Sunday, September 30, 2012

First Hall of Fame Induction Honors Accomplished UC High Alumni

IN THE NEWS: Six accomplished alumni of UC High were inducted into the UC High “Hall of Fame” due to their various national or international accomplishments. Read more from the University City High School Commander»

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Schools’ new recycling program ‘fix’ gets an A for effort

IN THE NEWS: La Jolla public school students are beginning the academic year with a new recycling program that is being adopted at all 180 schools in the San Diego Unified School District. The program comes from Recycle Across America (RAA), a non-profit organization that has seen its recycling enhancements implemented by a number of Fortune 500 companies, in just the two short years of its existence. Read more from the La Jolla Light»

Friday, September 28, 2012

Walker Elementary Teacher Co-Authors Journal Article

Walker A paper in the recent edition of the journal of California Council for the Social Studies was co-authored by Grace Nall, a National Board Certified Teacher at Walker Elementary School in Mira Mesa.

Nall, who teaches fourth grade, co-authored the Social Studies Review article, "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Using Primary Sources to Enhance Content Knowledge," with Dr. Priscilla Porter, senior author of Reflections, the state's social studies program for kindergarten through grade six.

The California Council for the Social Studies is a non-profit professional organization serving both public and private school educators, and is the leading voice for quality social studies education in California. The Social Studies Review is the official journal of the Council; it is a nationally recognized and well-respected history-social science publication, offering cutting edge commentary and ideas for classroom teachers, curriculum consultants, and college-university educators.

Nall has been teaching at Walker Elementary since 2005.

For more information, contact Nall at .

Thursday, September 27, 2012

National Campaign Against Teen Prescription Drug Abuse Launches At San Diego High

IN THE NEWS: WAKE UP! organized a group of San Diego High students who handed out t-shirts, plastered lockers with magnets, painted car windows, and stuck signs all over school lawns and walls - all before the first school bell rang. Read more from KPBS»

Schools Observe ‘International Day of Peace’

IB Peace One Day International Baccalaureate Schools Roosevelt Middle and Birney Elementary created giant peace signs in honor of the International Day of Peace, Sept. 21.

At Roosevelt Middle School on the north edge of Balboa Park, the school created a 1,000-student peace sign, organized by the school's student body council and staff.

"This is the third year that we have marked the Peace One Day with special activities," said Dr. Arturo Cabello, Principal. "Students participated in a variety of classroom lessons throughout the day and made a pinwheel for peace to put on display at back-to-school night."

A logo contest to create a t-shirt design for this year's Peace One Day was won by seventh grader Dakota Barksdale.
At Birney Elementary School, a similar peace sign was made by a formation of students.

International Baccalaureate programs work to to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. Its four programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Celebrating international peace is one of the program's core values.

For more information on the programs, contact: Dr. Cabello at Roosevelt Middle school, (; or Amanda Hammond-Williams at Birney Elementary,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Recycling Stickers Coming Thanks to New Business in San Diego

A grand-opening of a health and beauty store in University Town Center will help environmental education at Spreckels Elementary School and recycling efforts at schools all over San Diego County.

Kiehl's Since 1851, a New York City-based old-world apothecary, officially opened its UTC store on Sept. 20 and as part of the festivities invited students from Spreckels Elementary School in University City. The store-opening promotion invited visitors to bring in recyclable beverage containers, with the proceeds from recycling going to Spreckels's environmental programs. School Board President Dr. John Lee Evans was also on hand.

Kiehl's has partnered with Recycle Across America to fund a massive eco-initiative for the city, which will ensure that over 400 K-12 schools in the City and County of San Diego have standardized labels for their recycling bins, helping the school community improve their recycling efforts. Kiehl's donated $40,000 to the Recycle Across America program to cover the printing costs of the labels. In turn, Recycle Across America will donate labels to schools.

"These labels will help our kids find those recycling bins in their classrooms and school campuses," said Janet Whited, district rubbish and recycling specialist. "We're working to teach our kids good habits and help kids know what waste goes where."

