Monday, October 31, 2011

District's Musicians, Singers, Performers Show Off to Raise Funds

Those who teach the arts, those who support those who teach the arts, and those who learn from those who teach the arts will take the stage at Taft Middle School this Saturday to help raise funds for San Diego Unified's arts programs. The SDUSD Glee Club Sing Out is scheduled for 7 p.m this Saturday, Nov. 5 at Taft Middle School auditorium, 9191 Gramercy Dr. Tickets are just $10 and are available at the door or by calling (858) 539-5349. Lloyd Pest Control is the evening's title sponsor. "Between the students, teachers and staff, there's a lot of talent in this district," said Karen Childress-Evans, director of the district's Visual and Performing Arts Department. "We're going to have a lot of fun on Saturday night and we hope to sell out the house to support arts programs." The evening's bill includes performances by the Marshall Middle School Chorus, Pacific Coast Harmony Barber Shop, SDUSD Tap Dancers and the SDUSD Glee Club Singers. Host will be Cathryn Beeks of KPRI-FM. "We're certainly not going to solve any financial crisis with this show," said Childress-Evans, "but we want San Diego to come out and see what excellence we have in our district." A silent auction wil also be held to benefit district arts programs. Those wanting to donate to the silent auction should call (858) 539-5349.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kearny CTA, Crawford IDEA Cash In at CANstruction

Teams from two high schools have come out winners in the annual local CANstruction program, an annual competition to not only collect cans of food but create art. The "SpongeBob Squarepants Goes to CAN Diego" exhibit by Kearny Construction Tech Academy students received Best Use of Labels and People's Choice Awards from the judges, who are local architects and engineers. Crawford IDEA students received an Honorable Mention for their gear exhibit. More than 3,000 pounds of food, with a retail price of more than $4,000, was used in the Kearny exhibit. The cans were donated to Kearny for the exhibit and now that the competition is complete will be passed on to local food banks. San Diego's top Architects and Engineers compete annually in a design-build competition to create giant works of sculptural art, made entirely out of canned foods. These structures are up to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide. No interior structural support is allowed. These are solid structures made entirely out of canned food. The Architects and Engineers are judged and the winners announced at the Gala. Once the structures are taken down, all of the food is donated to local San Diego food banks. For more information on the programs, contact the College Career and Technical Education program at (858) 503-1841.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Home/Hospital Teacher Named Inspirational Teacher of the Month

Congratulations to San Diego Unified teacher Caren Waller for being named NBC San Diego iInspirational Teacher of the Month for October. She was nominated by the staff of Rady Children's Hospital for her dedication to teaching students whose current classroom is a hospital room. Watch the NBC San Diego video.

One Good Deed Deserves Another

Kearny DMD On Sunday, Sept. 18, Kearny School of Digital Media and Design ninth graders joined students from throughout the county at SurfAid International's monthly Surf 'n' Serve event at Eli Howard Surf School in Cardiff.

Students participated in a Coastal Cleanup and in return received a free, two-hour surf lesson from professional surf instructors. Surfboards and wetsuits were provided by Billabong.

Students received a surprise visit from Dr. Dave Jenkins, founder of SurfAid Interational. Kearny DMD students are partnering with SurfAid this school year as they develop their global citizenship skills and learn about how they can support victims of natural disasters throughout the world. 

For more information, contact Meghann Hughes, educational specialist, at

Friday, October 28, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Thurgood Marshall 'Teacher of the Year' Profiled

Getting the right answer is fine, but Jean Chalupsky is much more interested in getting her students to really think deeply about how they’ve come to whatever answer they give, whether it’s right or wrong. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Chinese Dancers Perform at Barnard Elementary

Kung fu demonstration
Was it ancient China or the auditorium at Barnard Chinese Magnet School? That’s what students, parents, staff and visitors were asking during a performance by a visiting troupe from the Zhejiang University of Media and Communications.

The elaborate show, excerpts from the traditional Chinese opera “Eastern Rhyme of Passion,” was the Zhejiang perfomers’ first stop on their US tour. It included elaborate, traditional costumes, kung fu and music with traditional Chinese instruments, including the koto, sheng and two-stringed Chinese fiddle or erhu.

“It was an amazing event for all of us at Barnard,” said Eddie Park, Barnard principal. “The performance was something rarely seen in the US, plus our students were able to learn from the actors.”

All of the performers are teachers at the university and were able to share their specialties with the Barnard students. For example, students participated in demonstrations of kung fu and were able to see how many of the unique instruments are played.

Barnard students learn
from Chinese musician.
Following the long flight from China, the players from Zhejian University, which is in the city of Hangzhou near Shanghai in China’s southeastern section, performed at Barnard. Later that evening, they performed at Pt. Loma High, which also offers Chinese Mandarin language classes.

“We want to thank our partners in education, the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University and managing director Dr. Lily Cheng, for arraigning the group to be able to perform for our community,” said Park. “Thank you and Xie Xie!”

