Friday, October 29, 2010

SD Met Students Lunch at La Maestra Community Health Center

La Maestra
SD Met internship coordinator Jill Badger with senior Dulce Salome and her mentor, Alejandrina Areizaga.

The La Maestra Community Health Center recently hosted 18 San Diego Met High students for a book signing and luncheon. All attending students are in science-based internships.

Zara Marselian, founder of La Maestra Community Health Centers introduced the audience to her book The Soul Speaks, based on her staff's immigrant experiences before employment at the clinic.
San Diego Met High students have completed health-science oriented internships at La Maestra, a community clinic serving the immigrant and refugee population in the inner city neighborhood of City Heights for more than five years.

2009 Met graduate Stefany Brizuela continues to work there as a paid employee while attending San Diego State University.
The Oct. 22 buffet luncheon had a global theme with Thai spring rolls, beef tamales, Lumpia, Spanakopita filled with spinach or cream cheese, turkey rolls ups and French pastries.

San Diego MET, is a middle college high (college preparatory) school located on Mesa Community College campus. Serving approximately 200 students, our goal is to graduate all with a high school diploma, courses that meet a-g requirements for admission to the UC and CSU system and up to 50 college-transferable credits.

Superintendent Mentors Academy of Business and Technology Student

Superintendent Kowba Mentors StudentThe Academy of Business and Technology (AOBT) at Clairemont High School got its mentoring program off to a great start this year with the participation of prominent volunteers such as Supt. Kowba, a special agent for the FBI, attorneys and entrepreneurs.

While the Academy's 11th graders have had this privilege for the past two years, this was the first year for the 10th graders. The Academy mentor program provides the opportunity for caring professionals -- who listen and act as role models, to make a visible difference in the lives of students -- to share their interests and hard-won wisdom in areas such as self-esteem, goal setting, academic and career direction.

For more information, please contact teacher Alan Walter, Academy of Business and Technology, Clairemont High School, at

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

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rubber Duckies Help PB Schools

Duckies support PB schools
At the Duck Race: Sandra Grader (left), Susan Winchester, Laura Daly, Kristi and Tiffany Burke.
A recent "rubber ducky derby" not only gave participants a quacking good time, it also raised $1,500 for Pacific Beach secondary schools.
Part of the 12th annual Pacific BeachFest on Oct. 9, the derby was sponsored by the Friends of Pacific Beach Secondary Schools, an organization that supports Mission Bay High and Pacific Beach Middle schools.
In addition to the BeachFest, the Taste of Pacific Beach, silent auctions and family nights are activities organized by the Friends. Funds are available to teachers, counselors and school administrators to be used in various ways to support academic and social success of our students.
Over the years these funds have provided Pacific Beach Middle School with a marquee and murals. The staff and students greatly appreciate the additional resources, especially during these economically challenging times.
For more district news, subscribe to the Superintendent's Friday Notes.

IN THE NEWS: Kumeyaay Elementary Teacher Profiled

Robyn Bernstein decided she wanted to be a teacher when she was in the fifth grade. Before that, there were some options. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Patrick Henry High Flutes with Sir James Galway

Henry High School flutists honed their skills in a master class held by world-renowned classical flutist Sir James Galway on Saturday, Oct. 9. Sir James, a living legend in the music community, is known as “The PLHS Flutes with Sir James Galwayman with the golden flute.” He worked with the students on technique, embouchure and musical style throughout the four-hour class. Pictured are PHHS flutists Haylea Hesketh, Kayla Sivak-Reid, Sir James Galway, Heather Morris, Tanya Camper and Julie Bennett. The event, co-sponsored by the SDSU School of Music and Dance and the San Diego Symphony, was attended by hundreds of flute players from around San Diego County.

