Saturday, May 31, 2014

Water conservation video awards go to SD High, e3Civic, Madison, Scripps Ranch, Pt. Loma, SCPA

Videographers and producers from Madison, Scripps Ranch, Pt. Loma, SCPA and San Diego high schools, as well as the charter e3 Civic High School, have placed in the City of San Diego's "San Diegans Waste No Water" film contest.

The Breakup, Pt. Loma High Winning filmmakers Ana Little-Sana and Mia Rollins from E3 Civic High School took home the grand prize for their film How to Reuse Greywater, which features great cinematography and includes three simple tips on how to waste no water at home. Second place went to a team from Southwestern College.

Third place went to Bobby Gregory and Tierra Delvey from San Diego High School for their film “Save the Drain” which emphasizes one easy way to save water when taking a bath or shower.

Other finalists from San Diego Unified schools
  • Madison High: Water Conservation, Donte Grady, Jake Huckabone, Melanie Setterbrg and Elijah Varela.
  • Pt. Loma High: Water is as Sweet as Candy, Brian Lithicum and Declan Robinson; Wasteland, Black Brubaker and Devon Knox; The Breakup, Kimberly Cole and Louise Johansen; Water Ninjas, Luis De La Torre and Airiana Perez.
  • San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts: Waste No Water, Kyle Punzalan.
  • Scripps Ranch High: Waste No Water, Viraj Mandania, Kyle Mullin, Matt Rudick and Brandon Vu.
All finalists are eligible for the Viewer’s Choice Award, with voting on the "San Diegans Waste No Water" Facebook page through June 5, World Environment Day.

The short films had their debuts at a May 21 event at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center's IMAX Theater in Balboa Park. San Diego City Council Member Marti Emerald hosted the event and praised the filmmakers.

“Our talented local youth are using their creativity in film to draw attention to the serious drought our city and state are in” said Emerald. “It is so great to see these students using their talent and imagination toward conserving one of our most precious resources. This year’s record 84 entries prove that the message to Waste No Water is being passed down to the next generation and that San Diegans have embraced as a way of life.”

All the videos are online.

Additional information about the film contest and the event details are available online at To request information about the contest or obtain copies of the finalists’ entries, please contact Destree Lazo Bascos at (619) 232-2112, ext. 108 or at

Friday, May 30, 2014

PTA salutes dedication of volunteers working with children at San Diego schools

Volunteer hours
What's the value of PTA volunteer hours?

According to the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs, it is $7,638,632.10. That's more than half the amount that San Diego Unified receives in a typical year from the California Lottery.

The San Diego Unified Council of PTA’s held its annual Founders Day Celebration at San Diego State University  on May 19. The recognizes the founders of the PTA, including Alice Birney and Phoebe Hearst, and provided the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions that parents, teachers, principals, and community volunteers make at our schools.

Derby Pattengill, President of the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs, presented Board President Kevin Beiser (pictured above) with a symbolic check for $7,638,632.10. The check represents the monetary equivalent of  the volunteer hours contributed by PTA volunteers during the 2013-14 school year. Board President Beiser said, “the value of time and effort invested by our PTA volunteers is beyond measure.”

"The San Diego Unified Council of PTA’s is proud to work alongside the district to support students,”  said Pattengill. "Last year, the symbolic check was for $4.2 million, and this year, it is at $7.6 million. This represents a large increase in the amount of time, energy and enthusiasm that PTA volunteers bring to schools."

This year marked the council's 25th year.

Fletcher Elementary students' question answered by astronaut on space station

Fifth-grade students Eric Davis and Alyssa Gomez at Fletcher Elementary School in the Birdland neighborhood had their questions answered by Astronaut Steve Swanson while he was orbiting in the International Space Station.
Eric Davis
Alyssa Gomez

Swanson's downlink from the orbiting space station was posted on the CNN website; a correspondent from the news network contacted Fletcher and recorded the interviews with the students on May 16.

Watch video

Thursday, May 29, 2014

iHigh’s online dual enrollment program recognized by Classroom of the Future Foundation

iHigh Virtual Academy’s Online Dual Enrollment Program received the Classroom of the Future Foundation’s Achieve Award at the annual Innovation Awards ceremony on May 21.
People celebrating the award
The award recognizes “the tangible program results that drive student learning. It specifically focuses on the program evidence that directly correlates to positive student outcomes.” During the past four years, San Diego Unified high school students have completed over 2,800 full-version course credits through the iHigh Dual Enrollment Program. Of these, almost 1,500 credits were completed by graduating seniors.

The program’s success is the result of a collaborative, ongoing partnership between the iHigh teachers and a special cadre of high school counselors, grad coaches and mentors from across the district. iHigh wishes to thank our district partners, the Classroom of the Future Foundation, and Mission Federal Credit Union, the $5,000 prize sponsor.

Council Member Emerald honors Crawford New Arrivals Center

San Diego City Council Member Marti Emerald has honored Crawford High School's New Arrivals Center with a proclamation that declared May 16, 2014 "Crawford High School New Arrival Center Day" in the City of San Diego.

Students perform The recognition was accepted by the school, as well as special recognition for teachers Gwen Osgard, Skye Cooke-Pinon and Viraj Ward, during special performances by students reflecting the nearly 40 languages and more than 30 countries represented at the Mid-City campus. Students from the New Arrival Center celebrated their many cultures in a performance that included singing, dancing and poetry recitals in more than 10 languages. Parents, community members, staff and Emerald attended the afternoon performance entitled “The Big Celebration.”

Located in the Mid-City area of San Diego, Crawford High School is one of the most diverse high schools in San Diego, with more than 37 languages from 33 countries. The New Arrival Center, now in its sixth year, is a program that was specifically designed to assist the unique needs of English Language Learners as they make the transition from their home countries to the academic demands of high school.

Students are given a year in a self-contained classroom to not only acquire English in an accelerated course of instruction, but to learn about American cultures and customs as well.
During the celebration, Emerald presented the New Arrival teachers with the proclamation to acknowledge the efforts of both the center’s teachers and its goals.

Emerald said that “immigrants are the backbone of the strength and diversity of the United States “and they often “face immeasurable traumas and obstacles when they arrive to the United States.” She extended the Council’s “appreciation of the service, value and contributions” of the New Arrival Center at Crawford.

