Monday, January 31, 2011

Attendance Gains Continue

Month 4 in 2010-11 Month 4 in 2009-10 % increase from Month 4 in 2009-10
District 96.05 95.38 +0.67
Elementary Schools 96.18 95.52 +0.66
Middle Schools 96.37 95.61 +0.76
High Schools 95.63 94.99 +0.64
San Diego Unified's all-out effort to ensure students are in school every day continues to pay off, with average daily attendance up for the fourth straight month this year.
The latest figures, for the fourth month of the school year (the 30 days ending Dec. 17), show overall district attendance has increased to 96.05 percent, up from 95.38 percent in 2009-10.

"This is great news. The hard work of our teachers, principals, schools, students and parents is really paying off this year," said Superintendent Bill Kowba. "While we are excited to have more than 96 percent in class or with excused absences, our goal is 100 percent. Students can't learn if they aren't in class."
In a report to the superintendent, Darryl LaGace, the district's chief information & technology officer, called the results very significant, particularly in light of the fact that attendance generally declines near the holidays.
High schools are at a notably higher rate than they have been; up 0.45 percent from the second highest percentage back in 2008-09.
For more district news, subscribe to the Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

High Tech Media Arts Math Exhibit at Sushi Gallery

IlluminSeniors at High Tech High Media Arts were challenged by their digital art and math teachers to find the beauty, humanity and intrigue behind math in history, philosophy and the applied arts. The goal was to promote math awareness through art, media and design.

Projects developed into an array of math abstractions and celebrations in the mediums of sound, video, animation, photography and interactive installation. A show featuring the student projects was hosted at the Sushi Performance and Visual Art Center, a San Diego-based, non-profit multidisciplinary presenting organization, which cultivates alternative voices in the contemporary arts.

For more information, contact Margaret Noble, CCTE teacher .

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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

SCPA-San Diego Rep Production Honored

Last summer, the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) and the San Diego Repertory Theater partnered on the production of Hairspray. Now that show has received local awards.

The San Diego Theater Critics Circle has honored Victoria Matthews for her role as Little Inez in San Diego Rep’s Hairspray. She received the Sandra Ellis-Troy scholarship from the organization. The show was also honored as Outstanding Resident Musical during the Jan. 10 award ceremony.

More recently, Victoria performed a Hairspray signature song “I Know Where I’ve Been” at the January 17 Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast at the San Diego Convention Center.

In other news, SCPA has been featured on the statewide program, California Life. Watch video»

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

Friday, January 28, 2011

Board Efficiency Committee Sets Second Meeting

Please attend the Tiger Team meeting of your choice Saturday, January 29, 2011, at the times indicated below. All meetings will take place at the Ballard Parent Center, located at 2375 Congress Street, in Old Town San Diego.
  1. Transportation “Tiger” Team – 9 a.m., Room 2
  2. Human Resources (HR) “Tiger” Team – 9 a.m., Room 1 
  3. Special Education “Tiger” Team – 1 p.m., Room 3
The Information Technology (IT) and General Information “Tiger” Teams are not scheduled to meet this Saturday.

If you are not already volunteering on a Tiger Team, feel free to join one. If you have any other budget efficiency suggestions or ideas, please send them to Related documents and minutes can be reviewed at

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

Roosevelt Takes Regional "We the People" Constitutional Competition

Congratulations to the eighth graders at Roosevelt Middle School International Baccalaureate Magnet, co-winners of the "We the People Constitutional Debate" held at Grossmont College on Jan. 14. Roosevelt is one of only two schools in the county that won the regional competition. This is the first time that a San Diego Unified school has achieved this recognition.

Roosevelt is extremely proud of the students who took part in the competition and wishes them the best of luck as they continue to the Southern California Middle Schools "We the People Competition" this Saturday, Jan. 29, at University of California, Irvine.

For more information, contact Nelson Cortes, Roosevelt Middle School, at (619) 293-4450, ext. 4356.