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vision of Children Foundation Donation Helps Special Education Students

A recent donation of 39 handheld video magnifiers is already helping students in the district's Program for Students with Visual Impairments. The $40,000 in equipment given by the Vision of Children Foundation helps students read small text, handwriting and distance viewing. This state-of-the-art technology is just the latest donation to our district by the Vision of Children Foundation; past donations include flat-panel monitors. Our students and staff thank the Vision of Children Foundation for their generous contribution. For more information on the Program for Students with Visual Impairments, contact Stephen Sanders at (858) 490-8411 or

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Donors help Mira Mesa family build new life after fire

The effort was spearheaded by Ericson Elementary School teacher Rhoda Stephens-Yoder, who ran to the burning house after she heard it belonged to a student at the school. As she watched the flames pour from the home, the fourth-grade teacher said all she could think of was that the family was going to be left with only the clothes on their backs. So before the fire was even out, she got everyone’s sizes and dashed to an Old Navy store. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

IN THE NEWS: Field hockey game ignites girls’ sense of community

Patrick Henry, Mira Mesa high school teams annually Play 4 the Cure during breast cancer awareness month. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Board President’s Scholarship Helps Staff Become Teachers

Application information for this year’s Board President’s Scholarship is now online. The scholarship is presented annually by the President of the Board of Education, California Coast Credit Union and Mission Federal Credit Union to four monthly classified employees interested in becoming teachers. Both California Coast Credit Union and Mission Federal Credit Union donate $2,000 each annually to fund these scholarships. Read more.

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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Don't Forget to Vote on Tuesday

Vote on Nov. 2nd!Tuesday, Nov. 2 is an important election day for San Diego Unified as well as the State of California. The Nov. 2nd ballot includes two School Board member seats and Prop J, the Emergency Temporary Parcel Tax, for voter consideration. For more information, visit our website.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Invitation to “Educational Directions” with Diane Ravitch

Diane RavitchSan Diego Unified employees and guests are invited to attend “Educational Directions” – Thoughts about Education with Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System. This very special program will be held at the Madison High School Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 5 – 6:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend the event, however seating is limited. RSVP online by Nov. 1 or for more information, please call (619) 725-5578.

Diane Ravitch, acclaimed research professor of education at New York University and historian of education, was recently named one of the Atlantic magazine’s Brave Thinkers of 2010. She is the author of numerous publications, most notably The Death and Life of the Great American School System, which reached #12 on the New York Times’ Poli-Books Best Seller List for August 2010. Read more about Diane Ravitch.

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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Achievement Gap on Exit Exam a Thing of the Past

On Oct. 14, Supt. Kowba joined County Supt. of Schools Randy Ward, and other local educators, including Lewis Middle School Principal Brad Callahan and Henry High freshman Diontre Range, at the ninth annual news conference of the Superintendents’ Achievement Gap Task Force. Supt. Kowba, who is the Task Force Chair, explained the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) math data, which showed a pass-rate of 99.9% for white and Asian students, and 99.2 % for African American and Hispanics. For more information, visit

Friday, October 22, 2010

Horton Gets Sole Power

Horton community meetingHorton Elementary kids have sole. They’re on their toes. And heels, too, as the majority of Horton students are now happily walking to school as part of the national Walk to School initiative.

The effort has proven hugely successful with students plus a low-cost way to engage parents into the school’s efforts. This kind of "collective sole power" promotes both health and connectiveness to the school.

More than 75 parents turned out just to talk about walking to school at an Oct. 6 meeting led by San Diego Police Department Capt. Tony McElroy. School nurse Rosemary Jaworkski explained the health benefits both immediate and long-term, about how the seemingly simple act of walking a few blocks can develop lifelong good habits. Principal Robin McCulloch talked to parents about the importance of their involvement, from walking to homework, and how it has a direct impact on student academic success.

To reinforce the good intentions of all the concerned grownups, Horton is offering little rewards to students who get to class each morning via sole-power. They each have a punch card that, once filled, can be redeemed for prizes like “It’s Cool to Walk to School” bracelets and pedometers so they can start calculating the miles they’re logging. So many kids are hitting the streets in the Southeast San Diego neighborhood that motorists and neighbors are taking greater care, to keep the youngsters safe. And students earn rewards for rewarding behavior, and are starting the school year off with a can-do mindset.

Says Principal McCulloch, "Horton Kids are loving it!"

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Town Halls Wrap Up Tonight

Town Hall Meeting LogoThe final San Diego Unified community forum to discuss goals for student achievement, the budget crisis and the Proposition J Parcel Tax measure is scheduled tonight at
Clairemont High School, 4150 Ute. Dr. (92117). Area 4, Clairemont and Madison High schools area, Marian Kim-Phelps, Area Superintendent, will host.
The town hall meetings give parents, guardians and community residents an opportunity to meet senior district staff and their local Area Superintendent.
Although there will be time for attendees to ask questions on any topic, district staff will be making brief presentations on: the Community-Based School Reform Model; the recently released state test scores; and the fifth year of severe budget cuts, with $141 million projected reduction in state funding for 2011-12.The meetings are free and open to the public.
For more information, call San Diego Unified's District Relations Office at (619) 725-5575.

