Friday, January 31, 2014

Superintendent’s Update: Vision 2020 as innovation, in the community, schools as community centers

Meeting with teachers and students at Millennial Tech Middle School.

In her Board of Education report on Tuesday, Superintendent Cindy Marten discussed three key elements of the Vision 2020: Innovations in schools, which she saw at the Millennial Tech Middle School; San Diego Unified as part of the community during the Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast; and students quizzing the next San Diego mayor in a debate at Hoover High School. Watch video presentation.

Setting high expectations for all students key to closing achievement gap

District administrators believe that setting high expectations for all students is an important step in closing the achievement gap, one of Vision 2020's key indicators of a quality school. In an update to the Board of Education, Supt. Marten outlined specific ways this district goal is being implemented – and becoming a reality for our students. Watch video presentation.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Board of Education honors community members for contributions to San Diego kids

Proclamations from the Board of Education at the Jan. 28 meeting.
  • The Naruwan Taiko Drumming Group was recognized by President Kevin Beiser and Trustee Scott Barnett. The Naruwan Taiko drumming group has become a part of the Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy family through their regular performances on the campus.
  • The 50th anniversary of Pershing Middle School was honored by President Kevin Beiser. Located in the San Carlos neighborhood, Pershing is a high achieving school, with outstanding teachers and staff as well as dedicated parents and families who have gone to the school for generations. Pershing is a STEMM school, focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Music.
  • The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum was honored by Trustee Scott Barnett. The mission of the museum is “to collect, preserve and share the Chinese American experience and Chinese history, culture and art to educate the diverse community and its visitors.” Museum education and outreach programs offer 12 distinct presentations that are available to local schools and community organizations.
  • The San Diego-Yantai Friendship Society was honored by Trustee Scott Barnett. The mission of the society is “to foster sister city relationships and understanding through mutually beneficial exchanges between individuals, community groups, organizations, and institutions in San Diego with counterparts in Yantai, China.”
  • Frank Jao, CEO of Bridegreek Group, Inc., was recognized by Trustee Scott Barnett. Mr. Jao’s continued advocacy for strong education and support of Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy is appreciated by the San Diego Unified School District.
  • The Panda Express Panda Cares Program was recognized by Trustee Scott Barnett. They support organizations and schools such as the Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy that educate children in the areas of at-risk prevention, academics, educational extracurricular activities, and restaurant-trade programs.

Working Together for Quality Neighborhood Schools

The Board of Education and Superintendent Cindy Marten invite all stakeholders to a series of neighborhood meetings to Dream Big together for the future of our schools.  We are committed to having clear, long-term priorities based on our Vision 2020.  We believe that when our priorities are inspired and informed by our parents, students, and teachers, we will have important information for long-range planning with students at the center.  These forums will yield a clear and collective sense of our District-wide long-term priorities.

The "Vision 2020 Forums: What Kinds of Schools Do We Want" series offer parents, staff, students, and community members an opportunity to give input to the superintendent and the board members on priorities for our students and schools.

Meeting schedule

  • Friday, Feb. 7, 5-7 p.m., Sub-District D, Memorial Preparatory for Scholars and Athletes, 2850 Logan Ave. (92113)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Sub-District B, Patrick Henry High School, 6702 Wandermere Dr. (92120)
  • Monday, Feb. 24, 7-9 p.m., Sub-District C, Mission Bay High School, 2475 Grand Ave. (92109).
  •  Monday, Mar. 3, 7-9 p.m., Sub-District A, Mira Mesa High School, 10510 Reagan Rd. (92126).
  • Event in Sub-District E is yet to be scheduled.
For more information, follow the district's daily news feed and website front page calendar and the Vision 2020 Forums website, as well as the district Twitter and Facebook pages.

Please RSVP.


For further information or questions, email

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's official: 2014-15 school year starts Sept. 2

The 2014-15 school year for all schools in the San Diego Unified School District begins Tuesday, Sept. 2, following the recommendation of Superintendent Cindy Marten and approval by the Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday evening.

Other highlights of the 180-day schedule:
  • Winter break begins for both traditional and year-round schools on December 22, 2014;
  • Spring break begins for both traditional and year-round schools on March 30, 2015;
  • The last instructional day on the traditional calendar is Monday, June 15, 2015;
  • The last instructional day on the year-round calendar is Tuesday, July 21, 2015.
Representatives of parent groups as well as employee bargaining units participate in the district Calendar Committee, along with district staff from Labor Relations, Payroll, Testing, Pupil Accounting, Transportation, Special Education, Summer Schools, Human Resource Services, and Communications.

Supt. Marten has asked that a plan be created that would transition all district schools to a common calendar in the 2015-16 school year or beyond. With this direction, a schedule of meetings with stakeholders will be established in the next several months. Meeting notices will be posted on the district's web page, calendar, school website district news sections and social media.

Download copies of the 2014-15 calendar

Mid-City Youth Throw Some Hardballs at the Mayoral Candidates

IN THE NEWS: Mayoral debate at Hoover High 'had a decidedly different feel than most political debates, thanks to youth panelists like Roosevelt Middle School sixth grader Hiyab Seadedin.' Read more from Voice of San Diego»

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Going meatless on Mondays

IN THE NEWS: Meatless Monday has also reached the plates of San Diegan youngsters. In September, San Diego Unified School District adopted Meatless Monday in its elementary schools. Gary Petill, director of the district’s food services, said it was an opportunity to educate children about a plant-based diet. Read more from UT San Diego»In The News

Bullying on the run at Mann Middle School

Learning to get along is a part of growing up and Mann Middle School in City Heights works to teach its students about bullying -- how to avoid it, how to prevent it, and how to get along.

Taking the pledge to stop bullying The school's recent Anti-Bullying week brought staff from around the district to help students learn these important lessons. Amir Rahim of the district's Race and Human Relations Department and Officer Flores of our San Diego Unified School Police opened the week with a motivating assembly about the effects of bullying and ways to stop it on and off campus. The message, “Stop Bullying,” was clear.

Lunchtime events included students signing anti-bullying pledges and created a photo journal which shows students covering their mouths with the “words hurt” written on their hands.

Other activities included writing an essay to a bully from the prospective of the victim; Principal Courtney Young will be selecting the essay winner and the winning essay will be available on the school's website. Other students worked in groups with Crawford High School students to discuss the effects of bullying and how to stop a bully. They also placed anti-bullying posters around campus.

For more information on the program, contact Young at (619) 582-8990.

Monday, January 27, 2014

International Studies students get the word from federal judge

United States District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller visited with more than 100 students at the School of International Studies at San Diego High School, sharing his views on law and stories from his career.