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crawford Students Make Gold and Silver at Scripps Research Institute

Crawford CHAMPS studentsCrawford High students learned how to make pennies into gold, and burn ice by using their science savvy.
It all happened Wednesday when the biotechnology class from Crawford High CHAMPs toured the chemistry and biology labs at the famed science center, Scripps Research Institute.
Working with Scripps scientists the students made gold and silver-plated pennies, burned magnesium in dry ice and even printed 3D HIV protein molecular models.
The trip was the culmination lesson for the biotechnology class. CHAMPs is the School of Community Health and Medical Practices at the Crawford High Educational Complex. It is one of only a few district high schools that teaches cutting edge biotechnology and molecular biology experiments such as DNA forensics, bacterial transformation and protein purification.
For more information, contact CHAMPs Principal William Laine at (619) 583-2501 ext. 2460, or

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Mann Middle School Has Star Student

Local morning news host Ruben Galvan from San Diego 6 honors Mann eighth grader with prizes, tours school. Watch video»

USO-sponsored Show Comes to District Schools

Trevor with Deportola staff
Romain with DePortola Staff (above) and Vista Grande (below)
Trevor with Vista Grande
A touring company reaching out to students with parents in the military stopped at San Diego Unified recently.

The USO and the Trevor Romain Company have partnered to bring the "With You All the Way Tour" to schools with significant military populations around the world. 
On Jan.12-14, the tour came to Angier, Kumeyaay and Vista Grande elementary schools as well as De Portola,Wangenheim and Taft middle schools.
Romain is a storyteller who uses humor, video and music to appeal to children. His presentations focus on sensitive topics that include deployment, bullying and facing fears. Students and staff responded with much laughter and at times tears to the presentations.
For more district news, subscribe to the Superintendent's Friday Notes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Field Elementary Student's Video Goes Viral

Field Elementary School student Alexa and her father perform their YouTube sensation rendition of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero. Courtesy KUSI-TV.

Vocational Students Get Increased Opportunities Thanks to Memorial Fund

Kelly McGinnis
Kelly McGinnis, 1987-2005

Students continue to have increased opportunities today because of the legacy of Kelly McGinnis, whose family started the Kelly McGinnis Memorial Foundation in his honor after his 2005 death.
More than $7,000 was donated last year to support Career Technical Education (CTE) in our district. Dozens of vocational and continuing education programs and their students have benefited. In December, the foundation donated equipment to Madison High's automotive program and other construction technology classes. 
Scripps ranch culinary program
COOKING UP SUCCESS: Scripps Ranch High culinary arts program, one of many aided by foundation
Other recent recipients include Crawford High's Invention & Design Educational Academy (IDEA) automotive program, Scripps Ranch High's culinary arts and management program, and San Diego students participating in Road Trip Nation, an experience in interviewing people about their life paths and the choices that led them into their careers.
The Foundation was established in memory of Kelly McGinnis, a high school student who had experienced frustration and challenges in school due to learning and visual disabilities and neurological delays until finding success in CTE programs with an emphasis on welding and auto mechanics. These courses became the inspiration he needed to continue to tackle his academic classes and graduate in June 2005. Because of his successes in his CTE courses, he was able to secure full-time employment after graduation. He saw his life turn around and was proud of the success he had achieved with CTE's guidance. 
 For more information on the Kelly McGinnis Memorial Foundation, please visit

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

IN THE NEWS: PTA Snow Day Rewards Test Scores

For having another year of excellent test scores, students at Bay Park Elementary School were rewarded by their PTA with a "snow day." Watch video»

Monday, January 24, 2011

PTA Hosts Parent Workshop on Compensatory Education

The San Diego Unified Council of PTAs has partnered with the California Association of Compensatory Education (CASE) for the second time this year to offer insights in Compensatory Education and what it means to your school and your students. This seminar is free and open to all interested parents. You do not need to be an School Site Council (SSC) representative to attend and your school does not have to be a PTA school. The seminar will cover budget allocations.

Guest Speaker: David Page, DAC Chairperson

Date: Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Location: PTA Bungalow at the Ballard Parent Center in Old Town, 2375 Congress Street, Bungalow 7, San Diego (92110)

RSVP: (619) 297-7821 or

What is a School Site Council? The School Site Council – also called SSC – oversees how federal and state categorical funds such as Title I dollars are spent at your child's school. The School Site Council develops and approves each school's Single Plan for Student Achievement – a plan of actions to raise the academic performance of all students.

IN THE NEWS: La Jolla High Takes a Stand Against Bullying

As national attention continues to focus on the epidemic of teen bullying, La Jolla High School is taking a proactive approach. The local high school is participating in No Name-Calling Week, a nationwide event sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Read more from»

New State Law Requires Whooping Cough Booster for Students

Coughing child
Whooping cough (pertussis) has been widespread in California. A new California law requires that all students entering grades 7-12 in the 2011-12 school year must be immunized with the TDAP booster shot. Students will need to provide proof of a TDAP booster shot before starting school in the fall.

