Friday, January 30, 2015

Bringing the Farm to Schools in San Diego

Farm to School IN THE NEWS: Any onsite operation that uses large quantities of produce is at an advantage in Southern California. The perpetually beautiful climate means year-round access to local fruits and veggies. But that doesn’t mean that it’s simple to connect farmers to cafeteria trays in local school districts. That’s why San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) has two farm-to-school specialists who are responsible for overseeing everything that goes into the farm-to-school program. Read more from Food Management.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions about Measles

As of today, 13 people in San Diego County have been confirmed to have measles, as part of an outbreak associated with exposure at the Disneyland Resort in December 2014. The spread may not yet be contained, as many residents are yet not fully immunized to this disease. Measles is a serious respiratory disease (in the lungs and breathing tubes) that causes a rash and fever. It is very contagious. In rare cases, it can be deadly. Below are answers to frequently asked questions that can help protect you, your family and our community from measles.


What are the symptoms of measles?
Measles starts with a fever that can get very high. Some of the other symptoms that may occur are:
  • Cough, runny nose, and red eyes
  • Rash of tiny, red spots that start at the head and spread to the rest of the body
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infection
Is it serious?
Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. More than one-quarter of those with the disease are hospitalized. For some children, measles can lead to: pneumonia, lifelong brain damage, deafness, or death.

How does measles spread?
Measles spreads when a person infected with the measles virus breathes, coughs, or sneezes. It is very contagious. You can catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, up to 2 hours after that person is gone. You can catch measles from an infected person even before they have a measles rash.

How can we protect children from measles?
Make sure they receive the MMR vaccine. Almost everyone without a MMR vaccine will get measles if they are exposed to the virus.

Students who are not fully vaccinated with MMR are banned from attending school for 21 days, whenever a measles case occurs in their school. This helps to prevent other students from getting measles. Students can return to school earlier if they receive the vaccine.

What is the MMR shot?
It protects your child from measles, the uncomfortable rash and high fever from measles, and keeps your child from missing school. The MMR shot is very safe, and it is effective at preventing measles (as well as mumps and rubella). Most children who get the MMR shot have no side effects. The side effects that do occur are usually very mild, such as a fever or rash. More serious side effects are rare. These may include high fever that could cause a seizure (in about 1 person out of every 3,000 who get the shot) and temporary pain and stiffness in joints (mostly in teens and adults).

MMR vaccination is a two shot series. An excellent website for more information is at:

I am worried my child has measles; Now what?
It is best not to take your child to a busy hospital or medical office. Instead, call your doctor’s office and tell them about your child’s symptoms. Your doctor may arrange to see your child privately.
Read the letter from the County of San Diego Public Health Services.

Mira Mesa High senior recognized for cybersecurity efforts

Senior Chloe Crisostomo is working hard to make sure that Mira Mesa High and her community are safe from cyberattacks.

 Chloe Crisostomo, Nels Jensen
Crisostomo with Business Journal Editor in Chief,
Nels Jensen
Crisostomo was recently recognized with individuals and companies from throughout San Diego by the San Diego Business Journal for her efforts to increase cybersecurity and reduce the likelihood of attacks. She was selected as an honoree in the “Millennial” category and was one of only five to be recognized as an award winner.

Crisostomo is a member of Mira Mesa High’s Cyber Patriot State and Western Regional award-winning team as well as a member of school’s Mayor's Cyber Cup that recently placed third in competition. She also interned last summer with a cybersecurity firm.

Not only does Crisostomo try to teach other millennials the importance of securing their digital activities and profiles, she also leads by example in other areas. She serves as Wing Commander for Mira Mesa’s Air Force JROTC and is a top scholar, maintaining a 4.35 GPA.

All honorees were recognized by the Business Journal at their annual awards banquet in December, and featured in the journal’s Cybersecurity Awards Supplement.

For more information about cybersecurity activities at Mira Mesa High, please contact ASB Advisor Stacy Seiders at 858-566-2262.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Local Control and Accountability Plan implementation continues

Students doing schoolwork As the development of the 2015-16 budget begins, San Diego Unified continues to implement its Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) that aligns with Vision 2020 and the 12 indicators of a quality school in every neighborhood.
Through this first year, district staff has been monitoring the implementation of the actions and strategies included in the LCAP, as well as gathering data on outcomes. Superintendent Marten has been reporting monthly to the Board of Education and the public on the progress of the LCAP implementation. The reports have included the following:
 Month LCAP Goal Metric
September Safe & Well Maintained Facilities 2013 Suspension and Expulsion Data
October Broad & Challenging Curriculum A-G Data
November Broad & Challenging Curriculum Advanced Placement and College, Career & Technical Education (CCTE) Course Completion
December Professional Learning for All and Supportive Environments that Value Diversity Professional Development and Cultural Proficiency Training
Following Supt. Marten's reports at Board meetings, input and feedback from the community is sought at cluster meetings, the District Advisory Council, the District English Learner Advisory Committee, other advisory committees, and the San Diego Unified Council PTA. Individuals may also view the monthly superintendent presentation updates and submit feedback online or find additional information about the district’s LCAP by visiting .

