic support and enrichment activities before and/or after school for students at 133 elementary and middle schools in San Diego Unified.

    These services are available at no cost to participating families through the After School Education and Safety (ASES) state grant funds.

    Parents/guardians wishing to apply should complete the application available at schools and online.

    For more information on the PrimeTime program, call (858) 627-7562.

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    SD Teachers Association, District Agree to Contract

    "Grateful" For Support of New Agreement -- Kowba

    San Diego Unified's leaders are appreciative of the announcement Saturday that members of the San Diego Education Association have ratified a new contract with the district.

    The union's acceptance means that the Board can proceed with its current plans to balance the spending plan for the next school year, which includes a five-day furlough for teachers that is in the contract approved Saturday. Based on the most recent proposed state budget, San Diego Unified is planning on an $87 million reduction in its $1 billion operating budget for 2010-11.

    "We are grateful to the SDEA and teachers for their approval of this agreement," said Interim Superintendent Bill Kowba. "Concessions about working conditions are very sensitive discussions. This will now allow our Board to proceed in an orderly manner to craft a budget for 2010-11."

    The Board canceled a rare Sunday meeting planned for March 14 as a result of the contract ratification. The state Education Code requires permanent teachers be notified by March 15 if they will not be receiving a contract for the following school year. However, after the agreement with SDEA, the district should be able to limit possible teacher staffing reductions to probationary teachers, those with less than two full years of service. The Board can wait until April 15 to notify probationary status teachers, under the contract with SDEA. Teachers with long-term substitute contracts and other temporary certificated staff will receive reminders that their services will end at the close of the 2009-10 school year.

    At its Tuesday, March 16, meeting, the Board will discuss sending notices by April 15 to probationary teachers that they may not receive contract offers for 2010-11 because of budget reductions.

    Although permanent teachers will be receiving contract offers for 2010-11, district staff anticipates reductions of 337.5 full-time equivalent teaching positions would be necessary for the 2010-11 school year, based on current budget estimates.

    Bargaining continues with other unions representing San Diego Unified employees, but the budget picture is coming into clearer focus, said Kowba.

    "Despite another internal mid-year reduction of more than $15 million, we've been able to belt-tighten this year without eliminating any full-time staff," said Kowba. Because of state funding reductions, the district has cut nearly $200 million from its budget since 2007.

    The Board's next meeting is Tuesday, March 16, when several budget-related items are on the agenda.

    Food Services Essay, Poetry, Rap Contest Under Way

    Enter the 2010 Food Services Essay, Poetry, Rap Contest and win great prizes!

    Answer the question:

    What Does

    Fuel Up to Play 60Mean to You?

    The eighth annual Essay, Poetry, Rap, Contest runs from March 1 to March 31, 2010. All students in grades K-12 who attend schools in SDUSD are invited to enter. This year the San Diego Chargers and the Dairy Council of California have joined with SDUSD, SeaWorld Adventure Park and the Pear Bureau Northwest to sponsor the contest. The Fuel Up to Play 60 program encourages students to fuel up with healthy food and play at least 60 minutes per day. Tell us what that means to you and how you might plan to do it.

    Entries will be judged on correctness and thoroughness of answer, clarity, creativity, spelling, grammar and presentation. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded to winners in each of four grade categories (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12).

    For all the contest details and lists of prizes select here. No other flyers will be sent to schools this year.

    State of the District March 24

    Employees, parents, students and community members are invited to attend the 2010 State of the District Address event on Wednesday, March 24, at Cherokee Point Elementary School. The event will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. The program and presentation of the State of the District Address by Board of Education President Richard Barrera will begin at 6:15 p.m. RSVP required. For more information and to RSVP, go to or call (619) 725-5578.

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    Claudia Dunaway Wins Top Honors

    Claudia Dunaway, lead speech-language pathologist, is the winner of this year’s Monty, the top honor bestowed upon graduates of San Diego State University. Dunaway is one of 12 distinguished graduates chosen by the Aztec Alumni Association to have made significant contributions regionally, nationally and internationally. They will be honored at a gala event at the Hotel del Coronado on April 24. Among her innovations for district students with communication challenges include using team collaborations with students with autism, and using language samples to determine needs and services for students. Claudia also provides professional development for both general and special education teachers in how to build language and literacy skills in students of all ages. For more information, please visit

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    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Prop S Update: March PSA Training

    The next Project Stabilization Agreement (PSA) training is set for Tuesday, March 16, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Transportation Services, 4710 Cardin Street, SD (92111). Training sessions are offered on the third Tuesday of each month for contractors and subcontractors interested in performing work on Prop. S projects. The training covers: the scope of the PSA; contractor, union and San Diego Unified roles and responsibilities; and procedures for ensuring stability on PSA projects. The sessions also provide an opportunity for contractors to engage in questions and answers with Union representatives. Each participant receives reference materials that give important information for contractors seeking to perform PSA-covered work. For more information and to RSVP, please contact George Harris at (858) 637-6269 or, or visit the Prop S website.

