San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Lamont Jackson speaks to media gathered at the Logan Memorial Educational Campus on the first day of the 2022-2023 school year. / Photo by Jakob McWhinney
San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Lamont Jackson speaks to media gathered at the Logan Memorial Educational Campus on the first day of the 2022-2023 school year. / Photo by Jakob McWhinney

As part of our “Whatever Happened To…” series, Jakob McWhinney wrote about Memorial Prep, a middle school in Logan Heights that long struggled with enrollment.

In the 2014-2015 school year, Memorial Prep, long plagued by low performance and a bad reputation, had the distinction of being the school most avoided by parents and students in all of San Diego Unified School District. At the time, more than 80 percent of the middle-school aged children who lived in Memorial Prep’s service area went to other schools.

Now, Memorial Prep is gone and the district replaced it with the Logan Memorial Educational Campus, a sprawling complex that includes services for pregnant women, and facilities for children from preschool through high school. San Diego Unified spent $180 million on the project, a sum school board member Richard Barrera said he hopes signals the district’s commitment to providing a quality education to students in an area it’s long underinvested in. 

They’ve also chosen to implement Montessori curriculum through the fifth grade, something officials have said was in response to requests from the community to try a new approach to education at Logan Memorial.

Better numbers so far: During the 2021-2022 school year 561 of the 1,597 middle-school aged children in the area attended Logan Memorial, and Barrera said he’s confident those numbers will increase in future years, so long as the school delivers on its commitment to providing a positive experience for students.

The Wait for North County’s First Low-Barrier Family Shelter

In the final installment (for now!) of our “Whatever Happened To…” series, Tigist Layne checked in on the two-year-old effort to open a shelter for homeless families in Escondido. The new facility would also be a low-barrier shelter, meaning residents wouldn’t need to demonstrate sobriety or pass background checks before being admitted.

Interfaith Community Services is hoping to start admitting residents in December, Layne found, after the group completes what amounts to a two-step plan with two of its offerings.

First, the group needs to complete renovations at the Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center in Escondido. That should happen soon, but the building won’t immediately become a shelter. Rather, Interfaith is going to operate a recuperative care program that it runs out of the facility, while another set of renovations at that program’s facility are completed. Once that’s done, the recuperative care program will move home and Interfaith can begin accepting family’s at the new shelter.

Read the rest of Layne’s story on the plan to open a new shelter in Escondido.

In Other News

  • The Union-Tribune released Thursday an in-depth investigative package looking into Gina Champion-Cain’s Ponzi scheme, which landed the former restaurateur behind bars. Their package goes inside the scheme, talks to the people who got snookered by the $400 million fraud, and includes a three-minute explainer video on how the scheme worked.
  • Downtown’s defunct 4th and B concert venue, which has been vacant since 2012, is already being demolished, as a Japanese developer group works toward a plan to turn the property into a 32-story tower featuring office space and a hotel, as reported Thursday by Union-Tribune reporter Jennifer Van Grove. The developer, though, has not yet submitted its plans for that project to the city for formal approval.
  • Mayor Todd Gloria joined KPBS Thursday to discuss the latest on the city’s approach to homelessness, its attempts to redevelop the Sports Arena property and his support for a state plan to launch “Care Courts,” which would make it easier to force mentally ill homeless people into treatment programs.
  • Speaking of one of those things, San Diego voters this November are being asked again whether they want to raise the height limit in the Midway area to make way for the Sports Arena redevelopment because a local group successfully sued the city over its effort two years ago to do the same thing. A judge has since ruled the city didn’t follow state environmental law when it put the question to voters. Now, it’s asking voters for a re-do, and in keeping with the issue’s Groundhog Day nature, the same group is once again arguing that the ballot measure is illegal, as the Union-Tribune reported Thursday.
  • Hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate their homes near the border due to a 4,200 acre fire, which officials say is now 5 percent contained. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Chula Vista officials went through with their plan to close Harborside Park, ereceting an 8-foot fence around it after forcing the many homeless residents who had been camping there to vacate. Those homeless residents are now being dispersed to other areas, as the Union-Tribune reported.

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis.

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