For more information on the Barnard Mandarin Chinese program, contact Park at (619) 224-3306.

Point Loma High Remodeling Project Passes Halfway Mark

Point Loma High The Prop. S-funded Motion Picture Industries facility project at Point Loma High is more than 50 percent complete. The $3 million project includes remodeling a 4,800-square-foot portion of the school’s 900 building into a new facility for the Motion Picture Industries program.

This College, Career and Technical Education program prepares students for careers in the motion picture industry, and will serve more than 300 students. Features of the remodeled facility include screening and editing rooms, an audio suite and studio, and audio-video hub.

This is one of three active Prop. S-funded projects at Point Loma High School. For additional project information, visit or for Prop. S information, email, visit or call (619) 725-7252.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Thurgood Marshall 'Teacher of the Year' Profiled

'When in search of an answer, it’s the journey that’s important'

Getting the right answer is fine, but Jean Chalupsky is much more interested in getting her students to really think deeply about how they’ve come to whatever answer they give, whether it’s right or wrong. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

IN THE NEWS: Montgomery Middle School Teaches Healthy Eating

It was Food Day at Montgomery Middle School recently when a bicyclist who's circling the nation with a message of better nutrition stopped by. Thanks to the Network for a Healthy California and San Diego Unified School District's Food Services for making it happen.

Hoover High College Night Attracts Students, Families

College Night at Hoover More than 300 students and family members from Hoover and its feeder middle schools, Wilson and Clark, advanced their road to college recently as the school held its 2011-12 College Night.
Representatives from more than 45 colleges, universities and other educational institutions were on hand, along with several local agencies. Not only could students and their parents/guardians speak with representatives individually, a panel discussion was held with staff from San Diego State University, UC  San Diego, University of San Diego and City College. Panelists talked about recent changes in entrance requirements and other college conditions, helping to ease concerns and demystify the admission process.
College Night was the culmination of a week of college activities at Hoover in collaboration with GEAR UP and Link Crew. Hoover High’s Counseling Team promoted College Week on campus along with its feeder schools — Monroe Clark & Wilson middle schools — during the week of October 17-21. As part of building a “culture of success” and “college going” atmosphere, Counselors & GEAR UP advisers hosted “college” activities throughout the week during lunch, including:
  • “Save Me A Spot in College” ninth grade essay contest
  • College trivia
  • SAT Essay Word of the Day, create a sentence with SAT word and receive a prize
  • Staff and students wore their college gear all week.
This event provided an avenue to promote a college-going culture and awareness at all grade levels. Hoover team strategically invited eighth graders from Monroe Clark and Wilson middle schools not only to participate in a high school event but explore their options after high school.
Hoover teachers guided their students with quality questions to ask college representatives and they followed up with classroom discussions the following day. Furthermore, many college representatives commented on the politeness and well- behaved students that we have on campus.
For more information, contact Dr. Chuck Podhorsky, principal, at 619-283-6281.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mission Fed Says Say Thanks to a Teacher

Thankful for my teacher 
Mission Fed is proud to announce its 4th annual I’m Thankful for My Teacher campaign October 17-November 30, 2011 in conjunction with Cox Communications and Junior Achievement.

This year, we’ve made it even easier to tell teachers that you’re thankful for them—with our online form, a note can be submitted in no time! Just visit

When the campaign is over, we will return the thank you notes to each teacher, making their Thanksgiving season even more special and making everyone feel like a winner.

Download Flyer (PDF)

IN THE NEWS: Tips from a principal on parent conferences

Sherman Elementary principal talks about what parents should know about teacher meetings (en Español). Watch video from KBNT-TV»

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School, Community College District Boards Meet

Expanding and improving efforts to jointly prepare students for success in college, improved preparation of students for success in careers, and fostering and supporting interaction and collaboration between community college faculty and school teachers regarding common academic expectations and pathways to student success were the themes when the boards of the San Diego Unified School District and San Diego Community College District met recently for the first time in more than two decades.

The boards pledged to build upon their past and existing partnerships in moving forward, and they indicated a unanimous goal of moving forward in a systemic manner based upon overall service and quality assurance, not just ad hoc developments of an individualized nature.

The two districts share a past: before the Community College District was formed in 1972, the colleges were operated by the San Diego Unified School District. They trace their roots to a technical training school for adults that was founded at San Diego High School nearly a century ago.

