Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Record temperatures predicted; some tips for parents and what schools do 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
  • En Español
  • Ready San DiegoThe County of San Diego's website that has tips on preparing a family emergency plan and other information.
  • FEMA for Kids
  • Information on disaster preparedness for children, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

CIF Spirit of Sport Award goes to Morse High multi-sport athlete

Dominiko Villa, three-sport athlete at Morse High School lettering in football, basketball and volleyball, has been named a 2013 California CIF Spirit of Sport Award winner.

The prestigious award is given each year to recognize recognizes student-athletes who have demonstrated the 16 principles of Pursuing Victory with Honor, are active in school and community service and exhibit leadership qualities.
Dominiko Villa

“Dominiko is an outstanding student-athlete that holds himself to impeccable moral standards,” said Carlie Nemecek, Morse High School Physics Teacher. “He will often sacrifice his wishes in order to put the needs of others above his own. He has a genuine spirit and a kind heart.”

Villa will receive a $2,000 scholarship for the award. He is the only student from San Diego County to receive the honor this year.

In addition to his success as an athlete, Villa volunteers at the San Diego County Metropolitan Lions Club, the Filipino American Arts and Cultural Festival, the Bicol Club (A Filipino American service and cultural organization), and as a coach for the Paradise Hills Youth Basketball Organization.

"I must become the change I dream about,” said Villa. “I will work harder on the football field or basketball court, or volleyball court and especially in the classroom. Because of my coaches, I have embraced and loved learning and positive competition. From them I’ve learned to be more respectful, more responsible and have a better attitude about everything I do. No matter how our season ends I will have no regret knowing that I did my best.”

Morse High School mathematics teacher Joseph Duffy said Villa has been an exceptional student.
"He is one of the hardest working, involved, and giving student-athletes I have had the pleasure to know in my 13 years of teaching," said Duff

'Border Voices' includes those of eight SD Unified students

Student-poets from Hawthorne and Spreckels elementary, and Grant K-8 schools have been honored by Border Voices, San Diego's promoters of poetry.

Student winners are, in the Lower Division (grades K-5): First Place Poem, Kathy Fermin, "Halloween Barn Dance," grade 3, Spreckels Elementary School; Second Place Poem, Isaiah Chappell, "Camping In Fall," grade 3, Grant K-8 School;Third Place Poem, Antonio Banet, "Jumping Baby," grade 3, Spreckles Elementary; Fourth Place, Zachary Berner, "I Don't Know," Grant K-8.

In the Upper Division (grades 6-12), winners are: First Place Poem, Lizbeth García-Chavez, grade 9, Morse High School; Second Place, Heidi Thoi, grade 6, Hawthorne Elementary; Third Place, "Living Within Lillian Robinson, grade 6, Hawthorne Elementary; Croix Black, "Restless Wings," grade 5, Hawthorne Elementary.

According to Border Voices, the non-profit organization places poets in hundreds of classrooms throughout San Diego County, resulting in spectacular increases in scores on standardized tests. Events, called "poetry fairs," feature celebrated poets from around the world, students reading their award-winning poems, clowns, music and other delights.

The students will be reading their poems onstange, receiving cash and other awards for their poetry at this year’s fair, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 31 at the San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd. (92101). Also appearing will be poets Jackleen Holton, Celia Sigmon, Veronica Cunningham and Seretta Martin. All four are widely published, all have taught poetry in San Diego classrooms for many years.

Border Voices is sponsored by San Diego State University, and has partnerships with school districts throughout San Diego County and Nevada, as well as California Poets in the Schools. A $20,000 study by the California Arts Council showed that Border Voices workshops resulted in “huge aj=nd continuing increases in scores on standardized English tests.”

For more information, visit, or call the hotline at 619-293-2546.

Award-Winning Poems

First Place Poem, Lower Division

Halloween Barn Dance

Here we are, seven of us, crowded into an old red truck
riding down the icy road. I'm Peter Pumpkin
driving us to a Halloween party in my policeman hat.
Bella Black Cat sits next to me in her yellow wool coat.
Terry Turnip, Corn Cob, Carrot Top, Rachel Radish and
Albert Asparagus shiver in the back seat. Birds fly
home to the warmth of trees. We hear the wind howl
and passing Farmer Joe's Café we smell burgers in the night air.
Bright lights shine on the dark road, and we're almost there.
Turn on the country music, heat up the cider! Let's dance!

Kathy Fermin
Grade 3, Spreckels Elementary
Poet-Teacher: Seretta Martin
Classroom Teacher: Millie Weil

 Second Place Poem, Lower Division

Camping in Fall

Through the misty tent window
rain falls like salt from a shaker.
The silver-lined clouds
glow in the night sky,
while thunder bolts strike
at the great skyscrapers
off in the distance.
This time of year there are
no throngs of citizens at the beach
or packs of people at the pools.
But I’ll always remember
the hail thrashing to the ground
like a thousand players pitching baseballs.

