Friday, March 29, 2013

District celebrates volunteers, kicks off National Volunteer Appreciation Month

School-site volunteers, Partners-in-Education and advisory committee volunteer chairs were honored at the district’s 2013 Volunteer and Partner Recognition event held recently at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School.

Honorees were recognized for the countless hours, efforts and in many cases, funds they contribute to their local San Diego Unified schools. Each individual and organization was given a certificate and all were applauded for their efforts during the ceremony. In addition, four individuals were named “Volunteer of the Year” and four organizations were named “Partner of the Year.”

Winners included 90-year-old DeDe Quint, a 25-year volunteer at Dewey Elementary School; American Legion Post 731, who has donated more than 300 bikes to Chesterton Elementary students; and the Assistance League of San Diego County, who has helped to improve the educational experience for all students at Mark Twain High School.

Volunteer of the Year Award Winners
Elementary: DeDe Quint, Dewey Elementary School
Middle: Mark Kunkee, Mann Middle School
High School: Donna Garcia Silva, School of Creative and Performing Arts
Atypical: Lois Modesitt, John Muir

Partner of the Year Award Winners
Elementary: American Legion Post 731, Nominated by Chesterton Elementary
Middle: John Crawford, The Kiwanis Club, nominated by Lewis Middle School
High School: The Assistance League of San Diego County, nominated by Mark Twain High School
Atypical: Access to Independence, nominated by TRACE

Although the afternoon belonged to the volunteers and partners, the event featured several outstanding student performances as well. Five members of Madison High School’s orchestra, led by Jesse Rogers, played string music during the reception. School of Creative and Performing Arts students Danika Waitley, Katherine Ward and Julanaar Gamboa kicked off the ceremony with the National Anthem, and Larissa Garcia surprised her mom, an honoree, with the song “For Good” from the musical “Wicked.”

Attended by more than 170 people, the celebration marked the return of the Volunteer & Partner Recognition Event after a two-year hiatus. The event was made possible by sponsor California Coast Credit Union, who also participated in hosting duties.

Featured speakers included Superintendent Bill Kowba, Deputy Superintendent of Academics Nellie Meyer, Board Trustees Kevin Beiser and Scott Barnett, ceremony host Chief of Staff Bernie Rhinerson, and California Coast’s Jacklynn Carey.

The event kicks off National Volunteer Appreciation Month in April. The theme of the year’s national celebration is Celebrate Service. All schools in the district are encouraged to honor all of their volunteers and partners with some type of celebration, either in April or sometime before the end of the school year.

More about our winners:

DeDe Quint is 90 years old and a product of San Diego Unified as a student, then teacher, and now retired volunteer. She has been volunteering at Dewey Elementary for 25 years, bringing the gift of music to second and fourth graders, playing the piano and leading the students in chorus. Without her dedicated support, Dewey would not have a choral program. She never misses a day and has been a member of the Dewy family and an incredible asset to our students for a very long time.

Mark Kunkee has been a volunteer at Mann Middle since 2009. He generously volunteers over 60 hours per month in the school’s library, attends monthly SSC meetings and helps where needed around campus. Anything you ask of Mr. Kunkee, from assisting students to pushing a 200-pound cart of books to a classroom, he does with a smile on his face. This year alone, he has volunteered over 300 hours. Mr. K is a valuable asset to the students and staff at Mann. They love “Mr. K.”

Donna Garcia Silva is the President of the Friends of SCPA. In this capacity, she has logged more than 1,000 hours creating opportunities that support SCPA students and teachers. She has helped raise visibility by creating a Friends’ Facebook page; and has organized a variety of fundraising activities, including a Teacher Giving Tree, a golf tournament, and a week-long dine out with local restaurants. She has also created the Friends CafĂ©, which provides refreshments to audience members who attend SCPA’s production, and often provides breakfast for staff on the first day of school. SCPA is always at the forefront of Donna’s generosity of time.

Lois Modesitt has been an active volunteer for seven years. Technology is her profession and her passion. She began updating and repairing donated computer equipment a few years ago with the goal of providing computers and printers to our families in need. Last week, she gave away her 212th computer. She has started two programs that help the school get supplies for the classroom, she tutors students in all levels of math, and she keeps the John Muir website updated. Her friendly demeanor and knowledge of our school and programs are much appreciated by parents new to the Muir family. She is an extremely valuable member of the Muir family.

The American Legion Post 731 initially approached Chesterton Elementary in 1996 and proposed a bike give-away. Since then, once a month, two students who display good citizenship and literacy skills receive a bike. During the 17 years of this unofficial partnership, the American Legion has donated more than 300 bikes to Chesterton students. Members of the Legion not only raise funding for the bikes, but also try to fit them specifically to the child who is receiving them. Their unfailing support and dedication to the school and the students have been valuable incentive tools. Even more importantly, it is indicative of the value the Legion places on education and the students’ learning processes.

John Crawford, Kiwanis Club of Allied Gardens. Crawford has volunteered approximately 46 hours at Lewis Middle so far this year. He meets every Thursday with the student club known as the Builders Club, in pursuit of finding ways to make our learning community a better place. Last year, John and his Builders club students raised more than $2,000 in support of finding the cure for Leukemia. This year, John and his Builder’s Club members are dedicating their efforts to overseeing the Lewis Middle School’s “No Place for Hate” Anti-bullying campaign.

Assistance League of San Diego County
. For over 17 years, the Assistance League has improved the educational experience for our entire student body at Twain, from enhancing the daily school climate to promoting their futures through scholarships. Each year, Assistance League members provide over 450 hours of volunteer time, plus invaluable donations. Some highlights of their involvement include: Sponsoring post-high school scholarships with not just money, but also with help-sessions in completing applications, tutoring in interview skills, and dress-for-success clothing; and they have also enhanced the future of our teen parents and their children by supporting the Infant/Toddler Center, with caring volunteers and baby supplies, to literacy lessons.

Access to Independence. Access to Independence allows TRACE to hold meetings with our students at their facilities, and they have taken on teaching classes once a month for our students. These are classes that are of interest to students, such as advocacy, SSI benefits and instruction on healthy food choices. Another important aspect of TRACE is to get our students competitively employed in their community. We hold a monthly interview workshop, and Access to Independence often sends the most representatives to assist. We know that many of our special education students have become more independent and knowledgeable about their community due to our Partnership with Access to Independence, and we really appreciate everything they have done for our students.