If you have a child 10 years and older who has not yet received the Tdap pertussis booster shot, please contact your doctor or health department. Getting a booster shot now will protect your child against the ongoing threat of pertussis and meet the school requirement that begins in 2011-12.

Adults are also advised to get the booster shot to protect themselves, their families and their students. For more information and to find locations where you can get pertussis (and influenza) vaccines, visit

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

Got Science and Math? Check Out Millennial Tech Middle Feb. 5

Find out everything new and exciting about what Millennial Tech Middle (MTM) School has to offer students at a special event Feb. 5.

MTM is a unique school geared for students who are highly interested in excelling in math and science and willing to meet the challenge of taking classes at an advanced level.
Millenial Tech schoolThe school will be hosting an Open House for the public and prospective students and their families on Saturday, Feb. 5. The public is welcome to tour the facilities and see the projects on display highlighting the accomplishments of current students.
Presentations will take place at 9 and 10 a.m. For more information and to reserve your seat, call Cyndi Stadler at Millennial Tech at (619) 527-6933.


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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

IN THE NEWS: School fair shows education options

Courtesy San Diego Union-TribuneNot so long ago, when your children were ready for kindergarten, you’d walk over to the neighborhood school and sign them up, no questions asked.

In this age of information and choices, the process has changed. Now, parents can send their children to practically any elementary, middle and high school in the San Diego Unified School District, as long as there’s room. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

Solar Power and Student Power Shine in CTA Open House

Student woodworking
Students cleaning tools
Armed with the right tools and  facilities, students got the chance to show off their skills at a special Open House for Stanley E. Foster Construction Tech Academy (CTA), part of the Kearny High Educational Complex.
Students led public tours showing off their top-notch professional level tools and the impressive projects they have created.
What made this Open House a major event for the district was that the CTA facility was the first project completed under the voter-approved school construction bond, Proposition S.
Thanks to the public's support of Prop. S, the entire building has been built to house model career technical education facilities alongside classrooms where students receive traditional academic instruction.
The academy provides career and technical education in the residential and commercial construction pathway within the building trades and construction industry sector. 
Their new building is already operational and students got to show off their prowess on projects featuring engineering, robotics and art.
One project on display at the Jan. 13 Open House was a solar greenhouse built by a school group called Girls in Construction. It was sponsored by the San Diego chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction.

Great possibilities are already being realized as advanced construction students are building an actual apartment from the ground up inside their classroom. It will be complete by the end of the school year.
For more information, contact Laura Bellofatto, CTA Principal, at (858) 496-8370, ext. 2300 or

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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spreading Warmth to Homeless Children

The generosity of district employees benefited a very special group of students this winter — those students without a home.

Employees demonstrated holiday spirit in abundance during the month of December, with special thanks to the Community Service Association (CSA) and the Education Center Building Committee (ECBC).

Michele Fettig from CSA presented a check for $5,000 to the Office for Children and Youth in Transition. This money will be used to buy critically needed instructional supplies and emergency clothing so that students are able to attend school prepared and warmly dressed.

The ECBC coordinated a drive that collected more than 100 packages of new undergarments and socks for our students without a home. Children and Youth in Transition will distribute the clothing items directly to students in need during chilly winter months.

"Many employees made contributions to this very special group of students," said Pam Hosmer, program manager. "This type of caring and commitment confirms the fact that individuals who work in the field of education are amazing in their ability to think of our students first and foremost, even in a challenging economic environment."

For more information, contact Pam Hosmer at or (619) 725-7652.

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

Friday, January 21, 2011

IN THE NEWS: A School Principal’s Reflections on Race

Adams Elementary Principal Derek Murchison discusses his school, his students, his community and his life.

Read more from the San Diego Reader»

Hoover Students Helping Fix the Digital Divide

Hoover High students in the Academy of Information Technology, a computer-science focused academic program, have landed a great internship.

Students Raul Boeta, grade 11, and seniors Sam Le and Jeffries Tong are working with the San Diego Futures Foundation using their high-tech expertise to restore donated computers to top- running condition.

Their newly refurbished computers are in turn donated to families and area non-profit organizations. Really increasing the value of the computers, the recipients receive fast internet service donated by Cox Communications and the Futures Foundation.

The internship is proving even more rewarding by putting the power of internet technology into the hands of those without access. Hoover's interns will receive one of their own refurbished desktop computers for free, after completing 50 hours of work. For more information, please contact Angie Kania, director AOIT, at

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Students Speaking Out Website Now Online

San Diego County Crime Stoppers has a new website for its Students Speaking Out program, which offers students safety tips and ways to report crimes and dangerous activity.

