Saturday, June 29, 2013

Scripps Ranch High senior, teacher receive Gold Medallion awards

Kennedy Irwin

Scripps Ranch High School senior Kennedy Irwin earned Student of the Year honors and teacher Kimberly Coelho was named Educator of the Year at this year’s Gold Medallion Awards hosted by the San Diego County chapter of the California Restaurant Association.

The Gold Medallion Awards recognize the achievements of both restaurant and service provider members whose commitment to excellence makes a significant difference in the industry and communities they serve.

Irwin exemplifies each of the qualities the industry looked for in their student of the year: leadership, exemplary citizenship, academic excellence and a desire to work in the hospitality industry. She moved to San Diego from Virginia her senior year, choosing to enroll at Scripps Ranch High specifically for the Culinary Arts & Management class. She was a member of the student Pro Start Culinary team for 2013 and also competed in the Teen Iron Chef competition in February 2013.

“The culinary arts and management class has not only trained me in a new skill,” Kennedy said, “but has changed my outlook on food and the food industry in general.”

That new outlook on the industry has prompted her to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America in hopes of one day working as a pastry chef.

Irwin’s Culinary Arts & Management teacher Kimberly Coelho was also honored at the event as Educator of the Year.

Kimberly Coelho
Coelho leads a program at Scripps Ranch High that continues to produce college-bound students, future industry leaders and has consistently finished at the top at the state ProStart competition. The program is constantly improving and impressing as a result of her expertise and efforts.

“A key ingredient of the program’s success is the classroom instructor,” said Angela Croce, program manager for the district’s College, Career and Technical Education Culinary Arts program. “Kimberly is a great role model for students and fellow teachers. She is willing to go above and beyond, come in on weekends and work extra hours to ensure the students reach their full potential.”

As part of Coelho’s award, she traveled to Chicago to meet with fellow educators of the year from various states for professional development and attended the National Restaurant Association trade show, events and mixers hosted by the group’s Educational Foundation.

Each year, the San Diego County chapter of the California Restaurant Association hosts the Gold Medallion Awards. More than 1,200 people attended the gala and auction, raising more than $160,000, a portion of which will be donated to pay for food service equipment, supplies and mentoring for the Culinary Arts programs at Morse, San Diego, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Madison and Garfield high schools.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Honor Theater program features "Let The Eagle Fly"

This year’s 5th Annual VAPA Honor Theatre production featured “Let the Eagle Fly: The Story of Cesar Chavez," John Reeger, music, and Julie Shannon, lyrics. This epic production was directed by William Virchis, director of the Teatro Mascara Magica.

More than 30 students participated as actors, singers, lighting and sound techs, and production staff including students from Lincoln High School’s theatre department under the direction of Maria Christodoulou. Patrick Garcia, VAPA resource theatre teacher, collaborated closely with Lincoln High School, Southwestern College, equity actors from Teatro Mascara Magica, professional musicians, Cygnet Theatre, San Diego Stage and Lighting, SDSU, the Latino Chicano Coalition, Jose’s Restaurante Mexicano, San Diego Unified's Department of Race, Human, Relations and Advocacy, and many generous donors and partners.

Participating schools in this year’s production included: Lincoln, Clairemont, La Jolla and Morse high schools; the San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), and the Creative Performing and Media Arts Middle School.

This powerful new musical told the inspiring story of how an unassuming ex-farmworker with an eighth grade education challenged and overcame one of California’s most powerful industries.

"It was a life-changing experience for all who participated in the production," said Dr. Karen Childress-Evans, Director of the district's Visual and Performing Arts Program (VAPA). "A special thank you to the SDUSD Board of Education for keeping a vital Central Office VAPA Department so that we can continue to offer these exceptional experiences to our students."

For more information or to donate to next year’s production, please contact Patrick Garcia at

Superintendent Kowba says farewell to San Diego Unified

San Diego Unified Team,

In Navy terms, the voyage is over. Today, I complete my tenure as the Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District. Like any Navy deployment, I have mixed emotions about the end of the journey. I will miss the wonderful call to serve children and the singular collaboration with a committed Board, a dedicated professional staff, hard-working students, and supportive parents. But it is time for me to move to another passage of life. I have stood the watch and been relieved.

We have been through so much together since my Board appointment as the interim Superintendent in September 2009. No one could have predicted that the deep and prolonged recession of the past four years would be the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, a time of great uncertainty and turmoil in public education. It is testimony to your collective mettle, resiliency, and fortitude that the team has steered an unwavering course of academic excellence in these darkest moments. We lost millions of dollars in funding and lost several hundred colleagues along the way, but we never lost our sense of purpose and devotion to the core mission of educating the children of San Diego!

I leave both proud and humbled by all that you have accomplished despite navigating in such an austere and demanding environment. You have unequivocally demonstrated that public schools in an urban setting can and do succeed in achieving quality teaching and learning. All of you – Trustees, central office and campus personnel, classified and certificated staff, students, and parents – have been integral in advancing public education. Reflect with great satisfaction on the following, a snapshot of your accomplishments:
  • The development of the quality neighborhood school vision
  • Five-year highs in attendance
  • Continuously improving standardized tests
  • Steady closure of the achievement gap
  • The second highest graduation rate among California’s large urban school districts
  • The lowest drop-out rate among California’s largest urban school districts
  • A district API over 800
  • A national model for classroom information technology with i21
  • An award-winning visual and performing arts program
  • Two multi-billion dollar construction bonds
  • Broad Prize Finalist!
Hard work and solid teaming have moved us through rough seas. There are still uncharted waters ahead. We need to stabilize our resource base while advancing our quality neighborhood strategy, expanding the A-G framework, implementing the common core standards, and much more. The next voyage will be as exciting as the last one. With all hands on deck under the visionary leadership of Superintendent Marten, you make great headway and further elevate public education in San Diego.

In closing, thanks for all that you have done for me, our district, and most importantly, our children in the last four years. You have all been terrific shipmates. Best wishes, fair winds, and following seas!