Masons mark Public Schools Month with $161,000 donation

Masons Donate Big to San Diego Unified
Randy Brill, left, and Jessica Mausner, California Masons; Trustee Richard Barrera; Taft Middle School Principal Mike George; Supt. Bill Kowba 
The Masons of California have helped make public education a focal issue in California since their 1920 introduction of Public Schools Week, now celebrated statewide as Public Schools Month each April. As part of this special month, events are being held throughout California this spring, with statewide donations amounting to more than $750,000. The donation is part of the Masons' commitment to making a profound difference for public education throughout the state.

The local chapter of the Masons of California presented San Diego Unified a check for $161,000 at this year's celebration held at Cherokee Point Elementary School on March 27. The donation will support teachers and students in San Diego public schools and provide funding for the fraternal organization's statewide public education initiatives: Raising A Reader and Investment in Success Scholarship Program.

Through the Raising A Reader Literacy Partnership, California Masons are bringing the award-winning literacy and family engagement program to elementary school classrooms in the lowest- performing public schools throughout the state, building strong family relationships and creating a new legacy of literacy. The Masons' donation is supporting the Raising A Reader program at four district elementary schools: Central, Cherokee Point, Joyner and Rowan. Currently,

The fraternity's Investment in Success Scholarship Program, which launched in 2011, provides college scholarships for deserving high school seniors who demonstrate an active pursuit of education in spite of significant obstacles. Students who receive these scholarships demonstrate exemplary character, drive, and scholastic potential, despite challenges in their homes or communities.

“To have the support of the world’s first and largest fraternal organization is a powerful statement about the importance of community involvement in public education,” said Supt. Bill Kowba during the ceremony. “We are very grateful to the Masons for their continuing support of our students, teachers and schools.”

To learn more, contact the California Masonic Foundation at .

It's Spring Break in the San Diego Unified School District

It's Spring Break in the San Diego Unified School District. All schools are currently closed. Traditional schedule schools reopen Monday, April 8. Year-round schools reopen Monday, April 29.

New trees take root at Franklin Elementary

Franklin Elementary School in Kensington now has 15 new trees on its campus, thanks to the hard work of its students and local officials.

In honor of Arbor Week in San Diego, Superintendent-Designate Cindy Marten and San Diego City Council Member Marti Emerald joined Urban Corps of San Diego County, local community members, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and 15 students and staff from Franklin to plant 15 trees around the perimeter of the school’s campus.

Frankline tree planting The trees will be cared for by a special Watering Club at Franklin, with assistance from Kensington volunteers, including the Garden Angels, who are currently attending garden plots on Adams Avenue. Volunteers will use specially donated wagons to help carry the water over the next few years until the trees fully take root.

Funding for the trees is being provided by the City of San Diego and SDG&E, both of whom are partnered with the Urban Corps – a non-profit conservation corps and charter school – to plant trees while providing job training and educational opportunities to youth. Students will also participate in an SDG&E TreeSmart educational workshop presented by Urban Corps in order to learn more about the benefits of trees and why these trees were selected for planting.

For more information on the Franklin tree planting, contact Principal Akoni Derige at (619) 344-3000.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

U.S. Senator Boxer promotes school safety bill in SD

IN THE NEWS: Mayor Filner, Senator joined by Board Members Beiser and Evans at Perkins K-8 to talk about school security.


Three named San Diego Unified Teachers of the Year

In The News IN THE NEWS: Three educators from the San Diego Unified School District have been named 2013 Teachers of Year.  First-grade teacher Angela Wolde from Euclid Elementary School, Lewis Middle School history teacher Kenneth Hughes and English teacher Jessica Graham from Kearny High School received the honor this year. Read more from UT San Diego»

Broad Foundation names SD Unified as finalist for 2013 urban education award

LOS ANGELES --The San Diego Unified School District was named a finalist for the 2013 Broad Prize for Urban Education, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation announced March 27. As one of four districts in the country to be recognized for student achievement gains, San Diego Unified stands to win at least $150,000 and as much as $550,000 in college scholarships for its high school seniors if the district wins the top prize.

Broad Foundation The Broad Prize for Urban Education is an annual $1 million award -- the largest education prize in the country--that honors urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among poor and minority students.

The other finalists this year are: the Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County, Calif., Cumberland County Schools, N.C., and the Houston Independent School District. Corona-Norco and Houston were finalists last year. This is the first time in the award's 12-year history that San Diego and Cumberland County have been finalists.

The winner of the 2013 Broad Prize will be announced on Sept. 25 in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress. The winning district will receive $550,000 in scholarships for its students, and the three finalist districts will each receive $150,000 in scholarships, for a total distribution of $1 million.

"San Diego should be commended for its steadfast commitment to improving student achievement," said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which awards The Broad Prize. "But even while these finalist districts are moving in the right direction, there is still a long road ahead before we can truly celebrate high levels of academic success. And as we look at other urban districts across the country, there is significantly more progress that needs to be made."

Seventy-five of the nation's largest urban school districts were automatically eligible and considered for The Broad Prize. School districts cannot apply or be nominated.

This year's four finalists were selected by a review board of 17 prominent education researchers, policy leaders, practitioners and executives from leading universities, education associations, civil rights advocacy organizations, think-tanks and foundations. The review board evaluated publicly available academic achievement data that were compiled and analyzed by MPR Associates, Inc., a leading national education research consulting firm.

In selecting the finalists, the review board looks for urban school districts that show the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among poor and minority students. Among the data they consider are SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement participation rates and outcomes, graduation rates, state assessments in reading, math and science, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, student demographics including poverty, state test rigor, per pupil expenditures and district size. The Broad Foundation does not play a role in selecting the finalists or the winner.

Among the reasons that San Diego Unified was chosen as a 2013 Broad Prize finalist:
  • San Diego students outperform students in peer districts statewide. In 2012, San Diego students performed better than students in other California districts that serve students with similar family incomes in elementary, middle and high school reading, math and science, according to The Broad Prize methodology.
  • San Diego narrowed Hispanic and low-income achievement gaps. In recent years, San Diego narrowed achievement gaps between its Hispanic students and the state's white students in elementary, middle and high school reading, math and science and between its Hispanic and white students in elementary, middle and high school reading and science and in elementary and high school math. San Diego also narrowed achievement gaps between its low-income students and the state's non-low-income students in elementary, middle and high school science and in elementary and high school reading and math.
  • Low-income, Hispanic and African-American high school students in San Diego improved more in science than much of the state. In recent years, San Diego was in the top 30 percent of California districts for increasing the percentage of its low-income, Hispanic and African-American high school students who performed at the highest achievement levels on the state science assessment. For example, between 2010 and 2012, the percentage of low-income students performing at the highest achievement levels increased by 8 percentage points in high school science, while the increase for the rest of California was just 3 percentage points during that period.

