Tuesday, June 29, 2010

National Distinction for Newly Appointed Area Superintendent


Skyrocketing academic achievement has brought great opportunities to her students and national recognition to Marian Kim Phelps, principal of Zamorano Fine Arts Academy and newly-appointed area superintendent for the Madison/Clairemont clusters.

She recently received the 2010 National Distinguished Principal Finalist Award for California. She won this outstanding honor in a program sponsored by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals

Her accomplishments include leading staff and students to raise Zamorano’s API score from 740 to 835, and increasing its Similar School Ranking from a 2 to 10. Colleagues, staff and parents describe her as ethical, trustworthy, hard-working and an advocate for all children. She has been invited by ACSA to participate and lead an action learning lab at the New & Aspiring Principals Colloquium at UCLA in July.

Monday, June 28, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Interview with Bill Kowba

Faith in the importance of teamwork is a core value that Bill Kowba brings to the job of superintendent. Read more about the inspirations of Kowba, selected this month by the board of San Diego Unified School District, in his interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Fun Cafe Kickoff Draws 2,000

Watch a video on the kickoff to the Summer Fun Cafe at the Skyline Park and Recreation Center.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Children's Lunch Program Has Open Invitation

With no enrollment, no paperwork and no income qualifications, it has never been easier for children in San Diego to get a free lunch. The Summer Fun Café program that kicks off today has expanded to more than 50 locations this year for children ages 2 to 18, said Joanne Tucker, who helps coordinate the service for the San Diego Unified School District.

Automotive Students Receive Hands-on Training

Clairemont HS ROP Students Three Clairemont High School ROP automotive students (from left to right: Michael Schenk, Dion Navarrette and Anthony Adams) recently completed Automotive Technician internships at the district’s Fleet Maintenance facility. These internships help provide students with a pathway for potential future employment within the automotive industry while earning class credit. The students received hands-on training and learned to work in a safe and professional manner. This program was enthusiastically received by both parents and students, who graduated from ROP this month. For information, please contact Keith Salkeld, fleet manager, transportation, at (858) 496-8451 or ksalkeld@sandi.net .


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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Smoke, Road Closures from Fire Forces Evacuation of Palomar School Camp

Smoke and road closures due to the 100+ acre fire near Pala prompted school officials to close Camp Palomar and return all 210 students to San Diego this evening.

The students are from Wilson Middle School in Mid-City, Porter K-8 in Lincoln Park and Logan K-8 in Logan Heights. All are sixth grade students and are expected to arrive by school buses at their home campuses by 9:30 p.m. today. Students are accompanied by teachers and other district staff members; no injuries have been reported.

Each school's principal is notifying parents and guardians by the district's emergency "reverse 911" telephone system to pick up their child at school; parents/guardians must have photo identification to pick up their child.

Parents/guardians with questions can contact the San Diego Unified School District Police Department at (619) 291-7678. Students who are not retrieved will be taken to the county's Polinsky Children's Center for the night after every effort is made to contact a parent/guardian.

The camp itself is not considered threatened by the fire at this time, which reportedly has been contained.

The Camp Palomar program has been a part of the San Diego school tradition for more than a half century. Students spend three nights at the historic lodge adjacent to the Palomar Mountain State Park and Cleveland National Forest. While there, they learn about nature and experience different cultures under the watchful eye of teachers and an expert staff.

San Diego Padres’ Friar Helps Kicks-Off Summer Fun Café

Summer Fun Cafe Logo A special barbecue launches the district’s Summer Fun Café program, which provides free lunches and snacks to children ages 2-18 years at 23 City of San Diego Park and Recreation Centers, 28 schools and ten other community sites. The barbecue is scheduled for Thursday, June 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Skyline Hills Community Park, 8285 Skyline Dr. (92114) and is free to children and their families. The USDA’s Seamless Summer Option covers the cost of the children’s meals while adult meals are underwritten by SDG&E. Activities include a Nutrition Decathlon, ‘hip-hop’ dance group Kruciaal Element, an inflatable jumper and guest appearance by the San Diego Padres’ Friar and Pad Squad. The San Diego Food Bank will give away bags of fresh fruits and vegetables and offer Food Stamp prescreening. The Summer Fun Café does not require enrollment, paperwork or income qualifications to participate.

For a complete list of Summer Fun Café service dates, times and locations, go to the Food Services website. For more information, please contact Gary Petill, director, food services, at (858) 626-7301 or gpetill@sandi.net .


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Yearbook Receives County Fair Honors

Thurgood Marshall Middle School's yearbook won first place for the second year in a row at the San Diego County Fair. Congratulations to yearbook teacher, Beulah Forrest, and the entire yearbook staff for a job well done. For more information, please contact Principal Michelle Irwin at (858) 549-5400 or mirwin@sandi.net .

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kowba Named Sole Finalist for Superintendent

A retired Navy admiral and four-year veteran of San Diego Unified, Bill Kowba, was announced today by the Board of Education as the sole finalist for the vacant position of superintendent.

"I'm certainly honored that the board has had the confidence in me to go forward in this process," Kowba told the Board of Education at today's meeting, following the announcement by Richard Barrera, Board President, at the start of today's meeting.

Kowba will now negotiate with the district on a contract; once that is settled and approved by the Board, Kowba will officially lose the "interim" from his title.

Kowba joined the district in August 2006 as Chief Financial Officer. He assumed additional responsibilities as Acting Chief Administrative Officer in August 2007 and served as the Interim Superintendent from January-March 2008. Following the appointment of Dr. Terry Grier as Superintendent, he served as Chief Logistics Officer, where he managed the district's operational and facilities departments. He has served as Interim Superintendent since Grier's departure last September.

A retired Rear Admiral, Kowba had a distinguished 30-year career in the U.S. Navy. He was the first commander of the Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers organization, a Navy logistics force that streamlined regional and waterfront support and financial and acquisition operations. In this last assignment before joining the district, he developed a global network of Navy supply centers at more than 100 locations staffed by nearly 7,000 logistics, acquisition, and financial professionals.