Systemic approaches and design principles were used to outline the following action steps approved by the boards as future goals:
  • Hold a joint board meeting on an annual basis, beginning with fall 2012, in which updated plans and progress will be discussed.
  • Increase the number of middle college high schools by at least one additional school.
  • Increase concurrent enrollment by 10 percent over a five-year period.
  • Increase the number of high schools at which community college faculty provide instruction either on-site or via virtual technology, while taking a fresh look at relevant learning models using a holistic view that includes socialization.
  • Institute accelerated career programs linked to internships and service learning experiences.
  • Work toward coordinating a standardized spring break between the community college district and the school district, as well as San Diego State University.
  • Ensure that students, especially those who are disadvantaged, have comparable opportunities (accessibility to programs, inclusiveness, common standards) throughout both districts regardless of geography or socio-economic characteristics.
  • Ensure that there are meetings, workshops, and conferences between the districts’ faculty and teachers, counselors, and administrators, to ensure student success through early assessment, common academic standards and expectations, and appropriately-designed curricula.
During the October 18 meeting, the governing boards also heard comments from members of the public, including faculty, staff, and students from both organizations. Comments were provided by Kearny High School faculty member Erica Heinzman; principal of the Kearny High School of International Business, Ana Diaz-Booz; students Quetzali Garcia, Jessica Hernandez, Kimberley Oldenberg; Mesa College Professors Leticia Lopez and Alison Primoza who discussed the partnership between Kearny High School of International Business and Mesa College. Comments regarding the development of additional partnerships with high schools across the San Diego Unified were also heard.

AFT Guild President Jim Mahler encouraged the boards to consider standardizing the spring break schedules for students in the two districts; Mesa College Academic Senate President Madeleine Hinkes encouraged consideration of common standards for student readiness; and Miramar College Academic Senate President Daphne Figueroa spoke about Career Technical Education, and pathways to careers and postsecondary education.

Community College District Trustees Rich Grosch, Mary Graham, Bill Schwandt, Maria Nieto Senour, and Peter Zschiesche, and Chancellor Constance M. Carroll; and San Diego Unified Board of Education Members Richard Barrera, Scott Barnett, John Lee Evans, and Shelia Jackson, and Superintendent Bill Kowba began the public session.

The meeting was conducted in the form of a retreat and was facilitated by Dr. Ric Hovda, dean of the College of Education at San Diego State University.

Monday, October 24, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Student Photographer's Work Helps Raise Funds

Student photographer Michael Mitchell, 15, a sophomore at La Jolla High School, was invited to submit a photo for the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) photo auction fundraiser on Oct. 5 —and no one was more surprised than he when the photo drew $900 after spirited bidding by three guests. “I’m happy about that,” Michael said. “I was nervous, afraid no one would buy it, and my mom was prepared to start bidding.” Read more from the La Jolla Light»

Solar Projects Provide Students with Valuable Career Insight

kearny solar PPO's Utility Management Team is working with contractors to build and operate solar power projects at 51 district sites, including Kearny High School where carports with solar panels on top are currently under construction.
The carports provided the perfect backdrop for 60 students at the Construction Tech Academy (CTA) to hear first-hand about future careers relating to the solar industry.  On Oct. 5, students heard first-hand about various solar industry careers from Wade Webb, vice president of Martifer Solar, the district’s solar installation sub-contractor. Webb also told the students that they are on the cutting edge of staying current with today’s technologies.
Students were able to tour the construction site and learn how solar energy and green jobs are the wave of the future. Webb shared that the expected job growth for the nations’ solar industry is at 350% and that many of today’s youth pursuing careers in the construction industry will be the next generation of the solar and renewable energy workforce. For information about the district’s solar construction projects, visit or contact Stephen Gay, energy/utility program coordinator at (858) 637-6297 or

Saturday, October 22, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Taft Middle School Shows San Diego How to Shake

Taft Middle School in Serra Mesa hosted the media during Thursday's California Shakeout.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Be-A-Reader Makes Stop at Normal Heights Elementary

Be a Reader The Be A Reader tour made a stop recently at Normal Heights Elementary and science expert Erik Smith from the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center joined the fun. In addition to receiving a free book for their home libraries, students were inspired and motivated to make reading a part of everyday life.

To help nourish young minds, Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Carl Buddig & Company are sponsoring the back-to-school Be A Reader tour, which featured a read-aloud event and book giveaway at Normal Heights Elementary. Through the national Be A Reader partnership, the lunchmeat brand is donating $100,000 to RIF to support children’s literacy programs.

“We’re thrilled to be included on the back-to-school Be A Reader tour,” said Normal Heights Elementary Principal John Aguilar. “Without RIF and committed partners like Buddig, many children in our community would not have access to books.”

“Our brand has been nourishing young minds for more than 100 years, and we believe that reading and literacy go hand-in-hand with good nutrition to support a lifelong love of learning,” said Tom Buddig, executive vice president marketing, Carl Buddig & Company. “We’re thrilled to be sponsoring the Be A Reader tour and proud to be part of the work that RIF is doing in local communities across the nation.”

“Now more than ever, RIF is counting on strong corporate partners like Carl Buddig & Company to fulfill its mission of motivating children to become lifelong readers, prepared to achieve in school and life,” said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF.

