Education

HINTON CHALLENGES CLARK-MEJIA FOR CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE, AREA 4

CVUSD Election, Part One
 
By Robin N. Kendall
 
Photo: Karen Clark Mejia, left, and Monica Hinton, right
 
October 19, 2020 (El Cajon) - Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) is the largest school district in East County. Two of the five seats for Governing Board Member Trustee are on the ballot this year with the incumbents facing one challenger each. Current board member Karen Clark-Meija represents Area 4 and faces behavioral health specialist Monica Hinton on the ballot. Jim Miller represents Area 5 and is challenged by Stacie Hoover, a retired paralegal. 
 
In this part one of our election series on the Cajon Valley School Board race, we will cover Area No. 4. In part two, we will cover Area No. 5.  

REOPEN & RESTART HELD AT STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL

By Henri Migala

 

October 18, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- “Everyone wants to do the right thing, but what’s the right thing?” Never has this old saying seemed more apropos than right now, as we all try to navigate through the pandemic.

 

On October 16, the same day that the San Diego Union-Tribune reported 17 new community outbreaks in San Diego, about 35 parents and students demonstrated in front of Steele Canyon High School to urge the school to “reopen and restart.”

GROSSMONT COLLEGE CAREER EXPO'S VIRTUAL PLATFORM NEXT BEST THING TO BEING THERE OCT. 28

Oct. 28 event using Remo for job seekers to interact with employers

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District

October 17, 2020 (El Cajon) - Like so many public events during the current pandemic, Grossmont College’s annual Career Expo won’t be in person this year, but organizers are taking steps to encourage human interactions in a virtual environment.

WEST HILLS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER LANDS $100,000 HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS PRIZE

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Oct. 17, 2020 (Santee) A surprise celebration was held at Santee’s West Hills High School on Oct. 14 for teacher Kathryn Worley, who applied for and landed a $100,000 prize from Harbor Freight Tools.

“We have a deep, deep respect for the dignity of the skilled trades and especially for the intelligence and creativity of the people who work with their hands, of students who work with their hands, of teachers who work with their hands, and professionals who really connect with their heart, their heads, and their hands,”  said Harbor Freight Tools for Schools executive Danny Corwin during the presentation.

Corwin made the trip down from their headquarter offices in Calabasas to present Worley with the proverbial lottery-win-like over-sized check. His other two $100,000 award winners’ ceremonies will be held virtually. Harbor Freight Tools USA Inc. is a national tool retailer.

LA MESA COMMISSIONS TO HOST EVENT ON YOUTH IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 OCT. 28

Source: City of La Mesa

 

Photo: CC by SA

 

October 15, 2020 (La Mesa) - The City of La Mesa Community Relations and Veterans Commission along with the Youth Advisory Commission have scheduled a round table discussion event titled LIVABLE LA MESA: Youth in the Age of COVID-19, to take place on Wednesday, October 28 at 6:00 p.m. The goal of the 90 minute virtual event is to foster a dialog on how changes due to COVID-19 have affected the everyday lives of families. Panelists from the La Mesa Spring Valley School District and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency will be on hand to provide tips and tools.

 

DECEPTIVE MAILERS TARGET VOTERS IN GROSSMONT-UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 11, 2020 (La Mesa – El Cajon) – Republican Jim Stieringer, who is running for the Grossmont Union High School District’s Area 2 seat, has sent a deceptive mailer to some voters in La Mesa, El Cajon, Mt. Helix and Casa de Oro.  It reads, “East County Voters – Let’s support our progressive team!”  The flyer includes photos of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, as well as Democratic Congressional candidates Ammar Campa-Najjar and Sara Jacobs, Democratic Assemblymember Shirley Weber, and Stieringer.

There are three candidates in the race. Although this is officially a nonpartisan race and party affiliations do not appear on the ballot, both major parties have made endorsements. Elva Salinas, the incumbent and a community college professor, is the only candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party as well as the teacher’s union. The other two candidates, Stieringer and Justin Slagle, have both been long-serving Republicans but only Slagle is endorsed by the GOP.

Stieringer also refers to himself as the “high school district’s newest member” on the flip side of the mailer. He fails to mention that he lost reelection as a GUHSD trustee to Salinas in 2016 when the district shifted from at-large elections to trustee districts.

LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION, PART ONE: AREA 4

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo:  Area 4 candidates Emma Turner, Abu-Bakr Al Jafri, and Sarah Rhiley

October 7, 2020 (La Mesa-Spring Valley) -- Two out of five trustee seats will be on the ballot this year for certain residents of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District. One seat is held by current Board President Dr. Emma Turner, who is running for re-election against four opponents in Area 4. This area includes Bancroft, Sweetwater Springs and Loma Elementary Schools. Five candidates are running, and three sent in responses to our questionnaire.  Scroll down to view responses from Emma Turner, Sarah Rhiley, and Abu-Bakr Al-Jafri.

The other trustee seat was filled by Jim Long, whose term has expired. That seat will be filled by a newcomer from Area 5 which includes Avondale, Rancho, and La Presa Elementary Schools, as well as STEAM Academy and Kempton Literacy Academy. The Area 5 race will be covered in part two of this series.

WARNER UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT ELECTION

By Robin N. Kendall
 
October 9, 2020 (Warner Springs) -- Residents in Warner Unified School District may vote for three out of six candidates for school board in this November’s election. This small district is located in the far northeast sector of San Diego County in rural Warner Springs, California. It serves just over 2,100 students in grades preschool through twelfth grade. In addition to Warner Elementary, Middle, and High Schools, the district operates San Jose Continuation School, All Tribes Charter School and California Pacific Charter School.

LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION, PART TWO, AREA 5

By Robin N. Kendall
 
October 8, 2020 (La Mesa-Spring Valley) -- Voters in the southern part of Spring Valley will have a choice of four candidates to fill the open seat for trustee on the La Mesa Spring Valley School District Board. The seat was previously filled by Jim Long, whose term has expired. This part of the district is called Area 5 and includes Avondale, Rancho, and La Presa Elementary Schools, as well as STEAM Academy and Kempton Literacy Academy.

GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL TRUSTEE ELECTION: AREA 2

By Robin N. Kendall
 
Photo: GUHSD Area 2 candidates Elva Salinas, Jim Stieringer, and Justin Slagle
 
October 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Voters in East County’s Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Area No. 2 will need to study the candidates carefully to choose their next trustee. Three candidates with divergent views will help chart the course for the area’s teens and next generation of workers and college students. 

SANTEE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION

By Robin N. Kendall
 
Photo, left to right:  Elena Levens-Craig, Dianne El-Hajj, Sarah Kirk
 
October 6, 2020 (Santee) -- In the growing city of Santee, five candidates are on the ballot for two school board seats (No. 2 and No. 4) in this K-8 grade district. Both incumbents are running for re-election.  Three have completed our candidates’ questionnaire.

ALPINE UNION SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION

By Robin N. Kendall
 
Photo: John Paul Sullivan, the only candidate who responded to our questionnaire.
 
October 6, 2020 (Alpine) -- Alpine residents may vote for two candidates for school board this year from a slate of three. Two of the candidates are running for reelection and there is one newcomer to learn more about. The trustees serve a four-year term. Unlike other school boards in the region, there are no women on the board or on the ballot this year. 

LAKESIDE UNION SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION

By Robin N. Kendall

October 6, 2020 (Lakeside) -- A diverse slate of candidates is running for office at the Lakeside Union School Board. There are five candidates on the ballot and residents may vote for two new trustees. The candidates are: Ginny Whitt Bell, Stacy K. Coble, Lara Hoefer Moir, Charles Plante, and Rhonda Taylor.

LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: PART TWO

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo, left to right:  Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson.

September 29, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters in Lemon Grove will fill two full-term seats on the school board from a slate of three candidates. (In a previous story, we reported on the two candidates for the short-term seat.) The three candidates for the full-term seat are Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson. 

In spite of being one of San Diego’s smallest school districts with 4,000 students in grades preschool though middle school, Lemon Grove is a microcosm of what’s happening in schools and homes during the pandemic. Children are trying to study at home with parents instead of qualified teachers, joblessness has taken its toll, and the fight for racial injustice has taken to the streets.

Read on to learn what these three candidates say from the town that claims to have the “best climate on earth” and has a history of combating racial injustice in education. 

FIVE CANDIDATES VIE FOR THREE SEATS ON LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD

Part 1 in a 2-part series

By Robin N. Kendall

September 20, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters have many choices this year to fill three open seats on the five-person Lemon Grove School Board. In November of last year, the district was faced with a vacancy when former school board member Katie Dexter resigned. April Leon was appointed to fill the seat until this election, when voters could choose who would serve the remaining two years. Now Leon, the appointed incumbent, is seeking to be elected. Greg Shibley is running against her.