Isaiah Chappell
Grade 3, Grant Elementary
Poet-Teacher: Celia Sigmon
Classroom Teacher: Allison Wilson

Third Place Poem, Lower Division

Jumping Baby

My baby sister is jumping
in a field of yellow daisies.
Mom calls us for dinner but my sister
keeps jumping and jumping.
Her silk curls bounce in all directions
and her face is red. She jumps
so high that all I can see of her
is a speck in outer space.
I call, Come back, come back!
It's time for barbequed chicken!
But she has gone to the sun
and turned into an angel.
Antonio Banet
Grade 3, Spreckels Elementary
Poet-Teacher: Seretta Martin
Classroom Teacher: Millie Weil

Fourth Place Poem, Lower Division

I Don’t Know

Could I be the sky
with its sunny days
or early morning rainy grays?
Could I be the forest green
with its gleaming leaves?
Could I be the mountains
where there are many honey bees?
Could I be the wind
with its soft and gentle breeze,
or a poinsettia flower
with its tips as red as fire?
How about a liar
who’s making this up
simply to inspire?
Could I be an I-don’t-know?
That’s a perfect way to go.

Zachary Berner
Grade 3, Grant Elementary
Poet-Teacher: Celia Sigmon
Classroom Teacher: Allison Wilson

First Place Poem, Upper Division

Dia de los Muertos 

I eat a candy skull
to remember my grandpa.
When I taste it, I remember
how he loved his dog Sasha and watching the Red Sox.

We put blue flowers
on his tombstone. I feel his happiness
when we visit him.

We make him his favorite food,
enchiladas verdes, and his favorite drink,
Sol beer, and when I sit down to eat, I feel
like he’s here with us.

He would always say
El que no arriesga no gana — no risk, no gain —
and until this day, I remember that phrase.

When I was small he would always call me
his nina traviesa, his troublemaker,
because I would get his keys, money and hat and hide them from him.
When he noticed he didn’t have them, he would turn and look at me.

Whenever this day comes, I remember
each and every one of these things
so I will never forget him.

I will always remember him as my grumpy grandpa.
He got really mad when I took his money
and went to the store and bought a bunch of candy.

But I will never forget the way he always smiled
and told me to never give up in life.

Lizbeth García-Chavez
Grade 9, Morse High School
Poet-Teacher: Jackleen Holton
Classroom Teacher: Lauren Wilensky

Second Place Poem, Upper Division

The Enchanted Ways

I am the daughter of Larry Thoi and Kerry Thoi
From a Chinese family
Mixed with a dazzle of Vietnamese

I come from vanilla color skin
Baked by the flaming sun of the raging fire

I come from warm, shining San Diego
But my blood, from the Chinese religion

I come from fried rice
Tasty noodles
And with fresh dishes
The wonder of life

I come from where the yin-yang
A symbol to us
Means the opposites of life

I come from a warm, loving family
Believing in life
A beautiful thing

I come from a family that can
Speak many languages from the Asian world

I come from unique ways of the Asian life
Because of where I’m from and who I am

Heidi Thoi
Grade 6, Hawthorne Elementary
Poet-Teacher: Veronica Cunningham
Classroom Teacher: Tricia Smith

Third Place Poem, Upper Division

Living Within

I am the daughter of the rocky mountains and green hills.
I come from the fresh night breeze, breathing the warm scents of life.
I come from a raging fire that burns in my eyes when darkness falls.
I come from the green undergrowth. Stealthily I weave through the bushes
like liquid. I do not let even a blade of grass betray my presence.
I come from a blazing sun. It stained my fur the purest gold.
I come from open valleys. They call me and I come running, bounding over
rivers and leaping to the open sky.
I come from warm summer days, basking in their beauty, soaking in their
rays of warmth.
I come from the leafy trees. I sink in my claws with relish, climbing
to the top branches.
I come from morning dew, plunging myself into the cool grass, scattering
the sparkling crystals.
I come from the wild. It lives within me, the daughter of the mountains and hills.

Lillian Robinson
Grade 6, Hawthorne Elementary
Poet-Teacher: Veronica Cunningham
Classroom Teacher: Tricia Smith

Fourth Place Poem, Upper Division

Restless Wings

Because I write to powerfully chip away
At the cold stone that is bleak despair
Because I write to forcefully smother flames of pain
Because paper is a loyal friend
Who dutifully keeps my deepest secrets hidden

I write because a pen and paper give me restless wings
Of limitless imagination
Because through writing, I can go anywhere
Escape anything
Because writing can change you like a witch's spell

I write because my paper does not judge
Because I can spill my heart out on paper
Because writing is like a cool sip of water in the hot desert
Because writing clears my conscience of
A tsunami of regretful words

I write because

Croix Black
Grade 5, Hawthorne Elementary
Poet-Teacher: Veronica Cunningham
Classroom Teacher: Tricia Smith

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Graduation rate rise, dropout rate decline continues four-year trend in San Diego Unified

San Diego Unified again has the lowest dropout rate among the state's largest districts, while the overall graduation rate has risen more than five percentage points in four years according to statistics released today by the California Department of Education.