For more information on the New Arrival Center, contact Principal Ana Marie Alvarez at (619) 362-3700.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

'Salute To Excellence' for Top One Percent Grads

San Diego Unified's annual Recognition event for seniors ranked in the top one percent from each San Diego Unified School District high school's Class of 2014 welcomed representatives from high schools, including all valedictorians. Principals, parents and counselors were in attendance, as were Board of Education members and Supt. Cindy Marten. Go to event photos»

Some of these students are the first in their families to go to college. More than 800 of the students have already been accepted to a university, college or community colleges that include their hometown San Diego State University, UC San Diego, University of San Diego, Pt. Loma Nazarene University and San Diego Mesa College. Others are committed to large, internationally known universities such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford, New York University, the University of Chicago. Some of the world's top small, private universities are welcoming San Diego Unified graduates, such as Elizabethtown College, Champlain College and University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland.

The annual event brings students together from all high schools, where they receive a certificate and a medal marking their achievement. Sponsors of the event include Mission Federal Credit Union and University of San Diego.

"Salute to Excellence" is scheduled 3:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29, 2014. Social mixer from 3:30-4:15 p.m.; ceremony begins at 4:15 p.m. It will be held at the Shiley Theater, University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park (92110). City Council Member Todd Gloria is the guest speaker.
Here's a partial list of the schools accepting students from the Class of 2014.

Abilene Christian University, Academy of Art University, AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, American Academy of Dramatic Arts/West, American University, Amherst College, Arizona State University, Arkansas State University, Art Center College of Design, Auburn University, Augustana College, Aurora University, Azusa Pacific University

Babson College, Ball State University, Baylor University, Beloit College, Bemidji State University, Bentley University, Berklee College of Music, Biola University, Boise State University, Boston College, Boston University, Bowdoin College, Bradley University, Brandeis University, Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Brigham Young University, Idaho", Brown College, Brown University, Bucknell University, Butler University

California Baptist University, California College (San Marcos), California College of the Arts (Oakland), California College of the Arts (San Francisco), California Institute of Technology, California Institute of the Arts, California Lutheran University, California Maritime Academy, "California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo", "California State Polytechnic University, Pomona", "California State University, Bakersfield", "California State University, Channel Islands", "California State University, Chico", "California State University, Dominguez Hills", "California State University, East Bay", "California State University, Fresno", "California State University, Fullerton", "California State University, Long Beach", "California State University, Los Angeles", "California State University, Monterey Bay", "California State University, Northridge", "California State University, Sacramento", "California State University, San Bernardino", "California State University, San Marcos", "California State University, Stanislaus", Calvin College, Carleton College, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Chaffey College, Champlain College, Chapman University, Claremont McKenna College, Clark Atlanta University, Clark University, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, Coconino County Community College, College of Charleston, College of the Holy Cross, College of William and Mary, Colorado College, Colorado Mesa University, "Colorado Mountain College, Timberline", Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Columbia College Chicago, Columbia University, Concordia University - Irvine, Concordia University - Portland, Connecticut College, Corban College, Cornell University, Cornish College of the Arts, Creighton University, Cuyamaca College

De Anza College, DePaul University, Dominican University of California, Drexel University, Duke University, Durham University

Eastman School of Music of the U of Rochester, Eckerd College, Elizabethtown College, Elmhurst College, Elon University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - AZ, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - FL, Emerson College, Emory University

Fairleigh Dickinson University, "Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Irvine", "Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles", Fashion Institute of Technology, Florida Southern College, Fordham University, Fort Lewis College, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Franklin and Marshall College, Fullerton College

George Fox University, George Mason University, Georgetown University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Gonzaga University, Gordon College, Goucher College, Grand Canyon University, Grinnell College, Grossmont College, Gustavus Adolphus College

Hampton University, Hartwick College, Harvard College, Hawaii Pacific University, Hendrix College, Hofstra University, Hope College, Humboldt State University

Illinois Wesleyan University, Indiana University at Bloomington, Iona College, Iowa State University, Irvine Valley College, ITT Technical Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Johnson & Wales University, Johnson & Wales University, Johnson & Wales University (Providence)

Kansas State University, Knox College

La Sierra University, Lafayette College, Laguna College of Art and Design, Lake Forest College, Lehigh University, Lewis & Clark College, Linfield College, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University New Orleans, Lubbock Christian University, Lynn University

Macalester College, Marietta College, Marquette University, Marymount California University, Marymount Manhattan College, Maryville University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Master's College and Seminary, The", McGill University, Menlo College, Merrimack College, Mesa Community College, Michigan State University, Mills College, "Minnesota State University, Moorhead", MiraCosta College, Mississippi College, Monmouth University, "Montana State University, Billings", "Montana State University, Bozeman", Mount San Jacinto College - Menifee Valley Campus, Mount St. Mary's College (Chalon), Muhlenberg College

NCAA Eligibility Center, New Mexico State University, New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, New York University, Northeastern University, Northern Arizona University, Northern Michigan University, Northwest Christian University, Northwestern University

Oberlin College, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Occidental College, Ohio University, Olivet Nazarene University, Onondaga Community College, Oregon State University, Otis College of Art and Design, Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio

Pace University, New York City", Pacific Lutheran University, Pacific University, Parsons The New School for Design, Pasadena City College, Paul Mitchell Beauty School, Pennsylvania State University - World Campus, "Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg", "Pennsylvania State University, University Park", Pepperdine University, Pierce College, Platt College San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University, Point Park University, Pomona College, Portland State University, Prairie View A&M University, Pratt Institute, Princeton University, Purdue University

Randolph College, Reed College, Regis University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rhodes College, Rice University, Richmond The American International College in London, Ripon College, Roanoke College, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rocky Mountain College, Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, "Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey at Newark"

Saint Anselm College, Saint Louis University, Saint Martin's University, Saint Mary's College of California, Saint Michael's College, Salem State University, Salve Regina University, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, San Diego Miramar College, San Diego State University, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Clara University, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Sarah Lawrence College, Savannah College of Art and Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Scripps College, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, Seton Hall University, Sierra Nevada College, Simmons College, Skidmore College, Smith College, Sonoma State University, Southern Methodist University, Southern Oregon University, Southern Utah University, Southwest Baptist University, Southwestern College, Spelman College, St. Ambrose University, St. Edward's University, St. John's University - Manhattan Campus, St. John's University - Queens Campus, St. John's University - Staten Island Campus, St. Thomas University, Stanford University, Stonehill College, Suffolk University, Susquehanna University, Syracuse University

