Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Edison ES library gets well-deserved makeover

Edison Elementary School Principal Derek Murchison was speechless when he saw his school’s library for the first time after its makeover.

Edison ES Target Library Makeover The once drab and monochrome environment had been transformed into a colorful, vibrant space with 2,000 new books, furniture, carpet and shelves, and a complete technology upgrade, including new iPads, interactive white board and more.

“Thank you Target and The Heart of America Foundation for this wonderful gift for the wonderful students and staff at Edison Elementary,” said Murchison once he found his voice. “Your dedication to the love of reading for students, not only here, but across our country is priceless.”

Edison Elementary School is the fifth school in San Diego Unified to receive a library makeover over the past five years. Other recipients include Miller, Kimbrough, Angier, and Hancock elementary schools. The official unveiling and ribbon-cutting of the Edison library was held Sept. 26. Students, staff and parents were joined by Superintendent Cindy Marten to celebrate the opening of the library after a month of secret renovations.

“These library makeovers play an important role in the district’s Vision 2020: Creating Quality Schools in Every Neighborhood,” said Supt. Marten. “Quality schools have quality libraries. Quality schools serve as neighborhood centers.

“This amazing program breathes new life into elementary school libraries,” Marten added. “We could not be more appreciative of our partnership with Target and the Heart of America Foundation.”

Since 2007, Target team members have dedicated their time and talent to transform 175 public school libraries across the country through the Target School Library Makeover program. Target works in partnership with The Heart of America Foundation to create fun and inviting spaces for students to read. This is one of the many programs Target supports as part of our commitment to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015. By the end of this year, Target expects to celebrate a big milestone: 200 School Library Makeovers completed and more than 113,000 students impacted since the program began in 2007.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Farb Middle Students Shine at Board Meeting

More than 15 students from the Farb Middle School Advanced Choir sang the National Anthem at the Sept. 23 Board of Education meeting.Watch the video.

Farb MS Choir The students were joined by the Patrick Henry High Navy JROTC, who presented the colors, to kick off the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and Star Spangled Banner.

The choir was led by teacher Robyn Dye. Farb Principal Courtney Rizzo also attended to support of her students.

The students were invited by Board President Kevin Beiser. Each month, one of the board member selects students from one of their schools to present or perform at a regularly-scheduled Board of Education meeting.

Friday, September 26, 2014

District adding text messaging capabilities to mass notification system

San Diego Unified will soon have a new way to communicate with its employees and families.

On Oct. 22, the district will be adding text messaging capabilities to SchoolMessenger, the mass notification system it now uses to deliver important information by phone and email to its stakeholders.

The system will be configured to send text messages to cell phone numbers in SchoolMessenger whose recipients have agreed to receive them. Employees and parents are encouraged to opt-in now to receive texts.

“We have heard from principals that some parents would like to receive texts so we are making this option available to school sites as another means of communication,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “This new tool aligns with the Board of Education’s focus in 2014 on enhancing communications and parent engagement as outlined in Vision 2020.”

The district and its school sites currently have the option of sending recipients either a voice or email message, or both. Now they will also have the ability to send text messages, expanding the tools they can utilize to communicate with parents and staff. It is important to note, however, that recipients will only receive text messages if they opt-in, have a cell phone number on file with the district and the message sender provides content for a text message.

The district will likely limit its use of text messaging to emergency situations, such as lockdowns, in which short, quick communication is helpful. Texts may also direct individuals to an email or a website for more information.

“SchoolMessenger uses short code texting, which is highly reliable and fast because it’s regulated by the wireless carriers,” added Jennifer Rodriguez, the district’s SchoolMessenger liaison. “Our goal is to make sure that the district and its schools have all the tools they need to effectively communicate each day, but especially during emergencies.”

The district will be encouraging all stakeholders throughout October to opt-in to receiving texts. To do this, recipients can text “Yes” to 68453 from each mobile device at which they wish to receive text messages. Should you opt-in and no longer wish to receive messages, or vice versa, the process for switching preferences is simple; either text “YES” or “STOP” to 68453.

For those that have not opted-in on their own, a reminder message will be sent district-wide Oct. 22 to all cell phone numbers on file reminding individuals to opt-in. The message will read “San Diego Unified text messages. Reply Y for aprx 3 msgs/mo. Txt HELP 4info. Msg&data rates may apply. See schoolmessenger.com/tm.”

The reminder text message is sent on the same day, Oct. 22, that district and school sites can start sending text messages to individuals that have opted-in.

