Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Students Shine at Career Event

The College, Career and Technical Education Showcase is the school year’s culminating event where students present projects that they have been working on since September. There were 26 San Diego-based high schools represented this year. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Follow Standley Middle School Students Online

Eighth graders from Standley Middle School in University City will be on their East Coast trip Saturday, May 28th - Saturday, June 4th and will be blogging on the school's website, allowing everybody to share in their exciting adventure!

More than 120 students will be joined by ten teachers and staff members, who will write about their experiences on a special blog on the school's website.
According to the trip coordinator, teacher, Jennifer Roberts, the students have been raising money and keeping their grades up for the trip.

"They have been waiting for this trip since the beginning of the school year, and many have been looking forward to it even before that," she said. "For many, it was a challenge to maintain a 3.0 citizenship GPA with no N's or U's and a 2.5 academic GPA with no F's, but they did it!"

Activities will include a visit to Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Washington DC.

For more information, contact Roberts (after June 4) at Standley, jroberts3@sandi.net.

New Books for Jefferson Elementary from Alpha Chi Honor Society

A Visit from Riffington
Alpha Chi member with
Jefferson students
Members of Alpha Chi, a national college honor society, visited Jefferson Elementary this month with a gift of new books for kindergarten students to take home.

The group has partnered with Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and made childhood literacy a priority for their organization’s outreach efforts.

They collected new books from their members to present to the students.

The visit to Jefferson included an appearance by Riffington, the official mascot for Reading Is Fundamental, and a gift of two books -- one student’s choice, and the other "Bein’ With You This Way," a book that celebrates our differences and similarities.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ceremony Recognizes Top JROTC Honors

Pass and Review
On a day filled with pride for their schools and country, thousands of JROTC cadets, along with parents, district administrators and members from San Diego Veteran groups participated in the 65th Annual JROTC Awards Ceremony and Joint Brigade Review at the Patrick Henry HS football stadium, May 21. The ceremony is designed to recognize the individual, team and unit achievements in the areas of academic excellence, physical fitness and precision drill competitions. 

Throughout the school year, JROTC cadets participate in numerous competitive events which award placement points. The overall unit recognition awards and final standings are determined by assessing the most cumulative points attained by each unit during the year-long brigade competitions.

This year’s winner were the Air Force JROTC from Scripps Ranch in first place; Morse Army JROTC in second; and tied for third were Madison Army JROTC and Serra Navy JROTC. Serving as the Distinguished Guest of Honor, RADM Bill Kowba, USN (Ret) and superintendent of San Diego Unified School District, presented the trophies to the winning units.

The event was highlighted by a Pass and Review as the graduating seniors led their units for the final time. This year’s cadet Brigade Commander Kevin Huynh from Scripps Ranch HS officially passed the organizational flag and responsibility to the incoming SY 11-12 Brigade Commander Chalisa Sims from Madison HS.

For more information, contact LTC David Guzman, program manager JROTC Military Sciences, at (858) 496-8203 or dguzman1@sandi.net.

Four Culinary Programs Compete; Mira Mesa Wins Teen Iron Chef Competition

Iron Chefs
Winning Teen Iron Chefs from Mira Mesa High
Mira Mesa High earned Teen Iron Chef honors among fellow competitors, Madison, Scripps Ranch and San Diego School of Business high schools in the Final Cook-Off at the 6th Annual San Diego Teen Iron Chef competition, held at San Diego High. 

Competing teams had the choice of preparing the same menu from the preliminary competition, revising their menu or creating a completely different one for the final cook-off. 

Students were allowed to work on their ideas, go shopping, portion their protein and measure any dry or liquid ingredients the day before, but were not allowed to do any actual cooking, pre-making dough or premixing ingredients ahead of time. 

At the competition, each team was presented with a secret ingredient that had to be incorporated into at least one of their three courses.  They were allowed to have their recipes or prep-list at the station during the competition.  Teams were judged on teamwork/leadership, safety and sanitation/organization, flavor, and final presentation.  The schedule was tight – one hour to cook, including cutting, mixing and preparing all food, then 10 minutes to prepare three plates, one for display and two for the judges table. 

The event is sponsored by the San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association. This year’s judges included chefs from San Diego restaurants and the Art Institute. The winners from Mira Mesa High won a free cooking class at Great News cooking store.

For more information, contact Angela Croce, CCTE program specialist, at (858) 503-1750 or acroce@sandi.net.

New Home for Holocaust Children's Memorial Butterflies at Lindbergh Schweitzer

6th graders Rosalinda Puentes, Ambria Siska, Amanda Gorman, Sarah Palmeter and Kristy Evans install their ceramic memorial butterflies
Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary, a Service Learning Magnet School, now welcomes visitors with a ceramic butterfly memorial in remembrance of the 1.6 million innocent children who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Following a successful conference last February with the San Diego Jewish Academy program of Zikaron V'Tikvah or "Remembrance and Hope," the butterflies will be a permanent reminder to future students of how society experienced the Nazi takeover in the 1930s. As the school’s partners in education, Marine recruits from MCRD San Diego, also took part in the creation of the memorial. All are welcome to see the butterflies on both the west and east campuses. For more information, contact Julie Harris at (858) 496-8400 x2231 or jharris2@sandi.net.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Special Education Workshop and Educational Consultation Clinic Scheduled June 4

The Parent Outreach and Engagement, and Special Education departments, in collaboration with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, present this free workshop about Special Education.

