Saturday, August 31, 2013

Be a part of education in San Diego: get involved in district committees

Advisory committees provide important public input to the Board of Education, Superintendent, Principals and other staff on issues facing the school district. The meetings are open to the public. Here is a list of some of the committees serving the San Diego Unified School District.

District English Learning Advisory Committee (DELAC)

The District English Learning Advisory Committee (DELAC) is made of up representatives from each school’s English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC), required if there are more than 21 English learners in that school. The school committee advises the principal and staff on programs and services for English learners.

The DELAC’s role is to advise the district on the programs and services that the district provides to English learners.

This year, for the first time, there will be a student representative in on the District English Learning Advisory Committee Executive Board.
Contact Valentina Hernandez, 2013-14 DELAC Chairperson, at or call (619) 366-0379.

The upcoming DELAC general meetings are on Oct. 3, Nov. 7., Dec. 5, 2013; Jan. 23, Feb. 20, March 20, May 15 and June 12, 2014 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Ballard Parent Center at 2375 Congress Street (92110) in Old Town. Parents, teachers, administrators and community members are welcomed.

Gifted And Talented Education District Advisory Committee (GATE DAC)

The goals and objectives of the GATE DAC are to advise district leadership on gifted program development, planning and implementation as required by state law, act as regional liaison to school sites for development of gifted programs, act as resource persons for district-wide parent meetings, channel community questions concerning district-wide programs for follow-up and action, set DAC priorities for program review, discussion and explanation during monthly meetings, and review district program objectives, activities, budget timelines and annual evaluation.

Contact Katie Anderson, GATE DAC co chair, at or (858) 663-6808. Also find information at

The first meeting is from 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, Sept., 9, at the Ballard Parent Center, 2375 Congress Street, (92110).

Community Advisory Committee For Special Education (CAC)

The Community Advisory Committee For Special Education (CAC) advises the Board of Education and Special Education Program staff about the Special Education Local Plan (SELPA), annual priorities, parent education and other special education-related activities. California Education Code mandates that each SELPA must have a CAC and that a majority of members be parents.

General meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.; see for locations. These meetings are open to the public.

For more information, contact Christy Scadden, CAC chairperson, at or (619) 725-7650. Information is also available at

The first meeting is at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Ballard Parent Center, 2375 Congress Street (92110).

District Advisory Council For Compensatory Education (DAC)

The District Advisory Council For Compensatory Education (DAC) focuses on the funding that flows into San Diego Unified from the state and federal government for students that are socioeconomically disadvantaged.
The DAC is a parent-led district advisory group that provides training, data, and budget information concerning funds that are meant to target to socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Participants are prepared to discuss and offer advice to a school site council, district staff, the Superintendent and the Board of Education. Each School Site Council that participates in state and federally funded programs and sends a representative to each DAC meeting to vote on funding priorities for this money and to relay important district information to the school’s SSC. Contact Amy Redding, DAC chairperson at or see for more information.
The meetings are generally scheduled at 6:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month at Ballard Parent Center, 2375 Congress Street (92110). The first meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New principals welcoming students at schools

Permanent principal assignments have been made at 38 schools as of Aug. 28, with several vacancies still remaining.