Temple University, Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, Texas Southern University, Texas Tech University, The American University of Paris, The Art Institute of California - Inland Empire, The Art Institute of California -- San Diego, The Catholic University of America, The College of Wooster, The Evergreen State College, The George Washington University, The Ohio State University, The University of Akron, The University of Alabama, The University of Arizona, The University of Iowa, "The University of Montana, Missoula", The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The University of Tampa, "The University of Texas, Austin", Trinity College, Trinity University, Truman State University, Tufts University, Tulane University, Tuskegee University

University College Cork, University of Arkansas, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Davis, University of California at Irvine, University of California at Los Angeles, University of California at Merced, University of California at Riverside, University of California at San Diego, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of California at Santa Cruz, "University of California, San Francisco", University of Central Arkansas, University of Chicago, University of Cincinnati, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, University of Connecticut, University of Dallas, University of Denver, University of Evansville, University of Florida, University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Idaho, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Kansas, University of La Verne, University of Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Monroe, University of Louisville, University of Maine, "University of Maryland, College Park", "University of Massachusetts, Amherst", University of Miami, University of Michigan, "University of Minnesota, Twin Cities", University of Mississippi, University of Missouri Columbia, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, "University of Nevada, Las Vegas", "University of Nevada, Reno", University of New Hampshire, University of New Mexico, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, University of North Dakota, University of North Florida, University of Notre Dame, University of Oklahoma, University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania, University of Portland, University of Puget Sound, University of Redlands, University of Richmond, University of Rochester, University of San Diego, University of San Francisco, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, University of St. Thomas, "University of Tennessee, Knoxville", University of the Pacific, University of Tulsa, University of Utah, University of Vermont, University of Washington, "University of Washington, Bothell", University of Waterloo, "University of Wisconsin, Madison", University of Wyoming, "USC - College of Letters, Arts and Sciences BA/MD Program", Utah State University, Utah State University -- College of Eastern Utah

Vanderbilt University, Vassar College, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Viterbo University, Wagner College

Warner Pacific College, Washington College, Washington State University, Washington University in St. Louis, Webster University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, West Texas A&M University, "West Virginia University, Institute of Technology", Western Washington University, Westminster College, Westmont College, Wheaton College IL, Whitman College, Whittier College, Whitworth University, Willamette University, William Peace University, Woodbury University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Xavier University, Xavier University of Louisiana

Yale University

Scripps Ranch High student wins National Merit scholarship

Shea Polansky, a Scripps Ranch High School senior, has received a National Merit University of New Mexico scholarship, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced.
Shea Polansky
Polansky is one of approximately 2,500 winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities. Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution.

These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

Polansky is expected to enter the field of information technology. The University of New Mexico, located in Albuquerque, is a leading research university with renowned faculty and exceptional facilities for teaching and learning.

College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners announced today are a part of the distinguished group of about 8,000 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships for college undergraduate study worth over $35 million. Earlier this spring, National Merit announced winners of corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards and National Merit $2,500 Scholarships.

About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The highest-scoring program entrants in each state — more than 16,000 — represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

Finalists had to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions.To advance, they also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance.

Visit the National Merit Scholarship website to find out more.

Special Education panel honors those who go "above and beyond"

Award winners
The Above and Beyond Awards, which honor individuals who have contributed “Above and Beyond” the usual expectation in the area of Special Education, were held on May 8, 2014. The Community Advisory Committee for Special Education in collaboration with SDUSD hold the nominations and awards annually and are open to school district employees, students, family members and community members.

Pictured above are the 2014 CAC Above and Beyond Award winners. Bottom Row, left to right: Sonia Picos (Executive Director of Special Education), April McKay, First Sergeant Keller, Shannon Dearborn, Valerie Crisci, Ian Law, Jeannie Heffley, Christy Scadden (CAC Chair). Back Row, left to right: Rakeisha Gomez, Lieutenant Colonel Josten, Joanne Gilson, Sara Fredrick, Mary Kay Cook, Maegan Champion.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Clairemont High business students shine in national competition

Two student teams from the Academy of Business at Clairemont High School finished in the top five of the Junior Achievement Social Innovation Relay national finals sponsored by Hewlett Packard.
Clairemont team
The teams presented their social innovation idea and business to a panel of HP judges including several vice presidents across the USA via HP's online meeting.

Seniors, Stephanie Kwik, Cole McDaniel, Jesus Chagala Toral, and Matthews Abebe, presented their social business idea to help third world countries get clean water. Similar to Tom's Shoes, they would brand water bottles for sale with proceeds going to an education program starting in Ethiopia to train villagers how to create sustainable water filters using local natural resources. AOB's other team, led by Miranda Adams, presented a plan to help rescue dogs and foster children.

Student teams were mentored by CCTE teacher, Alan Walter, in his Business Management and Ownership course.

HP streamed the video feed live to HP viewing parties in Venezuela, Costa Rica and headquarters through the USA where their employees voted for the fan favorite. The winner of the USA competition wins tablets and cash and will advance to the global competition against 19 other countries. Visit HP's website for more details.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Project Lead the Way student: One-in-150,000 can quickly become one-in-one

The story below is from the Project Lead the Way blog, posted by one of my students at UC High. Project Lead the Way is a national non-profit organization committed to STEM based learning. I submitted one of my senior's essays and it was published in its newsletter. In my career as a teacher, it's truly one of the best essays I have ever read.
— Ellie Vandiver, RN, BSN, Biomedical Sciences Teacher, University City High School

One in 150,000

A post by Kyle Underwood, a PLTW Biomedical Science student, University City High School

Project Lead The WayEditor's note — In the PLTW (Project Lead the Way) Biomedical Science program, students take on the roles of biomedical professionals and work collaboratively to understand and design solutions to the most pressing health challenges of today and the future. For Kyle Underwood, PLTW Biomedical Science is more than a class — it’s his reality. As a child, Kyle was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder known as Hunters Syndrome, but he’s not letting his condition stop him. In fact, he’s making the most of his situation — college, a career, and a chance to find a cure.
If you know a PLTW student who has a great story to share about his or her PLTW experience, please ask them to reach out to

As I exit the car and begin to walk the endless concrete path to school, my breathing becomes heavy and my legs become weak; but this is normal. I notice a mother and her young son, and I am reminded of my past. At the age of four, I laid eyes upon my baby brother for the first time and remember thinking he looks just like me. A week later we both lay next to each other in a hospital bed, where the noise of the machines connected to our bodies drowned out emotions of sorrow. By chance, a doctor suggested we undergo genetic testing. This is when I was given the label, the reality that I am one in 150,000 to be stricken with a rare metabolic disease called Hunters Syndrome.