At the workshop, learn more about the Special Education process, what an "IEP" is, how to prepare for an "IEP" meeting, and more! At the optional clinic, meet with a volunteer advocate for an hour to discuss your child's educational needs, and create an action plan to support your child's success.

Parents play a critical role in student success, and as a result of this workshop we will give parents practical tools and strategies that will permit them to engage with their teachers and schools more effectively.

Although it is free to attend, space is limited, and registration is required. Download more information in English or Spanish.

If you have additional questions, please contact Marco Beltran at (619) 293-4431.

PTA Volunteer Hours Equate to $4 Million Donation

Cindy McIntyre and Nellie Meyer
Cindy McIntyre and Nellie Meyer
Bey Ling Sha and Bernie Rhinerson
Bey Ling Sha and Bernie Rhinerson
Janice Rozelle and Michael Snyder
Janice Rozelle and Michael Snyder
Deputy Supt. Nellie Meyer received a mock check for $4,000,139.28 from the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs at its annual Founder’s Day Meeting held May 23. The $4 million check represented the estimated 170,800 volunteer hours donated by PTA members this school year to San Diego Unified. 

In addition, the Council of PTAs presented three service awards, recognized special unit PTAs and installed officers for the 2011-12 school year.

Parent and community activist Michael Snyder and Bernie Rhinerson, the district’s chief of staff and district relations, were presented with an Honorary Service Award, recognizing their dedication to children and youth. Snyder was recognized for his vision and action to unify Madison High and its cluster schools as well as his efforts to get local businesses involved with schools. Rhinerson was recognized for his support of PTA goals by serving as the district liaison to the Council’s Executive Board and his support of PTA advocacy efforts.

Emily Alpert, education writer with Voice of San Diego, received a Very Special Person Award. The award recognized the impact her reporting on San Diego schools has had for parents by increasing their knowledge and understanding of education issues, specifically the inner workings of San Diego Unified.
Seven PTA chapters were recognized for membership increases. Lindbergh-Schweitzer PTA received a Legacy Award for its 75 years of continuous service at that school.
The newly installed officers for the 2011-12 school year are: President Barbara Flannery, Executive Vice President Bey-Ling Sha, Secretary Derby Pattengill, Treasurer Cathy Lackmann, Financial Secretary Janine Morrow, VP of Leadership Odalinda Aguirre, VP of Legislation Gabriel Adona, VP of Communications Laura Schumacher, Auditor Bill Quackenbush and Historian Jose Gonzales.
The San Diego Unified Council of PTAs is comprised of 87 school-level PTAs in the San Diego Unified School District. To start a PTA at your school, contact Barbara Flannery at sducpta@yahoo.com or visit www.sdcouncilpta.org.

San Diego Unified Students are the “Next Big Thing”

Showstopper Award-winner AOBT Co.
from Clairemont High 
I Want to Invest Award-winner Contorted
from SD High MVPA
Student teams from Clairemont, Hoover and San Diego Media Visual Performing Arts high schools competed and won awards in the Junior Achievement Entrepreneur’s Showcase, "The Next Big Thing." 

The showcase is the culminating competition to Junior Achievement’s flagship program, JA Company Program, which gives high school students the task of starting their own company. Under the guidance of a business volunteer, students decide on a product or service, market to their classmates and carry the responsibility of managing company finances.

Clairemont High’s AOBT Company won the 'Show Stopper' award for best business presentation and trade show booth; San Diego High MVPA, Contorted, won the 'I Want to Invest' award for best business plan; and Hoover High, Say Whaaat?!, won the 'Light Bulb' award for the most creative idea.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Follow Standley Middle School Students on the East Coast Trip

Eighth graders from Standley Middle School in University City will be on their East Coast trip Saturday, May 28th - Saturday, June 4th and will be blogging on the school's website, allowing everybody to share in their exciting adventure!

More than 120 students will be joined by ten teachers and staff members, who will write about their experiences on a special blog on the school's website.

According to the trip coordinator, teacher, Jennifer Roberts, the students have been raising money and keeping their grades up for the trip.

"They have been waiting for this trip since the beginning of the school year, and many have been looking forward to it even before that," she said. "For many, it was a challenge to maintain a 3.0 citizenship GPA with no N's or U's and a 2.5 academic GPA with no F's, but they did it!"

Activities will include a visit to Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Washington DC.

For more information, contact Roberts (after June 4) at Standley, jroberts3@sandi.net.
Salute to Excellence
Congratulations to the 96 graduating seniors Adobe PDF who make up the top one percent of the Class of 2011. The students were honored at the annual "Salute to Excellence" recognition event on May 19 at SeaWorld San Diego. Proud parents, counselors, teachers, district and local elected officials looked on as Board of Education members presented each student with a medal of excellence. Mission Federal Credit Union was on hand to present two $1,000 “Mission to Succeed” scholarships and one $500 honorable mention scholarship to deserving students. Read more»

Friday, May 27, 2011

Schools, Offices Closed Monday, May 30 for Memorial Day

All San Diego Unified School District offices and schools will be closed Monday, May 30 for Memorial Day.