Here is a list of the principals and the schools they will be supervising.
  • Bethune K-12: Felicia Singleton-Daniel
  • Central Elementary: Elizabeth Castillo-Duvall 
  • Chavez Elementary: Francisco Santos
  • Chesterton Elementary: Rudy Derige
  • Clairemont High: Jennifer Roberson
  • Crown Point Elementary: Muriel Bartolini
  • Dailard Elementary: Beverly Fitzpatrick
  • Dana Middle School: Scott Irwin
  • E.B. Scripps Elementary: Elizabeth Sloan
  • Ericson Elementary: Barbara Israel
  • Farb Middle School: Courtney Rizzo
  • Fay Elementary: Armando Tovar
  • Franklin Elementary: Magdalena Tavasci
  • Garfield Elementary: Barhoumi Eulalia
  • Hamilton Elementary: Diana   Grijalva
  • Hardy Elementary: Laura Alluin
  • Hickman Elementary: Joan Nelson
  • Jerabek  Elementary: Susan DeVicariis
  • John Muir K-12: Laura Bellofatto
  • Kearny DMD and CTA:     Cheryl Hibbeln
  • Kearny SIB and SCT: Ana Diaz- Booz
  • Lee Elementary: Rachel Escobedo
  • Marshall Elementary: Farias Armando
  • Montgomery Middle:   Lenora Smith
  • Ocean Beach Elementary: Marco Drapeau
  • Penn Elementary: Maria Gomez
  • Perry Elementary: Karen Mooney
  • Point Loma High School: Hans    Becker
  • Riley/New Dawn: Danielle Clark
  • San Diego High MVPA: Casillas Christina
  • Sessions Elementary: Margaret Joseph
  • Taft Middle: Joel   Spengler
  • Torrey Pines Elementary: Sarah Ott
  • Washington Elementary: David Crum
  • Webster Elementary: Carmi Strom
  • Wegeforth Elementary: Lori   Sandoval 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back-to-School event prepares students, parents for the new school year

Hundreds of students and parents got a jump start on the new school year at the Back-to-School event held Saturday, Aug. 24, at Lincoln High School. Attendees enjoyed free educational workshops, entertainment, activities and giveaways.

Workshops covered everything from healthy eating habits and child nutrition to San Diego Unified’s new graduation requirements that call on all students to pass the sequence of classes needed to apply to a CSU or UC university. Parents of students with disabilities had the opportunity to learn how they can navigate their child’s individualized education plan (IEP), a personalized blueprint that is established for students with disabilities.

An information fair connected attendees with schools and community organizations that provide much needed programs and services for the entire family. Free continental breakfast and lunch were served to all participants. Children who attended received a free sack pack filled with school supplies, thanks to the Office Depot Foundation.

Numerous community and business partners came together in support of the event, including UpForEd, Walmart, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the San Diego Education Association. Special thanks to Board of Education Trustee Marne Foster for spearheading the effort.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Free and Reduced Lunch Policy Announced

The San Diego Unified School District has announced its policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The Food Services central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The household size and income criteria identified below will be used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price (currently there is no charge for reduced-price meals in San Diego Unified School District), or full-price meal benefits (meal prices are $1.00 for breakfast, $2.00 for elementary lunch, and $2.50 for secondary lunch). Children from households whose gross income is at or below the levels shown here are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Households who receive CalFresh (also known as SNAP or Food Stamps), California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments (Kin-GAP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits are automatically eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household in which they reside.

Application Forms will be distributed to households with a letter informing them of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for enrolled children. Applications are also available in the school office. To apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits, households must complete an application and return it to the school office or mail it to the central Food Services office for processing. Households may also apply on-line by going to and selecting the School Meal Info/Application shortcut. Applications may be submitted at any time during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used to determine meal eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or program officials.

Requirements for school officials to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits are as follows: For households receiving CalFresh (also known as SNAP or Food Stamps), CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR benefits – applications need to only include the enrolled child(ren)'s name, CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, name of the household member receiving benefits, and the signature of an adult household member. For households who do not list a CalFresh CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, the application must include the names of all household members, the gross monthly amount and source of the income received by each household member, and the signature and corresponding last four digits of the adult household members Social Security number. If the household member who signs the application does not have a Social Security number, the household member must check the box indicating on the application that they do not have a Social Security number.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the determining official(s), as designated by the San Diego Unified School District Food Services Department, shall review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the eligibility ruling may discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Parents may also make a formal request for an appeal hearing of the decision and may do so orally or in writing with the Food Services hearing official. Parents or guardians should contact Food Services for specific information regarding the name of the determining official and/or hearing official for San Diego Unified School District.

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact Food Services. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the levels as shown below.