Each school is eligible to receive 150 labels valued at $150. Each includes a picture of the recyclable items accepted; proper labeling on recycling bins help students, staff and visitors easily determine what can and cannot be recycled.

“I couldn’t be prouder that Kiehl’s Since 1851 and our new store at Westfield UTC have funded this project with Recycle Across America, to help San Diego’s schools and students improve their recycling efforts," said Chris Salgardo, President, Kiehl’s USA. "Giving back to our communities is as essential to our company as our skin care products, and this project supports two of our most important causes: the environment and children’s well-being. It’s an honor to help provide the tools that allow the next generation to become true caretakers of the earth and its fragile ecosystems.”

"In these days of tight budget, we really appreciate the donations from Recycle Across America and Kiehl's," she said.

For more information on the district's recycling program, contact Whited at 858-637-6268 or

Monday, September 24, 2012

Six Middle Schools Earn $500 from San Diego Energy Challenge

Pacific Beach Middle School

The San Diego Energy Challenge has awarded six San Diego Unified middle schools $500 grants as part of a program to see how much energy San Diegans can save at home.

Principals from Farb and DePortola in Tierrasanta, Pacific Beach Middle, Mann in City Heights, Lewis in Allied Gardens, and Dana in Point Loma all received checks from San Diego Gas and Electric. Schools receive checks based on the number of SDG&E customers that sign up and the amount of energy the users save.

The school whose sign-ups save the most energy will win the grand prize of $10,000, while the school with the highest percentage of sign-ups will win $5,000. There are also other great prizes, so SDG&E says it pays to invite your neighbors and friends. The more energy you save and the more sign-ups your school receives, the greater the chances of winning.

As of Sept. 21, the leading school in the challenge is charter Albert Einstein Middle School, followed by Pacific Beach Middle, Creative Performing Media Arts, High Tech Middle, Roosevelt, Montgomery, Dana, Challenger, Taft and Wilson. (See full list of schools and standings)

For more information on the program, go to

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Schools Cope With Immigrants' Need for Documentation

IN THE NEWS: Around California, districts are reacting to DACA. Listen to story from The California Report»

Saturday, September 22, 2012

'Game of the Week' Visits Serra High School

IN THE NEWS: School spirit overflows during early-morning telecast from Serra High School. Watch video from NBC San Diego Part 1 | Part 2

Friday, September 21, 2012

Prop. S Update: Hoover Cardinals dedicate new athletic facilities

The Hoover High School Cardinals have a lot to celebrate, and that's just what they did on Sept. 7, right before the first varsity home football game. Board President John Lee Evans and Board Member Richard Barrera joined Area Five Superintendent Mitzi Merino, district leaders, students, parents, community members and project partners in dedicating the Cardinals' new athletic facilities.

Principal Chuck Podhorsky welcome everyone to the celebratory event that included remarks by the board members and cheerleader Jenifer Becerra, the presentation of colors by the schools Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, and the ceremonial ribbon cutting at the 50-yard-line in the Breitbard Stadium. The ribbon was cut by Gayle Klusky, the daughter of the late Bob Breitbard for whom the stadium is named. Read more.

'Boys State' Reps Meet Pres. Obama; Nick Kelly of Patrick Henry and Giovanni Moujaes of La Jolla High represent California at event.

 President Obama meets Nick Kelly of Patrick Henry High.

     Nick Kelly, left, of Patrick Henry, and Giovanni Moujaes of La Jolla High at Boys Nation.     

Nick Kelly of Patrick Henry and Giovanni Moujaes of La Jolla High represented California at Boys Nation Day at the White House this summer.

The pair met Pres. Obama as part of the program, which is sponsored by American Legion chapters around the nation.

"Being able to speak to Pres. Obama was the highlight of the program," said Kelly, a Patrick Henry senior.