Prop. S Update: Morse High Stadium Construction Milestone

Morse Stadium UpgradesRenovations to Morse High School’s stadium complex are 50 percent complete.  The project includes a new 2,100-square-foot building that will house a concession stand/ticket booth and men’s and women’s restrooms.  New concrete (home side) and aluminum (visitor side) bleachers are being installed along with new landscaping, security and field lighting, and a public address system.  More than 300 cubic yards of concrete (30 trucks!) were needed for the stadium stairs and American’s with Disabilities Act ramps. These upgrades complement the new synthetic turf field and rubberized running track that were installed in 2009.  The stadium project is one of several Prop. S projects currently underway at Morse.  Construction on the $7.8 million project started late last year and is scheduled for completion in the fall. Project partners include architect firm Platt/Whitelaw and contractor Soltek Pacific.  For more project information, visit our school facilities projects page at http://fpcprojects.sandi.net.  For media inquiries, contact Cynthia Reed-Porter at creed-porter@sandi.net or call 619-546-3378.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Twain Students Build Computers for Green

In an outstanding example of students helping students, Twain High School Technology Support Services (Morse satellite) students have built, installed and networked computers for the Resource Room at Green Elementary Academics and Athletics Magnet School.

While they're in the Resource Room, the special education students are now able to access programs their general education classroom and have better access to specific software programs from the school's Special Education Department staff.
Antonio Rojas and Mr. Robinson brought over the computers from Twain High School (Morse Satellite) and spent their afternoon installing them. In addition, they customized the computers with the District site and tabs for frequently-used programs that help them get started learning immediately.

Twain students building these computers have helped Green better support more than 30 students with special needs. This collaboration between Twain and Green is a wonderful example of how schools can support one another to achieve success.
For more information, contact Cesar Alcantar, principal, Twain High School, at (858) 496-8260.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

13 High Schools on Washington Post "Best" List

There are more than 18,000 high schools in the United States, and according to the Washington Post, 14 of the top 2,000 are part of the San Diego Unified School District, up two from 2010.

The annual list, formerly published by Newsweek Magazine, once again finds Preuss UCSD charter high school with top honors, placing 24th 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 the Post's top 100. Schools joining the list this year are SCPA and Clairemont.

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 2011 list (as of May 24):
Superintendent Bill Kowba lauded the achievement of the schools, noting that the effort is not only by the teacher and staff, but the students.

"This is one of many measures that show the excellence of schools in the San Diego Unified School District," he said. "Every student, teacher and staff member at these schools deserves a hearty congratulations."

The list is online at the Washington Post website.

Partnership Grants go to Hoover, Kearny, San Diego high schools

California Partnership Academy planning grants for $15,000 have been awarded to Hoover's Academy for Health and Healthier Communities, the school of Digital Media and Design at the Kearny complex, and and San Diego SciTech's MedTech Academy.

The funds will be used to plan and start the academies for next school year. An additional $41,000 is available if eligibility is met.

The CPA model is a three-year program in grades 10-12, structured as a school-within-a-school. Academies incorporate integrated academic and career technical education, business partnerships, mentoring, and internships. The new academies will only receive funding for planning and implementation for the first year. During that year, they must show an alternative sustainability plan.

For more information, please contact Lynn McConville, CCTE program manager, at (858) 503-1744 or lmcconville@sandi.net .

Hoover High, Mann Middle Thespians Meet 'The Bard'

Roberto Gaytan
Award winner Roberto Gaytan, wearing both his medal and his Othello/Star Wars attire.

Mann students at the festival.
Mann students at the festival.

Hoover High and Mann Middle  students met The Bard and many other budding actors, actresses, directors and stage crew members during the recent Student Shakespeare Festival in Balboa Park.

Three students -- one from Hoover and two from Mann --  came away winners in the sixth annual event.

Roberto Gaytan, a junior at Hoover High School, was one of only 10 students recognized as a "Festival Outstanding Actor" by the San Diego Shakespeare Society at Saturday's event. Roberto portrayed the title role in a selection of scenes from Othello, which was set in the Star Wars universe.

Two students from Mann Middle School also received award: Sean Sevilla was awarded Best Dramatic Death and Ariana Johnson was awarded Best Soliloquy.

A total of 15 students participated from Mann. They performed four scenes from MacBeth, focusing on the Witches scene, the murder scene of Banquo and also an argumentative scene between MacBeth and Lady MacBeth. Two performers played Lady MacBeth.

Principal performers were:
  • Anthony Rivers as MacBeth
  • Tiffany Thompson as Lady MacBeth (1)
  • Yesenia Benavidez as Lady MacBeth (2)
  • Sean Sevilla as Banquo
  • Nyadhour Deng as a Witch
  • Jessica Osorio as a Witch
  • Breanna Walker as a Witch
  • Nathan You as Thane Ross
In addition to the festival, students have had professionals visited Mann Middle. Actors Nathan Turner and Anthony Ham, along with producer Patricia Lynch, helped the students with their skills.

For more information about Mann Middle’s growing Drama program, please contact the dram teacher Maria Christodoulou at mchristodoulou@sandi.net or (619) 582-8990 ext 4405. 

Hoover's program contact is Laura Williams, drama department co-director, at lwilliams5@sandi.net or (619) 283-6281.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Pointers Got Game to orient incoming students, parents

Parents of students planning to enroll at Point Loma High School (PLHS) next school year have received lots of information on academic programs and requirements. Along with their students, they likely have many questions about other aspects of student life on campus. Read more from the San Diego Community News Group»

IN THE NEWS: County Health Agency, County Education Department Warn on Tdap

'No Proof, No School' is what regional education, health agencies are reminding parents about whooping cough booster vaccination for grades 7-12.
 Media coverage

IN THE NEWS: Morning News visits Longfellow K-8

Longfellow K-8 in Clairemont was the location for the San Diego 6 in the Morning reporter Ruben Galvan's live reports.