Households that receive CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR benefits may not have to complete an Application for Free or Reduced-Price Meals. Food Services officials will determine eligibility for free meals based on documentation obtained directly from the CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR office that a child is a member of a household currently receiving CalFresh or FDPIR benefits or an assistance unit receiving CalWORKs or Kin-GAP benefits. Food Services officials will notify households of their eligibility prior to the start of school.

To find out more about the free and reduced-price meal program, contact Food Services at (858) 627-7328 or on the web at and select the School Meal Info/Application.
San Diego Unified School District also participates in the National School Lunch/Breakfast Programs Provision 2 program which is a program that reduces application burdens, simplifies meal counting and claiming procedures, and provides meals at no charge to all students attending schools operating under Provision 2. In the 2013-2014 school year, the following schools will begin the base year of Provision 2: Bell MS, Farb MS, e3 Civic High, America’s Finest Charter School, King Chavez Preparatory, Arroyo Paseo, Penn ES. The district has 91 other schools participating in Provision 2 where all students are receiving meals at no charge; for a listing of schools, please go to

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

2013-14 Income

Monday, August 26, 2013

Safety tips can make back-to-school incident free

With the new school year beginning on Tuesday, September 3, it is important for students and the public to remember they need to exercise additional caution on or around school campuses.

It is important for parents to remember to always set a good example for children, whether walking, riding or driving.

Our schools have designated drop off zones; use them! Because many parents drive their students to school, there can be traffic at schools in the morning and afternoon. Follow the rules established by the school. Your child’s safety is worth a few minutes in traffic.

To ensure maximum safety of all students, San Diego Unified School District suggests students and parents abide by the following guidelines set by the National Safe Kids Campaign (

In addition, San Diego Unified’s website has many tips for pedestrian safety in both English ( and Spanish (

Here are a few reminders.

Walking to School

Teach children the following pedestrian safety rules:
  • Do not cross the street alone if you're younger than age 10.
  • Never play in the road.
  • Always try to walk on paths or sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks or paths, walk facing road traffic.
  • Look both ways for danger before and while crossing the street.
  • Dress in bright colors or wear reflective materials so drivers can easily see you.
  • Follow school traffic rules for dropping off students. Be aware of crosswalks
  • Every person riding in a car or truck needs his or her own seat belt. Do not let passengers ride in storage areas or on other people's laps.
  • Children should always ride in a back seat restrained in a car seat or safety belt.
  • Wear a bicycle or motorcycle helmet on every ride (state law).
  • Ride so drivers and cyclists can see you.
  • Look both ways for oncoming vehicles before turning or crossing a street. Go only when it is clear.
  • Watch out for potholes, cracks, rocks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that could make you lose control of your bike.
  • Make sure your bike fits your height, weight and age.
Riding the Bus
  • Have children arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled arrival of the bus. Children should stay out of the street while waiting and not horseplay.
  • Urge children to remain seated on the bus at all times and not shout or distract the driver. Children should know to keep their head and arms inside the bus at all times.
  • Make sure children know to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting on or off. Children should be made aware that the driver has a “blind spot” -- the area from the front of the bus to about 10 feet in front of the bus - and they should not walk in this area after getting off.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Technology helps cut district landscaping water usage

More than $20,000 is expected to be saved in the next school year and San Diego Unified will help the region conserve water with a new irrigation management control system for its nearly 200 facilities.

The new Ethernet-connected devices at district facilities will allow greater efficiency and more cost effective remote monitoring of irrigation systems.This system monitors and controls irrigation systems using weather, vegetation type, and other data to help the San Diego Unified conserve water usage at nearly 200 facilities.
During the 2012-13 school year, Keith Hetzler and Tom Groot, Irrigation Control Specialists, and the Telecommunications Department coordinated efforts to successfully support the installation of Ethernet communication converters in place of old phone lines and modems within San Diego Unified's existing Central Irrigation Management Control System.

This changeover in hardware will realize an immediate payback in its first year of operation. For additional information contact Jim Hallauer, Planned Projects Supervisor, Scripps Mesa Zone at, 858-627-7116.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Longfellow History Teacher Goes Back in Time on the East Coast

Longfellow Middle School History teacher Kimberly de Berzunza spent three weeks this Summer living and breathing part of her U.S. History curriculum on the steamy east coast.