The Be A Reader campaign extends through May of 2012 and encourages families to enjoy reading time together through activities, special promotions, and community outreach. Now through Oct. 30, families can also participate in the Sandwich and A Story sweepstakes ( for a chance to win a Scholastic book library and a Buddig lunchpack filled with school supplies.

To learn more about the Buddig Be A Reader campaign, visit make a donation to RIF, visit

Thursday, October 20, 2011

IN THE NEWS: College Applicants Face Tough Climate

College fairs in Poway, Grossmont and at Hoover High School this week are a normal part of college application season, but budget cutting at California’s public universities and community colleges means fewer seats for new students. The weak economy means families have less money to send those students to school, making public schools a more attractive option. That means this year students face an admissions environment that is only getting more competitive. Read more from KPBS»

Defense Department Awards Virtual Learning Grant

The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Educational Partnership has awarded a $2.9 million Virtual Learning grant to the San Diego Unified School District.

The project is titled Operation Student Virtual Learning and will be implemented over a 3-year period. The focus of the grant is to provide military students with expanded access to online courses to help address course deficiencies that often arise due to differing course requirements in other school districts, as well as to allow for accelerated learning.

The grant will support transitioning military dependents by providing expanded access to online courses that will help students complete the district’s core subject and career-readiness requirements, as well as fulfill the University of CA a-g college admission requirements.

Specifically, the grant will provide:
  • Expanded access to online math, English and social science core courses for fulltime and dual-enrollment students
  • Expanded access to online Advanced Placement (AP) and world language courses for fulltime and dual-enrollment students
  • Expanded summer program to include math, English, social science, science and world language courses
  • The development of 15 online introductory/intermediate career technical education courses to help fulltime and dual enrollment students meet the new career-ready high school graduation requirements
  • Expanded outreach to transitioning military families and collaboration with military school liaisons to ensure that military students are aware of the fulltime and dual-enrollment online opportunities available to meet their educational needs
In recognition that the needs addressed by the grant also apply to non-military students, the grant provides that at least 65% of participating students be military dependents, but allows up to 35% of participating students to be non-military.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Food Services Director Named "Health Happens Hero"

 Gary Petill
Gary Petill
One of six recognized by the California Endowment as someone who "walks the walk" to create healthier schools is Gary Petill, food services director for the San Diego Unified School District.

The group created the award to honor school food and nutrition directors from across the state who are pioneers in making healthier school meals that kids want to eat.

“We’re proud to give Health Happens Heroes awards to leaders who ‘walk the walk’ to improve health in our schools, neighborhoods and with prevention” said Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO of The California Endowment. “Today we honor school district innovators who understand the important role that good nutrition plays in the fitness and academic success of California’s children.

"These pioneers are embracing and defending new federal standards for healthier school meals and offering kids great-tasting healthy food that they can’t wait to eat.”
Petill, food services director at San Diego Unified since 2004, gave credit for the accomplishments to his Food Services staff.

"Change is never easy, but our team over the last decade has made significant changes in not only what's on our menu, but in our outlook toward our customers, the students," he said. "Whether its salad bars, vegetarian entrees, breakfast in the classroom or serving fresh local produce through our Farm to School program, our team really believes that we can have wholesome, nutritious and great tasting food at schools."

"And most importantly, they are delivering that to our students every day."
In its information on the award, the California Endowment noted that Gary's work has been praised by Chef Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution web site.

Read more

Mission Bay High Neighbor Rose Creek Studied

checking samples
A Mission Bay High student gathers water samples in Rose Creek.

As the only San Diego Unified school with a shoreline, adjacent Rose Creek has long been a unique resource for science and other classes that observe a live ecosystem.

 checking sample
 Data collection
Since May, students have been working collaboratively to design and carry out a scientific inquiry based on the topic “Human Impact on Rose Creek Watershed.”

The International Baccalaureate Program requires students to participate in a project that “encourages an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines” utilizing the scientific method.

This project allows students to appreciate the Rose Creek ecosystem, the social and ethical implications of preserving this ecosystem and allows students practical, first hand scientific research skills.

Students develop communication skills in the study of science between group members and scientist from the community. They raise moral, ethical and social implications of using science and technology to research Rose Creek ecological topics.

For more information contact Tamara Rasmussen at

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Third-graders shine in class-size debate

Through budget reductions and changes in educational philosophies, Central Elementary School in City Heights has championed the cause, fighting to preserve a student-to-teacher ratio launched by the San Diego Unified School District three years ago. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

School Food Bike Tour Makes Stop in Linda Vista Oct. 20

Montgomery Middle and Linda Vista Elementary students will celebrate Food Day by welcoming Sara Salo, the founder of the National School Food Bike Tour, to their campuses on Oct. 20. The School Food Bike Tour is a 6,000+ mile self-supported bike tour that promotes healthy eating, cycling and school wellness.

