Saturday, November 30, 2013

Marines rewarded for Sandburg Elementary workout

At the table On the field
On the buffet On the buffet

Sandburg Elementary has a partnership with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11 from MCAS Miramar.
Each Friday Marines from MCAS Miramar come to work out with Sandburg’s fifth grade students and provide mentorship to selected students across all grade levels.
As a reward, the Sandburg community, on Nov. 22, provided a Thanksgiving dinner for the Marines that volunteer.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Garfield High hosts 16th annual Thanksgiving luncheon

More than 300 diners enjoyed a traditional feast prepared by Culinary Arts students from Garfield High School on Nov. 21. The 16th annual event, with support from the Cohn Restaurant Group and other community members, gives the students in Chef Arlyn Hackett's Culinary Arts classes a chance to work in a real event, with real customers.

Watch video from NBC 7»

Slideshow of event»

Created with flickr slideshow.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving greetings from Supt. Cindy Marten

Dear Families:

As we approach Thanksgiving, I wanted to take the opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the parents and community who support the students of San Diego Unified. I am grateful to stand beside you as your superintendent as we work together to create conditions in our classrooms and schools where all students graduate actively literate, participating, contributing members of society making a positive difference in the world.

Since the beginning of the school year I have had the opportunity to visit nearly 30 of our schools. I have been amazed and inspired by what I have seen and learned. Although there are challenges ahead as we focus on our Vision 2020 to create quality schools in every neighborhood, I have been heartened to see examples of our vision in action as I spend time in classrooms and on our campuses. I have watched principals support their teachers in collaboration and planning. I have witnessed quality teaching with purpose and meaning, incorporating the critical thinking necessary to shift to the new Common Core State Standards. I have observed students actively engaged as they take ownership of their learning. I have visited with custodians and food service staff who take pride in the services they provide to our children. I have listened to parents share their hopes and dreams for their children. So many people with various roles and responsibilities, coming together for a single purpose: teach in ways that connect to the brilliance of every child, every day. I am thankful for the hard work and heart work of our team in San Diego Unified.

It is clear to me that kindness matters more than ever before. As we prepare our students for the rigor of the Common Core State Standards, we must adhere to the idea that it is up to us to create a safe, inclusive and nurturing climate and culture in our schools. Our current accountability system ranks and values our schools based on the skills we can measure easily on a bubble in test. Human attributes such as kindness, tolerance, hope, perseverance, compassion, dedication, commitment and forgiveness are not part of the formula. Imagine if our API scores included measures of these attributes in our students? These skills are important not only in schools, but in all workplaces. Businesses hire employees who can collaborate, think critically, pay close attention and care for one another while doing work that matters. Businesses want people who can be thoughtful and kind even when they disagree and hold different opinions, feelings and points of view. Teaching our children these skills clearly is part of preparing them for their future success in career and life.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to our students. I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and restful Thanksgiving. Please take time to nurture yourself and to listen closely to the children who surround us and teach us.


Cindy Marten


Work Hard. Be Kind. Dream Big! No Excuses.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Board of Education salutes Chargers CEO and ‘Chargers Champions’ grants

The Board of Education has saluted the San Diego Chargers for their support of San Diego schools and accepted awards to four schools in 2013.

A.G. Spanos, Executive Vice President – Chief Executive Officer for the team, presented checks to officials from the four schools for the new programs: Nye Elementary, $30,000 for the Peaceful Playground Program; $40,000 weight room at Wangenheim Middle School for a new weight room; Muir k-12, $40,000 for the school's archery program; Clairemont High School, $75,000 for a new weight room and sand volleyball pit.

"On behalf of my family and the San Diego Chargers," said Spanos, "i would like to congratulate the winners and ... I would like to commend all the teachers and administrators who work so hard for our young people."

Dr. John Lee Evans, Board of Education President, saluted the team and the Spanos family for its consistent support of physical fitness and the health of San Diego children.

"This is a great, great honor and presentation," he said. "We can see the really specific things they are doing for our schools."

Since the program began in 2000, Chargers Champions has provided more than $1 million to assist schools, teachers and students in the San Diego Unified School District; across San Diego County, the team and family have donated more than $4 million to schools. 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.
Here is a list of school grants and uses.
  • 2012: Nye Elementary, peaceful playground and equipment; Wangenheim Middle, fitness room and equipment; John Muir School, archery range, Field Turf and equipment; Clairemont High fitness center, cardio and weight equipment.
  • 2011: Carson Elementary, grass field; North Park Elementary, physical education equipment; Mission Bay High, fitness, weight and cardio center.
  • 2010: Alcott Elementary, activity room equipment; Hoover High, fitness equipment grant; Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary, 16 spinners.
  • 2009: Bay Park Elementary, fitness area for visually impaired students; Horton Elementary, indoor fitness room equipment.
  • 2008: Cubberley Elementary, basketball courts; Kearny High Educational Complex, weight and fitness room; Washington Elementary, basketball/ball wall courts and fitness equipment.
  • 2007: Morse High, Active Healthy School Program; Patrick Henry High, wrestling and aerobics room matting; Taft Middle, HOP Sports Center.
  • 2006: Scripps Ranch High, field renovation; Mann Middle, fitness center; Hage Elementary, fitness equipment; Paradise Hills Elementary, outdoor fitness trail club.
  • 2005: Roosevelt Middle, indoor fitness lab; Carson Elementary, turf field project; Sunset View, Elementary, running track; Kieller Charter, fitness lab; Paradise Hills Elementary, 10-station fitness trail; North Park Elementary, Fitness Games.
  • 2004: Darnall Charter, 10-station outdoor fitness center; McKinley Elementary, 10-station outdoor fitness center; Bell Middle, 8-station multipurpose fitness room; Crawford High, weight and aerobics facility.a
  • 2003: Pacific Beach Middle, physical fitness room; Serra High, weight and aerobics room.