De Berzunza
De Berzunza was one of 80 teachers selected from around the nation to spend a week in Old Deerfield, Massachusetts, studying the 1704 French and Indian Raid on the frontier outpost village in a workshop entitled “Living on the Edge of Empire.” Hosted by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association as one of 21 competitive National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops, de Berzunza learned first-hand about the violent capture of 112 English colonists, before creating a lesson plan using a variety of primary sources for students to consider different perspectives on the event.

De Berzunza also visited President Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, outside Charlottesville, Virginia, as one of 13 Barringer Research Fellows selected from around the nation and Great Britain to research and write curriculum related to Jefferson. De Berzunza spent two weeks at Monticello and the nearby Jefferson Library studying Jefferson’s attitudes and policies toward American Indians, and writing three lesson plans for the Monticello Classroom website.

Students were required to analyze historical primary and secondary sources to consider how Jefferson’s attitudes and philosophy influenced his policies.
While in the area, de Berzunza also stopped in at the Shenandoah National Forest, the University of Virginia’s Special Collections Library, the homes of presidents James Monroe and James Madison and Chief Justice John Marshall, and the White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.
De Berzunza looks forward to bringing these new experiences and understandings to her Longfellow students in meaningful and exciting ways. de Berzunza may be reached at

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

San Diego's got backpacks thanks to Nick Cannon, Office Depot

Award-winning actor, comedian and host of “America's Got Talent” Nick Cannon joined the Office Depot Foundation to distributed 4,000 colorful new sackpacks to deserving children served by non-profit organizations, schools and agencies in the San Diego area.

Happy backpack recipients
The Foundation – the independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot®  – presented the sackpacks, which contain essential school supplies, during a special “Back-to- School Celebration” at the Mission Valley Office Depot store on Aug. 22.
The non-profit organizations, schools and agencies that to received sackpacks at the event included Pazzaz Inc./New ERAA Planning Committee (in collaboration with the San Diego Unified School District), Bayside Community Center, YMCA of San Diego County.

This is the eighth consecutive year that the Office Depot Foundation has donated backpacks or sackpacks to Pazzaz for the New ERAA event.

"In keeping with our mission – Listen Learn Care − we created these fun and exciting sackpacks in response to what kids have told us they like,” says Foundation President Mary Wong. “Every year, we have seen our donations bring hope to children whose families might not be able to afford to buy school supplies. Parents and teachers alike tell us that we truly are helping children to build self-confidence, boost self-esteem and achieve greater success in the classroom – all as a result of being properly prepared for school.”

Through the award-winning National Backpack Program, which is now in its 12th year, the Office Depot Foundation plans to help children prepare for school by donating 400,000 sackpacks across the United States and internationally – the most ever in a single year. The sturdy, specially designed sackpacks come in seven different color combinations with kidfriendly graphics.

By the end of 2012, Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation will have helped more than 2.9 million children since the inception of the program in 2001.

To give sackpacks to children this year, the Foundation is hosting more than 25 “Back-to-School Celebrations” in cities across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico – five of which will include Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet in the NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series™.
In addition, thousands of sackpacks are being distributed through Office Depot stores in hundreds of local communities and in collaboration with Office Depot’s Business Solutions Division in select cities.

Thousands more are being given to kids through the Foundation’s partnerships with a dozen non-profit organizations serving children nationally and internationally. The Foundation has teamed up with four new partners this year − AARP Experience Corps, Food For The Poor, Operation Homefront, and Speedway Children’s Charities. Continuing partners include the Tony Stewart Foundation, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, Feed The Children, the Kids In Need Foundation, Zach Bonner’s Little Red Wagon Foundation, the National Foundation for Women Legislators, and Samaritan’s Feet International, which will distribute sackpacks both nationally and overseas.

