Education

COMPUTER CODING PROGRAM IS LAUNCHING IN SANTEE

East County News Service

July 18, 2019 (Santee) -- ThoughtSTEM, a San Diego county based computer coding school for students ages 5 to 17, is launching classes this summer in Santee at San Diego Christian College. These classes will run from July 22nd through August 9th, and will teach all interested students the fundamentals of how computer software is made. ThoughtSTEM builds their curriculum around showing students examples of video games they know, and then helping them create their own similar gaming experience.

JOAN MACQUEEN MIDDLE ENGINEERING STUDENTS TAKE SECOND PLACE AT NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE

Source: Alpine Union School District

July 16, 2019 (Alpine) -- Joan MacQueen Middle School Engineering students made the Alpine community proud by bringing home another national accolade from the 2019 Jr Solar Sprint held at the Technology Student Association (TSA) convention in Washington, DC. The JMMS team won first place in the sprint racing segment of the competition and finished 2nd out of 94 teams in the overall scoring of the Jr Solar Sprint event. This is the second top three finish for the JMMS Engineering program in the past three years.

CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS INTRODUCES BILL TO END STUDENT LOAN TAX

East County News Service

July 13, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) - Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee,  Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Ranking Member of the subcommittee, and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) have introduced legislation to eliminate all administrative fees on federal student loans, which would save students over $1.7 billion per year.

STAY ISSUED TO DELAY CLOSURE OF THREE CHARTER SCHOOLS IN GROSSMONT DISTRICT

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Three nonprofit charter schools operating within the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) have been ordered shut down by a judge, but now a stay issued has been ordered for one year until an appeal can be heard. 

The schools at risk of closure are Diego Valley East charter in El Cajon and San Diego Workforce Innovation High charter schools in Lakeside and Lemon Grove. 

STEELE CANYON TEACHER NAMED BEST LOCAL THEATRE TEACHER AT BROADWAY SAN DIEGO AWARDS

Congratulations to Nicole LaBella of Steele Canyon High School

Source:  San Diego County Credit Union

Photo from left to right: Nicole LaBella, Steele Canyon High School, Sarah Bilyeu, San Diego County Credit Union, and Vanessa Davis, Broadway San Diego.

July 1, 2019 (San Diego) - San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU)San Diego’s largest locally-owned financial institution, is excited to announce that Nicole LaBella of Steele Canyon High School was named the Best Local Theatre Teacher at the Broadway San Diego Awards. The awards ceremony was held May 26 at the Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego.

TWO FROM GROSSMONT COLLEGE RECEIVE NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP FOR LGBTQ STUDENTS

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

June 27, 2019 (El Cajon) -  Two Grossmont College students are recipients of scholarships from the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit.

CVUSD ASST. SUPERINDTENDENT PAINTS POSITIVE FINANCIAL FORECAST FOR DISTRICT AND OTHER LOCAL SCHOOLS, BASED ON GOVERNOR’S REVISED BUDGET

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

June 26, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Cajon Valley Union School District Assistant Superintendent Scott Buxbaum (photo, left) painted a positive financial forecast for the district at its Board of Trustees meeting on Jun 11, after attending a meeting in Sacramento with Governor Gavin Newsom.

The latest financial forecast based on the Governor’s May budget revision is good news not only for the CVUSD, but for all local public school districts. Newsom, a father of young children, has pledged to make public education funding a priority.  

According to Buxbaum, the May Revision builds off of Newsom’s “California for All” vision from January. Due to strong April tax revenues, Newsom was able to retain most of his proposals from January, and invest additional funds into programs he has envisioned as prioirities.

FEEDING SAN DIEGO TO FEED CHILDREN FACING HUNGER THIS SUMMER AT 26 SITES ACROSS SAN DIEGO COUNTY

Summer lunch sites are free to children struggling with hunger

Source:  Feeding San Diego

June 19, 2019 (San Diego) - This summer, Feeding San Diego will host 26 distribution sites for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a critical part of its summer hunger-relief programs. This program provides critical support throughout the summer months to ensure children are getting the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.

ANOTHER COMMENCEMENT FOR THE RECORD BOOKS AT GROSSMONT, CUYAMACA COLLEGES

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges

June 14, 2019 (El Cajon) - Marking another record year, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges last week awarded 5,652 degrees and certificates to 2,699 graduates, the largest graduating class in the college district’s history. 

BOMB THREAT AT POWAY HIGH SCHOOL A HOAX

East County News Service
 
June 11, 2019 (Poway) -- After a Poway High School staff member received an email claiming one or more explosive devices had been concealed on campus, Sheriff’s deputies today responded and secured the campus with cooperation of the school’s staff.  A search was conducted with help from Harbor Police K-9 units.

