Education

COURT TEMPORARILY HALTS SAN DIEGO UNIFIED'S VACCINE MANDATE OVER RELIGION CHALLENGE

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  A San Diego Unified student is vaccinated in school. Courtesy of the district

November 29, 2021 (San Diego) - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a last-minute injunction Sunday temporarily preventing the San Diego Unified School District‘s COVID-19 vaccine mandate from going into effect in December.


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COLLEGE DISTRICT RETAINS TRUSTEE BOUNDARIES

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

November 23, 2021 (El Cajon) - The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s trustee area boundaries will remain unchanged, after a thorough review of 2020 Census population and demographic data.


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UC OFFICIALLY DITCHES ANY TESTS FOR UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS

By Mikhail Zinshteyn, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

Photo:  The University of California system decided at a Board of Regents meeting to abandon standardized tests as part of its undergraduate admissions process. Image via iStock.

November 20, 2021 (San Diego) - The University of California will not require any kind of admissions test for students trying to gain entry as undergraduates, system leaders reiterated Thursday. 


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STUDENT DETAINED AFTER SCHOOL THREAT IN RAMONA

East County News Service

November 18, 2021 (Ramona) -- A 15-year-old boy is being cared for at a hospital as a safety precaution after threatening to hurt students and staff at Ramona High School, says Lieutenant Daniel Vengler with the San Diego Sheriff’s department. 


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EL CAJON MAYOR, AT PARENTS ANTI-MANDATE RALLY, DECRIES 'PLOT TO TAKE OVER AMERICA'

By Ken Stone and Chris Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells warned against the “evil” of government mandates.  Photo by Chris Stone

November 11, 2021 (El Cajon) - Raging against “a plot to take over America and the rest of the world,” El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells spoke Wednesday at a rally of parents calling for freedom from vaccination mandates.


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LOCAL DOCTORS ADDRESS COVID MISINFORMATION AT COUNTY SUPERVISORS’ MEETING, INCLUDING INFO ON VACCINES FOR CHILDREN

East County News Service

An independent panel of local doctors addressed COVID-19 misinformation brought up by some public speakers at the Nov. 2 County Board of Supervisors meeting. View video in English and Spanish.

Among the facts presented:

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has strongly endorsed immunizing young children against COVID-19.
  • Several thousand U.S. children have gotten multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MSIS) from COVID, which causes long-term organ damage.
  • Children are getting long-term COVID symptoms such as brain damage/trouble concentrating.
  • 94 kids ages 5-11 have died of COVID in the U.S. There have been more deaths in pediatrics from COVID in the past year than is usually seen in a year from flu.
  • Children are just as likely to get infected with COVID as adults and can transmit it to family members or others.
  • Even a mild case of COVID means lost school time to quarantine, which can set children back in their education.
  • No children have died of COVID vaccines.
  • No cases of heart inflammation after COVID vaccines were found in any of the children ages 5-11 during testing.
  • Testing found the vaccines to be extremely safe for children ages 5-11.
  • The Pfizer COVID vaccine for children ages 5-11 is only one-third the dose that adults or teens receive.

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QUESTIONS ON VACCINES FOR KIDS? 10 NEWS AND CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT HOST TOWN HALL WITH EXPERTS

Update:  Video of th expert panel answering parents' questions is now available to view here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIFudyPvXfQ 

By Miriam Raftery

November 5, 2021 (El Cajon) – Now that the federal government has approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot for children ages 5 and up, many parents have questions.  So Cajon Valley Union School District and ABC 10 News are hosting a PTA town hall featuring a discussion with medical experts and education leaders. You can watch live on Thursday, November 11 at 5:30 p.m. online at www.10News.com or on the ABC 10News smart phone app.


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GROSSMONT COLLEGE NAMED CHAMPION OF HIGHER EDUCATION FOR ASSOCIATE DEGREE FOR TRANSFER EFFORTS

Source:  Grossmont College

November 4, 2021 (El Cajon) - Grossmont College has been named a 2021 Champion of Higher Education for its exemplary work in implementing the Associate Degree for Transfer program that provides a streamlined pathway between California’s community colleges and four-year colleges and universities. 