With Deepest Appreciation,

Bill Kowba,
San Diego Unified School District

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Graduates receive college scholarships from San Diego Air & Space Museum and Convair Alumni Association

Source: San Diego Air and Space Museum

The San Diego Air and Space Museum's mission statement is to inspire young people to tackle the challenges of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics academic disciplines and to make-a-difference in the world through an innovative, adventurous spirit. To further this goal, the museum and Convair Alumni Association have selected 13 students in the San Diego region to receive scholarships. The scholarships are given annually on behalf of three Museum-administered scholarship funds: Bill Gibbs, R.A. "Ken" Rearwin and the Convair Alumni Association. To-date, 245 talented San Diego students have been awarded $672,000.

“I'm very proud there are many students studying math and science," said Donna Lilly, president of the Endowment Board at the Museum. "The U.S. really needs to keep up with the global market for math and science in the field of technology." "Every year we interview so many outstanding students," said Charles Pinney, member of the Endowment Board. "Their accomplishments are unbelievable."

Museum President Jim Kidrick commented, "These scholarship programs exemplify our intent to aid deserving students wanting to advance their education - our entire mission is really all about inspiring our next greatest generations to excel in their lives."

San Diego Unified School District graduates received the following scholarships.

Convair Alumni Association Endowment Scholars, 2013

  • Tessa Adler, High School: Point Loma High School; Field of Study: Chemical Engineer (will attend Yale)
  • Dana Christensen, High School: Clairemont High School; Field of Study: Social Sciences (will attend UCLA)
Each of the scholars submitted an extensive application listing academic achievement, extracurricular and/or community service activities, teacher recommendations, and an essay. They then were interviewed by a panel of judges to determine the final winners
For more information please call (619) 234-8291 or visit

Jerabek Elementary School takes Music Memory Award

Jerabek Elementary School was named Music Memory Champion 2013 for earning perfect scores while competing against more than 10,000 musicians in 16 schools from around the county in the Annual Hunter Family Music Memory program at the Coronado Performing Arts Center.

Students in grades 3-4 and 5-6 from San Diego Unified, Del Mar, National City and some private schools, under the guidance of their music teachers, learned 16 pieces of classical music throughout the school year as part of the Music Memory Program. The May 21 event, sponsored by San Diego Winds, featured a 21st century version of the old "Name That Tune" TV show as teams from elementary schools competed to see who could identify snippets of songs played by a live orchestra.

Teams of five finalists (grades 3-4 and 5-6) from each site were selected to compete in the Music Bee.

The live orchestra, comprised of students from the San Diego Unified School District Honor Orchestra and the SDSU Symphony, was conducted by Philip Espee. The orchestra played random excerpts from the 16 pieces while the teams identified the name of each selection and its composer.

Many of the schools bused students to the event to cheer for their peers, making it a very exciting event for all who attended as well as for the participants. Congratulations to this year’s San Diego Unified elementary school medalists:

  • Grades 3-4
    • Gold: Doyle, Jerabek, E.B. Scripps.
    • Silver: Torrey Pines Whitman.
    • Bronze: Crown Point, Golden Hill, La Jolla.
  • Grades 5-6
    • Gold: Crown Point, Jerabek, Whitman
    • Silver: E.B. Scripps, Golden Hill, Torrey Pines
    • Bronze: La Jolla 
Thanks go out to music teachers Debbie Burton, Julie Greathouse, Dr. Linda Lundgren, Margie Orem, Virginia Simpson, Becca Tang, and Tom Waczek for their excellent work.
If you would like to know how your school can participate in this program next year, contact Kyoko Miura in the VAPA Office.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Intense testing part of life at IB school

For many students, the month of May means that summertime is approaching. For more than 200 juniors and seniors enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program at Mission Bay High School, it means test time.

Since May 2006, Mission Bay High has been offering hundreds of hard-working students the opportunity to better prepare themselves for the challenges of the outside world with the IB Diploma Program. The program allows them to engage in rigorous, college-level courses in a variety of subjects, from more advanced versions of English and Mathematics to classes like Environmental Systems and Societies, and Business and Management.

A major part of the IB Program is a final assessment at the end of each course, which takes place in May. These exams are comparable to college final exams in difficulty, and are meant to challenge the students’ skills and prepare them for the rigors they will face at the next levels of their education. The testing itself spans two days for every subject, and students must complete essays in addition to the traditional examination.

The Mission Bay Cluster is one of only two clusters in San Diego Unified to offer IB programs on every possible level, thus making it one of the few K-12 IB Continuums. This includes the Primary Years Program (K-5), the Middle Years Program (6-8), and the Diploma Program (11-12). All of these are linked by the IB Learner Profile, which is what all students and staff strive to exemplify by being effective communicators, daring risk-takers, and open-minded thinkers.

As a show of support to the testers, students and staff from Kate Sessions Elementary, an IB Primary Years school, and Pacific Beach Middle School, a Middle Years Program school, worked together to create survival bags for IB students at Mission Bay High. The bags contained stationery items, candy, a joke from the students, and an inspirational quote. It is this tradition of caring and support that exemplifies the IB Learner Profile and the Mission Bay Cluster’s commitment to all of its students.
For more information on the IB Program at Mission Bay High, call 858-273-1313, ext. 285.

Children at the heart of district reorganization

After engaging in extensive dialogue with staff, community, parents, and diverse stakeholders, Superintendent Designate Cindy Marten designed an organizational structure to support our schools. She recently announced the reorganization plan that will go into effect on July 1 when she becomes superintendent.

By gathering insights and input over the past four months, she was able to create a systematic approach that puts the needs of children at the heart of the district with a strong focus on students, classrooms and learning. The plan encompasses what is needed to implement the Board of Education’s 2020 Vision for Quality Schools in Every Neighborhood. It is designed to ensure the district is a system that is effective, collaborative, and efficient in serving children, particularly with the implementation Quality School Indicator Number Four: Access to a Broad and Challenging Curriculum. See the new organization chart .

This new structure is designed in a way that will eliminate several leadership positions, while professional development is being insourced, saving the district nearly $400,000 in outside contracts.

Watch Marten's Board presentation.

Transportation Department honored by California Highway Patrol

San Diego Unified Transportation Department has attained two of the highest ratings from local California Highway Patrol, Motor Carrier Compliance Office to include: seven consecutive satisfactory terminal ratings; and four administrative reviews since March 18, 1991.

The biennial Inspection Terminal program established in the California Vehicle Code is to be conducted by the California Highway Patrol to review motor carrier safety compliance. This review requires all motor carriers operating large vehicles from terminals located in California to undergo routine inspections of each operational terminal.

