Education

COLLEGE DISTRICT’S WINNING STREAK OF SPOTLESS AUDITS REMAINS INTACT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

January 25, 2016 (El Cajon) -- The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s string of spotless audits remains unbroken, with the Governing Board this week receiving unblemished audit reports for the 12th year in a row. 

GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT AGREES TO REDISTRICTING

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2016 (El Cajon) – Grossmont Union High School District’s board voted unanimously last Thursday to shift from at-large elections to district elections in which each trustee will represent a specific portion of the district. The move comes after an attorney for Diego Valley Charter School sent the district a letter advising that it may be in violation of the Voting Rights Act and threatening legal action.

PRO-AM TENNIS TOURNAMENT JAN. 28 TO SPOTLIGHT SCHOOL CHOICE

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

January 21, 2016 (Ramona)  The community is invited to a Pro-Am Tennis Tournament and instructional clinic hosted by USPTA elite tennis pro Mike Rogers at La Casa del Zorro Resort. Juan Bautista de Anza Online Charter School students will participate by attending and learning. The event is open to the public and JBDA is excited to celebrate athleticism and School Choice options.

A MULTI-TALENTED MAN: YALE STROM

 

Photo credit:  Yale's wife, Elizabeth Schwartz

By Mimi Pollack

January 20, 2016 (San Diego) - Yale Strom may be a multi-talented man, a respected teacher at SDSU, and a well known musician both locally and internationally, but he is also refreshingly down to earth and modest, answering my questions at his rustic, comfortable home in Mission Hills with his loving dog, Olive, snuggled on his lap.

FORMER SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT VAN ZANT FACING FELONY CONFLICT OF INTEREST CHARGE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Steve Van Zant, former superintendent of Mountain Empire Unified School District, was arraigned today in San Diego Superior Court on a felony conflict of interest charge, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports

While serving as Superintendent of Mountain Empire, Van Zant pushed through charter schools to operate in other school districts---while profiting by having some of those same charters hire his consulting firm, EdHive Inc.

3 ALPINE SCHOOLS CLOSE FOR REPAIRS AFTER STORM DAMAGE

 

East County News Service

January 14, 2016 (Alpine) – Last week’s storm damage has necessitated closure of three Alpine schools today, with two remaining closed through tomorrow.

Joan MacQueen Middle School will be shut today and tomorrow due to propane leaks.  Shadow Hills and Mountain View  Learning Academy will be closed today for repairs on gas valves following leaks.

AIRPORTS AND COLLEGES BAN HOVERBOARDS OVER FIRE DANGER: HOW TO KNOW IF YOURS IS SAFE

 

 

By Brigitte Garcia

 

January 12, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Hoverboards were among the hottest gifts of the holiday season, but if you received one this Christmas, you may be having more problems than fun. That’s because these futuristic products have been banned from college dorms, shopping malls, businesses, and other locations due to many hoverboards that have burst into flames.

EL CAJON SCHOOL RECEIVES NATIONAL HONOR

 

East County News Service

 

January 7, 2016 (El Cajon) –  Montgomery Middle School in El Cajon is among six California schools chosen as Exemplars of 21st Century Learning, a prestigious designation given out by the national coalition Partnership for 21st Century Learning (p21.org/exemplar-program).  Montgomery Middle School is an International Baccalaureate school that provides an environment of collaboration, innovative technology use, and inquiry based problem solving, all set in real world situations for a diverse population of students.

 

UC SYSTEM DIVESTS OF HOLDINGS IN PRIVATE PRISON CORPORATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: A private detention facility run by Corrections Corporation of America at Otay Mesa for U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

December 26, 2015 (San Diego) – The University of California has divested over $25 million of its holdings in private prison corporations, in response to a resolution by the Afrikans Black Coalition, a student advocacy group.

“The goals of the private prison industry are to profit from the incarceration, labor and rehabilitative treatment of black and immigrant lives,” said Kamilah Moore, organizer with the coalition.  In an e-mail statement, she added  that by selling the shares, the UC system has sent a message that it is “against human rights abuses,” the Daily Bruin reports.

The rise of private prisons in modern times began in 1984 and has mushroomed since then. According to the U.S. Justice Department, by 2013, private prisons were housing 19.1% of all federal prisoners and 6.8% of state prisoners, reaping billions of dollars in revenues.  Private prison corporations also operate immigrant detention facilities, with over 23,000 immigrants currently behind bars. But serious questions have been raised about both racial injustice and failure to live up to promised cost savings.

ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL CASE HEADS TO TRIAL: CASE HINGES ON WHETHER OR NOT ENROLLMENT TRIGGER WAS MET

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 23, 2015 (Alpine) – Just in time for Christmas,  Judge Joel Pressman issued a decision in the Alpine high school case that gives neither side what it wanted. 

The Judge denied the Grossmont Union High School District’s motions to dismiss the case but also denied a request from Alpine Union School District and Alpine Taxpayers to issue a summary judgment in their favor.

Judge Pressman did determine that the Appeals Court found Grossmont made a promise to build a high school that is binding. However, that promise hinges on whether or not the enrollment trigger was met or not.

THREAT TO L.A. SCHOOLS INCLUDED SAN DIEGO AND OTHER CITIES

 

Fears of school violence spark concerns among parents

By Miriam Raftery

December 16, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – On Tuesday, an e-mail that threatened bombings and shootings caused Los Angeles Unified School District to shut down and 1,500 schools, impacting 650,000 students. Searches proved the threat was a hoax. A similar threat was received in New York City, where the school district opted to remain open, deeming the threats not credible.

Today,10 News reports that the L.A. e-mail  also warned, “If you cancel classes, the bombings will take place regardless, and we will bring our guns to the streets and offices of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and San Diego.”   

The e-mail writer claimed to be a Muslim who had been bullied in L.A. schools and claimed to be working with “32 comrades” willing to die. The hoaxter claimed to have pressure cooker bombs hidden in backpacks to be detonated with cell phones as well as “nerve gas agents” set to go off at lunch time,automatic weapons and grenades to massacre students “mercilessly.”

PARKWAY MIDDLE SCHOOL WARNS OF MAN IN BLUE VAN APPROACHING STUDENTS

East County News Service

December 16, 2015 (La Mesa) – Parkway Middle School e-mailed a safety alert to parents advising that at 8:20 a.m. yesterday morning, two Parkway students were approached by a Hispanic man in his late 30s, wearing a gray beanie and driving a rusty blue work van. The students were walking on Dallas Street near the fire department.  According to the notice to parents, the man waved to students and wanted them to come over to the van, but the students ran to the school instead.

TOPPING OUT CEREMONY CELEBRATES $13 MILLION STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES AND ARTS BUILDINGS AT GROSSMONT HIGH

 
 
By Miriam Raftery 
 

December 16, 2015 (El Cajon)--Students and school officials held a “Topping Out” Ceremony Tuesday for the new student support services and arts classroom buildings under construction at Grossmont High School.

 

PRESIDENT SIGNS EVERY CHILD SUCCEEDS ACT

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 11, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Calling it a “Christmas miracle—a bipartisan bill signing”,  President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, which passed Congress with strong support among both Republicans and Democrats.

The new law preserves the goals and spirit of the No Child Left Behind law enacted under the George W. Bush administration, but eliminates that measure’s unpopular  heavy testing and eases consequences for schools that underperform. The Every Student Succeeds Act offers a more flexible approach to student testing and school accountability, also shifting much of the responsibility for improving troubled schools back to the states.

NEW FILINGS IN ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL CASE

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2015 (Alpine) – A lawsuit over a high school for Alpine is slated to be back in Superior Court downtown on December 17at 9:30 a.m.

Alpine taxpayers and the Alpine Union School District have filed a  reconsideration request asking Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman to grant Alpine’s  motion for summary adjudication and deny Grossmont’s motion for summary judgment, in  light of a Court of Appeals decision that found  Propositions H and U contain a promise to build an Alpine High School. 

Grossmont filed a  response asking just the opposite – urging Judge Pressman to deny Alpine’s motion for reconsideration.

SAN DIEGO CHAPTER OF THE CALIFORNIA SPECIAL DISTRICTS ASSOCIATION INITIATES NEW PUBLIC OUTREACH VIDEO CONTEST

 

 

December 2, 2015 (La Mesa)--The San Diego Chapter, an affiliate of the California Special Districts Association, is initiating a Video Contest for Middle and High School Students, in an effort to provide educational outreach and awareness of special districts and their role in local government. The one-minute entertaining and creative video will focus on educating the public about “What’s So Special About Special Districts?”

JUST IN TIME HELPS FOSTER YOUTHS TRANSITIONING TO ADULTHOOD

 

Part 2 in our series on foster youth programs.  Read Part 1 here.

