Sunday, December 30, 2012

Free Lunches Available to Kids During Winter Break

Winter Fun Cafe
Free Lunch for Kids During Winter Break 2012-13
  • Dec. 24-Jan 4 for traditional schedule schools
  • Dec. 17-Jan.11 for year-round schools.
  • Open to all kids age 18 and under.
  • No enrollment, no paperwork, no income qualifications.
  • Check the locations and times enjoy lunch Monday-Friday (except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1).
Download flyers (PDF)  EnglishEspañol

Locations and Dates
Location Address Zip Time Dates
Adams Recreation Center 3491 Adams Ave. 92116 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
Azalea Recreation Center 2596 Violet St. 92105 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
City Heights Recreation Center 4380 Landis St. 92105 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
Colina Del Sol Recreation Center 5319 Orange Ave. 92115 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
Jackie Robinson YMCA 151 YMCA Way 92102 12 :15-1:15 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
Linda Vista Recreation Center 7064 Levant St. 92111 12:30 -1:30 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
Mt. View Recreation Center 641 So. Boundary St. 92113 1-2 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
North Park Recreation Center 4044 Idaho St. 92104 1-2 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
Southcrest Recreation Center 4149 Newton Ave. 92113 12:30-1:30 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
Tierrasanta Recreation Center 11220 Clairemont Dr. 92124 1-2 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
Willie Henderson Recreation Center 1035 So. 45th St. 92113 12:30-1:30 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
MCAS Miramar Youth Center (base access required) 2700 Moore Rd. 92145 12:15-1:15 P.M. Dec. 17-31, 2012, and Jan. 2-11, 2013
Encanto Recreation Center 6508 Wunderlin Ave. 92114 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 24, 2012 to Jan 4, 2013
Kearny Mesa Recreation Center 3170 Armstrong St. 92111 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 24, 2012 to Jan 4, 2013
Paradise Hills Recreation Center 6610 Potomac St. 92139 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 24, 2012 to Jan 4, 2013
Penn Athletic Field 2555 Dusk Dr. 92139 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 24, 2012 to Jan 4, 2013
Skyline Hills Recreation Center 8285 Skyline Dr. 92114 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 24, 2012 to Jan 4, 2013
Stockton Recreation Center 330 32nd St. 92102 1-2 P.M. Dec. 24, 2012 to Jan 4, 2013
Gateway CYP 2741 Mendonca Dr. 92110 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 17-21, 2012 through Jan. 7-11, 2013
Murphy Canyon CYP 4867 Santo Rd. 92124 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 17-21, 2012 through Jan. 7-11, 2013
Murphy Canyon Kid Connection 3493 Santo Rd. 92124 Noon-1 P.M. Dec. 17-21, 2012 through Jan. 7-11, 2013

This program is funded through a US Department of Agriculture grant.

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, participating institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin,sex, age or disability. To file a discrimination complaint, write the USDA, Director of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W. Washington, C.C., 20250-9410, or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Friday, December 21, 2012

District Leads State With Three Blue Ribbon Nominees: Torrey Pines, Standley, Kearny Business

Torrey Pines Elementary, Standley Middle School and the School of International Business at Kearny High School have been nominated for Blue Ribbons from the U.S. Department of Education, making San Diego Unified the only district in California with three nominees.

The trio were in a group of 35 submitted by the state Department of Education. Nominees generally receive the awards, which are generally announced in the fall by the U.S. Department of Education.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve at very high levels and/or where the achievement gap is narrowing. The Program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement.

"We're proud of the accomplishments of these three schools and grateful to state Supt. Tom Torlakson for sending their nominations to Washington, D.C.," said Bill Kowba, San Diego Unified's Superintendent.

Part of a larger U. S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has, since 1982, been part of the U.S. Department of Education effort to showcase schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals, including those that beat the odds.

San Diego Unified was the only district in California with three schools nominated. The only other district in the state with two nominees was the Los Angeles Unified School District. Schools apply to the California Department of Education, which then selects up to 35 schools to nominate to the U.S. Department of Education.

Ten San Diego Unified schools have been honored over the years with a Blue Ribbon, most recently 2010, when the School of Digital Media and Design at Kearny High and Preuss UCSD charter picked up the prize. For more information on the Blue Ribbon winners, go to

Schools can receive the Blue Ribbon if they are:

  • Exemplary High-Performing Schools: Schools that achieve at least the 85th percentile statewide in the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in English-language arts and mathematics on the state assessments. Schools nominated in this category may or may not have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Exemplary Improving Schools: Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from a disadvantaged background that are also among the top 10 percent of schools in the state showing the greatest improvement in the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in ELA and mathematics on the state assessments over the last five years.

For more information on the program, go to the state Department of Education website at

An Appreciation From Supt. Kowba for All The Hard Work in 2012

As we close our schools and offices for the winter break, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you for your dedication to improving the lives of our students. The recent event in
Connecticut has been a painful reminder of the importance of taking every opportunity to say thank you to those who have committed themselves to the education, safety and well-being of our most precious resource: our children.

Since the beginning of the school year, adults and students have been working hard, in and out of the classroom. As a result, we continue to see our students’ academic achievement go up. I am proud of these efforts and appreciate the important role that our staff, parents and community partners play in our successes.

Winter break provides the opportunity to relax, re-energize, and enjoy special moments with family and friends. I wish you a safe and peaceful holiday season and look forward to continued success in the new year!


Bill Kowba

P.S. Remember, traditional calendar schools, child development centers and district offices reopen on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Year-round schools resume classes on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SD Unified To Join With Local Groups To Light Tree for Newtown, Conn. Families

Christmas trees representing the victims of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting will be set up Thursday. San Diegans are invited to decorate them and attend a lighting ceremony.