SPARKpower Grant Awarded to Muir School

SPARKPower winners from Muir K-12

John Muir K-12 Magnet School is one of only five California schools awarded a $10,000 SPARKpower grant funded by the California Department of Public Health. SPARK is a research-based organization that disseminates evidence-based Physical Education, After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health programs to teachers and recreation leaders serving Pre-K through 12th grade students. Muir will receive a SPARK Premium Program of choice (two full-days of on-site, "hands on" training for up to 30 staff members), SPARK curriculum and instructional materials, content-matched equipment, and a one-year membership to SPARKfamily.org for each teacher. For more information, please contact Caryn Maroni, magnet resource teacher, at (858) 268-1954, ext. 145.

Pictured in back row: P.E resource teacher Brenna Baringer, Muir parent Rachel Desany, Principal Nancy Johnson and 11th graders Ben Kling and Arianna Burton. Front row: Muir magnet coordinator Caryn Maroni, SPARK elite presenter Joan Gillem, 5th grade teacher Stacey Kadlubowski, and parent Moriah Alexander.


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Monday, June 21, 2010

Your Comments Invited on Superintendent Candidates

Your comments are invited on the three candidates for the next San Diego Unified Superintendent.

If you were unable to attend or watch the public forum on June 17, it's now available online. Comments can be sent by e-mail and will be shared with the Board of Education.

The finalists are: William Kowba, currently interim superintendent for the San Diego Unified School District; Debbra A. Lindo, currently chief executive officer and chief academic officer for College Track; and Dale W. Vigil, former superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District.

For more information, go to the Superintendent Search website.

News coverage

Congratulations on a Great Year, from Interim Superintendent Kowba

Dear Colleagues, Students, Parents and Community Members,

Monday, June 21, marks the last day of instruction for the traditional school year. Before many of our staff and students leave on summer break, I want to extend my deep appreciation for everyone’s hard work and dedication during another year of difficult budget cuts and sacrifices. You have stayed focused on what matters most - our students - and for that, I am most grateful.

I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the teachers, administrators and classified employees who are retiring. Thank you for your countless years of service and commitment to San Diego students. We will miss your expertise and experience and wish you well.

Congratulations to our graduating seniors, parents and families. We are proud of your achievements and wish you the very best in the future.

For those who will open our classrooms at the start of the new school year, we appreciate your continued commitment and dedication. Have a restful and enjoyable summer. See you in September.

Sincerely,
William Kowba Signature
Bill Kowba
Interim Superintendent

It's Graduation Day

The remainder of the Class of 2010 receive diplomas today in the San Diego Unified School District; other schools received diplomas on Friday. See the schedule.

Golden Achievements for Language Academy Students

Language Academy Students Win Congratulations to The Language Academy students who earned national recognition for excellence on their 2010 National French and Spanish Exams. Student Sara McKnight (left), an eighth grader, was one of 15 students in the nation to earn the top academic honors out of more than 18,000 entrants. She was one of 53 Language Academy students taking the French Grand Concours test.

Seventh grader Alexis Barajas (right) won a gold medal for scoring at or above the 95th percentile in the National Spanish exam, taken by 80 of the magnet school’s Spanish immersion students. Students earned a grand total 44 gold, silver and bronze medals. For more information, please contact Principal Veronika Lopez-Mendez at (619) 287-1182 or vlopez-mendez@sandi.net .

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Family Friendly Schools Roll out the Red Carpet

Family Friendly Schools Honored Over the last three years, more than 80 schools have participated in the district’s Family Friendly Schools program which encourages schools to create a welcoming environment for their communities. The program includes efforts to recognize both families and staff. During a year-long certification process, schools participate in training sessions, administer school climate surveys and find ways to roll out the “red carpet” for visitors at their sites. Through “Super Service” commendation boxes, visitors can recognize staff members who provide exemplary service in their day-to-day jobs.

This week, 11 schools were recognized as the district’s newest Family Friendly Schools. Certified for 2010 are Hardy, Penn and Sequoia elementary schools, Montgomery Middle School and Madison High School. Schools nearing completion of their certification are Baker, Carver, Doyle and Normal Heights elementary schools, Creative Performing and Media Arts middle school and Mt. Everest Academy. Montgomery Middle also received a $500 award as the school that demonstrated the best representation of a Family Friendly School throughout the year. Pictured here are Myra Perdomo-Melendez, Montgomery vice principal (center), with members of the Board and Family Friendly Schools Committee. For more information, please visit www.sandi.net/familyfriendly .

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Adamns 
Elementary Students Pose with Board Member Nakamura

Adams Elementary recently demonstrated a new approach to teaching literacy to beginning readers by interweaving instruction with the arts. Board member Katherine Nakamura visited Adams to see the approach in action. Teacher Diane Larabee presented the trustee with an original story quilt based upon a story her second graders read in class, the quilt demonstrating their grasp of the literary concepts. First grade teacher Donna Potter presented a dramatization of “The Three Bears,” using the new approach to help students better grasp grammatical concepts.

Adams teachers received training in the integrative literacy education through an Improving Teacher Quality Grant in collaboration with University of California-Irvine and funded by the California Postsecondary Education Commission. Fifteen schools received the teacher training, and four were honored as demonstrating the highest commitment and success in arts integration. Those honorees are Adams along with Baker, Balboa and Central elementary schools. For more information, please contact Denise Lynne, VAPA resource teacher, at dlynne@sandi.net .