Over the next two months, teams of educational researchers and practitioners led by the education consulting company RMC Research Corporation will conduct a four-day site visit in each finalist district using a research-based rubric for district quality to gather qualitative information, interview district administrators, conduct focus groups with teachers and principals and observe classrooms. The teams will also interview parents, community leaders, school board members and union representatives. A selection jury of prominent individuals from business, industry, education and public service will then choose the winning school district after reviewing both the student achievement data and the qualitative site visit reports.

For more information about The Broad Prize, please visit
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. The Broad Foundation's Internet address is, and updates are available on Twitter @broadfoundation.

Jones Elementary students head to college for a day

Jones Elementary All Jones Elementary fifth-grade students participated in the second annual “I’m Going To College Day” at the University of San Diego on March 15. Jones students boarded the bus in the morning and spent the entire day on the USD campus.

The purpose of this trip each year is to provide students with an up-close and personal experience on a real college campus. Students participated in two 20-minute mock college classes taught by real college professors. Students were expected to explain their thinking in the math class, and after learning about “free verse” poetry in the English class, all students wrote and shared their individual poems. The day concluded with a tour of the campus conducted by USD students.

The highlight of the day was the mock graduation held in Serra Hall, where students were called by name to receive a certificate from and shake hands with USD Assistant Dean of Students Pauline Berryman Powell, fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Kim Petersen, and Jones Principal Rita Powell.

"Many thanks to Assistant Dean Pauline Berryman Powell from the College of Arts and Sciences," said Rita Powell, Jones Principal, "Vice President of Public Affairs Pamela Gray Payton, and Admissions Counselor Lisa Saldias from USD for making the “I’m Going To College Day” a memorable experience for the fifth-grade students at Jones Elementary School."

For more information, contact Powell at or 858-496-8140 x119.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mira Mesa High head counselor honored by San Diego State University

Mary McDonald, head counselor at Mira Mesa High, honored "for her tireless effort and commitment assisting students in fulfilling their dreams of going to college," has received the 2012-13 San Diego State University Frank Jonasson Endowment.

Mary McDonald The Jonasson award is given annually to a San Diego or Imperial County high school counselor for superior service in preparing students for higher education. The recipient is awarded funding to attend the annual Western Association of College Admission Counselors conference as well as a $1,000 stipend. The endowment is overseen by San Diego State University's Enrollment Services Department and the university's Campanile Foundation.

"Mary gives all of her students the star treatment so they can fulfill their college dreams and reach their full potential," said Scott Giusti, Mira Mesa High Principal. "She is well-respected, and the entire faculty at Mira Mesa High School join Mary in the quest to have a 'college-going-culture' on the campus. Mary is truly deserving of this honor."

The recipient is selected by the Jonasson Endowment Committee, which is comprised of high school counselors from San Diego and Imperial counties, including representatives from San Diego Unified, Grossmont Union and Sweetwater Union High school districts. McDonald received the award from Matthew Herbert, of San Diego State University's Enrollment Services. She was congratulated by San Diego Unified's Chief of Student Services, Dr. Joe Fulcher; Melissa Janak, Director, Counseling and Guidance/Placement and Appeal; and Ty Eveleth, San Diego Unified Head Counselor.

"Mary has helped many students navigate the college admission process because she knows how life changing attending college can be," said Giusti. "She stresses to students and their parents to apply broadly. If a family has reservations about paying for college, Mary encourages the student to apply to college, apply for financial aid including scholarships, then wait to see where the student is accepted and what type of financial aid package is offered."

The endowment was established by Frank Jonasson, San Diego State's former Director of Student Outreach Services, to support local high school counselors who go above and beyond to help their students get to college.

Giusti added that McDonald is adept at sizing up students and seeing their potential in college.

“She has a knack for scrutinizing a student’s entire educational career and seeing trends in behavior and academics," he said. This helps focus a student's college search and can result in more success in college acceptance and winning scholarships.

Seaside Farmers Market opens at Mission Bay High

IN THE NEWS: A seaside farmers market has opened at Mission Bay High, sponsored sponsored by the Mission Bay High School Alumni Association. Running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, all profits benefit the school. And the farmers market is offering more than just delicious food, produce, and goods. Watch video from CBS8»

Holmes Elementary hosts cleanup day

Cleaning up Holmes Elementary School hosted more than 100 volunteers at a school cleanup day on March 9. Volunteers spread more than 25 yards of mulch, designed native plant areas and made progress towards an outdoor classroom.

Volunteers from Madison High School's JROTC and Key Club were on-hand to help, along with Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, families, students and staff. The volunteers worked throughout the morning, and left with a great sense of pride for their school and the community.

“It was a great experience to work together and beautify our campus. I appreciate the support of families at Holmes and the Madison community,” said Jonathan Saipe, Principal. The school cleanup is one of the curb appeal projects sponsored by the Madison Community of Schools.

For more information contact Saipe at or 858-496-8110.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Serra High language development class spotlighted

IN THE NEWS: Academic Language Development class helps students who are Long-Term English Learners – students who have been in California schools for many years but are still having trouble learning English. Program is at 11 schools in San Diego Unified. Read more»

Linked Learning study shows narrowing of achievement gap

IN THE NEWS: Gains were pronounced for low-income, African-American and Latino students, groups that graduate and complete CSU and UC pre-requites at lower rates. See story from KPBS»In the News

Music committment by SD Unified recognized

The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation has named the San Diego Unified School District as one of the nation's top communities for music education.

The annual award this year recognized the district for its "commitment to music education." San Diego Unified is one of 307 districts across the nation to receive the honor.
Best communities
“There is overwhelming research tying music education to higher overall student success in school and in life,” said Executive Director Mary Luehrsen. “The designation reveals the elements of music programs so educators, administrators, teachers and students can see what they have, what they need, what they have accomplished, and what work needs to be done to strengthen their music education now and for the future.”

Despite large budget reductions in recent years, the San Diego Unified Board of Education has supported keeping music and arts education as part of school curriculum. Staff has continually pursued grants and other funding opportunities to continue music programs throughout the district.