Juarez student contributes to book featuring 55 young authors

Lexy Torres, a fourth grade student at Juarez Elementary School in Mission Village, has had her story published in an anthology that includes stories from 54 other students across America.
Student Lexy and author Melissa

The story, about an injured starfish and the lessons she learns in recovery, is being published in"I Write" Short Stories by Kids for Kids, edited by Melissa M. Willilams, a Texas author and president of the non-profit READ3Zero. Lexy's story was the only one selected from a Southern California student.

"Lexy has a great imagination and when she is out somewhere, she always looks around to get ideas for stories and characters" said Michelle Hutchinson, the school's Library Assistant.

Lexy's story is about a starfish was injured and helped back to health by her friends. The starfish recovers, but having enjoyed the attention from her friends, tries to hide her good health. From there, life's lessons unfold.

This is the fourth year that author Melissa Williams has created "I Write."

“Encouraging not only students but parents, teachers, partners and businesses to inspire literacy is our goal with READ3Zero." she said. "The combination of literacy and creativity within the community is going to heavily influence the lives of young children to continue to learn outside of the classroom."
To learn more about READ3Zero and see the entire list of award recipients, visit

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lincoln High student co-hosts KUSI's Prep Pigskin Report

IN THE NEWS: Lincoln High's Danielle Nelson does highlights of local games on high school football show. Watch video»

Clairemont High’s Academy of Business selected as Lighthouse Academy

The Academy of Business at Clairemont High School received notification of being selected to represent the California partnership Academies as one of 15 California Partnership Academies Lighthouse Academy model programs.

The Academy of Business is an award-winning, grant-funded small learning community that focuses on the business and finance industry pathway. Founded in 2004, the Clairemont High program offers access to an array of unique educational activities and opportunities that are not typically part of a general high school education. The three-year program provides college-prepratory curriculum that incorporates business elective courses at each grade level. Partnerships with local companies and organizations also play an integral part in the Academy’s day-to-day.

Clairemont High students enter the Academy of Business in tenth grade and then stay together as a group, taking three to four periods of each school day in the program until they graduate. The academy teachers work together to create interdisciplinary, problem-based projects and industry-relevant experiences that build from year-to-year. Students say the academy is a “family environment” that “gives them a focus” and “encourages them to succeed.” The academy’s motto is "success is a choice."

The Academy of Business is part of the California Partnership Academies, a network of approximately 500 programs supported by competitive state grants in California’s public high schools. Begun in 1985, the California Partnership Academies are designed to prepare students for both college and career by relating academic subjects to a career field via a sequence of career-technical courses, linking students to the outside world and career paths of possible future interest. To accomplish this, academies form partnerships with employers in the selected career field, and two-and four-year colleges in the region.

Recent studies show that career academies are the most durable and best-tested component of high school reform strategy; they are highly effective in improving outcomes for students during and after high school. Though California Partnership Academies programs target students who are under-performing or economically disadvantaged, students enrolled in California Partnership Academies programs like the Academy of Business perform better than state averages in overall graduation rates, minority graduation rates, standardized tests, and university eligibility.

California Partnership Academies Lighthouse Academies are very important to the program for several reasons: they set the standard for correct implementation of the California Partnership Academies model, provide assistance to other Partnership Academies, and provide critical assistance to the California state California Partnership Academies team. This distinction reflects the quality, history, and understanding of the CPA model to which Academy of Business has dedicated itself.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

PowerSchool Parent Portal now accessible

The online PowerSchool Portal for parents and students is now active. The portal, which is linked to the district’s new student information system PowerSchool, is a powerful online tool for obtaining information about your child. You will be able to review your child’s class schedule, grades, progress reports, homework assignment scores and attendance from any computer that has internet accessibility, which means you can monitor your child’s progress at any time.

The portal application is a secure link that encrypts the data to and from the end user, so a username and password are necessary to allow access for only authorized users to the appropriate student record. Parents/guardians will have their own individual parent/guardian account, including username and password.

Please contact your child's school to learn when the portal will be available and to obtain a username and password.