The district will send reminders throughout the school year to encourage recipients to opt-in. Information about text messaging is available on the district’s Communications Department webpage.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pacific Beach Middle Unveils Safe Routes to Schools Mural

Young artists, school staff, community leaders, school district and elected officials joined residents and Beautiful PB on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. to unveil the inaugural “Safe Routes to Schools” mural at Pacific Beach Middle IB World School.

The award-winning mural, located at the intersection of Diamond and Haines, was designed by former PB Middle and current Mission Bay High student Ciara Gray. Her design symbolizes the beach area students and serves to highlight the community’s commitment to establishing safe routes to schools through high-traffic areas.

“This project engages students and the public in practicing a safe commute – something we cannot take for granted with so many children walking to school through busy streets,” said Kristen Victor, Beautiful PB Board President.

PB Middle Safe Schools Mural  

Friday, September 19, 2014

National honors for San Diego Early/Middle College

San Diego Early/Middle College earned the ranking of 90 out of 500 schools nationwide among Newsweek’s 2014 America’s Top Schools for low-income students. It is the only San Diego County school to earn a ranking.

Newsweek's Best Colleges In its “Beating the Odds” list, Newsweek sought to recognize schools that are performing better than statistically expected for their level of poverty.

“Our college readiness score is 93 percent and we are the only school south of Los Angeles to earn this distinction,” noted Principal Elizabeth Larkin. “We are very proud of our students and out staff for their hard work.”

For this list, Newsweek ranked schools on how well they prepare their students for college, taking students’ socio-economic background into account. The list is the magazine’s way of recognizing schools that narrow the achievement gap.

In addition to the Newsweek honor, San Diego Early Middle College also earned a Silver Medal for U.S. News and World Reports’ 2014 Best High Schools. For more details on this distinction, please visit U.S. News and World Report.

For a complete list of Newsweek honorees, please visit Newsweek’s website.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Keeping parents in loop helped district find its way

IN THE NIn the News EWS: Parents of special-education students in San Diego may not always agree with how the school district educates their children, but they know whom to call when they have a problem, and their phone calls are routinely returned. And when the school district wants to get information out to those families, it has several tools to do so — including emails, texts and robocalls — so that everyone gets the same information at the same time. Read more from the Seattle Times.

Monday, September 15, 2014

District dietitian recognized by FoodService Director Magazine

Jessica Keene IN THE NEWS: FOODSERVICE DIRECTOR Magazine has named San Diego Unified dietitian, Jessica Keene, R.D., to its list of 30 rising young stars in the industry under the age of 30. Jessica has made an impact on foodservice by aligning menus to new regulations, managing special diets and implementing the TrakNOW system.Read more in FOODSERVICE DIRECTOR Magazine.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Minimum Day Schedule on Monday, September 15 for Schools Without 100% Air-Conditioned Classrooms

Minimum Day Info

En Español

Weather Updates
San Diego Unified is implementing minimum day schedules at schools without air conditioning in every classroom (See list) on Monday, Sept. 15, due to the continued heat wave in terms of temperatures, humidity and the heat index. The schools on a minimum day schedule are those which lack air conditioning in 100% of the classrooms. Schools with 100% A/C in the classrooms (see list) will have regular day schedule and are expected to operate under our Hot Weather Plan guidelines.
The decision to operate these schools on a minimum day is based on information and guidelines from the National Weather Service (NWS) indicating local temperatures of 95 and higher, with a heat index of 103 and higher – a combination terms by the NWS as “dangerous” health conditions (See the latest regional advisory here) and our strong commitment to the safety and well-being of our students. Analysis conducted by a cross-sectional team at several schools on Friday also informed this decision.
The district will closely monitor forecasted conditions for Tuesday, using these same parameters, to see if a minimum day for these same schools on Tuesday – a decision that will be made by noon on Monday. Again, this is only schools without 100% classroom air conditioning.

Schools on Minimum Day Schedule

Schools on Regular Day Schedule

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lindbergh Schweitzer hosts Resource Fair for parents

The PTA and staff at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School in Clairemont welcomed returning and new parents to their first day of school by hosting a Family Resource Fair.

Lindbergh Schweitzer Resource Fair The fair was aimed at giving parents valuable information for health care, afterschool programs and childcare, as well as contacts for other services in the community.

“Providing resources that can help our students be successful in their lives is a way for Lindbergh Schweitzer to welcome families and connect them to the community – their neighborhood schools,” said Principal Deanne Rohde.