IN THE NEWS: Morse "Star Student" highlighted on Morning News

The Channel 6 morning show has honored a Morse High School senior as its Star Student of the Month. Reporter Reuben Galvan was on hand Oct. 20 for the presentation. Watch more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Innovation Middle School Highlighted on Morning News

Innovation Middle School in Clairemont was visited by Fox 5 Morning News, with segments on school technology, an egg drop, rocket launches and student projects. Watch video»

IN THE NEWS: Stand Down at San Diego High Spotlighted

CBS's "60 Minutes" takes a look at the event at San Diego High, part of San Diego Unified's commitment to the community.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Town Halls Wrap Up at Serra and Clairemont

Town Hall Meeting LogoThe final San Diego Unified community forums to discuss goals for student achievement, the budget crisis and the Proposition J Parcel Tax measure are scheduled this week. The remaining meeting schedule:
  • Wednesday, Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m., Serra High School, 5156 Santo Rd. (92124). Area 8, Patrick Henry and Serra high schools area, David Lorden, Area Superintendent.
  • Thursday, Oct. 21, 6:30 p.m., Clairemont High School, 4150 Ute. Dr. (92117). Area 4, Clairemont and Madison High schools area, Marian Kim-Phelps, Area Superintendent.

The town hall meetings give parents, guardians and community residents an opportunity to meet senior district staff and their local Area Superintendent and run through Oct. 21.

Although there will be time for attendees to ask questions on any topic, district staff will be making brief presentations on: the Community-Based School Reform Model; the recently released state test scores; and the fifth year of severe budget cuts, with $141 million projected reduction in state funding for 2011-12.

The meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, call San Diego Unified's District Relations Office at (619) 725-5575.

Cyber Artist Wins Contest

Bierle Cybersecurity Poster Millennial Tech sixth-grader Ashley Bierle won a top prize and the newest iPod in a county-wide art contest, plus the honor of having her winning poster become part of an important Southern California safety campaign. Ashley’s win showed her artistic abilities as well as her technical savvy as a student in Millennial Tech Middle STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program. She took second place in the county-wide Cybersecurty Poster Contest, “Securing Our eCity.”

The contest showcases student talent during October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The annual competition is open to K-12 students as a way to promote cybersecurity awareness and education in schools throughout Southern California. Student competitors tackled such hot topics as social networking, sexting, cyberbullying, phishing, file sharing piracy and identity theft. In addition to top honors, Ashley took home an iPod Nano touch 16 GB plus a $50 gift certificate to iTunes.

MTM Student Ashley Bierle poses with her engineering teacher, Marci Burt

Tech-savvy artist Ashley Bierle (left) with her prize and engineering teacher, Marci Burt.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Taft Students Prepare for “The Big One”

Students at TaftASB students at Taft Middle School demonstrated how to “drop, cover and hold on” during a disaster preparedness exercise to promote participation in The Great California ShakeOut.

Among falling vases, plants and books in the Big Shaker -- an earthquake simulator designed as a home-like setting -- students experienced what a 7.8 magnitude earthquake would feel like while engaged in normal activities at home.

About 30 ASB students took turns in the drill, many feeling startled and surprised at how powerful an earthquake can be. ReadyAmerica provided both the Big Shaker and free disaster preparedness kits for the students to thank them for their participation. Tips and sample tools to properly secure a home for an earthquake were also displayed.

The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services coordinated the Oct. 12 drill, which attracted local television crews and newspaper reporters, in an effort to promote the Oct. 21 ShakeOut. All San Diegans are encouraged to participate by registering at Learn more on how to prepare for an earthquake or other disaster by visiting

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

Sunday, October 17, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Serra's Ericka Senegar-Mitchell Is a County Teacher of Year

One of five San Diego County Teachers of the Year is Serra High's Ericka Senegar-Mitchell. She's now eligible for California Teacher of the Year.