To learn more about the PowerSchool Parent Portal, please view the following:

  • For details on setting up your account, please click on these instructions. English PDF | Spanish PDF | Tagalog PDF
  • For instructions on how to use the Parent Portal, please watch the following video (only accessible outside the district's network)

Monday, November 18, 2013

EB Scripps, Gage School Psychologist Honored

Jessica Coleman, school psychologist at Ellen Browning Scripps and Gage elementary schools, has been named Outstanding School Psychologist Region VII by the California Association of School Psychologists.

Jessica Coleman Coleman was saluted for her special education law, behavioral supports, interventions, consultation and collaboration and disability specific needs. The organization also noted that teachers are frequently in consultation and collaboration with her; seek her guidance; and use her as a constant, vigilant resource.

The California Association of School Psychologists recognizes the outstanding work of school psychologists through the Nadine M. Lambert Outstanding School Psychologist award. Only practicing school psychologists providing direct services to students, teachers, parents or community agencies are eligible for the award.

Coleman received her award Nov. 8 at the association's convention.

Toyota donation revs up transportation career programs

Transportation-industry students at Clairemont, Crawford, La Jolla, Madison and Mira Mesa high schools were greeted this school year with a sampling of new drive-train drop-ins (motor, transmission and drive-train components) donated by Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.
Working on a Toyota engine This donation will provide for practical instruction and support the broad and challenging curriculum standards for the programs by allowing students to work with a variety of engine types.

Mossy Automotive Group, which includes Toyota dealerships, works closely with San Diego Unified programs and helped facilitate the donation.
"We at Mossy Toyota and all of our Mossy dealerships in San Diego have a very strong commitment to our public education, especially San Diego Unified," said Dale Snow of Mossy Automotive Group. "We realize we have an enormous responsibility to our community and our students. We have committed to use all of our available resources to help improve the learning environment and provide the latest in educational materials and personnel support. Whether its internships, equipment donations, employee resources' we at Mossy stand by our schools and the bright future of our community." 
On hand for the dedication Nov. 6 were Rick Shinkle, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.; Richard Lester, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.; Snow of Mossy Automotive Group; and Larry Englebrecht, Carl Kingsbury, and Omar Sevilla, San Diego Unified automotive technology teachers.
Students in the transportation program have the opportunity to receive college credit for the majority of courses in the program from Miramar College. Having a variety of engine types available to students to study makes the course more reflective of the overall industry. Toyota plans to support student learning by providing master technicians as classroom speakers and mentors to enhance student achievement.
At the Clairemont High ceremony, students from four different schools teamed up with Toyota master technicians to provide demonstrations to the public with the new motors. Among the engines donated were hybrid types which attracted the most attention at the event.

Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., donated 34 new drive-train drop-ins (motor, transmission, and drive-train components) to six San Diego Unified School District transportation programs. Donated drive-train types included Camry (hybrid and non-hybrid), Lexus ES330, Lexus ES350 RAV4, Yaris, Lexus IS250, Lexus IS300, Lexus IS350 and 4Runner models.

San Diego Unified School District provides Career Technical Education to more than 28,000 students each day through the Office of College, Career and Technical Education. The transportation industry sector is designed to provide a foundation in transportation services for all industrial technology education students in California. There are eight focus areas that fall under the transportation sector, each with different career opportunities: on-road; off-road; stationary; rail; water/sea; air; space; and small engines and specialty equipment.
For more information on this College Career and Technical Education Program, contact the CCTE office at (858) 503-1758.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Cabrillo Elementary School mural has a Navy touch

A new mural on the campus of Cabrillo Elementary School in Pt. Loma is the work of students and a Navy volunteer, Petty Officer John Willman.

Petty Officer John Willman and the new mural The mural of iconic San Diego Bay sites -- sailboats, the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge, and downtown -- close by the campus. Students worked on the mural with Willman.

"Petty officer Willman is an exceptional volunteer who has been with Cabrillo for the last two years. Since his arrival at Cabrillo he has demonstrated a high degree of commitment and professionalism towards community service," said Principal Nestor Suarez. "As a muralist he has taken on the challenge of working with students to create artwork that was used to beautify the library wall with a mural depicting the life, nature, and culture on the bay of San Diego."

Suarez said Willman also works as a volunteer noon duty, math tutor and other duties around the campus. He is one of hundreds of Navy and Marine Corps personnel who volunteer time in San Diego schools.

Volunteer service is a big part of Vision 2020, San Diego Unified School District's roadmap to the future. According to the vision, "community involvement with active school volunteers and business partnerships adds to the success of students.

"Petty Officer Willman is an invaluable and respected member of our learning community and we are honored that he chose Cabrillo to further his community service," said Suarez.

Find out more about Cabrillo Elementary by calling Principal Suarez for a tour at (619) 223-7154.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kumeyaay Elementary gets grant from Jimmie Johnson Foundation, Lowe's Toolbox for Education

NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson's foundation has awarded Kumeyaay Elementary School in Tierrasanta a $45,799 to create an outdoor science classroom that will include a native plant habitat and a weather station.

Kumeyaay ElementaryThe 2013 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grants were awarded to schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson’s respective hometowns of Muskogee, Okla., El Cajon, Calif., and where they currently reside in Charlotte, N.C., and totaled $470,000.