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Saturday, June 19, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Lincoln Student Graduates as She Recovers from Stroke

Rady Childrens Hospital hosts special graduation ceremony for 2010 grad. See more from San Diego 6>>>

Let's Honor San Diego Unified's 2010 Retirees For Their Service

2009-10 SDUSD Retirees

Nearly 100 San Diego Unified employees are retiring with an astonishing 2,098.43 years of combined service to the children of San Diego. Children’s center teacher Esther Alexander and counselor Donna Peterson are each retiring with more than 40 years of service with the district. The retirees were honored at a special reception held on June 16 at the Education Center. Attendees enjoyed the musical talents of the Madison High School String Orchestra, the culinary delights of the Morse High School ROP Culinary students, and the colorful performance of the Ballet Folklorico troupe from Birney Elementary International Studies Magnet. Board President Richard Barrera and trustees Shelia Jackson and Katherine Nakamura joined Interim Superintendent Bill Kowba in thanking the retirees for making a difference in the lives of thousands of San Diego students over the years. Best wishes for good health and happiness to all our retirees. See the list of retirees Adobe PDF.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

La Jolla High Teacher Named County Outstanding High School Science Teacher

Congratulations to La Jolla High's David James, the San Diego Science Educators Association Outstanding Science Teacher for 2010. David teaches biology and marine science at La Jolla High, where just a few of his accomplishments include teaching students about native chaparral communities in the field, conducting intertidal monitoring for the Census of Marine Life, taking students on a five-day field studies trip to Monterey Bay, establishing collaborative student projects with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and San Diego State University, and coaching a National Ocean Sciences Bowl team, which came in fourth place at the national competition. The San Diego Science Educators Association is a professional organization supporting science educators and promotes science literacy and advocates for science education by promoting professionalism, leadership, and community outreach. For more information, please contact Martin Teachworth at mteachworth@sandi.net.

DoDEA Educational Partnership Awards Grant to San Diego Unified School District

ARLINGTON, VA ­The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)
Educational Partnership awarded a $2.5 million grant to the San Diego
Unified School District through the Promoting Student Achievement at Schools
Impacted by Military Force Structure Changes FY 10 Competitive Grant
Program.

The School District serves students from Naval Air Station San Diego and
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in the San Diego area.

³Our grant program provides needed funding for schools serving the children
of our military service members,² said Dr. Shirley Miles, Director, DoDEA.
³These students face unique challenges being in a military family and we are
proud to be able to help the school districts that support them.²

Operation Student Achievement, which will be funded by the grant, is a
comprehensive approach to improve student achievement and teacher
effectiveness in math, science, and technology at nine elementary schools.
Program strategies include student instruction using evidence-based math and
science curricula and student interventions using research based support and
tutoring programs, parent engagement, and sustained professional
development.

³San Diego Unified is deeply appreciative of the Department of Defense (DoD)
for the grant funding that will allow us to participate in the Operation
Student Achievement program,² said Bill Kowba, Interim Superintendent.

³As the Navy¹s largest homeport, several thousand military dependent and
other high needs children will benefit from the funding of highly valued
math, science, and technology interventions and supporting parental
engagement and teacher professional development. This is win-win-win for
the school district, the city, and our families,² Kowba said.

The amount of the grant awards range from $100,000 to $2,500,000 based on
military student enrollment at the target schools. While the aim of the
program is to enhance the education of military students, funds may be used
to raise student achievement for all students at the schools.

All grants focus on enhancing student learning opportunities, student
achievement, and educator professional development at military-connected
schools. Some grants also have a counseling component that focuses on
easing the challenges that military students face due to transitions and
deployments.

While some active duty military families are stationed in overseas
locations, the majority live on or near a military installation in the U.S.
Approximately 60% of the children of military families in the U.S. are
school age and the majority of them attend public schools throughout the
nation.

DoDEA¹s Partnership program provides information and support to increase
understanding of the unique needs of military children as well as academic
support to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for military
children.

DoDEA's aim is to enhance the education of military students, but funds may
be used to raise student achievement for all students.

DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools located
overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and
Secondary Schools located in the U.S. and its territories and possessions.
DoDEA provides education to eligible DoD military and civilian dependents
from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. DoDEA also provides support and
resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve
children of military families.

Bus Fleet Passes Inspection as New Buses Arrive

As San Diego Unified's bus and transportation fleet maintenance facility passed its annual inspection by the local Air Pollution Control District (APCD), 17 new buses arrived, part of a 50-vehicle order that should be completely filled in the next few weeks. The new buses include seat belts for the students, GPS and dual fans for the drivers. The new buses are now available for public inspection – all are invited to stop by, take a look and fill out a survey. The APCD inspection was passed successfully, thanks to a team effort lead by Tony Rasso, civil engineering project manager, and contractor, Northwest Pump. For more information, contact Keith Salkeld, fleet manager, Transportation Department, at (858) 496-8451 or ksalkeld@sandi.net .

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hoover Students Explore Energy Options

Hoover Students Work on a Physics Project
Hoover High School’s Physics courses emphasize how Physics concepts and principle learned in class apply in the real world. In one unit, students examined energy options for the future, particularly what can be done to expand the usage of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. Students were given a hands-on opportunity to apply the mechanical and electrical principles they learned by actually building and racing a solar-powered car. The project also helped deepen students' understanding of the strengths and limitations of solar-powered devices, such as using them at night or on cloudy days. Students discussed options for improving the overall utility of solar-powered devices by adding power storage capabilities or combining solar with other sources of power. The class kept students engaged and they had a lot of fun with the project. For more information, contact AP Physics teacher Vince Andrews or Principal Chuck Podhorsky at (619) 283-6281 x2104.

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Crawford CHAMPs Students Learn to Think “FAST” at Alvarado Hospital

Craford Students at Alvarado Hospital' On June 7, Crawford CHAMPs (Community Health and Medical Practices) students took a private tour of Alvarado Hospital and learned how to play a critical role in preventing a stroke: by using the FAST system -- Face, Arms, Speech and Time. Each CHAMPs team had a patient to take through the phases of treatment: ambulatory care, transporting into the emergency room, radiology, pharmacy, in-patient and outpatient rehabilitation and surgery. CHAMPs students were given a rare opportunity to understand the hospital's procedure in treating stroke patients and walked away with a better understanding of how they can be advocates for prevention, awareness and safety. For more information, please contact CHAMPs Principal William Laine at (619) 583-2501.