Judge Miller In a format modeled after the TV series Inside the Actors Studio, the event provided a unique opportunity for International Studies students to get a real sense of what it takes to become a federal judge and what the job is like on a every day.

While the specific focus of the event was related to current topics in civil law, Judge Miller also entertained the students with stories from his career at the California Attorney’s General Office, as a state court judge and federal court senior judge. Throughout the 90-minute event, students asked Judge Miller questions related to cases he has handled, law school, legal concepts and challenges he has faced. Judge Miller visited the downtown San Diego campus on Dec. 4.

The “Inside the Courtroom” guest speaker program is a collaboration between San Diego High School of International Studies and the United States District Court of Southern California. It is designed to provide students in the school’s legal pathway an opportunity to enrich their understanding of the law via interaction with its professionals. Speakers cover topics specifically selected to augment content from the classroom while describing its real-world application and context.

The program continues on Jan. 29 with Federal Magistrate Barbara Major and Feb. 26 with Judge Margaret Mann from the Federal Bankruptcy Court. For more information or guest speaker suggestions please contact Patrick Goddard at

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Classroom becomes coffee house for poetry reading

If a Carson Elementary School student comes up to you and says "I'm from..." and then waxes poetic, don't be concerned. It's part of an innovative program at the Linda Vista neighborhood campus. Poetry reading

The result of a grant from CoTA, Collaborations: Teachers and Artists, students have been learning about poetry writing through an intensive study of the elements that drive meaning writing. The school received a three-year grant and was named a Beacon School by CoTA.

"Carson is in its second year of a three year grant funded program that positively impacts every student at our site," said Principal Joe Frescatore. "CoTA's methodology establishes a meaningful connection between the students and the material to be learned resulting in deeper comprehension and heightened critical thinking skills, a priority of the Common Core State Standards."

One of the classrooms, Ms. Lynn's grade 5, was transformed into a coffee shop setting for the culminating poetry reading project. Every student wrote and individually presented a poem from the perspective of "I'm From."
In other news from the campus, student Daniel Ruiz has been invited to speak at the California School Library Association conference this February. Daniel will be introducing Mo Willems, the winner of this year's California Young Reader Medal for primary books for his book We Are In a Book. Daniel's speech will take place on Saturday, February 8 during a dinner cruise from the Bahia Hotel.
For more information on the school, contact Frescatore at (858) 397-6900.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mobile hydroponic wagon brings the farm to Grant K-8 School

Grant (K-8) School students experienced first-hand how their January Harvest of the Month is grown when the farm came to school.

Using a mobile hydroponic wagon, Pierre Sleiman, Jr., owner and CEO of Go Green Agriculture, demonstrated how the organic Bloomsdale spinach grows hydroponically by having students pour water and nutrients into the tube where the spinach roots were suspended. The wagon will stay at Grant throughout January so the students can watch the spinach growing process.
"Students are able to learn that hydroponics is the art and science of growing plants without soil," said Ashley Cassat, San Diego Unified Farm to School Specialist. "Instead plant roots are suspended in nutrient-rich water, a system which uses up to 60-80 percent less water than conventional outdoor farms by recycling every drop of water that the plants don’t take up."

A family-owned, hydroponic farm in Encinitas, Go Green Agriculture grows a wide variety of organic leafy vegetables with distribution to Whole Foods, Jimbos, Sprouts, Ralphs and now cafeterias in the San Diego Unified School District.

Share this growing experience by watching this month’s Harvest of the Month video, featuring our spinach actually being grown in Encinitas. The video, produced by San Diego Unified’s Food Corps member Mary Tyranski, is one in a series that brings nutrition education into the classroom and connects students to their school’s salad bars. Watch video»

The Mobile Hydroponic Wagon was built by Pierre for the San Diego Unified Farm to School Program with funding from the Community Transformation Grant through the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. Schools can take advantage of this educational tool or learn more by contacting Farm to School Specialist, Ashley Cassat at or follow the program on its Facebook page.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Budget process for 2014-15 "puts students and schools first"

Planning for the 2014-15 school year "reflects our collective vision" and is being shaped by a multi-disciplinary team, Superintendent Cindy Marten told the Board of Education when she presented her proposed 2014-15 budget on Jan. 21. The team approached the process, Marten explained, by reviewing the district’s vision for equity and excellence in all schools and classrooms rather than asking how much money is available and how much needs to be cut. The proposed budget puts the priorities squarely on students with improvements and enhancements to educational program, including:
  • Lowering class sizes for grades K-3;
  • Full restoration of the instructional school year to 180 days;
  • Improving school allocations that will make sure all schools are fully staffed and ready for students on the first day of school;
  • Closing the achievement gap by the end of first grade;
  • Investing in essential programs like Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), International Baccalaureate (IB), biliteracy programs, specialty arts programs, early literacy intervention and transitional kindergarten.
The Board of Education unanimously approved the superintendent's proposal.

"Our balanced budget proposal for 2014-15 puts students first with smaller class sizes, opening libraries, and supporting GATE, visual and performing arts, IB programs, graduation coaches and professional learning communities," said Board President Kevin Beiser. "The focus on reducing class size next year is great news for kids."

While budget challenges remain, the fiscal outlook is changing. San Diego Unified has a multi-year approach towards closing the deficit due to the scale of the recession of the past six years. San Diego Unified will work to implement the new budget model, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) with equity as a central tenet. Stakeholders will have more opportunity to give input at five forums the district will hold in February and March. The first forum is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Memorial Preparatory Middle School, 2850 Logan Ave. (92113).

Watch the video of the superintendent's board presentation.

Burrito Boys, Girls spend Sunday mornings feeding San Diego homeless

IN THE NEWS: Students from Serra and Patrick Henry high schools have been spending their Sunday mornings rolling burritos and sharing them with San Diego's homeless for more than three years.

News coverage

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Morse High raises $1,470 for Philippine typhoon relief

By Jacinda Hernandez
Morse Code newspaper

After Typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines on November 7, 2013, many Morse students and staff members had the immediate urge to help the victims by raising money and donating essential items to the victims.

Coincidentally, the same week as Super Typhoon Haiyan happened it left many people being homeless, the Week of Consciousness whose main focus for the week was homelessness was also occurring. The club organization thought that doing something for the typhoon would be a great way to incorporate the idea of homelessness and connecting it to their cause.

Junior Ashley Carbonell, a member of One World, described the hardships of trying to organize two different causes in one week and how easy it was to get people involved with the Philippine cause. One cause was for the homeless population on campus and the other was the homeless victims struck by the super typhoon.