The funded projects for 2013 range from resurfacing and rubberizing a track to outdoor learning centers. Several schools also received technology grants to purchase new computers.

"It builds a better tomorrow,” said Daniel Wheeler, a sixth-grade student from KIPP Charlotte, a 2012 grant recipient. “It means a lot because Mr. Johnson chose [to help] this school and not only has it taken an effect on our grades, but it has taken an effect on our hearts, too."

“When you hear from students like Daniel you realize how much the kids we support really appreciate the opportunity to learn,” said Johnson, who is currently atop the standings in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

“The fact that the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program can come together to impact the learning experience for these kids is very gratifying.”
More than $3.1 million has been contributed over the past four years through the Champions Grant program.

“Lowe’s is honored to continue to partner with Jimmie and Chandra Johnson to support the needs of local students and schools across the country,” said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe’s director of community relations. “These grants will help enhance critical educational opportunities and build a stronger foundation for thousands of children.”

To see a detailed list of the 2013 Champions Grant projects, please visit

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pt. Loma High band performance featured

IN THE NEWS: Pointer band is "Marching Scoreboard" on KUSI's Prep Pigskin Report. Watch video from KUSI»

Funds donated by district staff help USO feed military families

The Community Service Association of the San Diego Unified School District -- the district's employee-funded charity -- has donated $2,500 to the local USO to purchase additional tables for the free Tuesday night dinners for active military personnel and their families.

Presenting the check Growing demand for the Tuesday night dinners, has resulted in attendance exceeding the number of available tables and chairs, families often had to take their food to the downstairs portion of the center, sit at separate tables or wait for a vacant table.

The USO used the Community Service Association donation to purchase 20 folding tables and two table dollies on which they will be stored. During a five-year lifetime, the additional tables will accommodate more than 28,080 individuals per Tuesday night dinner.

USO operates the USO San Diego Downtown Center and the USO Neil Ash Airport Center and offers a variety of services, helping to provide a touch of home to military personnel and their families. Both centers receive more than 150,000 visits annually and offer a comfortable and friendly place to relax while off-duty or traveling and provide complimentary snacks and refreshments.

The Community Service Association 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.

For more information regarding USO visit its website at For more information on the Community Service Association please visit its website at

Thursday, November 14, 2013

There's no place like Holmes for holiday giving

Holmes ES Participating in the Salvation Army’s annual Holiday Food Drive has been a tradition at Holmes Elementary School for many years. The drive is sponsored and coordinated by the school’s Student Council. Last year’s food drive resulted in the donation of more than 2,260 food items, which equaled 4.5 items per student.

Aliex Kofoed from the Salvation Army's Citadel Corps recently stopped by the Clairemont neighborhood school to present a first place trophy for donating the most food items in last year's food drive. (Cadman Elementary School came in second.) 

Pictured with Aliex (center) are student council members Jack O'Donnell, Aiden Behr and Morgan Hancock, along with 4/5 teacher, Brandie Woodfill.

The Student Council is already prepping for this year's Holiday Food Drive.
For more information on how you can participate in the Holiday Food Drive or to host a Holiday Toy Drive for local children and families, go to

Board Vice President, Superintendent help "Race for the Cure"

Supt. Cindy Marten and Board of Education Vice President Kevin Beiser joined more than 12,000 people who participated in the Race for the Cure 5K run and walk held Nov. 3 in Balboa Park. The event raised more than $1.1 million for breast cancer health education, screenings and research.

The Race for the Cure supports the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization that raises significant funds and awareness for the breast cancer movement. The effectiveness of Komen San Diego’s mission is entirely dependent on our network of sponsors and volunteers. Money raised by Race participants helps expand access to lifesaving screening and treatment while providing funding for cutting-edge breast cancer research.

For the past twenty years, Komen San Diego has provided tens of thousands of low-income women access to critical breast cancer screening and treatment. Our 360-degree approach is making a difference, with breast cancer mortality rates down and five-year survival rates up.

Komen supports survivors by removing barriers to lifesaving care while also investing in cutting-edge research. Every major advance in global breast cancer research in the last quarter century has been touched by Komen for the Cure dollars.

Recycling is a way of life at San Diego Unified... and saves taxpayers money

Did you know the majority of waste generated in classrooms and even lunch courts is recyclable or can be turned into compost, saving taxpayers $34,000 a month? As the nation celebrates America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, San Diego Unified students are taking the lead in recycling by participating in campus environmental clubs, Green Teams, Planet Protectors clubs, student body recycling efforts, and more.
Recycling at Ocean Beach Elementary

These recycling ambassadors encourage students and staff at their school to recycle paper, cardboard, beverage containers, rigid plastics, metal, and more. All recyclables can be mixed together in the recycling bins on campus.

Some schools have even set a goal to create “Zero Waste” and are composting lunch and cafeteria scraps in their school garden! Through these efforts, the district is able to divert more than 240 tons of material per month from landfill disposal when school is in session. That saves our district and taxpayers more than $34,000 per month in disposal costs, not to mention saving valuable resources.

