By Janis Mork
February 25, 2013 (Spring Valley)--CSEA’s (California School Employees Association) Chapter 419 has announced an agreement to save benefited positions in the Child Nutrition Department at La Mesa-Spring Valley School District middle schools.
Anna Bongard, kitchen manager (left) with lunch workers Debbie Martin and Doris Evans
By Miriam Raftery
February 21, 2013 (Alpine)—In the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, school districts across America are examining security procedures to consider the unthinkable – how to respond if confronted with a gunman aiming to commit mass murder.
The debate is raging in Alpine, where at least one parent is calling for armed guards in public schools. On February 21, the Alpine Union School District Board will hear a report from Superintendent Pellegrino on school safety measures in place and new concepts to consider—ranging from enhanced lockdown procedures to potentially, adding armed guards and perimeter controls to local campuses.
February 21, 2013 (El Cajon) -- Everyone has a favorite-teacher story – the memory often ingrained for life of a particular instructor whose love of the profession has proven inspiring. At Cuyamaca College, the Academic Senate each year recognizes one full-time and one part-time instructor selected by a faculty committee based on student nominations, rankings and reviews.
The winners of the Award for Teaching Excellence this year are Debra Babylon, an art instructor for 17 years and a two-time winner for her teaching prowess; and Eddie Sturgeon, a Superior Court judge by day and an adjunct law professor at Cuyamaca College two nights a week.
By Jake Christie
ECM editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this story
February 20, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--In a four-to-one vote, the Grossmont Union High School District Governing Board this week decided to not adopt a resolution to resubmit building plans for a 12th high school in Alpine. There was no public input from the small audience, and the item was not discussed until about an hour and 30 minutes into the meeting. The Board members voted 4-1 to defeat the motion, with only Jim Stieringer voting in favor of his resolution.
SB 316 would require school doors to lock from the inside
February 20, 2013 (Sacramento)--State Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego, 39th district) introduced legislation Tuesday requiring all classrooms with five or more persons to install devices that allow doors to lock from the inside by January 1, 2015. The California Federation of Teachers is sponsoring the legislation.
Following the school shooting tragedies in Newtown, Conn. and Taft, Calif., schools are rethinking safety procedures, including additional protections against campus intruders. A 2010 analysis of similar legislation estimated that 70 percent of schools already have such locks. Without the locks, teachers must go outside to secure their classrooms during emergencies. Block’s proposal would ensure that every school regardless of age complies with the inside lock requirement.
By Walt Meyer
February 19, 2013 (Lakeside)--New careers as the wave of the future was a key theme in a guest lecture February 12 given by Chuck Brands at El Capitan High School. Brands is a local sustainability and solar energy expert who is also vice-president of Heartland Coalition and director of its UnitedGREEN division.
Last fall, Brands coordinated a class at Southwestern College to teach a new technology that uses all relevant data to map a building so that owners and occupants can manage their energy consumption and plan to adapt the building for energy innovation. The students were team-taught this pioneering class by experts from across the country under a grant from SDG&E to the Heartland Coalition.
Lemon Grove Filmmaker Jim Ellis Creates 33-Minute Documentary for Children, Parents to Watch Together
By Mark Gabrish Conlan
February 18, 2013 (Lemon Grove)--Nikki’s story is all too typical of the ones told in Lemon Grove filmmaker Jim Ellis’s new 33-minute documentary, Indoctrinated: The Grooming of Children Into Prostitution. At age 18, to raise the money to go to college, she took a job in a strip club. There she met an older man who helped her out financially, bought her nice clothes and accessories, and got her to fall in love with him and ultimately move in with him. Then he put the hammer down and told her that in order to keep her lifestyle — and his affections — she’d have to have sex with other men, for which he, not she, would be paid. Nikki’s story ends more happily than most such tales; she got out of “the life,” as prostitutes call it, and in her 20’s is trying to piece her life back together. She’s sufficiently self-assured that of all the present and former prostitutes Ellis interviewed, she was the only one who agreed to show her face on camera instead of having it electronically blurred.
February 18, 2013 (Washington D.C.) –“Everyone has a teacher from their past who inspired them. Teachers play a significant role in a student’s development and as our nation’s builders, which is why it is so important to give teachers the opportunities to grow as educators,” a press release from Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) states. However, many school districts lack a method for giving teachers and principals the developmental feedback to help them reach their ultimate professional potential.
Davis, along with Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has introduced legislation that they believe will give teachers the feedback and the support they deserve.
February 17, 2013 (New York)--Pressman Toy (www.PressmanToy.com), announced winners of its first annual Mastermind Braintwister Challenge February 10 at its 110th annual American International Toy Fair. The first place winners, 4th grader Gaurov Bansal, age 10 from Stamford, CT; won for “Letters Equal Numbers” and 5th grader Sophi Schneider, age 10 from Dresher, PA, won for “Wordsticks Mode 4 – Let’s Race.” Each received a $1,000 scholarship.
