Education

SCHOOL CLOSINGS DUE TO COVID-19 PRESENT POTENTIAL FOR INCREASED RISK OF CHILD EXPLOITATION

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

April 2, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Due to school closings as a result of COVID-19, children will potentially have an increased online presence and/or be in a position that puts them at an inadvertent risk. Due to this newly developing environment, the FBI is seeking to warn parents, educators, caregivers, and children about the dangers of online sexual exploitation and signs of child abuse.

GOVERNOR AND STATE SUPERINTENDENT CALL FOR SCHOOLS TO STAY CLOSED THROUGH END OF SCHOOL YEAR

East County News Service

April 1, 2020 (Sacramento) – Governor Gavin Newsom today said he expects that “schools will not reopen” this school year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Newsom also announced a partnership with Google to provide over 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots statewide to improve internet connectivity and help students with online learning.

UC EASES ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS IN RESPONSE TO EDUCATION DISRUPTIONS; SUSPENDS LETTER GRADE AND TESTING REQUIREMENTS

By Nicole Freeling, UC Newsroom  

April 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- Across California and the nation, students have been forced to adapt as measures to combat COVID-19 have closed schools, cancelled standardized tests and upended every aspect of their education. And many have faced a nagging concern: how will this affect my college prospects?

TEACHERS PROTEST PAY RAISE FOR CVUSD SUPERINTENDENT; MIYASHIRO GETS SALARY FAR HIGHER THAN STATE AND NATIONAL AVERAGES FOR SIMILAR-SIZED DISTRICTS

 

By Paul Kruze

March 31, 2020 (El Cajon)-- Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdD and Board of Trustees have walked into a new controversy after reports by NBC San Diego and the San Diego Union-Tribune on pay raises authorized the district board.

Following a call to action by the Cajon Valley Employees Association (CVEA), some 100 CVUSD teachers wearing red t-shirt and coats gathered in the CVUSD boardroom on March 10, the last board meeting before the district shut down due to COVID-19. In no uncertain terms, employees let the Board of Trustees and district cabinet know of their unhappiness with recent pay raises given to Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdM and others.

Audio: 

COX TAKES STEPS TO EXPAND INTERNET ACCESS TO HELP THOSE WORKING OR SCHOOLING KIDS AT HOME, ALSO AIDS CUSTOMERS WITH FINANCIAL STRESS DUE TO COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Cox Communications recently announced steps to keep people and communities connected  during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many are working at home, educating children at home, or facing financial stress.  Those steps include increasing customer bandwidth free, suspending data usage overage fees, not cutting off phone or internet services for people who can’t pay bills due to the pandemic, and waiving late fees. Cox is also offering low-cost fees for new customers including families with children, opening outdoor WiFi hotspots, and more.

Cox assures that its network has capacity to handle a surge in usage trends from business to residential areas, allow quick emergency repairs, and protect employees and customers through social distance.

Below is Cox’s statement on keeping communities connected and helping those who most need connectivity:

GARNISHMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR STUDENT LOANS IN DEFAULT SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY, AMAC SAYS IT WILL FIGHT TO MAKE IT PERMANENT

Source:   Association of Mature American Citizens 

Image by 3D Animation Production Company on Pixabay

March 25, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - The Trump Administration has put a timely halt on the ability of the government to garnish Social Security benefits to pay for defaulted student loans for an indefinite period during the COVID crisis, reports the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. 

FREE AP TESTS AND PREP CLASSES FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS OFFERED BY AP COLLEGE BOARD DUE TO COVID-19: CLASSES ONLINE START MARCH 25

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – Students who want to take the Advanced Placement (AP) exams and be prepared, despite school closures, can now take free AP review classes online.  The AP College Board is giving students free live and on-demand.  They are also developing a new at-home testing option.

AP  tests are college-level exams on specific subjects and are normally administered in May upon completion of an AP course at a student's high school. At many colleges and universities, a high enough score will earn the student college credit. In some instances, earning college credit can mean an overall lower college tuition bill.

You can learn more or sign up at https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/coronavirus-updates.

A message on the AP College Board website states, “We surveyed 18,000 AP students to see if they still wanted the opportunity to test this year. Their answer: a resounding yes.”