IN THE NEWS: Auto Tech at Crawford IDEA shines on the Fox 5 Morning News

Heather Ford from Fox5 Morning News visited the auto technology class at Crawford IDEA High School. Watch video»

Solar Boat from SD High SciTech Goes The Distance

SciTech at the San Diego High Educational Complex placed second in the two back-to-back 90-minute endurance races during the Metropolitan Water District's Solar Cup competition last weekend.

The SciTech team found the perfect balance between solar energy and energy conservation and scored the maximum number of points on the written technical reports that are required for all teams to compete.

The three-day competition with 40 teams from around the Southwest began with a series of qualifying events to ensure the boats met rules and were safe and seaworthy.

On day two, teams attached solar-collections panels to the boats for the endurance races. On the final day, the panels were removed and, using solar energy stored in batteries, raced down a 200-meter stretch – like drag racing on water.

“Over the last three days, all of the Solar Cup participants have had hands-on experiences in problem-solving, teamwork and sportsmanship that will serve them well as they continue to complete their educations and start their careers. In the end, in our eyes, they’re all winners,” said Randy Record, district vice chairman.

Solar Cup is the culminating event from seven months of hard work by student teams to design, equip and build their 16-foot, single-seat canoes out of marine-grade plywood powered only by the sun.

For more information, please contact Katie Carl, CTE teacher, at kcarl@sandi.net or the Solar Cup website at http://www.mwdh2o.com/mwdh2o/pages/education/solar_cup/solar_cup_01.html .

Bar Association Awards Six Students in John Adams Poster, Essay Contest

Bar Association Winners
Bar Association Winners
Students from Patrick Henry High, Thurgood Marshall and Lewis middle schools, and La Jolla and Ellen Browning Scripps elementary schools have been honored by the San Diego County Bar Association in its annual Law Week Poster and Essay Contest.

With the topic "John Adams: Lawyer, Revolutionary, President; Protecting Life and Liberty," students in grades K-8 created a poster, while grades 9-12 wrote an essay.

First place winners from San Diego Unified are: William Nakamura, Patrick Henry High, first place, essay; Kate Hartford, La Jolla Elementary, first place, poster competition, grades K-3.

Other winners are: Sam Berglas, Thurgood Marshall Middle School, second place, poster competition, grades 6-8; Quynh Uong, Lewis Middle School, third place, poster competition, grades 6-8; Audrey Tsai, La Jolla Elementary School, third place, poster competition, grades 4-5; Carley Berglas, Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary, second place, grades K-3 poster competition.

For more information on the contest, see the San Diego County Bar Association's website.

Monday, May 23, 2011

IN THE NEWS: 'Food Revolution' Features Farm to School

Innovative San Diego Unified program featured on Chef Jamie Oliver's website.

SD High, Lincoln Criminal Justice Students Attend Police Academy

Students from Lincoln High School Center for Public Safety and San Diego High School LEADS attended the San Diego Police Academy at Miramar College last week to see how law enforcement officers train at the region's largest academy.

The Criminal Justice students got to experience first-hand what it is like as a police officer recruit at the academy. The students ran the obstacle course, learned self-defense techniques and attended a class on the use of force and the different options available to an officer, depending on the situation.

For more information, please contact Ray Beattie, CCTE teacher, at rbeattie@sandi.net.

Math, Makeup Programs Offered Through iHigh This Summer

June 27 through August 5, 2011

Your brain
A Word of Caution
Students should consider carefully when applying to the iHigh Summer Program, as these grades will be posted on your transcript.
Students who simply drop out partway through the summer would be in danger of receiving an "F" grade on their transcript.
Questions? Please contact Principal Patty MacIntyre at pmacintyre@sandi.net or (619) 209-4593.
San Diego Unified and iHigh are offering high school students a choice of two programs this summer. One will help students who need to make up courses, the other will help students who want to get ahead.
San Diego Unified is offering a summer school program for students in grade 12 (Class of 2011) who need core course (D or F) make-up to graduate. This program will be offered at Madison and Lincoln high schools. Students should download the SDUSD application above. Once the application is complete, the student should attach a current transcript, class schedule and progress report and then submit the application to the host school of choice (Madison or Lincoln high schools).

Grade 12 only: Math, English Science, Social Science.

iHigh Summer Math Program

iHigh is partnering with the district's Operation Student Success grant to offer summer first-time and credit recovery math courses (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, PreCalculus).
Military dependents will have priority for enrollment, based on the grant funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. However, registration is available to all San Diego Unified School District students until capacity is reached (approximately 500 students). Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for non-military dependents.
First-time Courses: Students may register for one, one-semester course during the six-week session. The time commitment for first-time courses is approximately three hours per day to equal one semester.
Students must report in person to one of the iHigh summer locations for proctored midterms and final exams. The proposed locations are Madison High, Lincoln High and iHigh/Old Town.
Credit Recovery Courses: Students may register for one or two credit recovery courses in different math subjects. Students should take advantage of the tutoring offered at one of the iHigh summer locations to assist them in successfully completing the class.
Tutoring & Exam Proctoring: Credentialed math teachers will be available at iHigh summer locations for students to receive tutoring and academic assistance.
Summer Application Process: Students will need to submit a copy of their transcript and current class schedule in order to register. Parent permission and student email address are also needed. If you are a fulltime iHigh student, you only need to submit the first page of the application, as we already have the other information.
(Grades 9-12, math only)
Questions? Please contact Principal Patty MacIntyre at pmacintyre@sandi.net or (619) 209-4593.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

International Festival Draws 2,000 to Doyle Elementary

Council Member Sherri
Lightner, left and Doyle
Principal Kimberly Moore
with proclamation.
The annual International Festival drew more than 2,000 members of the Doyle Elementary School family and community members to the campus on May 14.