At school I am one in 1,700. As I move through the massive crowds, my peers seem like giants in comparison to my four foot-tall body. Out of breath while my backpack digs into my back, I continue on, eventually ending up at my biomedical classroom. As my teacher begins to discuss genetic counseling, I revisit the memory of when I was briefed on the horrors of my disease, Mucopolysaccharidosis. This disease is caused by a mutation within the Iduronate 2-sulfatase gene that is responsible for producing an enzyme that breaks down sugars. My brother and I lack this key enzyme and our lifespans could be filled with many struggles including wheelchair dependence, mental handicaps and early death. Given the difficulties that I was going to face, fear was an understandable response. However, through my strength and my doctors’ efforts I worked to overcome my limitations and not let them define me. Ultimately, my brother and I were diagnosed with a mild form of the disease.

At lunch I am one in 50. I head to my meeting for Hope for Uganda, a community service club that I helped to create. I enter a room of students and hear the president discussing a volunteer opportunity at a local hospital. As she speaks, my mind drifts to my own reality, where I am routinely confined to a hospital bed. I am exhausted by the sounds of a blood pressure machine beeping, an IV bag trickling, and observations of a blank ceiling. Knowing that my skin will soon be punctured, panic begins to set in. Looking to my left I see my brother, and to the right I see the needle. This encourages me to find the strength to help my brother by ceasing to flinch, and lead by example. I understand now that I have no choice but to look beyond my label, my number, my condition and recognize that I could be the person that ends this routine. This is when I realized that I want to be part of the research that finds the cure for my condition.

At home I am one in 4. When I arrive, I immediately rush to the couch, allowing my body to relax so my brain can take over. I see my mother and father conversing about my medical bills and appointment schedules. My father struggles daily with balancing his concerns about my future health, while operating a flooring business and nurturing our bond as a family. My mother, who hoped to achieve a management position at a retail store, became our assistant, planning countless medical appointments, weekly infusions and over a dozen surgeries. Thus was done to correct my ability to walk, hear, and further help me to function independently in society. These routine sacrifices my parents have made, can be alleviated when I pursue research-based science to help find cures for genetic diseases.

Before bed I am one of 1. As I look upon my day, I am reminded that I can escape this. Out of all people stricken with my disease, I have the mental capabilities to contribute to find a cure. Being the first in my family to pursue a college education will create change not just for my family, but countless others. After multiple visits to doctors and hospitals, my mind is accustomed to the medical world. When I was first diagnosed, expectations for my future were low. But now, I have risen to overcome adversity, break stereotypes, and make a lasting impact on my world, by getting the most out of my education by becoming a biochemist geneticist.

Through all this, I had the opportunity to enroll in a four year Biomedical Pathway provided by Project Lead The Way. Within this pathway I have been exposed to many ideas and hands-on experiences that have helped prepare me for the medical field. Such experiences include grant writing, creating and performing scientific experiments, and presenting various ideas and innovations to members of the community. I was engaged in question-based learning focused and problem solving that has had a profound effect on my intellectual development. Within this pathway during my freshman and senior year, I was exposed to global issues and involved writing two grants to increase educational opportunities in Uganda.

As I reflect on this experience, I know that I have gained knowledge that will contribute to my success in college. As a culmination of my development, I have the opportunity to actively participate in a hospital setting through internships. I enjoy being able to use my intellectual growth in the service of others. My academic development and curiosity in this pathway have helped me to grow both as a student and a person, and I feel confident that these attributes will serve me well as a student at University of California, Los Angeles.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Morse, Scripps Ranch culinary students help chefs with 'secret baskets'

Culinary Arts and Management students from Morse and Scripps Ranch high schools assisted chefs in the fourth annual Secret Basket Cook Off and Mixer sponsored by the San Diego County Chapter of the California Restaurant Association.
Chef and Morse student
Each student was paired with a chef to prepare an entrée with a secret ingredient. Chefs were to bring all their cooking utensils and pots/pans to the event where they were given chicken as the protein and fresh cherries as the secret ingredient.

The winning team was Chef Percy Oani from the Shores Restaurant, assisted by Morse student, Adrianne Ronquillo. Other participating students included Mathew lam and Cameron Lopez from Scripps Ranch and Ciara Jones from Morse.

The students were able to spend time with the judges after the event as well as all the participating chefs in the competition. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the students and schools that compete in the ProStart competition every spring.

For more details on the Culinary Arts and Management program, please Angela Croce, CCTE Program Specialist, at For more details on the San Diego County Chapter of the California Restaurant Association, please visit

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Whittier students figure out how to keep things clean and excel at science

Students at Whittier School; alternative, special education K-12, are benefiting from the incorporation of all components of the district’s 20/20 Vision: achievement, neighborhood, parents, effective teachers, district leadership, and community.
Teacher Tim Schamp discusses display with student.
Whittier teachers Melanie Mastin and Tim Schamp have created a way for high school students to apply skills learned in science class through campus jobs and school businesses. All teachers develop units of study based on standards given a “no worksheet challenge.”

When connecting units of study with high-level standards, such as biology and earth science, science projects and campus jobs produce a high level of performance that transfers to authentic, real world experiences. The application of these skills is tied closely to Common Core State Standards.

The Reduce, Reuse, Recycle unit in science class prompted Schamp’s transition skills class to study the impact of paper towels used at Whittier School for custodial use for the Going Green Fair.
Results from this project led to the creation of the Whittier Towel Service. This campus job provides cloth towels to offices and classrooms throughout the campus.

Another example of student performance aligned with high level standards is the yearly Whittier School Science Fair. For the past four years, Whittier School student science projects have placed at the district wide Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair held at Balboa Park. On March 25, Alex Latimar-Galvan received a second place ribbon for his science fair project about magnets.

Mastin and Schamp continue working together to create additional science based campus jobs and student businesses. Currently a science unit on water conservation and xeroscape gardening will lead to creating a rain water harvesting system which will provide water to drought tolerant school gardens.
For more information about Whittier School please contact Janice Von Arx, principal, 858 490-2770 or jvonarx@sandinet.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Jefferson Elementary celebrates a century of getting the next generation off to a great start

North Park's Jefferson Elementary School is marking more than a century of educating the next generation of San Diegans with a series of events May 28.

Jefferson School in 1953 The school, located at 3770 Utah St., opened in 1908, 1912 or 1913, depending on the sources, with the site growing to 2.75 acres over the years. It was rebuilt in 1961, expanded over the years and celebrated a makeover earlier this year that included a 21st century entrance.