Three Braintwister category winners were also awarded $100 each:
- “Difficulty” – Luke Cepurac, 10, La Mesa, CA, for his entry “Order Up”
- “Skills” – Erica Blakely, 12, Tinley Park, IL, for her entry “Who, What, Where”
- “Creativity” – Max Hartle, 12, Tampa, FL, for his entry “Air Attack”
HELIX CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL RAISES AWARENESS FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES THROUGH GAMES
By Mayan Avitable
February 14, 2013 (La Mesa)--Wow! Just walking through the doors of the gym at Helix Charter High School was wonderful. Anyone could tell there was something exciting going on. The bleachers were filled with cheering students, the band was there--the cheerleaders were there. They were all cheering on students from the school's Special Education Department and other student groups going for the gold.
It was the Third Annual Helix Charter High School Games of Champions. Eighteen students with severe intellectual and physical disabilities participating in activities such as bowling, basketball, soccer goal challenge, agility course, and a throwing challenge.
Critics call action "meaningless"
February 12, 2013 (El Cajon )—Newly elected Grossmont Union High School District Board Trustee Jim Stieringer plans to introduce a resolution on the 12th high school for Alpine at the board meeting at 924 East Main Street, El Cajon. The public portion of the meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13.
The motion directs the GUHSD to developed modified building plans and submit to the Division of the State Architect (DSA) –but only after it is determined that the Alpine School District Unification plan is either abandoned or fails to achieve voter approval. In addition, the site and building plans must be modified to stay within the remaining budget.
February 12, 2013 (Santee)--Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) today released comments on a case of teacher misconduct in California’s public education system. Brentwood Unified School District refused to fire a teacher after she kicked a five-year-old “special needs” student to the floor.The district stated that its hands were tied due to “flaws in the California Education Code” which prevented it from firing the teacher, Jones noted.
“Are you kidding me?” said Jones.
The teacher was ultimately convicted of misdemeanor child abuse, but was allowed to continue teaching for two years, the Mercury News reported. An investigation found that at least 11 employees failed in their legal duty to report suspicion of child abuse in earlier incidents.
Elected officials, education leaders, celebrities to read aloud at underprivileged schools throughout San Diego County on February 14
February 8, 2013 (La Mesa)--Rolling Readers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping low-income, at-risk children enjoy reading, will celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of its “Share Your Love of Reading” event on Valentine’s Day.
SENATE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE RECEIVES FEEDBACK IN SAN DIEGO HEARING ON IMPLEMENTING PROP. 39’S $2.5 BILLION
Framework to Advance Jobs, Schools & our Environment
January 30, 2013 (San Diego)--To initiate implementation discussions about Proposition 39 passed by the voters, Senate Appropriations Chair Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) convened the Subcommittee on Fiscal Oversight and Bonded Indebtedness in San Diego on Friday, January 25, Joining Senator De León on the dais were Senate Appropriations Committee member Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) and San Diego representatives Senator Marty Block, and Assembly members Toni Atkins and Ben Hueso. Panelists from education, labor, business and environmental organizations outlined pitfalls to avoid when spending the more than $2 billion in energy efficiency funds generated by the initiative.
January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Simple Energy announced the three winning schools in the San Diego Energy Challenge school competition. The San Diego Energy Challenge contest gave SDG&E customers in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) boundaries the chance to compete on behalf of their chosen SDUSD middle school to win cash grants. Participating customers earned points for their school of choice by saving energy on Reduce Your Use days and getting members of their community to sign up and support their team.
Photos by Stephen Harvey/Grossmont College photographer
January 25, 2013 (El Cajon)--Spring semester begins January 28 at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges in a restorative vein, with hundreds of classes added back as the result of California voters’ approval of Proposition 30, the governor’s sales and income tax measure.
The November victory at the polls allowed the colleges to restore 235 course offerings for the new semester that had been cut when the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District approved its budget .The action was taken to prepare for the worst-case scenario of the district losing $5.6 million in funding had voters rejected Prop. 30.
Peg Marcus, Grossmont College’s student body president, shares a laugh with the campus mascot, Gizmo, this week as the campus prepares for the start of the new semester Monday, Jan. 28.
January 24, 2013 (Jacumba)--Jacumba Middle School, received an unexpected holiday grant from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to help fund experiential learning tied to STEM (an acronym for studies in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics). STEM related programs have become a Presidential priority because too few students are pursuing degrees in these fields.
January 22, 2012 (San Diego)--After finding recent studies showing that one in four freshmen in the U.S. do not complete their first year of college, despite giving college a try, a team at CollegeAtHome.com decided to create an infographic that would show some of the reasons why.