“I think that the hardest part was making the decision to finalize our plan with the ideas that we had thought of,” said Carbonell. “We had ideas of creating shirts and rubber bracelets, but because of the time crunch we ended up just placing donation money boxes in multiple classrooms across campus and allowed students to drop off donation items at a few classes.”

Choosing a good, credible, and trustworthy charity is hard to find, which was one of the dilemmas that One World had to face. One World made the decision to work with an organization called Gawad Kalinga a.k.a GK. Gawad Kalinga means to “give care.” One World worked with GK to help raise money with many donation boxes distributed to multiple classrooms. All of the money from the donation boxes would then be given to the typhoon victims in the Philippines.

Arlene Benedicto, AP U.S. History and AP Psychology teacher, made a decision with her husband to match however much money was in the donation box. At the end of the week, her classrooms donation box had well over $100 packed inside.

“In just one week Morse raised $1,470 and had about eight carloads of donation items. This was in addition to the 10 boxes of goods already collected before last Friday,” said Benedicto. “The money donated to Gawad Kalinga was enough to buy 294 food packs that will feed a family of four for three days.”

Junior Rejeanne Devera participated in helping the Philippines by donating her clothes and money.
“I donated four shopping bags worth of my old clothes, most of them I never even wore before,” described Devera. “I felt awesome giving things away that’ll be of more use for others.”

“My family was fortunately unaffected by the typhoon, but I’m giving my best regards to those who were,” said Devera.

This heartbreaking time for the Philippines has shown that the students and teachers on campus are caring and thoughtful, we managed to raise lots of money and a lot of goods that the victims no longer have and it is what they need to survive.

Safe handling training means safer home-grown greens

It's one thing to grow fruits and vegetables on campus, but knowing that San Diego Unified School District's cafeterias abide by strict heath standards means special training to ensure that school grown food makes it to campus tables, part of the Garden to Café program.

Tending the garden “This program really helps make the seed to table connection for students, they help grow and care for their school garden and then can feel proud of the bounty they are sharing with their fellow classmates” says Ashley Cassat, Farm to School Specialist in charge of the District’s Garden to Café program.

Recent training brought staff members from 35 schools together with school volunteers and community members to learn about safe food handling from farm to school. Attendees learned about the Garden to Café Protocol, food safety requirements to grow produce for school salad bars and received resources to help them connect their gardens to classroom learning. Thanks to funding from the County of San Diego, Community Transformation Grant participants received the Growing Classroom, Garden Based Science Curriculum, which is aligned to the Common Core Standards.

The Garden to Café program allows fresh garden-grown food from school gardens to be served as part of the school meal program and provides students an opportunity to learn where their food is grown.

“Our goal is to have many more schools participate in the program.” For more information about the Garden to Café program, please visit the district website at or contact Ashley Cassat, Farm to School Specialist at .

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

La Jolla High students top reading and analysis competition

La Jolla High School students have won highest honors in this year's WordWright Challenge, a national competition for high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry.

Students at the school who won highest individual honors in the meet included sophomore Clayton Halbert and junior Enzo Serafino, who both earned perfect scores, and junior Geneva Kotler. The trio's teacher is Jewel Weien.

More than 69,000 students from 596 school teams from across the country. The La Jolla High team placed fifth in the most recent meet of the 2013-14 season, held in December.

The WordWright Challenge is a national reading competition for students in grades 9 through 12 that requires analytical reading of many kinds of prose and poetry. It emphasizes perceptive interpretation, sensitivity to language, and an appreciation of style. More than 54,000 students from some of the best public and private high schools in 46 states and four foreign nations participated last year.

The premise behind the WordWright Challenge is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students can acquire in school. The texts students must analyze for the Challenge can range from short fiction by Eudora Welty or John Steinbeck, to poetry as old as Shalkespere's or as recent as Margaret Atwood's, and to essays as classic as E.B. White's or as current as a Time opinion piece by James Poniewozik.

The texts for the second WordWright meet this year were an op-ed piece from the New York Times for ninth and 10th graders. Grades 11-12 handled an excerpt from a novel from Anthony Trollope.
For more information on the programs at La Jolla High, contact Weien at

Pt. Loma Navy JROTC sails past food drive goal

Pt. Loma Navy JROTC food drive
Pt. Loma High's Naval JROTC sailed past the other dozen programs, taking the annual holiday food drive Community Service Streamer.
The San Diego Unified School District JROTC Food Drive is an annual community service project to support our city in collecting food during the holiday season. Given the economic struggles by many in San Diego, JROTC cadets set a goal of surpassing last year’s collection of 17,960 lbs.

Each year, special recognition is given to the school which donates the largest amount and this year’s Community Service streamer will be presented to Pt. Loma High School. In second place was Scripps Ranch High and San Diego High placed third.

Together with friends, families, school faculty and students, the 13 JROTC units collected an amazing 22,995lbs. Donations of canned and dried goods went to various local charities, churches and food banks to be distributed to families just before the holidays.

In the past four years, JROTC cadets have contributed over 51,000lbs of food to our community.  We thank all cadets for their donations to this worthy event.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Supt. Marten invokes memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as breakfast keynote speaker

IN THE NEWS: Keynote speaker Cindy Marten, superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, stressed education and a focus on students in her address to the crowd of 1,200, which included civic and business leaders. The event took place at the Town and Country Resort and Conference Center in Mission Valley. Read more from UT San Diego»

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2013 'Girls of Merit' include two Patrick Henry Patriots

Two additional "Girls of Merit" named at last fall's Girls Expo are from the San Diego Unified School District and attend Patrick Henry High.

Lauren Hanke-Hoppe and Alexandra Kelly of Patrick Henry High joined Jessica Danga of Mira Mesa High as honorees from the San Diego Unified School District.
Alexandra Kelly, left, and Lauren Hanke-Hopps
The Nov. 3 ceremony picked 10 girls from around the region. They're honored for their care about their family, their friends, and their community; because they give of themselves in order to better the lives of others; have care and compassion for others; and are strongly committed to excellence in all areas of their lives.

The announcement of Hanke-Hoppe's award notes that the sophomore is active in sports and has many other activities.

"Playing competitive tennis and participating in many other athletic activities, maintaining a high grade-point average and engaging in extensive community service would be huge accomplishments for anyone, even if they weren't in a wheelchair," the promoters wrote.

Classmate Alexandra Kelly helped future generations of San Diegans by holding workshops for elementary school students.

"Participants not only learned practices for making reading with their siblings more productive and enjoyable, but the they als assembled and painted small bookcases for their siblings to use in building their home libraries," according to the event's program.