For more information on the program, contact Dr. Karen Childress-Evans, Director, Visual and Performing Arts Program, at

Monday, March 25, 2013

SD Unified, college system expand joint effort

Boards meet IN THE NEWS: A formal effort to improve coordination and better align curriculum between San Diego city schools and the San Diego Community College District is entering a third year with officials pushing to expand programs that prepare high school students for college and careers.The endeavor seeks to close gaps between the two systems so that fewer students will need remedial instruction when they go to college. Read more from UT San Diego»

Teachers-to-be from other countries visit Lindbergh Schweitzer

Student teachers from foreign countries are visiting Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School in Clairemont to observe how language arts are taught to native and non-native speakers in the US.

This year, Kelly Smith, a UC San Diego Extension instructor, brought her classes for a look at transitional kindergarten, grades 1, 2 and 6. Her students are from around the globe, including South Korea, Japan and Brazil.
Jessica Coelho  Jessica Coehlo, an English Learner Support Teacher, demonstrated a lesson where as many as five different languages are native to the students. Making the lesson easy for all the students to be successful in their language challenges is evident as the students smile, laugh, and help each other with the questions.
"These future teachers will return to their homelands to teach English to their students," said Principal Deanne Rohde/ "They were delighted by our teachers' colorful bulletin boards, and took photos of posters, window displays, and student work — great examples to take with them."

Students observing students is another way Lindbergh Schweitzer is reaching out to the community to strengthen the future of teaching and learning in the classroom, here at home and overseas. For additional information contact Media Production Assistant Julie Harris at or 858-496-8400.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mission Bay High writing center has served 1,000 students

When a smiling tenth grader and Pacific Beach native named Stephanie Torres came into The Writing Center 154 for help on an essay for English class, Mission Bay High reached the goal set when the doors opened early last year... 1,000 students being served by the after-school program.

The center, located in the school's Room 154, was established to work with students on college essays, extended essays and general writing assignments for any class during advisory and at lunch. Teacher – and now students – provide one-on-one writing assistance, access to computers and printers, detailed reference materials and content-area experts.

The program has produced great results, according to Principal Fred Hilgers. Bertin Solis, a 2012 graduate, worked with staff to improve his writing skills and on nine scholarship essays.

"Bertin as diligently and painstakingly revised the scholarship essays in the Writing Center, focusing on his leadership as the wrestling team captain," said Hilgers, "and the countless hours he spent working at his family's seafood restaurant to help make ends meet."

Solis was a named at 2012 Gates Millennial Scholar, which will not only pay for his tuition and living expenses at UC Santa Barbara, but provide a unique level of mentoring and support.

"He serves as a shining example of not only determination, but of the power of writing," said Hilgers.

Mission Bay staff members involved in the program include Doug McIntosh, James Michaelian, Reid Brisebois, Pam Connelly, Rick Frink, Erin Panian, Hortencia Rubio-Garcia, Sam Sample, Nathan Sheehy, Tracy Borg, Barry Dancher, Ron Lancia, and Melissa Romero.

For more information on The Writing Center 154, contact Hilgers at

Common Core State Standards moving from paper to the classroom

The Common Core State Standards are designed to reflect the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. The Next Generation Assessments, which are aligned to the new standards, are scheduled to be implemented in 2014-15. San Diego Unified is already in the process of implementing the standards into classroom curriculum.

Common learning goals provide a clear vision of what educators and parents in all states should aim for. These learning goals help ensure that students meet college and work expectations, are prepared to succeed in a global economy and society, and are provided with rigorous content and application of higher knowledge thinking. Benchmarked against international standards, the Common Core Standards assist students in their preparation to complete the requirements for enrollment at a California public university

To learn more, watch a three-minute video and visit .

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Getting connected this week with Superintendent-Designate Marten

District Logo Banner
March 21, 2013

Getting Connected
In the Community with Cindy Marten

Superintendent Designate

Principal Central Elementary
Cindy at Kearny Construction Tech Academy
Visiting Kearny Construction Tech Academy
What a treat it has been in the past week to meet so many students, community members, parents and staff members. I have always believed in the power of an active, engaged and participating community. As I visit cluster meetings, community events and school assemblies, I'm finding people all across our district who deeply and passionately care about our children and our schools. I am finding people who want to be heard and want to participate in making our schools the best in the nation. I'm inspired by what I've seen and what I've heard. My heartfelt thanks go out to so many of you who have taken the time to share your hopes and dreams. Please know that I am listening and that I personally read every single email.

We are calling this newsletter "Getting Connected" because I believe the way we will grow as a system is by being connected, with each other; with our schools; with our community partners; with our students. Being connected and focused on a singular mission with a common vision allows us to then use our connections to become actively engaged in creating systems of support for our children to learn.

As you can see below, my outreach calendar is full in the weeks ahead. I am looking forward to more opportunities to meet even more of you in the coming weeks.

Please share this email with anyone interested in public education. I invite you to join me in the coming weeks at any of the events listed below. Also, please let me know about your events and forums so I can come be a part of your fine work. You can email me at .

My goal continues to be to reach out to every corner of our fine district and listen and learn about your hopes and dreams for the education of our children. I am filled with even more hope as I invite you to join me as we continue to build the best public school system in the nation.


Highlights from Last Week

I have always kept an active schedule doing things in the community to support children and public education. Last week was no exception.

March 9 Council of Great City Schools. Superintendent Kowba, School Board President John Lee Evans, Chief of Staff Bernie Rhinerson and I had the opportunity to meet with other superintendents from large urban school districts around the country. Talking with Arne Duncan
Meeting with Arne Duncan

Capitol Hill
Trip to Capitol Hill

Franklin Arbor Day Festivities
Franklin Tree Planting

K to College Event at Bayview Terrace
K to College Event at Bayview Terrace

Kearny Business Leaders Press Conference Business Community Press Conference
March 10 U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. It was an honor for our San Diego Unified team to meet Education Secretary Arne Duncan in person and to hear him speak about accountability and future plans for supporting our schools.
March 11 Meetings on Capital Hill, Washington DC. I had the opportunity to meet with education advisors to Senators Feinstein and Boxer and with education staff in the offices of our local congressional representatives to advocate for federal support on behalf of our students.
March 12 Franklin Elementary. I loved being with the children at Franklin as they worked with community partners to plant 15 trees around the perimeter of the school for Arbor Week. With active, engaged community groups like Talmadge Sisters, we can ensure quality neighborhoods surrounding our quality schools. Thanks to Urban Corps and SDG&E for working with Marti Emerald and Franklin Principal Akoni Derige. This was a tremendous effort planting trees that will last for generations to come.
March 13 Bayview Terrace Elementary. I was dreaming Big Dreams with Bayview Terrace children. Preparing college and career-ready students starts early. First Grader, Isole Aranda, told me that she wants to be a doctor. I believe in her. This event was a kick-off for the K to College program, which provides school and dental supplies to low-income students throughout the San Diego region. Thanks to the support of Huawei Technologies (with offices in San Diego). The total effort will grow to a value of $120,000 for our children!
March 14 Business Community Press Conference at Kearny Construction Tech Academy. Business leaders from San Diego called this press conference to show support of my appointment as Superintendent. The real stars today were the students! Kearny CTA's program is a model example of how San Diego Unified is preparing our students to be productive, work-force ready members of society!