Students Speaking Out was inspired by the Campus Crime Stoppers program, which has helped to solve more than 250 crimes on local school campuses and led to the safe removal of 13 guns from middle and high schools in San Diego County.

The mission of Students Speaking Out is to empower young people to use their voices to make schools and communities safer. Students can make a difference in bringing an end to senseless violence and dangerous activities that interfere with young people achieving their dreams.

The website has tips for students, parents and the community about reporting crimes and keeping the community safe. Students Speaking Out is a program of San Diego County Crime Stoppers, a community-based nonprofit organization (501c3).

San Diego Unified School Police participates in San Diego County Crime Stoppers and has endorsed this program.

Students can report crimes or dangerous activity anonymously by phone or text to (888) 580-8477. The website is at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tiger Team Organization Kickoff Meeting

Please join San Diego Unified School District Board Trustees Scott Barnett and Kevin Beiser for the Tiger Team Kickoff meeting on Saturday, January 22, 2011. The teams will begin looking at district operations to generate efficiencies and savings. All interested persons are encouraged to attend and participate.

Date: Saturday, January, 22, 2011

Time: 1-3 pm

Location: Ballard Parent Center 2375 Congress Street San Diego, CA 92110

Tiger Teams will initially be established to review the following areas:

* Human Resources
* Transportation/Fleet Management (including bussing schedules and operational costs)
* Information and Technology, including i21 plan and proposed data center
* Special Education

We will also graciously accept general budget savings suggestions.

For additional information, visit the website at . While an RSVP is not required, it would be appreciated. Send suggestions for other areas to review, and/or your contact information to

Key Club Returns to Crawford campus after 10-year Absence

Crawford's CHAMPs students now have the Key -- the Key Club. After more than a decade absent from the campus, the Kiwanis Club school auxiliary is back.

At the Crawford Educational Complex, CHAMPs is the school of the Community Health and Medical Practices and educates students aiming for careers in health care.

The Crawford Key Club joins their fellow students worldwide dedicated to serving the children of the world. Students volunteer for programs giving their time and talent while learning leadership skills.

This new Key Club chapter was definitely the key students were looking for, providing an avenue for their enthusiasm and desire to learn. Once it was established, more than 60 complex students joined and they have performed thousands of hours of service to their school and community.

This week the Crawford chapter was honored by Kiwanis officials in a ceremony hosted by Carlene Barros, Key Club sponsor. Club officers Jasmine Branch, Margaret Phiukao, Kellie Kim and Asma Hussein accepted official charter membership in Key Club International during a ceremony presided over by Tom Teagle, Kiwanis Lt. Governor; Ken Coley, president of the San Diego Club; Robert Headland of the Harbor Club; and Frank Petersen of the University Club.

For more information, please contact CHAMPs Principal William Laine at (619) 583-2501 ext. 2460, or

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Deadline to choose city schools approaches

Families that choose to send their students to city schools outside their neighborhoods have until February 15 to apply for their preferred campuses. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

IN THE NEWS: SD High Arts Mariachi Band on Morning TV

The Mariachi Band from the San Diego High School of the Arts performed Friday, Jan. 14, on the KBNT-TV Morning News (in Spanish). Watch video from KBNT-TV»

Back to School Today for Year-Round-Schedule Schools

If you or your child is on a year-round school schedule, it's back to school after the winter break. As every day counts in attendance, this could be you or your child's most important day of the school year! So let's see those happy faces back in class today.

Monday, January 17, 2011

San Diego High Hosts Documentary

The public is invited to view a new and widely discussed documentary, "Race to Nowhere," on Jan. 25, at the San Diego High Educational Complex, located at 1405 Park Blvd. (92101).

Come see the thought-provoking film that has been featured on Good Morning America, and help San Diego High students with their homework at the same time.
International Studies students are learning the film promotion business, as part of their Marketing and Special Events class. They are promoting the film that is playing in schools and other venues nationwide. The documentary focuses on the dark side of America's push to overachieve.

The film airs at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance; $15 at the door. Click here for details. For more contact Charos Maull, ROP teacher, at (619) 525-7464 ext. 4901, or

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Madison High Students Pledge to Eliminate the Negative

Madison anti-bullying campaign
Bullying elimination campaign
Madison High School Broadcast Journalism students used the power of their language to make a five-minute video to bring home the damaging impact of bullying language.