For the fifth consecutive year, donations will be made to children of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. For information on the Foundation and its initiatives, go to More information about the National Backpack Program can be found on Facebook at You can also follow the Foundation on Twitter at The National Backpack Program’s hashtag is #OfficeDepotFndnKids.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Supt. Marten talks about back-to-school 2013

IN THE NEWS: Supt. Cindy Marten visits TV morning shows with message that it will be an exciting school year, her first as superintendent.

Watch video

Monday, August 19, 2013

JROTC students sharpen science, tech, engineering, math skills

Science camp For the third consecutive year, the JROTC Program in the San Diego Unified School District has partnered with the College of Engineering at San Diego State University to offer 55 cadets the opportunity to attend the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp this summer. The concept of the program was a fully-funded, five-day residential experience on the SDSU campus from July 30-Aug 3.

The STEM camp was a great success as students were introduced to the rigor of engineering, bio-medical, robotics and bio-tech curricula. Hands-on experiments included building of programmable robotic devices, studying the functions and dissection of a heart and bridge design and testing. The cadets also had to opportunity to brief Cindy Marten, San Diego Unified Superintendent, on the STEM camp and the district JROTC program.

Throughout the week, cadets were housed in a university dorm with all meals provided and gain an excellent understanding of campus life. They were also given a campus tour and a personalized admissions briefing. This program was initiated through the support of Dr. Bruce Westermo, Associate Dean in the College of Engineering at San Diego State University and LTC David Guzman, the district JROTC Program Manager.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Jones PrimeTime Performs Musical to Teach Student Body About Science

Utilizing the performing arts to teach children about outer space and science, while having fun, was the objective as the  PrimeTime program at Jones Elementary School put on a production of the “Space School Musical” for the entire student body.

Approximately 75 PrimeTime students participated in the event on July 11 after practicing for several months. Megan Babcock is the site supervisor; her activity leader, Janelle Fejeran, was the director of the musical.

The Space School Musical is a program developed by NASA’s Discovery Program as part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum movement in education across the United States. EDP Site Supervisors participated in this STEM training prior to the 2012-2013 school year and left the training with resources and activities that could be implemented in the Extended Day programs. .
This was the first time a SAY EDP site brought NASA’s Space School Musical to their school.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

La Jolla High’s new athletic director brings sports passion to post

Paula Conway. Courtesy La Jolla Light.IN THE NEWS: Coming from the Midwest, La Jolla High School’s new athletic director Paula Conway said she has a passion for sports. As she tells it, during football season, her hometown in Ohio would shut down on Friday nights. “Everything revolved around high school athletics,” she said. Read more from the La Jolla Light»

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Free Tdap shots available Aug. 19

Free Tdap shots will be available to San Diego Unified School District students needing them from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Monday, Aug. 19, at Madison High School, Room 103, 4833 Doliva Drive (92117). Room 103 is located across from the main parking lot.

Click to go to Centers for Disease Control Children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian to receive the free Tdap booster at the clinic.

California law requires that all students going into seventh grade be immunized with a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine booster called Tdap. Schools must receive proof of the Tdap booster before the student can attend class in the fall unless they have a documented exemption. In addition, any student transferring into grades 8-12 will also need to show proof of Tdap booster given after the age of 7 years.

Parents, if your child received the Tdap booster over the summer, email the information to Adrienne Lenhoff at

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

'In The Heights' is latest collaboration with SCPA, San Diego Rep theater

IN THE NEWS: Tony-winning show boasts energetic dancing, solid vocals, says reviewer from UT San Diego. Read more.

Friday, August 9, 2013

San Diego Unified Honors Summer Grads

IN THE NEWS: Most of San Diego Unified’s graduates donned caps and gowns in June. But parents, friends, siblings and others filled the auditorium at Lincoln High School on Friday to cheer on almost 80 San Diego Unified grads who couldn’t walk with their classmates when the school year ended. Most had classes left to finish or the state high school exit exam to pass. See more from KPBS»

Thursday, August 8, 2013

San Diego Unified Tops State's Big District in English Language Arts, Science Scores

Overall results mirror slim gains statewide as achievement gap persists

Students in the San Diego Unified School District performed better than their counterparts in the other large California school districts on English Language Arts and Science tests in 2012, according to results of the annual Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) assessments released today by the California Department of Education.