A variety of local organizations were in attendance, including the Boys and Girls Club, S.A.Y. San Diego, United Cerebral Palsy, the National Foundation for Autism Research, and San Diego Unified’s Special Education Division, among others.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mural drawn by students replaces graffiti in City Heights

Crawford High students spent their summer beautifying the streets of City Heights.

As part of the first pilot project coordinated by the San Diego Cultural Arts Alliance Graffiti Education & Mural Arts Program, 22 students replaced graffiti at the corner of 51st and Polk in City Heights with a hand-drawn mural portraits.

Students painted the mural with help from Crawford teacher Brian Black, local artist Linda Litteral, and community member Lance Reynolds, who purchased the materials needed to create the mural.

Learn more about the project by watching this news clip from 10 News or by visiting the Mural Alliance Project website.
Crawford Mural  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Construction, administrative changes in store for dawn of PB’s new school year

In the News The first week of school is a big deal for all six schools in the Mission Bay Cluster. Students were greeted by new construction projects — particularly at Mission Bay High — as well as a new principal for the Buccaneers, Ernest Remillard. Meanwhile, Tom Yount, a retired former principal at Mission Bay High, is temporarily overseeing the transition at MBHS and at Pacific Beach Middle School, where Remillard was most recently principal. Read more from SD News.com

Thursday, September 4, 2014

District launches redesigned e-newsletter, ‘Unified Vision’

For the past several years, Friday Notes has provided information about the important and exciting activities occurring at our school sites, facilities and district offices as well as timely, relevant information for parents, staff and the community. Now it’s time for a change.
Unified Vision Logo
Keeping with the tradition of Friday Notes, our new e-newsletter will include school and district news, but has been redesigned to also include more feature stories and photos focused on student achievement and district initiatives as well as information about upcoming events. While we were changing the look, we thought a new name might better reflect our district’s Vision 2020 of creating a quality school in every neighborhood.

“Unified Vision” will be published monthly on the first Wednesday of every month. Although it’s distributed monthly, all news will continue to be posted on the district website and on our expanded social media so you won’t miss out.

With students at the heart of every decision, the district’s unifying goal is to prepare youngsters to be successful, positive, contributing members of society. We hope that “Unified Vision” will show you how we are accomplishing that goal every day.

To see the latest edition, visit http://sandi.net/unifiedvision


Welcome message from Superintendent Cindy Marten

Welcome to the 2014-15 School Year!

Lincoln High First Day 2014 As a teacher, principal and now superintendent, those words carry a great deal of meaning for me. The opening of a new school year offers us amazing opportunities to make a difference in the lives of our students. I am looking forward to the year ahead.

I know the start of the new school year also brings a great deal of excitement to parents and students. Our principals, teachers and support staff have been working hard to make sure the excitement extends from Day One through Day 180. Our focus for the start of the year is developing academic, physical and social environments worthy of all students. This focus is fully aligned with our Vision 2020 of creating quality schools in every neighborhood.

Across the district, from bus drivers to custodians, food service associates to administrative support professionals, principals to teachers, we are all committed to making sure our students are on the pathway to success. We are ready!

The implementation of the Common Core State Standards is at the forefront of teaching and learning. Our principals and teachers have spent time over the summer fully engaged in professional development. The Common Core State Standards will help position all students for the future – THEIR future in which critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and creativity are essential. Students will be better prepared for post-secondary education and careers, and ultimately become actively literate contributing participating members of society.

In addition, we remain cautiously encouraged about the budget passed by the State’s legislators and the reinvestment in public education. Although we still face financial challenges and will continue to be prudent with our dollars, there is hope. The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) changed the structure of how school districts received funding from the state level. Our district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), which involved input from multiple stakeholders, has been approved and will provide a road map with clearly defined metrics that aligns academic priorities with our budget.

The start of a new school year gives us a renewed sense of anticipation, hope and enthusiasm as we work collaboratively to assure that each child in our district receives the best education possible. I look forward to working beside you as we continue making our Vision 2020 a reality.


Cindy Marten

District celebrates official grand opening of Quality Assurance Office

Parents and guardians of children in the San Diego Unified School District, as well as district employees and community members, now have a single number to call and one office location to visit to obtain information and voice concerns about educational matters and activities occurring within the district.

Quality Assurance Office Ribbon Cutting The Quality Assurance Office has been in operation since April, but the district recently celebrated its official grand opening with a ribbon cutting and open house. Superintendent Cindy Marten was joined by Congressman Scott Peters, Chief Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan and members of the various task forces who helped make the Quality Assurance Office a reality.

