From Superintendent Bill Kowba
November 18, 2011
All San Diego students will Graduate with the Skills, Motivation, Curiosity and Resilience to Succeed in their choice of College and Career in order to Lead and Participate in the society of Tomorrow.
| |Dear San Diego Unified Community,
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, it is time to reflect upon all of the bounties we enjoy locally and across this great country. It is also our first break of the year, after three months of hard work by our staff and students.
While the 2011-12 school year has so far been one of great challenges, it has also been one of great accomplishments. One of our teachers, Mark Alcorn, of Lee Elementary School, was named a County Teacher of the Year for 2011. Principal Cindy Marten of Central Elementary was just named Principal of the Year by the local YMCA.
Our students are excelling. Case in point, district-wide English-language arts scores are now tops among California's largest districts. Our high school juniors and seniors are receiving scholarship awards that will open the doors to community colleges and universities. We hope to set a record for daily attendance and for graduation in 2012.
The community continues to give us great support in terms of monetary contributions and volunteering. NASCAR great Jimmie Johnson's foundation donated nearly $100,000, TargetCorporation and other partners completed a library makeover at Kimbrough Elementary. We are blessed with thousands of parents and community members who help kids at our schools on a daily basis. New facilities continue to open, a result of our voters' support of Prop. S in 2010. Our school communities have been organized into clusters that are contributing to excellence in education.
Overall, our district is remains focused on academic excellence for all students and is moving forward in a constructive way despite the unprecedented and prolonged budgetcrisis that threatens our collective good work. Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday where we give thanks for all that has been given to us. In 2011, our district has much to be thankful for with a dedicated staff, wonderfully creative and energetic students, and engaged parents. I urge all of you to look for the good in our district and consider our good fortune not only on Thursday, but for the rest of the school year.
| |Schools, Offices Closed Nov. 21–25
All San Diego Unified schools and offices will be closed Nov. 21–25 for Thanksgiving break. Workers will be in some offices; however since so many non-school employees are taking furlough and vacation days, offices will be closed to the public. Schools and facilities will reopen on Monday, Nov. 28.
| |Kimbrough Elementary Receives Target Library Makeover
| |The Kimbrough Elementary community, along with Target Corp., The Heart of America Foundation, The Mission Continues, United Through Reading and hundreds of volunteers, unveiled the school's newly renovated library on Nov. 10. Supt. Bill Kowba was joined by California Sen. Juan Vargas, San Diego County Supt. Dr. Randy Ward, Area Supt. Gil Gutierrez, and Kimbrough Principal Flavia Soria, along with Kimbrough students and volunteers, in dedicating the renovations. Read more.
| |Pilot Program Looks at Environmentally Friendly Lunch Trays
| |Molded plastic foam lunch trays have long been on the menu at school cafeterias, but after urging by students at Vista Grande Elementary school -- not to mention Board of Education Trustee Kevin Beiser -- San Diego Unified's Food Services Department is testing more environmentally friendly trays for the next few months at Vista Grande and Ocean Beach elementary schools. Read more.
| |Elementary Principal Honored by YMCA
| |Congratulations to Central Elementary Principal Cindy Marten! She was selected as "Principal of the Year" for the entire YMCA of San Diego County, which represents 16 branches and more than 175 after school programs from Oceanside to San Ysidro. She was honored at the YMCA's annual Principals' Recognition Breakfast held Nov. 3. Read more.
| |Prop S Update: San Diego High Students Settle into New Classrooms
| |Although it may seem like only yesterday that school started, students at San Diego High have been enjoying their new two-story classroom building now for nearly three months. Funded by Proposition S and an Overcrowded Relief Grant (ORG) from the state, the 25,868-square-foot, 16-classroom building replaced 16 existing portable classrooms on the southeast corner of campus. Read more.
| |Student Government Officials Enjoy Padres Night Out
| |ASB presidents and other student body officials were guests of the San Diego Padres for a game just before the season ended. Thanks to a new partnership with the Padres, student body presidents from Clairemont, Crawford Complex, Henry, La Jolla, Mission Bay, Morse and Point Loma high schools received tickets to enjoy time together as the home team won its last game of the season. Read more.
| Dia de los Muertos is Theme for Culinary Program |
Culinary arts students at Garfield High School used 75 pounds of sugar to create traditional Latin American sugar sculptures to commemorate dia de los muertos on Nov. 1. Sugar, meringue powder and water were carefully mixed and shaped by each student and left to dry for five days. While their sculptures were drying, students gathered photos of an important person, famous or in their own lives, who has died. Read more.
Holmes Elementary Welcomes Special Visitors
Supt. Bill Kowba and Area Supt. Marian Phelps recently paid a visit to Holmes Elementary School in Clairemont. Led on a tour by Principal Jonathan Saipe, the district leaders talked with parents and staff and visited several classrooms including Mr. Clement’s first grade class. The students were very excited to meet their special guests and share what they have been learning this year.
$100 Wal-Mart Gift Cards For Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary Teachers
Wal-Mart representatives Derrick Walz and Jennifer Taylor presented Lindbergh Schweitzer Principal Deanne Rohde with ten $100 Wal-Mart gift cards. Wal-Mart’s campaign “You Make a Difference, We’d Like to Help” supports teachers and thanks them for their “commitment to educating the students of today and building leaders of tomorrow.” Read more.
Memorial Preparatory gets $10,000 NFL PLAY 60 Grant from Chargers
Students at Memorial Preparatory for Scholars and Athletes did not let an unprecedented San Diego power outage in September stop their plans to hold Back to Football Friday. They instead rallied to show off their Chargers pride a week later, earning a chance to win a NFL PLAY 60 grant. Read more.
Sandburg Elementary Highlighted as Physical Fitness Model
Sandburg Elementary School in Mira Mesa was the site of a recent announcement about childhood obesity from Mission:Readiness, a group of retired senior military officials. The school was chosen for its innovative physical fitness program that brings Marines from MCAS Miramar to work with the fourth and fifth grade students. Read more.
Students Design Hospital Emergency Departments
The assignment for Biomedical Innovations students at University City High School was to design an effective and efficient emergency room and then present their plans to members of the medical community for grading. Read more.
New Equipment Saves Students a “Trip to the Hospital”
Whitman Elementary School started the new school year with a new sound booth. The new booth is equipped with a GSI audiometer, a tympanometer for obtaining middle ear information, visual reinforcement display screens, and is large enough to allow a two-person team to test very young children. Before getting its own sound booth, Whitman students would have to go to Rady Children’s Hospital or Lafayette Elementary for testing. Read more.
“We must get beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths... and tell the world the glories of our journey."
-- John Hope Franklin, History Professor Emeritus at Duke University