Sara will be participating in Linda Vista Elementary’s “Breakfast in the Classroom" program, helping Food Services employees bag meals and going with students to deliver the meals to the classrooms. After visiting 4th and 5th grade classes, she will join a local farmer at Montgomery Middle School to present a health lesson in several classrooms. Her time at Montgomery will also include eating a healthy lunch with students and a tour of their school garden.

For more information, contact Vanessa Forsythe, district wellness coordinator, at (858) 496-1089 or, or Vanessa Zajfen,farm to school specialist, at (858) 627-7310 or

Monday, October 17, 2011

District-wide Earthquake Drill is Oct. 20

On Thursday, Oct. 20, all district schools and central office work sites will participate in the 2011 Great California Shake-Out earthquake preparedness drill. The district will join millions of Californians as we practice the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” procedure and other aspects of site emergency plans. Read more about the district's Earthquake Preparedness program.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Study Finds Math Test Program Results in Gains

A Public Policy Institute of California report studied seven years of San Diego Unified School District data and found that the testing program led to gains that would increase a median student at the 50th percentile to the 57th percentile a year later.

Read more from San Diego Union-Tribune >> and KPBS >>

Saturday, October 15, 2011


The funding environment of public agencies in California, including school districts, has been and will continue to be that of great uncertainty and fluidity. At this point in time, one of the realities we continue to face is a large budget deficit of approximately $60 million that must be resolved to balance the 2012/13 budget. Complicating this challenge is the possibility that the Governor will impose (“trigger”) significant midyear cuts to education should state revenues fall short of projections by this December. As a result, parallel budget tracks are evolving.

Over the past several weeks, district staff has been briefing the Board on our General Fund departmental budgets as a starting point for the development of next year’s budget. Unfortunately and concurrently, we are also considering a strategy to accommodate upwards of $30 million in midyear cuts that would be implemented in January. Our district staff, parents, and the greater community must be informed about these activities and this debilitating and deepening budget crisis. During the next 60 days, supporters of public education must voice their concern with all stakeholder groups, especially our state representatives as we approach a midyear trigger decision in Sacramento. We are all in this together and must pursue the most genuine of collaborative and courageous conversations about difficult trade-offs and shared sacrifice.

I truly appreciate your loyalty to public education and our students in these unprecedented times. In closing, I encourage you to read my commentary published this week in the San Diego Union Tribune.


Bill Kowba

Friday, October 14, 2011

SCPA Artists On Display at Lindbergh Field

Artwork created by students from the San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts is now on display in Terminal 2 at the San Diego International Airport.
The exhibit, “Vibrant Forms, Bold Expressions,” was created by students in the school's visual arts program, with nine of the 14 pieces created by SCPA artists Cindy Sanchez, Eve Rios, Tess Young, Tashia Williams, Shyanne Carlson, Erika Ruan, Keziah Olivar, and Annalee Garner along with artists from Crawford High Educational Complex.

The exhibit was curated by Rogelio Casas, in collaboration with the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation’s Youth Movement program, which is dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders through activities that focus on education, the arts, and culture.
For more information on the program, contact Richard Trujillo, Artistic Director, SCPA, at 619-470-0555 ext. 212.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cuilnary Arts, Solar Boat and Marketing Eyed by Assemblywoman Atkins

Assemblywoman Toni Atkins with
San Diego High School of Business
culinary arts students.
Students from various career technical education programs included San Diego Assemblywoman Toni Atkins in their classroom activities at San Diego High School as she toured the campus.

Business Management/Ownership students from the School of Business at SDHS included Ms. Atkins in setting up their student store for operation while Modern Media Marketing students pitched their new product marketing ideas to her. Virtual Enterprise freshmen included Ms. Atkins as an observing panel member in their mock interviews and Engineering and Design students created 3-D images for her.

Students also shared their competition solar boat with her and explained its design. Culinary Arts students showcased their preparation and cooking skills by creating a delicious lunch served in their state-of-the-art facility.

For more information about career technical education program in the district, please contact the College, Career & Technical Education (CCTE) department at (858) 503-1758.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lindbergh Schweitzer Students Participate in Red Shoe Day

Students at Lindbergh Schweitzer Magnet School eagerly lined up on September 28 to deposit money in the size 14 red shoe for the Ronald McDonald House charity drive, Red Shoe Day.

Lindbergh Schweitzer was one of only four schools that participated in the event, and we challenge all schools to get on board next year and participate in this very important community charity.
Ronald McDonald House provides a home-away-from-home for families of critically ill children at local hospitals. Many of the families of students at Lindbergh Schweitzer have benefited from their services.

For additional information contact Julie Harris at 858-496-8400 or

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Students Get Taste of Auto Racing, History at Speed Festival

Above, students show off a test engine. Below, Christi Edelbrock and her legendary father, Vic, show students what makes her vintage race car run.
 Looking under hood
Automotive technology students from Crawford and Clairemont high schools got a taste of auto and racing technology as visitors to the Coronado Speed Festival, where they were guests of the organizer, Fleet Week San Diego, and Edelbrock Corporation.