It’s a tradition for the 98 senators involved in The American Legion Boys Nation program to visit the White House and meet the standing president. And during the 66th session of Boys Nation, the senators walked away from the White House on July 27 with a memory that will last a lifetime — they shook hands with, talked to and hugged President Obama. They too stood on the front lawn and waved to Obama as he boarded the Marine One helicopter.

At Boys Nation, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments.

The July event was attended by boys throughout the nation. They debated and passed bills, as they would if they were in a state legislature or the Congress. Read more on the conference»

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Books for the New School Year

Freese Library Thanks to their 2012 Target Corporation Grant, Freese Elementary Arts and Culture Magnet school was able to purchase more than 600 hundred new books for its school library. The purchase came just in time for the new school year. The new books replaced old, worn and torn books, as well as enhance the school’s non-fiction collection of books. Freese students are already excitedly checking out books from the new collection.

Freese’s $100,000 Target Corporation grant was awarded during the 2012-13 school year and is being used to buy books and support its Arts and Culture Magnet program. For more information, contact Principal Alma Hills at

District JROTC Director Honored by Army Cadet Command

Lt. Col. Guzman
David Guzman, Program Manager of San Diego Unified's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program, has been selected Director of Army Instruction of the Year by the Army's Cadet Command based at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

As program manager, Guzman oversees the JROTC programs at Crawford, Hoover, Kearny, Lincoln, Madison, Mira Mesa, Morse, Patrick Henry, Point Loma, San Diego, Scripps Ranch, Serra and University City high schools. The program is part of the College, Career and Technical Education (CCTE) program.

"It's an honor to serve these young men and women," said Guzman, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a veteran of Afghanistan. "I'm proud of our 2,500 JROTC students in San Diego Unified and the students in the 1,700 programs around the world."

Guzman was recognized by the Army command for his outreach to and involvement with not only the school district but also local colleges and universities, Boy Scout troops and other civic organizations. As Director of Army Instruction for the district, Guzman is the overall JROTC leader, overseeing the quality of classroom instruction and integrated-curricular activities.

"I feel like this is the place I was supposed to be," said Guzman. He took the post following the retirement of Jan Janus in 2010, moving over from Madison High where he had been working as Army JROTC coordinator since 2008. While he has a background in civil engineering, Guzman spent several years while on active duty running the ROTC program at San Diego State University from 2000-05 and retired from the Army in 2008. At Madison, he also coached the varsity basketball program and was Teacher of the Year in 2009.

JROTC helps students focus on their education and physical fitness, with programs such as the academic league and community service.

"Our cadets are more than just cadets," he said, noting that about 10 percent choose a career in the military.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

San Diego Unified School District Serving Up Healthy Lunches

IN THE NEWS: In accordance with federal regulations geared toward getting children and adolescents healthier, more nutritional meals are making their way into San Diego Unified schools. Watch VideoSee more from KPBS»

Pt. Loma High Senior Prank is Engineering Marvel: 'World's Largest Hamster Wheel'

An 18-foot-tall "hamster wheel" appeared on the front sidewalk of Pt. Loma High recently. Was it some sort of science experiment? And where was the hamster?

For students, alumni and staff of the campus, it was something expected at the beginning of the school year -- the annual Pt. Loma High senior prank. Each class for the last few years has decorated the school in a different way to start their reign as the upper classmen.

The class of 2013's effort was was made from welded conduit pipe and chicken wire, as designed by students Corlin Palmer, Jacob Syage and Toby Shirts. The hamster wheel is fully functional, with more than 200 students having a chance to run on it. The wheel now stands along the side of the school as a statue and a tribute to the senior class of 2013.

"This was really something," said Principal Barbara Samilson. "I want to salute the students not only for a great engineering marvel, but for following the guidelines we set up for this."

Previous class pranks had unfortunately resulted in damage to the school, and Principal Samilson asked the students this year to have their fun, but within limits.