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    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Superintendent Search

    San Diego Unified is searching for a new Superintendent to become a partner with the Board of Education and the community in the district's on-going efforts to increase student achievement. On March 11, the Superintendent Search Advisory Committee held its first open meeting, launching the beginning of the search process. The committee will conduct a series of open meetings in March to develop a set of skills and values sought in the next superintendent. In April, the Search Committee will host a series of five town-hall meetings to seek public comment on the quality sought in the next superintendent. Following these Town Hall meetings, the next task of the Search Committee will be to conduct a preliminary screen of the applications received and make a recommendation to the Board of a set of candidates to interview. For more information on the search, visit or contact Bernie Rhinerson, chief district relations officer, at (619) 725-5578 or

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    Friday, March 12, 2010

    Five District High Schools Participate in the 12th Annual Hospitality Student Conference

    One of the many advantages we have in San Diego is that we’re a center of higher learning. Staff and students from our two- and four-year colleges and universities are working with our students every day.

    A recent example treated more than 180 San Diego Unified students from five high schools to an inside look at the hospitality industry. San Diego State University’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Management, under Director Brian Blake, brought together more than 20 local companies and educational institutions Feb. 26 to give our culinary arts and hospitality students a wonderful learning opportunity. San Diego, Morse, Mira Mesa, Madison and Scripps Ranch high schools participated in the program, which started with Alexandria Brooks, of the School of International Studies at San Diego High, singing the National Anthem.

    Speakers included Richard Anderson, general manager of PETCO Park, and Crissandra Riddle, hospitality executive with the new Hilton Bayfront Hotel. In addition, a variety of behind the scenes tours were available at Marriott Hotels, San Diego Convention Center, Manchester Grand Hyatt, Anthony's Fish Grotto, The Fish Market, Hard Rock Hotel, Omni Hotel and PETCO Park.

    The tours allowed students to get a true sense of the scope and magnitude of the industry. SDSU hospitality students escorted and mentored high school students throughout the day, many previous conference attendees themselves who were eager to provide advice and guidance.

    For more information, please contact Brian Blake at

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    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Board Member Receives State Honor for Music Support

    The California Association for Music Education has selected Board Member Katherine Nakamura as its Legislator of the Year. Mrs. Nakamura’s selection was based on her tireless efforts and work towards the passage of AB351. A special awards dinner will be held in Sacramento on March 12. For more information, please contact Bernie Rhinerson, chief district relations officer, at (619) 725-5578 or

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    Birney Joint-Use Field Breaks Ground

    On Feb. 26, six members of the Birney Elementary School Student Council broke ground on the school’s new joint use field as Board President Richard Barrera, City Councilmember Todd Gloria and community members watched. Construction on the 1.57 acre turf field and .25 acre walking track began March 1 and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2010.

    The joint use model has been successfully implemented at sites throughout the district, adding acres of public park land and improving school facilities. For information, please contact Randy White, real estate specialist, at (858) 637-3687 or

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    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    SD Attorneys Bring Books, Read to Porter Students

    Judge Papas reads to Porter students Retired U.S. District Court Judge Leo Papas recently spent a morning reading to students at Porter Elementary School as part of the San Diego County Bar Association's efforts to help the community. The association’s Children at Risk and Literacy programs, as well as the annual Children’s Book Drive, serve schools in San Diego’s neediest communities. As part of their community service, Bar members go the school to read with the children, not only helping them with their reading abilities, but serving as adult role models that reading is an important and valued skill. Judge Papas was one of the leaders at the Bar in starting this program.

    Porter students also receive this same interactive role-modeling in their Conflict Resolution Skills Training, which includes Peer Mediators Training (teaching students to become peer counselors who will mediate disputes between other students) and Conflict Resolution Skills Training (introducing basic conflict resolution skills to the whole classroom). A lead trainer from the Bar’s Children at Risk Committee teaches core concepts to the students and leads class discussion. Attorney volunteers teach the skills directly to small groups of students. For more information, please contact Attorney Lori Mendez at .

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    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Kudos to Food Services Summer Lunch Program

    San Diego Unified's Summer Lunch Program has been honored by the federal government and state Superintendent of Schools. Read more from the California Department of Education»

    IN THE NEWS: Cesar Chavez Elementary School Takes Spotlight

    After the student council at its sister school organized a book drive that ended with the donation of hundreds of books to the campus library, Natty Borresen and Carrie Kintz thought the children at Cesar Chavez Elementary School would benefit from having their own leadership organization. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

    Thousands of New Books Donated by City National Bank and Barnes & Noble

    Three district schools have received the always-welcome gift of new books, as part of a literacy support campaign by City National Bank and Barnes & Noble bookstores. The companies donated nearly 11,000 books to California schools as part of the Reading is the Way Up Holiday Book Drive.

    Our schools benefiting from the program are Ericson, Washington and Golden Hill elementary schools, which received more than 1,000 books plus more than $12,000 in credit to buy books of their choice. Washington Elementary students also received a visit from the program’s mascot, Blue.

    For information, please contact Ellen Tiffany, Community Relations manager, at (619) 725-5594 or

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    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Teachers Hone Math and Science Skills

    Congratulations to the ten elementary school teachers who will attend the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy in Houston this summer.

