Friday, October 31, 2014

GUHSD and Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District form Alliance to Benefit East County High School Students

The East County Education Alliance is launched as Superintendent Swenson and GUHSD Board President Robert Shield are joined by GCCCD Chancellor Cindy Miles and President Garrett in a signing ceremony with students.
A unique partnership designed to provide East County high school students with a smoother path to college and a career was announced on Wednesday by the Grossmont Union High School District and the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. 

An agreement formalizing the East County Education Alliance was signed on Wednesday at Cuyamaca College by Robert Shield, president of the Grossmont Union High School District Governing Board; Ralf Swenson, superintendent of the high school district; Bill Garrett, president of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board; and Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the college district.

The alliance was formed to increase collaboration between the two districts so that the curriculum students are taught in high school aligns with the material they are expected to know when they arrive at college. The partnership has also set goals of increasing the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for college, along with increasing the numbers of students who graduate from college ready to enter the workforce.

Following more than a year of planning, the Alliance kicked off with a four-hour summit involving 120 college and high school educators designing joint goals and activities to improve student readiness for college and careers. Action councils focused on curriculum alignment (with teams for math, English, ESL, counseling, science, and career/technical education); student engagement and readiness; parent, community and workforce engagement; and fundraising and communication.

Within the next year, Alliance members plan to

·   align curriculum so that the lessons students are taught in high school better matches the knowledge and skills they are expected to have at college,

·   provide communications to high school students, parents and counselors about how best to prepare for college or a career,

·       increase programs allowing high school students to take college classes,

·    raise scholarships funds for students who commit to goals that prepare them for college or a career,

·  launch a website and communications to keep students, educators, and community members informed about resources, progress, and how to get involved. 

The summit is just the beginning of increased collaborations between the high school and college districts. The East County Education Alliance represents our commitment to help every student be successful. It will improve education in East County and make it a better place to work and live.

A joint meeting between the college district and high school district governing boards is being scheduled for March to review progress toward the Alliance goals.

Academic League Season Schedule

The 32nd Academic League season schedule is here. All schools play each other at least once during the ten-game season.  The team with the best record will advance to the County Championship in May. I hope you will find an opportunity to view a Wednesday afternoon match at your school before the season draws to a close.

Save the Date: GUHSD Marching Band and Color Guard District Fall Showcase on 11/20

I’d like to inform you of an upcoming student performance you won’t want to miss: the GUHSD Marching Band and Color Guard District Fall Showcase on Thursday, November 20, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the Helix Charter High School Stadium. This annual fundraiser features musical performances by our schools. Tickets are $8 at the gate. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

What's New in GUHSD

L: West Hills Teacher John Berray is named a San Diego County Teacher of the Year at the 41st Annual San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards on October 11

On Saturday, October 11, I had the pleasure of watching two of Grossmont’s finest educators being honored at “A Salute to Teachers,” the San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards. Representing GUHSD in the competition were this year’s nominees, West Hills teacher John Berray and Granite Hills teacher Debbie Burton, who competed against many outstanding teachers countywide. Also present was 2013-2014 San Diego County Teacher of the Year from Santana High School, Eileen Bagg-Rizzo.

The annual event honors San Diego County’s public school teachers and was televised live on Channel 4 San Diego from the Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego. This year’s telecast marks 41 years of honoring teachers in San Diego County. 

L: GUHSD Teachers of the Year
John Berray (West Hills),
Debbie Burton (Granite Hills)
and Eileen Bagg-Rizzo (Santana)
 with Superintendent Swenson
The culminating event of the evening was the naming of the five San Diego County Teachers of the Year, which included West Hill’s own John Berray!

John teaches Mathematics at West Hills, where he has been teaching since 1995.  He also serves on the school’s Literacy Team and Technology Committee and has the distinction of being a Noyce Master Teacher Fellow through UCSD.

West Hills Principal Paul Dautremont remarked that, “John has proven himself to be a strong math teacher and advocate for his students. He has also shown an ability to lead his colleagues to improve math instruction and make West Hills the best school it can be.”