The 20 miniature and six full-sized trees represent the children and adults killed last Friday. San Diegans can decorate the trees throughout the day and leave notes or letters. The messages and mementos will be mailed to Newtown.

A lighting ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. The trees will be set up on the front lawn of the San Diego Association of Realtors building, 4845 Ronson Court, in Kearny Mesa.

Sponsoring organizations include the San Diego Association of Realtors, the San Diego Unified School District, San Diego Police Officers Association, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, South Bay Family YMCA, Point Loma Nazarene University and STAR/PAL.

Correia Middle 'Artist in Residency' Makes Sweet Music

Practice makes perfect.
Trumpeter Derek Cannon works
with the Correia students
in the school's auditorium.
Students in Correia Middle School's Jazz Band were fortunate to benefit from the "Artist in Residency" program which brought professional trumpeter and educator Derek Cannon to the school in November.

The Correia students, in grades 8 and 9, worked with Cannon before performing for Correia students and parents. The highlight was a public performance at Sufi restaurant in Clairemont where Cannon, Glen Fisher and other professional musicians joined the young players.

"They are sponges, just absorbing everything," said Cannon, who is on the faculty of both San Diego State University and Grossmont College. “Having a music program like this is invaluable for the students and rare for a middle school. (These students are) getting a strong foundation in music early on that college students often lack and find themselves working to catch up later."
Learning at Correia.  

The Correia Instrumental Music Association and Glen Fisher's First Friday Music Club partner to raise funds to bring professional local musicians to the Point Loma school. Correia's band director, Marc Dwyer, collaborates with Fisher collaborate to choose musicians and organize the workshops and performances. Delfeayo Marsalis, Bill Watrous and the Dallas Brass are among the list of musicians the “Artist in Residency” program has brought to Correia in recent years.

At San Diego State and Grossmont College, Cannon teaches Music Theory, Jazz Improvisation, Elements of Jazz, and he is the founder/director of the Afro-Cuban Ensemble at Grossmont College. He has performed with musical greats including Natalie Cole, The Four Tops, Clark Terry and The Temptations and at The Montreaux Jazz Festival in the Switzerland, The Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, and the Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada.

"We learned to listen to each other better when we play," said Andrew Johnson, grade 7, in what they felt was a pretty cool experience.

For more information on the program, contact Christina Gilmore of the Correia Instrumental Music Association at

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Farb Middle Retains AVID Demonstration Site Status

Farb Middle School has been validated for the second time as a National Demonstration Site for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), a fourth grade through high school system that has turned thousands of underperforming students into confident, college-going scholars. Farb received high honors from the reviewers who revalidated the school for an additional 3 years.

The school, which is part of approximately 120 other AVID National Demonstration Sites, was revalidated through an application process, screening and review that included a site visit. AVID is implemented in more than 4,900 schools in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and 16 countries/territories and impacts more than 700,000 students in grades K-12 and in 28 postsecondary institutions.

"It is a tremendous honor to be selected as a demonstration site and to be revalidated for another 3 years," said Principal Susan Levy. "Our students and staff have implemented AVID with fidelity. We are proud of our AVID program, our AVID Coordinator, our teachers and our school as a whole."

AVID Executive Director Jim Nelson notes the significance of attaining demonstration site status.

"Schools chosen as demonstration sites have proven their ability to successfully implement the AVID academic elective course and take the strategies schoolwide to affect all students," says Nelson. “Farb Middle School” was selected as a National Demonstration Site because it has implemented the AVID system throughout the school and can serve as a model for new AVID sites."

AVID National Demonstration Sites were initiated in 1993 with a $250,000 award from the Charles A. Dana Foundation of New York. As part of the AVID National Demonstration Sites Network, sites are expected to develop a model program with schoolwide participation. With AVID’s proven methodologies used throughout subject area classes, performance levels improve for all students, but especially for those students who are the least likely to attend four-year colleges. Schools from around the world that are preparing to implement the AVID system will visit National Demonstration Sites, such as this one, to observe a highly evolved AVID system.

Levy is pleased that the school was revalidated as an AVID National Demonstration Site, noting the impact of the program on staff and students.

"It is a tremendous honor to be selected as a demonstration site and to be revalidated for another 3 years. Our students and staff have implemented AVID with fidelity. We are proud of our AVID program, our AVID Coordinator, our teachers and our school as a whole," Levy said. "AVID has helped the entire school improve student achievement, raise test scores, narrow the achievement gap, and maintain a college focus. Farb was able to attain an API score of 803 this year. AVID affects not only AVID elective students, but all students. We use AVID strategies and methodologies in all classrooms so that every one of our students benefits from a culture of high expectations and a college going culture."

For more information, please visit

Kimbrough Elementary Penny Drive Adds Up To Big Cash

Kimbrough Elementary's student body leaders have put together quite a collection on behalf of one of the school's partners, the Rachel Women's Center in downtown San Diego.

There were 14,922 pennies, 159quarters, 394 dimes, 337 nickels, 5 plastic pennies, 2 Chinese coins, 7Canadian coins, 8 Mexican pesos, $81 cash and a tooth. It adds up to$302.22. Each year, the shelter gives its residents a new pair of shoes as a holiday gift; the Kimbrough students' donation will provide socks to go along with the shoes.

"The students learned about the spirit of charity and the gift of giving to others who have less than they have," said Cheryl Hoff, a Grade 5 teacher. "Our school ASB took on the task and ran a Penny Drive from Dec 3-7. They devoted every recess to collecting pennies and coins from Kimbrough students."

The penny drive followed up on the placemats made by Kimbrough students for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Kimbrough's librarian, Kathleen Sanders, is a volunteer at the center.

"The women at the center loved the students' artwork and were so inspired by their kind words on the placemats," said Sanders.