Events will begin at 4:30 p.m. with an alumni reunion, followed by the centennial celebration at 5:30 p.m. and open house at 6:30 p.m. Today, the school, named for President Thomas Jefferson, is a STEAM magnet and International Baccalaureate World School. View invitation»

Writer Andy Hinds in the Uptown News profiled the school recently. Read more»

Morse High students celebrate completion of financial literacy course

Morse financial lilteracy

Certification in financial literacy was presented to 118 Morse High School students through their Foundations in Information Technology course in early May. The students participated in lessons from the Financial Genius Program from Everfi. Topics included credit scores, taxes, insurance, credit cards, investing, mortgages, savings, and 401Ks. The program at Morse was sponsored by US Bank.

“Grasping even the most basic lessons will allow our students to make good choices before making important monetary decision," said Barbara Adams, CCTE teacher. "If turn, this careful planning may help them avoid personal debt and improve their chances of achieving financial security. We don’t want them to have to learn the hard way.”

For more information on Everfi’s Financial Literacy program, please visit

Thursday, May 22, 2014

American Heritage Powwow Draws Diverse Crowd in Downtown San Diego

IN THE NEWS: Surrounded by tall commercial buildings and a busy downtown scene, more than 1,000 people attended the American Indian Heritage Pow Wow, a two-day event in San Diego’s Balboa Park on May 10-11. The intertribal exhibition pow wow, a type becoming rare these days because of the popularity of larger competition pow wows, was organized by the American Indian Heritage Committee, the San Diego Unified School District’s Title VII Indian Education Program and San Diego American Indian Health Center. Read more from Indian Country Today Media Network» 

Patrick Henry, Hoover students attend new California Speaker Toni Atkins' swearing-in ceremony

City Heights students Rosa Olascoaga and David Camacho were selected and flown to Sacramento to attend the swearing-in ceremony for the 69th speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins.
David Camacho and Rosa Olascoaga The students attended alongside Reality Changers’ Founder and President Christopher Yanov and received a special invitation from Assemblywoman Atkins.

Camacho is a ninth grader at Hoover High School, where he is active in the ROTC program and the varsity swim team. Olascoaga is graduating from Patrick Henry High next month and has accepted admittance to the University of San Francisco in the fall.

Olascoaga and Camacho were selected to attend after Atkins asked Christopher Yanov, Reality Changers’ Founder and President to select two of the organization’s students to attend the ceremony. The students were selected based on their community and program involvement, as well as their academic achievements.

“I have been interested in politics and community organizing ever since I was in eighth grade and I had the privilege of introducing First Lady Michelle Obama during her visit to City Heights,” said Olascoaga. “It is an honor to have been selected to witness the swearing-in of one of the only females to be Speaker of the Assembly, especially since she is from San Diego. She is an incredibly role-model for females.”

“I was very excited to be able to watch Speaker Toni Atkins as she was sworn-in this afternoon. The entire day was unbelievable,” said Camacho, “it was exciting to be able to participate in such an important moment.”

Camacho is a daily presence at Reality Changers, where he raised his GPA by a full grade point after just six weeks of being in the program. As the top-performing member of Reality Changers' Delegation, Camacho speaks all around San Diego about the struggles he faced as an inner-cit student and how he was able to overcome them.

His goal of becoming the first person in his entire family to attend college will be realized this summer when he will attend UCSD's Academic Connections on a $4,000 scholarship provided by Reality Changers. Academic Connections is a three-week program in July where high school students from around the world live on campus and take college-level classes for college-prep credit. Just last week,

Camacho was selected to participate in the Aaron Price Fellows Program. A 12th grader at Patrick Henry High School and plans to attend the University of San Francisco in the fall on a scholarships worth nearly $200,000, Olascoaga was selected as an eighth grader to introduce First Lady Michelle Obama during Mrs. Obama's first and only visit to City Heights. This event inspired Rosa to complete over 4,000 hours of community service during her high school years, serving others on practically a daily basis as a student leader at Reality Changers and Mid-City CAN.

She also serves on the San Diego Youth Commission and has been one of the lead advocates for creating more park space in City Heights, where the density of the population is greater than any other part of the San Diego region. Through her efforts (and as a direct result of her brother getting hit by a car while riding his skateboard across an intersection), Rosa successfully secured the support to build a new skate park in City Heights.

She has also attended UCSD's Academic Connections for the past three summers and even spent one week of her summer vacation in 2012 studying on the side of an active volcano through a program offered by the University of Hawaii.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lincoln High nurse honored as 'Outstanding Urban School Leader'

Lincoln High Nurse Kathy Ryan has been named Outstanding Urban School Leader by by The Healthy Schools Campaign, School Health Corporation and Maico Diagnostics.
Nurse Kathy Ryan
One of five 2014 School Nurse Leadership Award winners, she received the recognition of her work as a school nurse leader, a nurse and nurse practitioner for over 37 years.

“It’s our pleasure to recognize these outstanding school nurses who have gone above and beyond to create healthier school environments,” said Healthy Schools Campaign President and CEO Rochelle Davis. “We have long supported school nurses and the critical role they play in school health and wellness. The School Nurse Leadership Award is a way for us to highlight the meaningful and innovative approaches school nurses are taking to prioritize student health.”
In honoring Ryan, the Health Schools Campaign staff wrote of her leadership in open a clinic in one of San Diego's most challenging neighborhoods.

"Kathleen understands the critical relationship between school health and students’ academic success. Serving in a low-income school, Kathleen garnered the necessary support to bring a school-based health center (SBHC) to her school to address students’ unmet health care needs. The SBHC opened in 2008, providing free primary and preventative care, health education and behavior health services to the school’s 2,400 students. Today, the SBHC is a community hub that links students, parents and the school with community resources," they wrote.

"The five winners and four honorable mentions selected from across the country represent school nurses who are blazing new trails in their field, reimagining the role that school nurses play in school health and wellness, students’ academic success and the health of the larger community. These exemplary individuals have made significant contributions in the following nurse leadership categories: state, policy, urban schools, rural schools, and innovative programs," said Davis. In addition to Ryan, the other honored nurses were from New Mexico, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky.

Kathy precepts nursing students from several Southern California nursing programs, including school nurse credential candidates, students in community health and leadership rotations, and nurse practitioner students. She promotes the concepts of population health when she serves as a preceptor for these students. Kathy utilizes her knowledge of community health nursing within the school health environment to more effectively address the needs of her students and their families, the faculty and staff.