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District Educator to Serve on National Council

Barbara Baron, program manager of the Instructional Media Center, was recently selected to serve on the National Council on Digital Citizenship and Creative Content. The Council, formed earlier this year, aims to understand and address K-12 school systems’ needs to teach appropriate, educational, responsible, and fair usage of digital content -- the music, movies, software, and other digital media with which students interact every day. The Council, made possible by Microsoft sponsorship, includes roughly 50 educators and administrators across the nation. The Council will evaluate current levels of awareness and understanding around the concept of digital citizenship, establish best practices for digital content development and usage in K-12 environments, and advocate for relevant local, state, and regional academic standards. Council members will collaborate on various initiatives including a blog, white paper and resources for other educators that provide ideas for how best to encourage responsible digital citizenship among students and schools. For more information about the Council, please visit http://www.digitalcitizenshipcouncil.com .

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Three Finalists for Superintendent Announced

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education has announced the three finalists for the Superintendent position.

The finalists are: William Kowba, currently Interim Superintendent for the San Diego Unified School District; Debbra A. Lindo, currently chief executive officer and chief academic officer for College Track; and Dale W. Vigil, former superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District.

The candidates will meet with the public at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 17, in the auditorium at the Eugene Brucker Education Center. The Board hopes to select the new Superintendent within a month.

The announcement culminates a four-month search and selection process that included extensive community involvement. Members of the public gave input on the desired qualities that the next superintendent should possess. The citizens search committee screened more than 20 candidates, recommending seven to the Board.

The three finalists provided these highlights of their careers:

-- William Kowba, Interim Superintendent for San Diego Unified School District who joined the district in August 2006 as Chief Financial Officer and was appointed Interim Superintendent in September 2009. A retired Rear Admiral, Kowba had a distinguished 30-year career in the U.S. Navy prior to joining the district leadership team.

-- Debbra A. Lindo, currently chief executive officer and chief academic officer for College Track, an Oakland, Calif. based pre-college program for students in the Bay Area and New Orleans. Dr. Lindo also served as executive director for the Oakland Unified School District's Middle School Network I.

-- Dale W. Vigil, former superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District. Dr. Vigil was superintendent in Hayward from 2005-09 and was a local district superintendent in the Los Angeles School District from 2000-05.

The candidates' biographies will be posted Thursday on the district's website at www.sandi.net/suptsearch.

"The Board is pleased to present three highly-qualified candidates for this crucial position," said Richard Barrera, Board President. "Each of these candidates demonstrates the qualities that our school communities have indicated are important for our new superintendent. The Board looks forward to hearing each candidate¹s presentation to the community tomorrow night."

The next step in the superintendent selection process will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday when each candidate will participate in a public interview. Each candidate will be interviewed for 45 minutes by Dennis Morgigno, a professional broadcast journalist from Cox Communications. Morgigno will use a set of questions synthesized from the extensive community input received
over the last four months.

The 6 p.m. Thursday meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Eugene Brucker Education Center, 4100 Normal St. (92103). It is scheduled to be televised on iTV Cable Channel 16 and streamed live on the district's website at www.sandi.net/boardtv.

The public can share comments about the candidates with the Board of Education via e-mail at communications@sandi.net.
This community presentation marks the culmination of a search process that over the last three months has given the public extensive opportunities to share their opinions with the Board about the most desirable skills and personal qualities needed in the next Superintendent. This outreach included five town hall meetings attended by parents, students, employees and
community members as well as opportunities to submit suggestions through the
district website.

In addition the process included the involvement of a board-appointed committee comprised of 15 volunteers who helped facilitate the town hall meetings and reviewed all applications for the position. Based on community input and the superintendent position description, the advisory committee submitted their recommendations to the Board of the candidates to be interviewed.

On June 17, each final candidate will have 45 minutes to answer questions submitted in advance by the public and to present their qualifications. The presentations are open to the public and will be webcast as well as shown live on Cable Channel 16. The meeting video will be available for online viewing at any time. Please submit your suggested questions through the
Superintendent Search website http://www.sandi.net/20451032143930310/Blog/browse.asp?C=67137&A=398&DomainID=4823&PostID=675&20451032143930310Nav=|&NodeID=4198&2045Nav=|&NodeID=3942 or by email
communications@sandi.net .

Following this community interview, the Board of Education plans to conduct final interviews and make a selection of the new Superintendent at the end of June or early July.

Met Students Share Experiences with Alpine Community

Met 
Students Present
As the rural community of Alpine prepares for its new high school, inner-city students from San Diego Met High were recently asked to share their experiences at the unique "Big Picture" school on the campus of San Diego Mesa College. Steven Rader, Cynthia Burnette, Karla Cruz, Alia Pyatt, all Met High sophomores, and freshman Justin Sax, presented the Big Picture education model highlights at the Alpine Community Forum, where plans for a new high school were discussed by Grossmont Unified School District Asst. Supt. Mike Lewis on June 8. Alpine community members circulated from station to station speaking with Met staff, including Jill Badger, Kathy Baker, Ray Brandes, Siv Davis, Kate Little, Kathy Nguyen, Donna Pilkington and Clyde Yoshida. Attendees were interested in the San Diego Met's 100 percent graduation and college acceptance rates, math program, academic internship projects and advisory culture. For more information, contact Principal Mildred Phillips at (619) 388-2299 or mphillips@sandi.net.

