Friday, August 29, 2014

Behind the scenes at San Diego Unified

A lot goes into developing an academic, social and physical environment worthy of our students. San Diego Unified's Operations Services Division is hard at work long before most of us wake-up in the morning preparing our schools for the day ahead so that students can focus on learning. Learn more about the Operations Services Division in this brief video.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Preparing for the 2014-15 school year

Kearny High Student San Diego Unified hopes that you have all had a restful summer and are ready to start the new school year. For those of you new to the district - welcome! For those of you returning - we look forward to seeing you again soon. We have compiled some important information parents should know heading into the 2014-15 school year.
  • Start date: School starts on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Please make sure you check with your school for an exact start time.

  • Enrollment: Students who are new to the district have to be enrolled at their neighborhood school. No enrollment is necessary for students who are returning; or for students enrolled in the district last year that reached the highest grade level of the current school and will be continuing to the next level (they were automatically matriculated to the next school level). To find your neighborhood school, please use the School Finder. All neighborhood schools will be accepting enrollments. Complete enrollment requirements. Most school sites should be open now for those that need to enroll their child.

  • Tdap Immunization: Don't forget that students entering grade 7 and those new to the district in grades 8-12 must show proof of their Tdap immunization against pertussis (whooping cough) prior to the first day of school. Your student will not be allowed to attend school unless you provide proof of vaccination by submitting a copy of the student’s immunization card to your school health office or emailing it to Adrienne Lenhoff RN at For more information about the Tdap vaccine, please read this information statement about Tdap (English) (Spanish). For information about other required vaccines, please visit our Enrollment Requirements page.
  • Uniforms: A few of our schools recommend that students wear uniforms. To find a school's uniform policy, check the school's website, or call or visit the school.

  • Back to School Supply Lists: In California, public schools cannot charge fees or require parents to purchase supplies -- with a few exceptions. Many schools have recommended supply lists, but all necessary materials will be supplied by your school. Read more.

  • Free and Reduced Price Meals: This state and federal program offers lunch and breakfast at reduced cost, depending on family income. Applications are now being accepted. Read more.

If you are new to the district, we encourage you to visit our New to the District section, which has additional information about the district, its academic initiatives and more.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

District's JROTC, San Diego State partner for STEM camp

The San Diego Unified School District JROTC Program and the College of Engineering at San Diego State University (SDSU) partnered for the fourth consecutive year to offer 56 cadets the opportunity to attend the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp this past summer. The program was a fully-funded, five day immersive experience on the SDSU campus July 29-Aug. 2.

JROTC While living on campus and attending classes, students were introduced to the rigors of engineering, bio-medical sciences, robotics, and bio-technology. They conducted hands-on activities such as building and programming robots, dissecting fetal pigs, designing and testing bridges, and practicing modern day forensic techniques.

On the final day, cadets took part in project presentations and a graduation ceremony. The cadets were able to share their projects and new knowledge with friends and family. Generous benefactors donated various electronics that were given to randomly selected cadets, and all cadets received certificates of completion.

STEM Camp was made possible with the support of Dr. Bruce Westermo, Associate Dean in the College of Engineering at SDSU, and LTC David Guzman, the San Diego Unified JROTC Program Manager.

For more information about JROTC, please contact LTC Guzman at

Jones Elementary students raise money, produce toiletry bags for homeless

When “I Was Homeless” authors shared the story of homeless child Kevin Liu, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Jones Elementary were moved. Moved to raise money to buy toiletries for those in need.

Jones ES students The students gathered funds and sought donations from local retailers and businesses, which enabled them to produce more than 400 toiletry bags with travel size items, including toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, tissue, protein bar, hand sanitizer, hand lotion and bottled water.

Students shopped for the items at Vons and Costco, then assembled the bags with the help of staff, parents and community partners. Vons donated $225 to the school while local dentists donated toothbrushes and toothpaste.

“We could not have done this without the support of our Jones School families on our Fundraising Fridays,” said Principal Rita Powell.