Last week, students launched a campus-wide campaign along with their video to inform students of the growing problem of bullying and cyber-bullying. Both locally and nationally, teen-age bullying, aided with technology like cell phones, has ended with tragedy, in teen suicides and other violence.

With the public-service video as the catalyst, Madison students signed giant-sized pledge banners around campus to highlight awareness of how much negative language and bullying behavior can hurt young people.

Students received wristbands labeled End Hurtful Language as a colorful reminder as well. Their campaign kicked off this week with a ceremony with Supt. Bill Kowba along with Richard Barrera and John Lee Evans, board president and vice president.

The Broadcast Journalism students are set to present their video at the Jan. 25 Board of Education meeting. For more information, contact Bill Cunningham, CCTE teacher, at

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Another Successful Road Trip for Hoover Students

PBS ad
Road trip ad
New stars have been born from Hoover High School.

Three graduates from the high-tech focused Academy of Information Technology (AOIT) are the stars in the nationally televised series "Road Trip Nation" on Public Broadcasting System (PBS).

The series focuses on encouraging young people to hit the road in search of interviews with leaders who have defined their own distinct routes through life. Its slogan is: Define your own road in life. Youths apply to be part of the odyssey in a big green recreational vehicle. 

More on Road Trip Nation.

Hoover AOIT students have embarked on their own Road Trip Nation projects for the past two years. A podcast of the Hoover portion of the show can be viewed at 21:55 of the episode, or by playing the "Heartbeat RTN" episode on Road Trip Nation, Episode 8.

 For more information, please contact John Michener, CCTE teacher, at

Friday, January 14, 2011

Save the Date: School Choice Fair, Saturday, Jan. 22

Back by popular demand, the third annual School Choice Fair will take place on Saturday, Jan. 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Balboa Park Recital Hall.

The free event will highlight schools and student performances from throughout San Diego Unified. Families across the county can learn first-hand about the many educational options available to students, including parents who work but do not live within the district’s attendance boundaries.

Information about district-run schools, including neighborhood, magnet and International Baccalaureate, as well as other innovative programs will be available all in one place. Representatives from the Enrollment Office will be available to answer school choice application questions.

More than 1,500 families attended last year's event. The school choice open enrollment period ends Feb.15, 2011 for school year 2011-12. For more information, visit

From the Superintendent: State Budget Proposal Still Means Tough Choices for 2011-12

While our new governor, Jerry Brown, came out strongly in favor of education in his budget message, the district is still expecting another year of cuts — possibly $120 million -- to the 2011-12 general fund. This is on top of the $400 million cut over the last three years. In his budget message, the governor pledged to keep funding at its current levels, stating "Schools have borne the brunt of spending reductions in recent years...” At San Diego Unified, our staff is still analyzing what this budget will mean to our district.

Each year, the governor submits a budget proposal to the legislature in January. School districts must start planning their next-year budget based on this proposal, submitting a balanced budget by June 30. In past years, the legislature has debated far past the July 1 start of the fiscal year, making the situation extremely challenging for the district. This year, Gov. Brown has asked the legislature to have next year’s budget completed by March so a package of tax increases can be submitted to voters in June. We hope they follow this schedule. Making their job easier is the passage of Prop. 25 last fall, which eliminated the two-thirds requirement for passing the state budget.

While we appreciate the Governor’s support of K-12 education, his proposal delays some payments to school districts until 2012-13 and assumes that voters will provide $2 billion to schools (statewide) by extending current income tax rates.

In addition, San Diego Unified's costs are increasing and we will no longer have federal stimulus dollars in 2011-12. Keeping next year’s budget the same as 2010-11 means we cannot afford as much.

We will continue to provide regular updates on the status of our budget. The Board of Education will hold several special budget and regular business meetings over the next few months. Most meetings are televised on ITV Channel 16 and video streamed on our website. In addition, check for frequent updates on our budget web page at

As we face an even more difficult budget cycle, we hope you stay involved with your schools and contact your state legislators to let them know what you think.


Free Workshops on Special Education Issues Start Jan. 25

A series of free workshops for parents, guardians, families and community members starts Jan. 25.

The first session is called ReCentering Parenting and will be held at Cherokee Point Elementary from 6-8 p.m Jan. 25. Free childcare and Spanish translation provided.  Other language translation services are available by calling (619) 725-7327.

More sessions of Parenting Workshops are being offered on Wednesday nights at four locations:  Jerabek, Miller and Cherokee Point elementary schools and the Ballard Parent Center. Check out the flyers on the Special Education Parent Services web page for workshop titles, times and locations.