Inspections include compliance with Vehicle Fleet services records, driving records and controlled substance abuse testing procedures. These Awards certify that this terminal has achieved consecutive satisfactory safety compliance ratings as indicated.

The California Highway Patrol congratulated the San Diego Unified terminal on this meritorious achievement and recognizes the commitment to highway safety demonstrated by the personnel responsible for the operation of this terminal.

For additional information contact Daniel Gilbreth, Manager, Transportation Operations at or Gene Robinson, Director, Transportation and Distribution Services

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What you can expect from Superintendent-designate Marten

Cindy Marten is on a mission to save public education in America. That’s her signature line, and she’s been repeating it all over San Diego during a four-month listening tour that ends July 1, when she takes office as superintendent of California’s second-largest school system. Fresh from the principal’s office, Marten strives to put a new emphasis on those school leaders in an attempt to improve schools and strengthen the teaching force.

Learn more about Superintendent-designate Cindy Marten and her plans for the district in this recent profile in UT San Diego. Read more.

Point Loma High's Adler wins two Don Diego college scholarships

Source: Don Diego Scholarship Foundation

Tessa Adler
Point Loma High School senior Tessa Evangeline Adler is first on many levels. She graduates first in her class of 427 with a 4.85 GPA, garnering first-place awards in essay contests and in other academic and extracurricular pursuits. She is bound to earn many firsts at Yale, where she plans to major in Chemical Engineering on her way to a career in which she plans to unleash “the power and potential of engineering to promote peace and well-being across the globe.” And she will attend Yale on a Don Diego Scholarship Foundation $5,000 Fair Exhibitor scholarship augmented by the very first Don Diego Spanjian Family Foundation $5,000 scholarship awarded to the ‘best of the best’ of the four 2013 recipients.

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation is the nonprofit arm of the San Diego County Fair. The Spanjian Family Foundation scholarship honors Don Diego founder Robert Spanjian, who has served as Secretary-Treasurer since the Foundation’s inception in 1986.

Tessa and the other three 2013 scholarship recipients were recognized at the Don Diego Steve Miller Band Dinner and Concert Gala on June 15, 2013 at the Fair.

The news of the total $10,000 Don Diego award excited Tessa. She says, “Yale tuition is $60,000 per year, more than my family can afford. Yale is not offering me any aid. I save my earnings from working as assistant teacher at the Creative Dance Theatre, and I will hold a job at Yale as a research assistant. Nevertheless, my parents told me to anticipate taking out up to $100,000 in student loans over my four years.”

Tessa, a bright and lithe spirit, is a longtime Fair participant. She relates, “I’m so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity for 15 years – since I was three! – to perform with Creative Dance Theatre and be part of the Fair’s tradition of spreading the San Diego sunshine.”

Tessa’s accumulation of volunteerism is diverse and immense, including Headstart, Habitat for Humanity, St. Vincent de Paul’s Homeless Shelter and San Diego River Watch. She has taken the initiative to find innovative ways to serve. She says, “Last summer, I wanted to make a difference internationally and also become fluent in Spanish, so I spent a month as an intern in Buenos Aires volunteering with orphaned children and the elderly. My first-hand view of the suffering experienced by people in poverty deeply affected me. I want to use my scientific research to benefit people in developing countries.”

At Yale, Tessa plans to major in Chemical Engineering (while learning Swahili and serving with Engineers Without Borders in Kenya) with an international focus. She believes, “Engineers stand at the intersection of science, technology and people.”

AP teacher Patrick McElhaney reports, “Tessa Adler is one of the top five students with whom I have worked during my 18-year career working with gifted students.”

Robert Spanjian says he is delighted to see the first Spanjian scholarship go to a person of Tessa’s high caliber. He says, “As a student and as a human being, Tessa is extraordinary. She sets a very high bar for future Spanjian recipients. My fellow Board members and I know Tessa will accomplish great things; for herself and for others.”

Tessa says she is still absorbing the reality of the combined $10,000 award.“The Fair is so much a part of my life. So is dance. I never dreamed that these two things would come together for me and lead not to one but two scholarships. The money makes a huge difference. I appreciate Don Diego’s confidence in me.”

For more information on the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation, visit their website. 

$800,000 in art supplies donated by law firm, charity

Early Childhood Resources, LLC, and Price Charities have helped secure more than $800,000 of educational supplies, materials and equipment for San Diego Unified School District arts program.
Paint brushes Materials were delivered to schools throughout the Spring from seven shipments of educational goods donated through the district's Visual and Performing Arts Department.

Donated items included scissors, art supplies, easels, chairs, tables, and racks. Seven truck loads of items contained 30 pallets of goods to be distributed throughout the District, focusing on elementary sites and arts programs.

"So far this generous donation has put additional resources in the hands of our teachers whose funding for their growing programs has been slashed in previous years," said Dr. Karen Childress-Evans, Director of Visual and Performing Arts Programs. "To many teachers these donated items could not have come at a better time. Thank you again to ECR and Price Charities for supporting San Diego Unified students."

For more information on the programs, see the VAPA website.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Principal, Arts Director honored by state music educators

Cadman Elementary School Principal Elizabeth Ballard and Dr. Karen Childress-Evans, Director of the Visual and Performing Arts program at San Diego Unified, have been honored by the Southern Border Section of the California Music Educators Association.

Receiving award. Ballard received the 2013 Elementary Administrator of the Year Award for her "outstanding support of music education in San Diego County." According to the Association, she works collaboratively at her school to provide each student with a diverse education in a safe, supportive environment that promotes self-discipline, motivation and excellence in learning through the arts.

Ballard was also lauded for creating a team of teachers and staff at Cadman that is "dedicated to creating a challenging and supportive environment which promotes academic excellence and social competence for students to become confident, successful, and contributing members of our global society."

"Music and the arts have contributed greatly to student success at her school where student standardized test scores jumped over 80 points in one year due in a great part to integrating music into the curriculum," said Dr. Childress-Evans, who supervises visual and performing arts programs across the district. "Congratulations to Elizabeth Ballard for excellence in promoting music education to elementary students in San Diego County."
Dr. Childress-Evans
Dr. Childress-Evans received the prestigious 2013 Fortissimo Award from the Association, "for her outstanding leadership in music education in San Diego County," according to the association.

