Personalized learning is an education trend that aims to match each individual student with the content and environment they need to reach their goals. It’s not an approach widely used at San Diego Unified’s traditional schools, but Maya Srikrishnan found personalized learning programs are popping up around the county, most recently at Vista High.
In traditional schooling, “you progress at the end of the year when you get a year older, and not when you progress,” an expert on the programs told Srikrishnan. Vista Unified found the traditional approach was increasingly irrelevant to its student body. So it went to work, updating its classrooms and launching personalized learning for a pilot group at Vista High, which it now plans to expand school-wide for the next four years. It got a massive $10 million grant to make it all happen, which means educators across the country will be keeping tabs on how it’s going.
Over at Cajon Valley Union School District, personalized learning means students use more technology to learn the basics, freeing teachers to catch struggling students and individualize reinforcement. “Teachers in the district focus on connecting students with something they’re passionate about and giving them important soft skills,” Srikrishnan writes.
The Learning Curve: Tweeting Teachers
Teachers have normal lives beyond the classroom, and for many that means robust use of social media to air their lives and opinions. While San Diego Unified has recently taken pains to make students of all creeds and backgrounds feel welcome and safe, Maya Srikrishnan reports some parents question what happens when teachers push a discriminatory or bullying message from their personal accounts.
“It’s an issue the district has confronted before,” Srikrishnan writes. The school district advises teachers on how to behave on social media, but leaves it up to parents to report any issues. First, parents can report concerns to the school’s principal. The district also accepts complaints through its Quality Assurance Office.
Special Ed Funding: San Diego Explained
Special education funding for disabled children is mandated by the state and paid by state and federal funding. But as costs for special education rise and budget cutbacks become the norm, schools often find themselves trying to cover shortfalls in special ed funding on their own. Srikrishnan and NBC 7’s Monica Dean look into how special ed funding gets paid for, and how parents are worried their kids will be short-changed, in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Would City-Run Power Be Dirtier?
KPBS’s Andrew Bowen checks out a video released by Sempra Services that tries to help explain what San Diego ratepayers can expect if the city sets up a public agency to buy our region’s power, instead of letting SDG&E, which is owned by Sempra, do it for us. Bowen finds truth mixed in with some missing context, especially when it comes to how Sempra describes how public agencies will obtain clean energy — not by generating it themselves, but by using third-party contracts called Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs.
Existing private utilities and public agencies are using these RECs in similar amounts, Bowen reports. The biggest difference in San Diego is that the feasibility study undertaken by the city assumed San Diego would avoid the use of RECs, which undermines Sempra’s criticism.
San Diego’s Hepatitis Hits the Road
Salt Lake City’s KSL confirms the strain of hepatitis A that has so far killed 17 in San Diego has arrived among Salt Lake County’s homeless. “In all, 25 ‘outbreak-related’ cases of hepatitis A have been reported in the county since the start of 2017,” KSL reports.
Meanwhile, back in San Diego, people are trying to find out which ZIP codes are most impacted by the outbreak, and where the virus has been most fatal. But San Diego County lawyers refuse to give that information to the public, because they say it is confidential, NBC 7 reports. When asked for similar information, other counties affected by the outbreak were able to release some data.
• Downtown Partnership’s CEO Kris Michell is leaving her position to rejoin city government, this time as deputy chief operating officer for special projects. She will be working on homelessness, among other projects.
• The Associated Press noticed that police in San Diego were engaged this week in a major sweep to push the homeless off of 17th Street. CBS8 was on the streets to witness the police raids along 17th that resulted in some arrests. But mostly, the efforts just moved homeless people into public parks, the Union-Tribune reports.
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer is celebrating reaching the goal of helping 1,000 homeless veterans find housing, albeit months later than he had hoped to. If true, housing 1,000 of the total 1,054 veteran homeless population that was counted in 2017 would mean the city has almost completely resolved veteran homelessness.
• UC Irvine and UC San Diego are scrambling to keep up as thousands of additional students arrive every year. (Union-Tribune)
• Supporters will start the process of trying to qualify a ballot measure for next year’s election to sell much of the land under Qualcomm Stadium to SDSU. (Union-Tribune)
• NBC 7’s Wendy Fry points out how San Diego Unified School District officials in January knew about potential lead in school water taps because kids went home sick, days before a service dog raised alarms by refusing to drink the water.
• Like many places in San Diego, Coronado is wrestling with questions of traffic and density and mulling whether to let people build occupiable, rentable spaces above detached garages. (San Diego Reader)
• Harbor Police made this guy’s day by using divers to locate his expensive prosthetic limb that had sunk into the murky bay waters. (10News)
• San Diego’s colleges and military bases are home to some of America’s earliest efforts to get driverless cars on the road for day-to-day uses. (KPBS)
• Carlsbad said no to commercial cannabis operations this week. (Coast News)
• Traffic engineers are looking into the future of using golf carts as common transportation. (San Diego Reader)
• Rep. Duncan Hunter writes in an op-ed that we should declare war on North Korea. (Union-Tribune)
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can declare war on him via email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.