Point Loma is a four-year comprehensive high school serving grades 9-12 with a wide range of courses, including fine academic programs, extensive elective offerings, and excellent extracurricular opportunities. Our ethnically diverse student population of approximately 2,000 students who come primarily from the Point Loma community.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Montgomery Students, Alumni, Barnard Principal Receive Asian Heritage Awards

Students and alumni from Montgomery Middle School in Linda Vista were honored along with Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet Elementary School Principal Eddie Park at the recent Asian Heritage Awards.

The students were recognized for their work in an engineering course that is part of Project Lead The Way. Two students received $500 scholarships. The are participants in the BOOST-STEM program, which integrates science components with entrepreneurship. BOOST is an acronym that stands for Business, Organization and Opportunity in Science and Technology.

The program is a partnership between the Asian Heritage Society, U.S. Navy, SDG&E, Alliant International University, Cal State San Marcos, and Time Warner Cable with the purpose of informing, educating and mentoring Asian and other underserved females, ages 12-16, in STEM subjects coupled with an understanding of entrepreneurship skills.

The Asian Heritage Awards also honored Eddie Park, Principal of Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet Elementary School in Pt. Loma. Park joined the other honorees as showing the best and brightest in community service and humanitarian endeavors. Barnard Elementary School Mandarin Chinese Magnet Program enriches students through daily instruction in Mandarin Chinese, the most spoken language in the world. Through integration with the Mandarin Chinese culture, including the arts, music, and literature, students will develop the ability to successfully use their knowledge of diverse cultures to think and act globally and become thoughtful, responsible and successful global citizens.

The awards were held Sept. 15. For more information on the Asian Heritage Awards, see the organization's website at

Monday, September 17, 2012

Quick Emergency Notification Praised by Parents

IN THE NEWS: Word sent via district's "reverse 911" system, Blackboard Connect, helps keep kids safe during campus emergency.

Bridgepoint Education Provides School Supplies for San Diego Unified School District Students in Need

As part of its continuing efforts to support children and education in its hometown, Bridgepoint Education, Inc. (NYSE: BPI) has underwritten efforts to provide backpacks full of essential school supplies to children in need in the San Diego Unified School District.

Bridgepoint Education sponsored the San Diego Unified School District’s “Tools for School” assistance program in correlation with the kickoff of the 2011-12 school year. Bridgepoint’s gift of $10,000 helped the district guarantee that students in the district, whose families were unable to provide school necessities, had what they needed to start the school year. Distribution of the fully equipped backpacks took place on September 8 and 9.

“It’s an honor to provide support for this pivotal time in a child’s life,” said Jane McAuliffe, Bridgepoint Education’s executive vice president and chief academic officer. “Everyone remembers how dramatic the first days of the school year can be. Bridgepoint Education is happy to help guarantee that kids in San Diego can start class with one less thing to worry about.”

The Tools for School program, introduced this year with Bridgepoint’s support, provided 600 full backpacks for children in the San Diego Unified School District. Recipients of the first-day kits came from all levels of elementary, middle and high school. Assisted by school principals and counselors, backpacks were outfitted specifically for different levels of schooling.

The program is a product of the San Diego Unified School District’s Office of Children and Youth in Transition, developed to directly address the requirements of homeless students living in San Diego. Bridgepoint Education’s postsecondary education services focus on offering associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in such disciplines as business, education, psychology, social sciences and health sciences. Bridgepoint Education’s regionally accredited academic institutions – Ashford University and University of the Rockies – deliver their programs online as well as at traditional campuses located in Clinton, Iowa, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Campus Salad Bars Get Makeover With Locally Grown Produce

San Diego Unified is celebrating a decade of salad bars in its schools and this year students are seeing a reorganized salad bar with more seasonal fresh fruit, local fruit and vegetables and even occasional items grown right at school.

Students also have three new "grab and go" salads that feature locally baked bread. One selection, Asian Tofu Salad, features tofu from the San Diego Soy Dairy.

It's meant the end of croutons and chips, but Vanessa Zajfen, San Diego Unified's Farm to School Coordinator, says bringing local produce to school -- and even produce grown at school -- means healthier kids and a better environment for all.