The Fortissimo Award is given to music advocates whose work to promote quality music education for all students has resulted in national, regional and local recognition. Dr. Childress-Evans represented San Diego Unified by accepting the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2013 Best Communities for Music Education in America Award. She is an advisor on the Board of CMEA-SBS, a professional musician and educator, and has worked to increase the number of students enrolled in music programs across the district over her 9-year tenure.

Throughout her multi-faceted career, Dr. Childress-Evans continues to be a strong advocate for quality arts instruction in our schools and continues to dedicate herself in collaboration with other arts advocates and educators to further arts education for all students.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kearny Business students win writing contest

Contest winners Jack Woodville London, a distant relation of the famed author Jack London, hosted a writing contest on behalf of the American Authors Association. At the conclusion of 26 blog entries on writing advice, Mr. London invited writers to submit a piece between 1,000 and 1,500 words incorporating recommendations from the blog entries and two specific sentences.

Three winners came from the Kearny High School of International Business: Grand Prize, Sarah Tran; First Runner Up, Kayla Her; and Second Runner Up, Angel Solorzano.

"American Authors Association believes regardless of how stories are transmitted in future there is always going to be a need for writers. We believe in fostering the creative talents of today's youth," said Maria Edwards, American Authors Association president. "Whenever possible, we bring authors to schools to discuss the writing process, and get students excited about writing and reading."

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Fun Café kicks off summer lunch service with barbeque

More than 2,000 people recently gathered at Skyline Hills Community Park to enjoy a barbeque and festival to kick off the Summer Fun Café Program.

This is the 10th year that San Diego Unified has partnered with the City of San Diego Department of Park and Recreation to provide meals and snacks during the summer at recreation centers in low-income neighborhoods.

In addition to the 28 recreation centers, there are 13 other community and military sites and 24 schools where any child can enjoy a summer meal. This is the first year that a library, Logan Heights, will host a Summer Fun Café. The location will be open through August 30, and has already attracted more than 65 children per day since it opened.

For a complete listing of Summer Fun Café sites go to or call the 211 San Diego Info Line.

In addition to the barbeque, the event offered a variety of games and crafts for kids, resources for parents and a special visit from the program's mascot, the Power Panther, who shared his motto, "Eat Smart. Play Hard" with all the kids.

Network for a Healthy California organized the nutrition decathlon, which included games like watermelon weightlifting, string bean jump rope and cucumber javelin. Children who completed all 10 stations received a prize.

Another big draw for kids was the staff and vehicles from The San Diego Police Department, the San Diego Unified School District Police Department and the San Diego Fire Department.

The resource fair with over 40 community partners offered a wide variety of community resources to parents and children. The San Ysidro Health Clinic brought their new mobile clinic and offered health screenings. The San Diego Food Bank, Feeding America San Diego and Mother’s Nutritional Center all provided free fruits and vegetables to take home.

The Summer Fun Café is funded through the USDA’s Seamless Summer Feeding Option. No paperwork or income qualifications are required for children who participate. Last year, more than 307,000 meals and snacks were served to children through this program.

For more information about the Summer Fun Café contact Norma Johnson at or 858-627-7308.

Sequoia Elementary holds annual spelling bee

Top spellers at Sequoia Elementary School have more to be happy about than just good grades.

As part of an ongoing community partnership with S.W. Hackett Lodge No. 574, the top 10 spellers in grades 4-6 were invited to compete in the annual spelling bee at the S.W. Hackett Lodge. The Lodge’s Junior Warden passed out cash prizes to the first, second and third place finishers in the amounts of $75, $50 and $25, respectively.

Lodge No. 574 has hosted the event for more than 10 years, instilling in students the lesson that hard work and dedication to one’s studies can pay off.

The 2013 Sequoia Elementary Annual Spelling Bee winners are:

Fourth grade:
First place - BJ Lama
Second place – AJ Lama,
Third place – Manuel Garcia
Fifth grade:
First place – Travis Lee
Second place – Vikash Kalyani SankaraRamen,
Third place – Orlena Morris
Sixth grade: 
First place – Mia Pearson
Second place – James Yang,
Third place – Gerald Bandiuan 
For more information, contact Sequoia's Principal Ryan Kissel at 858-496-8240.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mayor Filner responds to request from Cherokee Point students

IN THE NEWS: Students from Cherokee Point Elementary School joined Mayor Bob Filner and his fiancé to help serve food at a homeless tent in downtown San Diego. The Mayor invited the students to the shelter after they approached him about reaching out to the city’s homeless. View the story on KUSI News.

Superintendent Kowba reflects on successes, challenges

IN THE NEWS: Superintendent Kowba reflects on his time at San Diego Unified in his final television interview with NBC 7. He says that despite budget challenges, the district never lost sight of its purpose -- academic excellence -- and says he’ll continue to be a district advocate long after he leaves his leadership post. “I live and die San Diego Unified,” Kowba said.

View the story at NBC 7 San Diego.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Living an American dream

IN THE NEWS: Aweyso Aweyso, an eighth-grader at Wilson Middle School knew no English when he moved here from Kenya eight years ago. Now he’s going on to high school with a 4.0 GPA, many friends and a dream to play professional soccer. The 15-year-old Aweyso explains to UT San Diego what it’s been like to adjust to life in San Diego and what could be done to make science more interesting at school. Read more from UT San Diego.

Madison High's Ian Clarkin is first-round pick of New York Yankees

IN THE NEWS: Warhawk baseball star Ian Clarkin is only San Diego Unified student selected in first Major League Baseball draft round of amateur talent. He becomes the first San Diego area high school player chosen in thefirst round since Mission Bay’s Matt Bush was selected No. 1 overall bythe San Diego Padres in 2004. Read more from UT San Diego»

Major League Baseball Video

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Officers respond to call for help from Special Olympics

Officers respond to Special Olympics call Officers from the San Diego Unified School District Police Officers participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting the Special Olympics of California.

“Our School Police Officers were honored to participate in the event and help raise awareness for Special Olympics,” said Michael Marquez, School Police Operations Lieutenant.
School Police participants in the May 28 event included Officers Luis Espinoza, John Ross, Cain Arrelano, Bashir Abdi, and Jenifer Gruner.

The officers joined more than 120 law enforcement agencies participating in the Torch Run, which began in Chula Vista on May 28 and will end in Los Angeles Saturday, June 8.