DMD WAVE Project Leads to DMD Day Declaration by Mayor Sanders

Mayor Jerry Sanders proclaimed June 4, 2010 to be DMD Day in San Diego during a visit to the Kearny High campus. The mayor talked with 11th graders and staff while checking out the Making Waves project, where the students have worked with real clients to help make San Diego a better and "greener" place. W.A.V.E.S stands for We Advocate and Volunteer to Educate San Diego. The City of San Diego, the Surfrider Foundation and the Office of College, Career and Technical Education (CCTE) were involved; the project was a recent winner at the annual CCTE Showcase for the interdisciplinary nature of the work. For further information, please contact Kearny Digital Media and Design Principal Cheryl Hibbeln at chibbeln@sandi.net or CCTE Director Shawn Loescher at sloescher@sandi.net .


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PowerUp! Volunteers Boost Student Reading

PowerUp! Logo Power Up! is a pilot tutoring program for third grade students who need an additional boost in reading. Parent and community volunteers have been using the Power Up! program at Whitman, Lee, Sherman, Bayview Terrace, and Fletcher elementary schools, working one-on-one with students for six weeks on decoding strategies, high frequency words and fluency. The 36 Power-Up coaches volunteered more than 400 hours, working with 70 students. Fluency -- the number of words read correctly in one minute -- grew by as much as 30 words per minute. Automaticity -- recognizing words at sight as opposed to sounding them out -- increased for high-frequency words; students responded faster and with increased confidence. Volunteers reported a positive experience for students. As one volunteer noted: “It was wonderful to be a part of this child’s learning process. It is life changing for the student and for myself.” For more information, please contact Ellen Tiffany, community relations manager, at (619) 725-5592 or etiffany@sandi.net .

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Board Delays Superintendent Announcement

Board of Education members decided Tuesday to meet Wednesday, June 16, and
further discuss their selection of three finalists to fill the vacant
Superintendent position. At 7 p.m. Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to
announce the three finalists.

The Thursday public forum still scheduled for 6 p.m.

NEWSWEEK Honors a Dozen San Diego High Schools as Among "America's Best"

Among the best high schools in the United States, 12 are part of the San Diego Unified School District, Newsweek Magazine announced in this week's issue.

Preuss UCSD charter high school received top honors, placing 16th on the list, while the School of International Studies at San Diego High School placed 89; in San Diego County, only San Diego Unified has schools in Newsweek's top 100.

The schools are honored for doing the best job of preparing average students for college by offering rigorous curriculum. Scores are determined by dividing the number of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests taken at a school by the number of graduating seniors.

The 2010 list (as of June 15): Preuss UCSD, 16; School of International Studies at San Diego High, 89; University City, 308; Pt. Loma, 331; La Jolla, 327; Henry, 459; Scripps Ranch, 536; Mira Mesa, 544; Serra, 633; Clairemont, 1,078; Lincoln, 1521; Crawford Community Health and Medical Practices (CHAMPS), 1,587. Newsweek estimates that there are nearly 30,000 high schools in the US.

"This is an outstanding achievement for our students, our teachers and administrators, and our schools," said Bill Kowba, Interim Superintendent. "Excellence in education, no matter the challenges, is what's important."

For the complete list, go to http://www.newsweek.com/feature/2010/americas-best-high-schools.html

NEWSWEEK Honors a Dozen San Diego High Schools as Among 'America's Best"

Among the best high schools in the United States, 12 are part of the San
Diego Unified School District, Newsweek Magazine announced in this week¹s
issue.

Preuss UCSD charter high school received top honors, placing 16th on the
list, while the School of International Studies at San Diego High School
placed 89; in San Diego County, only San Diego Unified has schools in
Newsweek¹s top 100.

The schools are honored for doing the best job of preparing average students
for college by offering rigorous curriculum. Scores are determined by
dividing the number of Advanced Placement (AP) and International
Baccalaureate (IB) tests taken at a school by the number of graduating
seniors.

The 2010 list (as of June 15): Preuss UCSD, 16; School of International
Studies at San Diego High, 89; University City, 308; Pt. Loma, 331; La
Jolla, 327; Henry, 459; Scripps Ranch, 536; Clairemont, 1,078; Lincoln,
1521; Crawford Community Health and Medical Practices (CHAMPS), 1,587.
Newsweek estimates that there are nearly 30,000 high schools in the US.

³This is an outstanding achievement for our students, our teachers and
administrators, and our schools,² said Bill Kowba, Interim Superintendent.
³Excellence in education, no matter the challenges, is what¹s important.²

For the complete list, go to
http://www.newsweek.com/feature/2010/americas-best-high-schools.html

Encanto Teacher Heads to the North Pole

Encanto Elementary science teacher Lynn Howard is joining a polar research expedition this summer Encanto Elementary science teacher Lynn Howard is joining a polar research expedition this summer to the land of ice bears, as one of six winners of a Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, in conjunction with the National Geographic Society. Howard teaches environmental science to 450 students in first- through sixth grade. The fellowship committee cited her dedication to inspiring students to care for their planet. She will join naturalists on the National Geographic Explorer in the Arctic on expeditions named “Land of the Ice Bears.” More information on the expedition can be found at www.expeditions.com/polarbear . Howard’s goal is to bring her field experience back into the classroom with geographic awareness and ocean stewardship. For more information, contact Natalie Wojinski, California Geographical Alliance, at (510) 231-1429 ext. 25207 or natalie.wojinski@googlewave.com .


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Commencements Begin Friday

2nd Commencement Photo
Commencement Photo
On Friday, the first of the Class of 2010 will walk down the aisle and receive their high school diplomas as San Diego Unified's Class of 2010. Between Friday and the following Monday, more than 8,000 students are expected to complete their education in our schools.

Many are going to some of the top universities in the nation, including Harvard and Princeton in the Ivy League; Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCLA here on the west coast. Others will go to our fine local universities, UC San Diego, San Diego State, the University of San Diego and Cal State San Marcos, to name a few. Many will continue their education at our excellent community colleges, such as City, Mesa, Grossmont and Southwestern. Still other students will go right into a very tough job market. Many will have a leg up, having completed the district’s career and technical education programs.