GROSSMONT AND CUYAMACA COLLEGES CLOSE DOWN, EXCEPT FOR STUDENTS IN FINAL WEEK OF CLASSES

East County News Service

 

MARCH 19, 2020 UPDATE: 

Remote classes and student support at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges will continue to be held until the end of the spring semester on June 1. The Grossmont and Cuyamaca college campuses are also closed to all students and the public until June 1. 

All instructional activities and office hours, including any lab courses, and support services will be held in some form of remote delivery. Faculty will be communicating directly with their students regarding next steps.Student information about withdrawals and late drops is available. 

Gov. Newsom has ordered that all Califrornians stay at home effective midnight March 19. To comply with that order,  all District employees are to work from home beginning Friday, March 20. Essential personnel who are necessary to secure district facilities and maintain core operations will be contacted by district leadership. 

All student events through June 1 are cancelled, and intercollegiate athletics games are cancelled indefinitely. 



 

 

March 16, 2020 (El Cajon) --As the coronavirus situation remains in a state of flux, effective today, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are now closed to students and the public until further notice. All instructional activities, office hours and labs will take place online or through another remote delivery to the fullest extent possible. Students are advised to follow directives provided by their instructors and to regularly check the college website and emails to keep apprised by the latest developments.

EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS ANNOUNCE FOOD SERVICES DISTRIBUTION FOR STUDENTS DURING SHUTDOWN

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: creative commons-sa-nc

East County school districts will be providing food services for its students during the mandated school closures over the Coronavirus pandemic.

Below is the distribution schedule for several local districts.

If you know of others, please post the information or links in the comments section below, or email editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

CAJON VALLEY AND OTHER EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS ANNOUNCE COVID-19 POLICIES AND CLOSURES

CVUSD provides multi-lingual updates

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

Photo: Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdD, screenshot off video

 

March 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- In line with worldwide concern over the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Cajon Valley Union School District Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdD outlined a policy Tuesday night on plans to cope with the growing health crisis.

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN SPRING VALLEY AND AT SDSU

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – An employee at the Covenant Living retirement and continuing care community in Spring Valley has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, Fox 5 reports. So has a student at San Diego State University, according to Patch.com

LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS CLOSING DOWN DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: cc via Bing

March 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Over half the school districts in San Diego have announced plans to shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak until sometime in April.

East County districts that are shutting down include Alpine Union, Grossmont-Union High School District, Cajon Valley, Dehesa, Jamul-Dulzura, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Lakeside Union, Mountain Empire, and Vallecitos. 

County Health and Human Services asks parents, We recognize the difficulty that these school closures present for working families. It is important to remember that closing schools is an effort to maintain at least six feet of distance between people and to reduce the number of individuals gathered into a given space to prevent the spread of the virus. While there are still public spaces open and available, including malls, parks, movie theaters, etc., we would ask parents to strongly consider keeping their children home or limited to small groups at this time.”

Nationwide, school closures due to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, are impacting over 8 million K-12 students, according to EdSource, or nearly a quarter of the 50 million K-12 students in the U.S.

Here are schools locally announcing closures so far:

CALIF. DEPT. OF EDUCATION RECEIVES SPECIAL FEDERAL APPROVAL: ENABLES SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO FEED STUDENTS DURING CORONAVIRUS-RELATED CLOSURE

East County News Service

March 10, 2020 (Sacramento) - The California Department of Education (CDE) has received a special waiver called CA COVID19 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will enable a school district that had previously been approved to operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide meals to students during a coronavirus-related closure. 

SAN DIEGO STATE GOING TO ONLINE CLASSES APRIL 6 IN LATEST CORONAVIRUS MOVE

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

Photo:  Iconic Hepner Hall at San Diego State University. Photo by Chris Jennewein

March 10, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego State University will conduct almost all classes online by April 6 in a decision backed Tuesday by the University Senate, the school announced, joining UC San Diego in reacting to the coronavirus risk.

UCSD SHIFTS MOST SPRING CLASSES ONLINE DUE TO CORONAVIRUS, BANS FANS FROM SPORTING EVENTS

By Miriam Raftery

March 10, 2020 (San Diego) – The University of California, San Diego has announced that starting with the spring quarter, all lecture and discussion courses will be conducted online due to concerns over COVID-19, the new coronavirus strain spreading rapidly around the world.  Lab and studio courses for which remote instruction is not possible will continue meet in person.