Kearny Cluster Meeting. The more clusters I visit, the more I see our clusters as the way to world-class, quality schools in every neighborhood. Kearny Cluster is made up of deeply caring, thoughtful, passionate and visionary parents, support staff, community leaders, teachers, board members, and principals all pledging unwavering support of our public schools. I'm inspired by the passion and the hope...and I'm honored to serve.

Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Special Education. Such a fabulous group of active, engaged, caring people who meet monthly. I pledged my support and told the story of my own special needs brother, Charley. He is the reason I became a teacher.

Upcoming Events

March 21 5:30 p.m. Clairemont Cluster meeting at Marston Middle Media Center
6:30 p.m. District English Learners Advisory Committee (DELAC) at the Ballard Center
7 p.m. Elementary School Honors Concert - Honor Band, Honor Orchestra. Brown Chapel, Point Loma Nazarene University.
March 22 4 p.m. Central Elementary Prime Time Talent Show
6 p.m. Whitman Family Fun Night

March 23 6:30 p.m. Patrick Henry "Putting on the Ritz" at the 10th Ave Theatre and Arts Center

March 24 6:30 p.m. Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) San Diego's Chapter, and the San Diego Indian American Society (SDIAS) Reception to welcome Dr. Pradeep Khosla as the Eighth Chancellor of UC San Diego at the Marriott Del Mar

March 25 4:30 p.m. University City Cluster meeting at University City High
5:30 p.m.  Mira Mesa Cluster meeting at Mira Mesa High Library
6:30 p.m.  San Diego Unified Council of PTAs General Meeting at Ballard Center
7:30 p.m. "Non-Violence: No Higher Calling," launch event at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

March 27 9:30 a.m. Masons of California Public Schools Month Kick-off at Cherokee Point Elementary
4 p.m. Volunteer and Partner-in-Education Recognition at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary
6 p.m. Clark Middle School National Junior Honor Society Induction Ceremony

March 28 6:30 a.m. Cesar Chavez Breakfast at the Jacobs Center. See flier.
5:30 p.m. Project Ujima Bullying Workshop at Valencia Park. See flier.
6:30 p.m. Sandburg Elementary Multicultural Fair

Cindy Marten, Superintendent Designate

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"An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people."

- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, March 22, 2013

IN THE NEWS: La Jolla High's Dana Shelburne talks about his campus and 18 years at the helm. Read more from the La Jolla Light»

District Teachers of the Year announced for 2013

Angela Wolde from Euclid Elementary, Lewis Middle’s Kenneth Hughes and Jessica Graham from Kearny High School of Science Connections and Technology have been named the 2013 District Teachers of the Year.

The trio will be honored at the Day of the Teacher celebration, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, at Kearny High School. More than 140 Teachers of the Year from individual school sites, Future Educator Scholars, Mashin and STEM scholarship winners, and the latest class of National Board Certified Teachers will also be recognized.

“Each of these teachers has the remarkable ability to connect with and engage their students, creating an environment in which young people can thrive and develop skills that will lead them toward a successful future,” said Superintendent Bill Kowba. “They are the best of the best, exemplifying great teaching, dedication, and a commitment to excellence on so many levels.”

Wolde has been a first-grade teacher at Euclid Elementary for more than 10 years. She knew at an early age, when she was leading activities on the preschool playground, that she wanted to become a teacher. Wolde’s own first-grade teacher strongly influenced her and played a big role in how she approaches teaching.

“Mrs. Miller was my first grade teacher, but she was so much more,” Wolde wrote in her application essay. “She was my nurse, therapist, activities director, advocate, referee, and my other “parent” when I needed one.”

Wolde strives to create a familial atmosphere in her classroom, which also extends to parents with whom she takes every opportunity to communicate with and build relationships.

Hughes, who teaches eighth-grade history at Lewis Middle School, has taught history for 19 years, including 15 years at O’Farrell and four at Lewis. Hughes initially pursued a military career, but always knew that he would become a teacher. After serving eight years active duty and 13 in the naval reserves, Hughes entered the teaching profession. Each day, his goal is to make History the “can’t miss” period of the day.

“Mr. Hughes makes it appear almost effortless as he skillfully blends his knowledge of history and technology into a ‘yes we can’ culture that expects nothing short of excellence from every child in his class,” wrote Lewis Principal Brad Callahan in Hughes’ application. “He represents everything one would expect as a model of excellence in our profession.”

Graham, in the profession for eight years, currently teaches English at Kearny High’s School of Science Connections and Technology. She also took to teaching early, when she found herself helping classmates in her second-grade class to read.

Throughout her career, Graham has taken a strong stance against bullying. She has incorporated anti-bullying themes into her curriculum and started an after school program called “Power of Passion” with the purpose of developing a generation of student leaders who will promote diversity and tolerance on campus.

“I have made it my goal not merely to teach English, but to create a culture in my classroom that allows my students to learn empathy, compassion and tolerance,” Graham wrote in her application essay.

As part of the Teacher of the Year process, three teaches were also selected as Runners-up: Amy Sanders from Nye Elementary; Lauren Robinson-Hunt from CPMA and David Weber from Preuss. All six are eligible for County Teacher of the Year honors, which are awarded in October by the County Office of Education.

Every year, one teacher at each level – elementary, middle and high school – is selected as District Teacher of the Year and runner-up. Nominees are first selected by their school sites, and then have the option to apply for District Teacher of the Year. The process includes submitting an application with essays, an interview and a classroom observation.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

City School Board calls for immigration reform

IN THE NEWS: Board of Education resolution said current policies are dividing families, hurting students. Watch story from Fox 5 San Diego»

Hoover technology teacher saluted for commitment to kids and technology

Bryan Bryan Voeltner, a founding teacher of the Academy of Information Technology at Hoover High School, has been named Teacher of the Year.

The organization supports at-risk middle and high school students with an online community of professional mentors, empowering teens to stay in school, plan for future careers, and achieve in life and is based in New York City.

The group honored Voeltner for his "extraordinary commitment to his students."