The southern leg route of the Law Enforcement Torch Run includes police officers, staff and law enforcement from the cities of San Diego, Oceanside, Escondido, Carlsbad and Orange County.

The goal of the Special Olympics Torch Run is to raise awareness and raise funds for community-based support programs that help benefit people with intellectual disabilities. San Diego County Special Olympics reaches athletes from Oceanside to San Ysidro. The money raised helps pay for free, year-round sports programs and competitions.

Monday, June 17, 2013

San Diego High business students head to New York

San Diego High students on wall street San Diego High School of Business seniors in the Academy of Finance completed their annual trip to New York City just days before their final presentation of their senior exhibition. 21 students and three teachers toured the city with a highlight being a visit to the National Academy Foundation to be honored as a Distinguished Academy. The students were asked to present information and experiences from their academy at San Diego High including their summer internships, job shadows and having business professionals as mentors.

Students fund-raise every year to be able to participate in the trip. Ping pong tournaments, rummage sales and omelet days at many downtown businesses were some of the key money makers this year. For some, this was their first plane ride. The students were especially excited about visiting Wall Street, The Empire State Building, the Federal Reserve and Times Square. They also saw the musical, Jersey Boys, on Broadway.

The National Academy Foundation is a network of career-themed academies introducing high school students to viable careers. For more than 30 years, the foundation has refined a model that provides young people access to industry-specific curricula, work-based learning experiences, and relationships with business professionals. Member academies focus on one of five career themes: finance, hospitality and tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences.

The Distinguished Academy designation is given to those that have exhibited exceptional fidelity to an educational model that prepares students for success in college and careers. The foundation's annual assessment measures an academy’s strengths and challenges in implementing results-driven model. The assessment is designed to help all academies assess their progress and increase their alignment to the foundation's standards.

For more information about the Academy of Finance at San Diego High School, please contact Kelly Granfield, CCTE Teacher, at

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Local theater educators honor SCPA principal, resource teacher, Pershing and Marshall programs

Mitzi Lizarraga
Principal Mitzi Lizarraga of the San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) has received the Bravissimo Award from the San Diego Theatre Educators Alliance.

At the same June 3 event, Patrick Garcia, VAPA Theatre Resource Teacher, received the Spirit of Bravissimo Star Award. Jeff Russell, formerly of Marshall Middle, and Terry Miller, formerly of Pershing Middle School, were honored with the Distinguished Theatre Program.

"Mitzi’s outstanding leadership has contributed to excellence in theater education for all her students by providing them with high quality opportunities to participate in multiple components of a theatrical production in order to create a comprehensive understanding of the essential elements each component provides," said Karen Childress-Evans, program manager for San Diego Unified's Visual and Performing Arts Program. "Students develop world views by exploring dramatic literature that is representative of various cultural perspectives and are challenged to view theater as a lightning rod for social change, replacing complacency with action and apathy with empathy."

The Bravissimo Awards are held yearly. The awards are decided and given by the San Diego Theatre Educators Alliance, a professional association of theatre teachers in San Diego County. Their mission statement: SDTEA exists to promote and advocate for quality theatre education throughout San Diego County and encourage educational excellence through an environment that embraces an atmosphere of diversity and fosters cooperation with other established arts organizations.

"Ms. Lizarraga was recognized for her consistent support of the theatre program at the San Diego SCPA and the greater community," said Russ Sperling, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the San Diego County Office of Education.

Bravissimo is their annual event that recognizes excellence in theatre education. Educational Awards include: Bravissimo Choice, Rookie of the Year, Administrator of the Year, and more. Special recognition is also given to their beloved retirees as they induct members into the SDTEA Hall of Fame. This gala event celebrates the educational theatre community and is a great way to wind down the school year.​

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Board Member charts course for 2013-14

IN THE NEWS: Board Member Richard Barrera talks about the challenges of keeping successes in 2013-14.

Friday, June 14, 2013

District honors 2012-13 retirees, Supt. Bill Kowba with special reception

It was a bittersweet afternoon at the Eugene Brucker Education Center courtyard.

Employees, family members and honorees gathered to celebrate the careers of the nearly 350 employees that are retiring from San Diego Unified this year -- and helped generations of San Diegans grow up. The reception also included a special tribute to Superintendent Bill Kowba, who is retiring after seven years with the district.

Supt. Kowba started the festivities Thursday, June 13, by thanking the retirees for their service.

“All of you proud professionals who are moving on – teachers, support staff, administrators  -- have made immeasurable contributions, and have given the priceless gift of time and talent to help our students achieve their best,” said Superintendent Kowba. “The success of our students is truly a reflection of your hard work and dedication. You have helped make San Diego a great place to work and learn.” 

A portion of the 2013 retirees that attended the ceremony pose with Supt. Kowba.
Retiring Supt. Kowba poses with some of the
other 2013 retirees.

Each retiree had the opportunity to introduce themselves, say how many years they had been with the district and share details of their journey. Some have served the district for just a few years, others more than 30. One retiree had been with the district for 42 years. Collectively, this year’s retirees have more than 8,000 years of experience and service.

Following the procession of retirees, Board President Dr. John Lee Evans began the special tribute to Superintendent Kowba by presenting him with a plaque on behalf of the Board of Education. Union and elected officials were also on-hand to say thank you and offer well-wishes to Supt. Kowba.

Speakers included incoming Superintendent Cindy Marten; San Diego Education Association President Bill Freeman; California School Employees Association local chapter President Sylvia Alvarez; San Diego Unified Police Officers Association President Jesus Montana; Lori Brown and Laura Hempton from the office of California Senator Joel Anderson; and Ralph Dimarucut from the office of California Senator Marty Block.

The final speaker of the night was Supt. Kowba, who thanked his colleagues and fellow retirees for the true team effort in making the district a great place for kids.

“There is something that we should be so proud of. We never lost our sense of purpose, our devotion to the core mission of educating the children of San Diego,” Kowba said. "I’m very proud and humbled that all of you have accomplished this, despite navigating in such an austere and demanding environment.

“Thank you all for what you’ve done to help me and help this district. Best of luck to all the retirees.”

The event was sponsored in part by Cox Communications.