Another resource for families of special education students is SibShop: Workshop for Siblings of Brothers/Sisters with Special Needs. This event includes games, crafts and activities geared to siblings of specific needs students, for ages 7-12, and will be held Jan. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Point Loma United Methodist Church.

For more information go to district web page, and go to the Special Education page under Parent Services. To register, contact Pat Moulton at or (619) 725-7327.

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lincoln, Porter Schools Host Event Giving Away 9,000 Toys

Children receiving toys at Toys 4 Joy
Toys being distributed
This holiday season was surely a little brighter thanks to Toys for Joy. That was the name of the community event hosted by Lincoln High and Porter Elementary on Dec. 11,  sponsored by The Rock Church in Point Loma.

The event brought together some 7,000 students and families from the Lincoln Park community and was an example of how the district's civic center use permits play an important role in our communities.

More than 9,000 toys were distributed to students and children, including 64 bikes. The lucky children who were last in line won 10 of those bikes.

In fact there were so many new toys and gifts, the children couldn't take them all. The undistributed toys were given to other community organizations to give to other children. Grownups also received holiday gifts. In addition to the toys, 225,000 articles of clothing and 10,000 bags of groceries were given away.

The event was run with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers. For information, contact Debora Beaver at (858) 627-6204 or

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

San Diego Unified School District's Proposition S Program Improves Technology and Saves $35 Million

To support its 21st Century Interactive Classroom Initiative (known as "i21"), San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is upgrading technology infrastructure at its schools. The digital learning environment for students and teachers is being enhanced with high-speed, wireless internet connectivity in classrooms throughout the district.

Over the next three years, this work will significantly improve internet and telecommunication capacity across the district. The work provides data infrastructure projected to serve digital learning for the next 15 years.

"The FCC E-rate program helps those schools that need it most get connected in the digital age." said Stuart Markey, executive director of the Capital Improvement Bond Program (Prop. S). "We would not be able to do the scope of technology work in the district without this terrific program. My 'hat is off' to our facilities and technology staff who have aggressively and persistently sought out these dollars."

Nearly 80 of the district's schools meet the criteria for a federally-funded program known as "E-rate," which is designed to ensure that all eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services. Under this program, these schools will also move from analog telephone systems to Voice over Internet Protocol, which will dramatically reduce operational costs. Approximately $2 billion annually is available to provide eligible schools and libraries with discounts under the E-rate program for authorized services.

In order to take advantage of this program, the school district is accelerating the scheduling of infrastructure projects at several eligible schools. Performing these technology improvements through this program will save the district a minimum of $35 million.

SDUSD's i21 Initiative, and the infrastructure that supports it, are funded by Proposition S. i21 is a five-year, phased plan that began during the summer of 2009. Through i21 each classroom receives an interactive whiteboard, audio-visual cabinet, teacher presentation station and wireless voice amplification system, as well as a document camera and DVD player. It also provides a laptop for each teacher and principal, and a netbook (small laptop) for each student.

For more information on the E-rate projects/program or the i21 Interactive Classroom Initiative, please contact Cynthia Reed-Porter at or (619) 546-3378.

IN THE NEWS: Kearny CTA Hosts Morning News

Stanley E. Foster Construction Tech Academy at the Kearny High Complex takes morning show viewers on a tour of the career-tech programs. Watch video»

San Diego High Culinary Arts Students Test Breakfast Options

Culinary Arts students at the San Diego High School of Business were recruited to taste test breakfast options for a new Breakfast in the Classroom program that is in the planning stages for the downtown campus.

"High school students have very discerning tastes," said Sylvia Kravitz, the district's product development technician.

"Adults may find what we think is a great product: it looks good, tastes good, the price is right and it meets nutritional guidelines, but if it doesn't pass the student test, we don't put it on the menu."

Breakfast items not only have to meet guidelines but have to be portable and easy to eat. Students tested fruit smoothies, breakfast flautas, whole-grain cereals and a cherry apple crunch bar. Students also learned about how school menus are developed and about careers in the nutrition field and in the food industry.

For more information, contact Sylvia Kravitz at

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

IN THE NEWS: Changing The Way School Budget Decisions are Made

How much money will your child's school get for the next school year and how will it be spent? There is good news and bad news, according to the San Diego Unified School District, which is changing the way budget decisions are made. Read more from NBC San Diego»

Point Loma Students Win Trophy at International Summit

PL students at economic summitIt was a successful whirlwind trip around the globe for Point Loma High Economics and International Trade students. They returned last month from the International Economics Summit at University of Southern California with a 4th place trophy.