West Hills’ graduate Connor Richards noted, “I vividly recall the impression that Mr. Berray made upon me. No instructor that I have had before or since has displayed the passion that he showed each day in class. His enthusiasm for mathematics and learning in general was absolutely contagious.”

The mantra in John’s classes is that his classroom is a safe place for mistakes to happen and for second chances to occur. He makes his math class a lively, enjoyable experience by turning the mundane on its ear to motivate students to see the beauty of mathematics and its omnipresence and to understand the important connection between their education and the rest of their lives.

The San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards program is the official stepping-stone to the California Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year events. The five Teachers of the Year selected last week will represent San Diego County in the California Teacher of the Year program, which will be announced later this year. Nominees for San Diego County Teacher of the Year were selected based on student achievement, teaching philosophy, familiarity with current issues in education and community involvement.

John will be involved with many exciting events over the course of the next year including throwing out the first pitch at a Padres Game. He'll also help select next year's winners. Congratulations to John Berray!

Monday, October 13, 2014

West Hills' Teacher John Berray Named San Diego County Teacher of the Year

West Hills' teacher John Berray was named a 2014-15 San Diego County Teacher of the Year during the "Cox Presents: A Salute to Teachers" event on Saturday, October 11, 2014. 

The annual event honors San Diego County's public school teachers and was televised live on Channel 4 San Diego from the Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego. Congratulations to John Berray and Granite Hills' teacher Debbie Burton, who represented our district at the event this year as well as Santana's Eileen Bagg-Rizzo, a 2013-14 San Diego County Teacher of the Year. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

What's New in GUHSD

CTE Works for High School Students

Welding in a Transportation Pathway Class
Today’s rigorous and relevant Career Technical Education (CTE) prepares youth and adults for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers. The Grossmont Union High School District Career and Technical Education program is a major focus of our overall instructional program. That focus transforms high schools from solely a classroom-based, textbook centered instructional program, to project-based programs tailored to student interests. For thousands of students, CTE provides motivation for attending and staying in school.

According to the US Department of Education, high school students involved in CTE are more engaged, perform better and graduate at higher rates, including:
  • 81 percent of dropouts say relevant, real-world learning opportunities would have kept them in high school.
  • The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 74.9 percent.
  • More than 70 percent of secondary CTE concentrators pursued postsecondary education shortly after high school.

The Grossmont Union High School District continues to support and expand quality programs to ensure that students are both college and career ready when they graduate. Currently, we offer over 40 Career Technical Education Pathways in high wage, high demand Industry Sectors.

Our CTE pathways serve over 3,000 students and include two-four year sequences of classes in an industry sector. In addition, some of our pathways are implementing a Linked Learning approach where the students’ CTE and academic classes are coordinated to have a unique career-themed, learning experience with additional student support from their teacher team. Students in all pathways learn industry-current technical skills, and incorporate their academic standards in an applied and relevant project-based learning environment. Opportunities include:
  • Work-based learning integrated at each level (industry tours, guest speakers, community projects)
  • Exposure to a full range of post-secondary options: entry-level jobs, apprenticeships, military, two- or four-year colleges
  • Articulation and alignment with post-secondary institutions and industry level certifications

Grossmont Union High School District is partnering with other high school and post-secondary districts as well as with private organizations and business partners to implement and expand this work at a regional level through Linked Learning San Diego.

2013-14 CIF State Academic Team Champions: Grossmont Girls Gymnastics Team

Governing Board Recognition of the Grossmont Girls Gymnastics Team
The Grossmont High School girls’ varsity gymnastics team was recognized at last night’s Governing Board meeting for being named the 2013-14 CIF State Academic Team Champions in their respective sport. The State CIF awards teams with the highest collective grade point average, based upon an unweighted 4.0 scale.
In The CIF News, September 2014 edition, 31 state academic team champions were announced and the Grossmont High School Girls’ Gymnastics Team was among them with a 3.75 GPA.  State CIF Executive Commissioner, Mr. Roger Blake, traveled from Sacramento to present the award to our scholar athletes.