Congratulations to the Class of 2013

Created with flickr slideshow.
The graduation walk was taken by 6,403 San Diegans this week, completing their high school careers as San Diego Unified School District campuses held their 2013 commencement exercises.
Cheering them on were thousands of family members and friends, as graduation venues -- ranging from high school stadiums to the Viejas Arena at San Diego State University -- were in many cases packed to capacity.

"It's tough enough to make it through high school, but the Class of 2013 faced a great number of challenges during the Great Recession," said Superintendent Bill Kowba. "That they persevered and are now entering society as a high school graduate is a tribute to their collective dedication and goals."

The Class of 2013 graduates at a time of transition in education. As recently as five years ago, classrooms had white boards and students primarily used books, paper and pencil as their tools of learning. Today, despite funding problems and thanks to bonds approved by San Diego voters, a majority of the students were in classrooms with "smart boards" tied into the teachers' computers, tablet computers and more up-to-date technology.

Some graduates are heading out of San Diego to prestigious colleges and universities around the nation -- including Harvard, Yale and Stanford -- while others will stay right here in San Diego at San Diego State University, UC San Diego and the other local four-year institutions. Students are also headed to community colleges, trade schools and directly to the workforce, confident that they'll always be a high school graduate.

Retired teachers give $1,500 scholarships to 13 students

San Diego retired teachers, members of the California Retired Teacher Association (CalRTA) Division 4, have awarded 13 local high school seniors $1,500.
Scholarship winners
High school seniors were judged on their academic achievement, school leadership, extra curricular activities, community/volunteer service, financial need, and work/home activities.

The 2013 scholarship recipients are: Miguel Anzelmetti, Jr., San Diego; Calvin Yao, University City; Brandon Khuu-Preuss, Irena Tang-Serra,Tyrone McCauley, Lincoln; Samantha Macam-Morse, Brenden Zounes, Point Loma; Thao Tran-Crawford, Amanda Robinson-Scripps, Diem Tran, Hoover; Jordyn Rine, Clairemont; and Ashleigh Bugos, Kearny.

The scholarship recipients have an average grade point of 3.90 and will be attending UCLA, UCSD, UC San Franicisco and UC Berkeley. Their diverse areas of study include bio-engineering, neurosciences, chemistry, psychology, and teaching.

CalRTA is proud of its scholarship program that recognizes deserving, hard-working, and intelligent young people.

For further information about CalRTA, contact Carol Patrick at or

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Free lunch for kids returns to schools, parks for summer

Summer Fun Cafe
San Diego kids can once again invite their parents to a big, free barbecue kickoff event that opens San Diego Unified School District’s Summer Fun Café program.

The barbecue is from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, 2013m at Skyline Hills Community Park, 8285 Skyline Dr. SD 92114. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 For many low-income children in California and across the nation, summer break is often far from ideal. It can mean limited access to summer learning/enrichment opportunities as well as discontinued access to the daily nutrition provided through schools.

Summer Fun Café bridges that gap and requires no paperwork or income qualifications to participate.
San Diego Unified School District Food Services Department partners with the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department, Military Child and Youth Programs, San Diego Public Library and several non-profit organizations to help fill this gap by providing free, healthy meals and physical activities in low- income neighborhoods when school is out. The Summer Fun Café is funded through the US Department of Agriculture’s “Seamless Summer Feeding Option” and will be at 65 locations: 28 city Park and Recreation Centers, 13 community and military sites, and 24 schools. For complete schedule and locations, go to and select Summer Fun Café or go to

This summer’s theme is Eat Smart/Play Hard, which is the motto of our mascot from the USDA, Power Panther™. The Power Panther stands for eating healthy food and being physically active every day.

“Let’s make this summer count,” said Gary Petill, San Diego Unified’s Food Services Director. “All children are invited to have lunch with us and join the fun and activities all summer long. Then, when they head back to school in the fall, they will be strong and ready to learn.”

The kickoff event on Tuesday, June 18, features a free BBQ lunch for all children and accompanying adults. This exceptional event for children and their families will also feature visits from the Power Panther, and the San Diego Padres Friar and Pad Squad, fun fruit and veggie games with lots of prizes, an inflatable jumper, crafts, music, bike drawings, health clinics, community information booths, cooking demonstrations and much more. And every family goes home with a bag of fruits and vegetables from the San Diego Food Bank or Feeding America San Diego.

Clairemont High interns are all business

Student interns from Clairemont High's Academy of Business and Technology just completed two months of real-world work experience and all found teamwork, communication, and adhering to deadlines at the heart of it.

“Having communication with my co-workers and supervisor is key to getting things done the right way”, said senior Selena Valdivia.
California Coast Credit Union intern
“Deadlines will always be a part of life and you will always have them,” said student Brandon Plascencia.
California Coast Credit Union, Manpower, Neighborhood House Association, City of San Diego, Rawdin-Baron Financial, Inc. and others were the locations for 27 interns from Clairemont.

Internships are an integral part of academy, a specialized program at Clairemont High. Each senior is required to participate in a field internship during the spring semester and students leave the classroom several times a week to work at a local business where they take on real-world tasks and projects under the direction of an industry supervisor. Back at school, the students work with their instructor to reinforc the skills and knowledge needed to complete internship projects.

The AOBT gives students a competitive advantage by preparing them for college and career, with an emphasis in business and finance. Academy students grow to be innovative, articulate, and socially engaged young adults who take initiative in their communities and personal endeavors.
For more information about AOBT, visit its website:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gage Elementary students run into record books

IN THE NEWS: 30,000 miles is most for school where individuals run as much as 300 miles in year. Watch story from Fox 5 San Diego»

Hoover High students help map their neighborhood

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) students at Hoover High are working with real-life clients to map the most used routes by students to walk and bike to school compared with those that get the most car traffic. Their findings will be used by KTU+A, a firm seeking to improve the corridors in City Heights in terms of storm water treatment and increasing bicycle and pedestrian activity in City Heights. The student maps are part of a project called City Heights Urban Greening that KTU+A is working on for the City of San Diego. GIS is one of the electives in Hoover High School’s Academy of Information Technology (AOIT).
 Compass Hoover AOIT students have been working with the City of San Diego on GIS projects for several years. In 2010, the students participated in a community service project to create a more walkable neighborhood. Part of the Health Equity by Design grant from Walk San Diego, the project encouraged walking in City Heights by making the community a safer, more enjoyable place. The students used GPS units to collect data for use on a GIS map. Impressed by the students’ work, organizers asked them to participate in a presentation on sidewalk improvements to the City Heights Redevelopment Project Area Committee.
The AOIT at Hoover was established in 2003. Students voluntarily join the academy through a recruitment process. Students enroll in elective courses in Web Architecture, Social Media Marketing, Technical Support Services, GIS, and Multimedia. Teachers plan together across the curriculum to work in teams and create technology driven projects which emphasize core content knowledge in a standards driven curriculum. This integrated approach to curriculum often uses project based learning strategies to motivate students through authenticity and relevancy.