The festival, held as part of 2011 Fleet Week Sept. 24-25, gave the students the opportunity to not only meet racing legends such as Vic Edelbrock and his daughter, Christi, but see vintage race cars in action and the work needed to keep them running.

"My parents brought me here before, but we're doing alot more today," said one Crawford student. "I really liked meeting Christi and seeing how her race car works."

Crawford automotive technology teacher Carl Kingsbury transported a test engine from the Crawford shop to the Speed Festival, allowing students to demonstrate what they've learned to the thousands who attended. The running test-bed engine is used by students to learn how to convert gasoline powered engines to operate on cleaner, alternative fuels.

The engine was purchased with funds from the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions, and also allows students to test the efficiency of various fuels. The students were housed in the Edelbrock Corporation exhibit as the personal guests of the Edelbrocks, strong supporters of San Diego Unified's automotive career paths.

"It was such a pleasure having the students here today," said Christi Edelbrock. "We're honored to help educate the next generation."

Naval Air Station North Island hosted the event filled with exhibitions and fast-paced, thrilling auto racing on the runways used by the U.S. Navy. The students were able to tour the garage areas/pits and watch as the racecars went through their final inspections before hitting the track. For more information, please contact Greg Quirin, CCTE Program Specialist, at (858) 503-1736 or  For more information on the Speed Festival, visit its website.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Qualcomm Science Honors Go to Wangenheim Teacher

Felicia Ryder
The Qualcomm Science and Technology Educator of the Year Award was awarded to Felicia Ryder of Wanganheim Middle School on the basis of her innovative practice, collaboration with the local science community, and her ability to raise students achievement and interest in the sciences.
Ryder was selected by a panel of leading local science educators, headed by San Diego County Office of Education Science Coordinator Nancy Taylor. Ryder was presented with the award during the “Cox Presents a Salute to Teachers” ceremony on Oct. 1.

She has taught 6th and 7th grade science for 17 years, and in three of those years worked as a science resource teacher supporting science teachers throughout the county. She's a champion of inquiry-based science, teaching her students to "do" science like scientists.

Her students use her Moodle web site to access current scientific research, upload assignments, and debate science topics. For the last three years Ryder has collaborated with Scripps Institute and the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence to create online learning tools to enhance science education and promote ocean sciences.

She uses a variety of innovative technologies to deliver instruction and assess achievement, engaging students with the digital tools and language they've embraced. Congratulations!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Morse High Tiger Café featured on Morning News

Cheer squad, football players and more as kids get up really early for show. Watch video from KNSD-TV»

Prop. S Update: Serra High Earns “W” On New Football Field

Serra dedication.
Principal Mike Jimenez, left, and Area Superintendent David Lorden, right, join Serra players as renovated stadium is dedicated.

It may still be called “The Hole,” but Serra High School’s stadium now has a new synthetic turf football field and all-weather track, thanks to Proposition S.

The ceremonial ribbon-cutting was held prior to the school’s first home game Sept. 23, a 27-13 non-league win over University City High. Athletic Director Jonn Pisapia, joined by Board Trustee Kevin Beiser, Principal Michael Jimenez, and others, cut the ribbon as the football team anxiously awaited play on their new field.

The $2.4 million football field/track improvement project is one of several Prop. S-funded projects planned at Serra High over the next five years.

For more project information, visit our school facilities projects page at

Saturday, October 8, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Parent Outreach program featured on Morning News

Program helps parents help their kids, work better with teachers and principals. En Español. Watch video from KBNT-TV»

Festival Raises Funds for University City Schools

 UC High Band
The University City High band performs.
Guests, from babies to senior citizens, filled the Standley Park in University City on a beautiful day to enjoy a variety of games (from cow milking to climbing wall), contests (sauerkraut popsicles?! Really?!), music (accordions are enjoying a comeback), food mmm…French Gourmet’s strudel and pretzels after a big bratwurst), and beverages (10 delicious microbrews and 20 gallons of artisanal root beer to wash everything down), all to raise money for EdUCate! (The University City Foundation for Public Schools).

The Blue Angels were nice enough to perform, as were the Standley Middle School and UC High marching bands.

Oktoberfest kicked off EdUCate’s fall Dollardo to All proceeds from the event and from DAD will fund teacher and principal grants at the five schools this year.

University City and all San Diego Unified schools know how tight things are and appreciate your support in providing UC cluster students with supplemental supplies.