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MORE EL CAJON SCHOOLCHILDREN FREED FROM AFGHANISTAN, ISSA ANNOUNCES

“After months of teamwork, a brave family is finally coming home.” – Rep. Darrell Issa

 Nov. 2, 2021 (El Cajon) --  Today, Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50) announced that a seventh family and schoolchildren from the El Cajon school district has escaped Afghanistan and will be returning to their home in California.

“For months, my staff and I have joined an unprecedented community wide effort to bring this family and these kids home. Today, we can say that they are for certain on their way back to us,” said Issa. “There are so many people to thank for making this possible.”


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"PACK THE PANTRY" VIRTUAL FOOD DRIVE LAUNCHES TO HELP FILL LOCAL COLLEGE PANTRIES

50% of area college students face food insecurity

Source:  Cal Coast Credit Union

November 1, 2021 (San Diego) - Approximately 50% of local community college students grapple with food insecurity. As a result of not having reliable, consistent access to food, students are more likely to miss classes or drop out of school.  The pandemic continues to severely impact students, and has increased the demand at food pantries on local college campuses.

With the 3rd annual Pack the Pantry food drive, California Coast Credit Union is partnering with all of the local community college campuses and the San Diego Food Bank to raise funds and fill local college pantries. During the month of November, you can donate online to help provide much-needed food for local college students at https://www.calcoastcu.org/news-and-events/pack-the-pantry-2021/. Donors can even select which college food pantry they want their donation directed to.


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VISITOR DIES AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE RUNNING TRACK

East County News Service

Oct. 29, 2021 (El Cajon) A Grossmont College campus visitor died on Friday, October 29 due to what appears to have been natural causes. The individual, whose identity has not been released, appears to have collapsed while exercising on the campus’ track, according to a statement issued by the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

The individual was found unresponsive by a campus employee about 10:35 a.m. The employee called 911. 


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JUSTICE DEPT. OPENS HOTLINE FOR SCHOOL OFFICIALS TO REPORT THREATS; ISSA INTRODUCES “STAND WITH PARENTS” RESOLUTION

By Miriam Raftery

October 27, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – Following a rise in complaints by school board members, teachers and school workers over threats of violence, harassment and intimidation, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced plans to convene a meeting with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement leaders to create strategies for addressing this trend.

In a press release, the Dept. of Justice also encouraged education officials to report threats to the FBI’s National Threat operations Center tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or via the FBI website at http://fbi.gov/tips. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” Garland states. “Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”

Republicans have criticized Garland for setting up what they term a “snitch line on parents” and seeking to suppress free speech. But in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Garland made clear that he has no intention of targeting free speech, which he said is “totally protected by the First Amendment…We are only concerned about violence and threats of violence against school administrators, teachers, staff.” 

In response to the Dept. of Justice announcement, Congressman Darrell Issa, a Republican from the 50th district which includes San Diego and much of East County, introduced the “Stand With Parents” resolution.


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RIBBON CUTTING TURNS OVER NEW LEAF FOR CUYAMACA COLLEGE’S ORNAMENTAL HORTICULTURE COMPLEX

UPDATE:  Due to rain, the Ornamental Horticulture ribbon-cutting has been rescheduled for  Friday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

 

Source: Cuyamaca College

Photo:  The Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture Complex & Building M Renovation includes a new nursery sales office for the campus’ retail nursery that will be open to the public.

October 21, 2021 (Rancho San Diego) -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held Monday, Oct. 25 for Cuyamaca College’s expanded Ornamental Horticulture complex marks a new chapter for one of the campus’ flagship programs.


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FEDERAL JUDGE ISSUES JUDGEMENT FOR CAJON VALLEY IN SUIT FILED BY TRUSTEE BARTO

By Miriam Raftery

October 20, 2021 (El Cajon) – U.S. District Court Judge William Hayes has issued an order ruling on behalf of the Cajon Valley Union School District and dismissed a lawsuit filed against the district in 2019 by Trustee Jill Barto. 

Barto declined comment. Her attorney, Michael Aguirre, told ECM, “We are appealing,” but did not elaborate. 


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HUNDREDS PROTEST SCHOOL VACCINE AND MASK MANDATES IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery and Henri Migala

View Zoom interview with Dr. Mark Sawyer, infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital and advisor to the FDA, responding to parents' concerns:  https://youtu.be/qSlSxgWUQaU   

View video of protesters:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deM8NE8SWAo

October 20, 2021 (La Mesa) – Over 300 parents, teachers, staffers and students held a protest against new mandates to require vaccines in public schools and existing mask mandates.