However, across the state scores "slipped by a fraction of a percentage point this year as schools dealt with ongoing budget reductions and the transition to the Common Core State Standards," state Supt. Tom Torlakson said in prepared remarks. San Diego Unified's results showed little gain or loss.

The data show that among the state's largest school districts, San Diego Unified has the top scores in English Language Arts and NCLB Science; San Francisco and Garden Grove are the next in line. Other large districts used in the comparison are those in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Fresno, San Bernardino, Sacramento and Oakland.

"Our scores this year reflect the leveling off that has been seen around the state," said Dr. John Lee Evans, Board of Education president. "Despite draconian budget cuts over the last six years, our teachers and students have remained focused on teaching and learning. Now it appears those billions of dollars in budget cuts are starting to catch up with us."

Evans noted that the budget pressures are easing with the Governor's new Local Control Funding Formula, which will allow local districts more discretion over spending, and the additional funds which will come from last year's passage of Prop. 30.

"We're not out of the woods yet, but I believe that the new funding sources will allow us to resume the past momentum," he said.

The challenge of eliminating the achievement gaps between ethnic groups continues. For example, in English Language Arts, Hispanics showed a slight gain, while other groups showed a slight loss; all of the losses and gains across the various subjects were less than 2 percent.

"We're looking forward to the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which will help students think more critically and deeply," said Dr. Nellie Meyer, Deputy Superintendent School Support Services. "This will ensure a strong and consistent education for all students."

Superintendent Cindy Marten said the test scores show the district is on the right track.

"You can't judge us alone by our test scores, but comparing us to other, similar large districts certainly shows the hard work done by everyone at San Diego Unified," she said. "These scores will help us focus our work on creating quality schools in every neighborhood; I call on all San Diegans to do what they can to help us build a great district."

Crawford High collaboration honored by State Bar of California

Crawford High School
IN THE NEWS: Thomas Jefferson School of Law's Crawford Legal Institute Mentorship Bond Program gets Education Pipeline Award from California State Bar. Read more from San Diego Daily Transcript»

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Superintendent talks about goals for district

In The News
IN THE NEWS: Superintendent Cindy Marten discussed her plans for the San Diego Unified School District and educational philosophies on the Roger Hedgecock Show.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Smart Start Program from San Diego County Sheriff brings together new drivers and parents/guardians

The Start Smart Program is an opportunity for new drivers and their parents/guardians to clearly understand their responsibilities when a teen starts to drive. Taught by trained law enforcement personnel, it creates awareness of possible consequences, both financial and physical, of distracted or impaired driving, and provides applicable information about collision prevention.

The class also clarifies the restrictions of the Provisional License Law and touches on social host ordinances. The often-graphic videos and daunting statistics provide a powerful reality check that lingers long after the classroom instruction.

Following the two-hour class, each teen is presented a certificate of completion along with a custom-designed key-chain bearing the theme of the Teen Safe Driving Program, which will serve as a reminder each time he or she starts the car. This is a concerted effort intended to reduce the risks associated with teen driving.

We encourage you to contact your local Sheriff’s station to sign up for a Start Smart class in your area. See the Sheriff's Department website for locations and times»

Monday, August 5, 2013

San Diego City Council honors 2013 Mira Mesa graduate

The San Diego City Council declared July 26, 2013, Arnelle Sambile Day, in honor of the recently graduated Mira Mesa High School student who performed nearly 10,000 hours of community service during the 2012-13 school year.
Arnelle Sambile Day
"This young lady, arnelle, was in 2012, was recognized by the Girls World Expo as the 'Girl of Merit,': said Council Member Lori Zaph. She was the Wing Commander for the Air Force JROTC unit at Mira Mesa High and was named Cadet of the Year by the California Air Force Association.
"Because of all your service in high school and all the things that you accomplished, I felt it was fitting that the City of San Diego commend you for all your efforts," said Zaph. "Not just commend you, but -- this is pretty special -- you have a day in your honor."Watch video»

Friday, August 2, 2013

Class of 2013 comes to close with all-district Summer Commencement Ceremony

High school seniors who hadn't fulfilled graduation requirements in time for June ceremonies with their high school class will take the graduation walk in San Diego Unified's annual Summer Commencement Ceremony, 2:30 p.m. Friday, August 2, at Lincoln High School, 4777 Imperial Ave. (92111).

