Friday, November 21, 2014

Winning Streak Continues as a Record Three GUHSD Schools are Awarded Jimmie Johnson Foundation Grants!

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife Chandra, announced on Thursday, that three GUHSD schools were among those selected as recipients of more than $550,000 in education grants.

The GUHSD schools awarded a Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grant include:
Chaparral High School - $29,482 to create a computer lab that will augment the program at Chaparral through the use of online learning and digital arts instruction.
El Capitan High School - $23,000 to purchase new laptops for teachers so they can be better equipped to use digital/paperless resources and to teach students how to use the online resources and apps available to them.
Grossmont High School - $80,458 to integrate technology and foster collaboration and connections between the arts and core academic classes.
Prior Champions Grants awarded to GUHSD schools include:
2012: $77,195 to Santana High School to fund the Digital Fabrication Laboratory project, which included equipment for the engineering and architecture programs to assist in fabrication, model making, prototyping and much more.
2011: $71,505 to Granite Hills High School to equip 49 classrooms with document cameras and projection units, ensuring that all teachers can utilize fundamental technology in the classroom.

2010: $72,000 to Grossmont High School to equip the “Old Gym” with new risers for the stage, sound equipment for Performing Arts classes, and additional equipment for a high tech recording studio.

2009: $31,155 to Granite Hills High School to assist with stadium renovations and landscape upgrades.

We are grateful to Granite Hills’ alumnus Jimmie Johnson for giving back to our schools in such a significant way. He is a true champion!

Grossmont NJROTC Hosts Sixth Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot

The winners of Grossmont NJROTC's Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot
The Grossmont High School NJROTC program hosted its Sixth Annual Turkey Shoot on Friday, November 21. The lines were long and the tension high as Grossmont students, parents, staff and district officials gathered to test their aim and the chance to win a big turkey or ham for the holidays.

Participants donated $1.00 for three shots with marksmanship air rifles. The goal was to register three bulls’ eyes by hitting a target in the center from ten meters away.

First place was awarded to Grossmont Cadet James Brogan, with a score of twenty-two points. Grossmont teacher Michael Holcomb shot the highest score of twenty-five points. Grossmont parent, Becky Armour was the highest scoring female in the adult category with twenty points.

In all, thirteen winners took home turkeys and hams for the holidays, including Grossmont teacher Paul Hedberg and Band Director James Llamas. Special thanks to Fresh & Easy, Grossmont parent Jim Brogan and Booster President Kathy Flores for the turkey and ham donations.

26th Annual Thanksgiving Feast at Chaparral

Students enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Chaparral
Chaparral High School held its 26th Annual Thanksgiving Feast on Friday, November 21, at 11 a.m. as students and staff were treated to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

The annual tradition is a fitting close to the week before break. Sponsored by Chaparral’s ASB, the event has its origins in the staff wanting to ensure that students at the continuation school received a Thanksgiving dinner and that this time-honored tradition enjoyed by so many is not taken for granted.

I end this issue by wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. It is my hope that each of you has an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones next week and that your holiday is safe and enjoyable.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What's New in GUHSD

Outgoing Trustee Richard "Dick" Hoy (center) is honored for his service by the Governing Board and Santana High School
The recent GUHSD school board election resulted in the re-election of incumbent board members Jim Kelly and Robert Shield, and ushered in the return of former board member Dr. Gary Woods, who previously served from 2008 - 2012. They will be sworn in for a new term at our next Governing Board Meeting on Thursday, December 11.

At last night's Governing Board meeting we also thanked outgoing Trustee Richard "Dick" Hoy for his service on the Board. Dick Hoy was elected to the Grossmont Union High School District Governing Board in 2006 and most recently served as Vice President. He has been an invaluable contributor to many complex decisions that took place during the past several years, and I know that his passion for providing a quality education for all students will continue far into the future.

As our Board of Trustees and staff thanked Dick for his past eight years of dedicated service to the District, he was presented with a clock, and a reception with refreshments in the lobby followed.

The highlight of the recognition included a special presentation by Santana ASB President Hayley Simpson and a group of her fellow classmates who informed their beloved Sultan football announcer that the press box would be rededicated in his honor. Dick Hoy has been a fixture at the school, where he taught for 31 years and continues to give back by announcing the football games from the “Santana Super Sultan Dome.” 