The local protest was held Tuesday on the Grossmont bridge over Interstate-8 in La Mesa, part of a statewide school walkout day over California’s public health mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants waved flags and held signs, slowing traffic on the freeway as some motorists honked in support.

ECM spoke with several parents  regarding their concerns for their children's health, and also consulted a prominent pediatric medical expert on COVID-19 to respond to those concerns. In addition, we reached out to two East County school districts to assess the impact of the walkout on school funding and attendance.

Parents and school employees speak out; medical expert responds


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NOT ON THE MENU: HALAL, KOSHER OPTIONS LIMITED IN CALIFORNIA SCHOOL LUNCHES

By Joe Hong, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

Photo:  Dalal Erekat at her home in El Cajon on Oct. 14, 2021. Ariana Drehsler for CalMatters

October 19, 2021 (El Cajon) - On days she forgets to pack her lunch, 17-year-old Dalal Erekat has to resort to a few vegetarian options like carrot sticks and tater tots. Her school, Valhalla High, has never provided halal entrees permissible to eat by her Muslim faith. 


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GROSSMONT COLLEGE CAREER EXPO’S VIRTUAL PLATFORM IS NEXT BEST THING TO BEING THERE: INTERACT WITH EMPLOYERS OCT. 27

Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

October 19, 2021 (El Cajon)  – Grossmont College’s 43rd annual Career Expo will be virtual again this year to avoid the crush of attendees the popular event typically draws, but organizers are making the online environment as interactive as they can.

Grossmont College, the San Diego Workforce Partnership, and the East County Chamber of Commerce will host the free, public event 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Students, alumni, job- and career- seekers in the general public can register at https://tinyurl.com/VirtualCareerExpo2021. Employers can register for free at https://tinyurl.com/5ctu4xyb. A Remo login will be emailed upon registration.

Remo is an easy-to-use virtual conference platform that will allow job-seekers to visit multiple “tables” and be interviewed privately in real time by potential employers. When the conference switches to presentation mode, attendees can visit as avatars. A digital room with tables will be available where they can sit and listen to presentations. They can also take part in chat and networking sessions among themselves and vendors.


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GUHSD INSTRUCTOR TIFFANY JOKERST HONORED AS STATE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

West Hills High School math and aerospace engineering teacher wins California’s highest honor 

East County News Service

 

October 16, 2021 (El Cajon) - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced Friday that West Hills High School math teacher Tiffany Jokerst is one of five 2022 California Teachers of the Year.


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AAUW, LA MESA-EL CAJON BRANCH, SPEECH TREK CONTEST RETURNS: ENTRY DEADLINE NOV. 15

Contest open to all high school students 

By Sue Sutton

 

October 15, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- The La Mesa-El Cajon Branch of the American Association of University Women is sponsoring the annual Speech Trek, speech contest, open to all high school students in grades 9-12. The in-person contest is open to all high schools including public, charter and private.

 

Each year, a critical topic is selected and students, along with a branch/teacher coach, create, prepare and present an original, 5-6 minute speech. This year’s topic is "Has the United States lived up to its pledge of “liberty and justice for all?  Would requiring the study of diversity, equity and inclusion in a high school setting help ensure liberty and justice for all?” 


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O’FARRELL CHARTER SCHOOLS NAMES CYNTHIA WAGNER OF ALPINE AS NEW SUPERINTENDENT

Veteran education administrator to oversee O’Farrell, Ingenuity Charter Schools

East County News Service

October 8, 2021 (San Diego) – The O’Farrell Charter Schools, which includes The O'Farrell Charter School and Ingenuity Charter School, announced today the appointment of Alpine resident Cynthia “Cindy” Wagner as its new superintendent. Her selection follows a four-month nationwide search that resulted in a pool of numerous well-qualified candidates. 


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PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS REJOICE AS FEDS FORGIVE STUDENT DEBT

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

October 8, 2021 (Sacramento) -- Hundreds of thousands of teachers, nurses, social workers, military officers and others in public service can breathe a sigh of relief tonight as the Biden administration announced major reforms to the public-service loan forgiveness program.


