By Nadin Abbott
Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News
February 25, 2014 (Alpine)—Alpine teachers approved the new contract this morning after marathon negotiations with the Alpine Union School District, ending a strike that began last Thursday. There are no details of the agreement to be found on the school district website. The contract is not all that teachers wanted, but according to a post at the Alpine Teacher Association website, the Union received the following:
By Nadin Abbott
February 21,2014 (Alpine) At 6:00 on February 20, teachers at the Alpine Union School District walked off the workplace, joining an unfair practices strike called by the Alpine Teachers Association. Children and parents dropped off their kids at schools where striking teachers marched around the campuses.
The schools had a 65% attendance, according to Alpine School Superintendent Tom Pellegrino, in a tweet posted at the District webpage. Yet, from the reaction of parents at the District’s board meeting at Boulder Oaks Elementary on February 21, the school day was far from normal.
February 20, 2014 (El Cajon)– As an African-American college dean, Marsha Gable knew she was taking a risk focusing on the touchy topic of race in her doctoral dissertation in 2011.
GROSSMONT BOARD RESOLVES TO RESTRICT MEMBERS’ RIGHTS; LEAVES QUESTION OF ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL UNANSWERED
By Sharon Penny
February 15, 2014 (El Cajon)--At the February 13 Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) meeting, the Governing Board provided some recent positive outcomes in the district (see side story: Grossmont District Schools Shine Academically), but took a step back for democracy.
By a vote of 4-1, the Board adopted a resolution: “In Recognition of the Citizens’ Board Oversight Committee (CBOC) and Their Service to the Grossmont Union High School District.” It praises the District’s bond oversight committee-- but also aims to muzzle school board members from giving testimony to the oversight comittee.
February 19, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - West Hills High School Foundation invites community members and friends to its 3rd Annual Gala & Dance, the IDES OF MARCH: Sumptuous hors d'oeuvres with a no-host bar, dancing to the ever-popular RAMSHACKLE, premium auction items, and a new venue at Mission Trails Regional Park Visitors Center.
By Sharon Penny
February 17, 2014 (El Cajon)--Ralf Swenson, Superintendent of the Grossmont Unified High School District (GUHSD) proudly discussed recent academic success rates throughout the district’s 11 high schools at last week’s board meeting.
By Miriam Raftery
February 15, 2014 (Mt. Helix)—The Mt. Helix Academy in la Mesa, which has students from kindergarten through ninth grade, takes pride in “happy kids who love to learn,” says Tracey Singer, marketing coordinator. So Singer wrote and directed a music video starring kids at the school “to show what a fun place we have,” he said. “To my knowledge we are the only school in San Diego, and probably the nation, that is marketing itself with original music videos.”
GUHSD RESOLUTION TO MUZZLE MEMBERS FROM ADDRESSING OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE IS “NOT ENFORCEABLE,” LEGAL EXPERT SAYS
District seeks to muzzle whisteblower Priscilla Schreiber (photo, left)
By Miriam Raftery
February 8, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Last week, Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) trustee Priscilla Schreiber testified before the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) to urge examination of a Grand Jury report and other evidence, as ECM reported. In response, the District’s board has proposed a resolution to prohibit its trustees from speaking to the Oversight Committee unless specifically invited to do so by the chair or a majority of committee members. The items is on the agenda on February 13.
ECM asked general counsel Terry Francke at Californians Aware (a nonprofit that works to protect open government), if this resolution was legal or not. “It's legally unenforceable," he responded via e-mail. "School trustees have the same First Amendment, Brown Act and Public Records Act rights as anyone else to attend meetings of a bond oversight board and obtain any documents that pertain to or result from its work.”
February 7, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is seeking applicants for two scholarship programs, including up to two scholarships for nursing students and five scholarships for students pursuing careers as medical health technicians.
February 5, 2014 (San Diego)-- To encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among high school students, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) announced she is holding a House App Contest in her congressional district. Students who are interested in participating can get more information at Rep. Davis’s website.
ALPINE RESIDENTS SAY CITIZENS BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE HAS FAILED IN ITS WATCHDOG ROLE OVER GUHSD, IGNORING GRAND JURY FINDINGS REGARDING ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL
Resident submit signatures to unify AUSD, split off from Grossmont District
"How deaf can this CBOC be without being complicit and compliant with the Board Majority’s political bias towards Alpine, as cited by the Grand Jury?”—GUHSD trustee Priscilla Schreiber
By Miriam Raftery; Janis Mork also contributed to this story
February 1, 2014 (Alpine) – At a contentious meeting of the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) on January 30, Chris Loarie testified that the Alpine High School Citizens Committee (AHSCC) has submitted final signatures to the County Office of Education for unification of the Alpine Union School District (AUSD). Frustrated by the GUHSD board’s repeated refusal to build an Alpine high school despite two bond measures for that purpose, Alpine parents aim to bolt from the Grossmont District and expand the AUSD to include high school students and ultimately, build a high school.