"The salad bars are our the best way to deliver farm-fresh healthy foods to our students," she said. "Our students love that there's always a fresh option, whether they're in kindergarten or a high school senior."

The nationally recognized food service program spends 15 percent of its annual fresh fruit and vegetable on locally grown crops, working with farmers to grow fields of vegetables for San Diego's kids.

"It's might be 25 miles or less from the farmer to our kids," said Gary Petill, Food Services Director. "That makes the food fresher, reduces the amount of pollution in transportation and really makes a connection between the local rancher and kids in a nearby neighborhood."

San Diego Unified first put salad bars in elementary schools in 2002, becoming a pioneer in giving kids a chance to learn on their own how to make good nutritional choices. In 2009, a major makeover in the high school menu produced a doubling of sales at some schools. It has also pioneered breakfast in the classroom for elementary school students. This year, the menu was adjusted to meet tough new federal nutrition guidelines.

Each day, the San Diego Unified School District prepares and serves nearly 150,000 meals to its students. For more information, contact Zajfen at

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Walker Elementary Teacher Spent Summer in Library of Congress Program

Walker Elementary School's Grace Nall spent the week of Aug. 6-10 at the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute.

During the five-day program, participants work with Library education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the Library¹s website.

Educators attending the teacher institutes develop primary-source based teaching strategies that they can take back to their school districts, apply in the classroom and pass along to colleagues. Teaching with primary sources is a powerful way to help students ask engaged, probing questions, develop critical thinking skills, and construct knowledge.

Applicants to the Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institutes reflect the diversity of the world of K-12 education. Participants in a teacher institute session typically include school library media specialists and school administrators in addition to classroom teachers. Participants come from many different states, representing large metropolitan school districts and smaller, rural school districts. The expertise provided by the Library of Congress during the institutes can benefit every level of K-12 education.

Primary sources are the raw materials of history ‹ original documents and objects that were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience. Students working with primary sources become engaged learners while building critical thinking skills and constructing new knowledge. Teachers working in the Library's collections will explore the largest online collection of historical artifacts with access to millions of unique primary sources for use in instruction.

Nall was selected from more than 300 applicants to participate in the program. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and recently was co-author of an article published in Social Studies Review, the journal of the California Council for the Social Studies.

For more information on the program, contact Nall at

Friday, September 14, 2012

Work begins on Voltaire Street stadium entryway

IN THE NEWS: Pt. Loma High improvements are thanks to voter-approved Prop. S. Read more from the Peninsula Beacon»

Point Loma High gets a new field and weight room

Point Loma High School invited students, parents, staff and community members to kick off its 2012 football season and to celebrate the completion of its new synthetic turf football field and new weight room on Saturday, Sept 1. Board President John Lee Evans, Board Vice President Scott Barnett and City Council President Pro Tem Kevin Faulconer were guest speakers at the dedication ceremony held on the 50-yard-line of the new field. Principal Barbara Samilson welcomed guests, and Vice Principal Kevin Gormly emceed the event that included the presentation of colors by the schools' Navy Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a ceremonial football toss that marked the opening of the football season.

All physical education classes and athletes at Point Loma High will use the new facilities and state-of-the-art equipment. Both the field and weight room projects were constructed using Proposition S capital improvement funds that cannot be used for teachers' or administrators' salaries. The $1,434,196 field project involved the replacement of the existing 11-year-old, 107,000-square-foot synthetic turf football field at Point Loma High. The new field includes new synthetic turf, game markings, and a new drainage and cleaning system. The design/construction partner on this Prop. S project was Byrom-Davey Construction.

Jimmie Johnson Foundation check presentation This weight room project involved constructing a new 3,190-square-foot weight room and exercise facility located adjacent to the track and football field on land previously occupied by district portables demolished in 2008. The building is fully compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act. The design and construction partners for this facility were gkkworks Architectural Services and M.A. Stevens Construction.