Kathy is a member of community and state workgroups that address school health concerns. Her primary efforts are to increase awareness of the role of health care policy in school health and school nursing. She assists CSNO (state and local chapter), the San Diego County Office of Education and the American Academy of Pediatricians School Health committees in planning and providing continuing education programs for school nurses, pediatricians and other school health providers.

Kathy joined CSNO in 2006. She is immediate past president for the San Diego/Imperial section, and started her term as California School Nurses Organization State President-elect in June, 2013. She feels her volunteerism with the organization supports her role as a school nurse, and helps her to have a broader perspective of areas of concern.

Kathy is an alumni of the Nurse in Washington Internship program, and utilizes what she learned there in her work at school, with CSNO and in the community. She feels that NIWI prepared her to be a strong advocate for school nurses as well as to work with the high school students who are members of the Lincoln High School Youth Health Council (LHSYHC).

Kathy educates others regarding the relationship between school health and the academic success of students. She encourages self-advocacy among her students and their parents at school and in the community. She represents the CSNO San Diego Imperial chapter at community events, promoting the role of the school nurse while advancing awareness of school health needs and challenges.
Kathy is the founder and advisor of the LHSYHC, where she mentors 20-40 high school students in leadership and decision making activities related to adolescent health concerns. Their goal is to improve the well-being of teens at school (healthy students+healthy families=healthy homes=healthy communities). Students on the council learn about and practice community health advocacy and leadership. Kathy provides and facilitates training and educational opportunities to prepare YHC members to develop and refine their health advocacy skills.

Some of the issues Kathy has helped the YHC to address include: racism, bullying, nutrition, and healthy teen relationships. During the summer of 2011, the LHSYHC planned and presented a four part Community Wellness series to educate their parents and community members about the link between healthy students, healthy families and healthy communities. Kathy has taken YHC members to the California School Health Center conference in Sacramento, where they met with state legislators at the capitol.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Burbank Elementary becomes part of Presidential arts program

Grammy winner Jason Mraz will be working with Burbank Elementary School now that it has been selected as one of ten schools statewide to participate in the Turnaround Arts CA, a signature affiliate program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Burbank Elementary
Over the next two years, Burbank Elementary will be working with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and Turnaround Arts CA to ensure that the arts are an available avenue to success for all students. The school will also have Mraz as its artist mentor, who will work with superintendents and principals to maximize support and awareness for their efforts.

Superintendent Cindy Marten and Principal Rachel Messineo accepted the award at a White House ceremony.

San Diego Unified is nationally known for its commitment to arts in schools, having been named one of America's Best Music Communities two years in a row and being honored by the Kennedy Center in 2011.

Turnaround Arts is a public-private partnership launched by the White House in 2012 designed to help failing schools develop and implement high quality arts education that will be used specifically to effectively address and turnaround the pervasive and persistent problems found in high-poverty, chronically underperforming schools. By using the arts as a strategic tool in failing schools’ turnaround efforts, students are engaged while they learn 21st century skills critical to their success.

“Through Turnaround Arts CA we hope to expand our successes in and out of the classroom by adding more opportunities for our students, families, and teachers to learn through dance, art, drama, and music,” says Burbank Principal Rachel Messineo. “The arts are a proven way to boost student achievement, keep kids interested in school, and help schools connect with their communities. We are thrilled to have been chosen to participate in this cutting-edge program.”

It has been proven that by placing the arts as the heart and soul of a school, leadership is provided with powerful tools in professional learning, curriculum development, improving school climate and culture, as well as increasing student and parent engagement ultimately contributes to improved academic achievement and successful turnaround of a failing school.

There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the positive effect of arts engagement on students. This is particularly important in a state like California where the arts play a significant role in the “creative economy.”

“This isn’t about bringing painting or music lessons to an already failing school and hoping for new and improved outcomes,” says Dr. James Catterall, Professor Emeritus, UCLA and Director of the Centers for Research on Creativity. “This is about the arts as ways of thinking, problem solving, and creative design.”

For more information on Turnaround Arts, please go to

San Diego Unified Honors Top Classified Employees

A special education assistant from Bay Park Elementary School is San Diego Unified School District's Classified Employee of the Year, with runners-up working at Madison High and Marston Middle schools in Clairemont.

Pauline Burt
Pauline Burt
Penny Clark
Penny Clark
Cynthia McIntyre
Cynthia McIntyre
Pauline Burt, who's been a part of the Bay Park community for nearly 30 years, is the 2014 Classified Employee of the Year, representing more than 5,000 San Diego Unified employees who don't have a teaching credential, such as custodians, school secretaries and Burt's position, special education assistants. Watch a video about Pauline.

Runners up are Cynthia McIntyre, a special education assistant at Marston Middle School, and Roana "Penny" Clark, a Dropout Prevention Program mentor at Madison High School.

San Diego Unified annually honors excellence by both its classified and certificated employees.

News Coverage

Symphony taps La Jolla High sophomore as 'Hot Shot'

Hazel Friedman, a sophomore at La Jolla High School, has been named a San Diego Symphony 2014 Hot Shots, one of the winners of the Young Artist Concerto Competition.
Hazel FriedmanA pianist, Hazel will be performing the fifth piano concerto by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns with the San Diego Symphony at Copley Symphony Hall in its 2014-2015 season.
Each year, the San Diego Symphony holds its “Hot Shots” Young Artists Concerto Competition for young pianists and instrumentalists of exceptional talent. Applicants are judged on their technical excellence, musicality and artistry, as well as stage presence. Those who apply can be no more than age 18 and play piano, saxophone, harp or classical guitar.
For more information, contact Adrienne Valencia, Director of Education and Outreach at the San Diego Symphony, 619-615-3911.

Monroe Clark, Kearny, Mira Mesa, Pershing volunteers top Donornation competition

Grand Prize winner Hermelinda Figueroa from Monroe Clark Middle School walked away with a $5,000 check from DonorNation for her school as the online fundrasing platform held its School Volunteer of the Year competition.

Hermelinda Figueroa
Hermelinda Figueroa
Jerry Butkiewicz
Jerry Butkiewicz
Other winners from San Diego Unified were Jerry Butkiewicz from Kearny Construction Tech Academy; Barbara Shortill of Mira Mesa High; and Kathy Monroe from Pershing Middle School.

Additional prizes included a year's worth of groceries from Sprouts Farmers Market, season passes for La Jolla Playhouse, and a family membership to The New Children's Museum.