Friday, October 15, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Chargers Visit Monroe Clark

Running backs Ryan Matthews and Curtis Brinkley visited Monroe Clark Middle School with a message to students. Courtesy KNSD-TV. Watch video.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

IN THE NEWS: He’s no ‘Superman,’ just a dedicated teacher

Rob Meza-Ehlert of Digital Media and Design School is part of Kearny's shift that reflects movie's model. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It Was a Rainy Walk to School Day

International Walk to School Day News CoverageA rainy October 6 morning did not dampen the spirits of schools participating in the International Walk to School Day.

City Heights elementary schools within two miles of each other that participated in International Walk to School Day. The project a collaboration between the City Heights Community Development Corporation and other community partners -- encouraged nearly 6,000 students and parents to walk to school.

Walk to School participants included Cherokee Point, Central, Fay, Hamilton, Ibarra, Joyner, Marshall and Rosa Parks elementary schools, among several others throughout the district.

Local businesses, community stakeholders and County Supervisor Ron Roberts contributed to a fund to buy themed yellow t-shirts, which unified students across the different schools. The t-shirts meet school uniform requirements and are proudly worn by students year-round.

At Cherokee Point Elementary, City Councilmember Todd Gloria, School Board President Richard Barrera and other officials spoke about the importance of safe walking environments and practices.

Participants then enjoyed a healthy breakfast and a Health and Safety Fair, where representatives from the San Diego County Public Health Department, Red Cross, Police Department, City Heights on Patrol (CHOP) and neighboring high school students offered health and safety tips to families. For more information, contact Principal Godwin Higa at .

Other participating schools included:
  • Lincoln and Morse high school areas. San Diego Unified School Police and San Diego Police departments coordinated efforts in the area, including Porter Elementary. Students from that school met at Kennedy Park, 47th and T streets, anded  to their campus.
  • Sunset View Elementary School.
  • Curie Elementary School.
  • Holmes Elementary School.
  • Horton Elementary School.
  • Sherman Elementary School.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Board President, Superintendent Talk Budget Issues

The San Diego Unified School District is facing a projected $141 million budget deficit next year. Superintendent Bill Kowba and school board president, Richard Barrera, join us to discuss the potential cuts the district is considering. We also discuss how Prop. J, the school parcel tax proposal, could affect the district's budget in the future. Listen to report from KPBS-FM»

Signs of Success Continue to Grow

As the district deals with the ongoing financial crisis, our students continue to make progress. Students are excelling in many areas as evidenced in the 2009-10 Indicators of Student Success Adobe PDF.

This is a tribute to our staff’s ability to keep its focus on what’s most important – the success of our students. Please join me in congratulating our entire team — staff, students and parents — for a job well done!
Bill Kowba Signature

Monday, October 11, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Homecoming marks 80 years of Hoover history

Hoover High football player Byreese Taylor drops into the gymnasium two or three times a week, walks over to the west wall and looks up.

There, photos of 23 of the school’s most famous athletes tower above him on a wall filled with the Hall of Fame Legends. He sees more than just old black and white pictures with names he barely knows.

“They’re my inspiration,” said Taylor, a senior wide receiver-linebacker who helped lead the Cardinals in a 7-7 tie with San Diego High on Friday night before a near-capacity crowd estimated at more than 3,000 that came out to see the school’s 80th homecoming game under portable lights. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Mira Mesa Cadets Start Program After Attending National Conference

After attending the Military Child Education Coalition Student 2 Student conference last month in San Antonio, Tex., Mira Mesa High JROTC cadets Menji Chiem and Shaina Razon were inspired to create one of these programs on their own campus.

The conference highlighted aspects of the program, including how to help ease the transition of highly mobile children in and out of school focusing on three key aspects: finding their way around a new campus; academic credit compatibility; and relationships children develop among their peers. Menji and Shaina have already established a School 2 School program at Mira Mesa High School, which has five new student members.

The group will seek support from the Board of Education to broaden the initiative to the entire district. For more information, please contact the Office of College, Career and Technical Education at (858) 503-1738.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Clairemont High PTSA Hosts "Waiting for Superman" Dialogue

The public is invited to a community dialogue on the new movie, "Waiting for Superman," and issues involving San Diego's schools.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 11, in the library at Clairemont High School, 4150 Ute Dr. (92117). It is sponsored by the San Diego Council of PTAs and the Clairemont High School PTSA.

The film, which opens Oct. 8, looks at struggling schools through the eyes of five students. The meeting will discuss the film and how it relates to San Diego's schools. Emily Alpert, Voice of San Diego reporter, will moderate the discussion.