East County Magazine emailed a set of questions to each of the candidates for school board. Below are the responses from April Leon and Greg Shibley, candidates for the short-term seat. In the next story, part 2, we report on the candidates for the full-term seat.

CREST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S NEW OUTDOOR EDUCATION PROGRAM SHINES IN THE ERA OF COVID

By Kendra Sitton

September 27, 2020 (Crest) -- Crest Elementary School has been shrinking for years, with less and less students enrolled every single year since 2003. Today, however, they have a list of over 90 families wishing to enroll in the school, some from outside the Cajon Valley Union School District. The difference between 2020 and the last 17 years is one program that makes outdoor learning a key part of education at the school.

The school in a rural area east of El Cajon held its first Crest Outdoor Immersion program over 10 days this summer. School officials plan to bring the program into a year-round setting in a two-year pilot program where students spend three days in the classroom each week and two days exploring the outdoors. The classrooms will have multiple grades in them.

At the first in-person Cajon Valley Union School District meeting since the pandemic began, the support for the program from students, parents, teachers and members of the board was evident as supporters wearing blue shirts filled the board room with chairs spaced apart.

COVID TESTING OF TEACHERS, STAFF HOTLY DEBATED AS CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS REOPEN

By Barbara Feder Ostrov, CalMatters

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

Photo:  parents and students mill around the McGaugh Elementary School parking lot during morning and afternoon changeover on Sept. 17. Los Alamitos Unified School District has reopened its elementary schools for hybrid in-person instruction with students attending either morning or afternoon sessions in the classroom in addition to distance learning. Photo by Tash Kimmell for CalMatters

September 26, 2020 (San Diego) - As schools throughout California tiptoe toward reopening, decisions about whether to routinely test teachers, staff and even students for the COVID-19 virus are proving controversial – and potentially costly. 

CAL STATE CHOOSES FIRST MEXICAN AMERICAN CHANCELLOR

By Mikhail Zinshetyn and Felicia Mello, CalMatters

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

Photo:  Dr. Joseph Castro, President of Fresno State University, has been named successor to Timothy White. Photo courtesy of Fresno State University

September 26, 2020 (San Diego) - The next head of the California State University system — with 480,000 students, the largest public four-year university in the U.S. — will be the first California native and the first Mexican American chancellor to oversee it. 

VIEJAS CASINO & RESORT DONATES 100,000 MASKS TO LOCAL SCHOOLS

Viejas Donates 100,000 masks to local schools

Source: Newswire.com

September 26, 2020 (Alpine) -- Viejas Casino & Resort recently donated 100,000 face masks to the Alpine Union School District. The donation, conceived by the Viejas Tribal Council, is focused on protecting the community and its children. Viejas has a long-standing tradition of community and isupporting local schools.

“It’s important to the Viejas Tribal membership and also to the Viejas Casino & Resort team that we understand and appreciate the importance of safety in the COVID-19 environment that we’re in,” Viejas Tribal Vice Chairman Victor Woods stated. “Safety and well-being of the students in class are of paramount importance to us.”

Alpine Union School District Superintendent Dr. Rich Newman expressed, “The impact that these face masks will have on our school district is huge. This is a year’s worth of supply for our students, staff, and our family members that are in need. It also is a huge cost savings to us and, as always, Viejas has been a fantastic partner with us through the years. This is one more example of how they step up for the community and support virtually every need that we have.”

GROSSMONT COLLEGE PRESIDENT RETIRES

Source: Grossmont College

September 26, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, who since 2015 has led the academic and physical transformation of the El Cajon community college, has announced his retirement.  A replacement has not yet been named.

“I am leaving my post after 31 years of service in the California Community Colleges to spend more quality time with my wife,” Abu-Ghazaleh said in an announcement to campus. “As we have spent more time together working from home in the past six months, we have revisited forgotten plans. Long before I left the classroom in 1999 to become an administrator, we envisioned living simply and retiring early to travel and pursue a more active lifestyle.”

According to a notice posted on the campus website, thanks to his long-standing commitment to equity for students, Abu-Ghazaleh leaves the college much changed from his start there five-and-a-half years ago.

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 .

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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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