Education

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.

LYNN NEAULT NAMED NEW CHANCELLOR OF GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT

 
November 25, 2019 (El Caon) -- Lynn Neault, longtime Vice Chancellor of Student Services at the San Diego Community College District, is the governing board’s pick as the next chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
 
Neault replaces Cindy L. Miles, who is retiring at the end of the year after a record term of almost 11 years at the district’s helm. Governing Board President Linda Cartwright announced Neault’s selection at the board meeting on Tuesday. Neault starts her new job in January.
 
“Dr. Neault brings decades of knowledge and experience in local community college administration and is well-versed in the statewide issues of student outcomes and enrollment and their impact on state funding,” Cartwright said. “She also brings a strong commitment to participatory governance and decision-making that comes after many years of working and consulting with varying constituency groups from a multi-college district.”
 
Neault has served 25 years at her current post with the San Diego Community College District, one of the largest in California. She began working there in 1983 as an administrative analyst in Institutional Research, and later served as director, associate director and coordinator of Student Services. From 2013-2014, she served as interim president of San Diego City College.

PACK THE PANTRY RAISES OVER 50,000 MEALS FOR LOCAL STUDENTS

50% of area college students face food insecurity

Source: Calif. Coast Credit Union and San Diego Food Bank

November 23, 2019 (San Diego) – The first-ever Pack the Pantry food drive to fight student hunger on local college campuses exceeded all expectations, raising enough food and financial donations to provide over 50,000 meals to area students. Results of the two-week food drive were announced on the San Diego Continuing Education campus.

GOVERNOR PROPOSES BOND TO FUND BACKUP GENERATORS AND SOLAR PANELS TO KEEP SCHOOLS OPEN DURING POWER OUTAGE

East County News Service

November 21, 2019 (Sacramento) – Schools have been hard hit statewide by utility companies’ repeated power outages intended to prevent lines from sparking wildfires—including rural and mountain school districts in San Diego’s East County. Today, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed steps to remedy the problems, including calling for a $15 billion bond to fund back-up generators and solar panels to keep schools open during unforeseen power outages, as well as other steps.

 

Future proposals may include rethinking the traditional school calendar and building in makeup days to deal with not only natural disasters but unplanned power outages, according to a press release issued today by the Calif. Dept. of Education.

STEELE CANYON CHARTER RENEWAL REJECTED BY GUHSD; PRINCIPAL GRILLED BY BOARD

 

By Ana Nita

View video including interview with Mark Robak and GUHSD board hearing on the Steele Canyon charter issues: click image at left or visit  https://youtu.be/9cZj0ZmsKzY

November 18, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Steele Canyon High School encountered a set back last week, when the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) board decided not to accept the charter’s application for reauthorization, following allegations that school’s governing board and charter committee violated the law and acted undemocratically. 

The charter school in Spring Valley landed in hot water with the district and the parents after a newly elected board member discovered significant discrepancies between the old and the new bylaws up for vote two weeks ago in the governing board. Mark Robak, a local businessman, joined the board on October 9 and by the end of the month, he was sending petitions to the school principal and the district objecting to irregularities with the authorization process and the bylaws.

RIBBON CUTTING OF NEW CUYAMACA COLLEGE VETERANS CENTER

East County News Service

November 13, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Student veterans at Cuyamaca College will receive a belated Veterans Day gift in the form of a new veterans center inside Cuyamaca College’s Student Center, Building I.  A ribbon-cutting to officially open the center, in addition to marking the grand reopening of the Student Center after nearly a year’s remodeling, is set for 9-10 a.m. Thursday, Nov 14.

STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL COMPARED TO VENEZUELA AMID ALLEGED UNDEMOCRATIC CHARTER RENEWAL AND BYLAWS UPDATES

GUHSD to hold hearing tonight at 6 p.m. on Steele Canyon's charter renewal

By Ana Nita

View video of Nov. 6 Steele Canyon governing board meeting:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByIxjGKYLUI 

November 13, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Steele Canyon High School is yet another charter that landed in hot water recently, following allegations of violating the law and acting undemocratically to undermine parents’ rights. The accusations are signed by two of its governing board members – Vice-Chair Timothy Abbott and newly installed board member Mark Robak. Both are both accusing the charter committee of excluding parents from decisional power during the process of renewing the charter’s authorization with Grossmont Union School District, the school’s sponsor. 