Friday, October 7, 2011

IN THE NEWS: San Diego High Shows Off on Morning News

NBC 7's Morning News visits San Diego High where they meet the football team, cheer squad and much more. Courtesy KNSD-TV. Watch video»

Nordstrom Scholarships Go to Two San Diego Unified Students

Madison winner
Madison High School student Krissylyn Johnson, center, celebrates her scholarship award with Nordstrom representatives Jenn Campbell, left, and Anita Crandall.
Two high school students in the San Diego Unified School District -- one from Madison, one from San Diego High -- have received four year, $10,000 scholarships from the Nordstrom department store. Krisslyn Johnson of Madison High and Anita Agoh of the School of Science and Technology (SciTech) each received the college scholarships from the store. The scholarship provides the students with $2,500 per year for four years.
In 2011, students in the 28 states where Nordstrom currently has an operating full-line store will be eligible to apply for a Nordstrom Scholarship. Eighty scholarships will be awarded. Each scholarship will be paid out in equal installments of $2,500 over four years to the selected student's college of choice. Students must be attending a four-year college or university.
For more information on the scholarship, go to the Nordstrom Scholarship website.
SD High
Anita Agoh of SciTech at San Diego High celebrates her Nordstrom Scholarship award with her family. From left, San Diego High Counselor Andreanna Murphy, Counselor; Anthonia Agoh, Anita's mom; Anita; Anita Crandall, Nordstrom representative; Johne Agoh, Anita's father; Awele Agoh, brother; Anita Crandall, Nordstrom.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Walk to School Day Celebrated at Chollas-Mead Elementary School

The International Walk to School Day celebration at Chollas Mead Elementary School was featured on the Fox 5 Morning News. Watch video»

Montgomery Student Artists on Display in Balboa Park, Cricket Corporate Headquarters

student and adult
Student Eric and
artist Diana Duval.
Students at the Art Institute reception.
Student and art
Student Adriana
with her art.

Artwork from students at Montgomery Middle School is featured at the San Diego Art Institute at the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park, through this Sunday, Oct. 9.

The artwork, from Montgomery sixth-grade students, is on display in the David Fleet Young Artist Gallery, which features student artwork from all over San Diego County. The school also has an ongoing relationship with Cricket Wireless, which has displayed student artwork from Montgomery in its Kearny Mesa headquarters for several years.

Teachers Lorraine Castro, Edelmira Gomez, Lisa Gardner and Emelyn Leppard have continued to teach art at the school and ensure the students have an outlet for their work. Gomez and Castro make time for art and infuse artistic expression into their sixth-grade social studies classes, while Gardener, the school's art teacher, brings it to ESL classes. Leppard, who at one time taught photography at the Linda Vista campus, works her local connections to ensure the student work gets exhibited.

"Art brings the curriculum alive," said Gomez.

Timothy Field, director of the San Diego Art Institute, says the organization is committed to finding creative ways to infuse art into school curriculum, as well as motivating students through exhibiting their artwork at the Institute. This is the 12th year the student work from Montgomery has been on display.

The Art Institute exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sunday, Oct. 9, at the Institute, 1439 El Prado in Balboa Park. For more information about the David Fleet Young Artists Gallery, contact Elizabeth Morton at the Art Institute at (619) 236-0011.

The exhibit at Cricket Wireless headquarters, 5887 Copley Drive, San Diego, is not in an area open to the public.

For more information on this and other programs at Montgomery Middle School, contact Jonathan Ton, Principal, at (858) 496-8330.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Holmes Elementary Walk to School Day on Morning News

Holmes Elementary School in Clairemont celebrated International Walk to School Day with a parade that featured on KUSI's Good Morning San Diego. Watch video»

Exciting test-drive fundraising event will generate much-needed money for Mission Bay High, helping students in the local community.

Mossy Automotive Group is bringing Ford Motor Company’s Drive One 4 UR School program to Mission Bay High School on Oct. 13 in an effort to raise up to $6,000 for the school.

For every person who takes the wheel and test-drives a new Ford vehicle at Mission Bay High on Thursday, Oct. 13, Mossy Ford and Ford Motor Company will donate $20 to Mission Bay High School. The funds will go toward supporting numerous programs and clubs at the school.

“We know funding for school programs is hard to come by, and we want to do our part to help make sure these programs remain available,” said Owen Mossy, General Manager at Mossy Ford. “We’re excited to raise money for Mission Bay High School.”

The event, which will be held from 3pm to 8pm, will feature the many vehicles from Ford’s line-up.

“Whether you are looking to test out our larger vehicles, like the Explorer or F-150, or are more interested in a smaller sedan, like the Focus, we will be able to put you behind the wheel of your favorite Ford vehicle,” said Owen Mossy. Dealership staff on site will be able to assist with all Ford vehicles and provide additional information about each vehicle available for test-drive.

Across the United States, there are vital arts, music and sports programs that are being cut annually due to growing budgetary constraints and lack of funding. Today’s youth are missing out on extremely valuable opportunities to expand their knowledge and diversify their interests, as well as the chance to have a little fun! Mossy Ford wants to keep these opportunities available for our local students at Mission Bay High School.

Since the start of Ford’s Drive One 4 UR School program in 2007, more than $7 million in donations have been generated for high schools nationwide.

To participate in this exciting event and get behind the wheel of your favorite Ford vehicle, please visit
Mission Bay High School from 2-7 p.m. on October 13th.