When students and staff recycle and compost at school and at home, it means that industry doesn’t have to chop down, extract or mine to collect more raw materials for making the things we use every day.
San Diego Unified doesn’t stop there when it comes to waste diversion. In addition to the mixed recycling program available at schools and district offices, programs are in place for diverting scrap metal, wood waste, pallets, landscape waste, construction and demolition debris, electronics, and shredded documents. District batteries and fluorescent lamps (universal waste) are also recycled and disposed of properly.

For more information about America Recycles Day, check out For information and resources for recycling at your school, please visit the district’s recycling website at or contact Janet Whited, recycling specialist, auxiliary services, at 858-637-6268 or

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pt. Loma students create advocacy video

IN THE NEWS: The students in Anthony Palmiotto's Cinematic Arts and Video Production classes co-wrote, starred in and edited this public service snnouncement after viewing the documentary "Blackfish" on CNN. The video, originally posted on the school's website, has been picked up and reposted by CNN and other websites. Watch video from CNN site»

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria is first Hall of Fame inductee

San Diego's Interim Mayor Todd Gloria has been named as the first inductee into the San Diego Unified School District Hall of Fame.

Todd GloriaThe Hall of Fame highlights alumni of San Diego Unified schools who have made a significant impact on society, or have overcome adversity to succeed. This could be a graduate who is a stay-at-home parent who helps his or her kids and community; a graduate who excels in a professional or athletic setting; one that makes a difference in his/her community; or even one that has attained national or international fame.

City Council Member from District Three, Gloria is a Madison High School graduate, also attending Hawthorne Elementary School. He received a degree from the University of San Diego. He is not only a native San Diegan but a member of the Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. He was interested in politics from childhood; at age 10 he was runner-up in a "mayor for a day" contest and at 14 he volunteered to work for Democratic candidates in the 1992 election.

Gloria was honored during the October 28 State of the District address.

"My name is Todd Gloria. I'm the mayor of San Diego and I'm a proud product of the San Diego Unified School District," he told the audience. "I want to thank this school district, the teachers at Hawthorne Elementary, at Madison High School, for giving me the skills and tools I use every single day to run the eighth largest city in this country.

"That is what this school district can do."

If you would like to nominate an individual for future consideration, please complete the nomination form and submit to: District Relations, San Diego Unified School District, Room 2232, San Diego Unified School District, 4100 Normal St. (92103); fax, 619-725-7105; school mail; or email to

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

San Diego High SciTech Classes Grow Into Sustainable Balboa Park Garden

IN THE NEWS: At the San Diego High SciTech, students worked on a design for a new garden outside the San Diego Automotive Museum. Work included budgets and scale drawings in math class, plus they researched native plants in earth science. They learned how much space, water and light each plant type needed in their green engineering class and then drew it all together in a presentation they worked on during English class. Read more from KPBS»

Central Elementary School and Wilson Middle School Site Master Plan meetings coming up

A new site master plan for Central Elementary School and Wilson Middle School is being developed and the public is invited to provide input.

The purpose of the Site Master Plan is to outline a logical, phased facility development plan that will provide new modern facilities for both the middle school and elementary school programs to meet the long-term goals of the schools while best utilizing currently available funds. A long-term vision relating to the educational goals and community needs of each school will be used to develop a conceptual site layout that considers both short- and long-term needs.
Central Elementary School
The process for developing the school’s site master plan will consist of approximately five sessions, with representation from all school stakeholders. At the first meeting, there will be a presentation explaining the purpose for the schools’ site master plan and the process for development. After the initial meeting, there will be approximately four work sessions to develop the site master plan. The first two meetings are:
  • Thursday, Nov. 21, 6:00 p.m., Central Elementary School Multipurpose Room, 4063 Polk Ave. (92105)
  • Thursday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., Wilson Middle School Auditorium, 3838 Orange Ave. (92105)
The rest of the meeting dates will be confirmed during the first session. Locations will alternate between Central and Wilson.

Participants are requested to make a commitment to attend all work sessions for consistency in plan development. It is also requested that participants be committed to the development of a global long-term vision for the schools. The process will focus on a general site plan concept, not details of specific projects. There will be an opportunity to provide input on specific capital facilities bond projects via a separate design task force process.

For additional information please contact Francisco Campuzano, project manager, at and (858) 637-3510.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cubberley Elementary salutes armed forces ... and moms and dads

Cubberley Elementary School students gathered at their weekly PeaceBuilder’s Assembly and learned first-hand from honored guests about Veteran’s Day. Each guest shared their responsibilities, experiences, and reasons for serving our country.

Cubberley assembly Commander DesaRae Janzen, US Coast Guard and parent of Cubberley students, Sydney and Cody Janzen explained, “It was the end of World War I at 11:00 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) and on this day we set aside this day to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military in wartime or peacetime.”

Also honored were Petty Officer First Class Shanita Frieson, US Navy, Sergeant and parent of Anthony Black, Manfred Pierce, US Marine Corps, parent of James Richmond, Ensign Nicholas Haan, US Navy and Petty Officer First Class, Vladimir Ramos, U.S. Navy.