For more information on the program, contact Principal Flavia Soria at (619) 525-2010.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Montgomery Middle Girls Examine Date Abuse

Students from Montgomery have completed a video on teen dating violence for the Girls! Camera! Action! Youth Violence Prevention Program, a Linda Vista based non-profit project with the mission to prevent teen dating violence for at-risk girls ages 12 to18 through a Social and Film program.

The short film was produced by 10 female students and is a clay and paper-cut stop motion animated short about "How to Break the Cycle of Emotional and Verbal Abuse."

The film recently had its debut at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

The video was part of a program by the Girls! Camera! Action! Youth Violence Prevention Project for at- risk-girls between the ages of 12 and 15. The girls learned about how to prevent and safely end abusive relationships, understand their legal rights and responsibilities, and create a framework for building healthy relationships in the future.

The Girls! Camera! Action! project includes Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA), Montgomery Middle School; Break the Cycle (BTC), and Civic Light Project (CLP). This is fiscal sponsor project by the San Diego Asian Film Foundation. This program was made possible by the Boys and Girls Foundation, Sponsorships, Corporate Match Gifts and Individual Giving. 

 For more information, contact Principal Jonathan Ton at

News Coverage

Monday, December 17, 2012

Community Transformation Grant Goes to Food Services Department

The innovative "Farm To School" program in San Diego Unified's Food Services Department has received a $750,000, five-year grant to continue and expand local farm tours, farmer-in-the-classroom visits, nutrition education and cooking demonstrations.

Part of an overall grant to the County of San Diego's Healthy Works program from the federal Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund, the 10-year Live Well San Diego! plan will work to make San Diego a healthier place.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to continue what has become a very popular program with our students and families," said Gary Petill, Food Services Director. "Not only do we take the farm to our students and our students to the farm, but it also allows us to continue to purchase great quality fruit and vegetables from our local growers."

For more information, contact Petill at

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Walker Elementary Students Lead Eight Schools on ‘Dare to Reuse’ Calendar

Hannah Icban.
Esteban Contreras
Inquiring young minds want to know what to do with items others might throw away and imagine the creativity of recycled art. With that in mind,Walker Elementary School Teacher Grace Nall entered her grade 4-5 class in the 2012 "Dare to Reuse" Art Contest.

Her students took on the art challenge to find creative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials found in their homes. Esteban Contreras and Hannah Icban took top honors when their art work was selected for the 2013 "Dare to Reuse" Online Calendar.

Contreras' "Colorful and Powerful Peacock," made of used CDs, a sparkling squeeze ball, and a plastic container was selected for the Calendar¹s front cover. Icban¹s "Recycle that Flower," made of used plastic bottles, was chosen for the month of May. According to Julie Sands Tyne, Environmental Specialist at the City of San Diego, the 2013 Online Calendar will be available soon.

Other San Diego schools featured in the 2013 "Dare to Reuse" Calendar include Old Town Academy, Longfellow K-8, Bird Rock Elementary, Dingman Elementary, Kearny High School of International Business, Encanto Elementary, Kearny High School, and Field Elementary.

The New Children's Museum held a "Dare to Reuse" Art Reception in November to honor the students and art participants for their creativity and hard work. Those in attendance at the reception included San Diego City Council Member Todd Gloria and Rick Hawkins, Sales Manager for corporate sponsor WAXIE Sanitary Supply. The Student Art Exhibit continues until January 31. For more information, visit The New Children¹s Museum¹s website.

The "Dare to Reuse" Art Contest and Exhibit is sponsored by The City of San Diego Environmental Services Department, The San Diego County of Education, The New Children¹s Museum, and WAXIE Sanitary Supply. The contest is open to public and private schools in the City of San Diego in Grades 4-12. Entries are being considered for next year¹s contest and the deadline is March 22, 2013. For more information, contact Janice Duvall at the San Diego County of Education and or the City of San Diego website.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cherokee Point Elementary Moves Closer to Having Onsite Skate Park

Working on getting a skate park By San Diego’s guidelines City Heights is 100 acres short of park space. That number is in stark contrast to Health Equity by Design’s report that said, “Within seven square miles of City Heights, there are nearly 60 fast food restaurants, 40 convenience stores and 120 liquor vendors.” Residents want a skatepark and more safe places to exercise. On December 6 they came together in a rally sponsored by Mid-City CAN Youth Council and Cherokee Point Elementary School. Read more from Mid-City CAN»

Friday, December 14, 2012

Statement of San Diego Unified Superintendent Bill Kowba to Parents on Connecticut School Tragedy

The following was emailed to parents/guardians in the San Diego Unified School District.

The tragic and senseless shooting today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has shocked and saddened all of us. We join in the national outpouring of grief and offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims. No words can express our feelings about this horrific tragedy.

The safety of the children who attend schools is always the highest priority of every employee at every school in our country. But sadly, we live in a world where senseless acts of violence occur all too frequently. Today¹s shooting transcends our ability to understand how anyone could commit such an act on innocent children, teachers and caretakers.

All San Diego Unified schools have safety plans that cover all contingencies. We are continually reviewing those plans and training our staff to ensure the safety of our students. We also have the expertise of our own school police department who monitor the safety of our school campuses. Our school police and our school staff will have a heightened awareness of security issues during this time.

Our school counselors and the crisis response team will be available to our Principals to provide guidance during the coming days to support the emotional needs of our students. Counseling professionals recommend that parents encourage their children to talk about their thoughts and feelings related to this incident and to reassure children of their own health and safety. It is also recommended that parents limit children¹s television viewing, since this tragedy will receive extensive media coverage.

Unfortunately in our society, there are no absolute safe havens from senseless acts of violence. But our schools are safe environments where our students grow and learn each school day under the care and guidance of dedicated and caring teachers and school staff. I want to assure our parents and the community that we will continue to protect our students and give them a sense of safety and well-being at our schools as we all cope to understand the tragedy in Connecticut.