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT MEETING BLOWS UP

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor; Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Photo: Board President Tamara Otero

June 11, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The high drama and hijinks which have been commonplace lately at Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) board meetings continued at the May 28th session. At one point the meeting was adjourned during a fracas among individuals outside the board room, overshadowing reports on district accomplishments. The action of adjourning, then reconvening the meeting for subsequent discussion and voting on agenda items raises new legal concerns.

Audio: 

Listen to audio: CVUSD meeting 5-28-19 adjourns in mid-session before reconvening
Excerpts of public comments at 5-28-CVUSD meeting including ECM editor MIriam Raftery and others
Reagles threatens Barto with recall on 5-3-19

WONDERFUL ADVICE FROM GRANDSON'S PEERS

By Donald H. Harrison, Editor, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Shor Mason graduated from three schools this semester.

June 7, 2019 (El Cajon) -  Thanks to my grandson Shor Masori graduating from three different schools this semester, I recently had the opportunity to listen to several remarkable young women who respectively were speakers at the ceremonies at Community Jewish High School,  Grossmont Middle College High School, and Grossmont College.

GRANT TO BRING CAJON VALLEY’S “WORLD OF WORK” PROGRAM TO LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY, GROSSMONT HIGH AND VISTA SCHOOL DISTRICTS

By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A $1.2 million grant awarded by the national nonprofit American Student Assistance (ASA) will fund participation in the World of Work (WoW) program for over 33,000 students at 38 local schools in the La Mesa-Spring Valley (LMSV), Vista Unified and Grossmont Union High School (GUHSD) districts.

The program was developed by the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) in partnership with the University of San Diego to provide  K-12 students to explore career options and identify their individuals strengths and interests. The program has rolled out in 27 schools in the past two years, been written up in national publications such as Forbes business magazine, and most recently drew attention in meetings with U.S. Department of Education representatives (photo left) and a presentation at the Brookings Institute.

CAJON VALLEY AGREES TO COMPLY WITH BROWN ACT ON MEETING RECORDINGS, BUT DRAGS FEET ON OTHER RECORDS REQUESTS

By Miriam Raftery

Listen to audios of CVUSD meetings from Dec.-March (scroll down)

Photos: unobtrusive recording device on tripod used by ECM reporter at two recent meetings does not obstruct views or traffic.

June 6, 2019 (El Cajon) – It took cease and desist letters sent by two attorneys to the Cajon Valley Union School District for ECM to obtain recordings of public meetings previously denied, along with assurances that our reporters will not be threatened for recording those meetings ourselves. But other important records requests remain pending beyond the time frames mandated by state law.  

More than five months after our initial Public Records Act request for tapes of public meetings, the Cajon Valley Union School District has turned over all but one recording from December 2018 through March 2019.  Miraculously, those include a Dec. 11, 2018 recording that the district previously informed ECM had been destroyed. The one missing audio file, for March 12, 2019, was not available to a technical difficulty, the district claims in a letter sent to Californians Aware attorney Terry Francke.  

The records were provided to Francke after the attorney notified the district that its refusal to provide copies of recordings violated the Ralph M. Brown Act (California’s public records act) to ECM reporter Paul Kruze and to board member Jill Barto.  The district’s purported destruction of the December recording after 30 days despite a records request made just one day after the meeting, as claimed by executive assistant Naomie Rodriguez, was also illegal, Francke informed the district.

The district sent its recordings only to Francke, with a short window to download copies, but never did provide copies directly to either Kruze or Barto, both have confirmed. Barto says the district has refused to provide CDs for any meeting prior to May, and that they told her they won’t provide CDs unless a request is made within 30 days of a meeting – backtracking off their vote in  late March to retain recordings for a year and make them available on CD, as ECM reported.

Audio: 

MORTARBOARDS WITH A SPECIAL TOUCH ARE FEATHERS IN THE CAPS FOR MANY GROSSMONT COLLEGE GRADS

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District

June 3, 2019 (El Cajon) -  Commencement is a day of celebration, but for some, the pomp and circumstance is more than they can afford.

For the past 15 years, longtime Grossmont College staffer Juliette Harrington has quietly paid for the caps and gowns of dozens of graduates who might otherwise not been able to participate in commencement. This year, Harrington, a Health Services specialist, wanted to help more students and thanks to a $500 grant from student government and a vendor who provided a sizable discount, 105 students received caps they can treasure as keepsakes and six will be provided loaned gowns, all for free, for the ceremony taking place at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Grossmont College Main Quad.

ANOTHER RECORD YEAR AT GROSSMONT AND CUYAMACA COLLEGES: MEET SOME INSPIRING GRADUATES

 

Meet some amazing stand-out students

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca College

June 1, 2019 (El Cajon) - Almost 2,700 graduates from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges will be receiving 5,652 degrees and certificates at this year’s commencements, setting a new record as the largest graduating class from the two East County colleges.