The annual event celebrates the school's international heritage. With many sons and daughters of University of California students and Golden Triangle/Torrey Pines research facilities, Doyle has one of the most diverse student populations in the San Diego Unified School District.

Students had 18 cultural performances, with 20 heritage booths and more than 40 vendors. Sherri Lightner, San Diego City Council District 1 representative, proclaimed it as Doyle International Festival Day.

Proceeds of the event go to support the school. For more information, contact Principal Kimberly Moore at (858) 455-6230, or the school's website at www.sandi.net/doyle.

Student Videographers Head to iVIE Awards

The Innovative Video in Education Media Festival or "iVIE" is a San Diego county K-12 student media festival held by the San Diego County Office of Education. Since 2001, iVIE has grown into major media festival with 390 submissions this year, 13 from San Diego Unified. Submitted videos are judged by media professionals and educators.

The countywide student video competition is coming up Tuesday night. Nominees and videos are now online.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Trip to USC Thrills Project Ujima Students

Project Ujima students at USC
An enthusiastic group of more than 80 San Diego Unified School District parents, guardians and students participated in Project Ujima’s April 16th tour of the University of Southern California and the California African American History Museum Tour.

Although Los Angeles was experiencing record high temperatures that day, the heat didn’t stifle the group’s enthusiasm, because Project Ujima parents and guardians were on a mission. They wanted their children to walk the halls of a university within reach of their hopes and dreams for a brighter future, and they also wanted to take the opportunity to appreciate the struggles and accomplishments of our African American forbearers.

The theme for the day might very well have been, “Name it and Claim It.” Whether it was a future as a USC Trojan or a renewed respect for the struggles and accomplishments of generations of African Americans, Project Ujima families were ready to claim their place in education and history.

Upon reaching the USC campus, Project Ujima participants were divided into small, interactive walking tour groups. Thanks to the foresight of Elneda Shannon, co-creator of Project Ujima and Manager of the SDUSD’s Harold J. Ballard Parent Center, most of the tours were led by current USC African-American students who are San Diego natives. This meant that the Project Ujima families explored USC under the guidance of campus tour guides who grew up in the same communities and attended the same schools as they did. As a consequence, the tour guides were seen by both parents and children as role models for what the children could accomplish educationally, and parents and students alike exhibited pride of ownership when they asked the tour guides questions ranging from student-teacher ratios to dormitory living, financial aid packages and GPA criteria for admission.

Throughout the day, whether it was during the guided tour of the campus grounds or while seated in the college classrooms or touring libraries and enjoying a delicious meal in one of the cafeterias, Project Ujima youth were constantly reminded to “see your future today; imagine more for yourselves. Have a plan for your future at every grade level.”

In many ways, the exchanges that occurred at USC served as important reminders that that the families in Project Ujima are going the extra mile to safeguard their children’s futures by participating in classes designed to help strengthen African American families, promote academic excellence, and provide parents with additional tools to help them become strong educational advocates for their children.
Prior to embarking on the tour, Project Ujima parents and extended family members had already participated in numerous sessions and workshops about the importance of appreciating African American history and culture, the need to promote a college-going culture in the home and community for youth of all ages, and the importance of postsecondary educational training to help prepare today’s youth to be contributing members of society. The tour of one of California’s premiere universities reinforced what families have been learning in Project Ujima classes for several months and gave them added incentive to guide their children along the path to academic success.

A visit to the renowned California African American History Museum, located next to the USC campus, was a fitting end to the day. It was here that previous work on the importance of instilling Black Pride in our youth merged seamlessly with the day’s other activities. Prior to heading home for the day, Project Ujima families enjoyed the museum’s guided tours, interactive displays, and exhibits of historical photos and artifacts of our African American heritage.

District Officials Honored by County Office of Education, Theater Association

San Diego County's community of theater educators and its Office of Education have joined together to once again honor educators who help the next generation learn the tradition of theater.
Several San Diego Unified staff members are among this year's winners, announced during a ceremony Monday night. Winners are:
  • Bravissimo Choice Award: Terry Miller, Pershing Middle
  • Administrator of the Year: Sarah Sullivan, Principal, Pershing Middle
  • Administrator of the Year: Karen Childress-Evans, Ed.D., Director, VAPA
For more information, contact Ron Jessee, VAPA coordinator, San Diego County Office of Education, at ronarts@sdcoe.net or (858) 292-3547.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Barnard Elementary Participates in Xiamen University's 90-Year Celebration

barnardDuring Spring Break, Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet School joined the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University as delegates at Xiamen University's 90th Year Celebration. Eddie Kapelczak, a sixth grader from Barnard now studying in Shanghai, along with Principal Edward Park attended the ceremony held at the university in Xiamen, Fujian, China. Eddie addressed the audience of approximately 5,000 in fluent Mandarin to congratulate the university.  In addition, Xiamen University pledged support for Barnard by providing a qualified Mandarin teacher to help supplement the school's academic program for the 2011-12 school year.

View 90th Year Celebration photo album

Harvard is Next Stop for Scripps Ranch High JROTC Cadet

Kevin Huynh
Kevin Huynh
If "Lead by Example" holds true, then c/COL Kevin Huynh, the San Diego Unified JROTC Brigade Commander, has exceeded every expectation as he accepted his admissions offer from Harvard University. Graduating with a 4.6 GPA this year from Scripps Ranch High School, Kevin has been a student-leader that consistently displayed excellence in academics, leadership and personal conduct.
For the San Diego native, Harvard offers not only academic challenges but history.