Winter Break Begins Monday for Year-Round Schools, Dec. 24 for Traditional Schools

Year-round schools in the San Diego Unified School District begin their four-week winter break this Monday, Dec. 17, while traditional-schedule schools and district offices are closed for their two-week break beginning Monday, Dec. 24.

Year-round schools have longer winter and spring breaks, as the school year extends to July 19. Traditional schedule schools end their year on June 11. Both schedules have the same number of days of instruction.

Schools on the year-round schedule are: Audubon, Baker, Balboa, Bethune, Birney, Boone, Burbank, Carson, Carver, Central, Chavez, Cherokee Point, Clark, Dewey, Edison, Emerson/Bandini, Ericson, Euclid, Farb, Fay, Garfield Elementary, Golden Hill, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardy, Horton, Ibarra, Jerabek, Johnson, Jones, Joyner, Kimbrough, Knox, Language Academy, Linda Vista, Logan, Marshall Elementary, Mason, Miller, Montgomery, Normal Heights, Paradise Hills, Penn, Perkins, Perry, Porter, Rosa Parks, Sequoia, Tierrasanta, Valencia Park, Walker, Webster, Wilson, Zamorano.

For more information on the district's calendar, go to the calendar page.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Two Veteran Law Enforcement Officers Join School Police

Henry Ramelli, Moises Arellano
For the first time in four years, San Diego School Police added two officers to its ranks.

Moises Arellano and Henry Ramelli took an oath of office and were sworn in by Chief of Police Reuben Littlejohn during an official ceremony attended by Superintendent Kowba and others. The ceremony culminated with the badge pinning, during which Ramelli’s badge was pinned on by his wife, a recently retired San Diego Sheriff’s Department lieutenant; Arellano’s badge was pinned on by his daughter.

Moises Arellano moved as a kid from Los Angeles to San Diego and attended Clairemont High School. Passionate about serving his community, Arellano began his career as a campus security assistant with the San Diego Unified School District. He then joined the San Diego County Probation Department in 2004, spending most of his time mentoring and working with troubled youth in detention settings. In 2007, he was hired by the Calexico Police Department as a patrol officer.

Henry Ramelli began his law enforcement career with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. He later transferred to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, where he recently retired after 25 years in the department. During his service, Ramelli worked detentions, uniform patrol, juvenile services, and on the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving team. He was also a platoon leader on the County’s Mobile Field Force, a multi-agency unit that responds to regional emergencies.

The San Diego Unified School District would like to congratulate and welcome Officers Arellano and Ramelli.

Operation School Bell Rings In the Season of Giving All Year

The Assistance League of Greater San Diego supports our schools and students throughout the school year through various programs. Operation School Bell is the signature program of the national and local nonprofit organization, providing new clothing to children in grades K-6 who are identified as in need by school personnel. Students from Valencia Park Elementary were the most recent recipients of Operation School Bell’s gift of new clothing, shoes and books.

A bus, funded through a donation from the Kiwanis Club of San Diego, transported 62 Valencia Park students, their principal and two staff members to the Assistance League Chapter House in Hillcrest.

They were greeted by League volunteers who helped the students with their “shopping”. Students left with a bag in their hands and a smile on their faces. In addition to smiling faces, Operation School Bell has resulted in increased regular attendance, academic performance and fewer discipline problems.

The district’s partnership with the Assistance League provides clothing and other supports to thousands of economically disadvantaged children in San Diego Unified each year.  Many of its members are retired San Diego Unified educators and administrators.

To learn more, go the Assistance League website or visit its Thrift Store located at 108 University Ave, San Diego (92103).

Barnard Elementary’s Science Night Gets SPAWAR Visit

Checking out an experiment

That's cold!

Building a robot, making ice cream and how rockets fly, along with other science topics were on the table as scientists from SPAWAR, the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, visited a recent science night at Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet School, which is located less than a mile from the research facility in Pt. Loma.

Dr. Randy Shimabukuro and Ana Borja, who are SPAWAR staff members and Barnard parents, were joined by Dr. Jim Rohr in the family science night event to stimulate the students' interest in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The scientists set up several experiment stations so kids could circulate and explore.

"This is the kind of great support that we get from not only our parents and our fine PTA, but our entire community," said Eddie Park, Barnard Principal. "We're hoping our students can use the Mandarin Chinese they learn here to be the leaders of tomorrow. STEM education helps them get that much closer to the kind of skills they need to compete in the world."

For more information, contact Bonny Sobiek at (619) 224-3306.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jones Elementary 5th Grade Teacher is ‘Hero’

Mr. Pierce Jones Elementary school teacher Tom Pierce has received the Teachers Are Heroes Award for November 2012 from the San Diego County Office of Education, Lincoln Financial Media and Azusa Pacific University.

Pierce has been a classroom teacher for a total of 23 years, with 15 years at Jones. He has taught grades three and four, but for the past several years he has taught fifth grade. A passionate and dedicated teacher, Jones holds high expectations for his students that are reflected in their test scores year after year.

"Mr. Pierce works tirelessly to build a strong learning community in his classroom where students learn to be responsible, respectful, and to take initiative," said Principal Rita Powell.

A panel of station and sponsor representatives read through all of the nominations and select 12 teachers each year to recognize. The program has been honoring teachers since 2001.
Pierce received a beautiful glass trophy, a $100 Gift Card from GTM Stores, a gift certificate for office supplies, and his entire class will enjoy a lunch party courtesy of Wendy's! At the conclusion of the school year, teachers, classes, and families of this year’s Teachers Are Heroes Award will gather for a complimentary fun day at LEGOLAND® California which includes a private presentation ceremony.