“Our priority is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that enables students to learn and be successful,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “Establishing the Quality Assurance Office plays an important role in keeping the promise made by our Board of Education to provide a Quality School in Every Neighborhood.”

The opening of this office is the culmination of a year-long effort by Supt. Marten in collaboration with multiple stakeholder groups, including the Safe Schools Task Force, Superintendent’s Focus Group and Multi-Agency Task Force, to create a centralized office that responds promptly and objectively to parent, community and stakeholder concerns.

“Our goal is to instill confidence in how our system addresses concerns and build credibility with all community members, parents and stakeholders,” said the office’s Executive Director Carmina Duran.

The Quality Assurance staff includes Duran, as well as knowledgeable Parent Support Liaisons and other staff familiar with district protocol and experienced in handling highly-sensitive situations.

The Quality Assurance Office is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. They can be reached by phone at 619-725-7211 or by email at qualityassurance@sandi.net. Their website, www.sandi.net/qualityassurance, also offers information regarding protocol for handling inquiries, a flow chart outlining how inquiries are handled and a form to submit inquiries online.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New year, new leaders at schools, central office

 Emerson Bandini
New principal Heather Harris with students at Emerson Bandini.
As with every new school year, there are new faces at the helm of schools and departments throughout the district. As of publication, the following individuals have been named to leadership positions at the following school sites and central office departments.

Principal Appointments:
Lincoln High School - John Ross
Mission Bay High - Ernest Remillard
Bell Middle - Precious Hubbard-Jackson
Balboa Elementary - Hector Bravo
Cabrillo Elementary - Irene Hightower
Emerson/Bandini Elementary - Heather Harris
Field Elementary - Amy Griffiths
Freese Elementary - Shannon Lewis
Jerabek Elementary - Kristie Joiner
Joyner Elementary Tim Suanico
Loma Portal Elementary - Rebecca Penh
Mason Elementary - Dawn Powell
Salk Elementary - Deidre Hardson

Vice Principal Appointments:
Hoover High - Jeremy Martin
Kearny High Stanley E. Foster School of Engineering, Innovation, and Design - James Michaelian
Mira Mesa High - Jeffrey Sabins
Lewis Middle - Michelle Vergne
Euclid Elementary - Jose Valdez
Fay Elementary - Decydered Piña

Central Office Management Appointments:
Area 6 Superintendent - Fabiola Bagula
Chief Public Information Officer - Ursula Kroemer
Interim Chief Innovation Officer - Dan Stoneman
Interim Chief Operations Officer - Drew Rowlands

Interim Principal Assignments for Principal Vacancies:
Serra High - Mary Castleberry
SCPA - Carol Whaley
Pacific Beach Middle - Tom Yount
Standley Middle - Pat Crowder
Carver Elementary - Linda Valladolid
Hancock Elementary - Mary Jo Longo
Hickman Elementary - Judy Fogel
Ross Elementary - Steve Gennaro

Included below are short biographies from some of our new appointees.

Mission Bay High - Ernest Remillard, previous Principal at Pacific Beach MS
Ernest was previously the 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 Middle and one year at DePortola Middle. He earned his teaching credential from Drexler University and his master’s degree from USD.

Bell Middle - Precious Hubbard-Jackson, previous VP, Bell MS
Precious was previously the Interim Principal at Bell Middle. She has been employed at Bell Middle 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 from Howard University, multiple subject teaching credential, master’s degree and preliminary administrative credential from San Diego State University.

Balboa Elementary - Hector Bravo, previous Associate Principal at Livingston High School
Hector was previously the associate principal at Livingston High School in Merced Union High School District. He was employed at Livingston from 2005 to 2014. His previous experience includes Spanish adjunct professor, education adjunct professor, summer school principal and Spanish teacher. He earned his master’s in Educational Leadership at California State University Sacramento and his bachelor’s at California State University Stanislaus.

Cabrillo Elementary School - Irene Hightower
Irene was previously vice principal at Rosa Parks Elementary. She served as vice principal there for the past seven years. Prior to being at Rosa Parks, she was a vice principal at Doyle Elementary. She has been employed by the district since 1986. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Diego State University.

Emerson/Bandini Elementary School - Heather Harris
Heather was previously vice principal at Golden Hill Elementary. She has been employed by the district since 1999. She worked as a teacher at Edison and Hamilton elementary schools and as a vice principal at Golden Hill. She received her bachelor’s degree at California State University San Marcos, master’s degree at National University and her administrative credential at San Diego State University.