Congratulations to our 2010 graduates on their many accomplishments. A special salute goes to the teachers, principals, support staff and all others who have worked tirelessly to help our fine young people become high school graduates.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Mission Bay High Students Create Solutions for a Real World Natural Disaster

Mission Bay High Architectual Models
When the earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 12, Mission Bay High had just begun Term 2. Due to the highly significant loss of life and expansive destruction, ROP Principals of Engineering instructor Ed Borlenghi created a class project to redesign the city. Students began by researching the incident, viewing before and after pictures, reviewing living conditions as a result of the quake, and finding an individual's survival story. Next, student teams designed public and private buildings, such as housing, a recreation center, a library, civic center, shopping, etc. In teams of 2 to 4, students designed buildings using 3D modeling software, specifically Google Sketchup. After the virtual model was complete, teams selected a site and commenced creating two real models using cardboard and other recycled/reused materials. This hands-on approach to design in response to a real-world event proved to be an effective method of engaging students. For more information, please contact James Michaelian, vice principal, Mission Bay High School, at (858) 273-1313 or jmichaelian@sandi.net .

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Vote Online to Help McKinley Elementary Get Garden Grant

You can help McKinley Elementary School, feed the Octopus’ Garden and help future generations. The urban campus in the heart of North Park needs your vote to win a $25,000 grant to expand its already great but small garden.

McKinley is a finalist for a grant from Nature’s Path, including $10,000 cash, coaching from organic gardeners and a sponsored fundraiser, providing much-needed support for a school where some 70 percent of the student body qualify for free or reduced school lunch. Click to vote: http://www.justmeans.com/contestidea?ideaid=NTA3 . The five top finalists will be determined by how many internet votes are received by midnight Tuesday, June 15.

At McKinley, the garden has become a huge hit among their 420-student, ethnically diverse student body, whose campus is mostly paved and concrete. For teachers, it’s a real-life curriculum that gives students a broader understanding of where food comes from and the importance of healthy eating. Winning this online voting contest would qualify McKinley Elementary to expand the garden to better serve students and the surrounding community, including incorporating organic, “home grown” food into school meals, as well as creating a community garden as a welcome addition to the neighborhood. For more information, contact Sarah Scalo at (619) 278-8057 or swscalo@gmail.com .

Superintendent Search Update

The selection process for a new Superintendent is coming to a conclusion. On Tuesday, the Board of Education is scheduled to announce the final three candidates for the position. These candidates will be invited to participate in a televised interview and presentation to the community on Thursday, June 17, at 6 p.m., in the auditorium at the Eugene Brucker Education Center, 4100 Normal St. (92103).

This community presentation marks the culmination of a search process that has given the public many opportunities to share their opinions with the Board about the most desirable skills and personal qualities needed in the next Superintendent. Over the last three months, five town hall meetings were attended by parents, students, employees and community members and suggestions were also submitted through the district website. In addition, a board-appointed committee comprised of 15 volunteers helped facilitate the town hall meetings and reviewed all applications for the position.

On June 17, each final candidate will have 45 minutes to answer questions submitted in advance by the public, and to present their qualifications. The presentations are open to the public and will be webcast as well as shown live on Cable Channel 16. Please submit your suggested questions through the Superintendent Search website or communications@sandi.net .

Following the presentation, the Board of Education will conduct final interviews and make a selection of the new Superintendent by the end of June or in early July. For more information, contact Bernie Rhinerson, Chief District Relations Officer, at (619) 725-5578 or brhinerson@sandi.net .


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Sunday, June 13, 2010

School Track Records Tumbled at Lindbergh Schweitzer

Lindbergh-Schweitzer Runners

Once again, Lindbergh Schweitzer's "No Speed Limit" Track Team did the district proud. Racing at the San Diego USA Track and Field first summer nights series meet, two more school records tumbled: Alex Lopez lowered the 400 meter record for boys to 1:07, and Gabby Woodus ran 1:14 for the girls. She also set the 100-meter mark at 14.89. Additional athletes representing Lindbergh Schweitzer included: Jeff Sediego, Diego Ledezma, Anthony Green, Ali Aboushaban, Jovanny Sanchez and Mitchell Cazares. The students had some steep competition, including a former Green Bay Packer and 800-meter Beijing Olympic runners. Congratulations to all runners. For more information, please contact Lindbergh Schweitzer at (858) 496-8400.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Lincoln's Victor Dean Shares Newspaper Honors

Lincoln's Victor Dean is the county co-Athlete of the Year by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Other district honorees include Mission Bay's Dillon Baxter and Scripps Ranch's Maggie Sevilla. More prep sports from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

IN THE NEWS: School's Library Booked for Makeover

A renovated building and 2,000 new books await Doris Miller Elementary School this October after the school was chosen for the Target Library Makeover program. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Board Appoints Senior Management

Nine San Diego Unified veterans have been appointed Area Superintendents by the Board of Education, putting personnel in charge of a key feature of the district’s reorganization <see: http://www.sandi.net/sandi/lib/sandi/orgchart5-10.jpg>, due to take effect on July 1.

The nine will in most cases each supervise two high schools and their feeder elementary and middle schools <see: http://www.sandi.net/sandi/lib/sandi/areasupt5-10.jpg> , serving as the ultimate point of contact for the schools in those areas. They will report to the as-yet unnamed Deputy Superintendent for Academics, and San Diego Unified’s new Superintendent. The nine are: Angela Bass, Rupi Boyd, Tony Burks, Brenda Campbell, David Lorden, Nellie Meyer, Hector Montenegro, Marian Phelps and Mike Price.

"This is as highly-qualified a group of educators as you’ll find at any district in the nation," said Bill Kowba, Interim Superintendent. "Not only do they know education, they are almost all San Diegans and are very familiar with our students, parents, schools and neighborhoods."