For more information, contact Michelle Huffaker or Maureen Atwell.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Students . . . Start Your Engines!

Jimmie Johnson signs an engine

Two students from Crawford High School of Invention and Design (IDEA), Kim Nguyen and Andrew Watkins-Blackshear, spoke to more than 250 attendees at the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Annual Golf Tournament Fundraising Dinner this week.

The students are part of the automotive career paths at IDEA related to transportation and alternative fuels. The school received a $32,500 grant last year from Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions to learn how to convert gasoline powered engines to operate on cleaner, alternative fuels.

The students brought the engine that was purchased with some of the grant funds to the dinner and explained how they reconfigured it to run on alternative fuels and how they measure the efficiency.

Both students and their teacher were personally invited to be guests of Jimmie Johnson at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pepsi MAX 400 NSCS Race this weekend. For more information, please contact the Office of College, Career and Technical Education, at (858) 503-1738.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Roosevelt, Mission Bay Receive Three-Year Grant

Roosevelt Middle School and Mission Bay High School received a three-year, $7.5 million grant for their International Baccalaureate programs. Media visited Roosevelt to get the story. Watch video»

Hornet Cheer Squad Takes Spirit to Knox Elementary

Lincoln Cheer at Knox Elementary
Lincoln's cheer squad pumps up Knox Elementary.

Lincoln High School cheerleaders and their adviser, Martha Corrales,  recently visited Knox Preparatory School to help launch Knox's "Friday Flag" program.  Knox Principal Garry Rollins invited them get an energetic start to the all-school and community meeting that celebrates perfect attendance and good citizenship.Mr. Rollilns took the opportunity to tell students, parents, and teachers about the need to start early to maintain good grades so that they will be eligible to participate in high school athletics, cheer squad and other extracurricular activities.

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

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

IN THE NEWS: The changing face of kindergarten

One month into the school year, Carter Anderson still spends the first few minutes of any given morning consoling a separation anxiety-ridden, teary-eyed 4½-year-old kindergartner at Perkins Elementary School. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Monday, October 4, 2010

Treading the Green Path with Cost-Saving Tire Technology

Saving your tires and money: (left to 
right) George Rodriguez, mechanics helper; Pablo Rios, garage 
supervisor, and Keith Salkeld, fleet manager.Let's talk tires. The district's Fleet Maintenance Department has a new product that saves tires, thereby saving money and fuel. The product is called Equal, a new substitute for lead tire weights.

Equal has changed tire balancing methods in relation to static and dynamic balancing, while reducing their toxic contributions to the environment. Equal is a dry, granular, polymer mixture that is placed inside the tire. It is non toxic, non hazardous and requires no special disposal. Plus, it can easily be removed when the tire is dismounted.

Since switching to Equal, our district has had zero complaints from drivers of more than 519 buses and 436 maintenance trucks. That number again? Zero complaints. Fleet Maintenance experts say tires wear more evenly, saving in the cost of tire replacement. Equal has paid for itself in terms of labor hours and tire service repairs.

Fleet Maintenance has experienced an improvement on radial force variations and lateral force variations associated with tire shimmy and disturbance.  Since Equal is a free and moving product, it continuously adapts to changing speed and acceleration/deceleration forces. Equal has paid for itself in terms of labor hours and tire service repairs.

Even better than the money savings is the environmental savings. California has banned lead wheel weights. Lead is toxic and those found violating the law with lead weights could face penalties of $2,500 a day for each violation. For information, please contact Keith Salkeld, fleet manager.

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

More Resources for Mental Health Programs

New programs aimed at strengthening student mental health and preventing teen suicide are now underway in 15 district schools, and more schools and training are on the way. The program is called SPEAK, Suicide Prevention Education Awareness and Knowledge.

The Mental Health Resource Center (MHRC), in conjunction with the district's Counseling and Guidance Department, were awarded a contract through San Diego County Mental Health to implement a districtwide suicide prevention and education program in collaboration with the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program.

The 15 schools launching the program starting this fall are Crawford Educational Complex, Hoover, Garfield and Mission Bay high schools; Clark, Correia, De Portola, Lewis, Montgomery, Wangenheim and Wilson middle schools; and TRACE.