This month, the district held the first in a series of LCAP planning team meetings for the 2015-2016 budget process. Additional updates will be provided in the months ahead.
If you have questions or want to give feedback, please email .

New year brings new education-related laws to California school districts

New Laws - Gavel Governor Jerry Brown signed a combined 930 Assembly Bills (AB) and Senate Bills (SB) bills in 2014. Many of the statutes are education-related and will impact K-12 public schools and students, including San Diego Unified operations, policies and procedures, and reporting requirements. Below is a summary of the most relevant and important education-related legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2015:

  • AB 1432 (Gatto) requires Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to annually train all school personnel who are mandated reporters on the mandated reporting requirements within the first 6 weeks of each school year and develop a process for mandated reporters required to receive training to provide proof of completing this training.

  • AB 2127 (Cooley) prohibits high school and middle school football teams of school districts, charter schools, or private schools that elect to offer an athletic program from conducting more than 2 full-contact practices per week during the preseason and regular season. It also prohibits the full-contact portion of a practice from exceeding 90 minutes in any single day, and completely prohibits full-contact practice during the off-season.

  • AB 420 (Dickinson) eliminates the authority to recommend for expulsion a pupil for disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties. The bill also eliminates the authority to suspend a grade K-3 pupil for willful defiance. The provisions of the bill sunset July 1, 2018, unless a bill extends the provisions.

  • AB 1719 (Weber) will require LEAs, commencing with the 2015-16 school year, to provide an annual report to CDE that contains information on the type of kindergarten program offered by the LEA.

  • SB 1060 (Liu) requires an LEA that offers a program of professional learning for teachers, administrators, paraprofessional educators or other classified employees involved in the direct instruction of students, to evaluate professional learning that meets a specified list of criteria, such as helping attract, grow, and retain effective educators and being based on needs assessment of educators and tied to supporting pupil learning.

  • AB 1664 (Hagman) will require that a district that is selling or leasing a school site purchased with state bond funds for sale or lease to another school district, county office of education, or other government agency for child care and development purposes prior to selling or leasing the site to a city, park district or regional park authority. A charter school would retain first right to purchase or lease the property.

  • AB 215 (Buchanan) creates two separate teacher dismissal hearing processes – one for charges of egregious misconduct only (child abuse, sexual abuse, and certain drug offenses) and one for all other reasons a teacher may be dismissed, including a combination of other reasons and egregious misconduct. Egregious misconduct cases will be heard by an administrative law judge and will be prioritized over other appeals, and the decision of the judge will be binding. Dismissal charges for egregious misconduct can be filed at any time during the year.

  • AB 1611 (Bonta) requires a public school employer to give reasonable written notice to the exclusive representative of classified personnel of the employer’s intent to make any change to matters within the scope of representation of those employees for purposes of providing the exclusive representative a reasonable amount of time to negotiate proposed changes with the employer.

  • AB 1522 (Gonzalez) adds a new section to the California Labor Code providing paid sick days to any employee that works for 30 or more days within a year and who would accrue a minimum of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers can limit the use of sick leave to 24 hours or 3 days per year and the unused leave would carry over from year to year. Even though regular employees in school districts are already entitled to and earning sick leave as required by the Education Code, this could have implications for other types of employees, such as substitutes and yard duty employees.

  • SB 1266 (Huff) requires school districts to provide emergency epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) to trained personnel and would authorize trained personnel to use those EpiPens to provide emergency medical aid to persons suffering from an anaphylactic reaction. Among its provisions, the bill requires EpiPens to be available at each school site and at school-sanctioned events. It requires a qualified supervisor of health or administrator at an LEA to obtain the prescription for EpiPens and be responsible for stocking and restocking if used.

  • AB 2706 (Hernandez) requires a public school, for purposes of the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years, to add an informational item to its enrollment forms, or amend an existing enrollment form in order to provide the parent or legal guardian information about health care coverage options and enrollment assistance.

  • SB 1172 (Steinberg) requires a pupil’s vision to be appraised by the school nurse or other authorized person during kindergarten or upon first enrollment or entry in a California school district of a pupil at an elementary school, and in grades 2, 5, and 8, except as provided. Revises the functions performed by the school nurse and the classroom teacher in observing a pupil's eyes, appearance, and other factors that may indicate vision difficulties.

  • SB 1349 (Jackson) will require, beginning with the 2015-16 school year, each public school, including charter schools, offering competitive athletics to make publically available at the end of the school year the total enrollment of the school, classified by gender; the number of students who participate in competitive athletics, classified by gender; and, the number of boys’ and girls’ teams, classified by sport and by competition level. The bill requires schools to post this data on their website and that the data be retained for three years.
To obtain a complete list of new legislation, additional information on bills, bill text, analyses and legislative vote records, visit the state’s Official Legislative Information website at .