Grand Prize Winner Figueroa has been volunteering to help improve the future for students in City Heights for 18 years – while raising her three grandchildren. She is a strong student advocate who encourages inter-generational participation in community and cultural programs, such as “Latinos and Latinas in Action” and IRC's “New Roots,” City Heights Community Farm. She is passionate about encouraging students to go to college, to become self-sufficient and successful. She remains dedicated to increasing parent involvement and engagement with teachers, staff and community members to maximize opportunities for all students to achieve the highest level of success.

Second runner-up Jerry Butkiewicz has been a tirelessly energetic volunteer who embraced his own former struggles in school to connect with students facing adversity. Since 2001, he has volunteered as a mentor and role model for these underserved students. Butkiewicz works countless hours spearheading career programs, organizing field trips, and finding businesses to support real-life experiences to provide students at Kearny High Contraction Tech Academy with a strong foundation for future success.

Other winners were: People's Choice (Category 3), Barbara Shortill of Mira Mesa High School; and Honorable Mention, Cathy Monroe of Pershing Middle School.
For more information about DonorNation's 2013-14 School Volunteer of the Year Awards, visit

DonorNation is the "Marketplace with a Heart" where every purchase or donation of goods and services benefits schools and nonprofits. The San Diego-based company helps unlock the power of the community by providing its users with the tools to provide a sustainable source of funding for schools and nonprofit organizations while supporting community-minded businesses. Visit for more information.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wilson Middle students represent Chavistas at Mesa College ceremony

Wilson Middle School sixth graders honored their heritage during recent visit to attend a ceremony honoring Gracia Molina de Pick, founder of the school's Chicano Studies Department, and the Mesa College professor in the 1960s who inspired Linda and Carols LeGerrette to found the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs.Students with Dr. Pamela Luster, Mesa College President

Four Wilson sixth graders — Ruby Martinez, Rosario Perez, Mehalet Shibre and Chantal Estrada — attended a ceremony at Mesa College to unveil and dedicate the Gracia Molina de Pick Glass Gallery. Molina de Pick founded the Chicano Studies Department at Mesa College in 1970.
The Wilson Middle School Chavistas represented all of the Chavistas in San Diego County in honoring Gracia Molina de Pick. They presented flowers and sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and thanked Professor Molina de Pick for inspiring their club founders and themselves to serve others and improve their community of City Heights..

Saturday, May 17, 2014

La Jolla High students take top prize in nationwide prose and poetry contest

La Jolla High students have taken top individual honors and the sophomore team took seventh in the year-end national standings at the recent WordWright Challenge, a national competition of high school students' reading and analysis.

Vivi Bonomie
Clay Halbert
Clay Halbert
Alma Halgren
Alma Halgren
Rebecca Ryan
Rebecca Ryan
Three of the school's students won highest honors for year-long achievement are sophomore Clayton Halbert, was the highest-ranked tenth grader in the entire country in the year-end standings, Junior Alma Halgren was one of the three highest-ranked eleventh graders and her teammate Nika Ostevar-Sirjani was one of the 19 highest-ranked eleventh graders nationwide.

Nearly 70,000 students from nearly 600 schools around the nation participated in the competition, which required students to analyze works ranging from short stories to poetry to essays. Its focus is on the verbal questions of the SAT. Several competitions are held throughout the school year

Used this year were an opinion essay published in the New York Times and an excerpt from a novel by Anthony Trollope.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Message from Supt. Marten: Reflections on the week

Supt Cindy Marten As this week draws to a close, I can confidently and safely say that our district is well-equipped and ready to face any critical incidents such as the natural disasters this week. Although the scope and scale of this week’s wildfires had minimal real impact to our facilities, schools and students, we saw the positive results of collaboration, coordination and communication.

On Wednesday evening, after in-depth and thoughtful conversations with superintendents across San Diego County, our School Police Department and other district experts, the decision was made to close all San Diego Unified schools and child development centers on May 15. Further collaboration with city and county officials resulted in the decision to open all San Diego schools on Friday, May 16, with the exception of the schools in the Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa clusters.

A great many factors must be weighed when decisions are made to close schools. It is not an easy or quick decision. Closing schools impacts all of our families, employees and most importantly our students. It results in a loss of learning. We have to weigh student safety, knowing that most of the time, the safest place for a child is at school.

My decision to close and reopen schools was not made in isolation. It was based on multiple collaborative discussions, not only with district personnel but also through communication with our city and county emergency agencies. It was a regional effort using detailed and up-to-date weather forecasts, air quality and fire information. There was a common goal: securing the safety and well-being of the public during the devastating wildfires. Among the factors considered in the decision-making process were potential threat of new fires, air quality, staff availability, staff living in evacuated areas, potential power outages, keeping roadways clear and our ability to provide resources, i.e., police, food and transportation, etc.

We practiced an abundance of caution and collaborated with our brother and sister districts to make resources available to all. Of the 42 school districts within San Diego County, 29 were closed on Thursday and 20 were closed on Friday, all of which were north of San Diego Unified. No districts south of San Diego Unified closed.

I appreciate the understanding by not only our families, but our employees, as these difficult decisions were implemented. I witnessed amazing teamwork and am proud to work beside you all as your superintendent. Your focus on doing what is in the best interest of our community as a whole was at the heart of all decisions.

Our hearts go out to those who have lost their homes and to those who have been evacuated, with their homes still threatened. Some are own employees. I am grateful to the firefighters, law enforcement officers, first responders and our own School Police officers who are working around the clock to protect us all. My hope is that these dangerous conditions are mitigated over the next several days and all schools can return to normal next week.

I wish you a restful, relaxing and much cooler weekend.


Cindy Marten

Tips offered on helping children to cope with emergencies

Organizations such as the American Red Cross and Ready San Diego have great tips on helping your child cope with natural disasters such as fires and earthquakes, reports San Diego Unified's Counseling and Guidance staff. Here are some links to those organizations' pages.Talk to your child.

Local artist helps Lindbergh Schweitzer students create mural

Working with parent volunteer Emily Dolton, owner of Art, Murals, Design and Wall Treatments, the students in rooms 46 and 47 at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School knew there would be art involved.

Portion of mural One of the most popular children's books this year, The Day The Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, inspired Dolton to create the project. In the book, the crayons writel letters to Duncan, the crayons' owner, expressing their anger. Dolton had the students read the letters aloud then handed out Popsicle sticks with a color on one side and a place (sky, land, sea) on the other.

The students then drew something they would find in their place and colored it with that main color crayon. Emily then cut out and glued the objects to a painted background she created. The result is a beautiful colorful landscape filled with rainbows, airplanes, fish, volcanoes, cars, snakes, mermaids, boats, hot air balloons, helicopters, clouds, jellyfish and more.