Field Elementary School - Amy Griffiths, previous VP, Lindbergh Schweitzer
Amy was previously vice principal at Lindbergh Schweitzer. She has been employed by 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 School - Kristie Joiner, previous VP, Santee School District
Kristie was previously vice principal with the Santee School District, working in that district since 2008. Prior to working at the Santee School District, she was employed by South Bay Union School District from 1998-2008. She received her bachelor’s, teaching credential, master’s and administrative credential from Point Loma Nazarene University.

Joyner Elementary School - Tim Suanico
Tim was previously the principal at Ross Elementary. He has been employed by the district for 26 years and has been at Ross Elementary since 2007. His employment with the district includes being a classroom teacher, resource teacher, principal and vice principal. He received his bachelor’s degree from University of California San Diego, teaching credential from San Diego State University, and master’s degree and educational specialist degree at Point Loma from Nazarene University.

Loma Portal Elementary - Rebecca Penh, previous Magnet Coordinator, Joyner Magnet School
Rebecca was previously a project resource teacher at Joyner Elementary. She has worked for the district since 2002. She received her bachelor’s and CLAD teaching credential from San Diego State University. She earned her master’s degree at National University and administrative credential at University of San Diego.

Mason Elementary - Dawn Powell, previous VP, Mason ES
Dawn was previously the vice principal at Mason Elementary and had 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 from University of San Diego.

Salk Elementary - Deidre Hardson
Deidre was previously the principal at Mason Elementary. She had been employed at Mason from 2007 to 2014. Prior to being principal at Mason, Deidre served as principal at E.B. Scripps from 2004-2007. She has been employed by the district since 1984. She received her bachelor’s degree, teaching credential, administrative credential and master’s degree from San Diego State University.

Vice Principals

Hoover High – Jeremy Martin, former Physical Education teacher at San Diego High School of Business
Jeremy was previously a physical education teacher at San Diego High School of Business. He has been with our district since 2002 and at San Diego High since 2004. His previous experience includes finance coordinator, mentor program coordinator and attendance intervention specialist. He earned his master’s in Educational Leadership from University of Texas at Arlington and his bachelor’s in Health and Physical Education from the University of Delaware.

Mira Mesa High School - Jeffrey Sabins
Jeffrey was previously a teacher at Mira Mesa High. He has worked at Mira Mesa High since 2012, and has served as a classroom teacher, resource teacher and interim vice principal. He has been employed by the district since 2003. He received his bachelor’s degree from California Lutheran University, teaching credential at San Diego State University and administrative services credential from National University.

Lewis Middle School - Michelle Vergne
Michelle was previously an algebra teacher at De Portola Middle. Along with her experience as a math teacher, she has also served as dean of students from 2012-13 at De Portola Middle and interim vice principal at Pershing Middle. She received her bachelor’s degree from California State University San Marcos, master’s degree from National University and her administrative credential from San Diego State University.

Euclid Elementary - Jose Valdez
Jose was previously an IB coordinator/in-school resource teacher at Roosevelt International Baccalaureate Magnet School. He has been employed with the district since 2000. His appointment at Euclid Elementary will be his first job as a vice principal. He is a graduate of San Diego State University.

Fay Elementary - Decydered Pina
Decydered was previously an in-school resource teacher at the Office of Language Acquisition. She has been a district employee since 1997. Her appointment at Fay will be her first job as a vice principal. She received her bachelor’s degree from University of San Diego and her master’s degree from National University.

Area 6 Superintendent - Fabiola Bagula
Ms. Bagula is a product of our San Diego education system. As a San Diego native, and a current Ph.D. student at the University of San Diego, she is dedicated and committed to the San Diego community. For the last decade, she was on the administration team at Balboa Elementary. Under her tenure, the school made academic gains of over 100 API points. The Balboa team won the Intel Mathematics Award in 2007, making it the only school in California to receive this honor thus far. Before working in administration, she taught at Marshall and Jackson elementary schools in City Heights, where she was also a teaching coach. Ms. Bagula has a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of San Diego. Read more.

Chief Public Information Officer - Ursula Kroemer
Ms. Kroemer worked at San Diego Unified from 1997 to 2008 serving in various capacities in the Communications Office. Most recently, Ursula served as the Program Manager for the San Diego Community College District’s $1.56 billion construction bond program. She also served as Communications Director for the program overseeing media and community relations, activities related to the Citizens’ Oversight Committee, and the program’s small business outreach program.