The campus is also restricting fans from attending most sporting events and urging cancellation or postponement of large events through at least May 10.

PROPOSITION 13 FAILS LOCALLY AND MISSES MAJORITY NEEDED STATEWIDE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

March 4, 2020 (San Diego) Proposition 13, a $15B bond to fund academic projects that also included funding for a variety of other projects as well, failed locally in yesterday’s state-wide primary. Statewide, 56% voted no and 44% yes, with 100% of precincts reporting but some mail-in ballots remaining to be counted.

The bond would have pumped portions of the $15 billion into pre-K to grade 13 schools and higher education institutions such as community colleges, California State University, and all of the University of California locations.

EAST COUNTY VOTERS REJECT CAJON VALLEY AND LAKESIDE SCHOOL DISTRICT SCHOOL BOND MEASURES

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Creative Commons NC-ND via Bing

March 4, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- El Cajon and Lakeside voters gave solid thumbs down on Tuesday night to school bond measures put on the ballot by the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) and by the Lakeside Union School District.

Cajon Valley

Cajon Valley’s ballot measure, which would have issued $220 million dollars in school bonds went down in a major defeat with 100 percent of precinct votes counted and only late mail-in ballots remaining. 12,301 votes were cast against the bond measure (55.65%) with 9,803 (44.35%) votes cast for it. The bond measure required 55% in favor to pass, but throughout the evening, never came close to gaining traction needed for passage.

The district said that the new bond issue was necessary to finance basic infrastructure improvements and to implement installation of advanced security technology at its schools as recommended last year by a County of San Diego Grand Jury report.

MUMPS CASES AT SDSU

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
March 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- Six San Diego State University students were diagnosed with confirmed or probable mumps in late February, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported last week. The six students live off campus at BLVD63, a large apartment community that is not affiliated with the university and is located at 6345 El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego.
 
“These six mumps cases represent a small outbreak of this highly contagious viral disease,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The best way to prevent mumps is by getting the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR vaccine.”
 
HHSA conducted free vaccination clinics at BLVD63 from 3 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 27 and 28. The clinics were held for BLVD63 residents and SDSU students who wish to be immunized and vaccines were given on a first come, first served basis.

BARTO FILES POLICE REPORT, ALLEGES VIOLENCE BY CVUSD STAFFER. CVUSD DENIES INCIDENT, THREATENS ECM AND TRIES TO SUPPRESS NEWS REPORT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Barto's bruised and swollen hand after the alleged door-slamming incident

February 26, 2020 (El Cajon) – Cajon Valley Union School District trustee Jill Barto has filed a police report alleging that executive coordinator Naomie Rodrigues intentionally slammed a door on Barto’s hand at the district office on Dec. 19, causing pain, distress and injury.  ECM journalist Paul Kruze has told police that he witnessed the alleged injury.

The district calls the allegations of the door-slamming and injury to Barto “false.” The district’s law firm, Artiano Shinoff, has sent a letter threatening ECM with legal action after learning that ECM intended to publish a news report on the alleged physical attack.

The alleged door-slamming injury occurred just two weeks after Barto filed a federal lawsuit against the district alleging violations of her civil rights and First Amendment free speech rights, as ECM reported. The district then filed a countersuit against Barto. The legal threat to ECM, moreover, came just two days after journalist Kruze filed his own claim against the district alleging  "false and harmful" defamatory statements..

Audio: 

CHULA VISTA POLICE PROBE SLAYING OF GOOD SAMARITAN HELIX STUDENT, SEEK VIDEO

By Ken Stone
 
Photo: GoFundMe
 
Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
February 20, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Helix Charter High School student who tried to help a friend under attack nearly three weeks ago died Sunday of stab wounds, and police are looking for witnesses and potential assailants.

LIBERTY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL PROPOSAL DRAWS OPPOSITION FROM RANCHO SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS; TRAFFIC IS MAIN CONCERN

Debbie Beyer, Literacy First Director, faults planning group for not allowing rebuttal testimony. “They got it so wrong,” she says.