The $675,070 construction project was funded by Prop. S, while the new weight room’s exercise equipment was funded by a $90,000 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Lowe's Toolbox for Education™ Champions Grant. Started by race car driver and San Diego native, Jimmie Johnson, the foundation is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. A ceremonial check presentation was held during the dedication ceremony to mark the foundation's contribution.

For more information on these projects or Proposition S, call 619-725-7252. Members of the press, please contact Cynthia Reed-Porter at or 619-546-3378.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wangenheim Middle School Teacher Selected as National Fellow

Fellows receive an annual $10,000 stipend and rigorous professional development, including participation in a three-week summer institute and yearlong training sessions. Read more on Wangenheim Middle School website.»

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

San Diego Schools Improve Standard Test Scores Again

San Diego Unified School District students improved their performance on the California Standards Test for the seventh consecutive year, although mathematics remained an area in need of extra support, according to a presentation to the Board of Education Tuesday night. Read more from San Diego 6»

Padres Nick and Amy Hundley Hit a Home Run for Perkins Kids

Nick and Amy Huntley, Principal Fernandez and third graders from Perkins.
Nick and Amy Hundley, Principal Hernandez and third graders from Perkins.
Padres catcher Nick Hundley and his wife, Amy, hosted kids in grades 1-3 from Perkins K-8 School this week in the couple's annual back-to-school shopping event at the Mission Valley Target.

Nearly 150 students were able to pick out shirts, shoes and other items with Nick and Amy, as well as other Padres and their wives, including Luke Gregerson, Brad Boxberger, Cory Luebke, Cameron Maybin, Joe Thatcher and Will Venable. Also on hand was Chase Headley, who acted as co-host and provided some of the financial support for the event.

"We're really excited to have the kids here from Perkins," said Nick. "They've been great and this was such a fun event."

Groups of students were paired with a player or Padres front office volunteer and picked out two tops, two bottoms, a jacket, a pack of socks and a pair of shoes. Students also received a custom Hundley Padres tee, Padres backpacks filled with souvenirs provided by the Padres Foundation and school supplies provided by Target.

"This is one of the most amazing events we've ever had at Perkins K-8," said Principal Fernando Hernandez. "We can almost see Petco Park from our school and I know all the kids look up to the players."

Located at 1770 Main Street in Barrio Logan (less than a mile from Petco Park), Perkins School welcomes students from kindergarten through grade 8. The school's focus is on English language arts and mathematics, with exciting and creative options available in science, social studies, physical education, and the arts.

For more information on the school, contact Principal Hernandez at 619-344-5300.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sept. 11 Is History Lesson In Schools

IN THE NEWS: Mr. Selby's history class at Innovation Middle School is one of many learning about attacks on World Trade Center, Pentagon.

Lindbergh/Schweitzer Elementary Holds Parent Resource Fair

A parent gets information at Fair.
Not only was Sept. 4 the first day of school, it was the day of the first Parent Resource Fair at Lindbergh/Schweitzer Elementary School in Clairemont.

Parents were able to find out about more than 20 local youth organizations that provide before- and after-school activities, tutoring, lessons and other ways to enrich student lives.

"This was a fabulous collaboration and we hope to make it an annual event," said Deanne Rohde, Principal of Lindbergh/Schweitzer.

The school's PTA provided breakfast at the event, which was organized by PTA member Emily Dolton and Andrea Bazer, the school's adaptive physical education teacher.

The San Diego Public Library, SAY San Diego Collaborative, Boys and Girls Club, Heartlight, USA Karate, Soccer Shots, and Cecily's Closet  had booths, along with The Crimson Center for Speech, Coast Music Therapy, WIC/San Diego Foundation, Tiny Pros, Boys and Girls Scouts, BiLingual Kids, Sports for Exceptional Athletes, UCSD First Grade Research Project, Dr. Albert Leung, D.D.S., Miracle League, United Cerebral Palsy, Area Board XII State Council,  San Diego Family Magazine, and Three Treasures Cultural Arts and Kung Fu.