For more information on Cubberley, contact Principal Rosemary Cruz at (858) 496-8075.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hancock Elementary School gets renovated library from Target and The Heart of America Foundation

Target Corp. and The Heart of America Foundation have completed renovations of the library at Hancock Elementary School in Murphy Canyon, with 2,000 new books, new fixtures and decorations and technology, including iPads.

Ribbon cutting This year, Hancock Elementary School is one of 25 elementary schools across the country to receive a library makeover as part of the Target School Library Makeover program. Through programs like this one, Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015.

The program also provided seven books for each student to take home following the unveiling celebration.

Superintendent Cindy Marten welcomed Rep. Scott Peters, California Sen. Marty Block, California Assembly Member Shirley Weber and Dr. Randy Ward, Superintendent of the San Diego County Office of Education. Principal Yolanda Lewis joined her former Hancock Vice Principal Quyen Corral (now at Central Elementary School ) and others to cut the ribbon and open the library.

In addition to the library makeover, the Target Meals for Minds food pantry will provide more than 22 pounds of fresh produce and staple foods to students and families.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Supt. Marten: Be Kind - Kindness Matters

More than ever, kindness matters. The way we treat each other is important. This is the message I shared at the Oct. 29 State of the District Event.

It's important when we think about creating a quality school that we have an eye toward how we treat each other as human beings. Could you imagine if it was 'No Child Left Unkind?

I hope you will watch the video, take my words to heart and convert to actions.

Pacific Beach schools highlighted at festival

The Mission Bay Cluster schools hosted its second annual Pacific Beach Schools Fair on Nov. 2 which featured each schools’ unique offerings to students around the San Diego region.

Crown Point violinist Fun activities were offered all morning including the LEGO Engineering Challenge, the Frisbee throwing robot from Mission Bay High, "Jeopardy Challenge" complete with buzzers, Chinese dragon parade, crazy hair booth, spin the music wheel and get a prize, and school performance groups including the PB Middle School String Ensemble, Crown Point Junior Music Academy violinists and the Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy Singers.

Principals and staff made presentations in the theater about their academic programs, including the International Baccalaureate Programme. Schools featured were Pacific Beach Elementary, Sessions Elementary, Crown Point Junior Music Academy, Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy, Pacific Beach Middle School and Mission Bay High.

Superintendent Cindy Marten stopped by to visit with families and students and several television stations were on hand to film th event. It was a fun and productive day for families wanting to learn more about the Mission Bay Cluster Schools!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chargers give Mission Bay High weight room a lift

Mission Bay High School and the San Diego Chargers jointly cut the ceremonial ribbon Tuesday and opened the school’s new $75,000 weight room, the 16th Chargers Champions weight room in San Diego County. The weight room was built with a grant awarded in 2012 by Chargers Champions, a program of the San Diego Chargers.

In the new weight room Since the inception of the Chargers Champions program in 2000, the Spanos family has donated more than $4.5 million to San Diego’s schools and students. The program provides greater financial support for San Diego-area schools than any other private company in San Diego County. Including the 2013 round of grants, Chargers Champions has provided funds to 100 local schools.

“It’s no secret that juvenile obesity is a major problem in our nation right now,” A.G. Spanos, Chargers executive vice president and chief executive officer said. “We want kids to receive access to the best nutrition and fitness programs available, but schools can’t do it alone. They need support from the business community and we’re proud to be able to do our part through the Chargers Champions program.”

Chargers Champions makes a strong commitment to improving physical fitness in San Diego County schools by providing grants for new facilities and equipment.

“The Chargers made it possible to transform our weight room into a place that benefits all of our students and has become a source of pride for our school community,” Jorge Palacios, Athletic Director at Mission Bay High School said. “What was once an outdated, unused area has been turned into one of the centerpieces of our school and a resource our students use to develop a passion for lifelong fitness. I'd like to thank the Chargers and the Spanos family for their support of Mission Bay High School.”

This year, six San Diego-area schools received grants to improve physical fitness, athletic or nutrition programs. Project unveilings are expected to begin in 2014.

Funds allocated to Chargers Champions are administered through the Chargers Community Foundation, the San Diego Chargers’ charitable foundation. The Foundation was established in 1995 by Dean and Alex Spanos to “help” San Diego build on its strengths by supporting individuals, activities and organizations that work to make the city a better place to live.

In the News

Parents/Guardians can help fund schools by returning federal survey cards

Students at most schools last week brought home Federal Impact Survey Cards, which your school is asking parents/guardians to complete and promptly return to their schools. The returned cards qualify the public schools for significant dollars in federal funds.

Federal Survey Card The annual survey determines the number of military and non-military federally connected students in the public school system for whom the district receives impact aid funds. These funds provide partial reimbursement to the district for local tax loss resulting from tax-free federal installations or property. By filling out and returning the survey cards, parents help our schools claim and benefit from the district’s authorized share of federal support. Each survey card is important because federal impact aid is determined from the survey card responses. Please, complete, sign and return the card as it is the children who will benefit.