“I thoroughly enjoy working with Bryan because of his enthusiasm, reliability and energy in the classroom," said Elizabeth Lang, the Program Manager. "His exceptional professionalism and extraordinary teaching skills have motivated the students to achieve their potential.”

The organization's executive director, Kate Schrauth, saluted Voeltner for his dedication to students.

“Bryan is always there for us," she said. "Just as we constantly encourage our students to be life-long learners, we know we must always be a learning organization as well. Bryan has dedicated countless hours outside of the classroom to assist us in our quest to apply all we have learned over these many years so that we can provide the very best experience to our students. We are honored to have Bryan on our team.”

For more information on the program, go to

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In Common Core, Teachers See Interdisciplinary Opportunities

IN THE NEWS: Rob Meza-Ehlert, a 10th grade social studies teacher at the Kearny School of Digital Media and Design in San Diego, explained that his small public high school is centered around interdisciplinary project-based learning. Read more from Education Week (PDF)»

Lindbergh Schweitzer teacher honored by national physical education group

Teacher Mary Lou Baranowski of Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School has been named the Southwest District Elementary School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.

The award is given in recognition of outstanding teaching performance at the elementary school level and the ability to motivate today's youth to participate in a lifetime of physical activity.

Mary Lou Baranowsk
speaks with media.
“Every single day, she makes a difference for children and families," said   Deanne Rohde, Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School Principal. "Mary Lou personifies the idea of being your best self. She does not, will not, dwell on what is; she consistently envisions what could be. And because of this, the children in her care will continue to thrive.”

Baranowski, a physical education teacher at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School since 1989, will learn at the Association's conference on April 26 if she is the National Physical Education Teacher of the Year.

A significant portion of Baranowski’s students have some form of a disability, which provides unique challenges, she said.

“I sought out a program called Action Based Learning Lab to help students whose skills may be below basic proficiency. I also use technology and cooperation from my fellow colleagues to assess student attainment of physical education concepts. At the end of the day, I strive to instill in each student a sense of accomplishment and a desire for lifelong wellness, regardless of their ability level,” she said.

Aside from teaching elementary students, she writes curriculum for Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) and provides training for teachers. With her adapted physical education background, she was able to offer a course pertaining to special needs students in physical education at San Diego State University.

Baranowski’s honors include The California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) Outstanding Service Award for Physical Education and the President’s Challenge Demonstration Center Distinction. She also renewed as a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) in Early/Middle Childhood Physical Education in 2010.

The physical education teacher’s professional affiliations include NASPE and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), NASPE’s umbrella organization, CAHPERD Grant Committee, and the San Diego County Physical Education Advisory Counsel.

Baranowski received her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master’s degree in Physical Education from San Diego State University.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mission Bay High International Baccalaureate Program still gaining steam

IN THE NEWS: The international baccalaureate (IB) program at Mission Bay High School is now in its fifth year, has 19 senior candidates and 160 to 170 students overall taking IB courses. “The courses are integrated for every student anywhere in the world who is an IB candidate who takes the “Theory of Knowledge” class, which contains the philosophy of the program,” said Sam Sample, MBHS IB senior advisor.

$1,000 teacher grants go to Miller, Johnson elementary schools

Teachers at Miller and Johnson elementary schools have received grants from the California Retired Teachers Association Division 4.

Three teachers at Miller Elementary in Tierrasanta received grants. Third grade teacher Kim Berry received $200 for a field trip to the Del Mar Fairgrounds as a culmination of the Plant, Grow, Eat program. Constantina Savage, grades 2-3, has been granted $200 for a field trip to Mission Trails Regional Park as part of the study of California Native Americans. Theresa Culver, grade 4, received $100 for the purchase of interesting, reading level appropriate materials.

The third grade team at Johnson Elementary in Emerald Hills, represented by Michelle Denise Bryant, received $500 for a technology and engineering workshop at Legoland.

The California Retired Teachers Association is an advocacy and support group for teachers – retired, current and future. Annually, more than $500,000 in grants are awarded by the association. For more information, go to

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mann Middle sock drive helps homeless

Mann Middle School ASB recently held a sock drive to benefit the homeless veterans of San Diego.

Mann socks Sixth period classrooms were asked to collect new socks and the classes who donated 15 or more pairs of socks would be entered in a drawing for a pizza party for the class. The total number of socks donated by the students and staff at Mann so far is 494 pairs.

One teacher, Joseph Perez, a retired Marine, challenged his students to open their hearts to the cause and raised $500.00 plus 413 pairs of the 494 pairs of socks collected in total. The money will be used to purchase items such as toiletries that can be donated as well.

The students of room 417 will be honored at an ice cream social after school to thank them for their generosity and celebrate their success. Mann principal and vice principals will dress in 50's attire to scoop the ice cream for the students. Ms. Connell's sixth period class won the classroom pizza party.

For more information about Mann Middle School, contact Principal Courtney Young at (619) 582-8990

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Out with the old, in with the new; Chargers donate equipment to schools

With a new strength and conditioning staff comes a new philosophy.

And with a new philosophy comes new equipment.Out with the old equipment

That’s why on multiple moving trucks and personnel were on hand recently to remove the old equipment to make room for the brand new ones the Chargers are bringing in.

“Every time you have a change, you kind of have a shift philosophically in what you want to do,” said new Strength and Conditioning Coach Kent Johnston. “A lot of the new things and equipment that we want to get in are because of what we want to accomplish. It’s because of what we believe in doing as a staff to train guys and prep them to first of all avoid injury , that’s the primary task, and second of all to improve their performance on the field.”

So what will the Chargers do with the old equipment that is still in good condition?

The team is donating the free weights and workout machines to the San Diego Unified School District. On hand to oversee the removal of the equipment and transportation to the schools, which include Hoover High, Crawford High School and Scripps Ranch High School, was Bruce Ward, Director of Physical Fitness and Athletics for the District.

“I got a call from the Chargers and they said they had some weight equipment and asked if we would be interested,” he said. “Of course we were. So I came and looked at it and they told us what they had and here we are now.”

Ward has dealt with numerous professional teams over his tenure, but he says the philanthropic nature of the Bolts blows the other teams out of the water.

“I’ve been in three states and fortunate to work with a number of organizations, and people don’t realize the Chargers are more giving than any pro team that I’ve ever seen in any of the states I’ve been in,” he said. “They are all about the students and their achievement not only physically but academically too.”
Johnston, who is just a month into his tenure as the Chargers new strength and conditioning coach, is also impressed by the generosity of the Chargers in deciding to donate this equipment.