\Participants must be 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license. There is a limit of one test-drive per household. All test-drive will last approximately 7-10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

SCPA Art Helps BizTown Take Off

Mural at Biztown
Students Chelsea Chavira, Erika Ruan, Tess Young Janelle Velazquez and Tashia Williams from the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts have recently finished, along with artist Isaias Crow, a 40-foot by 14-foot mural at the McGrath Family JA Biztown facility.

The students worked through the Spring semester and their Summer vacation on the project, which was designed especially for BizTown.

Sponsored by the San Diego International Airport Commission, the mural celebrates travel in San Diego and around the world. The multi-panel, multi-leveled mural was designed in partnership between the student artists, guided and directed by Isaias Crow. It was painted on 4'x8' wood panels, creating a multi-dimensional sculptural mural.

For more photos, visit the project blog. The McGrath Family JA BizTown in San Diego's Mission Gorge neighborhood is a 10,000 square foot mini-city in which kids discover how free enterprise really works.

For more information on the project, contact Cydney DeBenedetto, Visual Arts Teacher, SD School of Creative and Performing Arts, (619) 470-0555 x124.

Monday, October 3, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Reinventing Education, Revisited

Two years into San Diego’s plan to transform education with the help of technology, here’s a look at how the project is going—and what the district has learned. Read more from eSchool News»

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lee Elementary's Mark Alcorn is a 2012 San Diego County Teacher of the Year

Mark Alcorn Named a 2012 San Diego County Teacher of the Year.

Mark Alcorn - Elementary Teacher of the Year 

Teacher of the Year 2011
Elementary School

Mark Alcorn

Lee Elementary School

In college, Mark Alcorn planned to become a computer scientist. That all changed after he worked as a teacher’s aide in an elementary computer lab. There he gained experience working with K-5 students and found a way to apply his problem-solving skills in a school environment. At the University of California, San Diego, Alcorn’s courses included Pre-Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. He then switched paths and attended San Diego State University where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies and his Multiple Subject K-8 Clear Credential, then in 2000, earning a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in K-8 Mathematics Education.
Alcorn’s career has taken him from Kennedy, Zamorano and Jackson elementary schools to his current school site, Lee Elementary. After nearly 21 years of teaching experience, he has established a core belief in the value of building a positive relationship between a teacher and each student. Everyday, he creates an environment where his students feel respected and important. Walking into his classroom, one can immediately sense the respect that he and his students have for each other. He takes the time to work with students individually to help them solve difficult math problems. He modifies curricula and emphasizes a variety of problem-solving techniques which allow his students access to solving problems and learning to do for themselves.

“Access” is the key to his success with compelling students to take on work and become more responsible for their own education. Alcorn believes his greatest contribution in the classroom has been helping struggling students to turn around with the newly found self-confidence that they can and will achieve.

With his success in the classroom, Alcorn shares teaching techniques and advice with both new and experienced teachers. As Teacher of the Year, he plans to promote a strong collaborative effort among teaching professionals, fostering discussions about best practices so that we can raise the level of instruction for all students. He states, “As teachers, we form positive relationships with our students. We not only provide models for them to grow into, but also provide the link to motivate them to give their best.”

San Diego Unified congratulates Mark Alcorn and his family on his selection as 2011 Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

Kearny Construction Tech Academy Students Demo Robot for Congressman

Rep. Bilbray
Students at Construction Tech Academy (CTA) at the Kearny High Educational Complex recently gave a live demonstration of their robot and discussed the engineering and manufacturing processes involved in building it with Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach.

Rep. Bilbray was at CTA as a speaker at the local meeting of the National Tooling and Machining Association. The machining program at CTA is part of the manufacturing and product development industry sector in California.

Each year, the students build a robot to compete in the FIRST Robotics competition including tooling many of their own, unique parts. The machine tooling course at CTA is applying for certification through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) with the help of many local members of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA).

NTMA supports, promotes and represents the tooling, machining and precision manufacturing industry nationwide. NIMS certification is the only accredited precision manufacturing program for education institutions.

See their websites for more information about NIMS or NTMA. For more information about the machining program in SDUSD, please contact Greg Quirin, CCTE Program Specialist at (858) 503-1736 or

Tdap Booster Deadline is Oct. 6

Parents/guardians of 7th-12th grade students have until Oct. 6 to provide their child’s school with the state law required Tdap booster documentation: proof of Tdap vaccine, proof of an upcoming doctor’s appointment for the vaccine, or a signed a Tdap Personal Belief Statement.

Failure to do so will result in the student being excluded from school and daycare beginning Friday, Oct. 7 until the requirement is met. Students will also be excluded from all school-related activities, including athletics, band and clubs.

For a list of free Tdap Vaccine clinics, check the district website at or visit Vaccines can also be obtained from your personal healthcare provider and at several local pharmacies.