"It's important for all parents to return these cards," said Supt. Cindy Marten. "It only takes a few minutes and it helps our district qualify for much-needed federal funds. If you're active duty military, live in Navy housing, or are a civilian working on one of our bases or a federal property, you know the importance of returning these cards."

The San Diego Unified School District has a high proportion of military dependents and federal lands within its boundaries, as San Diego is a worldwide center for Navy and Marine Corps activities.

"These school districts face special challenges." says the US Department of Education's website. "They must provide a quality education to the children living on the Indian and other Federal lands and meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, while sometimes operating with less local revenue than is available to other school districts, because the Federal property is exempt from local property taxes."

Under federal privacy rules, information on the Impact Aid survey cards is not used for any other purposes. If you have questions about Impact Aid or the Impact Aid survey card, please contact your principal.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

La Jolla High junior on the runway for Fashion Week

IN THE NEWS: La Jolla High School junior Adana McWhinney participated in Fashion Week San Diego, Sept. 30-Oct. 6, walking in two major shows. Read more from La Jolla Light»

Clairemont business school goes international

The Clairemont High School Academy of Business recently placed 16th in a worldwide competition. Students from as many as 19 countries gathered online to participate in a competition to determine who could create the most efficient and profitable business.

Clairemont High School The program called, the “Social Innovation Relay,” provided aspiring entrepreneurs with the hands-on skills and business expertise needed to start a successful business. The program provided a combination of both virtual and face-to-face mentoring by experienced executives.

The participating teams were paired with “e-mentors” who were all Hewlett Packard employees. The mentors worked with the students to help them develop concept papers that could be translated into a feasible business plan.

Thanks to the diligent work of business students Stephanie Kwik, Raymond Perea and Stephanie Hernandez, AOB ranked 16th out of 42,000 other teams with students from programs similar to the Academy of Business.

They placed first within the United States. In addition to earning bragging rights, each student was given a free HP laptop by the competitions sponsors, Hewlett Packard and Junior Achievement.The Social Innovation Relay first launched in 2010, has connected more than 67,000 students and 800 Hewlett Packard mentors from 19 countries.

This year, nearly 1,600 teams around the world registered for the relay, showcasing an ever increasing interest in the initiative around the world.

 – By O'rion Kennedy , Staff Writer, The Arrow, Clairemont High School 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Education leader Diane Ravitch praises San Diego Unified on Daily Show

IN THE NEWS: In two-part interview on The Daily Show, she sites San Diego Unified as one district doing things right. Note: Interview is in two parts; Ravitch mentions San Diego Unified in the second part of the interview. Diane Ravich

"Kindness... matters alot" says Supt. Marten

Kindness and how we treat each other is important -- the soft skills -- means as much as test scores, Superintendent Cindy Marten said during her Oct. 29 State of the District Event.

"It's important when we think about creating a quality school that we have an eye toward how we treat each other as human beings," she said. "Could you imagine if it was 'no child left unkind?'"

Morse High culinary students take VIPs on tropical trip

The study of cultures around the world can take some unusual twists as VIPs recently found out during a sample of South American delicacies created by the culinary arts students at Morse High School in Skyline.

Morse High chef In their exploration of Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Argentina and Chile, students in the College, Career and Technical Education program didn't just study articles or photos from books or on the web, they were challenged by their teacher, Sarah Smith, Registered Dietitian Jackie Schaffer and Executive Chef Gregory Branham to create foods from each region. Students then had three days to prep the food for presentation and serve them at a special event.

"By all accounts the meals were authentic, organic and superb," said Principal Harry Shelton. "Guests enjoyed the delightful cuisines in the school’s state-of-the-art Prop 1D funded facilities."

Parents and VIPs enjoyed the fruits of the students' learning, calling the dinner "exquisite." During their three week project, they reviewed hundreds of recipes in order to come up with the perfect combination of appetizer, entrée, vegetable side, dessert and refreshing beverage.

Creative thinking that involves community partners, such as Schaffer and Branham, helps motivate students, make learning more enjoyable and creates lasting benefits for students. The lessons learned not only gave the budding chefs at Morse the experience of cooking usual dishes, but also helped them learn about other cultures in a way that could help them when they're out in the workforce. Many Morse graduates have gone on to work in the restaurant and hospitality business, including several chefs at local hotels and restaurants.
Morse High School is a comprehensive high school for students in grades 9-12 located in the Skyline neighborhood. For more information on the Morse programs, contact Principal Shelton at (619) 262-0763.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cadman Elementary students learn to stay safe in emergencies

County's Office of Emergency Services helps students get ready in case the unexpected happens. Watch video»

Video courtesy County of San Diego

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hawkeye News informs students at Madison High

Warhawk TV The Madison Hawkeye News is a successful student-produced weekly broadcast that is shown across campus every Wednesday in Advisory.

The news informs students of everyday activities, national news, important dates and reminders. It also gives viewers the opportunity to hear the viewpoints of fellow students’ and staff on current events and other topics that are of importance to the Madison student body.

For the past two years, the broadcast journalism and video production classes have used the new broadcast studio in Room 900. This advanced studio contributes to the Hawkeye News team’s task to direct, produce, and record the weekly news program.