“I think it says a lot about the organization,” he said. “It shows how it is a community oriented organization and how they are looking out to better the schools, the kids and the community here in San Diego.”


Saturday, March 16, 2013

La Jolla, Mission Bay, Kearny, Lincoln, Henry, Crawford, San Diego and Scripps Ranch test their metal's mettle

Robotics teams from Scripps Ranch High and San Diego High made it to the quarterfinals in the recent FIRST regional robotics event, joining fellow San Diego Unified schools La Jolla, Mission Bay, Kearny, Lincoln, Henry and Crawford in the annual competition.

Madison students on the line.
More photos.
This year’s game, Ultimate Ascent, is played between two alliances of three teams each. Each alliance competes by trying to score as many flying discs into their goals as possible during the two-minute and 15-second match. Discs scored in higher goals score alliances more points. Matches end with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field.

Other teams to receive awards included: La Jolla High, Regional Finalists #1; San Diego High, Highest Rookie Seed; and Madison High, Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen; and Volunteer of the Year to Cameron Dennis, one of the mentors for Madison’s team. Students from schools throughout San Diego County and southern California were joined by others from Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. More than 1,500 students were scheduled to participate.

Over a six-week time period, students work with professional engineering Mentors to design a robot that solves a problem using a Kit of Parts and a standard set of rules. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

The students rely heavily on the concepts they are learning in their Project Lead The Way engineering courses. The teams work with adult mentors over a six week period to build, program and test their robots.  San Diego Regional FIRST Robotics Competition sponsors and volunteers come from some of the most highly regarded organizations in the area including Qualcomm, SAIC, Viasat and Teradata. Sponsors provide resources including time and talent from professional mentors, services, equipment, financial contributions and volunteers.

For more information on the robotics competition, visit the FIRST website.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Superior Court welcomes high school teams for mock trials

A recent hit-and-run case in San Diego Superior Court – People v. Vega – saw teams of attorneys and countless witnesses, but what made it unique was that the participants were high school students, with six teams from San Diego Unified high schools among the 19 participating from San Diego county.
The Seventh Annual San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition places high school students in a simulated courtroom setting, where they assume the roles of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical case. Teams from six district high schools participated in the competition. La Jolla was third, Scripps Ranch placed seventh and University City was eighth. Also participating were Crawford, Lincoln and San Diego High LEADS. The winning team will represent San Diego county in the statewide competition March 22-23.

Participating students assumed the traditional courtroom roles ranging from a lawyer to a witness as they played out a hypothetical case. This year’s trial dealt with a hit-and-run accident, giving students the opportunity to debate real matters, such as the Fifth Amendment. The competition creates a space for students to apply their critical thinking skills and practice their public speaking to clearly advocate their ideas.

"Mock trials are designed to promote a greater understanding of and appreciation for the law, court procedures and the American judicial system," said Karen Dalton, Superior Court spokesperson. "The competition also offers student a real-life opportunity to challenge and improve basic life skills such as critical thinking, reading, public speaking and advocacy for ideas."

Two San Diego Unified students won awards for their participation in the trials: Luis Venegas, Crawford High, for Outstanding Witness for the Defense; and Jonathon Garcia, Lincoln High, Outstanding Witness for the Prosecution. Mentors for San Diego Unified teams included: Crawford Academy of Law, Amy Hoffman and Shereen Charlick; San Diego High LEADS, Anne Perry; Lincoln High, Sallie Blackman and Lea Fields-Bernard.

The three-day event, held Feb. 26-March 2, is organized by the San Diego County Bar Association and San Diego Superior Court, together with the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the San Diego Office of Education. For more information, go to the San Diego County Bar Association's Mock Trial web page.

Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary honors volunteers

Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School took the recent Valentines Day to honor its volunteers and show off some of the school's alumni, now members of the award-winning Madison High School Culinary Arts Program.

Madison-prepared and other goodies for volunteers.
Madison-prepared and other goodies for volunteers.
The annual celebration was attended by approximately 75 volunteers who were heard to say "delicious!" "yummy!" "wonderful!" and "I want the recipe!" when they sat down to enjoy the tea delights and sandwiches such as chicken/cranberry and walnut salad, and egg and dill salad, along with trays of delicious sliced fruits and berries. What would an afternoon tea be without desserts? The culinary students prepared the popular red velvet and lemon cupcake bites.

Madison's culinary arts program recently won the San Diego Teen Iron Chef competition and is one of six programs in the San Diego Unified School District.

Entertained by the Magnet Musicians, Lindbergh Schweitzer's own guitar students led by music instructor Linda Williams – herself a volunteer – the volunteers went home with lots of raffle prizes, table favors, and certificates.

Madison culinary students and their instructor
Madison High students and their culinary arts teacher
"Honoring these fabulous volunteers is a tradition at Lindbergh Schweitzer, one which models the importance of service to our communities," said principal Deanne Rohde. "Volunteers are another reason Lindbergh Schweitzer students are successful in the classroom and in life. Thank you, volunteers, for all you do for our students and our school!"

For additional information contact Media Production Assistant Julie Harris at or 858-496-8400.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kearny High School archers soar to the top

Kearny Komets Logo The Kearny High JROTC archery team took first place at the 2013 National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) California State Archery Tournament. The team took top honors last year as well. Madison High School’s team came in second.

Kearny’s team shot a 3,121, which is 212 points higher its score last year. Madison High School placed second with a score of 2,940. In addition to winning the team event, Kearny had the top male and female archers for the second year in a row. The tournament win automatically qualifies the Kearny High team for the NASP Nationals in Louisville, KY in May.

For more information contact Dallas Poynter at  or 858-496-4907, ext. 2131.

PrimeTime Applications now available for 2013-14

PrimeTime, San Diego Unified's extended-day program, is accepting applications for the 2013-14 school year through May 3.

PrimeTime ProgramParents/guardians are reminded that all students need to apply, even those currently in the program, in order to be considered for next school year. PrimeTime Extended Day Program provides elementary and middle school students with a fun and engaging learning environment during the hours that most parents/guardians are working. Parents/guardians can feel comfortable knowing their children are not only receiving professional academic support, but are also interacting with peers in a physically and emotionally safe environment.

Students can “get in the Zone” in the PrimeTime environment by participating in structured activities with their friends. Art, music, athletics, and cooperative team-building games, are just a few of the invigorating activities children will participate in during the prime part of the day.