"These students have been working towards this goal their entire lives,"said Superintendent Cindy Marten, who will officiate at the ceremony. "Truly, they've lived by our 'no excuses' rule and have made it through many challenges. They deserve to take the ceremonial walk of graduates."

Students from all of the district's 18 high school campuses will participate. Each student's name, as in the traditional ceremony, is read aloud, and students wear the caps and gowns in their school's traditional colors.

Seniors who participated are those who may not have passed the California
High School Exit Exam in time for June graduation, or needed summer school
to pick up credits needed to graduate.

The special summer ceremony has been a district tradition since 2005. Before this late-summer ceremony was established, students would eventually receive a diploma by mail but wouldn't be able to participate in a graduation ceremony.

High school graduation requirements include 44 semester credits, a 2.0 or
higher grade point average, science and math course requirements, and passing the exit exam.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Project Ujima families to study historic Montford Point Marines

Families in San Diego Unified's African-American parent program, Project Ujima, will be getting to know members of the historic Montford Point Marines next school year -- and sharing their stories with San Diego -- thanks to a $9,986 Community Stories Grant from Cal Humanities.
Project Ujima
Montford Point Marine veteran Joe Jackson shows his Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to all of the Montford Point Marines in 2011.
Students and their parents/guardians will interview the first African-Americans in the Marine Corps, called Montfort Point Marines after the segregated training center used for blacks from the Corps' integration in 1941 through 1949. Other African-American Marines are also planned to be interviewed for their perspective on the contribution of blacks to the Corps.

"This grant offers our families a unique opportunity to work with the Montford Point Marines of San Diego, our project partners, and broader San Diego community to develop inspirational stories," said Elneda Shannon, Project Ujima Director. "The reality of the Montford Point Marines affirms the strength and resiliency of everyday people, lessons we hope are learned our kids and families."

San Diego is home to several original members of the Montford Point Marines and an active chapter of the Montford Point Marine Association. According to information on the official Marine Corps website, the Montford Point Marines were the first African-Americans in the Corps, following President Franklin Roosevelt's desegregation of the federal government in 1941.

During World War II, approximately 20,000 African-American recruits were trained at Montford Point Camp, according to the website. Though their training was segregated, they went through the same demanding process as all other recruits, ultimately earning the title "Marine." Though officials were initially worried that allowing African-Americans into the Marine Corps would cause racial dissension in the ranks, once they were given the chance to prove themselves, it became impossible to deny that they were just as capable and deserving of the title "Marine" as all other Marines.

Project Ujima, based at San Diego Unified's Ballard Parent Center, is a dynamic program devoted entirely to engaging African-American families in reaching that all-important goal: student academic success.

The grant comes from the Cal Humanities Community Stories Program. According to Cal Humanities, Grants are awarded for projects that give expression to the extraordinary variety of histories and experiences of California’s places and people to ensure that the stories can be shared widely. These narratives help Californians to find cultural commonalities, appreciate differences and learn something new about how to live well together.

“With our state’s incredible diversity, fostering communication and connecting people to a range of ideas is vital for our general welfare,” Said Ralph Lewin, president and CEO of Cal Humanities. “Our grant award enables awardees to pursue the important work of engaging new audiences in conversations around stories of significance to Californians.”

Since 2003, Cal Humanities has supported approximately 400 story projects and granted nearly $3 million to enable communities to voice, record, and share histories- many previously untold or little known. Through video, photography, murals, zines, documentary theater, audio project, and more, these collected stories have been shared with broad audiences, both live and virtual. Cal Humanities is an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on Cal Humanities, please visit