Pastor Louie from the Serra Mesa Community Church, one of the school’s partners, and his wife, Ms. Yvonne, helped to distribute the bags to those in need.

The exercise not only taught the students about math and money while shopping, but about providing service and giving back to those less fortunate.

For more information on the school’s efforts, contact Principal Powell at 858-496-8140.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Local teachers, educators train at MCRD

IN THE NEWS: Local educators learned an important lesson in what it takes to be a Marine recruit by spending a week experiencing military training meant to show teachers how the Corps can shape the right young person’s career. More than two dozen teachers, counselors and coaches got a different kind of education at the week-long training camp. Watch the video at NBC 7 San Diego.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Emerson Bandini students receive backpacks, school supplies

Students at Emerson Bandini are feeling a bit more prepared heading into this school year.

Emerson Bandini Students Each student received school supplies and a backpack thanks to SDG&E’s Tools for Schools Program. The company took the lead in raising funds to provide all students with supplies, as well as physical education and classroom supplies for teachers. Walmart and the San Diego Food Bank partnered with SDG&E to provide the supplies.

View the news coverage:

SDG&E donates school supplies to 700 local students (760 KFMB/Channel 8)
KUSI Morning News 8-15-14 (see below)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Birney Elementary hosts Passport to Adventure International Festival

Where in San Diego can you sample fried plantains, write your name in hieroglyphs, and try on a sari?

Birney ES Students, drum line More than 300 families did just that at Birney Elementary’s Passport to Adventure International Festival held earlier this summer. This annual free event allows families and the larger University Heights community the chance to connect with Birney's International Baccalaureate program by experiencing the cultures of nations from around the globe.

Each grade level researched a different country and presented a native food, craft, and game. This year, the countries represented were Egypt, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Armenia, Benin, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

"It’s an opportunity for students to experience first-hand the benefits of the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile,” said Birney parent and event organizer Dawn Martin. “Specifically, they learned to be open-minded about other cultures; and they were encouraged to be risk-takers to try a food, a game, and a craft from six different countries. As they learn about different areas of the world, we hope that they will continue to be inquirers about the world around them."

Educators and entertainers performed on a central stage throughout the day. Presentations included visits from animals from around the world, a drum circle, and circus performances. Families enjoyed concessions and game booths, such as tie-dye, an internationally-themed scavenger hunt, and the ever-popular dunk tank manned by Birney staff and teachers.

The Passport to Adventure Festival is a great representation of Birney’s motto of “Think globally, learn locally,” and highlights its strengths as an International Studies magnet and IB World School.
For more information about Birney Elementary, please contact the principal at Amanda Hammond-Williams at 619-497-3500.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A new way to mete out discipline in schools?

IN THE NEWS: Starting in September, teachers at some San Diego schools will be disciplining students in a whole new way. The In the News new pilot program is called “restorative justice” ... and the goal is to actually reduce the number of suspensions its already making the upcoming school year. Southern California Public Radio's Alex Cohen talks with Vernon Moore, Executive Director of Student Services for the San Diego Unified School District. Listen here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New principals named at six schools

San Diego Unified announced the appointment of six new principals at district schools. These schools include Field, Jerabek, Loma Portal and Mason elementaries, Bell Middle and Mission Bay High.
 District logo
Field Elementary: Amy Griffiths, current VP, Lindbergh Schweitzer
Amy is currently the Vice Principal at Lindbergh Schweitzer. She has been employed with the district since 1998. She has also worked as a Bilingual Teacher and Resource Teacher. She received her bachelor’s degree from University of San Diego and her BCLAD and master’s degree from National University. She also received her specialized certificate in gifted and talented education and preliminary administrative credential from University of San Diego.

Jerabek Elementary: Kristie Joiner, current VP, Santee School District
Kristie is currently a Vice Principal with the Santee School District. She has worked at Santee since 2008. Prior to working at Santee School District, she was employed by South Bay Union School District from 1998-2008. She received her undergraduate at Southwestern College. She received her bachelors, teaching credential, masters and administrative credential from Point Loma Nazarene University.