PrimeTime is offered at 132 schools and serves more than 20,000 students. Applications will be sent home with children and are available online. To be included in the initial review and enrollment process, applications must be sent via US Mail to the PrimeTime partner providing services at the child’s school, postmarked on or before May 3, 2013.

Applications are prioritized based on the child's participation in the program during 2012-13 or on the 2012-13 waiting list, single-parent or a household with a parent in the military on deployment (orders required), parent/guardian's full-time employment or status as a full-time student, or a child recommended for academic assistance by his or her school. For more details, see the application packet. Parents/guardians are scheduled to be notified by June 28.

In addition to the PrimeTime staff at the San Diego Unified School District’s Extended Learning Opportunities Department, the PrimeTime team is a collaboration among many departments, programs and individuals who work together to make the program the best it can be. District departments including Food Services, School Police, Nursing and Wellness, as well as school principals, teachers and parents. They work with our community partners, Bayview Charities, Greater San Diego After-School All Stars, Harmonium, International Center for Education and Sports, Social Advocates for Youth, Union of Pan Asian Communities, and YMCA of San Diego to offer full service, enriched and fun learning environment for all students at each site.

For more information regarding PrimeTime contact the Extended Learning Opportunities Department at (858) 627-7562.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

‘Read Across America’ continues tradition of honoring Dr. Seuss

Supt. Bill Kowba with Chief of Staff Bernie Rhinerson
at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary.
Elementary and K-8 schools across San Diego Unified School District celebrated Read Across America Day last week, honoring the birthday of San Diegan Theodore Geisel – better known as Dr. Seuss – by inviting volunteers, neighbors and local celebrities to read The Cat in the Hat and other Seuss classics to elementary children.

Readers ranged from San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, Board of Education members and district senior staff to members of Engine 18 at the San Diego Fire Department.

At Carver Elementary School in City Heights, Mayor Filner joined the firefighters. Filner, a former San Diego Unified Board of Education member, read his favorite Dr. Seuss book, Thidwick The Big Hearted Moose.

Carver’s student celebrated the week by studying words to describe character’s emotions. In addition they acted out two Seuss classics, The Sneetches and Hooray for Diffendoofer Day, followed by a schoolwide parade where students marched as storybook characters.

Bayview Terrace, Carson, Encanto Academy, Garfield, Hardy, Kimbrough, and Lindbergh Schweitzer were among the other schools with Read Across America celebrations.

At Lindbergh Schweitzer, Supt. Bill Kowba and Chief of Staff Bernie Rhinerson were guest readers. The students presented Kowba with a retirement cake (Kowba retires June 30).

Encanto Elementary School welcomed its community partner, the US Navy Meteorological Command, and other friends of the school for a day of reading.

In its 16th year, Read Across America Day is the nation’s largest reading celebration. More than 45 million people around the country participate annually to highlight the importance of developing a love for reading at an early age. The event is sponsored by the National Education Association with support from more than 50 national nonprofit and association partners. Locally, everyone-from schools to libraries to community centers to churches to hospitals to bookstores-is invited to host local events to celebrate and promote children's reading. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

‘Get Connected’ with Superintendent-Designate Cindy Marten

District Logo Banner
Getting Connected
In the Community with Cindy Marten

Superintendent Designate

Principal Central Elementary
Bill Kowba Welcome Cindy. It has been my honor and privilege to serve San Diego Unified students, staff and community during the last seven years. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to lead the district during the last four years as Superintendent. In the final months before my retirement, I will be working closely with our new superintendent, Cindy Marten, to help her transition to the superintendency.

In the coming weeks, Cindy's first priority is to be out in the community listening to our staff, parents and other stakeholders. She will be collecting ideas, perspectives and issues to consider in pursuing quality schools in every neighborhood. With this new email update "Getting Connected", Cindy will share her community schedule each week and briefly share her thoughts about what she is hearing and learning about the district.

Let's all give Cindy a warm welcome as our new superintendent and help her get started on the next chapter for San Diego Unified.
bill kowba signature

Welcome to Getting Connected

Cindy with Kids
Photo Credit: Courtesy of UT San Diego/Peggy Peattie
What an incredible honor it is to be selected by the Board of Education as the next Superintendent of San Diego Unified. The heart-felt welcome and well wishes I've been receiving from the community-at-large have energized me to fully embrace this opportunity to work together on behalf of our children.

Supt. Kowba and I met last Tuesday to design a smooth and seamless transition plan. During the next four months of taking on my new role, I will spend significant time connecting with our staff, parents, students and community members. I look forward to learning more about the district through my interactions with all of you.

As an educator, I have seen the power of community engagement in building highly effective schools. I am committed to working with each cluster community to ensure that we have a quality school in every neighborhood.

Please share this email with anyone interested in public education. Be sure to subscribe to the updates I'll be sending weekly. I invite you to join me in the coming weeks at any of the events listed below. Also, please invite me to any events or forums that you would like me to attend. You can email me at .

My goal in the next several months is to reach out to every corner of our fine district to listen and learn about your hopes and dreams for the education of our children. I am filled with hope as I invite you to join me as we continue to build the best public school system in the nation.


Highlights from Last Week

I have always kept an active schedule doing things in the community to support children and public education. Last week was no exception.

Chelsea's Run
March 1 McKinley Elementary Variety Show, "Together We Are Stronger," I enjoyed a wonderful display of student talent at one of our great neighborhood schools.
March 2 Chelsea's Run I have worked closely with the King family as they developed the Chelsea's Light Foundation to honor the memory of their daughter. Each year I participate in the Run and celebrate Chelsea's life and the wonderful student scholarships made in her memory. One of our own San Diego Unified students, Korral Taylor from Lincoln High School, was one of the scholarship winners last year. We hope to see more from San Diego Unified this year.

Upcoming Events

March 12 Noon - 1 p.m. Urban Corps, SDG&E Tree planting at Franklin Elementary
March 13 7 - 8:30 p.m. Terra Alta Park Neighborhood Park Alliance meeting at Central Elementary
March 14 1:10 p.m. K to College Kick-off at Bayview Terrace Elementary
4 p.m. Kearny Cluster meeting at Kearny High
7 p.m. Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Special Education meeting at Ballard Center
March 21 5:30 p.m.  Clairemont Cluster meeting at Marston Middle Media Center
March 25 4:30 p.m. University City Cluster meeting at University City High
5:30 p.m.  Mira Mesa Cluster meeting at Mira Mesa High Library
6 p.m.  San Diego Unified Council of PTAs General Meeting at Ballard Center

Cindy Marten, Superintendent Designate

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"If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves."

- Thomas Edison