Cohort Graduation Rate
Cohort Dropout Rate
By ethnic group
Graduation Rates -- Ethnic Groups
For the Class of 2013, the dropout rate continued its decline, to 5.2 percent in 2013 from 6.2 percent in 2012, for the lowest rate among large California districts. Other rates ranged from second-place Sacramento with 5.9 percent, to Oakland, with 21.6 percent.

San Diego Unified is still the district with the second-highest graduation rate among large, urban school districts in California with 87.8 percent of seniors graduating among the 7,282 students in 2013 cohort -- students who began together in ninth grade. Only Garden Grove Unified School District had a higher rate, with 89 percent of its 3,879-student cohort graduating. Sacramento, with 85.4 percent of its 2,826-student cohort was third. Other districts' rates ranged from Oakland's 62.7 to Long Beach's 80.6.

"I want to salute our hard-working students for realizing that staying in school is one of the most important decisions that they can make," said Board of Education President Kevin Beiser. "Creating an environment where our students are challenged and can thrive is one of our goals in Vision 2020."

Graduation rates between ethnic groups continued to tighten, although there is still a gap. For example, in 2010, the Hispanic graduation rate was 73.8 percent, compared with the White rate, which was 92.7, a difference of 16.6 points. In 2013, the difference had narrowed to 12.5 points. For the Class of 2013, the graduation rate among African Americans was 82.8; Filipino, 96.8; and Asian, 92.9. District wide, it was 87.8. The dropout rate for the largest ethnic groups: Filipino, 1.0; White, 2.4 percent; Asian, 3.3; African American, 6.7; Hispanic, 8.2.San Diego Unified has made reducing the dropout rate a top priority since 2007.

“This is a tremendous success and a great celebration for San Diego Unified.   I am proud of what I'm seeing today." said Superintendent Cindy Marten. "I am especially proud of our students. We are well on our way to our Vision 2020 goal of having a quality school in every neighborhood.” 

The superintendent made special mention of four programs that have been successful and she hopes to expand in future years: the Check and Connect pilot program, graduation coaches at many high schools, the Linked Learning Initiative schools, and the district-wide College Career and Technical Education program.

The results have meant more high school graduates from San Diego Unified's campuses. For specific school results, go to the California Department of Education website,

Monday, April 28, 2014

Community members help prioritize school district budget

Budget conversation
State Supt. Tom Torlakson, second from left, discusses budget issues with Supt. Cindy Marten, fourth from left, and attendees.

IN THE NEWS: The state superintendent talked with community members who weigh in on San Diego Unified's funding. Watch video from NBC 7»

Saturday, April 26, 2014

District, high school athletics leaders honored

The district's Director of Physical Education, Health and Interscholistic Athletics, as well as two athletic directors at San Diego Unified high schools, have been honored by the California State Athletic Directors Association.

John Murphy, left, Gerry Knuppel and Bruce Ward. Bruce Ward, who oversees all district athletic programs, as well as John Murphy of Pt. Loma High and Gerry Knuppel at Clairemont High, received recognition from the association.

Ward, a member of the district's Hall of Fame, received the Region President's Merit Award from the association. He is outgoing president of the association, which represents high school athletic directors around the state. He attended Kearny High, Montgomery and Taft middle schools, Angier and Jones elementary schools, and San Diego State University, where he played football under legendary coach Don Coryell. Drafted by the NFL's San Diego Chargers, he played for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Southern California Sun (World Football League).

Murphy received the Norm Mackenzie Award which is presented to "rookie" athletic directors who display superior leadership skills and have been in their current role for less than four years. In addition to his athletic director duties, he coaches women's soccer and the surf PE program.

Knuppel received the Sue Kamiyama Leadership Award. He has been at Clairemont High School for more than 30 years, including more than 10 years as athletic director. Over the years he has been football defensive coach, boys and girls volleyball, track and field, badminton and wrestling coaches.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Stakeholder engagement guides development of district's draft Local Control and Accountability Plan

lcap Since January, San Diego Unified has been actively engaged in the development of our three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). The LCAP is a new requirement by the state of California, in which district’s identify annual goals, specific actions, and measure progress for student subgroups across eight performance indicators. This document implements the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which reduced the number of requirements tied to state funding and put more control in the hands of local school boards. LCAPs must be adopted by districts by July 1, 2014.

San Diego Unified has held more than two-dozen public meetings to gather input to create the LCAP. Parents, students, staff, community members and other stakeholders have had the opportunity to give feedback at the Vision2020 Forums and Cluster LCAP Workshops as well as through surveys conducted by the District Advisory Committee on Compensatory Education (DAC), School Site Councils, and the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs.

This robust stakeholder engagement has helped inform the process for developing the draft LCAP. The meetings and surveys have provided a great deal of input and helped to refine what each of our communities has set as priorities. The development of the plan has provided the opportunity for the district and stakeholders to work together to focus on what is best for students. This teamwork is vital to the implementation of our Vision 2020 long-term plan.