Loma Portal Elementary: Rebecca Penh, current Magnet Coordinator, Joyner Magnet School
Rebecca is currently a Project Resource Teacher at Joyner. She has worked for the district since 2002. She received her bachelors and CLAD teaching credential at San Diego State University. She received her master’s degree at National University and administrative credential at University of San Diego.

Mason Elementary: Dawn Powell, current VP, Mason ES

Dawn is currently the Vice Principal at Mason Elementary and has held that position since 2008. She has been employed with the district since 1999. She received her bachelor’s degree from California State University San Marcos, teaching credential and master’s degree from National University and administrative credential at University of San Diego.

Bell Middle: Precious Hubbard-Jackson, current VP, Bell MS

Precious is currently the Interim Principal at Bell Middle School. She has been employed at Bell Middle School from 2005 to present. She was a Teacher at Lincoln High School and Vice Principal at Bell Middle. She has also served in a variety of positions such as English Department Chair, member of the Blueprint Task Force and AVID Coordinator, just to name a few. She received her bachelor’s degree at Howard University, multiple subject teaching credential, master’s degree and preliminary administrative credential from San Diego State University.

Mission Bay High: Ernest Remillard, current Principal at Pacific Beach MS
Ernest is currently Principal at Pacific Beach Middle School. He has been employed by the district since 2004. He has worked as a high school and a middle school Math Teacher, IB Magnet Resource Teacher at Roosevelt, Vice Principal for three years at Pacific Beach MS and one year at DePortola MS. He earned his teaching credential from Drexler University and his master’s degree from USD.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Military families ready to go back to school

IN THE NEWS: On Saturday, the San Diego Unified School District aimed to eliminate stresses for hundreds of military families new In the News to San Diego. The district, teaming up with the Navy and the Marine Corps, expanded its annual back-to-school event for the military, turning Serra High School in Tierrasanta into a one-stop shop for newcomers. Organizers arranged for immunizations, lined the campus with information booths, and opened about 150 slots for military families to enroll their children of all ages for public school, which starts in just a few weeks. Read more from UT San Diego.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

SD schools look to reduce suspensions, expulsions

IN THE NEWS: Starting in September, teachers at San Diego High and other schools will start asking more questions when it comes In the News to how and why students are disciplined under a pilot “restorative justice” program set to go into effect throughout the San Diego Unified School District. Among other things, the program drastically reduces the number of offenses that trigger an automatic recommendation for expulsion. Read more from UT San Diego.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

District to host Military Appreciation Event Aug. 9

San Diego Unified is hosting a Military Appreciation Event on Saturday, Aug. 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Serra High School.

San Diego Unified Logo This event is open to all current and new military families in San Diego Unified and will feature a resource fair, complimentary BBQ lunch and activities.

In addition, families that are new to San Diego Unified will have the opportunity to enroll students. An appointment is necessary, so please schedule your appointment by visiting Students already enrolled in San Diego Unified School District that did not get their school choice or missed the deadline (February 15, 2014) will not be accommodated at this event, but are encouraged to attend the military appreciation festivities.

For additional detail, please download the flier or visit the Children and Youth in Transition website.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sequoia Elementary grows health and wellness programs

Sequoia Elementary believes that students must stimulate their minds, as well as their bodies.

Sequoia Student Olympics During the past school year, the Dragons have expanded their health and wellness program to promote exercise and good diet. This included the creation of a running club and garden club.

In addition, in order to commemorate the World Cup, the school held its first World Cup Soccer event at Madison High in which parents and students played against one another.

The school-year ended with the annual school-wide Olympics. Students in the upper grades competed in events like hurdles, basketball shootout, soccer kick, and shot-put while the younger students ran sprints and hurdles and competed in the hula hoop.

Each student competed in 2-3 events and prizes were given for first, second and third places.

Sequoia plans to continue its focus on health and wellness in the next school year.