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STUDENT COVID VACCINATIONS: CALIFORNIA BECOMES FIRST STATE TO REQUIRE THEM FOR KIDS 12 AND UP

By Joe Hong, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

October 3, 2021 (San Diego) - In another aggressive effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure schools remain open, Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced a vaccine mandate for students ages 12 and older, making California the first state in the nation to require students to be fully vaccinated for in-person instruction.


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GROSSMONT COLLEGE STAGEHOUSE THEATRE OPENS ITS NEW SEASON WITH INTO THE WOODS

East County News Service

September 28, 2021 (El Cajon) - Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre, which has not permitted in-person performances for more than 18 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reopens to live audiences when it launches its 2021-22 season September 30 with a staging of Into the Woods.


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CUYAMACA COLLEGE PRESENTS REMEMBRANCE OF 9/11 ATTACKS

Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

September 10, 2021 (El Cajon) -- On a cloudless morning with the San Miguel Fire & Rescue’s massive 70-foot flag serving as a backdrop, the Cuyamaca College campus community and East County firefighters gathered Friday for an early commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


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COLLEGE DISTRICT SELECTS NEW DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC INFORMATION, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS & COMMUNITY RELATIONS

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

September 9, 2021 (El Cajon) - A former community engagement manager with the County of San Diego is the new Director of Public Information, Government Relations and Community Relations at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.


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BACK TO SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH: TIPS FOR TALKING TO YOUTH ABOUT SUICIDE

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.  Civilian.com and the California Mental Health Services Authority have provided tips for talking to youths about suicide.

By Joe Camero, Civilian.com

September 8, 2021 (San Diego) – Numerous research studies indicate children and youth have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Forced into remote learning and physically isolated from their peers and activities, many have suffered declines in social, emotional, physical and academic health. And the impact continues to linger.


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NEED SCHOLARSHIPS? SUPERVISOR ANDERSON’S OFFICE HAS COMPILED THIS LIST OF OPPORTUNITIES

East County News Service

Photo: Creative Commons image by ND via Bing

September 5, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – “As school season is starting back up, I am aware of the financial barriers that many parents or students face,” says Supervisor Joel Anderson in an email to constituents listing scholarships available. “Having three children go through this process, I understand the value behind scholarship opportunities and the importance behind financial assistance,” he adds. “I’ve asked my staff to assemble this list of financial resources and scholarship opportunities available to you.”

This list is not officially endorsed by the County, but was created to assist students attain their goals of continuing their education. Anderson says his staff made an effort to find diverse scholarship opportunities and reminds students that many of these opportunities have upcoming deadlines.

If you know of scholarship resources not listed that you would like to see added, you can email michael.botello@sdcounty.ca.gov.


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‘KNEE ON NECK’ RESTRAINT OF VALHALLA HIGH STUDENT DRAWS OUTCRY

By Miriam Raftery

September 4, 2021 (El Cajon) – A campus supervisor at Valhalla High School has been put on paid administrative leave after a video went viral showing him pressing a knee on the neck of an African-American female student. The controversial restraint tactic was used in an effort to break up a fight between two students on August 31.


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MT. MIGUEL HIGH SCHOOL FOUNDATION HOSTS QUARTERMANIA OCT. 9 TO FUND SCHOOL’S SPECIAL PROJECTS

East County News Service

September 4, 2021 (Spring Valley) – Mt. Miguel High School Foundation, the nonprofit organization devoted to helping Mt. Miguel High School, is hosting Quartermania on Saturday, October 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mt. Miguel High School Multi-Cultural Event Center, 8585 Blossom Lane, Spring Valley. The cost of admission is $20; all proceeds will go toward Mt Miguel High School Special Projects.


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CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT REPORTS 24 STUDENTS STRANDED IN AFGHANISTAN

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association 

Photo:  District offices in El Cajon. Photo courtesy of the district

Update August 31, 2021 - At least 6 of the familes have escaped Afghanistan and three students are back in classes, district spokesman Howard Shen told the San Diego Union-Tribune yesterday. Two other families were still awaiting evacuation at the time.

August 25, 2021 (El Cajon) - The Cajon Valley Union School District said Tuesday that as many as 24 of its students are stranded in Afghanistan and haven’t been able to make it back to the Untied States.


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