Education

VALLEY FIRE FORCES SCHOOL CLOSURES, CHANGES IN LEARNING OPTIONS AND MEAL DISTRIBUTIONS

Source: San Diego County Office of Education

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego County Office of Education has published these updates on school closures in rural districts or changes in operations due to the  #ValleyFire .


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WITH 184 COVID-19 CASES AT SDSU, COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER TELLS STUDENTS “STAY HOME” THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND

Update Sept. 9, 2020:  With cases up to 286, Dr. Wooten has ordered SDSU students to shelter in place through Sept. 14
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
September 4, 2020 (San Diego) – Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s pubic health officer, today urged San Diego State University undergraduates to “stay home within their living units this weekend” after 184 students tested positive for COVID-19 in 14 campus-related groups in housing and gathering locations since Aug. 24. “If you have been to parties and social events, you need to get tested, now. And isolate until you get results,” Dr. Wooten added.

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DUE TO AN INCREASE IN COVID19 CASES SDSU SHIFTS TO ONLINE CLASSES TEMPORARILY

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

September 2, 2020 (San Diego) East County residents who attend San Diego State University and have not read their email accounts should be advised the university will be halting all in-person classes and shifting to online learning for four weeks due to increased covid19 cases.

(Stock photo taken by: Rebecca Jefferis Williamson) 

SDSU's online notification read as such:

“SDSU announced on Sept. 2 that, given the rate of increase in the COVID19 cases among the student population in the past three days, and out of an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of the campus community, a pause on in-person instruction is being implemented, This, and other changes, is effective on Sept. 3.”

According to published reports over 100 SDSU students are quarantined currently.

Additionally, their athletic programs, starting Sept. 3, will be put on pause for two weeks.


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LA MESA POLICE RELEASE DETAILS ON DETENTION OF STUDENT WITH DOWNS SYNDROME THAT PROMPTED SUIT AGAINST CITY

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 1, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Police Department today released details on the brief detention  and handcuffing of an 11-year-old Murray Manor student with Downs Syndrome on August 29 of last year. The child’s parents have filed a lawsuit against the city and the La Mesa Spring-Valley school district, alleging that their son was traumatized.

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SDG&E SUPPORTS TEACHERS WITH MATCHING FUNDS FOR DISTANCE LEARNING AND STEM PROJECTS; APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED

This is the 3rd year that SDG&E is supporting educators  through DonorsChoose

East County News Service

August 26, 2020 (San Diego) – Through a partnership with DonorsChoose, a crowdfunding platform, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has set aside $250,000 of shareholder funding to match donations that help support local teachers with distance learning and with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) projects.    

Eligible teachers can visit the DonorsChoose website to apply. The DonorsChoose match program will run from today until funds are exhausted or December 31, 2020. 


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VALHALLA STUDENT HONORED AS ONE OF SAN DIEGO’S MOST REMARKABLE TEENS

East County News Service
 
August 25, 2020 (El Cajon, CA) — Amelie Simpson, a junior at Valhalla High School, has been named one of San Diego’s most remarkable teens. The award, presented annually by the San Diego Public Defender’s Office and the San Diego Public Defender Youth Council, honors teen accomplishments in a wide range of categories, including civic involvement, leadership, and the arts.
 
Nominated by the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, Simpson is one of 25 teens recognized this year for their achievements. Beth Thorp, founder and executive director of the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, recommended Simpson for the award saying, “While Amelie’s musical abilities standout publicly, the majority of her other accomplishments, especially her dedication to community service and academic excellence go unnoticed because of her humility.”           
 
The East County teen is a singer and songwriter, who performs at venues throughout San Diego, including the House of Blues, the San Diego County Fair, Grossmont Center, and the Helix Brewing Company. Ron Troyano, founder of Alchemy San Diego, who manages events for Seaport Village said, ”We feature music from many local performers and one of our favorites is Amelie Simpson, a true talent.”

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ALL SCHOOLS CAN REOPEN SEPT. 1, COUNTY ANNOUNCES, PROVIDED SAFETY PLANS ARE APPROVED

By Miriam Raftery

August 25, 2020 (San Diego) – All local schools can reopen for in-person instruction starting September 1st, San Diego County public health officials announced today.  The decision does not require schools to reopen, however. Each district will determine whether it wishes to resume in-classroom instruction, continue with online learning, or a combination of both.

The action, announced in a telebriefing with school administrators, comes after the county was removed from the state’s monitoring list on Tuesday, setting in motion a 14-day timeframe after which the state will allow in-class education to reopen.


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79TH DISTRICT BACK TO SCHOOL BACKPACK AND SUPPLY GIVEAWAY

 
East County News Service
 
August 27, 2020 (San Diego) – Assemblymember Shirley Weber will host the 8th Annual 79th District Back to School Backpack and Supply Giveaway. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this will be a drive-thru event held on Saturday August 29, 2020 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m in the parking lot at Second Chance, 6145 Imperial Ave., San Diego, CA 92114.
 
This year, instead of physically attending school, some children will be at home learning virtually as the Coronavirus pandemic continues.
 
“Our goal as a community is to make sure our future leaders are prepared academically and have the right tools to succeed,” says Dr. Weber.

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FREE OR REDUCED-COST SCHOOL MEALS STILL AVAILABLE DESPITE PANDEMIC IN JAMUL-DUZURA AREA

East County News Service

August 22, 2020 (Jamul-Dulzura) – The Jamul-Dulzura Union School District began its fall semester August 17 with distance learning, for now, since California has not yet authorized in-classroom learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, nutritious free or low-cost breakfast and lunch are still available daily for children in households that qualify under federal standards.

In addition to households that meet income level requirements, the meals are also available for households receiving certain benefits such as CalFresh, CalWORKS WICS, or FDPIR, as well as for foster, homeless, and migrant children, among others.


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CALIFORNIA EXPECTED TO REMOVE SAN DIEGO COUNTY FROM COVID WATCH LIST TODAY

  • Aug. 17: 89.8
  • Aug. 16: 91.8
  • Aug. 15: 94.7

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ECM PADRES REPORT: BIG SECOND INNING, GRAND SLAM BY TATIS JR. GIVES PADRES DOUBLE-DIGIT WIN

By Liz Alper

 

Photo: Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a monster grand slam in the eighth inning. Via @padres on Twitter

 

August 17, 2020 (Arlington, Texas) - After a lackluster series against the Diamondbacks, the Padres traveled to Texas for their first interleague series of the season against the Rangers.  Zach Davies started against former Padre Jordan Lyles for the Rangers.


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SHOULD I QUIT MY JOB? CALIFORNIA PARENTS GRAPPLE WITH EDUCATION IN A PANDEMIC

By Ricardo Cano and Lauren Hepler | CALmatters

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

Photo:  Kyla Hill, 5, left, Rebecca Hill, center, and Kaden Hill, 7, right, sit for a portrait at their home in Chico on July 23, 2020. Rebecca has to balance what's best for her children's education with their safety and that of her immuno-compromised husband. Photo by Salgu Wissmath for CalMatters

July 27, 2020 (San Diego) - They worry about who will care for the children and how far their education will slide.

They anxiously await details on what distance learning will actually look like this fall, hopeful but skeptical that there will be more structure and support than a spring of crisis education that left many dissatisfied.


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HOW SAFE ARE CHILD CARE CENTERS AND SCHOOLS DURING THE PANDEMIC? EDUCATORS AND PARENTS GRAPPLE WITH UNCERTAINTIES

By Miriam Raftery

July 21, 2020 (San Diego)  - Should you send your child back to school this fall, if facilities are allowed to open? How much risk does in-school learning pose for children, teachers, staff and families amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Is distance-only learning really an acceptable substittute for in-person instruction?

These are questions every parent and educator is now confronting. A look at childcare facilities, which have remained open throughout the pandemic, as well as checking up on schools around the world in places that have reopened, can provide some lessons learned.

As of today, 90 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in child care facilities in San Diego, according to data updated daily by the California Department of Social Services. Statewide, the number of coronavirus cases reported by childcare facilities rose five-fold in just over a month, Ed Source reported last week. 


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THERESA KEMPER NAMED GUHSD SUPERINTENDENT

Kemper assumes new role effective July 1

Source:  GUHSD

July 20, 2020 (El Cajon) - The GUHSD Governing Board unanimously appointed Theresa Kemper as Superintendent of the Grossmont Union High School District effective July 1, 2020.

Theresa Kemper began her career in education as an English teacher at El Cajon Valley High School. She was promoted to educational administration in 1995, serving as Assistant Principal for three years at Granite Hills High School, followed by Principal of Grossmont High School for nine years. For most of the past decade, Ms. Kemper served as Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services in the Grossmont Union High School District.


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SCHOOLS IN SAN DIEGO AND OTHER COUNTIES ON WATCH LIST CANNOT REOPEN UNTIL VIRUS RATES DROP FOR TWO WEEKS, STATE ORDERS

By Miriam Raftery

July 17, 2020 (Sacramento)  -- Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a five-point plan for reopening public and private schools. But 30 counties currently on the state’s COVID-19 are prohibited from reopening schools this fall – including San Diego County, unless major changes happen fast to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

A five-point plan issued by the state’s Department of Public Health will allow a district to reopen for live classes only after its county has a two week decline in COVID-19 cases.

The news deals a blow to districts such as Cajon Valley Union School District, which just resumed some summer school classes and had announced a blended learning model that gave parents options for in school, online, or a combination of learning options for students. Some other districts, however, such as San Diego Unified had already rolled back reopening plans due to high numbers of COVID-19 outbreaks locally.


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TRUMP DROPS THREAT TO DEPORT INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS STUDYING ONLNE DURING PANDEMIC

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: International flags: Creative Commons via S.A.

July 17, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – After the state of California joined a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and others against the Trump administration, the White House has dropped its plan announced July 6 to deport international students not enrolled in in-person classes this fall. 

Instead, the government has reinstated a policy initiated at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, which allows foreign students to study online and remain in the U.S. on student visas under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, the New York Times reports.


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MURDERED WOMAN LED COUNTY FOSTER PARENT ASSOCIATION IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2020 (El Cajon) – Debbie Stolz, President of the San Diego County Foster Parent Association based in El Cajon, was murdered along with her daughter on Sunday at a home in Otay Mesa. The loss of Stolz has sent shockwaves through local communities and the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. Stolz worked  for over 20 years as a trainer for parents with Grossmont College’s Foster, Adoptive & Kinship Care education program.

“Deb played an integral role in the program through her training and support to countless resource parents for foster youth in San Diego County,” says Sally Cox, CEO of the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, in an email to staff.  Stolz Stolz was a long-time employee for the Foundation.


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TEACHERS PRESS NEWSOM TO DELAY PHYSICAL SCHOOL REOPENING

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service (CA)
 
 
July 14, 2020 (Sacramento) -- The California Federation of Teachers is urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to delay physical reopening of schools and direct districts to go to distance learning until COVID-19 infections drop and safeguards are in place.

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NATIONAL EDUCATORS, DOCTORS AND TEACHERS FORMALLY OPPOSE TRUMP THREAT TO FORCE SCHOOLS TO REOPEN

By Miriam Raftery 

 

Photo: Student in mask and face shield; Creative Commons-NC via Bing 

 

July 12, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The nation’s largest organizations representing teachers, principals, children’s doctors and parents have issued statements strongly criticizing President Donald Trump’s push to reopen schools and his threat to defund schools that don’t fully reopen or rely on online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Trump fueled the controversy when he tweeted“Virtual Learning has proven to be TERRIBLE compared to In School, or On Campus, Learning. Not even close! Schools must be open in the Fall. If not open, why would the Federal Government give Funding? It won’t!!!” The President’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, during news shows today, backed the president’s call to financially punish schools that don’t fully reopen.   

 

On Friday, the American Academy of Pediatrics responded by issuing a joint statement with the American Association of Teachers, the National Education Association and the School Superintendents Association.  Withholding funding from schools that do not open in person fulltime would be a misguided approach, putting already financially strapped schools in an impossible position that would threaten the health of students and teachers.  


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TWO EAST COUNTY STUDENTS RECEIVE SUSTAINABILITY SCHOLARSHIPS FROM WHEELHOUSE CREDIT UNION

*Wheelhouse awards $5,000 to college-bound students in San Diego through annual scholarship program*

East County News Service 

Photos:  Wheelhouse Scholarship Recipients Alby Penney from Valhalla High School and Hailey Qasawadish from Patrick Henry High School, San Diego

July 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Wheelhouse Credit Union (Wheelhouse) is helping the next generation of environmental trail blazers by awarding five scholarships of $1,000 each to college-bound students through its annual Sustainability College Scholarship Program. In this year’s program, Wheelhouse recognized five graduating high school seniors in San Diego County who demonstrated leadership, public service, and a desire to make a sustainable difference in their schools and communities.


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SAN DIEGO HUMANE SOCIETY OFFERS NEW, VIRTUAL ANIMAL ADVENTURE CAMPS

East County News Service

July 8, 2020  (San Diego) — San Diego Humane Society is offering virtual Animal Adventure Camp for the first time this summer to ensure a safe and healthy experience for all campers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids going into second through fifth grades can enjoy seven weekly virtual camps through Aug. 7 and experience the fun of Animal Adventure Camp from the comfort of their own homes.


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CAJON VALLEY UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT’S BUMPY ROAD TO A NEW SCHOOL YEAR DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

June 24, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The Cajon Valley Union School District Board of Trustees has approved a plan to re-open its 27 schools this fall, after going to a state-mandated distance learning program in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The final plan approved by the board on June 11, however, looks different from what had been envisioned by the district’s Superintendent, Dr. David Miyashiro. The original plan would have had students continue to use internet teleconferencing exclusively, as they have been since mid-March.

However, after documents from a private meeting involving some 40 district employees at the Marriott Coronado Resort and Spa on June 6 and 7 were leaked to parents and to East County Magazine, Miyashiro’s vision began to unravel. Some 100 parents throughout the district quickly organized and descended on school district headquarters on June 9 for what was supposed to be a one hour board workshop to approve the measure.


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CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES WIN SUIT ON BEHALF OF UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS

By Mikhail Zinshteyn, CALmatters

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

Photo:  U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks at CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland in 2018. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

June 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - A federal judge sided with California’s community colleges today in ruling that the Trump administration illegally restricted recent federal stimulus funds to as many as 800,000 students, including undocumented students.


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STATE AND COUNTY APPROVE SCHOOLS REOPENING: EDUCATORS GRAPPLE WITH NEW LEARNING REALITIES

By Miriam Raftery

 

June 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – After the state of California released a 62-page “Stronger Together” guideline for schools to reopen, the County Office of Education released its own extensive COVID-19 recovery and reopening plan for the nearly 800 public and 230 private schools in our region.


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GROSSMONT COLLEGE HIRES MARSHALL T. FULBRIGHT III AS VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

June 16, 2020 (El Cajon) - Grossmont College announced today that it will hire Marshall T. Fulbright III, Ed.D., as its new vice president of academic affairs. Fulbright will join the college on July 1.


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CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT STUMBLES IN PR SNAFUS OVER RACIAL SLUR, SECRET MEETING AT CLOSED HOTEL, AND PLANS TO KEEP SCHOOLS CLOSED THIS FALL DESPITE MANY OBJECTIONS

Board to decide future use of distance learning technology at 1 p.m. today; Superintendent apologizes over staff comments

Story and photos by Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

June 11, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The Cajon Valley Union School District’s carefully controlled public relations moat has been seriously breached over the past week with embarrassing social media comments, news of secret district meetings, and documents accidentally shared by a district employee, as reported by San Diego television and newspaper media outlets.  

One report was about a CVUSD school district employee and the revelation of a document of a secret meeting held over the weekend involving Dr. David Miyashiro and four district Trustees (except not Jill Barto) at the shuttered Marriott Coronado Resort and Spa.

The district also had two protests by parents yesterday outside district headquarters, one over racism concerns raised by staff comments, the other objecting to a district plan to continue distance learning instead of in-person classes this fall -- a vote delayed until an emergency session convening this afternoon after parents raised vigorous objections.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: CONGRATULATIONS, CLASS OF 2020!

By Miriam Raftery

June 11, 2020 (Santee) – Rebecca Jefferis Williamson snapped these photos of the marquee at the Santee Drive-In Theater this week, where some local schools  held drive-up graduation ceremonies to maintain social distancing due to COVID-19.

Our hats are off to the class of 2020 for earning your diplomas despite the global pandemic, an economic depression, and civil unrest that has rocked our region and nation. We wish you a better and brighter future—and hope many of you will work for change to make our world a better, safer and more peaceful place for us all.


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SONY GLOBAL RELIEF FUND FOR COVID-19 TO GIVE $100 MILLION IN AID TO MEDICAL, EDUCATION AND CREATIVE COMMUNITY

Source: Sony

May 24, 2020 (San Diego) --- Sony Corporation, based in Rancho Bernardo, has established the "Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19," a 100 million US dollar fund to support those around the world affected by the COVID-19 virus. According to the company’s press release, Sony will provide support in mainly three areas "Medical" "Education" and the "Creative Community."


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RADY SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT AT UC SAN DIEGO LAUNCHES COVID-19 BUSINESS RECOVERY COALITION

Source:  UCSD

Photo:  The Rady School of Management, photo by Erik Jepsen

May 23, 2020 (San Diego) - The Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego has launched the Rady School Business Recovery Coalition to help businesses in the San Diego region navigate the unprecedented challenges faced by COVID-19. This new initiative draws on expertise from the UC San Diego community to provide immediate pro bono assistance and guidance to San Diego businesses during these extraordinary times. 


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LOCAL WRITERS AND TEACHERS HELP OTHERS THROUGH THE SMALL MOVEMENT

By Mimi Pollack

 

Update May 21, 2020: Dr. Kalmar and his staff love their new headbands, which have now been delivered to Grossmont Hospital to help hold masks in place more comfortable. Photo, left, courtesy of Dr. Kalmar. (Other photos courtesy of Mimi Pollack)

 

May 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- What is the small movement? It’s an informal group of people brought together by yours truly to find ways to help others, especially during this pandemic.  This includes giving business to small mom and pop restaurants that may be struggling, buying pizzas for Grossmont Hospital staff,  making masks for Rady’s Children’s Hospital and for shelters in Tijuana, gathering and donating food and fresh fruit to a food pantry, and making headbands for hospital staff to alleviate the discomfort of face masks.

The movement so far includes two East County Magazine writers (Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and me), three Grossmont College teachers (Sara Ferguson, Edda Temoche and me), a San Diego Continuing Education retired teacher (Lynn Francis), two well-known artists (Becky Guttin and Griselda Rosas), East County resident Sharonne Ketels, North County resident, Janna Leoff, and Dr. Frank Kalmar.


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