Others, including an attorney and a district trustee, are leveling sharp criticism at the CBOC for turning a blind-eye to findings of a Grand Jury report on the District’s failure to fulfill its promises to Alpine voters, a report titled “Fool me once, fool me twice.” Critics contend that the CBOC has ignored facts and further, that the Chair has exhibited bias and presented skewed information for oversight committee members.
Elected officials, school district urge student participation at college aid workshops
January 25, 2014 (San Diego)--High school seniors, local elected officials and San Diego Unified School District representatives announce plans to increase the number of San Diego-area high school students applying for free college financial aid. Students are urged to attend one of 13 upcoming “Cash for College” financial aid workshops.
In 2013, San Diego region workshop participants were offered more than $3 million in federal and Cal Grant aid.
Seniors who attend a workshop and apply for a Cal Grant by the March 2 deadline could also qualify for an extra $1,000 Cash for College scholarship offered at each workshop. The workshops, titled “Free Application for Federal Student Aid & Califiornia Dream Act Application Workshops, will be held between January 25 and March 1. Workshop information is available in a pdf document here and also at www.calgrants.org/workshops.
January 25, 2014 (El Cajon)--Spring semester begins Monday at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges with more class offerings, instructors and students than last year as the college district continues an upward trend, thanks to a slow, but steady growth in the state economy.
January 20, 2014 (Spring Valley) -- Cierra Conwright, a junior at Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley, has been nominated to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, DC on February 14-16.
The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be physicians or medical scientists to stay true to their dream and to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.
By Miriam Raftery
January 20, 2014 (San Diego) – The Education Trust has named San Diego State University as a model for improving graduation rates, especially among low-income students and students of color. Over a decade, from 2002 to 2011, graduation rates among Latino students nearly doubled, from 31.4 percent to 58.8 percent. Latino students are now a quarter of all graduates at SDSU.
SDSU was one of eight universities recognized by the Education Trust for its success in improving graduation rates.
By Janis Mork and Miriam Raftery
Julian Rudd-Falls, Mark Gavit also contributed to this report
January 15, 2014 (La Mesa)- Students, faculty and community leaders turned out to celebrate yesterday’s dedication of the new performing arts complex at Helix Charter School. The new center features a spacious theater, a black box room for smaller productions, dance room, a digital music lab, choir room, scene shop, and prop storage.
The dedication opened with students playing bag pipes and included the official ribbon cutting by Helix executive director Dr. Mike Lewis, a tour, speeches by education leaders and elected officials, and a dramatic musical performance from some of the students.
“This landmark facility will benefit our students for many years,” said Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Superintendent Ralf Swensen.
Projects Throughout East County Funded by Proposition H, Proposition U School Bonds
January 15, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) announced today that significant construction progress continues to be made at campuses throughout the District as part of the Proposition H and U school bond programs.
January 12, 2014 (La Mesa) – Grossmont Union High School District will hold a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, January 14 at 2 p.m. for a new, $15.2 million Performing Arts Complex at Helix Charter High School. The event will include tours of the facility, a ribbon cutting, student performances in the theater, and music by the Helix Highlander bagpipers.
Youth focus group shows growing concern
January 5, 2014 (Spring Valley)– “After the assembly we had last week, I went to the bathroom. It was really smoky. I don’t think it was weed. It was hookah or something. I saw it and smelled it and just got out.”
Stories like this were common when students at a local East County high school participated in a focus group last month to discuss current drug trends on their campus, the Grossmont Union High School District reports.
On Teaching Well: Using Classroom Instructional Strategies to Increase Your Teaching Effectiveness, by Dr. Dee L. Fabry (Ready or Not Press, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 2012).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
January 5, 2014 (San Diego)--Dee L. Fabry, Ph.D, along with 18 eighteen high school teachers in a graduate level course on effective teaching practice, shares their journey of improving the cognitive skills of students in Fabry’s groundbreaking book; On Teaching Well: Using Classroom Instructional Strategies to Increase Your Teaching Effectiveness.
The author, Associate Professor at National University, School of Education, Teacher Education Department in La Jolla, serves as the Master of Arts in Teaching Program Lead, teaching classroom teachers returning for their post graduate degrees. This makes her eminently qualified to lead these high school teachers in a graduate level course in effective teaching practice, which has resulted in this innovative book. Her research and scholarship is focused around improving teaching and student learning outcomes.
By Jake Christie
December 29, 2013 (San Diego)--As a courtesy to the thousands of San Diego State University students who use Malcolm A. Love Library, the library administration recently held an open house of sorts to describe their plans for modernizing the Nixon-era structure-- plans that may take 20 years to finish and cost somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million.
The presentation was held in the Leon Williams Room (fourth floor, Love Library) to an audience of 19 students and made by Stephanie Kingsnorth, an architect with Pfeiffer Partners Architects of Los Angeles.