"The school is steeped in tradition after having been around for nearly four centuries," he said. "I want to experience a new culture for at least a few years in my young life. Harvard is also an international school, full of worldly opportunities."

Kevin plans to major in Human Developmental and Reproductive Biology and hopes to enter the medical field, but his main selection criteria hinged on Harvard's innumerable amounts of challenges, renown reputation in the field of biology, and its extremely generous financial aid program stemming from its substantial academic endowment.

As the JROTC Commander, Kevin led a program with more than 2,000 cadets from 13 high schools. He and his staff planned and coordinated numerous JROTC events throughout the school year which included drill competitions, community service projects, academic leagues, and the prestigious Cadet Ball. The countless hours and commitment to JROTC has been invaluable, with an even higher return in investment.

"Junior ROTC provided me the skills to think on my feet and the confidence to step up to challenges I found in my high school academia and social life," he said. "In college, these skills will be invaluable as I try to extract all the knowledge and wisdom I can. I gained leadership, derived from commanding and making decisions with my peers that will carry over to my extracurricular activities at Harvard."

For more information, please contact LTC David Guzman, Program Manager JROTC/Military Sciences, at (858) 496-8203 or dguzman1@sandi.net.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Golden State Seal Merit Diplomas Go To 933 Seniors

More than 900 seniors will graduate from San Diego Unified schools with an extra bit of gold on their diplomas -- the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma.
About 14 percent of the class of 2011 -- 933 -- qualify for the special diploma, which recognizes a demonstrated mastery of the high school curriculum in specific areas, including math, English and science. Students had to achieve minimum scores on California Standards Tests, some dating from ninth grade.
Students may use qualifying scaled scores from the following California Standards Tests:
  • English-Language Arts (ELA): grades nine, 10 and 11
  • Mathematics: Algebra II, Geometry, Summative High School Mathematics, and Integrated Mathematics 2 and 3
  • Science: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics, and Integrated Science 1, 2, 3, and 4
  • History-Social Science: World History and 11th grade U.S. History
The tests are administered under California's Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program.
For questions about the Golden State Seal Merit Diplomas, please contact Erin Gordon in the Assessment Services Department at (619) 725-5687 or egordon@sandi.net.

La Jolla, Scripps Ranch Students Receive National Merit Scholarships

Jaena Han of La Jolla High School and Nitish Padmanaban of Scripps Ranch High School have been awarded the prestigious National Merit Scholarship for 2011.
National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

They were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors. These Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance. It was founded in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of scholarships offered each year are underwritten by approximately 440 independent corporate and college sponsors that share the program's goals of honoring scholastically talented youth and enhancing their educational opportunities. For more information go to http://www.nationalmerit.org/.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

IN THE NEWS: University City High School Student Wins AMN/HCC Scholarship

Joshua Yang, a senior at University City High School, has been named the recipient of the Eighth Annual AMN/HCC Scholarship essay contest presented by the Health Care Communicators (HCC) of San Diego and AMN Healthcare. Read more.

Classified Staff Honored for Contributions to San Diego's Schools

Classified Employees of the Year

Robin Hoffpauir Video
Thanks To…

Primary Sponsor
Time Warner Cable

Additional Sponsors
Blackboard Connect
Mission Federal Credit Union
California Coast Credit Union
The Standard
San Diego City Schools Police Officers AssociationAASD

Each year, San Diego Unified honors its classified employees during Classified School Employees Week, which is designated by the California Legislature each May.

Classified employees are those without teaching credentials and include custodians, office support staff, classroom assistants, and central office staff and managers. San Diego Unified has honored its classified employees every year since 1983.

2011 Classified Employee of the Year

Robin Hoffpauir
Robin Hoffpauir
Strategic Sourcing and Contracts Department

If you asked anyone involved in purchasing with the district who to call on for help, Robin Hoffpauir would undoubtedly be the first name mentioned. Over her 23-year career, Robin has developed into a vital figure for the district, working in the Strategic Sourcing and Contracts Department. According to her colleagues, she consistently works with an optimistic attitude and is able to overcome any issues that come up. She has been described as “someone who genuinely cares about the other person’s issues as if they were the only ones she ever worked with.”

Hoffpauir is admired for her problem solving skills and is seen as the “go-to person” when it comes to any procurement, financial, inventory or budget issue. However, she is most recognized for her work ethic and dedication to serving students, teachers, staff and community.

“There is no one at the district more committed to the success of district students and teachers,” says Contract Specialist John Groll. “Through Robin’s stellar leadership, many projects in danger of failing or falling by the wayside have come to a successful conclusion. Every day, through her above and beyond commitment to excellence, district students are achieving their goals.”

San Diego Unified congratulates Robin Hoffpauir and her family on her selection as 2011 Classified Employee of the Year.

Runner Up

Charles James
Instructional Behavior Technician
Morse High School

Charles JamesCharles James is an instructional behavior technician who works with Special Education students at Samuel F.B. Morse High School. He also serves as the Junior Varsity head football coach as well as the track and field coach. He provides mentorship to his students and athletes by exhibiting the unique leadership qualities and skills he is known for:
“I am honored to have known Charles James for the past five years. Although Charles is an instructional behavior technician in General Education classes, he takes the initiative to modify the class instruction materials and resources so that students with special needs are also able to access required information. He has prepared and taught lessons with extensive utilization of imaginative and creative ways to meet students’ needs. He would be a tremendous asset to any school and community.”