A California Partnership Academy, AOIT is funded by a grant from the California Department of Education. The California Partnership Academy model is a three-year program (grades 10-12) structured as a school-within-a-school. Academies incorporate integrated academic and career technical education, business partnerships, mentoring, and internships.

Watch a KPBS story that focuses on this project. For more information about the Academy of Information Technology at Hoover High, contact Angie Kania at or use this link:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Superintendent-designate gives views to newspaper editors

Cindy Marten IN THE NEWS: In March, Central Elementary School Principal Cindy Marten got a huge promotion when the San Diego Unified school board announced its decision to name her to replace departing Superintendent William Kowba effective July 1. Marten met recently with the U-T Editorial Board. Read interview»

Arts and Culture Festival displays an array of talent at Freese Elementary

The annual Spring Festival at Freese Arts and Culture Magnet School, held on May 24, 2013, was lively, colorful and festive. Students, teachers, parents and friends joined in the drumming and flag parade to kick off the event. Artwork from every student was displayed in the "art gallery". Artwork was inspired by a number of themes, including habitats, Native American culture, birds, hands, and more. Freese's Teaching artists led dance, drumming and puppetry performances/activities and the Freese ASB sponsored a Talent Show. Participants and spectators were "all smiles" during the gala event. Go to photos on Freese website»

Monday, June 10, 2013

Crawford High students develop app for neighborhood information

Inspired by a CNN report about a group that builds mobile-phone applications for government agencies, a group of Crawford High School students decided to try to replicate that model in their City Heights neighborhood. But they shifted the focus to community organizations.

Their first project was creating an app for Mid-City Community Advocacy Network (Mid-City CAN), so City Heights residents could stay up to date on events, news, social media and staff contacts.

The group of students, called Crawford High School Apps for Community, in Andrea Cascia’s College Career and Technical Education Web Architecture class, spent about six weeks creating the app.

Team member Arlene Flores, 16, described what she learned.

“I was able to experience what it was like to work with a client and work with a group to develop something,” Arlene said. “I also learned a lot about Mid-City CAN.”

Students created a mock-up of the app with design software. They programmed it with internet-coding langMid-City CAN App uage and other types of coding, including JavaScript.

They got to show off their finished work at the 2013 Office of College, Career and Technical Education Showcase, where dozens of San Diego Unified students demonstrated their projects. The Apps for Community team had cookies printed with an illustration of a mobile phone containing the Mid-City CAN and Crawford High School logos. Their booth also had signboards explaining some of the background for their project.

The group chose to create an app for Mid-City CAN because they felt a connection to its work.

“I heard about what they do -- they help kids keep off the street and create skate parks and other community-related things,” Steven Ly, 16, said. “I wanted to get involved and help spread the word.”

Other team members included Phuc Nguyen, 16, Kevin Turcios, 17 and Juan Munguia-Lara, 18.

The group’s teacher was pleased by the final product.

“The app will help Mid-City CAN reach its youth audience,” Cascia said. “It is motivating for students to see mobile technology used to do good in their community.”

Steven was the main app developer. He took several online classes to help him develop the app.

“I got to use what I learned online and put it in an app,” he said. “I was the only one in the class that was coding at the moment.”

To download the app, use the QR code in the photo. For more information on the program, contact Cascia at

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cubberly Elementary event builds bridges to the future

Fifth-graders from Cubberley Juarez, Wegeforth and Jones elementary schools got a head start preparing for the workforce at the second annual Building Bridges to the Future, a career-ready event for elementary students. Approximately 175 kids explored fields ranging from engineering, robotics, the Coast Guard to the arts in directing chorale music.

A Coast Guard officer talks about her job. “It’s never too early to begin thinking about your future," Cubberley Principal Rosemary Cruz told the students. "Begin now so that your learning has meaning and purpose,”

Honored guest speaker, Supt. Bill Kowba explained to students that before joining the school district and being appointed superintendent, he had a long career in the military. Supt. Kowba also explained that one may be in a career for many years and eventually choose a different path later on.

The event featured six presentations from speakers like Shalimar Oliver, an animal control officer for the San Diego County Department of Animal Services, and San Diego Sports Hall of Fame member Willie Buchanon, a former NFL player for the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers. Chemist and Cubberley parent, Brad Savall, from Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC, inspired a student to proclaim his career aspirations.

"I learned so much about science today,” said fifth-grader Alejandro Sanchez. “I want to build new atom structures and molecules and now I know I want to be an engineer, scientist, or chemist when I grow up.”

Presenters encouraged the students to set goals and pursue professions they would love, even if they did not have a particular career in mind already.

The event was organized for Serra Mesa neighborhood schools by Cubberley counselor, Molly Williams and 4th/5th grade teacher, Steffanie Zambrano. For more information please contact Mrs. Williams at

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Green Elementary students run their way to $33k

Green Elementary School's students have run their way to $33,481.11 in donations from the school's supporters during the PTA's annual Jog-A-Thon.

Running Green students "This is a fantastic amount of support from the PTA and our school community," said Principal Bruce Ferguson. "And we have to congratulate the kids and our staff, who did the running."

Green, an academic and athletic themed school in the San Carlos neighborhood, receives support from the PTA for the school's art and music program, as well as hosting events during the year. The Jog-A-Thon is one of the signature events during the school year and was held in April. The traditional Jog-A-Thon fundraiser collects pledges for how far students run.

"It was a voluntary event where all fundraising was done after school and the running was coordinated with Green’s physical education department to be part of their curriculum," said Ferguson. "This year, in addition to every student participating, teachers, local fireman, and parents also joined in."