The draft of the district’s LCAP will begin its required 30-day public review period on Thursday, May 1. For more information, visit at .

Message from Supt. Marten about Vision 2020, upcoming important decisions

Dear San Diego Unified Community:
Supt. Marten
In recent months, students, parents,employees, and community members have provided valuable input and feedback in our mission to accomplish our Vision 2020. We have come together to discuss what we believe is working, what we feel should be improved and how we will work together to accomplish the implementation of our vision, all with the common goal of creating quality schools in every neighborhood. We have heard from hundreds of you, our stakeholders, and I personally am appreciative, honored and energized by your commitment to our students and our schools that this input demonstrates.

The feedback collected is now being used to shape the draft of our Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), our 2014-15 and beyond budget solutions, our legislative priorities and our collective bargaining proposals with employee groups. Several of those proposals will be considered by the Board next week.

The district’s focus in the development of the initial collective bargaining proposals is to continue to implement our Vision 2020, support student learning and propel our path towards quality schools in every neighborhood.

At the Board meeting on April 29, you will have the opportunity to provide further input into the district's initial collective bargaining proposals. (To read the proposals, check the April 29 Agenda, which will be posted at 5 p.m. Friday, April 25.) These negotiations provide an opportunity for the district and the employee organizations to come together in an environment of mutual respect, collegiality, and a focus towards developing a world-class school system for all of our students. We look forward to substantive discussions at the bargaining table with our employee organizations, who we value as important partners in our shared efforts to serve all students.


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

Winners of the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair announced

Winners of the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair have been announced. Here are the winners at San Diego Unified School District schools. Congratulations to all the participants!