The mural now has a permanent spot in the East Campus hallway.

Reaching students through stories and art is a passion for Dolton, a mother of two, who serves the school in many artistic ways. Not only does she disguise herself on Read Across America Days as The Cat in the Hat, or The Grinch, she has painted murals on the playground, murals in staff lounges and most recently, the breezeway poles at the entrance to the school.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Supt. Marten: Schools closed Thursday; she's thankful for first responders

Supt Cindy Marten It was a day of monitoring the unpredictable and changing wild fires across San Diego County. After in-depth and thoughtful conversations with superintendents across San Diego County and our School Police Department, the decision was made to close all San Diego Unified schools and child development centers on May 15. Our plan is to reopen on Friday. We appreciate the understanding of our parents and staff.

Our hearts go out to those who have lost their homes and to those who have been evacuated, with their homes still threatened. We are thankful to the firefighters, law enforcement officers, first responders and our own School Police officers who are working around the clock to protect us all.
Cindy Marten

Computer programming under way at Grant K-8

Kids are engaged in "physical computing" in an after school program at Grant K-8 in Mission Hills.
Grant School
Led by teacher John Snyder, a group of students in grades 4-8 has been involved in an after school club every Wednesday where they are learning to program simple computers, called Arduino. Besides learning how to write their own code, the kids help each other learn basic electronics skills.

So far this year, a broad range of students have learned to write and upload simple code, how to modify variables and how to program simple mathematics functions in their Arduino, a simple self-contained microprocessor, or computer, that can be easily programmed do gather data from sensors, other computers or even the internet, and output digital signals that can control a huge variety of electronic and electrical devices.

They have used code to control LED’s colors, blink patterns, and blink rates, to make musical notes and sounds, interact with light sensing devices and even drive small servo motors.
What is physical computing? It is using computer processors to interact with the world through various electronic sensors to control motors, LEDS, and other devices to actually do something. Physical computing is basically Robotics 101.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Record temperatures predicted; some tips for parents and what schoolsdo in hot weather

All schools in the San Diego Unified School District have “hot weather” plans in place for continued operations of schools during periods of extremely hot weather. We want to make sure our students are as comfortable as possible in school so that their learning can continue. As a result, our schools have a number of guidelines in place for planning instruction during hot weather.

Instructional Program Modifications

Elementary teachers may rearrange the daily schedule so that basic skills subjects are taught at the optimal time. Physical education activities are limited to less strenuous activities and/or are rescheduled to a more appropriate time. Recess activities are limited to quiet games that require a minimum of physical activity.

Alternative Locations for Instruction

Cooler areas of schools buildings and grounds are used when available. As an example, some teachers may have students gather in shaded lawn areas or move to rooms with better cross-ventilation. Students in non-air-conditioned portable facilities may be merged with other classes in air-conditioned buildings, such as media centers, cafeterias or auditoriums.

Extracurricular Activities

Athletic activities and practices may be canceled due to hot weather, or rescheduled for a more appropriate time. Before- and after-school programs may also be modified or activities rearranged.

Keeping Students Cool and Hydrated

Students are encouraged to bring containers of water to school during hot weather. Water fountains are available in all schools and schools are encouraging students to take extra water fountain breaks throughout the day. Many teachers keep spray-bottles with water in classrooms so that they can ‘mist’ students at their request or as needed.
Students are asked to dress in lightweight clothing that is in keeping with their school dress codes. Please also make sure to apply sunscreen to your child before school, as school staff are not permitted to apply it. If your child has a medical condition that may be compromised by exposure to high temperatures, you may keep your child at home or arrange for an early release.

More Information

For additional information, please talk with your school's principal.

Emergency Preparedness
  • FEMA for Kids
  • Information on disaster preparedness for children, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Carson student gets surprise visit from Challenged Athletes Foundation

Travis Martinez, a second grade student at Carson Elementary, received a surprise visit from the Challenged Athletes Foundation and a special gift of a new basketball wheelchair! A team from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, along with Carson staff members and Travis' mom, were in on the surprise visit.Presentation of chair

It is the mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation to provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. The foundation believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.

"Travis shows us each and every day that obstacles can be overcome," said Princpal Joe Frescatore, "and there's no stopping his bright spirit, determination, and perseverance! Congratulations, Travis!"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Seven graduating seniors named Gates Millennium Scholars

Victoria Capuchino
Victoria Capuchino
Leslie Chavez
Leslie Chavez
Not pictured: Triet Pham Brandon Zambrano
Dacia Dunn
Dacia Dunn
Luis Galvan
Luis Galvan
Daniel Milion
Daniel Milion
Seven members of the Class of 2014 have been named Gates Millennium Scholars.

Each of the 1,000 students named nationwide is awarded a good-through-graduation scholarship that can be used to pursue a degree in any undergraduate major at the accredited college or university of his or her choice.

Named to the scholarship program from San Diego Unified are: Pham Triet, Crawford High; Luis Galvan, La Jolla; Dasia Dunn, Lincoln; Leslie Chavez and Daniel Milion, Preuss UCSD Charter; Victoria Capuchino, SCPA; and Brandon Zambrano, University City.

“I am extremely proud of these talented students," said Superintendent Cindy Marten. "Their hard work, commitment and perseverance are being rewarded with amazing good-through-graduation college scholarships.

"The door to a bright future is wide open and the possibilities are endless. My advice to these students is to continue to Work Hard. Be Kind. Dream Big. No Excuses.”

Established in 1999 with the goal of developing "Leaders for America’s Future," the Gates Millennium Scholars Program is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The program is removing barriers to education for high-performing, low-income students.

Each year it enables 5,000 students to attend and graduate from 800 of the most selective private and public schools in the country, including Ivy League colleges, flagship state universities, United Negro College Fund member institutions and other minority-serving institutions.

The program provides recipients with leadership development opportunities, mentoring, academic and social support as well as financial support. The program is known for its recipients' high graduation rates – a six-year rate of more than 87 percent (28 percent higher than the national graduation rates for all students and comparable to the rates for students from high-income families).

Monday, May 12, 2014

UT San Diego editorial board visits with "chief educator," Supt. Cindy Marten

IN THE NEWS: Superintendent Cindy Marten discusses student achievement, funding, labor relations. Read story from UT San Diego» Supt. Marten

Board Member Evans discusses school funding in extended interview

IN THE NEWS: New Local Control Funding Formula, Local Control and Accountability Plan discussed by Dr. John Lee Evans, Sub-District A Board of Education representative. Watch video from NBC 7»