For more information on the Girls World Expo, check out its website.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

PTA honors students' artistic creativity, skill

More than 30 young artists in the San Diego Unified School District have been honored by the San Diego Unified Council of PTA.

Work by Mary Allen of Language Academy The Reflections Arts Recognition Program is a national arts recognition and achievement program for students. Since 1969, more than 10 million students across the nation have taken part in this popular PTA program.

"This year, 2013-14, we had a wonderful assortment of Reflections entries," said Barbara Flannery, Vice President of Programs for the local PTA. "Our Reflections reception will take place in February."

Award of Merit entries are on display in the Normal Street Central Office foyer. Entries are divided into five levels: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12) and Special Artist.

"The excitement and enthusiasm that the program generates for students, parents, schools and communities is unmatched with the majority of California PTAs participating in the program at all PTA levels," she said.

The Reflections Program provides an excellent opportunity for students:
  • Unleash their creative talents and be inspired;
  • Express themselves imaginatively in their artwork;
  • Experience the joy and fun of making art;
  • Tap into critical thinking skills to create art inspired by the annual theme;
  • Receive positive recognition for their original works of art.
As an added bonus, in showcasing and celebrating student talent, the Reflections Program increases community awareness of the importance of the arts in education. Congratulations to the artists have received an award of Excellence and their Reflections Entries have and moved on to the next level which is county wide through Ninth District PTA.

"Thanks to our Reflections volunteers who made this all possible: Ann Mellon, Sabrina Bazzo, Desiree Rauterkus, Rebecca Cosgrove, NiChelle Cannon, Christy Korda and Shawny Sheldon from San Diego High School Art Department; Kristina Alfonso from Children’s Museum; and the Helix High School Music Students," she said.

Students honored were from Mira Mesa High School, Wangenheim, Standley and Challenger middle schools, Language Academy, and Sandburg Elementary schools.
For more information on the program, contact Flannery at

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bethune K-8 Geographic Bee champion crowned

Congratulations to Bethune K-8's 2013-14 National Beographic Bee Champion, eighth grader Apriljoy Payumo.

Apriljoy Payumo Apriljoy first tried out for the GeoBee in fourth grade, qualified as a top-ten finalist in seventh grade, and is now the school champion, showing that perserverance pays off.

"Our school champion and finalists will be recognized at an awards assembly later this year," said Tommy Flanagan, Bethune history-social sciences teacher. "Best of luck to Apriljoy who will now try to qualify as one of the top 100 California 4th-8th graders for the state finals that will be held in Sacramento this coming April."

The school's top ten finalists this year were: Apriljoy Payumo, school champion; Joseph Langindin, second place; Sierra Serrano; Brianna Arroyo; Mia McCarthy; Marcial Mamangun; Joshua Geronilla; Demaree Eastern-Flora; Robert Wilpitz; Dejon Miller-Blaine; Eria Sarne, alternate.

It is never too early to get ready for next year's GeoBee. Check out and maybe you will be next year's champion.

Located in the residential community of Paradise Hills, Mary McLeod Bethune K-8 School serves 725 students from kindergarten through middle school. The school facility is clean, orderly, safe, and provides a climate that sets high expectations for students both in academic performance and behavior. Students who attend Bethune are provided with a comprehensive curriculum with an emphasis on reading, writing, science, mathematics, and social studies. In addition, the school offers music and technology programs that enrich the education of interested students.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

La Jolla High School junior claims national chess title

IN THE NEWS: Varun Krishnan has been playing chess since he was 6, and he has amassed an impressive record. He’s a national life master, has qualified and competed in the world youth chess championships three times, was the youngest Southern California Open State Champion in 2012 and was recently named the top 11th-grade player in the country. Read more from UT San Diego» Varun Krishnan, courtesy UT San Diego

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SD Met High student honored as Horatio Alger National Scholar

San Diego Met High School senior Brandon Brizuela has been selected as a 2014 Horatio Alger National Scholar.

Brandon Brizuela Brandon will receive a $21,000 scholarship for a Bachelor's degree, an all-expense paid trip to the Horatio Alger National Scholars Conference in Washington, D.C., in April, and the opportunity to apply to one of a group of selected colleges who work with the foundation to match the Horatio Alger Scholarship funds. He will also be provided with mentoring, a 24-hour support and referral line, as well as free campus housing opportunities.

As a native San Diegan, UC San Diego is his first choice for college.

After completing medical and legal internships at the San Diego Met High School on the Mesa College campus, Brandon is interested in majoring in cognitive science with a specialty in neurology.

One of the nation's largest college financial aid programs, the Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program helps high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives. While many aid programs are directed primarily to recognizing academic achievement or leadership potential, the Horatio Alger program also seeks students who have a commitment to use their college degrees in service to others.  

The San Diego Met High School is one of 70 schools nationally that follow the The Big Picture education model out of Providence, R.I. where internships are a two-day weekly part of every student's curriculum.
For further information contact Principal Sara Leonard at or (619) 388-2295.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Environmental lesson for Crown Point students

Wildlife conservation and waste prevention, reduction and reuse go hand in hand, students at Crown Point Junior Music Academy in Pacific Beach.

Crown Point EnviroSchool brought in hands-on presentations, and displayed items made with recyled materials. Students had the opportunity to rotate throughout five different stations where kids used computers, microscopes, conducted chemistry experiments, and learned about the importance of maintaining water quality in order to support living creatures and insect life.

"I am going to tell my mom that we need to help keep our beach clean" said one student/ "I don't want to swim in dirty water!"

EnviroSchool, a service of the San Diego County Office of Education and City of San Diego's Environmental Services Department, gives students an overview of environmental issues in San Diego and beyond. The San Diego Zoo's own Dr. Zoolittle introduces the program, which includes: three hands-on rotating stations of the "Splash" Science Mobile Lab, where students will learn about watershed issues and become scientists to solve a water quality mystery; the "Green Machine," where students learn where their food comes from and the importance of a healthy environment to good nutrition; and the "Eco-Teacher," who will give students an in-depth look at the "three R's" of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

"I liked going to the the different stations," said another student. "I got to touch real worms."
Watch a video of the program.

For more information, contact 619-491-3183.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Marshall Middle School lauded for creating 'educational foundations'

IN THE NEWS: Principal discusses "need opportunities to analyze and synthesize information to solve problems with a new perspective." Read more from 92131 Magazine» Marshall Middle school

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bell Middle School teacher helped by fellow Charger fan

IN THE NEWS: Bell Middle School teacher gets help from NFL team season-ticket holder-neighbor with kidney transplant.

News coverage

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New laws affect education in 2014

Here's a rundown on new laws that affect education in California.