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Michael McQuary assumes Sub-district C Board seat

Attendees and viewers of the district’s Board of Education meetings are seeing a new face on the dais – Dr. Michael McQuary, who began his first term as Sub-district C board representative on Dec. 9.

Dr. Mike McQuary “We have major challenges, and I’m thrilled to now be part of the conversation at the dais, as well as in the community, meeting with parents, employees and staff,” McQuary said at his swearing-in ceremony. “Let’s do good things for the greater good; for our individual students as well as for our larger communities. I’m here to serve.”

Trustee McQuary brings a broad range of work and life experience to the Board. He has been a teacher at all levels, administrator, and education consultant at the state level. He has been president of his local teachers union and also served as a member of several administrative bargaining teams.

He was a Chapter President of Phi Delta Kappa, an international organization of professional educators, who conduct research and are interested in policy related to education at all levels, especially issues dealing with research-based school reform.

More recently, Dr. McQuary has assisted educational projects supporting students and local schools, such as the Pacific Beach Middle School "Garden to CafĂ©" Program, a bullying intervention program, a Peace Pole and a “zone of peace” dedication at the PB Middle School (2014) and PB Elementary School (2015).

Learn more about Trustee McQuary and his vision for San Diego Unified.

Trustee McQuary’s Biography
Watch Trustee McQuary’s Swearing-in Ceremony
SDUSD Subdistrict C: Mike McQuary's resume says it all (SD

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jason Mraz attends Winter Program at Burbank Elementary

Students at Burbank Elementary had a special guest in the audience for its recent Winter Program – Grammy-award winner Jason Mraz.

 Jason Mraz and students
 Jason Mraz talking with students
Mraz was on-hand at the school’s dress rehearsal earlier in the day, and returned that evening to attend the formal program.

During the dress rehearsal, the singer-songwriter listened to the students sing various holiday songs, one of which included Mraz’ own rendition of “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.” He also shared advice with students on how to manage nerves during their upcoming performance that night.

Mraz has been working with Burbank Elementary School since May 2014 as part of the Turnaround Arts CA program, a signature affiliate program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The school is one of 10 in California to be paired with a national musician or artist mentor over a two-year period.

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

For more information on Turnaround Arts, please go to
or visit Burbank Elementary's website. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

CCTE students get hands-on training with help from local trade groups

Reading about cabling, electrical wiring and circuits is interesting, but not nearly as exciting as learning how they work from experts in the field.

 CCTE Students Studying Electrical Careers
 CCTE Students Studying Electrical Careers
Students from three district high schools had the opportunity to learn more about careers in industry sectors such as electrical, engineering, and construction and green building technologies at a hands-on training at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) training center.

Organized by CCTE, more than 160 career technical education students from Hoover’s Sustainable Academy of Building and Engineering Academy and Lincoln and Morse High's engineering programs rotated through three labs, which consisted of Structured Cabling, Residential Electrical and a Bell and Signal Circuit.

Students worked in teams of two along with several expert electricians and mentors from the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus (EWMC) and the National Electrical Contractors Association to construct various live and functional circuits. The visit also included a tour of the training center and lunch.

The IBEW and Training Director Bert Richardson have been instrumental in working with the Hoover’s SABE academy over the last two years. The IBEW and EWMC continue to provide guest speakers, mentors, field trips, and various in-kind supports to students interested in the building and construction pathway.

For more information about the program, contact CCTE Program Manager Dean Darley at

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Harvest of the Month is Organic Dino Kale

The Harvest of the Month for January is Organic Dino Kale from Go Green Agriculture in Encinitas, Calif. Find this super veggie on your school salad bar every Wednesday during the month of January.

Go Green Agriculture Go Green Agriculture is a pioneer in growing organic greens using hydroponics and has been recognized on the local state and federal level for their innovative model of farming. Farmer Pierre was invited to the White House this summer to receive the Champion of Change award in the Future of Agriculture.

To help educate students on where the Harvest of the Month produce item comes from, we have created monthly Harvest of the Month videos that act as virtual field trips to the farm. These videos are an opportunity to connect students to their food and local farmers. We encourage principals to have their teachers share the videos in the classroom so students can experience the full circle of their food.

Please share these Virtual Field Trip Video links with teachers, staff and students:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IN THE NEWS: Focus on the three Cs for a bright new year: Children, community and communication

While I’m not typically a resolution-maker, there’s something about a new year that invites reflection. As I contemplate what I want to accomplish in 2015, rather than focus on individual resolutions, I think about what informs and energizes our work: children, community, and communication.

Several decades ago, past NCTE president and award-winning educator Yetta Goodman coined the term “kidwatcher”—a simple term to describe the potent understanding that the most effective teaching is responsive. Read more from Scholastic's blog.