    They are: David Kerr, Lindbergh/Schweitzer; Grace Nall, Walker; Kerri Felcyn, Hancock; Andrea Miller and Maria Kammerzell, Carson; Jennifer French, Rowan/Curie; Neysa Sanchez, Cesar Chavez; Antoinette Curtis, Audubon; Marcus Greene, Rosa Parks; and Chelsea Cochrane (team leader), ISS Division.

    Phil and Amy Mickelson and ExxonMobil Corporation, in conjunction with the National Science Teachers Association and Math Solutions, created the academy to provide teachers with the opportunity to hone their mathematics and science teaching skills and discover new ways to motivate students. All travel, lodging and most meal expenses are paid by the academy.

    For additional information, please contact Maria Lopez at (619) 725-7147 or
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    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Recycling Pays Off for Sherman, Taft

    What would you do for a few extra bucks? Students and staff at Sherman Elementary and Taft Middle schools would say, RECYCLE! Both schools were chosen by the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department to pilot a unique beverage container recycling program that will help raise money for their ASB activities and promote recycling on campus. The City partnered with the district Energy/Utility Management to provide each school with ten Clear Stream recycling containers along with matching trash containers.

    Enthusiastic students at Sherman Elementary kicked off the program at an assembly where they were quizzed about recycling and learned how they can help their school by collecting plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

    At Taft Middle School, eager ASB students decided where to place the recycling containers so they would get the most use. ASB students at both schools will help to monitor and promote the program, while volunteers will take collected recyclables to a buy-back center to raise funds for ASB activities. The program will also help raise awareness of the existing recycling opportunities found on each school campus for paper, cardboard and beverage containers.

    For more information, please call the district’s recycling hotline at (858) 627-7376.
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    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    IN THE NEWS: Dingeman Student is Chess Whiz

    Daniel Sun, 9, bested his opponent last month in the San Diego Winter Scholastic Chess Championship at the San Diego Chess Club in Balboa Park. Daniel lost one game. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Hoover Students’ Work Creates Friendly Sidewalks

    If there’s a cracked or broken sidewalk, or some sort of obstacle to a walk-friendly City Heights, the students from Hoover High School’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) class already know about it.

    The students participated in a community service project to create a more walkable neighborhood. Part of the Health Equity by Design grant from Walk San Diego, the project encourages walking in City Heights by making the community a safer, more enjoyable place.

    The students used GPS units to collect data for use on a GIS map. Impressed by the students’ work, organizers have asked them to participate in a presentation on sidewalk improvements to the City Heights Redevelopment Project Area Committee. For more information, please contact Instructor Bryan Voeltner at (619) 283-6281 ext. 4101 or

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    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Kearny DMD Partners with Time Warner Cable

    Students from Kearny DMD pose with Time Warner repsTenth grade students at Kearny's School of Digital Media and Design concluded their fall project, "Crime Time", with an awards ceremony hosted by Time Warner Cable. The students created an interdisciplinary project focused on the principles and applications of forensics.
    Collaborating in teams, the students constructed engaging and educational websites to be used in 7th grade Life Science classrooms. In addition to Time Warner Cable, Montgomery Middle School, Taft Middle School, Grossmont College's Administration of Justice program, a local medical examiner, The Innocence Project, and several law enforcement officials participated in the project.
    Time Warner Cable announced that the top three student groups will be showcased nationally in Time Warner Cable's Connect a Million Minds initiative, a philanthropic endeavor that models interdisciplinary use of math, science, and technology in after school programs across the country. For more information, please contact Erin Preston, DMD digital art instructor, at

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Schools Benefit from Whole Foods Market “5% Day”

    Checks were recently presented to Florence Elementary School and Albert Einstein Academy from their community partner Whole Foods Market Hillcrest.
    The presentation was part of the “Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids” Expo event, which encourages healthy school meals through support of reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and an increase in school meal reimbursement rates.
    The funds were provided through the Whole Foods Market 5% Day promotion, earmarked for supporting nutrition education at schools. For more information, please contact Gary Petill, food services director, at

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

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Board Approves Agreement with SDEA

    On March 2, the Board of Education approved the agreement with the San Diego Education Association on contract provisions. The agreement is now up for ratification by SDEA members. Read more»

    It's Read Across America Day

    The popular Read Across America event returns Tuesday, March 2, celebrating the birthday of the late San Diegan Ted Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. At schools all across the district -- and the nation -- community members, celebrities and others will visit schools to read with students. The event is sponsored by the National Education Association.

    Some visiting readers will even dress the part, coming as their favorite Seuss character. Among the events scheduled for San Diego Unified are the Community Reading Diffendoofer Celebration at Burbank Elementary and six Paws’itive Service Dog teams paying a visit to Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School.

    If your school is holding a special event, please contact Jack Brandais at (619) 725-5570 or

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    IN THE NEWS: Correia Middle School, YMCA, Partner to Bring Rec Facilities to the Point

    Pt. Loma YMCA's Haas Family Gymnasium is unique due to its partnership with adjacent Correia Middle School. The school will use the new facility for physical education classes while offering parking spaces to the YMCA in return.

    Read more from the Peninsula Beacon»