For more information, contact Julie Harris at Lindbergh/Schweitzer at or 858-496-8400.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sequoia Elementary Gets $87k in Books, Materials

Sequoia students get reading grant. Sequoia Elementary School has received an $87,000 grant from the AMETEK Foundation so the school can participate in the 100 Book Challenge program.

The school, located in the Clairemont neighborhood, will receive all materials, professional development, and coordination of services to implement the program, as well as all materials supplied to the five K–3 classrooms at Sequoia.

"We're so proud to have been selected for this grant," said Principal Ryan Kissell. "This community of students, educators and families all work together to create an environment that provides our children with the necessary academic and social skills to become competent, confident and happy citizens."

Each classroom will receive reading materials that include at least ten baskets of leveled text collections -- more than 300 new books per classroom. A consultant will be assigned to the school to provide ten days of onsite, in-classroom training sessions. Volunteers from the local AMETEK site, Programmable Power, will donate time once a week to read to, and with, struggling readers.

The grant will fund a kick-off ceremony, end-of-year celebrations, and academic achievement awards for students who meet reading practice goals.

For additional information contact Principal Ryan Kissel at

New Facilities Are a Touchdown for UC High

IN THE NEWS: This year, athletes and performers will have the chance to make use of a state-of-the-art synthetic turf field and all-weather track, making events at the stadium true crowd pleasers. Read more from the La Jolla Village News»

Sunday, September 9, 2012

San Diego Schools Use Mentoring To Keep At-Risk Students On Graduation Track

IN THE NEWS: When California released dropout and graduation data for the class of 2011 earlier this summer, San Diego city schools stood out. The district’s dropout rate was just 5.9 percent. The next best rate for a large, urban school district in the state was 10.6 percent. Find Out More from KPBS-FM»

Foundation Gives PHAME a Boost

IN THE NEWS: Patrick Henry's Performing Arts Center is being designed; foundation helps raise funds. Read more from Scoop San Diego»

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Scripps Ranch High Featured on Morning News

IN THE NEWS: San Diego 6's Ruben Galvan visits the home of the Falcons. Watch video»

New scoreboard, walkway greet La Jolla High class of 2013

IN THE NEWS: Principal talks about enrollment, opening of school. Read more from La Jolla Light»

Friday, September 7, 2012

Patrick Henry High School dedicates new stadium field

Henry High ribbon-cutting ceremony Board Member Kevin Beiser and Area Two Superintendent David Lorden joined Principal Patricia Crowder, coaches and athletes representing various sports to dedicate Patrick Henry High School's new field and track in the Patriots' stadium.  Students, parents, boosters and community members attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony that was held just before the first varsity home football game on Friday, Aug. 31.

The previous field and track were replaced with a new 50,307 square-foot, all-weather track; and a new 79,306-square-foot, synthetic turf field with game markings, and a new drainage and cleaning system. There is another 20,660 square feet for track and field events. The $1,901,252 construction project was funded by Proposition S capital improvement bond funds, which cannot be used for teachers' or administrators' salaries. The project partners were PJHM Architects and Byrom-Davey, general contractor.
"This is a great investment in our students," said Board Member Beiser.

For more information on this project or Proposition S, call 619-725-7252.  Members of the press, please contact Cynthia Reed-Porter at 619-546-3378 or

SD High Student Tells Story of Fellow Student's Sacrifice

Ruben Tellez The Class of 2013 is learning about the sacrifice made by the Class of 1942 at San Diego High School.

Student Tiffany Schumack, who is beginning her senior year at the historic campus on the edge of Balboa Park, has been researching the life of Ruben Ruiz Tellez, for a project of the Normandy: Sacrifice for
Freedom program of the Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute.

"Ruben, our fallen WWII soldier, was a paratrooper in the D-Day invasion of Normandy Beach," Tiffany wrote on her website "He attended our high school from 1939 to 1941. He left San Diego High School at the end of his junior year."

Teacher Arlene Harris oversaw Tiffany's work at the San Diego High School of the Arts, one of five schools at the campus that opened in 1882.

"The point of this is to highlight one SDHS student who lost his life serving in wartime military, specifically D-Day Invasion and is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery," said Harris. The San Diego High Alumni Association and Tellez's family were of great help to Tiffany in her research.

To honor Tellez, his memory, his family and all the students who sacrificed over the years at San Diego High, the school will be hosting an assembly on Sept. 19. Members of Tellez family and other alumni from the World War II era are scheduled to attend.

For more information, contact Harris at

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Whitman, Lafayette Staff Members Support Deaf Research; Participate in Run for Community Services

Whitman Staff After Fun Run Staff members from Whitman and Lafayette Elementary Schools, which count among their outstanding student bodies many deaf and hard-of-hearing students, participated in this year's Color Me RAD 5K race, helping to raise funds for Deaf Community Services of San Diego.

Several of Whitman's school's deaf and hard-of-hearing teachers participated, including Michelle Froman, Jeanne Cicchetto, Beth Gallimore, Laura Kim and Marianne Watson, along with teacher Cathy Watson and audiologist Marcia Veltre. Beth Gallimore and Laura Kim, both deaf and hard-of-hearing teachers at Lafayette, also participated.

The fun 5K wound through downtown San Diego and included an area where runners were blasted with colored cornstarch. The result? Some very colorful fun for a good cause.

For more information on Whitman Elementary, contact Principal Pam Thompson at For more information on Lafayette Elementary, contact principal Jerrilee Fischer-Garza at

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of School at Kimbrough Elementary School

IN THE NEWS: Photographer documents opening day at elementary school. Read more»

Schools Boost College-Prep Coursework

IN THE NEWS: San Diego Unified adopts more rigorous graduation standards. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune»

De Portola Honored as "School To Watch" Model Middle School

For the third time since 2006, De Portola Middle School has been named a Schools to Watch model middle school. The school previously received the special designation in 2006 and 2009. Representatives from the Tierrasanta neighborhood middle school traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept the award from the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform on June 23.

De Portola is one of 365 schools in the nation with this designation and one of three in San Diego County.
Designation as being a School to Watch is based on three criteria. Schools must be academically excellent, challenging all students to use their minds well; developmentally responsive, being sensitive to the unique developmental challenges of early adolescence; and socially equitable, providing every student with high-quality teachers, resources, and supports.

While in Washington, D.C., the De Portola staff met with Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr. and representatives of U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to lobby for educational issues and to share reform ideas. They were also selected  to present at the Schools to Watch conference, sharing De Portola's innovative programs in helping students find success.

For more information, contact De Portola Principal Listy Gillingham at .

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Center opens

To help smooth the hundreds of requests the district is receiving for documentation of school attendance, the Ballard Parent Center has been designated as the location for requests under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4. Read more.

Getting School Off To A Good Start at Serra High

IN THE NEWS: Serra High students show they're happy to be back for 2012-13 school year. Watch video.

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Supt. Kowba: Welcome back!

Tuesday, Sept. 4, is the first day of school for all students. Thanks to all of our principals, teachers, support personnel and central office team who have been working very hard to prepare for the first day and beyond. We are ready to build on last year's academic successes for every student, every day, on every campus. Parents, please join us in these efforts by making sure your child is at school on Tuesday, on time and ready to learn. Thank you for your support and the privilege of serving your child. Enjoy the Labor Day weekend. We look forward to welcoming all students back to school on Sept. 4.

Monday, September 3, 2012

New Principals as New School Year Begins

New principals are now leading eight schools across the San Diego Unified School District. Here is a list.
  • Carmen Garcia, San Diego High School/International Studies
  • Gretchen Rhoads, Principal, San Diego High School/LEADS and School of Business
  • Jennifer Roberson, Principal, San Diego High School/MVPA
  • Karla Shiminski, Principal, Foster Elementary
  • Tavga Bustani, Principal, Hamilton Elementary
  • Reashon Villery, Interim Principal, Oak Park Elementary
  • Ernest Remillard, Principal, Pacific Beach Middle
Please welcome them!