The new Area Superintendents will handle all schools and issues in their areas. Academic, discipline and other issues can be appealed to to the Area Superintendent's office, where Parent Support Liaison support will be available to help with issues.

Here is some background on the new Area Superintendents:
  • Angela Bass is a former San Diego Unified Instructional Leader (a previous title for a position similar to the new Area Superintendents), Bass returns to San Diego Unified after serving for nearly two years as Superintendent of Instruction for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Bass will have Area 5, the cluster that includes Mira Mesa and Scripps Ranch high schools, along with their feeder schools.
  • Rupi Boyd is an Elementary School Improvement Officer under the previous organizational structure, a position similar to the new Area Superintendents. Before becoming a School Improvement Officer, Boyd was principal at Jackson Elementary School. Boyd will have Area 2, with Crawford High area schools, as well as responsibility for charter schools and the Charter School office.
  • Tony Burks is the Executive Director Atypical and Charter Schools and Office of Secondary School Innovation under the previous organizational structure, Burks will have the Kearny and Hoover high school areas as part of his Area 9.
  • Brenda Campbell has served as Executive Director, Federal and Special Programs, and will now be Area 1 Area Superintendent, with responsibilities for the schools in the Morse and Lincoln high school areas.
  • David Lorden will become Area 8 Superintendent, supervising the Serra and Henry high school areas. Lorden was most recently Director of Professional Development for Administrators and Integrated Teams; previously he was a Middle School Improvement Officer.
  • Nellie Meyer has most recently been Interim Deputy Superintendent. She will have responsibility for the Mission Bay and Pt. Loma high school area, which will be Area 7 under the new organization. She has also served as Assistant Superintendent for High Schools.
  • Hector Montenegro is new to San Diego Unified and will take the San Diego High School Area 3. He joins San Diego Unified after being a private consultant and Superintendent of the Arlington Independent and Ysleta Independent school districts in Texas.
  • Marian Phelps will take office in Area 4, the Clairemont and Madison high school areas. Phelps has been principal of the Zamorano Fine Arts Academy Elementary, helping to raise that school’s test scores from 740 in 2003 to 827 in 2008.
  • Mike Price leaves University City High as principal and returns as Area 6 Superintendent for La Jolla and University City high school areas. Price has been principal at Pt. Loma High School and a Principal on Special Assignment at the Education Center. In addition, the Board appointed Shirley Wilson as Assistant Area Superintendent for Area 1, where she will work with Brenda Campbell on behalf of Morse and Lincoln area schools.

Superintendent Finalist Community Presentation and Interview Scheduled

The selection process for a new Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District is coming to a conclusion.

The Board of Education will announce the final three candidates for the position on Tuesday, June 15. These candidates will be invited to participate in a televised interview and presentation to the community at 6p.m., Thursday, June 17, at the Auditorium, Eugene Brucker Education Center,4100 Normal St. (92103).

This community presentation marks the culmination of a search process that over the last three months has given the public extensive opportunities to share their opinions with the Board about the most desirable skills and personal qualities needed in the next Superintendent. This outreach included five town hall meetings attended by parents, students, employees and community members as well as opportunities to submit suggestions through the district website.

In addition the process included the involvement of a board-appointed committee comprised of 15 volunteers who helped facilitate the town hall meetings and reviewed all applications for the position. Based on community input and the superintendent position description, the advisory committee submitted their recommendations to the Board of the candidates to be interviewed.

The Board will complete the interview process on June 15 and will announce the top three candidates on that date. On June 17, each final candidate will have 45 minutes to answer questions submitted in advance by the public and to present their qualifications. The presentations are open to the public and will be webcast as well as shown live on Cable Channel 16. The meeting video will be available for online viewing at any time. Please submit your suggested questions through the Superintendent Search website or by email at communications@sandi.net.

Following this community interview, the Board of Education plans to conduct final interviews and make a selection of the new Superintendent at the end of June or early July.

IN THE NEWS: Cancer patient’s wish shows his team spirit

San Diego Union-Tribune photo
Darren Shanks, 14, who is battling cancer, chose to spend his Make-A-Wish surprising the Patrick Henry High School football team with new uniforms.

Safety Office Improves Services

The District Safety Office for environmental health and safety concerns has undergone many changes this school year. Previously located in the Risk Management Department, the Safety Office is now part of Physical Plant Operations Support Services. To better assist with providing safe learning centers for students and staff, members of the safety office team are now assigned to specific geographical areas of the district. This “zone” configuration provides school sites and central offices with a single point of contact and is consistent with the current PPO zone alignment. For more information, please contact Glenn Boogren, supervisor, at (858) 637-3698 or gboogren@sandi.net .

Monday, June 7, 2010

Prop S Update — PSA Training

Prop S LogoThe next Project Stabilization Agreement (PSA) training is set for Tuesday, June 15, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Ballard Parent Center, 2375 Congress St. (92110). Trainings are offered to contractors of all tiers on the third Tuesday of each month. Training covers the scope of the PSA agreement; information on bidding and managing PSA projects; contractor, union and district roles and responsibilities; and grievance procedures/jurisdictional disputes. Each participant receives reference materials with critical information for contractors seeking to perform PSA-covered work. For more information and to reserve you seat, please contact George Harris at (858) 637-6269 or gharris@sandi.net or visit www.sandi.net/props .

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Border Voices Poetry Winners

Each year, thousands of students across San Diego County are taught the art of writing poetry during one-week workshops run by the Border Voices Poetry Project. The best student poems are selected for the annual Border Voices anthology. This year, students from Hearst Elementary, Spreckels Elementary, Pt. Loma High and John Muir schools were among the budding poets whose poems will be included in the 2010 Border Voices anthology. To learn more and to read the award-winning poetry, please go to www.bordervoices.com .