For more information, go to the program website.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Volunteer Part of Elementary School’s Family for Years

IN THE NEWS: ‘Mr. Flaco’ known as the eyes and ears of Central Elementary School for decades. Read more from UT San Diego»

Scripps Ranch High JROTC Wins Academic Bowl; Is Congratulated by Defense Secretary

Supt. Kowba and JROTC students Superintendent Bill Kowba has presented the Scripps Ranch High School Navy JROTC academic squad with a letter from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta congratulating the team on its victory in the Air Force JROTC Academic Bowl.

The cadets placed first in Air Force international competition against 200 teams from the U.S. and second in tri-service (Air Force, Navy/Marines, Army) competition among 2,000 high schools around the world.

Seniors Alwin Hui, Cameo Tsui and juniors Willilam Jiang and Stephanie Reid attended the event June 22-26 in Washington, D.C., with one of their instructors, Col. Robert M. Hogan and chaperone Areana Chen.

“I felt really happy and glad to get this far with our team. I was really proud to see how our team came together and really worked well, and developed teamwork throughout the competition,” said Hui.
The event is pressure-filled, asking questions on a wide-range of subjects and the cadets were able to meet fellow students from all over the nation and world. There were nine rounds through the two competitions.

“When I was very nervous, coping was joking around and having fun with all the cadets,” said Reid.

“I was pretty nervous. I [tried to] just forget about it on stage,” said Jiang.

The goal behind the 2012 Air Force JROTC Academic Bowl Championship was to prepare the students for an array of exams, taken not only in the rest of high school, but in college as well. The cadets learned how to cooperate with one another and the importance of determination, as they journeyed through the Academic Bowl and competed for first place. In the two rounds of online competing, the cadets were asked SAT and ACT-like questions to demonstrate their knowledge of math, science, JROTC curriculum, and English.

"Looking at the questions they asked, it was quite an accomplishment for those four young cadets,” said Hogan. Scripps Ranch High School’s JROTC was one out of 16 teams to progress into the finals. “We truly outshone all of the 15 high schools. There was no doubt in my mind that we would win the competition," he said.

For more information, contact Hogan at

 -- Contributed by Jessica Glynn, Scripps Ranch High Falcons newspaper

Monday, December 10, 2012

Juarez Elementary Weather Lesson Comes Direct from Navy

Navy visits Juarez Leading Chief Petty Officer David Hutchinson brought several of his Navy colleagues at North Island's Fleet Weather Center to give first graders at Juarez Elementary an extra special lesson in the weather.

Hutchinson talked about the equipment and procedures used to measuring air temperature, water temperature, wind velocity, pressure and humidity. All these measurements aid the captain and crew on Navy ships and carriers. The information is critical to many areas of the Navy, helping pilots plan missions, a ship's daily operations, and avoiding inclement weather while at sea. Students learned about devices such as weather balloons, anemometer, barometer, rocketsonde, bathythermograph, sling psychrometer, and the Kestrel 4000 handheld wind meter.

Weather is part of the first-grade curriculum in California. In addition to learning about measurements, students also find out about how the weather can affect their daily lives and the surrounding environment.

Juarez Elementary is also the host site for ESPN’s Weatherbug, a satellite device that provides weather data for nationally televised sports events that take place at Qualcomm Stadium, which is located right down the street from the school.

For more information, please contact Principal Marceline Marques at 858-496-8145 or

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lincoln High’s Coach David Dunn Named Chargers Week 13 “Coach of the Week”

Coach Dunn with Charger Girls Lauren and Rachel. Photo by Mike Nowak. Courtesy San Diego Chargers.
Lincoln High School’s Coach David Dunn was named the San Diego Chargers’ week 13 recipient of their Coach of the Week award in a ceremony at the school Nov. 30.

Coach Dunn, the Hornets' head football coach, was honored for his outstanding work with student athletes and was awarded $1,500  from the Chargers Community Foundation. The money will be used for Lincoln’s athletic department. Charger Girls Lauren and Rachel were there to make the presentation.

During week 13 of the Hornets’ 2012 season, Coach Dunn led an impressive 20-7 road victory over the previously undefeated Olympian High Eagles. The semi-finals win also advanced the Hornets to a Division 3 title game against Ramona in which Dunn and his team were able to come away with another remarkable 42-14 victory.

Coach Dunn with Charger Girls Lauren and Rachel. Photo by Mike Nowak. Courtesy San Diego Chargers.
The San Diego Chargers and the NFL have teamed up to honor local high school football coaches since 1998. One local high school football coach is chosen each week during the 2012 high school football season and awarded $1,500 for their school’s respective athletic departments. The coach is also highlighted on KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report.

At the end of the season, one outstanding coach is named Coach of the Year and is announced during the Prep Pigskin Report’s annual Silver Pigskin Gala show. The Coach of the Year is also awarded $2,500 for their school’s athletic department.
– Chris Earley, San Diego Chargers

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lindbergh Schweitzer Teacher Elected to Imperial Beach City Council

Lindbergh Schweitzer The second-grade students in room 20 at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary can now call their teacher either Mr. Patton or Mr. City Councilman. Bobby Patton is the newly elected City Councilmember for Imperial Beach.  Running for office proved to be a learning experience for himself and his students. Read more.
“My students definitely learned about the voting and campaigning process,” said Patton. "They learned it takes a lot of hard work, that you need to give 125 percent in all that you do, be fair and kind to everyone, and win or lose, it is a  great learning experience."
Patton will continue teaching at Lindbergh Schweitzer where he has been 20 years, all at Lindbergh Schweitzer, and is a perfect role model for his students. Not only does he teach about serving for the greater good in his classroom every day, he exemplifies the importance of serving one’s community. The students and staff at Lindbergh Schweitzer are very proud of his accomplishment.
For additional information contact Media Production Assistant Julie Harris at  or 858-496-8400.