SB 73 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Chapter 29) Energy: Proposition 39 Implementation. Effective immediately.

This is the budget vehicle for the allocation of Proposition 39 energy efficiency funds for local educational agencies and community college districts. Stipulates the minimum required information the recipients of the funds must submit in order to receive the funds. Makes LEAs subject to front-end verification and back-end public tracking and reporting.
AB 86 (Committee on Budget, Chapter 48) Education Finance: Education Omnibus Trailer Bill. Effective immediately.
Implements various statutory changes needed to implement the 2013-14 Budget package for the states public schools and community colleges, including reduces outstanding K-14 inter-year payment deferrals by $4.3 billion in 2012-13 and 2013-14; allocates $1.25 billion in one-time Proposition 98 funding in 2013-14 to assist K-12 schools in implementing the new Common Core standards; allocates $250 million on a one-time basis in 2013-14 to establish the California Career Pathways Trust for competitive grants to support K-14 education career pathways programs; and makes various changes to the special education funding formula. Extends provisions of existing law another two years to allow school districts to use proceeds from selling surplus properties for one-time operating expenses, and extends provisions of existing law another three years that requires school districts to first offer surplus instructional property for lease or sale to charter schools prior to any other entity. Contains other related provisions and laws.

SB 91/AB 97 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Chapter 49) School Finance and the Local Control Funding Formula. Effective immediately.
Replaces the old revenue limit and categorical funding structure with LCFF beginning in the 2013-14 fiscal year. LCFF is comprised of a base grant, supplemental grant and concentration grant. Provides an additional 2.6% base grant augmentation to be used on students enrolled in grades 9 to 12 for any purposes or programs that support a school district or charter school in achieving its goals for college and career readiness, and a 10.4% base grant augmentation for K-3 grade class size reduction. Legislation describes all components of LCFF and role of the state in supporting and intervening.

SB 97 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Chapter 357) School Finance: Local Control Funding Formula Education Budget Clean-Up Bill. Effective immediately.
Makes various technical and clarifying changes to the education budget trailer bills related to the new LCFF adopted as part of the 2013-14 Budget package. It clarifies that a budget cannot be approved for a school district or county office of education before a LCAP is adopted and clarifies terms under which a budget review committee shall be formed, requires school districts to ensure that all written notifications related to the LCAP are available to parents in languages other than English, and adds local bargaining units to the groups that school districts must consult in the development of the LCAP.
AB 110 (Blumenfield, Chapter 20) Budget Act of 2013. Effective immediately.
Contains the 2013-14 Budget Act as reported out by the 2013 Conference Committee on the Budget. The 2013-14 Budget Act authorizes General Fund expenditures of $96.3 billion, and assumes nearly $98 billion in total General Fund resources and a $1.1 billion reserve.


SB 247 (Liu, Chapter 479) Pupil Assessment: Grade 2 Diagnostic Assessments
Requires the California Department of Education, by November 1, 2014, to identify and make available to school districts information regarding existing assessments in language arts and mathematics aligned to the adopted Common Core academic content standards for pupils in grade 2 for diagnostic use by classroom teachers. The savings realized from the elimination of the grade 2 testing would be used by school districts for the administration of diagnostic assessments for identifying students' knowledge or skills, but the assessments would not be valid measures for purposes of accountability.
SB 490 (Jackson, Chapter 482) Early Assessment Program: Common Core Academic Content Standards
Existing law recognizes the establishment of the Early Assessment Program (EAP) at the California State University to enable pupils to learn about their readiness for college-level English and mathematics before their senior year of high school. This bill would instead encourage those courses to be sequenced to the common core academic content standards for language arts and mathematics.
AB 484 (Bonilla, Chapter 489) Pupil Assessments: Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress
Suspends nearly all STAR tests and provides districts the option to participate in one portion of the field/practice test of the new Smarter Balanced computer-adaptive assessments. The only STAR tests that will be administered in Spring 2014 are the science tests at grades 5, 8 and 10, CAPA at grades 2-11, and ELA and mathematics tests at grade 11 to support the voluntary participation in the Early Assessment Program. AB 484 has no impact on CAHSEE, CELDT, or the Physical Fitness Test. In addition, the calculation of API scores would be suspended for two years. It is not yet completely clear how these changes will affect federal accountability (AYP).
AB 123 (Bonta, Chapter 476) Instruction: Social Sciences: Farm Labor Movement
Requires that the State Board of Education ensure that the state curriculum and framework, where appropriate, include instruction on the role of immigrants, including Filipino Americans, on the farm labor movement in CA. Provides that it shall not be implemented unless funds are appropriated by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act.
AB 137 (Buchanan, Chapter 225) Pupil Instruction: Civics
Requires the Instructional Quality Commission, when revising the history-social science framework, to ensure that these course requirements are included in all history and social science course and grade levels, as appropriate.
AB 166 (Hernandez, Chapter 166) Pupil Instruction: Financial Literacy
Requires the State Board of Education to integrate financial literacy, including, but not limited to, budgeting and managing credit, student loans, consumer debt, and identity theft security with specified academic areas.
AB 424 (Donnelly, Chapter 484) Pupil Instruction: Social Sciences: State and Federal Constitutions
Requires the Instructional Quality Commission, when revising the history/social science framework, to do so based on the subject matter of the course in addition to appropriateness, to consider incorporating the Magna Carta, the Articles of Confederation, and the California Constitution, and to encourage instruction that promotes an understanding of the governments of California and the United States.
SB 330 (Padilla, Chapter 481) Instruction: Health Framework: Mental Health Instruction
Incorporates, upon the next revision, instruction on mental health into the Health Curriculum Framework. Requires the Instructional Quality Commission to consider developing, and recommending for adoption by the State Board, a distinct category on mental health instruction to educate pupils about all aspects of mental health.
SB 552 (Calderon, Chapter 497) Pupil Instruction: Social Sciences: Violence Awareness
Allows all required areas of study, as deemed appropriate by the governing board, to include grade-level appropriate instruction on violence awareness and prevention, including personal testimony in the form of oral or video histories.
AB 700 (Gomez, Chapter 483) Social Sciences: Voter Education
Requires the Instructional Quality Commission, when the history-social science framework is revised, to ensure that voter education information is included in the American government and civics curriculum at the high school level, including, but not limited to, information on the importance of registering to vote in local, state, and federal elections, and where and how to access the voter information pamphlet and other materials to become an informed voter.
AB 547 (Salas, Chapter 703) 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens Program
Expands the academic assistance component of the 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) program to include career exploration and also authorizes the California Department of Education to consider other criteria that CDE may identify as critical for a high-quality program when awarding grants.