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Pershing Middle Student Soars at Science Show

He needed a sewing machine, calculator, bobbins, copper wire, magnets and a guitar to make this work.

“I didn’t want to be one of the people who just picked the science (project) that would be the easiest, like watering plants, because I would be bored out of my mind. And, I play guitar and I play electric bass, stand-up bass. I played bass drum in the marching band,” said Miles Head, 14. “I didn’t realize how hard it would be, but I wanted to pick something I would be interested in.” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune›››

Miller Elementary Selected for Library Makeover

Miller
 Elementary Wins a Library READesign
The Heart of America, in partnership with Target, selected Miller Elementary School as a recipient of the 2010 Target School Library Makeover award. At a ceremony held May 26, Miller third-graders provided inspiration on what they would like to see in their “new” library, including comfortable reading nooks, colorful artwork and expanded book collections. Target’s design team will translate these suggestions into the current library space by redecorating, revitalizing technology and replenishing book shelves with 2,000 new books. Work will begin this summer on the library makeover with the grand re-opening event scheduled for October 1.

San Diego Unified submitted applications for five schools for this award. Miller was selected the winner; Angier and Walker elementary schools were selected as finalists and will receive a $2,000 book award. Finalist schools were selected based on a list of qualifications that included serving at least 65% low-income children, having a dedicated library staff, demonstrating the ability to support the library makeover and having an overall site plan for increasing access to the library for all students and their families. For more information, please contact Aly Evans, program development specialist, at (619) 725-5582 or aevans2@sandi.net


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Friday, June 4, 2010

IN THE NEWS: TKF Program at Dana Middle School Breaks Cycle of Violence

Man teams up with grandfather of boy who shot his son to teach kids how to end the cycle of violence. Watch video from KNSD-TV»

IN THE NEWS: Wegeforth Elementary Gets Barona Grant

Today, staff and students of Wegeforth Elementary School accepted a $5,000
education grant from the Barona Band of Mission Indians. The check was
presented by Barona Tribal Chairman Edwin "Thorpe" Romero, Barona Tribal
Councilwoman Beth Glasco and 39th District State Senator Christine Kehoe.
Read more from news release at
http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Wegeforth-Elementary-School-Receives
-Education-Grant-From-Barona-Tribe-Needed-Science-1271422.htm

Video Warns Students, Parents about Homemade Explosives

Over the past couple of years, a rash of homemade explosives and over-pressure devices have been made by students as end-of-the-school-year pranks. The majority of the students involved were successful in school with promising futures. As a result of their poor choice, these students were arrested, charged with felony crimes, lost scholarships, and/or were denied entry into the military. In an effort to inform students and parents of the inherent dangers of homemade explosives and the consequences of creating them, the San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) has created a short public service announcement. For further information, please contact MAST Det. Chris Everett at (619) 236-6815 or School Police Sgt. George Anderson at (619) 725-7000.



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Thursday, June 3, 2010

IN THE NEWS: District schools to close a week early next year

San Diego city schools on a traditional calendar will end the academic year a week early next year to accommodate five mandatory furlough days for its 15,000 employees, the school board has decided. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: Bridge Turns Math Class Into a Game

Students learning bridge show improvements on tests. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: Catcher Ready for Next Big Game

It looms as a tough decision for Wynston Sawyer.

Then again, maybe not so tough because the Scripps Ranch High catcher sees himself in a can't-go-wrong situation if he's selected in the early rounds of next week's professional baseball draft. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

IN THE NEWS: Renewable-energy industry teams with budding scientists

It's about the fast and the flashy when it comes to high school students and their vehicles. But the solar-powered, electric go-cart that tops out at 10 mph suits the 15 seniors who built it at the Renewable Energy Leadership Institute just fine. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: School's hair donation drive attracts brave students

The La Jolla High School sophomore bit her bottom lip as 8 inches of hair fell from her head with a few quick snips.

"It feels lighter," said Ardis Zhong, 15, as she held the severed ponytail like a souvenir before placing it in a plastic bag that will be mailed off to be woven into a wig for cancer patients. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Pacific Beach Middle School Wins the Gold at Forum Music Festival

PB Middle School Music Winners
The Pacific Beach Middle School intermediate band won the gold award for its performance at the Forum Music Festival on May 21 in Orange County. As the highest-ranking band at the festival, PB Middle School received a large plaque, which band director, John O'Donnell, will present to the school. Congratulation to Mr. O'Donnell and the PB Middle School band students on this outstanding achievement. For more information, please contact Principal Julie Martel at (858) 273-9070 or jmartel@sandi.net .

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Preparing Students for College and Career: Access and Success in A-G

Parents, students, teachers, administrators and other interested community members are invited to participate in a community conversation about college and career readiness in the 21st century on Thursday, June 3, from 6:30-8 p.m., at Kearny High School. The event, facilitated by the Education Trust West, is part of data gathering activities that will be included in an Educational Opportunity Audit being prepared for the district. The findings will be used to make informed decisions and determine next steps in the Board of Education's resolution to adopt the University of California A-G graduation requirements for all students. For more information and to RSVP, go to http://www.eventbrite.com/event/691425071 .

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Graduation Schedule Available

Find out when your student in the Class of 2010 will be graduating>>

Farb Middle School Wins Special Distinction from AVID

2010 Salute to Excellence StudentsIt’s all about academic success. With that goal in mind, Farb Middle School has been named an AVID National Demonstration School, the first and only school of its kind in the district. AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, establishes high expectations and requires extra study time and work for students, gearing them toward higher education. Through this distinction, Farb has been recognized for its success in creating a college-bound culture that meets the AVID criteria and will now serve as a role model for other schools and organizations. Congratulations to the Farb staff, students and parents on this outstanding achievement. For more information, please contact Susan Levy, principal, or Donna Rankin, AVID coordinator, at (858) 496-8090.

 



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