Friday, December 7, 2012

New CFO Joins the District

Stanley Dobbs
Stanley Dobbs, school administrator and retired Navy commander, joins the district as Chief Financial Officer.

Prior to joining San Diego Unified, Dobbs served as assistant superintendent, business and chief finance, operations and technology officer at the 21,000-student Hayward Unified School District in Northern California.

As Hayward Unified’s CFO/COO/CTO, he advised the Superintendent and Board on all matters pertaining to district business, operations, technology and related services. His areas of oversight included accounting, finance, budgeting, payroll, operations, maintenance/grounds, custodial, purchasing, technology, transportation, child nutrition, strategic and risk management, warehousing, government relations, and facilities/construction management.

In addition, Dobbs led a community based information and education forum, the Fiscal Integrity and Transparency Advisory Group, and created the “Fiscal Solvency Solution Strategies” model that is being implemented successfully across California districts.

Dobbs’ introduction of new technology, policies, procedures and political networks, brought both national and state recognition to Hayward Unified, and propelled the district to a higher level of performance in student services. He also developed the C.H.A.N.G.E. (Comprehensive Hands-on Approach to Necessary Gains in Efficiency) methodology that has been deployed to restore confidence in public education within California and New Jersey schools.

Dobbs is a retired US Navy Commander who in his final assignment at Naval Air Force supported the global operations and business management of over 200,000 personnel, 3,800 aircraft, 11 aircraft carriers, 29 air stations and the execution of an annual budget of over $40 billion dollars. His management strategies in process improvements significantly increased mission readiness and resulted in an operating savings of over $1.8 billion in 18 months.

He has a distinguished list of business and military accolades. In July 2008, he was recognized in a Pentagon-sponsored ceremony as the Military Logistics / Business Officer of the Year rated as the top maritime officers. He also received the MIT Sloan School of Management, IDIQ Pioneer Award for Information and Data Quality Engineering.

Dobbs was stationed in Coronado while in the military. During that time, he was involved in various youth development and civic organizations, including the San Diego Urban League Diversity Advisory Council.

Spotlight on Success

Schools throughout San Diego Unified continue to make significant progress in the area of student achievement, supporting the district’s mission to make sure all students graduate with the skills, motivation, curiosity and resilience to succeed in their choice of college and career. A Board of Education workshop held Nov. 27 recognized and celebrated 13 schools representing all areas of the district for their increases in student achievement. Spotlighted schools demonstrated a combination of best practices, academic growth, steady progress over time, and closing achievement gaps.   

Many of the schools are described as "beating the odds."  Common threads across spotlighted schools include a strong, ongoing focus on quality teaching, personalization or "knowing" their students, differentiated intervention strategies, and a shift in school culture.  We are pleased to see these diverse schools setting the standard for our Quality Neighborhood School Initiative.  Congratulations to Cadman, Green, and Perry elementary schools; Challenger, Clark, Memorial Preparatory, and Pacific Beach middle schools; Kearny School of International Business, Morse, Point Loma, Scripps Ranch and Twain high schools; and Riley/New Dawn.  

To watch the school presentation videos and read the PowerPoint presentation, visit

District Employees Donate $6,000 to Children and Youth in Transition Program

Marty Stultz, Rebecca Benner,
Diane Harrelson, and Susan Levine.
San Diego Unified’s Community Service Association (CSA) recently donated $6,000 to the Children and Youth in Transition Program to assist the homeless students in the district this holiday season.
CSA selected the Children and Youth in Transition program when it learned that the student homeless population has risen over the last several years.
“Since the number of homeless students assisted by the department has been steadily increasing, these funds can provide additional benefits to those students at this time of year,” said CSA Chairperson Deborah Williams.
Through the Children and Youth in Transition program, the district works to ensure that each student has the tools and resources to be in school, stay in school, and succeed in school. The goal is to provide a stable, safe and loving school environment where every student, during the school day, has the opportunity to “just be a kid.”
“In order for students to succeed in school, they need have adequate clothing, nutritious food, school supplies and safe and reliable transportation,” said Program Manager Rebecca Benner. “For the children and teenagers in San Diego Unified, clothing, food, school supplies, and transportation are critical areas of need. These funds will be used to support activities and services for homeless students, and to purchase things like filled backpacks, warm winter clothing, and other necessities.”
During the last school year, the program served more than 6,000 San Diego Unified students who lacked a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. These children were temporarily living in shelters for the homeless; others were seeking refuge with their families in cars, parks or other emergency locations. In addition to assisting students and families experiencing homelessness, the program provides assistance to military families and students in foster care.
CSA awards grants once per year to charitable organizations and any excess funds are disbursed by way of “holiday donation” to assist people and families in need. This year, the organization’s board of directors unanimously voted to donate $6,000 to Children and Youth in Transition.
CSA is a non-profit association organized to solicit contributions from district employees for recognized charitable agencies in San Diego County. Traditionally, CSA donates funds to organizations that support educational, health, and human services, as well as arts, research projects, and literary projects.
The Children and Youth in Transition Department welcomes community partnerships in San Diego. When an individual or organization makes a donation for homeless children and youth enrolled in San Diego Unified School District, 100 percent of the donation goes to the children.
For more information about the Children and Youth in Transition program, contact Program Manager Rebecca Benner at 619-725-7652. For more information on CSA, please visit their website at

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Met Featured in ‘Leading Success’ Video

National Association of Secondary Schools Principals, College Board cite Met as a example of the best in education. Watch video»

District Staff Helps Community Give Thanks

Thanksgiving dinner More than 400 San Diego Unified students and their families were treated to a Thanksgiving dinner thanks to the district's Children and Youth in Transition, and Food Services departments, along with The New San Diego Children's Museum and Feeding America San Diego.