AB 133 (Hagman, Chapter 157) Instructional Materials: Digital Format
Requires publishers and manufacturers submitting printed instructional materials to the state board or local governing board for adoption, or on after January 1, 2014, to ensure that the printed instructional material is also available in an equivalent digital format during the entire term of the adoption.
SB 185 (Walters, Chapter 174) Instructional Materials: Digital Format
Authorizes school districts and county offices of education to negotiate the price of standards-aligned instructional materials and supplemental materials in a printed or digital format if the negotiated price complies with certain requirements. Requires instructional materials to be offered by a publisher or manufacturer as unbundled elements. Authorizes a school district to use instructional materials in digital format that were purchased by the school district to create a districtwide online digital database for classroom use.
SB 300 (Hancock, Chapter 480) Instructional Materials: Revised Curriculum Framework: Science and English Language Arts
Requires the State Board of Education to consider the adoption of a revised curriculum framework and evaluation criteria for instructional materials in science on or before January 31, 2016, and requires the revised curriculum framework to be based on specified science content standards and to include English language development strategies, as specified, and strategies to address the needs of pupils with disabilities. Extends the deadline for the State Board to adopt revised curriculum frameworks and evaluation criteria for English language arts until July 30, 2014.


SB 201 (Liu, Chapter 478) Instructional Materials: Academic Content Standards: English Learners
Current law requires the California Department of Education, with the approval of the State Board of Education, to establish procedures for conducting the assessment and for the reclassification of a pupil from English learner to English proficient. Current law requires a school district to annually conduct the assessment during a period that commences on the day upon which 55% of the instructional year is completed through July 1 of that calendar year. This bill applies the above requirements to initial and summative assessments. Authorizes the State Board of Education to adopt, by November 30, 2015, K-8 instructional materials that are aligned to the Common Core English Language Arts Standards and the Common Core-aligned English Language Development Standards.
AB 899 (Weber, Chapter 709) Academic Content Standards: English Language Development Standards
Requires that the standards for English language development for pupils whose primary language is a language other than English be comparable in rigor and specificity to the academic content standards to which they are aligned, including specified standards for English language arts and mathematics and specified science content standards. Requires the Superintendent, on or before January 1, 2015, to recommend modifications to the English language development standards to align with the state board-approved academic content standards for math and science.


SB 379 (Hancock, Chapter 372) School Attendance: Early/Middle College High Schools
For the purposes of calculating average daily attendance apportionment at an early college or middle college high school operated by a charter school, this bill will require that at least 80% of the instructional time be at the school site. Requires that the charter school require the attendance of the pupil in grades 11 and 12 for a minimum of 50% of the required instructional time. These requirements will be added to annual audits.
AB 588 (Fox, Chapter 423) School Athletics: Concussions
Current law requires, on a yearly basis, a concussion and head injury information sheet to be signed and returned by the athlete and athlete's parent or guardian before the athlete's initiating practice or competition. This bill would apply these provisions to athletes attending charter schools and private schools.


AB 182 (Buchanan, Chapter 477) – School Districts and Community College Bonds
Limits Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs) to 25 years and establishes other requirements for CABs: maximum interest of 8 percent; limits debt device to principal ratio of 4 to 1; bonds longer than 10 years must be allowed to be refinanced; and additional public disclosures will be required in Board agendas. Current Interest Bonds will be allowed for up to 40 years as long as the governing Board makes a finding that the useful life of the facility will be equal or exceeds the maturity date of the CIBs between 30 and 40 years.
SB 581 (Wyland, Chapter 91) School Bonds: Bond Accountability
Requires the Proposition 39 annual, independent financial and performance audits to be submitted to the citizens’ oversight committee at the same time they are submitted to the school district or community college district. Requires the governing board of the district to provide the citizens’ oversight committee with responses to any and all findings, recommendations, and concerns addressed in the annual, independent financial and performance audits within three months of receiving the audits.
SB 584 (Wyland, Chapter 167) School Facilities: Financial and Performance Audits
Requires the Controller, by January 1, 2015, and in consultation with the State Allocation Board, the Department of Finance, and Department of Education, to submit content to the Education Audits Appeal Panel to be included in the audit guide, Standards and Procedures for Audits of California K-12 LEAs beginning in the 2015-16 fiscal year, that is related to financial and performance audits required for specified school facility projects.
AB 308 (Hagman, Chapter 496) Sale or Lease of Surplus Real Property: Return of State School Facilities Funding Program Funds
Authorizes the State Allocation Board to establish a program to require a school district that sells or leases real property that was purchased with or modernized with, or on which improvements were constructed that were funded with any moneys from a state school facilities funding program, to return to SAB the moneys the district received from the state school facilities funding program for the purchase, modernization, or construction.
AB 56 (Weber, Chapter 475) School Facilities: Carbon Monoxide Devices
Requires, by July 1, 2015, the State Fire Marshal to propose for adoption by the California Building Standards Commission, appropriate standards for the installation of carbon monoxide devices in public and private school buildings.
AB 120 (Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, Chapter 632) Underground storage tanks: school districts
Requires the State Water Resources Control Board to waive the underground storage tank permit requirement for claims reimbursed from the School District Account in the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund if the Superintendent of the school district receiving the reimbursement certifies to the Board that petroleum was not delivered on or after January 1, 2003.