Tai L. Oliver, Instructor
Morse High School
“In the five years that I have known Charles, he has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to everything he has undertaken. He has placed emphasis on scholastic achievement for all students with whom he comes in contact. A self-starter, his example always serves to motivate others. However, his ability to affect the lives of others extends well beyond the academic arena.”

Erma Delancy, Instructor
Morse High School

Gates Millennium Scholarships Go To Six High School Grads

Gates Millennium Scholarships Go To Six Students

Graduating seniors at LEADs and International Studies at San Diego High, Kearny International Business, Crawford IDEA and Morse have been named Gates Millennium Scholars for 2011.
Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the program provides 1,000 students across the country with a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. The program also provides Scholars with personal and professional development, as well as academic support throughout their college career.

San Diego Unified students named Gates scholars are: Russyan Mark Mabeza, Morse High; Karla Arment and Anayeli Garcia of the School of International Studies at San Diego High; David Jaramillo of LEADS at San Diego High; Evelyn Ramirez of the School of International Business at Kearny High; and Idris Ahmed of IDEA at Crawford High.

"This is an outstanding honor for these students, reflective of their hard work in high school," said Nellie Meyer, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction. "Many of these students overcame many challenges to reach this level. We wish them all the best as they enter the university of their choice."

More than 13,000 Gates Millennial Scholars have been funded since the program was started with a $1 billion grant in 1999 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The program is known for its recipients' high graduation rates. The six-year rate of 90 percent is 45 percent higher than the national graduation rates for all students and comparable to the rates for students from high-income families.

For more information, visit the program's website at www.gmsp.org.

School Lunch Superheroes Save the World from Junk Food

Vitamin AvengerThe Food Service Department's ninth annual essay contest resulted in the creation of School Lunch Superheroes with amazing powers who saved students, families and the world from all manner of junk food, sugary sweets and poor food choices.

Students were asked to create their own School Lunch Superheroes and describe their powers and write a story about them using their powers to encourage healthy eating and making good choices.

More than 750 students submitted essays and poems that were very imaginative, fun to read, colorful and full of graphic descriptions of ways to get junk food way down on the list of preferred foods.

The essay contest is sponsored by SeaWorld Adventure Park and the Pacific Northwest Canned Pear Service. Winners received gift cards to Barnes and Noble, tickets to SeaWorld, backpacks and artist supplies.

Go to the Food Services website to see the list of winners and read their essays and poems. Congratulations to the winners and all of the students who entered.

For information contact Joanne Tucker, food services marketing coordinator at jtucker@sandi.net or (858) 627-7316.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

UCSD-TV's "Health Matters" Explores Safety of Childhood Vaccinations

Vaccines are one of the most important public health advances in the 20th century, yet recent concerns about their safety have caused many parents to opt out of vaccinating their children, potentially causing devastating effects that impact the entire community.

On May 19 at 8 p.m., UCSD-TV's new season of "Health Matters" kicks off with a visit from Dr. Mark Sawyer, medical director of the UCSD San Diego Immunization Partnership, to discuss the safety of childhood vaccinations and the important new student immunization law. Additional broadcast times and online video are available at http://www.ucsd.tv/healthmatters.

Parents and guardians of school age children should tune in as "Health Matters" host Dr. David Granet chats with Dr. Sawyer about the impact of the recent Pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak as well as the new Student Booster Law (CA - AB 354), which mandates Tdap booster shots for all California students entering grades 7 through 12 in 2011. For more information, visit www.shotsforschool.org.

"Vaccines are one of the most important things parents can do for their children," according to Mark Sawyer, M.D., Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases at UCSD, Rady Children's Hospital. "In the case of pertussis  (whooping cough), immunization of all family members is vital for the protection of newborns."

Watch UCSD-TV in San Diego on Cox and Time Warner Ch. 135, Time Warner Del Mar Ch. 19, AT&T Uverse Ch. 99, and UHF (no cable) Ch. 35. Video archives, podcast downloads, broadcast schedules and more are available online at www.ucsd.tv.

Making the Most of School-Family Compacts

magInterested in knowing how to craft a better agreement to support student learning among parents, staff and students? Learn how three urban schools made their Title 1 school-family compacts a powerful tool for student achievement.

The article, "Making the Most of School-Family Compacts", co-written by Melissa Whipple, resource teacher for the district's Parent Outreach and Engagement Department, appears in the May 2011 Issue of Educational Leadership. The issue's theme is "Schools, Families and Communities" and how they can work together to support student success. For more information, contact Melissa Whipple at mwhipple@sandi.net.

Perkins Elementary Makes Another Russian Visit

Not only do students at Perkins Elementary School in Barrio Logan learn Russian after school (taught by principal Fernando Hernandez), a group of students just made the school's second annual trip to their sister school in Novocherkassk. Read more.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Patrick Henry Hosts Navy JROTC Brain Brawl

Brain BrawlThe Navy JROTC Southwest Regional Academic Championship, otherwise known as the "Super Brain Brawl", brings together 26 high schools from various districts in California and Arizona for a prestigious academic competition, held right here in San Diego.

On April 30, Patrick Henry High School hosted the event with more than 200 student competitors matching academic pedigrees in a classic “Jeopardy” style format. Questions ranged from core academic subjects to current world events. Henry’s Naval Science Instructor, Master Sergeant Tom Bricke, served as master of ceremony.