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

January 31, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Initial plans to build a charter high school on an empty lot near Chase Avenue and Jamacha Road hit a major stumbling block when the Valle de Oro Planning Group unanimously voted to reject a mitigated negative declaration for the project proposed by Literacy First Charter Schools

With the January vote, the next step for Literacy First will be a vote by the Valle De Oro Planning Group on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Otay Water District Headquarters meeting room. After this vote, the proposal goes on to the San Diego County Planning Commission on a future determined date, and then on to the San Diego Board of Supervisors.

LONDON STAGE STAR RETURNS TO ADVISE STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL THEATER STUDENTS

By Jennifer Doucet, President, Steele Canyon Players Drama Booster Club
Photo Credit: 1-3: Helen Maybanks
Photo Credit: Michael Wharley
 
January 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- London stage actor Dean Chisnall returns to Steele Canyon Charter High School February 26 to February 29 to help prepare the school’s theatre department for their production of Shrek The Musical premiering March 18th.  Who better to mentor the students than an actor who portrayed Shrek for five years on the London West End stage and on the UK & Ireland tour? 
 
According to Chisnall, that’s 1,318 performances as Shrek; 5,742 hours in green make up; 25 cities and a total of 21 months on tour.  Locally, Chisnall will team-up with Steele Canyon Directors, Nicole LaBella (Theatre) and Heather Luck (Music), to instruct and inspire the Steele Canyon Players to portray the beloved Shrek musical theater characters. 
 
He will also be the main event in “An Evening with Dean Chisnall” benefit night for the SCHS theater students at Steele Canyon High School on the evening of Saturday, February 29 @ 7:00pm. Open to the general public, tickets are $20 online/$25 door. Visit www.schscougars.org or order tickets directly at www.showtix4u.com

BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENTS AT GROSSMONT AND CUYAMACA COLLEGES

Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
Contact: Della Elliott
 
January 29, 2020 (El Cajon)--Food, movies, dance and cultural and educational presentations are on tap in February at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges for Black History Month.
 
With the exception of fundraisers – a barbecue at Grossmont College and a night of jazz and comedy at Cuyamaca College – all other events are free. The public is welcome to all events.

STUDENTS IN MOUNTAIN EMPIRE DISTRICT LEARN KUMEYAAY “HISTORY ON THE GO” IN PARTNERSHIP WITH IMPERIAL VALLEY DESERT MUSEUM

East County News Service

January 23, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The Mountain Empire Unified School District in San Diego’s rural East County has forged a partnership with the Imperial Valley Desert Museum to offer Kumeyaay history classes in all of the district’s schools.

Below is information provided by Bob Bordelon, American Indian Education/Title VII facilitator at Mountain Empire, in conjunction with the museum:

The greatest challenge in education today is most often that of inclusion – engaging students with lessons and content that are both exciting and relevant to their own experiences and backgrounds.  The benefits of this are obvious, encouraging better behavior and performance academically and socially, and providing a better path forward for self improvement. The consequences otherwise are just as dramatic, with noninclusive and non-representative lessons leaving students feeling isolated, overlooked, and unimportant with little to no voice within their community.  Nowhere is this more true than among indigenous students enrolled in our public schools. Far too often, these students experience a higher level of misbehavior, lower scholastic performance, lower graduation rates, and even a loss of identity. These are students with the same energy and potential as their peers, but from such a situation that their future is tragically far-too-often altogether different.  As a traditionally overlooked and underdeveloped group, it is vitally important to work together in the 21st century to provide these students every opportunity for self-growth, self-esteem, and self-determination.

GROSSMONT SUPERINTENDENT SLAMS CAJON VALLEY BOARD OVER PROPOSED CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

"I've heard that it's been communicated that Grossmont High School District was fully aware of this charter petition. I need to say this is simply not true. That communication never took place until yesterday.  In fact, quite the opposite.” --GUHSD Superintendent TIm Glover (photo, left)

January 18, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Observers of the political hijinks which have become customary at meetings of the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) board of trustees were not disappointed at the last regular meeting for the year on December 17th

The meeting started with school board President Tamara Otero advising her fellow board members “to be careful in any contact” with Board Trustee Jill Barto in light of Barto’s recently filed federal civil rights lawsuit.