By Tasha Matthews

November 25, 2015 (San Diego)--Just in Time (JIT) is an organization that helps foster youth receive necessary resources in finance, education, basic needs, and life skills.  Just in Time for foster youth was a part of the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation in 2003 (now known as Promises2Kids).  Since then, Just in Time has vastly expanded, dedicated to helping foster youths through their early adult years. Just in Time has eight programs and is growing more along the way:

GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA COLLEGE DISTRICT AWARDED $1.2 MILLION STATE GRANT TO HELP STUDENTS COMING OUT OF FOSTER SYSTEM

 

November 24, 2015 (El Cajon)--Students coming from foster-care backgrounds struggling to get through college will get much needed help, thanks to a $1.2 million grant the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District will receive from the state starting next year.

SDSU STUDENTS RALLY AGAINST ISLAMAPHOBIA

 

East County News Service

November 23, 2015 (San Diego) – In response to an assault on a Muslim woman at San Diego State University last week,, the Muslim Student Association  announced a rally against Islamaphobia at Hepner Hall held earlier at 12:30 p.m. today.

PARENTS, STUDENTS PROTEST GROSSMONT DISTRICT LAWSUIT TO CLOSE CHARTER SCHOOLS

 

Board also votes to incur debt to fight Alpine lawsuit—and gets legal warning of CA Voting Rights Act violations

By Miriam Raftery

“You should be proud that a school like this is helping students out. Are you thinking of the students and our futures, or just yourselves and your money?”—Jackie Ramirez, 16, young mother and student at Diego Valley Charter

November 19, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –Wearing green shirts reading “Defend School Choice”,  over 100 parents, students and teachers turned out to protest the Grossmont Union High School District’s litigation that seeks to shut down multiple charter schools.  Speaker after speaker gave emotional testimony tonight, pleading with the GUHSD board to save their schools.

A lawsuit filed by the district seeks to shut down Diego Valley Public Charter, which serves at-risk  students including many Chaldeans and other minorities, drop-outs , pregnant students, and students who have aged out of the public high school system, as well as Julian Charter School-Alpine Academy. A hearing on the case is scheduled for June 10, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Joan M. Lewis in San Diego Superior Court.

GUHSD BOARD VOTES THURSDAY ON MORE MONEY FOR ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL LAWSUIT: CASE HEADS TO COURT DEC. 17

 

Board to vote Nov. 19 on whether to incur $550,000 in new debt to fund continuing legal battle

By Miriam Raftery

November 16, 2015 (Alpine)— Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman  has set a December 17th hearing date for a trial filed against the Grossmont Union High School District by supporters of an Alpine High School. The suit seeks to assure that a fair share of bond money approved by voters will be used to build the long-promised school.  

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Judge Pressman urged both sides to settle and even offered to help—after an appeals court ruled that Grossmont violated an obligation to voters by failing to build the Alpine high school and upheld Pressman’s decision to order funds set aside.

But far from seeking to settle, the GUHSD this week will be considering approval of $550,000 in additional legal fees to continue the battle. The GUHSD already has authorization to spend $1.8 million and had spent $1.4 million as of June on the case, board documents reveal.

UPDATE ON LOCAL STUDENTS IN FRANCE

 

Update November 15, 2015: SDSU now confirms that all 34 of its students in France are safe.

East County News Service

November 14, 2015 (San Diego) – San Diego State University confirms that at least 31 of its 34 students in France are safe, including all eight students studying in Paris.  “The other three are in southern France and we are actively reaching out to them, their coordinators and our partner universities,” a press release issued by SDSU today states.

However a student from Long Beach State University is among the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris yesterday.  “We are saddened by the tragic events…Our thoughts go out to the victims loved ones and the entire Long Beach community,” the SDSU statement adds.

OUR PLANET, OUR HOME WINNERS ANNOUNCED

East County News Service

November 14, 2015 (La Mesa)--Winners of La Mesa’s K-8 Our Planet, Our Home Environmental Literacy and Art Contest have been announced. Mayor Arapostathis has kindly agreed to hand out the awards at the Block Party on November 14 at 11:15 a.m. at the Farmer’s Market site on Allison Avenue near La Mesa Blvd, and the winning flat artwork will be exhibited for one month in the foyer of the La Mesa Library.

The contest is a cooperative effort of the City's Environmental Sustainability Commission, the La Mesa Urban Trails grant from the County, the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District and the La Mesa Library branch. Sponsorship and prizes for the contest were contributed by SDGE and the Water Conservation Garden.

HUNDREDS RALLY AT SDSU FOR MISSOURI STATE’S MINORITY STUDENTS

 

East County Magazine

November 13, 2015 (San Diego) – Hundreds of San Diego State students, white and black, joined together yesterday in a rally to support black students facing extreme racism and death threats at Missouri State University, which has been in lockdown amid racial strife.

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