Abbott and Robak are also battling with the school’s governing board about new changes in the bylaws that were allegedly included without proper notification and which are  “undemocratic,” according to Robak. “Similar examples may be found in Venezuela and Cuba,” wrote Robak in a letter of protest sent on October 30 to Scott Parr, CEO of the governing board and Principal at Steele Canyon High School (SCHS).

SDSU FRESHMAN DIES AFTER FRATERNITY EVENT; CAMPUS SUSPENDS 14 FRATS

Several campus fraternities were under investigation for alleged misconduct before the frat event that Hernandez attended

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Dylan Hernandez, via GoFundMe page

 

November 12, 2019 (San Diego) – A student hospitalized the morning after a fraternity party has died, prompting a police investigation and shutdown of 14 fraternities.

 

Dylan Hernandez, 19, was found by his roommate in his dorm room on Montezuma Road without a pulse and not breathing on the morning of Nov. 7. He had reportedly fallen out of his upper bunk bed earlier during the night and his roommate helped him back into the bed.. He was taken to Alvarado Hospital and pronounced dead on Nov. 8, the Medical Examiner reports. He had attended  a fraternity party the night before. 

GUHSD BOARD TO CHOOSE BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEMBERS, RATIFY LABOR AGREEMENTS AND WEIGH FUTURE OF TWO CHARTERS AT NOV. 13 MEETING

East County News Service

November 12, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The Grossmont Union High School District Board will hold a special meeting Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. to interview applicants for the Citizens Board Oversight Committee. The regular meeting will follow at 6 p.m.

The regular meeting agenda will include a discussion of charter renewals for Steele Canyon and Helix High schools, ratification of  tentative agreements with the Classified School Employees Association and with Service Employees International, and more.

OPENING A PATH TO EMPLOYMENT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

New Department of Education grants help SDSU address need for qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors.

By Michael Klitzing, SDSU News Center

November 11, 2019 (San Diego) - For people with disabilities, a job often can provide dignity, community and independence in addition to a paycheck.

To that end, faculty in SDSU’s Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling program—ranked No. 4 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report—have received two training grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration that will prepare students to help transition individuals with disabilities into the workforce.

MT. MIGUEL HIGH SCHOOL FOUNDATION PRESENTS A “HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIR” DEC. 14

East County News Service

November 8, 2019 (Spring Valley) – Mt. Miguel High School Foundation will present “Holiday Craft fair”, taking place at the Mt. Miguel Multicultural Events Center, 8585 Blossom Lane, Spring Valley, CA 91977 on Saturday December 14 from 10a.m.-3:00 p.m.

KUMEYAAY LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT ACCEPTED

Source:  SDSU News Team

Photo:  SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement formally acknowledges Native and Indigenous people and to take specific action in support of the Kumeyaay.

November 6, 2019 (San Diego) - The SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement has been formally approved and will be adopted as part of ceremonial introductions at key campus events, as written statements on university web pages, and to encourage initiatives that bolster academic, professional and other support for students, faculty and staff. 

EIGHT SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO CLOSE THURSDAY DUE TO POWER OUTAGES

Source: County News Service

 

October 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- The San Diego County Office of Education reports that because San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has activated a public safety power shutoff in certain parts of the county, schools in the following school districts will be closed on Halloween this Thursday, October 31: 

 

  • Dehesa School District
  • Julian Union High School District
  • Julian Union School District
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District
  • Rancho Santa Fe School District
  • Spencer Valley School District
  • Vallecitos School District 
  • Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District

SCHOOL CLOSURES ON WEDNESDAY DUE TO OUTAGES

October 29, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- Because SDG&E has announced planned power outages due to high fire danger, the County Board of Education announced that the following school districts will be closed on Wednesday, October 30:

  • Dehesa School District
  • Julian Union High School District
  • Julian Union School District
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District
  • Rancho Santa Fe School District
  • Spencer Valley School District
  • Warner Unified School District

CVUSD ADMITS IT HAS NO DOCUMENTATION OF ANY FINANCIAL BENEFITS TO DISTRICT FROM HALF-MILLION DOLLARS SPENT ON PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

October 23, 2019 (El Cajon) -- As part of East County Magazine's investigation of the Cajon Valley Union School District, ECM asked Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdD and school board President Tamara Otero to back up their often repeated claim that the district has reaped great benefits with its more than half-million dollars in expenditures on  videos over the five years. Both ignored multiple requests for verifiable benefits and for interviews.