For more information, check out the school's website or contact Principal Ferguson at

Friday, June 7, 2013

Jackie Robinson YMCA scholarships go to 11 District students

The Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, located in the Mountain View neighborhood less than a mile from Lincoln High School, has provided eleven San Diego Unified students with $1,000 scholarships.

The Jackie Robinson Tribute and Scholarship was established to honor the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. According to the organization's website, "since the first event in 1997, the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA has awarded over $100,000 to more than 150 students in Southeastern San Diego to help them pursue their dreams of higher education."

Receiving scholarships are: Jessica Aguilar, Limna Lio Hernandez, Natalia Shaw, Point Loma; Radhiya Bryant, Kristoff Liilliard, High Tech High International Charter; Lydiette DeJesus, Carolina Leon, Javier Mendez, Gompers Prep Academy Charter; Malcolm Foster, San Diego Met; Gabriela Mejia, Patrick Henry; Mayra Rodriguez, Lincoln.

For more information, see the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA website.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

School districts gain flexibility in governor’s budget proposal

Big changes may be afoot for school districts if Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2013-14 budget comes to fruition. Read more: San Diego Community News Group - School districts gain flexibility in governor’s budget proposal

District employees' giving honored by Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Kroc Center honored San Diego Unified's employee charitable arm, the Community Services Association, as Partner In Education Donor of the Year at their dinner to recognize volunteers and donors.

Accepting the award The Community Services Association of San Diego Unified School District was founded in 1956 as the employee charitable association for classified and certificated employees. It supports educational, health and human services in San Diego County.

Since 1982, the association has provided more than $60,000 in charitable contributions to various Salvation Army Programs in San Diego. The Kroc Center Free Family Arts and Literacy Program has received $6,000 in grant funding from the association since 2004. The program includes monthly events that engage the whole family in arts and literacy, and each child leaves with a free book! The grant funding has provided 2,400 books to children in the community, building their home libraries and promoting a love for reading. For many, this was the first brand new book they have ever received.
Michele Fettig, CSA Secretary/Treasurer, accepted the award on behalf of the association's Board of Directors.

In other CSA news, the winning sites of the contest for the highest percentage increase in new CSA members this school year are: Balboa for elementary schools; Muirlands, middle schools; and SCPA, atypical schools.  Mental Health Resource Center is the winner in the central office category. Each school  received a check from CSA in the amount of $100 made payable to their ASB accounts; Mental Health Resource Center augmented its training budget with the $100.

For more information about CSA, please visit its website.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

La Jolla High welcomes Bird Rock council students

Bird Rock Elementary SchoolIN THE NEWS: La Jolla High School’s Associated Student Body members welcomed fellow student council members visiting from Bird Rock Elementary for a morning of shared experiences. Read more from the La Jolla Light»

'Successful strategies' for raising African-American student college tests cited

The successful strategies used by the San Diego Unified School District and five other urban school systems across the country to boost African-American student participation in and performance on Advanced Placement tests are detailed in a new report released today by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

The report, "The Road to Equity: Expanding AP Access and Success for African-American Students," details how the following school systems are increasing college readiness of African-American students by improving their AP passing rates quickly enough to gain on their white peers while increasing or keeping participation rates steady:
  • San Diego Unified School District
  • Cobb County School District, Ga.
  • Fulton County School System, Ga.
  • Garland Independent School District, Tx.
  • Jefferson County Public Schools, Ky.
  • Orange County Public Schools, Fla.
In looking to identify urban school districts with promising trends in student achievement and college-readiness, The Broad Foundation analyzed four years of AP exam participation and passing rates for students in the 75 districts whose demographics qualify them for consideration for the annual Broad Prize for Urban Education. Of the six examined, only San Diego Unified is one of the four finalists for the 2013 prize.

The foundation found that the districts were able to simultaneously raise performance on AP tests without losing ground on participation by employing many of the following practices and strategies:
  • Offer a rigorous curriculum beginning in elementary grades;
  • Expand access to gifted programs;
  • Analyze student results on precursors to college entrance exams -- like PSAT and EXPLORE -- to identify potential AP students and actively recruit them to enroll in AP courses;
  • Provide extra academic and social support to students;
  • Dramatically increase the number of AP course offerings;
  • Offer additional teacher training and professional development;
  • Instill confidence in students about their college-going potential;
  • Educate parents about the benefits of AP.
The College Board's Advanced Placement program is a benchmark for academic rigor and offers high school students the opportunity to earn college credit, thus saving students time and money. Enrollment in AP courses has tripled since 2000 as districts moved to increase course offerings and broaden student recruits in the challenging courses.

"AP is an important predictor of college success when teachers and students use AP's standards as an inspiration, developing through practice the most important academic skills needed in college," said Trevor Packer, the College Board's senior vice president for AP and instruction. "Data identify thousands of minority and low-income students who have the academic potential to succeed in Advanced Placement courses, but lack access or encouragement to pursue such opportunities. We celebrate the AP teachers and students of these six urban districts for their extraordinary accomplishments. Their successes show that with the right support systems and best practices, broader access to AP can provide a diversity of students with a stronger foundation for college and career success."

The report found that in nearly all of the 75 Broad Prize-eligible school districts, the gap in both AP passing rates and participation rates between African-American students and their white counterparts is significant.

"This report underscores the need for districts to actively work to increase access to and success on AP tests," said Rebecca Wolf DiBiase, managing director of programs for The Broad Foundation. "We are highlighting the practices in these six districts to demonstrate that improvement is possible. But progress needs to happen much faster and in all schools before we can truly ensure that all students have access to and the necessary preparation for success in college."

The Education Trust also released the findings today of new research that low-income and students of color do not have equal access to AP and International Baccalaureate programs. The report, "Finding America's Missing AP and IB Students," reveals that most national participation gaps could be eliminated if every school with an AP program focused on encouraging and enrolling its low-income and students of color in the college preparatory courses.

The $1 million Broad Prize, established in 2002, is the largest education award in the country given to school districts. The Broad Prize is awarded each year to honor urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among students from low-income families and students of color.

Founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a philanthropy that seeks to ensure that every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed. Bringing together top education experts and practitioners, the foundation funds system-wide programs and policies that strengthen public schools by creating environments that allow good teachers to do great work and enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive. For more information, visit, and updates are available on Facebook and Twitter @broadfoundation. For more information about The Broad Prize, visit