Name Grade School Category Division Card Award
Conrad Bell 8 de Portola Middle Biochem 2 27 3rd
Marissa Rose Chang 8 de Portola Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 37 3
Kai Colorado 8 de Portola Middle Biochem 2 26 3rd
Sarah Hajj 8 de Portola Middle Behav/Soc 2 25 1st
Emily Joslin 8 de Portola Middle Behav/Soc 2 24 3rd
Gabriel Mayer 8 de Portola Middle Behav/Soc 2 17 3rd
Brandon Moore 8 de Portola Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 33 1st
Katie Riley 8 de Portola Middle Microbio 2 49 2nd
Rachel Schwall 8 de Portola Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 38 1st
Megan Swanson 8 de Portola Middle Behav/Soc 2 22 3rd
Nathan Tran 8 de Portola Middle Behav/Soc 2 24 3rd
Sierra Williamson 8 de Portola Middle Plant Sci. 2 14 3rd
Allyssa Alcasabas 8 Farb Middle Microbio 2 47 3rd
Jasmin Alvarado 8 Farb Middle Physics 2 51 4th
Jared Boothby 8 Farb Middle Chemistry 2 29 4th
Camryn Cothen 8 Farb Middle Behav/Soc 2 19 3rd
James Diep 8 Farb Middle Physics 2 52 4th
Jasmine Jeffrey 8 Farb Middle Animal 2 15 3rd
Jimmy Nguyen 8 Farb Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 34 1st
Anette Ramirez 8 Farb Middle Behav/Soc 2 22 3rd
Brenda Rozas 8 Farb Middle Animal 2 1 2nd
Ritchinny Srouy 8 Farb Middle Environ 2 42 4th
Alexis Zuniga 8 Farb Middle Consumer 2 57 3rd
Lucas Fowler 8 Grant Behav/Soc 2 17 3rd
Max Hauptschein 8 Grant Microbio 2 49 4th
Daniel Hickman 7 Grant Comp Sci 2 30 3rd
Sara Simpson 12 Henry High Medicine 1 11 2nd
Chloe Kuo 10 La Jolla High Eng-El/Mec 1 6 1st
Arya Barlinge 8 Marshall Middle Biochem 2 26 1st
Samuel Boone 8 Marshall Middle Environ 2 43 2nd
Zane Calini 8 Marshall Middle Eng-Mat/Bi 2 40 1st
Ryan Cantrell 8 Marshall Middle Animal 2 15 1st
Clayton Cassidy 8 Marshall Middle Physics 2 54 2nd
Sabrina Chan 8 Marshall Middle Consumer 2 59 1
Adrienne Corr 8 Marshall Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 36 1st
Elizabeth Cutler 8 Marshall Middle Microbio 2 47 1st
Sebastian Eisenbach 8 Marshall Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 38 1st
Jared Ellis 8 Marshall Middle Environ 2 42 1st
Brenna Fineman 8 Marshall Middle Microbio 2 48 2nd
Jennifer Gomberg 8 Marshall Middle Physics 2 50 1st
Marina Grimmett 8 Marshall Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 37 1st
Nicholas Hern 8 Marshall Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 32 1st
Emily Huang 8 Marshall Middle Microbio 2 48 1st
Sophia Izzo 8 Marshall Middle Physics 2 51 1st
Katherine Jones 8 Marshall Middle Environ 2 42 4th
Julie Laporte 8 Marshall Middle Behav/Soc 2 20 1st
Joonhyuk Lee 8 Marshall Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 35 1st
Alina Luk 8 Marshall Middle Animal 2 16 2nd
Jonathan Luo 8 Marshall Middle Comp Sci 2 30 2nd
Ananya Madabushi 8 Marshall Middle Physics 2 50 1st
Gregory Martin 8 Marshall Middle Plant Sci. 2 55 1st
Tiffany Meng 8 Marshall Middle Behav/Soc 2 20 2nd
William Mrdjenovich 8 Marshall Middle Microbio 2 48 1st
Melba Nuzen 8 Marshall Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 35 1st
Drew Pagaduan 8 Marshall Middle Physics 2 51 2nd
Bryan Pan 8 Marshall Middle Physics 2 52 1st
Nikhil Penugonda 8 Marshall Middle Environ 2 41 2nd
Flora Perlmutter 8 Marshall Middle Plant Sci. 2 55 1st
Anton Phan 8 Marshall Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 33 3rd
Alex Poonoosamy 8 Marshall Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 38 1st
Ananya Rao 7 Marshall Middle Environ 2 43 1st
Troy Romana 8 Marshall Middle Consumer 2 58 1st
Nicholas Scudder 8 Marshall Middle Environ 2 42 3rd
Isabella Sferra 8 Marshall Middle Environ 2 43 2nd
Sohum Shah 8 Marshall Middle Math 2 10 3rd
Lauren Sheehan-Clark 8 Marshall Middle Behav/Soc 2 25 1st
Deine Shin 8 Marshall Middle Behav/Soc 2 17 2nd
Anshul Singh 8 Marshall Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 34 1st
Colin Snyder 8 Marshall Middle Environ 2 44 1st
Shayna Sragovicz 8 Marshall Middle Behav/Soc 2 20 1st
Matthew Wang 8 Marshall Middle Eng-Mat/Bi 2 8 1st
Patrick Wildenhain 8 Marshall Middle Comp Sci 2 30 1st
Michelle Wong 8 Marshall Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 7 2nd
Daniel Woods 8 Marshall Middle Math 2 10 2nd
Courtney Zohn 8 Marshall Middle Microbio 2 12 1st
Dayna Pham 8 Montgomery Middle Chemistry 2 4 3rd
Ge-Ann Candare, Emmanuel Llanda  12 Morse High Microbio 1 12 3rd
Leah Eria 12 Morse High Behav/Soc 1 2 4th
Maurice Harris, Macam Samnovem 12 Morse High Comp Sci 1 5 3rd
Noorhan Amani 9 Mt. Everest Academy Behav/Soc 1 2 1st
Isaac Chizhik 8 Mt. Everest Academy Behav/Soc 2 17 1st
Hunter Conway 8 Mt. Everest Academy Eng-El/Mec 2 34 4th
Michele Eggleston 8 Mt. Everest Academy Physics 2 54 1st
Michael Kottke 8 Mt. Everest Academy Eng-El/Mec 2 32 2nd
David Limon 8 Mt. Everest Academy Eng-El/Mec 2 35 2nd
Isabella Catanzaro 7 Pacific Beach Chemistry 2 28 2
Joshua Cheung 8 Pershing Middle Biochem 2 27 2nd
Troy Cristobal 8 Pershing Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 37 3rd
Sierra Gilmore 8 Pershing Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 38 1st
Megan Hayes 8 Pershing Middle Earth/Plan 2 31 2nd
Caroline Meyers 8 Pershing Middle Environ 2 42 1st
Aya Nelson 8 Pershing Middle Environ 2 44 3rd
Sean Romero 8 Pershing Middle Physics 2 51 3rd
Stephanie Smith 8 Pershing Middle Behav/Soc 2 17 2nd
Jesse Stewart 8 Pershing Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 36 2nd
Rachel Amber 8 Pershing Middle Behav/Soc Behav/Soc 2 24 2nd
William Hang 11 Scripps Ranch High Comp Sci 1 5 1st
Janie Kim 9 Scripps Ranch High Microbio 1 12 1st
Jason Provol 9 Scripps Ranch High Physics 1 13 1st
Justin Todd 9 Scripps Ranch High Environ 1 9 3rd
Evan Wildenhain 11 Scripps Ranch High Comp Sci 1 5 1st
Adeleidia Alcantara 8 Wangenheim Middle Consumer 2 59 2nd
Andrew Book 8 Wangenheim Middle Plant Sci. 2 55 3rd
Davis Boring 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-Mat/Bi 2 40 1st
Megan Bowers 8 Wangenheim Middle Environ 2 44 1st
Nathalia Buelna 8 Wangenheim Middle Plant Sci. 2 56 3rd
Keegan Bushouer 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 38 2nd
Yves Cerezo 8 Wangenheim Middle Plant Sci. 2 55 3
Emily Chhay 8 Wangenheim Middle Consumer 2 60 3rd
Edward Chhit 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 38 1st
Olivia Chu 8 Wangenheim Middle Plant Sci. 2 56 3rd
Andrea Corona 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 35 3rd
Mordecai De Guzman 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 33 3rd
Jimmy Du 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 35 3rd
Sandy Duong 8 Wangenheim Middle Medicine 2 46 3rd
Kaithleane Elefane 8 Wangenheim Middle Microbio 2 47 3rd
Joanna Gacuya 8 Wangenheim Middle Physics 2 52 3rd
Hannah Galang 8 Wangenheim Middle Physics 2 53 4th
Elizabeth Gonzalez 8 Wangenheim Middle Medicine 2 45 1st
Anthony Gray 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 36 3rd
Ares Hamilton 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 35 4th
Ivan Hernandez 8 Wangenheim Middle Behav/Soc 2 19 2nd
Thao Hoang 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-Mat/Bi 2 39 4th
Jaeden Howard 8 Wangenheim Middle Biochem 2 26 2nd
Nadira Johnson 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 36 3rd
Evans Lan 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 33 2nd
Mary Ann Le 8 Wangenheim Middle Physics 2 53 4th
William Luu 8 Wangenheim Middle Chemistry 2 28 2nd
Albert Nguyen 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-Mat/Bi 2 39 3rd
Anneliese Nguyen 8 Wangenheim Middle Biochem 2 27 3rd
Megan Nguyen 8 Wangenheim Middle Environ 2 41 4th
Carolyn Obdianela 8 Wangenheim Middle Physics 2 50 4th
Kenneth Oldan 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 37 4th
Anthony Marc Pereyra 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 32 3rd
Tobey Pineda 8 Wangenheim Middle Environ 2 42 3rd
Jordyn Preslar 8 Wangenheim Middle Medicine 2 45 2nd
Ryan Ramirez 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 35 3rd
Leia Salongo 8 Wangenheim Middle Biochem 2 27 4th
Roland Salvador 8 Wangenheim Middle Comp Sci 2 30 3rd
Erica Sisouphanthong 8 Wangenheim Middle Biochem 2 3 1st
Amy Songvilay 8 Wangenheim Middle Environ 2 41 3rd
Tori Takeshita 8 Wangenheim Middle Biochem 2 3 1st
Brenden Timothy 8 Wangenheim Middle Physics 2 52 3rd
Kiara Todd 8 Wangenheim Middle Consumer 2 57 3rd
Natalie Tran 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 35 2nd
Jonathan Trinh 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 33 2nd
Tiffany Vilay 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-El/Mec 2 32 3rd
Brandon Villegas 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 38 1st
Namkhue Vo 8 Wangenheim Middle Physics 2 51 3rd
David Webber 8 Wangenheim Middle Eng-En/Tra 2 7 4th
Katharine Yuen 8 Wangenheim Middle Microbio 2 12 1st
Alex Galvan 10 Whittier Eng-El/Mec 1 6 2nd
Austin Hiscock 10 Whittier Eng-En/Tra 1 7 4th

