Monday, May 09, 2005 | Del Mar team takes first place in state competition

A team of students from Torrey Hills School, a K-6 school in the Del Mar Union School District, placed first in California in the Future Problem Solving competition, held April 16 in Davis. The team – whose members include Keith Jackson, Patrick Kelley, Gary Ren, Michelle Zhang, alternate Lauren Rutledge and coach and teacher Ariella Leeder – will now compete in the international conference in Lexington, Ky., in early June. Forty-five U.S. states, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Korea, Malaysia and Russia will be sending teams to the international event, where the topic will be corporate crime. The students will be applying a six-step model to a scenario related to this issue. Four Del Mar schools placed in the top six spots in the state competition.

New Performing Arts Center in Del Mar

Del Mar Hills Academy, a K-6 school in the Del Mar Union School District, unveiled its new $2.2 million Performing Arts Center on Friday. The 4,800-square-foot multi-purpose building will be used by students and the community for musical and artistic performances, academic events and community gatherings.

San Diego City Schools’ G.A.T.E. committee meets

A meeting of the Gifted and Talented Education committee for the San Diego Unified School District will be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Marston Middle School at 3799 Clairemont Drive. The topic is program evaluation.

Next San Diego City Schools board meeting

San Diego Unified School District’s Board of Education meets Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., at the Eugene Brucker Education Center at 4100 Normal St. Major items on the agenda include a review of district policy on 8th-grade social promotion, recognition of national board-certified teachers (at 3:30 p.m.) and recognition of the teacher of the year (at 4 p.m.).

Parent Congress to meet

The Parent Congress of the San Diego Unified School District meets Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Mission Valley Resort Hotel at 875 Hotel Circle South. The Parent Congress, which meets four times a year with principals and parent delegates from each district school, serves to inform parents about district reform efforts and student achievements, improve student achievement by increasing understanding of district strategies, and provide a forum for parents to communicate with district leaders.

Event honors City Schools volunteers

More than 1,300 community, business and service partners were honored by the San Diego Unified School District last Thursday at its 23rd annual Community Recognition Event held at SeaWorld. These individuals are part of more than 22,000 volunteers who donate their time at San Diego City Schools throughout the year.

Curriculum developed by SDSU on 2003 wildfires

This fall, San Diego County students in grades K-8 will have the chance to learn environmental lessons from the county’s devastating 2003 wildfires through a comprehensive, post-wildfire science curriculum now under development at San Diego State University. The program, called the San Diego Wildfires Education Project, is being created by educators and scientists at SDSU’s College of Education and through partnerships with the San Diego County of Education, San Diego County Water Authority, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Science Alliance and other governmental and environmental groups.

The curriculum will be provided at no cost to all 400 elementary and 85 middle schools throughout the county, which includes about 280,000 students. The primary purpose of the project is to help students understand, monitor and analyze the environmental recovery process, and also to learn about environmental science, fire ecology, source and runoff pollution, habitat restoration, and species recovery.

“We want to prepare teachers and their students to go into the field to observe and collect data in ways that provide meaningful, memorable lessons for them and also help these young scientists analyze what’s actually going on in post-burn areas,” said Stephen F. Barnes, adjunct professor of education at SDSU and director of the project.

The San Diego wildfires charred 376,000 acres, destroyed 2,200 homes and killed 17 people in October 2003.

Local Title 1 schools honored by state

It was announced Wednesday by the California Department of Education that 16 San Diego County schools received the 2004-05 Title 1 Academic Achievement Award, which recognizes schools whose disadvantaged students demonstrate significant academic progress.

“We ask all of our educators and students to work hard to meet the challenge of higher expectations, but these schools stand out for overcoming challenges and demonstrating student success,” said California’s state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell. “While students at these award-winning schools may come to school hungry, speaking a different language or be the first in their family to attend school in this country, they are all making great progress toward a brighter future.”

To receive the award, a Title 1 school must exceed expectations for annual improvement or must show progress in closing the achievement gap among subgroups for two or more consecutive years. According to the CDE, 248 of the 5,840 Title 1 schools in California are recipients of the award this year. The 248 schools will be honored at California’s Title 1 conference on May 25 in Anaheim.

New Director for The Rhoades School

The independent, K-8 Rhoades School in Encinitas hired a new director for this fall, Nancy Cunningham, who will replace the school’s current director, Luanne Kittle. Cunningham, who has a doctorate in education, has been an educator for 32 years and has worked as a classroom teacher, special projects administrator, school principal and director of administrative support services for the Encinitas Union School District. In 2003 she completed an appointment as the chief of staff to the assistant secretary for management and chief information officer at the U.S. Department of Education. Cunningham, who is the wife of U.S. representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham, has won numerous awards and recognitions during her career in education. Kittle, who has been with The Rhoades School for 18 years, will assume the role of Head of School and will continue to be involved in the school’s daily operations.

– MARSHA SUTTON, Voice Education Writer

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