The team competed in a prestigious competition sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank, to educate students in economics within the context of international trade.

The Point Loma team represented the African nation of Niger in the simulation on global finance.

For more information, please contact teacher Mary Jean del Campo, CCTE teacher, at

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

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Hollywood Smash Success by Kearny High Club

Kearny High Party People clubWith the red carpet rolled out and paparazzi flashing pictures, Kearny High's Friday "Night in Hollywood" school dance was a big hit -- thanks to the organization of a Kearny High student club.

The big event was organized by the Party People, a 21st Century ASSETS After- School club on Kearny's campus. ASSETS is a grant-funded program that supports after-school clubs and activities at 20 district high schools.

Kearny students learned how to handle the many details in running a large event. They worked with principals, campus security and other staff to plan, promote and put on the event that was attended by more than 120 students.

For more information, contact club supervisor Virginia Davis at (858) 627-7357 or

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

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tons of Food Given Away by JROTC

San Diego High JROTC
Mira Mesa food drive
Mission Bay
Crawford food drive
Students with their generous donations from San  Diego, Morse, Mira Mesa, Mission Bay and Crawford high schools.
Tons and tons of food -- that's what San Diego families needed and that's what San Diego JROTC students delivered this holiday season.

The annual district Holiday Food Drive brought in 12,806 pounds of canned food.

One school alone, San Diego High's Air Force JRTOC, brought in 3,538 pounds. For that generous heavy lifting, the unit will receive a Community Service streamer at the Brigade Awards Ceremony.

Another student unit dedicated to helping San Diego families was Mira Mesa High's Air Force JROTC, which brought in the second largest tonnage of food: 1,804 pounds, followed by Morse High with 1,225 pounds.

The food drive is an important event for students in ROTC which teaches the value of service to others and the great impact community involvement can have. Their donations went to the non-profit charitable organizations such as San Diego Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul and Miramar Food Locker. For more information, please contact LTC David Guzman, (858) 496-8203,

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

Saturday, January 8, 2011

School of International Business Hosts Dell Scholarship Officials

Dell Foundation receptionThanks to the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, 12 students from Kearny High School of International Business (SIB) have received generous college scholarships over the last four years -- nearly a quarter-million dollars' worth of aid.
To thank the Dell Foundation, SIB students and staff held a reception for foundation officials, Oscar Sweeten- Lopez and Ninfa Murillo, during their visit Dec. 13. Students proudly showed officials their school in action as the visitors sat in several classes in session. After the student-led tour, foundation officials sat with seniors to help them with their college applications.
Dell Foundation has donated $240,000 in scholarships. For more information, contact Erica Heinzman, SIB teacher, (858) 496-8370, ext. 4415.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rosa Parks Students Get Priceless Antiquities for a Full Year

Rosa Parks 5th graders received a surprise this holiday season that is sure to inspire imagination and knowledge.

Students and their families received free membership and entry to San Diego Museum of Man for a full year, a family favorite in Balboa Park, as a gift from the law firm of Allen Matkins and the museum.

The gift was announced to students by the Museum of Man's Teri Saffon and Gail Alsobrook, who are pictured here (center) with Rosa Parks students and Principal Carolanne Buguey (right).

For more information, please contact Vice Principal Irene Hightower at (619) 282-6803.

Passing the Stethoscope to UC High Student Interns

UC High internsStudents at University City High are in the hospital this semester, doing important work in clinical internships at both Scripps Clinics and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Plus, two more UC High students interested in careers in veterinary medicine are interning at Governor Animal Clinic.

They are part of the Healthcare Essentials program at UC High that connects students with working professionals, to give them the opportunity for career exploration in more than 10 different hospital departments, including Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Laboratory, Radiology, Pediatrics, Integrative Medicine, Weight Management and Ambulatory Surgery and Spinal Injuries.

For more information, please contact Ellie Vandiver, CCTE Teacher, at

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

Point Loma High Video Students are Stars of Film Challenge

Pt. Loma High student
Pt. Loma students shooting video.
Pt. Loma student shoots video

Multimedia/video production students and alumni from Point Loma High School competed against industry professionals and made a strong showing in My Local Lineup's 2010 Film Challenge. Their videos received two Honorable Mentions and two Finalist nominations, taking four of the top nine spots.