San Diego Unified Welcomes You to the 2014-15 School Year

The new school year is full of anticipation and excitement. New classes, new faces and the possibilities seem endless for the year ahead.

Back to School, students at Emerson Bandini Parents can help prepare their students to return to the classroom, says Superintendent Cindy Marten, by emphasizing the importance of school.

“Build up the excitement about school and talk about what it means to be a lifelong learner,” Marten says.

Next is proper preparation. To get back in the groove of school, the US Department of Education suggests establishing healthy at-home routines for school days, such as consistent waking times and getting-ready patterns. Decide on a regular homework time, and create a comfortable, quiet work space. Set bedtimes that allow elementary-age kids to get 10 to 12 hours of sleep and teens to get 8½ to 9½ hours.

It’s also important to make sure kids have breakfast and lunch to fuel their growing minds. To ensure that all students receive a healthy breakfast and lunch, district programs such as “Breakfast in the Classroom” and “Free and Reduced Lunch” are available to income-eligible families. More information can be found on the district’s Food Services Department page.

When it comes to learning, students who miss school….miss out. They miss out on opportunities to learn, build lasting friendships, and develop the skills and attitudes needed to become good citizens and valued employees. There is a very strong connection between student attendance and student performance in school. Higher attendance equals higher achievement for all students. You can learn more at the Attendance Matters web page.
As instruction gets under way, there will be many opportunities to visit your child’s school to meet the principal and their teachers, and learn about opportunities to get involved. Research shows that students are more likely to be successful when they have parents that are involved. Check with your school to find out when “Back to School Night” is scheduled and if they host other events like “Coffee with the Principal” and mark your calendar. Our PTA partners have some great tips for how parents can be involved  on their website.

Attending these events will also help you get familiar with the curriculum your child will be taught. This year will be the first full year of the Common Core State Standards implementation. Teachers and principals can answer school-site and grade-level specific questions while general resources can be found on the district’s website at www.sandi.net/commoncore.

We continue to work hard on our Vision 2020 to ensure a quality school in every neighborhood, with academic, social and physical environments worthy of your child. This means greater attention than ever on creating broader measures of student achievement, and engaging parents and community volunteers in the educational process. Learn more at http://www.sandi.net/vision2020.

Rest assured that there are many exciting things happening at your child’s school. Be a part of it. Get involved. Help your child make this year one of the most memorable.

Monday, September 1, 2014

State Schools Chief offers his top 10 tips to support student learning

San Diego Unified School District starts classes Sept. 2. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson offers his top 10 tips to support student learning.

"This is going to be an exciting year of new challenges, not only for students but also schools, as we enter a new era of teaching and learning, assessments, and the way we fund schools," Torlakson said. "Our future depends on the next generation of students to lead California. To help support them so they will be prepared for college and careers, I am offering my top 10 tips."

Superintendent Torlakson's Top 10 Tips
  1. Students should not only know their ABCs, but everyone should also know about the CCSS (Common Core State Standards), which is remodeling California's education system so every child will learn real-world skills that will prepare them for college and careers.
  2. Hungry children don't learn. So make sure they eat a hearty breakfast before school and a nutritious lunch at school. Or take advantage of California's many nutrition programs that provide healthy meals and snacks to children.
  3. When children are sick at home or partake in risky behavior, they can't learn. Find out how the state is helping children stay healthy, and avoid alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and other dangerous activities.
  4. Eating nutritious food, being physically active, and well-hydrated, all help children succeed in school. Join Torlakson's Team California for Healthy Kids initiative to find out what you can do to help keep your kids healthy and active every day.
  5. Busy parents can help their children take advantage of expanded learning opportunities outside of regular school hours, by signing them up for before and after school programs.
  6. Having a stable home and dependable support system will help children feel better about themselves and will help them learn in school. Find out about services for foster youth, immigrant students, homeless children, and support for children in military families.
  7. A safe school environment is more conducive to helping students learn. Find out how the state provides guidelines to administrators on providing safe schools environments for children.
  8. Students speak more than a 100 languages in the California's public school system. Learn more about services to help students learn English and how the state helps schools get the word out about important notices through its Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents.
  9. Chronic absences, even among kindergarteners, is an early indicator of students dropping out of school. Learn more about how the state helps prevent dropouts and how School Attendance Review Boards help keep kids in school and learning.
  10. When parents are more involved in their children's education, students perform better in school. Volunteer to help your local school and teachers. Or consider donating school supplies to teachers who often use their own money to buy paper and pencils for their students to use in their classrooms.