SHOOTING THREAT PROMPTS DISMISSAL AT BANCROFT ELEMENTARY

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2019 (Spring Valley) – A male caller, possibly a juvenile, called Bancroft Elementary School in Spring Valley at 2:44 p.m. today to state that there would be a shooting and warned the school to go on lockdown.  Staff put the school into lockdown and notified the Sheriff.

Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers responded.  There were no further threats or substantiation, but the school dismissed students with law enforcement present.

EAST COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS AMONG 11 INDICTED IN CHARTER SCHOOL FRAUD SCHEME

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan yesterday announced indictments against 11 individuals in a statewide charter school scheme that stole over $50 million in public funds.  Those indicted include Nancy Hauer, superintendent of the Dehesa Elementary School District in El Cajon, and Steve Van Zant, former superintendent of the Mountain Empire Unified School District that services Descanso, Pine Valley, Potrero and Campo.

The ringleaders, Sean McManus and Jason Schrock, CEO and president of A3 Education, sought out small school district with limited oversight experience and proposed that they authorize online charter schools to earn oversight fees paid for through public funds, according to the 253-page indictment handed down by a grand jury investigation May 17th after a year-long investigation that involved interviewing over 70 witnesses.

THE ENVELOPES, PLEASE: SCHOOL ESSAY WINNERS IN LEMON GROVE

 

 

By Helen Ofield, President, Lemon Grove Historical Society

May 27, 2019 (Lemon Grove) -- The Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS) has announced the winners in the 29th annual Treganza History Essay Competition for Grade 3 and a special recognition in the 9th Annual Robert "Bobby" Carroll History Essay Competition for Grade 8, both in the Lemon Grove School District.

29% OF CAJON VALLEY SCHOOLS ARE FLAGGED BY STATE AS NEEDING SUPPORT; SUPERINTENDANT SAYS STATE’S DASHBOARD MEASURES “WRONG METRICS”

For second year in a row, CVUSD schools are flagged by state for troublesome school performance issues.   

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

May 24, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Listening to Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) Superintendent  David Miyashiro’s “State of the Schools” address on Jan. 15, one might think that all of the district’s education programs are successful and that its student body is thriving. However, a report released in early December by the California Department of Education’s California Classroom Dashboard indicates that despite innovative career path programs, students at 8 of 27 district schools are not measuring up when it comes to college readiness.

CHARTER SCHOOL CURBS PASS ASSEMBLY, BUT DRAMA FORETELLS COMPROMISE

 

 

By Ricardo Cano, CALMatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Teachers unions rallied in Sacramento as the Assembly narrowly passed part of a package of charter school reforms. Photo for CALmatters by Ricardo Cano

May 23, 2019 (Sacramento) - Legislation that would give local school districts more control over charter-school authorizations narrowly passed the California State Assembly Wednesday in a dramatic vote that served as an initial litmus test for a package of consequential, union-backed charter regulation bills.

STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA STUDENT NOMINATED FOR 2019 BROADWAY SAN DIEGO AWARDS

 

 

Source: Steele Canyon High School

Photo:  Mary Rose Vadeboncoeur, courtesy of Steele Canyon High School

May 21, 2019 (Spring Valley) -- Mary Rose Vadeboncoeur, a senior with the Steele Canyon High School Drama Department, has received a Broadway San Diego Awards nomination as Best Actress for her role as Eponine in the SCHS spring production of Les Misérables. 

ATTORNEY CORY BRIGGS REPRESENTS EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE IN ACTION AGAINST CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

“Based on your agency’s history of deleting audio recordings of board meetings, it has become necessary for reporters to record the meetings because your agency cannot be trusted to carry out this basic governance function.Now that all board members are on notice of the fact that the public must perform this function, any member’s participation in a meeting at which the public has been thwarted in its efforts to make a recording will subject the member to criminal prosecution.” – Attorney Cory Briggs, in a letter to the CVUSD.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  ECM's recording device, a cell-phone sized recorder on a small tripod next to the front left seat, is clearly not obstructive or disruptive at the May 7 board workshop.

May 17, 2019 (El Cajon) – “Despite lawfully occupying open seats in the front  row, reporters have been threatened with arrest, removal, or both if they did not move to the back of the room,” states a letter sent by Attorney Cory Briggs of Briggs Law Corporation to Cajon Valley Union School District yesterday on behalf of ECM. His letter makes clear that such conduct is “flatly illegal.”

On May 7, Ryan Love, safety and security officer for the district, ordered ECM contributing editor Paul Kruze and editor Miriam Raftery to move to the back, where we explained that audio recordings would not turn out due to noise from an air conditioner and the audience. We refused to comply with this illegal request. 

On May 14, Love again demanded that Kruze move from the front row to the back, and Kruze again refused. Kruze says he was told that an El Cajon Police officer would be called to arrest him.