On Friday, at 1:45 p.m., however, ECM received a response to our California Public Records Act request from Naomi Rodrigues, the district’s Executive Coordinator. Our request asked for any verifiable financial and enrollment benefits from the district’s paid marketing and promotional videos published on YouTube from July 2014 through Sept. 24, 2019.

“NO SUCH DOCUMENTS EXIST” wrote Rodrigues (photo, left) in her e-mail to ECM.  It is unclear if she was aware of our article published shortly before her response was received.

Although the district could not document any financial benefits or increased enrollment tied to its videos, less tangible benefits may include increasing student morale and boosting the district’s image elsewhere. Consistent with the latter point, Rodrigues listed four videos which she indicated have been featured and showcased by the San Diego County Board of Education.  (View full e-mail response from Rodrigues.)

Audio: 

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT SPENDS OVER A HALF MILLION DOLLARS ON PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS

Superintendent and school board president refuse to answer questions on videos; recent flash mob video cost over $21,500

Update:  Shortly after publication of this report, the CVUSD responded  to our California Public Records Act requst for documentation of any financial or enrollment benefits received by the district due to its promotional videos on YouTube.  Naomie Rodrigues advised us that that "NO SUCH DOCUMENTS EXIST" but noted that some videos were published on the County Department of Education's website.  View our article on her response and the district's lagging responses to numerous other records requests. 

Photo: Superintendent David Miyashiro in CVUSD flash mob video

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery, Editor, also contributed to this report.

October 16, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The internet has revolutionized video marketing. From small businesses to government agencies, organizations can now harness resources at YouTube and other online portals to directly market messages to a target audience.

The Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) has utilized its Youtube channel and other social media portals to disseminate professionally produced video marketing and promotional messages for its school projects and World of Work career path program.

Utilizing taxpayer money, the district has produced and promoted impressive videos such as “A Day in the Life of a Cajon Valley Bus Driver,” “Education and business leaders from Vista and Colorado tour Cajon Valley,” an invitation to a Grandparents Day event, Fall Festivals, Madison Avenue Elementary Lemonade Fundraiser, and numerous WoW (World of Work) videos. The District also produces a monthly “broadcast” with news and events directed to school personnel and staff.

Hefty costs

But critics say the CVUSD is making too much of a good thing, since these videos produced by the district have come with a high price tag.

According to information provided to East County Magazine by the CVUSD in response to a public records request, from July 2014 (when David Miyashiro became Superintendent) through June 30, 2019, the district has spent over half a million dollars -- $576,289.60 to be exact -- on marketing and promotional videos.

GROSSMONT COLLEGE RESPIRATORY THERAPY PROGRAM CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

October 21, 2019 (El Cajon) - Neil Armstrong had become the first man to set foot on the moon just one month earlier, the minimum wage was just $1.60 per hour, and 50 years ago this fall, Grossmont College launched its renowned Respiratory Therapy program with an initial cohort of 20 students.

 

SDSU SCHOOL OF THEATRE, TELEVISION, AND FILM PRESENTS A NATIVE PLAY BY BLACKFEET PLAYWRIGHT JASON GRASL: LYING WITH BADGERS

Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) in SDSU’s Experimental Theatre; production is a collaboration with LA theatre company, Native Voices at the Autry

Source: SDSU

October 20, 2019 (San Diego) -- The SDSU School of Theatre, Television, and Film presents Lying with Badgers, a timeless story of hope, loss, identity, and wonder, from Friday, Nov. 1 to Sunday, Nov. 10 in SDSU’s Experimental Theatre.  

GOVERNOR NEWSOM SIGNS BILL TO PROTECT STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES IN NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Source: Calif. State Council on Developmental Disabilities

October 20, 2019 (Sacramento) -- Governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB 1172 last Wednesday authored by Assemblymember Jim Frazier. In 2018, a student in El Dorado Hills died after he reportedly stopped breathing after being placed in a prone restraint for over an hour. The California State Council on Developmental Disabilities testified in support of the bill that takes important steps forward to protecting students attending non-public schools.

TWO FINALISTS NAMED FOR GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT CHANCELLORSHIP

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

October 16, 2019 (El Cajon) - Two finalists have been named for the position of chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

The finalists announced by the Governing Board Tuesday are Lynn Ceresino Neault, vice chancellor of Student Services at the San Diego Community College District, and David Potash, president of Wilbur Wright College, a community college on the northwest side of Chicago,

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