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A grand Earth Day at Dingeman Elementary

IN THE NEWS: Three "R's" at Dingeman Elementary School in Scripps Ranch are Reducing, Recycling and Restoring for environmentally conscious campus. Restyling milk bottles
News coverage

Patrick Henry Navy JROTC places in CyberPatriot competition

Team "Rodney's House" from the Navy JROTC team at Patrick Henry High School placed third in the recent CyberPatriot IV competition.
Award-winning Patrick Henry team
Each of the members of the winning team received a $1,000 scholarship from the Northrop Grumman Foundation.
Retired Navy Senior Chief John Wood advised the team, which survived competition with 44 other teams to reach the finals, where it was one of 14 teams in the All Service Division. Teams from Clearfield, Ut., and Fitchburg, Ma., topped the Patrick Henry effort.

The CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program was created by the Air Force Association to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future. At the core of the CyberPatriot program is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, which challenges teams of students to resolve real-life cybersecurity situations in a virtual environment.

“The Air Force Association is very proud of every one of our sponsors, coaches, mentors, team assistants, and most of all, all of our competitors for the enormous time and effort put into this season,” said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot Commissioner.
In addition to Patrick Henry, teams from Lincoln, Mira Mesa, Pt. Loma and Scripps Ranch high schools participated in the competition, which began in November. The finals were held March 29 in Arlington, Va.

“Cybersecurity events -- most of them attacks -- are in the news every single day. And as cyber threats to our nation continue to grow in sophistication and frequency, we absolutely must evelopthe next generation of cyber defenders to defeat those threats. Our Cyber Patriot competitors have demonstrated throughout this season that they have the skills to meet that challenge. Congratulations to them all!” said Skoch.
For more information on the program, visit the Cyberpatriot website. For information on JROTC programs, contact David Guzman, Director, at

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Superintendent promotes teaching as career choice

IN THE NEWS: A shortage of teachers in coming years means high school, college students should consider profession, Superintendent Cindy Marten says in KUSI-TV interview. In The NewsWatch video»

Mira Mesa High artwork part of Pentagon mosaic

A large mosaic now on display at the Pentagon includes work from students in Mira Mesa High art classes.