Then the spotlight shifted to Grossmont Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Glover. Glover visibly caught the board off guard when he addressed the trustees, raising objections to Cajon Valley’s preliminary plan to expand and start a new charter high school (grades 9 to 12) at the site of the district’s Bostonia Language Academy, which encompasses kindergarten to eighth grade. The new charter school would be called the “Bostonia Global Charter School.”

ALPINE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT WARNS OF STRANGER IN TRUCK APPROACHING STUDENTS

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2020 (Alpine)—The Alpine Union School District is warning parents about two separate incidents Tuesday afternoon and again today, both involving a stranger in a truck approaching young students.

"Today, a Joan MacQueen Middle School student reported being approached by a stranger in a white-greyish four-door truck with tinted windows on Victoria Drive and Sneath Way. We have met with the Alpine Sheriff’s Deputies and have requested extra patrols at our schools. Deputies will be present after school today, and the detectives are investigating," a letter posted to the Joan MacQueen Middle School’s Facebook page reads.

In Tuesday’s incident, a vehicle described as a white lifted truck similar to a Toyota Tundra reportedly followed two young girls down a private dead-end road.

CVUSD FILES COUNTERSUIT AGAINST TRUSTEE JILL BARTO

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

ECM Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

January 3, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) has filed a countersuit against Trustee Jill Barto. The suit was filed in response to Barto’s federal lawsuit alleging violations of her civil rights and First Amendment rights. Barto filed her complaint in late November against the District, the other four trustees and Superintendent David Miyashiro, as ECM reported.

Barto’s suit accused the district, Superintendent and trustees of retaliating against her after she pursued an outspoken agenda of questioning questioning fellow board members and the Superintendent over hefty expenditures, including global travel by the Superintendent and promotional videos.  In her campaign materials she said, “My belief is that a school board should be answerable to taxpayers. The board should not simply be a rubber stamp committee, which it often times is.”

The district’s countersuit alleges that in 2019, the District received a complaint from an employee alleging that Barto was harassing her and “created a hostile work environment.” It also states that the Board of Trustees formed an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the employee’s complaint. The countersuit does not directly identify any district employees by name and does not directly the names of the ad hoc committee.

EL CAPITAN HIGH SCHOOL CELEBRATES OPENING OF EVENTS CENTER

East County News Service

Photo courtesy GUHSD

December 2, 2019 (Lakeside) -- Grossmont Union High School District celebrated the grand opening of the El Capitan High School’s new Event Center (@ECHSVaqueros) in November. The new 15,886 SF multi-purpose facility at the Lakeside campus will support the instrumental, choral and dramatic arts programs.

CAJON VALLEY PROVIDES BACKGROUND ON DRIVER TRAINING IN RESPONSE TO RECORDS REQUEST AFTER INJURY ACCIDENT

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 1, 2019 (El Cajon) – Cajon Valley Union School District has provided information on training and qualifications of its drivers, in response to a California Public Records Act request submitted by ECM after an October 4, 2019 injury accident at which the district’s driver was found at fault.
 
According to the California Highway Patrol, a district employee made an “unsafe turning movement” and lost control of the district pickup truck he was driving, which was towing a trailer.  The vehicle veered into the path of a sedan on Avocado Blvd. near Mt. Helix, causing a head-on collision that caused serious injury to both drivers, also causing minor injuries to an infant. The vehicles also careened into the front yard of a home. Alcohol was not a factor, according to CHP officer Jeff Christy.

CAJON VALLEY TRUSTEE JILL BARTO FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST DISTRICT, SUPERINTENDENT, AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 28, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Longtime Cajon Valley Union School District Board member Jill Barto on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the district, Superintendent David Miyashiro and four trustees over what her attorney, Mike Aguirre, alleges are violations of her civil and First Amendment rights.

The suit alleges that since she was re-elected to her seat on the Board of Trustees in November 2018, she experienced retaliation and had her civil rights violated by Miyashiro and others after she questioned Miyashiro’s use of district funds and his travel at district expense.

“The School District Board Superintendent and four other board members have retaliated against Plaintiff and conspired against her in violation of her First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution,” the suit alleges. “Defendant’s retaliatory conduct has repeatedly tried to prevent Plaintiff from fully representing the constituents that elected her to the Board,” it continues. The suit lists does 1-50, leaving open the possibility of adding other defendants.

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