The launch of the program has already resulted in the formation of suicide prevention specialty teams at each school. All 7th, 9th and 11th grade students and school staffs (including parents/guardians wanting to be involved) will receive training in suicide prevention education over the next five semesters. During spring semester more training and additional schools will be added to the program.

In addition to schools, training has included staff from School Police, Transportation, Mental Health Resources, Behavior Support, School Psychologists, Nursing and Wellness, and Counseling and Guidance departments.
For more information, please contact Jean Foster, SPEAK coordinator, at (619) 523-0708.

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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Online Applications Score a Virtual Success

The first-ever online application process for Free and Reduced Meals proved to be a solid success. In fact, it was a virtual success.

Food Services received 3,200 applications online, accounting for more than 10 percent of the total 32,200 applications received so far.

The program is ongoing. The deadline for students to continue receiving free meals through their previous application status is Oct. 14. After that time, if students don't have their new applications submitted, they will be charged for their meals.

Food Services is asking school staff to encourage student families to complete their applications. It helps the students and the schools too, because Title I funding is allocated based the total count of students who receive free and reduced meals.

For more information, please contact Pam Kowalski, at(858) 627-7332.

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

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mission Bay Science Teachers Explore Ocean with Scripps Team

Mission Bay High teachers Steve Walters and Bob Caligiuri are exploring the Santa Barbara Basin aboard the Scripps Institute of Oceanography research vessel the Melville next week. The teachers will be joining the Cal-Echoes team as they examine California's ecological changes and historical origins from Sept. 25 to Oct. 3. Core sampling, acoustic readings, identification of phytoplankton, zooplankton, DNA of fish and squid are just a few examples of the research being done. Videos, data, lesson plans and questions to scientist can be found at the Cal-Echoes web site. For more information, contact Vice Principal James Michaelian at .

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

Target, Heart of America Foundation Makeover Miller Library

Ribbon cutting in the Miller library, Oct. 1, 2010

Watch TV News Coverage
 Students, families and staff from Doris Miller Elementary, along with Target and The Heart of America Foundation® volunteers, celebrated the unveiling of the school's newly renovated library as part of the Target School Library Makeovers program, which transforms in-need school libraries to inspire a love of reading among students.
Renovations included new technology, paint, lighting, flooring and shelving, as well as customized wall art and murals. In addition, the library received 2,000 new books to fill its shelves. Each participating student and their sibling/s also received seven books to take home.
"Thanks to Target and The Heart of America Foundation, our students now have a much richer range of critical tools to develop and succeed academically," said Stacy Jones, principal, Doris Miller Elementary School. "We're honored to be one of the 32 schools in 30 cities to receive a complete library makeover. Faculty, students, parents and the entire Miller Elementary School community are thrilled to have a refurbished learning space with thousands of new books."
An important academic milestone in early childhood education is that students read at grade level by the end of third grade, and studies show that having access to a wide variety of reading materials is essential for kids to reach their educational goals.
"At Target, we recognize the integral role that reading plays in shaping a child's education and future, and we're committed to listening and acting locally to help kids learn and schools teach," said Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target. "Through Target School Library Makeovers, students are given the resources they need to learn so that their educational futures know no boundaries."
As part of the Target School Library Makeovers, a total of 32 extreme library makeovers will be awarded to schools in-need in 30 cities, including Doris Miller Elementary in the San Diego Unified School District. The makeovers feature everything from eco-friendly design elements, 2,000 new books, as well as new furniture, shelves, flooring and technology. Eco-friendly elements include low VOC paint, sustainable carpet and furniture and responsible disposal of all waste created in demolition and construction.
Schools receiving a library makeover are chosen based on a number of factors, including the number of students reading below proficiency level, the percentage of students from low-income families and the overall need for library improvement. The majority of the 2010 unveilings are scheduled to take place from August to November.
Local Target team members who volunteer their time, talent and expertise to each renovation project lead the library makeovers. Additionally, the Target Property Development team provided specialized business knowledge through a variety of unique pro bono services that included leveraging their design, construction and project management expertise to help with the significant updates to the libraries.
"The library should be the heart of the school and the space that supports all of the learning that happens in the classrooms," said Angie Halamandaris, president and co-founder of The Heart of America Foundation. "By partnering with Target we're able to ensure schools across the nation are equipped with the resources students need to read, succeed and make a difference."
In support of this effort, Target and The Heart of America Foundation teamed up with Paragon, which supplied green-certified furniture and Smith Systems, which, in turn, supplied the use of recycled materials. Target also partnered with local Ryan Companies US, Inc. to help with the renovation construction efforts, and TK Products, who supplied the paint for the renovation. In addition, Paul Hempe and Chad Campbell from zerOw reDesign provided their services to create a mural in the redesigned library space. All partners helped make the project possible through donations and/or discounted pricing of services and supplies.
The Target School Library Makeovers program was launched in 2007 and features a combination of extreme school library makeovers, which include a complete renovation, and $500 Book Awards to schools across the country. Since the program's inception, Target has impacted more than 2,000 school libraries, distributed more than one million new books and donated tens of thousands of volunteer hours.
Target's commitment to the communities it serves involves funding education programs that nurture a love of learning and promote literacy among children. The Target School Library Makeovers program is one of the many ways Target supports education by acting locally to help kids learn and schools teach.
About Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,743 stores in 49 states nationwide and at Target is committed to providing a fun and convenient shopping experience with access to unique and highly differentiated products at affordable prices. Since 1946, the corporation has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs, like Take Charge of Education. Today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target's commitment to corporate responsibility, visit
About The Heart of America Foundation
The Heart of America Foundation (, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., uniquely combines volunteerism and literacy. The organization's focus is to provide children in-need with the tools to read, succeed and make a difference. The Heart of America Foundation puts books into the hands of children who need them the most, while transforming school libraries in underserved communities into vital and vibrant centers of learning that become the heart of the schools. Since 1997, the organization has provided children living in poverty with almost 2 million library and take-home books, and has engaged volunteers in more than 1 million hours of service to the community.
About Doris Miller Elementary School
Part of the San Diego Unified School District, the second largest district in California, Doris Miller Elementary School was dedicated on April 28, 1976. The school is named after Doris Miller, an African-American sailor who was a hero during the attack on Pearl Harbor and who later lost his life in the service of his country. Miller Elementary is located in one of the largest military housing communities in the country. With a population of more than 800 students, 98 percent of the students come from military families representing all branches of military service.