Pentagon mural Students in several of Sandra Bartels' and Justin Bartels' classes created the work honoring military personnel and it was accepted for the Project SNAP "Operation Grateful Nation."

The 5-foot by 9-foot mosaic contains more than 6,000 artworks and artists' statements. Its flagship program, The Community Mosaic Mural Program, captures the voices of thousands of individuals through their individual artwork, transforming those messages into a single big picture.

"The whole mural is comprised of 6,000 artworks and artist's statements reflecting on the importance of expressing gratitude to members of the military for their service," said Sandra. "It took the students about two weeks to create their art and started with discussions leading up to the project about their passions, themes, and how to appropriately express their feelings and appreciation in their art.

"Many Mira Mesa High students come from military families so this was a project that really hit home for the students."

The students are from Mira Mesa High's AP Studio Drawing, AP 2D Studio Art, Drawing and Painting,  Art, and photography classes.

This mosaic is now on display the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Bartels joined forces with Project SNAP (Share, Nurture, Act, Preserve) to represent San Diego in the “Operation Grateful Nation” mural.
Teacher Sandra Bartels,, can provide more information on the project; or visit the Project SNAP website.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

High schools featured in national rankings

Several high schools in the San Diego Unified School District appear on annual lists of "most challenging" and "best" high schools produced by The Washington Post and US News and World Report.

“These national recognitions of our high schools prove that amazing things are happening on our campuses and that our Vision 2020 to create quality schools in every neighborhood is within reach” said Supt. Cindy Marten. “Congratulations to the teachers, students, administrators, school support staff and parents for the hard work and effort it takes to attain this level of excellence.” 

Washington Post  America's Most Challenging High Schools

40 4 Preuss School UCSD Charter
334 40 School of International Studies at San Diego High School
658 87 Point Loma High School
829 111 University City High School
1143 152 Mission Bay High School
1232 167 Mira Mesa High School
1496 208 La Jolla High School
1579 221 School of Science and Technology at San Diego High School
1649 231 Clairemont High School
1661 234 James Madison High School


US News and World Report Best High Schools

42 5 Preuss School UCSD Charter
88 12 School of International Studies at San Diego High School
232 41 La Jolla High School
422 85 Scripps Ranch High School
460 98 University City High School
473 101 Pt. Loma High School
788 160 Mira Mesa High School
940 196 School of Science Connections and Technology at Kearny High
973 208 Patrick Henry High School
1,077 232 SCPA — San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts
1,269 273 School of Digital Media and Design at Kearny High
1,511 338 San Diego Early/Middle College

'National Showcase District' award comes for Action Based Learning

Action Based Learning programs at 38 schools have earned San Diego Unified a National Showcase Award from the technique's founder Jean Blaydes Madigan.
Action Based Learning
A program that uses brain-based, brain-compatible strategies to teach academics kinesthetically by using purposeful movement, Action Based Learning Labs have been implemented in 38 schools, spanning preschool through high school.

The labs are a developmentally based series of motor and fitness activities that fill in developmental gaps to prepare the brain for learning, according to Carrie Rea, Program Manager, Related and Specialized Services, Special Education Division.

"Action Based Learning in the district is a collaborative effort between physical education, adapted physical education, occupational and physical therapy, classroom teachers and administrators," she said, "to support all students in multiple learning modalities."

For more information, contact Rea at

Monday, April 21, 2014

Horatio Alger scholarship goes to MET senior

San Diego MET High School senior Brandon Brizuela has been named a 2014 National Scholar by the Horatio Alger Association.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and MET student Brandon Brizuela
Brandon was recognized for his community service work, high GPA and overcoming economic challenges. The scholarship will come in handy as Brandon has already been accepted to San Diego State University for fall 2014.

MET Principal Sara Leonard at the MET said Brandon is one of her outstanding students at the unique school on the campus of San Diego Mesa College.

"Brandon has completed several unpaid internships at the San Diego Met High School to accumulate over 600 community service hours," she said.

His current internship is at La Maestra Community Health Centers in City Heights, where he has produced a presentation on schizophrenia. Brandon said that a family relative suffers from this mental illness, and researching it helped confirm his desire go into the mental health field as a career.

"Growing up in City Heights, I was aware of the statistics for young people in my neighborhood," said Brandon. "Giving back to the community I come from has been really humbling."

"He is is the first in our family to earn a scholarship to go to college," said Marvin Brizuela, Brandon's father. "Watching him go to Washington to talk to all these smart and important people makes me so proud."