Kelcy Sutton Named First Quarter Outstanding Classified Employee

Governing Board Recognition of Kelcy Sutton
At the Governing Board meeting on Thursday, October 9, 2014, Kelcy Sutton was recognized as the First Quarter Outstanding Classified Employee of 2014-2015.

Kelcy serves the Grossmont District as a Special Education Aide at Chaparral High School and also fills in as a Campus Supervisor when necessary. In addition to her superior performance with her regular job duties, she was recently instrumental in swiftly helping a student in serious need of emergency aid and support.

Kelcy serves the District with an energetic, positive and can-do spirit. She is well deserving of being recognized as Classified Employee of the Quarter.

GUHSD Teachers of the Year to be Recognized at Annual Awards Ceremony

GUHSD Teachers of the Year, Debbie Burton (Granite Hills) and John Berray (West Hills), will represent the Grossmont District at the 24th annual “A Salute to Teachers,” on Saturday, October 11, 2014, at San Diego’s historic Balboa Theatre.

The annual awards program, which is sponsored by Cox Communications, honors Teachers of the Year from all 42 districts in the county. Five of the honorees will be named County Teachers of the Year.

GUHSD is proud to have Debbie Burton and John Berray represent the district as its two Teachers of the Year for 2014.

Final Reminder: Got Plans? Career/College Fair on Saturday

As a reminder, the Grossmont Union High School District is hosting its eleventh annual Got Plans? Career & College Fair for high school students and parents tomorrow – Saturday, October 11, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Cuyamaca College.

Admission to the fair is free and open to the public. Cuyamaca College is located at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in El Cajon.

Friday, October 3, 2014

GUHSD Delivers Seamless Connection between School and Home

A Chromebook Pixel computer (credit: Getty Images)
GUHSD continues to improve and increase its use of technology throughout the District for both instruction and operational management. Ongoing efforts have resulted in significantly increased student access to technology through the use of Chromebooks and the suite of Google tools. In addition, the district has significantly increased internet access, provided teachers with updated computers and given guidance in making the best use of these new tools.

Along with these increases in the use of technology in instruction, GUHSD has deployed a new Student Data Management System, Infinite Campus. This modern, feature-rich system is transforming the way student data is collected, maintained, utilized and reported within the district. Infinite Campus also provides for increased communication with parents and students and gives them improved access to information.

In the first month of the school year, students, teachers, administrators, and staff have been finding new and exciting ways to make use of Infinite Campus. Each day brings new discoveries, process changes, efficiencies, and ideas for making use of the system and data managed within.

GUHSD embarked on the process of acquiring and implementing a new Student Data Management System in the summer of 2013. Our former data management system was a collection of systems from different eras and vendors that were able to share data on a limited and delayed basis. Lacking was a system-wide, real-time connection between all components. Infinite Campus consolidates all functionality into a single system that can directly connect students, parents, teachers, school staff, and administrators to the same information at the same time. This interconnectedness opens the door for increased and improved communication between schools, students, and parents.

District staff and teachers were trained on Infinite Campus throughout the month of August. As school started, students were enrolled in the proper schools, students’ schedules were available, and teachers had access to the system and were able to take attendance.

Students were issued accounts and access to the Campus Portal during the first week of school. Parents are in the process of being issued accounts. Parents and students use the same tool and thus are able to see the same information. Campus Portal provides an integrated view of attendance, posted grades, assignments, transcript information and progress reports. Over the course of the school year additional functionality will be activated including updates to contact information.  Also, students will be able to request courses and confirm information for continuing enrollment. Campus Portal operates on any web browser and has a free mobile version, which is available in the Google Play and Apple iTunes stores.

By mid-school year, new students will be able to enroll using the Infinite Campus Online Registration tool.

Students are welcoming the opportunity to take a more active role in managing their education through the use of Campus tools, while at the same time making greater use of technology in their classrooms through the use of Chromebooks and Google tools.

This truly is an exciting time for the Grossmont Union High School District as we continue to prepare students for success.