AB 10 (Alejo, Chapter 351) Minimum Wage: Annual Adjustment
Increases the minimum wage, on and after July 1, 2014, to not less than $9.00 per hour. Increases the minimum wage, on January 1, 2016, to not less than $10 per hour.
AB 226 (Atkins, Chapter 73) Classified Employees: School Police Workweek
Authorizes the governing board of a school district or county superintendent of schools to establish a “3/12” workweek schedule (12-hour-per-day, 80-hour-per-2-weeks) for school police departments, subject to a collective bargaining agreement. Requires the payment of overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of the required workday.
SB 590 (De Leon, Chapter 723) Professional Development for Classified Employees
Requires a LEA, if it expends funds for professional development, to consider the needs of its classified school employees to update their skills and to learn best practices in various optional areas, including pupil learning and achievement, campus safety, and special education.
SB 5 (Padilla, Chapter 171) Teacher Credentialing
Authorizes inclusion of up to 2 years (currently 1 year) of professional preparation within credentialing programs. Allows for BA degrees in education for credential candidates.
SB 368 (Pavley, Chapter 717) Teachers: Added Authorization in Special Education
Current law authorizes the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to grant an added or supplementary authorization to a credentialholder who has met the requirements and standards of the Commission for the added or supplementary authorization. This bill authorizes program sponsors to offer comparability and equivalency for a special education credentialholder seeking to add a special education authorization to his or her special education credential in accordance with specified guidelines and criteria.
AB 449 (Muratsuchi, Chapter 232) Certificated School Employees: School Superintendent Reports to Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Requires the Superintendent of a school district or county office of education, or the administrator of a charter school, to report to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing any change in the employment status of a credentialholder working in a position requiring a credential not later than 30 days after the credentialholder's employment status changes in one of specified ways as a result of an allegation of misconduct or while an allegation of misconduct is pending. Makes the Superintendent’s failure to make the report of unprofessional conduct a misdemeanor.
SB 546 (Wright, Chapter 90) Education Employment: Termination: Hearing
Renames several forms required by school districts to use during certificated layoff proceedings. Changes the names of the following documents: (1) "Notice of Defense" to "Notice of Participation in Reduction in Force Hearing" (2) "Accusation" to "District Statement of Reduction in Force."
AB 267 (Chau, Chapter 123) Lawyer Referral Service-Client Evidentiary Privileges
Provides that a person who consults a lawyer referral service for the purpose of retaining a lawyer or securing legal advice has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a confidential communication between the client and the lawyer referral service if the privilege is claimed by a specified person or entity. Establishes the circumstances in which the privilege does not apply.
AB 1381 (Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security, Chapter 559) State Teacher’s Retirement Law: Pension Reform
Makes various changes in the Teachers’ Retirement Law to conform with the provisions of PEPRA. Revises the definition of creditable compensation and salary, and specifies exclusions from the definition of creditable compensation and salary for purposes of the Defined Benefit Program and the Cash Balance Benefit Program. Defines a member subject to PEPRA and excepts from that definition a member who is also a member in certain other retirement systems prior to January 1, 2013. Revises provisions prescribing the amounts that members are required to contribute to the retirement fund for the Defined Benefit Program, and that participants in the Cash Balance Benefit Program contribute to reflect the requirements of PEPRA. Makes other changes.
SB 13 (Beall, Chapter 528) Public Employees’ Retirement Benefits
This bill serves to "clean up" the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2012 (PEPRA) (AB 340, Chapter 296). Excepts from PEPRA certain multiemployer plans authorized under, and regulated by, specified federal law. Excepts from PEPRA public employees whose collective bargaining rights are subject to specified provisions of federal law until a specified federal district court decision on certification by the United States Secretary of Labor or until January 1, 2015, whichever is sooner. Provides that if a federal district court upholds the determination of the United States Secretary of Labor, that application of PEPRA to those public employees precludes certification, those employees are excepted from PEPRA. Clarifies the application of PEPRA to employees who were employed prior to January 1, 2013, who have service credit in a different retirement system or who change positions for the same employer without a break in service, as specified. Authorizes a public retirement system to adopt regulations and resolutions in order to modify its retirement plan or plans to conform with PEPRA.


AB 643 (Stone, Chapter 80) Schools: Pupil Records: Confidentiality
Makes various changes to state provisions to conform to federal law. It creates an exemption to the general rule that a school district shall not permit access to pupil records without written parental consent or under judicial order. Allows caseworkers or a representative of a state or local child welfare agency, or tribal organization to access transcripts and report cards to avoid problems of inappropriate course placement and lost credits when a foster youth changes schools.

AB 1068 (Bloom, Chapter 713) Pupil Records: Homeless Youth
Prohibits the release of directory information for homeless students, and requires schools to permit access to pupil records to a pupil who is at least 14 years old, homeless and unaccompanied, and to an individual who has completed and signed a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit for purposes of enrolling a minor in school.
AB 216 (Stone, Chapter 324) High School Graduation Requirements: Foster Care Pupils
Requires a school district to exempt a pupil in foster care who transfers between schools any time after the completion of the pupils 2nd year of high school from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing board of the school district that are in addition to the statewide coursework requirements, unless the school district makes a finding that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the requirements in time to graduate from high school by the end of the pupil’s 4th year of high school.
SB 177 (Liu, SB 491) Homeless Youth Education Success Act
Among other things, expands current law which requires a foster child who changes residences, pursuant to a court order or decision of a child welfare worker, to be immediately deemed to have met all residency requirements for participation in interscholastic sports or other extracurricular activities to students who are homeless and meet that definition under federal law.
AB 1266 (Ammiano, Chapter 85) Sex-Segregated School Programs and Activities
Requires that students be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil's records.
AB 570 (Jones-Sawyer, Chapter 365) Continuation Schools: Policies and Procedures for Voluntary Transfer
Requires school districts that choose to voluntarily enroll high school pupils in a continuation school to establish and adopt policies and procedures regarding the voluntary transfer of students including the identification, placement and intake procedures for these students. Requires approval for the voluntary transfer to be based on a finding that the placement will promote the educational interests of the pupil. Students have the right to return to their previous school if the transfer does not meet the pupil’s educational needs.
SCA 3 (Leno, Chapter 123) Public Information: Public Request Acts on 2014 Ballot
This measure will appear on the 2013 State Ballot to require each local agency to comply with the California Public Request Act and the Brown Act, or amending any successor act which contains findings demonstrating that the statutory enactment furthers the purposes of the people’s right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business. If passed by the voters, this initiative would no longer require the state to reimburse local agencies, including school districts, from complying with PRA requests.

School Safety

AB 256 (Garcia-D, Chapter 700) Grounds for Suspension and Expulsion
Authorizes schools to suspend or recommend for expulsion a pupil for bullying by electronic means that originated off of school grounds. Modifies the definition of “electronic act,” related to the act of bullying, as the creation and transmission originated on or off the schoolsite, by means of an electronic device, including a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager.
AB 514 (Bonta, Chapter 702) The Safe Schools for Safe Learning Act of 2013
Would require the Superintendent to post on the California Department of Education's Internet Web site a list of statewide resources for youth who have been affected by gangs, gun violence, and psychological trauma at home, at school, and the community.
AB 549 (Jones-Sawyer, Chapter 422) Comprehensive School Safety Plans: Mental Health Professionals and Police Role on Campus Guidelines
Encourages schools to include in school safety plans, when plans are reviewed and updated, clear guidelines for the roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals, community intervention professionals, school counselors, school resource officers, and police officers on the school campus, if the school district uses these people. Specifies the guidelines may include primary strategies to create and maintain a positive school climate, promote school safety, and increase pupil achievement, and prioritize mental health and intervention services, restorative and transformative justice programs, and positive behavior interventions and support.
SB 326 (Beall, Chapter 279) Sex Offenders
Current law makes it a misdemeanor for any person who is required to register as a sex offender to come into any school building or any school ground without lawful business and written permission from the chief administrative official of the school. This bill requires that the written permission indicate the date or date range and time for which permission is granted. Authorizes the chief administrative official of the school to grant a registered sex offender who is not a family member of a pupil who attends that school, permission to come into a school building or the school grounds to volunteer at the school, provided that the chief administrative official notifies the parent or guardian of each child attending the school of the permission at least 14 days prior to the first date for which permission has been granted.