Since 1984, Horatio Alger Association Members and Friends have been funding need-based college scholarships to support deserving young people to overcome their adversity and pursue their dreams through higher education. So far the association has awarded $100 million to approximately 20,000 students.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Valencia Park teams with EY, USD for a day of community service

Valencia Park STEAM Magnet’s Beautification Committee, made up of students, joined forces with business professionals from EY and university students from SDSU and USD to paint, clean, organize and landscape.
Cleanup in the library
The third annual San Diego Community Service Day, held April 12, is an opportunity to welcome the community to help the Valencia Park neighborhood campus.

Principal Lori Moore thanked all the volunteers, her school community and students for their hard work on a Saturday.

"One of the biggest recipients of the effort was the school library," she said. "Books were organized, shelves and furniture were moved and walls received a fresh coat of paint. The goal was to create a space for students and teachers to meet, research and plan together as the school moves toward a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) focused environment."

Ernst and Young, SDSU and USD are partners of particular interest because of the school’s new focus on STEAM education.

Valencia Park Elementary STEAM Magnet will be hosting tours for prospective parents from May 6 to July 8.

Find out more about Valencia Park Elementary School by visiting its website.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lifesaving efforts bring honors to School Police Officer Daniel Acevedo

Officer Daniel Acevedo has been named San Diego Unified School District's 2014 Police Officer of the Year, earning the department's highest honor.
Officer Acevedo
At the presentation, Jesus Montana (left), president of the San Diego Schools Police Officers Association, Superintendent Cindy Marten, Officer Daniel Acevido, Chief Rueben Littlejohn.

Acevedo was singled out for his efforts to help a San Diego High student in 2013.

"This lifesaving incident is only one example of a good man that has spent a career serving young people," said Chief Rueben Littlejohn. "The department was honored to select Officer Daniel Acevedo as the San Diego Unified School District Police Department's Police Officer of the Year."

While monitoring the 3,000 students dismissing from San Diego High School, in November, Officer Acevedo encountered a female student suffering from an apparent seizure. He immediately called for an ambluance and began giving first aid, but the student then grabbed her throat with both hands, indicating the universal sign for chocking. Acevedo performed the Heimlich maneuver and reopened her throat. A small piece of food had become dislodged and the young girl ended up scared but unharmed.

The victim later said how terrifying it was when she could not breathe, but that she felt instant relief the moment Acevedo’s actions dislodged the small piece of the food from her throat.

Officer Acevedo, along with nominees from other local law enforcement agencies, was honored recently at the San Diego Police Officer's Association's "Officer of the Year" program.

The San Diego Unified Police Department is a fully accredited police agency employing full-time sworn police officers, community service officers, and a full complement of support staff. While our primary role is to maintain order and security on and near school facilities, school police officers provide far more than standard law enforcement efforts. It also takes a leading edge, proactive role in creating the positive learning environment in which superb education is not only possible, but also probable.

Learn more about the department at its website.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Oak Park Elementary students reach across country to meet with Rep. Lewis

Third grade students at Oak Park Music Conservatory in the Crawford Cluster had a rare opportunity to interview one of their heroes: Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), via internet teleconference.
Rep. Lewis

The students had been studying his life as a civil rights pioneer, lunch counter sit-in protestor, and the last living speaker from the 1963 March on Washington. His exemplary life — beginning with his childhood in the Jim Crow South and the many things he did as a positive change agent in a climate of oppression and staggering inequities — is being documented in a series of comic book graphic novels beginning with March: Book 1 which the students read in Mick Rabin’s classroom.

After examining Lewis’s life in the context of bravery, Rabin reached out to Congressman Lewis’s office in Washington, DC and arranged a Skype interview date during a school day.

The students, Rabin, and Principal Villery were thrilled to finally meet their hero (minutes after he voted on the floor of Congress). They shared some poems, asked some questions, and interacted with a person whose entire life truly exemplifies the meaning of bravery, sacrifice, empathy, and advocacy.
Lewis’s advice to the students: “Don’t be afraid to make a bit of trouble. . .the good kind of trouble.”

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SD High School of Business culinary management team takes gold

Erik Leon and Emily Rodriguez, Culinary Arts and Management students at San Diego High School of Business and Leadership, will represent California at the National ProStart Invitational in Minneapolis in early May after winning the BJ’s Restaurants Management Cup competition in Sacramento.
Erik and Emily competed against 13 other management teams to win with their restaurant concept called ‘Deconstructed.’ In the management competition, teams develop and pitch a business proposal for a new restaurant concept, including a supporting menu, a marketing plan and a detailed design. Their San Diego High teacher is Brian Murphy.

The winning teams will be sponsored by the Cheesecake Factory Oscar and Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation and have Cheesecake Factory team members coaching them in preparation for the nationals.

Scripps Ranch High School was awarded second in the Leon Lowenstein Foundation Farm-to-School Program under the guidance of teacher Kimberly Coelho.

The two-day ProStart competition includes a culinary portion, the Boyd’s Coffee Culinary Cup, in addition to the management component. Students prepare three courses in one hour using only two butane burners. A total of 27 culinary teams competed this year.

For more information on the California Restaurant Association ProStart Competition, visit