Senator Joel Anderson Nominated Hill Creek Elementary School for Updated Technology
December 20, 2013 (Santee) – The Barona Band of Mission Indians is ending 2013 on a high note by awarding an education grant to a deserving local school. The program’s most recent $5,000 grant was presented by Councilwomen Beth Glasco and Bonnie LaChappa to Hill Creek Elementary in Santee, fulfilling important educational resources on both students’ and faculty’s holiday wish lists. Senator Joel Anderson nominated Hill Creek Elementary for the grant.
By Miriam Raftery
December 19, 2013 (Alpine) – The Alpine Union School Board voted unanimously to slash pay and benefits for teachers by an average of 30 percent. Teachers fear losing their homes with such deep cuts – and in January, the teachers’ union will vote on whether to go on strike.
By Janis Mork
December 15, 2013 (El Cajon) – El Cajon resident and high school junior Alana Bianco has been attending Capistrano Connections Academy, an online public charter school, instead of a traditional high school. She is interested in learning more about programming and has also enjoyed acting on the side. ECM recently interviewed Bianco to find out more.
She is originally from Florida and had moved to Newport Beach, CA as she was going to start her freshman year of high school. She and her mother found out about Capistrano Connections by looking online. Capistrano Connections “got good reviews,” Bianco added. She tried out public high school in her sophomore year in Burbank, but she didn’t like it as much as she liked online school. So, she then went back to Capistrano. She’s also been homeschooled while living in East County.
December 15, 2013 (San Diego) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) introduced legislation to expand access to Pre-K education. The EARLY Act (Expanded Access to Real Learning for our Young Act) would establish a competitive grant program where states could receive federal funding to make Pre-K education available to families with a combined income of up to 400% of the federal poverty line.
“The argument for universal Pre-K is not just a lofty moral imperative – it’s also good science and economics,” said Davis, a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “Kids who receive high-quality early education are more likely to achieve success in both school and life. The research shows they’re more likely to graduate high school, earn higher pay, and live more productive lives.”
"There is no good faith, no no intentions..." -- Priscilla Schreiber, Board Member, who asserts that the GUHSD response "in no way satisifies what, I believe, the Grand Jury recommended."
"...The statement to the Grand Jury is a complete fabrication. The facts demonstrate there is no “intent” to build the Alpine high school ..." -- Sal Casamassimo, Chair, Alpine High School Citizens Committee
By Miriam Raftery
December 14, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Back in May, the San Diego Grand Jury issued a report urging the Grossmont Union High School District to "declare unconditionally, by December 31, 2013, if they are or are not going to build the 12th high school using funds from Propositions H and U.” The report, titled “Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice,” criticized the district Board for failing to build the school despite voters twice approving bond measures to fund the new school in Alpine, as ECM previously reported. The Grand Jury concluded, “Residents of the GUHSD and the greater Alpine area deserve clarity from the School Board regarding the proposed 12th high school."
Yesterday the Board issued the following brief media statement, which falls far short of the unconditional statement or clarity to district residents that the Grand Jury sought:
East County educators among those testifying
By Jordan Schaffner
December 11, 2013 (San Diego)--Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (photo, left, with staff) held a public hearing on access to San Diego higher education on November 21st in San Diego. Highlights from the hearing included statements from educators at both private and public institutions, identifying needs to be met for local students.
Among the issues discussed including diversity, overcrowding, and a need for a new higher education campus in our region.
December 10, 2013 (Boulevard) – Clover Flat Elementary School in Boulevard, CA was awarded $5,000 from the Barona Education Grant Program this morning. Representatives from the Barona Band of Mission Indians and Assemblyman Brian Jones will be presented the grant to Clover Flat School, which is comprised of students from the Boulevard and Jacumba communities. The grant was written by Alpine resident, Donna Burton. Mrs. Burton is a second grade teacher and assistant principal at Clover Flat Elementary School in the Mountain Empire Unified School District.
December 10, 2013 (Rancho San Diego)--It was his conquest over cancer the first time around and a changed perspective that led longtime mechanic Jake Konen to a new career teaching at Cuyamaca College.
Four years after he beat non-Hodgkins lymphoma, cancer has returned to wage another war, this time in the form of acute leukemia. And Konen (left, with family, before his illness) is determined to once again prevail.
Free workshops offered Dec. 14, Jan. 11 and Feb. 8, 2014
December 10, 2013 (San Diego) – Dr. Dee L. Fabry, Ph.D., author of On Teaching Well: Using Classroom Instructional Strategies to Increase Your Teaching Effectiveness will offer three workshops to provide teachers and educators with practical, comprehensive knowledge on how to transform the classroom into a thriving, engaged and energetic learning environment. Workshops are offered on December 14, 2013, January 11 or February 8, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Participants can receive a certificate and two hours of professional development credit at the free seminar, which will be held at National University Spectrum Academic Center’s theater, 9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego 92123. To register, click here. For full details and flyer, click here.