School Lunch Program

AB 422 (Nazarian, Chapter 440) School Lunch Program: Health Care Notice
Current law authorizes the sharing of the school lunch program application with the county agency administering the Medi-Cal program for use in making an accelerated Medi-Cal eligibility determination for pupils eligible for free meals. Current law provides for the sending of a Healthy Families Program application to pupils determined to be ineligible for Medi-Cal coverage. This bill would, commencing January 1, 2014, require the notices to include prescribed advisements about the availability of free or reduced-cost comprehensive health care coverage through Medi-Cal or the California Health Benefit Exchange.
AB 626 (Skinner, Chapter 706) School Nutrition
Requires an entity that applies to operate a program to agree that meals made available by the program conform to specified federal nutrition standards. Includes as an authorized expenditure of the cafeteria fund expenditures for the lease or purchase of additional equipment for the kitchen or central food processing plant. Authorizes governing boards to make expenditures from the cafeteria fund for the purchase and installation of additional preparation, cooking, or service equipment for a kitchen or central food processing plant, including necessary alterations as specified, and for the lease or purchase of vehicles used solely in connection with the kitchen or central food processing plant. Repeals the authority of the governing board to allow as an expenditure from that fund a share of money generated from the joint sale of items between the cafeteria and an associated student body store and to create one or more cafeteria revolving accounts. Makes other changes.

Friday, January 10, 2014

San Diego's schools say "Go Chargers!"

Pacific Beach Middle School students show their spirit in support of the San Diego Chargers' playoff hopes, as well as the National Football League team's consistent support of San Diego schools. Read more about the Chargers' contributions.

Student art featured in San Diego's 'Dare to Reuse' 2014 calendar

Students from Encanto, Field, and Holmes elementary, Golden Hill K-8, Mann and Muirlands middle, and Kearny High school schools created winning art for the City of San Diego’s Dare to Reuse 2014 calendar, a free calendar available online for download.
Bob the Robot by Amina Bannavong of Mann Middle School

The City’s Environmental Services Department sponsors the annual contest calling on students in grades 4-12 to create art made only from "found object" materials – items that have already been used and are headed toward recycling. According to the city, The contest and exhibition are made possible through a collaboration of the City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department, the San Diego County Office of Education and the New Children’s Museum. Funding was generously provided by WAXIE Sanitary Supply.

The Dare to Reuse art contest started out as an annual art exhibition for local found-object artists in the San Diego area.

Past pieces have been some of the most creative and thought-provoking artwork in recent years. The exhibition eventually spread as an art contest to school-aged children in 2011, with the online calendar being the first of its kind for the City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department.

Download a PDF copy of the calendar or information on the contest for the 2015 calendar through the Environmental Services Department.

For more information about recycling at your school, please visit the San Diego Unified’s recycling website at or contact Janet Whited, recycling specialist at 858-637-6268 or

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Turnaround Time at Lincoln: Middle college part of improvement push at high school

IN THE NEWS: Lincoln High School Principal Dr. Esther Omogbehin is hoping the promise of college will help Lincoln win back the community. Not college after graduation, but access to community college courses during high school. Read more from UT San Diego»Lincoln Hornets

Mira Mesa High students volunteer to help challenged athletes

The Mira Mesa High School Challenged Athletes Foundation club has supported numerous events around San Diego.

Helping out challenged athletes. The students at Mira Mesa High decided that this organization is one that they wanted to support and help by attending organized events such as the San Diego Triathlon Challenge, Del Mar Mud Run, and other various events. The students talk to spectators and athletes at the different events and teach them about the mission of the foundation.

The Challenged Athletes Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides 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.
Students helped with building awareness, and supporting our challenged athletes (first responders and veterans). Together as a club, the students have volunteered more than 1,000 hours to the Challenged Athletes Foundation: Operation Rebound.

During the summer, the students were thanked for all their time and help at the Foundation building in Sorrento Mesa. The students -- Elizabeth Tieu, Kristen Guzman, Brittney Trinh, Navid Rakei, Stephanie Tran-Rojas, Clarissa Punzel -- were given a tour of the facility and given some goodies.
Most recently, the students have helped at the foundation's San Diego Triathlon Challenge at the La Jolla Cove. These students -- Navid Rakei, Jasmine Doctolero, Kaitlyn Trinh, Brittney Trinh, Elizabeth Tieu, Michelle Le, Stephanie Tran-Rojas, Ann Doan and Thien-an Pham -- worked the silent auction, set up, and clean up. In addition, the following students -- Thien-An Pham, Jocelin Vazquez, Elizabeth Tieu, Brittney Trinh, Jasmine Doctolero, Michelle Le -- attended the Del Mar Mud Run and helped raise $10,000.

The following are athletes that the students have supported since the club began last year:
The next event the Mira Mesa High students will participate in will be Buddy Bowl at Camp Pendleton. The students will be playing in flag football event to help raise money for CAF: Operation Rebound.
For more information regarding the club, contact adviser Denise Hughes, or visit the Challenged Athletes Foundation

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

San Diego Unified's practices in line with new California Pupil Rights Act

California's new School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266) law reflects practices that have been in place at San Diego Unified School District schools for many years. Since September, a multi-disciplinary team has been working on the formal implementation of the new law, revising current policies for Board of Education consideration in coming weeks.

The practices that have been in place ensure that the rights of all children in San Diego Unified schools are respected and protected. The process involves not only the student, but parents, counselors and staff.

"For many years, educators have been handling this in a delicate, thoughtful and compassionate manner; that will continue," said Board of Education President Kevin Beiser. "We respect all rights and provide accommodations for all our students, including transgender children."
Parents with concerns or questions about the practices and policies can speak with their child's school principal.

"We want to assure parents, students and our community that because this new law is in effect, it doesn't mean that a student can use any restroom or other on-campus, gender-specific facility that they choose," said Beiser. "There will continue to be a process for working with children and their families to determine what is the appropriate course of action for that child."

The Board of Education is scheduled to review the policy revisions at its January 14 meeting.

Board of Education President, Superintendent look back on 2013

Board of Education President Kevin Beiser and Superintendent Cindy Marten appeared on KUSI-TV's San Diego People. Watch video»