The Southwest Regional Manager for Navy Junior JROTC programs, Commander Ken Liles, attributed the broad success of this notable academic competition to the teachers of Henry High.  “The competition has grown from just a handful of regional high schools to a nationally recognized event in great part due to the extraordinary efforts of Patrick Henry High School." Liles also went on to say that with the interest generated by this event, the Navy has approved a national-level championship competition for next year with Henry High selected as the host.

The Henry academic team had a solid performance behind the efforts of team captains Jordan Robertson, Samantha Parks, Michael Moberg and David Nguyen. In the end, Troy High School from Fullerton, CA was crowned this year’s champions, with Pacifica and Lakewood high schools earning 2nd and 3rd place honors respectively.

Crawford Student Shares Inspirations with 'Prime Motivation'

Andrew Watkins-Blackshear
An essay on the hopes and aspirations of a Crawford IDEA student is featured on a motivational program's website following the program's recent visits to Crawford and Morse high schools.

Student Andrew Watkins-Blackshear writes in his essay that he hopes to become an mechanical engineer working on an auto racing team, the experience he received as an intern with Mercedes Benz of San Diego, the teamwork involved in auto technology, and what he learned from Carl Kingsbury, his auto-technology teacher at Crawford.

Andrew's essay was part of the visits to Crawford and Morse auto technology programs by Prime Motivations, which gives students an overview of the many, varied career opportunities that await them.

Using live demonstrations, hands-on workshops and educational seminars by companies and organizations from various industries, this event informs undecided and disadvantaged audiences of their potential futures through direct experiences.

For more information, contact Greg Quirin, CCTE Program Specialist, at (858) 503-1736 or gquirin@sandi.net.

Global Virtual Classroom Honors Muir

Muir Elementary Students
Muir elementary students.
Students from Taiwan, Kenya, Iraq, and India worked with Muir K-12 Magnet on their award-winning websites in the Global Virtual Classroom competition.

With the website theme of "Education: Hope for the Future," Muir students in grades 3-6 worked by teleconference and email with similar-age students at the Aga Khan Academy in Kenya and Tainain Municipal Haidong Elementary School in Taiwan. Their efforts brought them Third Prize and $250. Essays discussed their studies, special events, technology and personal stories.

Muir secondary students.
Muir secondary students.
"Recovery After Disasters" was the topic for Muir's AVID grades 7-8, Gifted School Ninevahe in Iraq, and India's St.Mark's Senior Sec. Public School Janak Puri. The website discussed various types of disasters and how to recover, including discussions of wildfires in San Diego and the earthquake in Haiti. The website received a Special Merit award.School webmaster Gabriel Castaneda helped the students with the websites. For more information, contact Anne Lambert at (858) 268-1954.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hoover Students Achieve EverFi Certification – For Free

hooverAlmost 100 Hoover High Academy of Information Technology (AOIT) students received EverFi certification this week after completing a free six-hour performance-based course tailored to both state and national requirements. Topics include banking, savings, budgeting, taxes, insurance, loans and understanding a credit score.

The web-based program is designed to teach students the key concepts of financial literacy, using virtual worlds, rich media and animation to bring more than 600 financial concepts to life. There is no cost to students or the school, thanks to a partnerships established with regional supporters. For more information, please contact Lance Larson, CCTE Program Specialist, at (858) 503-1756 or llarson@sandi.net.

Dr. Senegar-Mitchell Named Finalist for California Teacher of the Year

senegar-mitchellCongratulations to Serra High School science teacher Dr. Ericka Senegar-Mitchell for receiving the 2011 State of California Teacher of the Year finalist award at a gala ceremony, held in Sacramento on April 11. State Superintendent of Public Education Tom Torlakson (pictured here) presented Senegar-Mitchell with the award. Dr. David Lorden, Area 8 Superintendent and Serra High Principal Michael Jimenez also made the trip to the state capital to support Senegar-Mitchell, who was the district’s 2010 High School Teacher of the Year as well as a San Diego County Teacher of the Year.

As a general and advanced placement biology teacher at Serra, Dr. Senegar-Mitchell embraces curiosity in her classroom and believes that education is the key to overcoming poverty. Her mission as a teacher is to promote literacy through scientific discovery. Founder and director of the “Science in the City Outreach Program,” a partnership with commercial life science industry leaders, she has since founded “Ladies of Science in the City,” a group of 20 young women who have a passion for science. With the help of dedicated teachers, Senegar-Mitchell was able to escape the violence and the poverty of the inner city, and she hopes to do the same for her students. She has been teaching for 14 years.  The district congratulations Dr. Ericka Senegar-Mitchell on this latest accomplishment.

'Water Smart' Elementary Students Show Off in County Competition

Melissa Deorsola, Sunset View ElementaryOut of more than 450 entries from around San Diego County, students from Barnard, Sunset View, Hawthorne and Wegeforth elementary schools were among the dozen honored recently by 2011 Be Water Sm"ART" Essay Contest, sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority and San Diego County Office of Education.

The contest, for grades 2-5, asked students to draw a picture and write a story about saving water.

The winners from San Diego Unified schools (click to see their picture and story):
The theme for the 2011 contest -- the Water Authority's first -- was “What does being Water Smart mean to me?” Prizes were donated by Atlantis Laser Tag, Boomers! Family Entertainment Center and Geppetto’s Toy Store.
For more information, contact the San Diego County Water Authority.