The third-annual event gave families a full turkey feast at the downtown museum, where they had the opportunity to think, play and create (the museum's theme) through participatory exhibitions, art-making activities, and artistic performances. Families took home family portraits commemorating their Thanksgiving Day and a bag of fresh fruits and vegetables from Feeding America San Diego.

"We are very happy to be collaborating with Feeding America San Diego by opening our space to so many families this Thanksgiving," said Julianne Markow, executive director and CEO of The New Children's Museum. Helping local children and families in need is one of The New Children's Museum¹s core goals."

The Children and Youth in Transition Department works with individual schools to identify those families in transition that could benefit from this event. Contributing supporters of the Thanksgiving meal were Ralph's and Food For Less. A big thank you to our partners and supporters for making this event a reality for our families.

For additional information contact Joanne Tucker, food services marketing coordinator at 858 627-7316 or

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Edison Elementary Gets Bikes from Bikes for Kids and San Diego Chargers

IN THE NEWS: The annual Bikes for Kids program, spearheaded by local philanthropist Bill Pollakov, was met by members of the San Diego Chargers at Edison Elementary School where they gave away bicycles to a very excited student body. Watch video.

Clairemont High Students Inpsired by Ex-NFL Player

Former NFL linebacker Chris Washington inspired sophomores at Clairemont High’s Academy of Business and Technology during the one of 15 motivational lectures scheduled this school year.

Washington, who played with Tampa Bay and Arizona, shared his challenges growing up and the obstacles he overcame to compete in the NFL. He inspired the students with his motivational speaking.

“Never give up," he told the students. "Never let anyone else tell you what you cannot do. Make a decision to pursue your passion and then go out and get it.”

The fifteen-topic lecture series motivates tenth graders to fulfill their potential. It's based on the late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, where each topic touches on another “brick” or success skill. Talks focus on topics such as cooperation, enthusiasm, self-control, initiative, team-spirit, poise, and more.

The Academy of Business and Technology is a “school within a school” at Clairemont High that focuses on business, computer, and communication skills. The three-year program provides college-prep core classes and business career-technical electives in grades 10-12. It provides students with a supportive, rigorous community where they can take ownership of their education and future; students acquire the technological, financial, and communicative skills necessary to succeed in a college and career environment. The academy is funded by a California Partnership Academy grant from the Department of Education.

For more information, contact the College Career and Technical Education Program at (858) 503-1758.

Mission Bay High, Ross Elementary Receive Grants from Chargers

Mission Bay High School will receive $75,000 for weight room improvements and Ross Elementary $4,000 for its physical education programs from the San Diego Chargers "Chargers Champions" program.

“This is our signature program,” said Chargers Executive Vice President - Chief Executive Officer A.G. Spanos. “And that’s for two reasons. San Diego is our home, and San Diego schools need our help. The true heroes are the teachers and administrators who put forward the effort for the students every day on a daily basis. We’re just happy and very appreciative to be in a position to support them.”

The National Football League team and its owners, the Spanos family, have been donating to schools for nearly 20 years.

At Mission Bay High, the weight-room improvements will benefit about 900 students in physical education classes, where they'll have the opportunity to perform cardio, weight and conditioning training. Students involved in Mission Bay's athletics teams will also be able to improve conditioning and lower their potential for injury with the new equipment.

“Receiving this award is a testament to the hard work and cooperation between the school and our parent organization, Friends of Pacific Beach Secondary Schools,” Mission Bay Principal Fred Hilgers told the Beach and Bay Press. “Without the diligence of Betsy Knight, this 8-year dream of revitalizing the school’s weight room would never have happened.”

Knight is a longtime supporter of Pacific Beach schools and the outgoing Ways and Means Director of the Friends of Pacific Beach Secondary Schools.

Ross Elementary in Clairemont also received a grant, along with schools in several other parts of San Diego County.

The Spanos family and the Chargers Community Foundation have been donating funds to educational institutions throughout San Diego County for nearly two decades. The Chargers Champions program, begun in 2000, has provided more than $4 million to assist schools, teachers and students. Each year the Chargers Champions School Grant Program allows public and private schools within San Diego County to apply for badly-needed funding for physical fitness, nutrition or athletic programs on their campuses. Since the beginning of the School Grant Program, 86 schools have received funding for projects as various as outdoor fitness trails, weight rooms, running tracks or even Sparks equipment.

For more information visit the Chargers website.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sustainable Technologies Now In Scripps Ranch High Curriculum

IN THE NEWS: New facility will help students learn about renewable resources, career paths. Watch video from CBS8»

New Patrick Henry Principal Prepared to Go The Distance

IN THE NEWS: Anyone doubting the determination of Patrick Henry High School’s new principal need look no further than last spring when Elizabeth “Listy” Gillingham was training for the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. She moved from DePortola Middle School. Read more from Mission Times Courier»

Monday, December 3, 2012

Garfield High Culinary Program’s Thanksgiving Program Celebrates 15 Successful Years

Culinary arts students at Garfield High had a much deserved Thanksgiving break after serving nearly 400 diners at this year’s Thanksgiving luncheon at The Prado restaurant in Balboa park. The students prepare the majority of the Thanksgiving meal at Garfield High as well as on-site in the Prado’s commercial kitchen.

“On this special day, the students are given the opportunity to work in a real banquet environment among some of the most talented chefs in the city," said Principal Jolee Pickett. "This luncheon is a dress rehearsal to show them their potential and give them real life skills that will take them far beyond graduation.”

This year, students were mentored by a pastry chef and prepared all the desserts for the event at Garfield. After transporting them all to the Prado, students were divided into “front of the house” and “heart of the house” staff for the event. Nationally known for his "Slim Chef" series, Chef Arlyn Hackett teaches the program at Garfield and supervises the entire Thanksgiving production.