San Diego Unified Enrollment Shows Stability

California's second largest school district continues to have stable enrollment, with 134,910 students enrolled on Oct. 1, 2010, the official enrollment date for the current school year.

The number of students in the San Diego Unified School District is up by 278, continuing a trend of stability over the last several years. The number includes all students, from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 in district-run and charter schools, as well as children in preformal and infant programs.

"We're gratified that San Diego's parents, guardians and students have chosen our schools," said Superintendent Bill Kowba. "This is a reflection of the hard work of our teachers and staff."

The total kindergarten through grade 12 enrollment in district-run schools is now 116,317, down by 807 students from 2009. Total district-school enrollment from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 is now 119,487, a decrease of 897 students from last year, and within 197 students of projections used for budget and staffing.

Total district charter school enrollment is now at 15,423, an increase of 1,175 students from 2009. The total number of charter schools also increased from 37 schools in 2009 to 41 charter school this year.

IN THE NEWS: Even School Police Aren't Safe

As San Diego Unified faces another year of budget cuts, the school board is weighing whether it's a luxury to have school police at all. Read more from the Voice of San Diego»

IN THE NEWS: Student’s efforts come to fruition in garden

The monkey flowers, blue-eyed grass, citrus trees and artichokes growing at La Jolla High School began with Elyssa Kanter. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

IN THE NEWS: Cavers’ best play: mandatory study hall

This year, the core of players from the freshman team talked up football and the returning players bought into getting bigger, stronger, faster and better in the classroom. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Bioscience Bonanza at Montgomery Middle School

Montgomery Middle School students attended a “Bioscience Bonanza” Family Science Night funded by Time Warner Cable and their Connect a Million Minds initiative. The initiative seeks to connect youth to opportunities that inspire them to develop the important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills they need to become the problem solvers of tomorrow. More than 275 students and family members attended the event, part of the school’s Open House activities. Fifteen Time Warner Cable employees called “TWC Connectors” managed the 10 interactive stations that were provided by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Time Warner Cable also made a donation to Montgomery Middle School in support of their STEM programs. Pictured with Principal Jonathon Ton is Time Warner’s Marc Farrar. For more information, contact Principal Jonathon Ton at (858) 496-8330.

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