The technical directors, graphics coordinators, producers, and story editors all work together to create videos, commercials, stories, and national news items for the school broad-cast as if it were a real news station. The hard working students in Broadcast Journalism help make the show both fun and informational. The effort behind the scenes of this school-wide newscast is what keeps the program together.

The technical team for Madison’s Hawkeye News includes Madison’s class of 2014 seniors: Lauren Goudie, Janessa Davé, and Derek Komlenic. Although this year will be their last, they are currently working hard to do their best in their sen-ior year, while training new students to follow in their footsteps.

Congratulations to the students who put in the effort to successfully produce the weekly Haw-keye News to keep Madison staff and students informed.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New shoes at Fay Elementary courtesy of Gaylord-Hansen Mortgage

Every student at Fay Elementary in City Heights received a fantastic new pair of shoes, as Gaylord-Hansen Mortgage, in collaboration with San Diego Unified’s Office of Children and Youth in Transition distributed nearly 700 pairs of shoes to ensure that the students of Fay Elementary could begin the 2013-2014 school year in style.

New shoes!
The event included a delicious school lunch BBQ provided by Food Services. 

There were many smiling faces to be seen that day as volunteers from Gaylord-Hansen, MCAS Miramar, Naval Base San Diego, and other community members worked to fit shoes and socks on kindergarten through fifth grade students.  It was hard to tell who was happier, the volunteers or the children.

The Gaylord Hansen Mortgage Team; a branch of Caliber Home Loans, believes in giving back to the local community. They created the Gaylord-Hansen Shoe Foundation to provide San Diego’s neediest school children with the opportunity to receive a brand new pair of shoes.  By donating $30 from every loan transaction, they are able to improve the lives of children in this small but significant way.

For more information, contact the Office of Children and Youth in Transition at (619) 725-7054.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Remember to turn clocks back this weekend

It's time to fall back at 2 a.m. this Sunday, Nov. 3, as daylight savings time comes to an end. That means all San Diego Unified students will be extra sharp, as they'll have an extra hour of sleep over the weekend.

State superintendent highlights San Diego Unified's approach to Linked Learning

Employer leaders, school district superintendents and state policymakers attended showcase Linked Learning recently at Kearny High School in Linda Vista.

State Supt. Torlakson at Kearny The event celebrated the commitment to make Linked Learning available to students across five regions, and highlight partnerships between schools and employers to prepare California’s future workforce for job-rich economic sectors.

San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson headlined the event at Kearny, where two schools have been recognized as Linked Learning leaders.

"These programs integrate academic and technical study along with work-based learning opportunities to help students follow a seamless pathway between from the classroom to college and career," said Torlakson.

Momentum is growing to expand the Linked Learning approach across California. In January, 63 school districts and county offices of education were selected to participate in a State Linked Learning Pilot Program.

Earlier this month, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the California Community Colleges Chancellor announced $5 million for the Linked Learning Pilot sites, matched by a $2.5 million grant from the James Irvine Foundation. The state budget recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown included $250 million for the California Career Pathways Trust, a grant program incentivizing collaboration between schools and employers to support Linked Learning pathways and provide work-based learning opportunities for students.

University City community raises $12,000 for local schools

Oktoberfest in University City proved to be a big success for the neighborhood's schools.

The fifth annual event, organized by EdUCate, the University City High School cluster group, broke all attendance and fund-raising records, as more than 1,500 attendees put nearly $12,000 in the till for the cluster's students.

Schools in the University City cluster are University City High School, Standley Middle School, and Curie, Doyle and Spreckels elementary schools. Title sponsor was the University City Community Association.

According to EdUCate, local breweries contributed to the popular beer garden were: AleSmith, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Coronado Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch, Mission Brewery, Monkey Paw Pub and Brewery, Rock Bottom Brewery and Stone Brewing.

Other sponsors included: 3 Steves Winery, Coldwell Banker UC Agents, Ditzler Family Chiropractic, Feerick and Associates, Golden Triangle Optometric, LabDx, Larry Yandel Jr. Memorial Youth Sports Fund, Melanie and Achim David, Patricia Freund and Family, Primerica: Paul & Debbie Hedley, Ruby Huizar and Family, Samala-Gafford Family, The French Gourmet, The Madden Family, The Skillen Family – in honor of Larry Yandel, Tom and Brook Feerick, UC Rugby Club and Wikitiki.

The many fun activities for kids included food, games and entertainment from Standley Middle School and University City High School marching bands.

Oktoberfest also brought out all the school principals for their annual challenge. For this year’s toilet paper rolling event, bragging rights belong to UCHS Principal Jeff Olivero.

 Oktoberfest would not have been possible without the many parent and student volunteers – thanks to all the Curie parents and students that helped out! Big thanks to those who contributed to the Dollar-A-Day (DAD) program, who received special treatment at Oktoberfest.

It’s not too late to participate– go online and contribute at least $180, or $250 gives you and a friend VIP status at EdUCate’s Taste of the Triangle on May 2. For more info or to contribute, go to: