Education

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 East County Magazine. 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 $655,000 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  was awarded on March 26 to the son of Cajon Valley Union School District Board of Trustees President Tamara Otero.  In total, 37 contractors “pulled plans” for the project and eight actually submitted bids.

Prior to the vote Otero was asked by fellow board member Jill Barto, “It looks like….is this your husband’s company?” Hear audio. Otero replied, “No,” and immediately brushed off the question, saying the internet connection to her computer on the dais was 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 of Dryw Ortero, the owner of Otero Construction, Inc., State Contractors License #1025227, 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

PROTECTING VETERANS FROM RIP-OFF FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES

 

 

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

Photo:  House Education Committee members, from left, Reps. Susie Lee, Committee Counsel Claire Viall, Reps. Susan Davis, Mike Levin and Mark Takano at Grossmont College, April 24, 2019

April 25, 2019 (El Cajon) - Four Democratic members of Congress agreed Wednesday that the Trump Administration – particularly the Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs – must do more to protect veterans from the predatory practices of some for-profit colleges and technical schools.

CONGRESSIONAL SUBCOMMTTEES TO HOLD JOINT HEARING ON STUDENT VETERANS WEDNESDAY AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE

 

 

East County News Service

 

April 23, 2019 (El Cajon) -- On Wednesday, April 24, the Congressional Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment and the Committee on Veterans Affairs’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity will hold a joint field hearing entitled, “Protecting Those Who Protect Us: Ensuring the Success of our Student Veterans.”

 

CHARTER-MAGEDDON: LAWMAKERS ADVANCE A RAFT OF UNION-BACKED CHARTER SCHOOL CURBS

 

 

By Ricardo Cano, CalMatters

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

Photo:  Charter school advocates and teachers unions mass at the Capitol on April 10, 2019, as state lawmakers consider dramatic curbs on charter schools. Photo for CALmatters by Dan Morain

April 20, 2019 (San Diego) - As charter school advocates rallied en masse and California’s teachers’ unions flexed their political muscle, a cluster of bills that would dramatically curb the growth of charters in the state cleared the Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday. The votes were the first in what figures to be a lengthy, high-stakes battle this session between two of the state’s most powerful education interests.

CAJON VALLEY SENDS RESPONSE TO CALAWARE, ADDS OPEN GOVERNMENT ACTION TO APRIL 30 AGENDA

 

 

By Miriam Raftery 

April 2, 2019 (El Cajon)  Cajon Valley Union School District’s board president Tamara Otero has sent a formal response letter to Californians Aware (CalAware) agreeing to comply with demands in a legal cease and desist order that the watchdog organization had sent the district on East County Magazine’s behalf. The board’s April 30, 2019 meeting will include the compliance issue on the agenda, the letter added.  

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SITE MAY SOON OFFER HIGH SCHOOL CLASSES IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery



Updated April 1, 2019 with clarifications from Catherine Martin at the GUHSD.

March 31, 2019 (Alpine)  -- For over two decades, Alpine residents have sought a high school in their community.  After the Alpine Union-High School District (AUSD) board recently voted to close the Alpine Elementary School in June due to declining enrollment, the AUSD and the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) are exploring options to bring some high school programming to the campus on Alpine Boulevard. But it won't be a full-service high school, as the community was originally promised in two past bond initiatives.

GUHSD Superintendent Tim Glover confirmed in an e-mail to ECM, “We’ve been having discussions with AUSD over several months regarding potential programs and services as part of a satellite program option. We look forward to creating an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with AUSD and gauging the interest in some specialized program offerings such as Independent Study, Home Choice, and Adult Education classes.”

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD AMENDS POLICY ON ACCESS TO RECORDINGS OF PUBLIC MEETINGS—AFTER LEGAL DEMAND ON ECM’S BEHALF

CalAware warns district after CVUSD destroys requested school board meeting recordings

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Updated with CVUSD letter to CalAware)

March 28, 2019  (El Cajon) -- The Cajon Valley Union School District Board of Trustees voted 3-2 on Tuesday to change its policy on board meeting audio recordings. The action came after the district received a legal warning letter from Californians Aware (CalAware) regarding the district’s destruction of recordings from the Dec. and Nov. public meetings requested in a California Public Records Act request by East County Magazine in December.

Instead of destroying audio of board meetings after 30 days, the district will now keep them for one year and will make them available to the public on request on compact disc (CD). The measure, spearheaded by board trustee Jill Barto, was affirmed by Barto along with trustees Karen Clark-Meija and Jim Miller. Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) trustees President Tamara Otero and Jo Alegria voted “no” on the new policy.

The letter addressed to Otero accused the CVUSD of violating multiple sections of the California Government Code relating to its refusal to permit inspection and copying of audiotape recordings made by the District of open and public meetings. The government act violated is more commonly known as the “Ralph M. Brown Act” which legally obligates government agencies and bodies to abide by specific rules regarding open meetings and access to public documents.

Audio: 

GROSSMONT COLLEGE TAKING THE LEAD TO CUT HIGH TEXTBOOK COSTS

 

 

Students saving nearly $1.3 million during 2018-2019

Source:  Grossmont College

March 28, 2019 (El Cajon) - Grossmont College Counselor and Professor Dave Dillon will pick up a national textbook excellence award in Philadelphia in June, but it is his passion for providing free textbooks to all students that gives him the greatest satisfaction.

A RAINBOW OF LOCAL RESIDENTS FACE OFF AGAINST SCHOOL PICKETERS FROM INFAMOUS WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH

Messages of love and inclusivity overwhelm hate group picketing two East County high schools



By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Robert Gehr and Miriam Raftery contributed to this report

Photos by Paul Kruze and Robert Gehr

 

March 26, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) — Some 300 spirited protesters held a “Rainbow Dance Party” Monday, vastly outnumbering three members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) which briefly picketed El Cajon Valley High School in El Cajon and Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley.

 

CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS DEBATE HOW TO PREVENT ANOTHER COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL

 

 

By Felicia Mello, CALMatters

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

Photo:  As the college cheating scandal has spread to include UCLA and UC Berkeley, state lawmakers are scrutinizing loopholes and seeking to reassure Californians. Photo by Robbie Short for CALmatters

March 25, 2019 (Sacramento) - When state legislators grilled University of California staff at a hearing Tuesday about the university’s response to the recent college admissions scandal, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty asked the question that’s been reverberating since the story broke last week.

VOLUNTEER TO TUTOR ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

 

 

East County News Service

 

March 24, 2019 (San Diego) -- If you can speak English, you can make a difference in someone’s life. Laubach Literacy Council of San Diego County provides tutors for adult learners of English as a Second Language with tutoring locations countywide.

“RAINBOW DANCE PARTY” PLANNED TO COUNTER WESTBORO, HATE GROUP PICKETING HIGH SCHOOLS MARCH 25

 

 

East County News Service

March 19, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Activists have announced plans for a “Rainbow Dance Party” to counter picketing by the hate group Westboro Baptist Church on Monday, March 25th. The counter-protesters will begin their event at 6:45 a.m. at El Cajon Valley High School, shortly before Westboro’s picketing starts at 7 a.m.  Then the rainbow dancers and marchers will proceed to Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley, arriving before Westboro’s picketing at 8:30 and remaining until 9:30 a.m.

INFAMOUS HATE GROUP, WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH TO PICKET EL CAJON VALLEY AND MONTE VISTA HIGH SCHOOLS MARCH 25

 
 
Westboro has protested funerals of soldiers and slain Sandy Hook elementary students.  Its inflammatory hate speech targets gays and lesbians, Jews, Muslims, Catholics and others.
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
March 13, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Westboro Baptist Church has been designated a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The notorious cult-like group has announced on its website plans on March 25 to picket El Cajon Valley High School in El Cajon at 7 a.m. and Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley at 8:50 a.m.

FIERY LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING DRAWS IRE FROM PARENTS OVER ALLEGED FORCED RESIGNATION OF 16 TEACHERS

 

 

By Allan Acevedo

 

March 13, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – The community room at the Lemon Grove Library quickly overfilled last night as parents, students, teachers, and community members gathered to share their united concern for what they collectively referred to as the “firing” of 16 teachers.” With all chairs filled, attendees began congregating against the sides and doors of the room, some standing just outside the door to listen in.

CALLING ALL K-12 PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS TO GET A SLICE OF THE PI THROUGH SDG&E’S MATCHING GRANT PROGRAM

 

 

In honor of Pi Day, SDG&E announces donation to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classroom projects

Source:  SDG&E

March 14, 2019 (San Diego) - In honor of Pi Day and in support of local teachers, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is launching a $314,159 matching grant program to enable K-12 public schools in the region to provide more classroom learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

STEELE CANYON THEATER STUDENTS DREAMS COME TRUE WITH STAR OF THE LONDON PRODUCTION OF LES MISÉRABLES

 

 

By Jennifer Doucet

Photos courtesy of Steele Canyon Players

 

March 13, 2019 (Spring Valley) -- London stage actor, Dean Chisnall, visited Steele Canyon Charter High School March 7 through March 9 to help prepare the school’s theatre and music departments for their own production of the award-winning hit, Les Misérables, premiering March 20th.  Over two and a half days, Chisnall worked closely with SCHS Theatre Director, Nicole LaBella and Music Director, Heather Luck to coach the cast, crew and orchestra.

CAJON VALLEY UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT PARENTS GET TASTE OF FUTURE PLANS FOR SCHOOL SAFETY AND SECURITY

 

 

District releases audit of coordinated school safety plan

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Meeting recording provided by ECM: ECMCVUSDStudentSafety

March 11, 2019 (El Cajon)--Following a safety and security audit recently conducted by AECOM and DMB Consultants, two security engineering firms specializing in building security audits, the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) has been conducting a series of town meetings at local schools over the past month. The meetings are being held throughout the district to advise parents on what the district is doing to improve student safety and building security.

Meetings have so far taken place at Hillsdale Middle School, Grossmont Middle School, and Montgomery Middle School. Future meetings are set to take place at Cajon Valley Middle School on March 14,  Emerald Middle School on March 21, and Los Coches Creek Middle School on March 27, all at 6 p.m.

Audio: 

WOMAN’S HISTORY MONTH EVENTS AT GROSSMONT AND CUYAMACA COLLEGES

 

 

Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

March 6, 2019 (El Cajon) -- In recognition of Women’s History Month, designated by Congress in 1987, both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have a number of events planned that are free and open to the public:

HOW HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS CAN START COLLEGE EARLY

 

 

By Donald H. Harrison 

Originally published in San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Panelist Shor Masori tells of experiences at Grossmont Middle College High School

March 5, 2019 (El Cajon) - There’s a secret that I feel it’s my duty to divulge to other grandparents and parents of high school students.  High school sophomores can get a jump on their college educations—maybe even save their parents a bundle of money —by applying to Grossmont Middle College High School for the upcoming fall semester.

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