Is it possible that high school students simply do not have a realistic idea of what college is actually like? Also, it may be possible that many of these students simply don’t see the point of staying in college due to the slow job market.
STATE SCHOOLS CHIEF TOM TORLAKSON ANNOUNCES BOARD APPROVAL OF SWEEPING UPDATES TO CAREER TECHNICAL EDUCATION STANDARDS
January 17, 2013 (Sacramento)—Sweeping updates to California’s career technical education (CTE) standards—designed to reflect the changing face of technology and set higher academic goals—received approval from the State Board of Education Wednesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced.
The new standards are one of the cornerstone achievements of Torlakson’s Career Readiness Initiative. Building on the previous CTE standards, the revised standards were created with input from more than 300 representatives from business and industry, labor, and postsecondary and secondary education, ranging from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to mental health experts and environmental innovators.
January 17, 2013 (La Mesa) – La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board trustee Penny Halgren announced her immediate resignation at Tuesday’s meeting. Halgren said she is moving to Aracadia Los Angeles County to be with her boyfriend. Halgren has served on the board since 2002 and was reelected in 2010.
Asked whether the opening will be filled by appointment or by special election, Barbara Martinez, executive assistant to Superintendent Brian Marshall, told ECM, “That will be up to the Board to decide at the February 5 meeting.”
January 16, 2013 (San Diego) – Graduating high school seniors can earn up to $10,000 towards a college education through to Cox Cares scholarship program. Cox Communications has been awarding college scholarships for 13 years and this year will be awarding $100,000 state-wide.
By Miriam Raftery
January 15, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Visitors to websites for several high schools in the Grossmont Union High School District on Saturday morning found material posted by a hacker.
“One of the District's web servers was compromised,” district spokesperson Catherine Martin told East County Magazine. Several school home pages were “replaced with photos of Osama Bin Laden and some commentary,” she added.
50 school districts participate, including East County and inland North County regions
By Nancy White
January 3, 2013 (San Diego County)--After the binges of the holidays, who hasn’t noticed the post-holiday blahs? The clothes fit a little tighter, the energy level just isn’t there and we’re afraid to peek in a full-length mirror. It’s no surprise that losing weight is a top new year’s resolution.
December 27, 2012 (San Diego) -- People of all ages are struggling to comprehend the shootings that took place in Newtown, Conn. In particular, children and teens are likely struggling to make sense of the things they are seeing and hearing regarding the tragedy on television, at school, and among their peers. Many children will have questions and be in need of additional comfort in the coming days and weeks. San Diego County Library has put together a list of resources that parents can use to help answer questions and reassure children of their safety and comfort.
December 20, 2012 (Santee) – The San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB) has announced that Santee resident Kay Toma, a senior attending Francis Parker High School, has been awarded a $1,500 cash scholarship from the BBB after writing a 400-word essay on the importance of ethics and integrity in the community.
Education News and Notes
By Anat Tour, math teacher and children’s author/illustrator
December 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--December is a busy time for the holidays, but if you are a high school senior this is the season to get your college checklist in order.
In addition, here are my picks for this month’s top stories of interest to local students, teachers, and parents:
By Walter G. Meyer
December 4, 2012 (San Diego)--In what is hoped will be a model for future trainings and a revolution in architecture, Southwestern College recently conducted a class called “Smart Building Technician.” The name doesn’t begin to do justice to the depth of the material covered in the class, which was made possible through a grant to UnitedGREEN from SDG&E arranged by Heartland Coalition board member Chuck Brands.
Instructor Kimon Onuma (at left in green shirt) lines up the class participants (including course manager Chuck Brands fifth from left in white shirt) for a graduation photo.
December 4, 2012 (La Mesa)--Helix Charter High School is a nominee in The Clorox Company's Power a Bright Future grant program and is in the running to win up to $50,000. If we win, the school will use this grant to fund community-based, student-run Senior Projects. All Helix students are required to complete a Senior Project to graduate.
"Currently, many students choose to do projects that benefit the surrounding communities; however, due to the costs associated with a large-scale project, many are done on a small scale. If Helix were to win this grant, the projects would not face those funding limitations and students could affect our community in a much bigger way," says Jenn Osborn, Helix community relations.
December 2, 2012 (El Cajon) -- Cuyamaca College, known throughout the state for its longtime commitment to the green movement, is hosting its third annual Sustainability Symposium Thursday, Dec. 13, at the college’s performing arts theater.
This is the first year the 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. forum will be followed by a Green Vendor and Networking Fair from 1:30-3:30 p.m. In another first, the event doubles as a scholarship fundraiser for students pursuing careers in green or sustainable industries.
November 30, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Julian Union School District and Lemon Grove School District are among six California school districts and a community organization that have collectively won nearly $336,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grants.
The funding is designed to help students understand the food they eat in school cafeterias often comes from local farms.