The event benefits the Garfield High School Foundation and is generously supported by the Cohn Restaurant Group. The Culinary Arts and Events Center at Garfield was built in 2008 under the Proposition S and Proposition 1D bond programs. The center is a 3,200 square-foot building and adjacent concrete amphitheater/courtyard which includes a commercial-quality kitchen and serving line, a lecture area, two dining/conference rooms and a nearby organic garden where students learn how to grow and cook with produce from the garden.

For more information on the program, contact Principal Pickett at 619-525-2059.

Cabrillo, Dewey Elementary Schools Split Half-Million Dollar Grant

The Department of Defense has awarded a $503,000 grant to the San Diego Unified School District to fund language programs in Mandarin Chinese at Dewey Elementary School and German at Cabrillo Elementary. The schools will combine classroom instruction in the languages with cultural enrichment activities.

The program is designed to expand, strengthen and coordinate strategic foreign language programs for military dependent students. San Diego Unified serves students whose parents are stationed at Naval Station San Diego, Naval Base Point Loma and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The Department of Defense Education Activity Educational Partnership facilitated the grant review and selection process.

“This grant is going help give our kids a leg up in the global economy,” said Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego), who serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “With the innovative advancements in communication and technology, the world is getting smaller. If America’s future generations are going compete with countries that are rapidly catching up to the United States, they will need the skills and tools to do so.”

San Diego Unified's Operation World Language Project will provide military dependent students attending Cabrillo and Dewey an opportunity to learn German or Mandarin through a foreign language elementary school program that combines classroom instruction with cultural enrichment activities.

"We recognize that significant language gains are made at an early age and are proud to work with the San Diego Unified School District on this endeavor and to enhance K-12 language education,” said David Edwards, Program Manager, Defense Language and National Security Education Office.
There are more than a million school age children from military families, with the majority attending public schools throughout our nation. DoDEA is committed to supporting educational outcomes for all children of military families.

"The Defense Language and National Security Education Office and the DoD Education Activity are pleased to partner with the San Diego Unified School District in realizing the Strategic Foreign Languages Expansion Program, which is focused on improving strategic foreign language education in military-connected schools," said Dr. Michael Nugent, Director, Defense Language and National Security Education Office.

To be eligible, Local Education Agencies must have a military student population of at least five percent at the district level. Participating schools must have a military student population of at least 30 percent. The S-FLEP projects may be implemented at any grade level.

"We recognize that significant language gains are made at an early age and are proud to work with the San Diego Unified School District on this endeavor and to enhance K-12 language education,” said David Edwards, Program Manager, Defense Language and National Security Education Office.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Third Grade Visual, Performing Arts Programs Get $5,000 Grant

The Kinder Morgan Foundation has donated $5,000 to fund a portion of the Grade 3 Exploratory Visual Art Project (EVAP3) serving 18 district classrooms.

The program gives grade three students six weeks of basic visual art instruction, one hour per week, taught by trained visual art teaching artists.

"This is a wonderful grant that will help bring art to the next generation," said Dr. Karen Childress-Evans, Director of San Diego Unified's Visual and Performing Arts Programs.

Participating schools provide arts supplies and materials for the program. After six visual art lessons, grade three students will have not only experienced the basic elements of visual art, according to the California State Standards for Grade 3 Visual Art, but will also have learned important vocabulary, skills and understanding that will in turn support other content areas. Classroom teachers learn the lessons with the students so that they can feel comfortable teaching these basic lessons in subsequent years.

"Schools are selected on the basis of need, ability to provide the arts supplies, teacher interest and availability of funding," said Childress-Evans. "The San Diego Unified School District Visual and Performing Arts Department is honored to have been chosen by this prestigious group as one of the recipients."

The Kinder Morgan Foundation believes that today's youth are tomorrow's leaders. Their mission is to provide students with opportunities to learn and grow in a variety of areas including science, math, and the arts. Their goal is to help today's students become the engineers, educators and artists who will support our diverse communities for many years to come. They primarily fund programs that promote the academic and artistic interests of young people in the many cities and towns across North America where Kinder Morgan operates.

For more information about the Exploratory Visual Art Project for Third Grade, please contact Dr. Childress-Evans at

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Met, SCPA Students Get Nordstrom Scholarships

Mikayla Stern-Ellis
Mikayla Stern-Ellis of SCPA

Hannah Brown
Hannah Brown of the Met
Students at the San Diego Met High School and the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts are among the 80 recipients nationwide of a $10,000 college scholarship from the Nordstrom department store.

Hannah Brown of the Met and Mikayla Stern-Ellis of SCPA received notification of the scholarship by a personal visit by the company's San Diego Region Diversity Affairs Director, Anita Crandall. Scholarship winners demonstrate outstanding community involvement and scholastic achievement with an un-weighted cumulative GPA of 2.7. They also must also be eligible to attend a four year college or university in the United States during all years for which the scholarship is awarded.

Hannah has completed a number of academic internships while attending the San Diego Met High School, on the Mesa College campus. Currently, she is an intern at 3-D Robotics working with hobby drones. She has been accepted to LeTourneau University in Longview, Tx., where she plans to major in Electrical Engineering.

Mikayla’s goals are to become a scientist who works specifically with the Orangutan population in Borneo, after spending last summer in the island nation. Mikayla spent the summer of 2011 studying in the high school Oncology Program at UCSD. A student at SCPA since 6th grade, Mikayla will graduate from the 12th grade as a Drama Major in the Acting Program. She hopes to be attending either Columbia or Brown University in the fall of 2013.

Since 1994, Nordstrom has awarded college scholarships to hard-working high school students from across the country. In 2013, the company will again award 80 scholarships of $10,000. These scholarships are paid out in equal installments of $2,500 over four years to the college of the student¹s choice.