The nominated videos will appear on My Local Up's television program from Dec. 27, 2010 through Jan. 1, 2011, at 7 p.m., on ITV Channel 16, as well as on For more information, please contact the College, Career and Technical Education Office (CCTE) at (858) 503-1738. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Crown Point Academy Students Hit the Big Time

Crown Point students at Balboa Symphony On stage at downtown’s historic Balboa Theater with  professional orchestra musicians: That’s where students from Crown Point Junior Music Academy have performed.
During a November performance of the classic Toy Symphony by Leopold Mozart, the music director for San Diego’s Classics 4 Kids invited Crown Point’s young musicians to join the professional symphony.
The grand old theater holds an audience of more than 1,500 -- what an exciting view from the stage for Crown Point's young musicians. For more information, contact Dawn Andrews, VAPA Music Resource Teacher, (858) 539-5352.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Green Elementary Students Take Up First Lady's Challenge

Chefs at Green
Chef Chris Decker serves at Green Elementary.
Green students voted overwhelming approval recently for their submission to the Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition: SanDi Coast Chili Mole.

The challenge was created to team food service staff, chefs, students, and community members to develop creative, nutritious, tasty, and kid-approved recipes that schools can easily incorporate into their lunch menus. Recipes were created in one of three categories: whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas.

Chef Chris Decker, from Decker Brothers Gourmet, parent Natalie Farwell, and Green students Avalia Bilben, Chase Osborn and Tanner Eagle, worked together with Sylvia Kravitz, food services product development technician, to develop the recipe. It was created over a period of two months using the kitchen at Patrick Henry High School.

The finalists in the competition will participate in a nationwide cook-off. The Let’s Move! Campaign, started by First Lady Michelle Obama, has a national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight.

For more information, contact Sylvia Kravitz, Food Services Department, at (858) 627-7313.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Innovation Middle Teacher Wins a Special Apple

Julie Garcia, winner of Apple AwardJulie Garcia loves to teach math and make her lessons so engaging and relevant that she’s going to be reaching potentially millions of students.

How? Through the combined power of her gift for teaching and being named an Apple Distinguished Educator. Julie teaches at Innovation Middle School, where she uses technology extensively including kid-friendly programs like iMovie and Garage Band, both staples of Macintosh computers. She has her students create lessons and the rest of her class complete the lessons on the iPod touch, a popular palm-sized combination music-playing and communications device.

Her approach is working. Her classes have higher test scores and rank high on other measures of student engagement. Currently Julie is the star of the Apple Distinguished Educator program, her face on the main Apple computer website. As part of the program she will share her teaching approaches and successes with other educators and students worldwide. Click here to see more.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Board of Education Takes Center Stage for Arts Education

San Diego Unified’s Board of Education was selected to represent the State of California for the 2011 Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network & National School Boards Association Award. Since 1988, this national award has been presented annually to a local school board that has demonstrated support for and commitment to high-quality arts education. One school board per state is selected to make up the pool of national nominees.

The winning school board will be announced at the annual national NSBA conference in San Francisco, April 9-11, 2011. Thanks to the Board of Education for its continuous support and commitment to quality arts education for our students.  For more information, please contact the VAPA Office at (858) 539-5349.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Free Lunches for Kids Available at Four Year-Round Schools During Intersession

Students in areas with year-round schools can enjoy free lunch during winter break, thanks to San Diego Unified Food Services, the district's Children and Youth in Transition Department, the City of San Diego San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation and Feeding America San Diego.

Free lunches are available Jan. 3-14 to all children ages 2-18 -- no enrollment, no paperwork, no income qualifications.

The lunches are available at the following locations:

2011 Intersession Lunches at SDUSD Schools
 School    Lunch Service Times    Address  
 Ericson Elementary   12:00-12:30 p.m.   11174 Westonhill Dr., San Diego 92126  
 Jones Elementary   12:00-12:20 p.m.  2751 Greyling Dr., San Diego 92123  
 Webster Elementary  1:05-1:30 p.m.  4801 Elm St., San Diego 92102  
 Wilson Middle   1:20-1:40 p.m.  3838 Orange Ave., San Diego 92105  

In addition, there will be two special barbecues during the winter intersession.The events will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the City Heights Recreation Center, 4380 Landis St, San Diego (92105) on Thursday, Jan. 6, and at Paradise Hills Recreation Center, 6610 Potomac St., San Diego (92139) on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

There's a free lunch for children 18 years and younger served from noon to 1 p.m. Adults can eat for $2. In addition, Feeding America San Diego will distribute free bags of food while other community partners offer information on a variety of social service programs. Read more»