CAJON VALLEY BOARD ATTACKS MEDIA, DECLINES TO RECONSIDER OTERO CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT DESPITE CONFLICT OF INTEREST QUESTIONS

By Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

May 15, 2019 (El Cajon) – The Cajon Valley Union School District stepped up its war on the media during its May 7th board workshop.  A guard demanded that East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery and contributing editor Paul Kruze move from the front row to the back, in a clear effort to prevent the investigative journalists from recording an audible copy of the meeting. Both refused, citing First Amendment freedom of the press and the district’s continued non-compliance with California public records act requests to receive audios of past meetings.

 At a subsequent meeting May 14, the guard repeated this demand for Kruze to move out of a front row seat, even threatening to the El Cajon Police for “disruption” if he would not comply. Kruze’s recording device is inobtrusive, about the size of a cell phone. There is nothing inherently disruptive about a journalist quietly recording a meeting, which is a right guaranteed to any citizen by the California Ralph M. Brown Act, the state’s public records act.

These intimidation tactics come after the board admitted destroying recordings of public meetings despite our requests for the recordings.  After receiving a cease and desist letter from an attorney at CalAware, the board on March 29 responded with a letter agreeing to comply with the law, as we reported, but has not done so. The board also voted to retain recordings for a year and make copies available on request. But the  district’s lawyer claims our more records request, along with other emails sent to multiple  people at the district, all went to a spam folder.

Audio: 

Board Workshop Public Comments
Board Workshop complete

EAST COUNTY EDUCATION ALLIANCE EXPANDS TO ADD MOUNTAIN EMPIRE DISTRICT: NEXT MEETING MAY 21

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
May 10, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The East County Education Alliance was founded in 2014  as a partnership with the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College and Grossmont Union High School districts. It’s now expanding to add the Mountain Empire Unified School District.

GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL HOSTS BLOOD DRIVE MAY 23

 

 

UPDATE:  THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

 

East County News Service

 

May 9, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Grossmont High School will host a blood drive in partnership with the San Diego Blood Bank on Thurs., May

23 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the quad area. The school is located at 1100 Murray Dr.  in El Cajon.

SUPERINTENDENT MIYASHIRO BLASTS STORY ON OTERO CONTRACTING CONTROVERSY, DECLINES TO TAKE ANY ACTION TO ADDRESS DISCLOSURE OR CONFLICT OF INTEREST ISSUES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

 

May 6, 2019 (El Cajon) – Cajon Valley Union School District Superintendent David Miyashiro, Ed.D., sent a blistering editorial in an e-mail to East County Magazine, board members and others blasting our article on board President Tamara Otero’s failure to disclose that her son owned a company that received a $665,000 contract.   He did not list any actions planned to address Otero’s lack of disclosure and transparency.

ARREST MADE IN SDSU SNAPCHAT CASE

 

 

Source:  SDSU

May 1, 2019 (San Diego) - On Wednesday, May 1, at 2:35 p.m., a suspect was arrested on allegations of making criminal threats via Snapchat toward a member of San Diego State University’s black community. The suspect, an SDSU student not currently enrolled in classes, was identified by the University Police Department within 48 hours after being notified of the incident. Officers immediately began investigating the incident and worked quickly to identify the suspect based on his description in the video and social media account handle. The suspect has been identified as Martin J. Ruiz.

RACIAL INCIDENTS AT SDSU

 

 

East County News Service

 

Photo: CC by SA

 

May 1, 2019 (San Diego) -- Three incidents in the past few weeks have targeted members of the black community at San Diego State University.

 

In March, a group of men yelled a racial slur from a vehicle while passing by the Black Resource Center on campus.  Then in mid-April, the center was vandalized, prompting a rally against racism and requests from student leaders for an alarm system.

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT OTERO FAILS TO DISCLOSE SON OWNS COMPANY THAT GOT $665,000 CONTRACT

Outbid contractor claims irregularities with bid process

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

April 30, 2019 (El Cajon) - A $655,000 construction contract for a new modular building at Los Coches Creek Middle School on Mar. 26 was awarded to Cajon Valley Union School District Board of Trustees President Tamara Otero’s son, Dryw Otero, owner of Otero Construction, Inc.   In total, 37 contractors “pulled plans” for the project and eight actually submitted bids.

Prior to the vote Tamara Otero was asked by fellow board member Jill Barto, “It looks like….is this your husband’s company?” Otero replied, “No,” and immediately brushed off the question, saying the internet connection to her computer on the dais is disconnected. (Barto says she asked about the family connections but her phrase, “and your family” was masked by Otero’s response.)

Tamara Otero is the mother to Dryw Ortero, the owner of Otero Construction, Inc., State Contractors License #1025227, according to the State of California, with offices located on the 8400 block of Magnolia Street in Santee. The young company has been in business less than two years, founded in April 2017.

Audio: 

Cajon Valley 3-26-2019

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