Board Recognition of West Hills' Teacher John Berray, San Diego County Teacher of the Year
2014-15 San Diego County Teacher of the Year John Berray is recognized by the Governing Board
As I reported to you earlier, West Hills' teacher John Berray was named a 2014-15 San Diego County Teacher of the Year in October. Last night, the Governing Board of the Grossmont Union High School District honored him for this high achievement.

John teaches Mathematics at West Hills, where he has been 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.

The San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards program is the official stepping-stone to California and National Teacher of the Year events. John now advances to 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. Congratulations, John Berray!

El Capitan Alumni Shine at National FFA Convention & Expo
Gabriella Dodson and Austin Rogers are finalists at the 87th Annual FFA National Convention
The El Capitan High School FFA program had two graduates compete as national finalists in their respective categories during the 87th National FFA Convention in Louisville, KY on October 29 - November 2.  Gabriella Dodson was one of only four chosen to compete for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Equine Science Placement, and Austin Rogers was also one of only four selected to compete for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Swine Production Entrepreneurship. 

The proficiency awards recognize outstanding student achievement of a new business, working for an existing company, or otherwise gaining hands-on career experience.  The Swine Production Entrepreneurship and Equine Science Placement awards are two of the 45 program proficiency areas FFA members can participate in.  These areas help develop valuable experience and leadership skills at the local, state, and national levels.  Rogers and Dodson became eligible for the national award after winning the California State FFA competition earlier this year. 

We are very proud of these two alumni members for all of their hard work in reaching this level of competition as well as the outstanding program at El Capitan High School.

El Cajon Valley CTE Students Showcase Employable Skills

Welding students practice using angle grinders, a common industry tool
On Monday, November 3, a team from the National Academy Foundation (NAF) Planning Council and the San Diego Linked Learning Consortium visited the Manufacturing and Product Development Pathway and the Culinary Arts Pathway at El Cajon Valley High School. They came to observe Career Technical Education (CTE) students learning employable skills and witness authentic, work-based learning activities.

The National Academy Foundation (NAF) is a leader in the movement to prepare young people for college and career success with a proven educational model that includes industry-focused curricula, work-based learning experiences, and business partners with expertise from five areas: Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences.

The students in the Metal Design, Fabrication and Welding class, taught by Nick Williams and Ashley Wolters, were finishing the dismantling of their school’s Haunted House from the previous week, as well as practicing their welds and new product designs. The students in Chef Christine May’s Restaurant Management class planned, prepared, and served a delicious lunch that included a house salad, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, sautéed Brussel sprouts and an apple tart for dessert. Everything, including the ranch dressing, was made from scratch. 

Superintendent Ralf Swenson and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Theresa Kemper, joined the group for lunch as well as an open discussion on how the Linked Learning approach is building an academic and social support system for the students enrolled in the Metal Design, Fabrication and Welding pathway. The core teachers on the team include Jim McLaughlin (World History), James Mitchell (Technology) and Anthony Devine (English).

The visiting team was impressed with the CTE facilities, the teachers, and the quality of work-based learning occurring at El Cajon Valley High School.

Friday, November 7, 2014

JROTC Cadets at Mount Miguel & Grossmont High Schools Honor Veterans

The Alpha Company, led by JROTC Cadet Yadira Silva, renders honor to those who have served at Mount Miguel High School on November 3
Veterans were remembered with honor on the morning of Monday, November 3, as the JROTC Program at Mount Miguel High School held its 25th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony. Principal Steve Coover was joined by parents and staff who witnessed the ceremony as more than 200 JROTC Cadets honored military personnel who have served our country throughout history.

The morning ceremony began with Cadet Battalion Executive Officer Karlyle Laraya introducing the key leaders of the battalion and their companies, and she delivered a brief message on the significance of this important day.

She addressed the crowd with a message that from the first battle of the American Revolution to our ongoing war against terrorism in conflicts around the globe, and in humanitarian missions at home and abroad, our veterans have saved countless lives. Their determination and readiness to go where they are needed are compelling symbols of liberty, justice and hope for freedom all over the world.

The program also included the Corps of Cadets conducting ceremonial procedures and marching in formation. The Flag Detail raised the flag in conjunction with the playing of Reveille, which was followed by the National Anthem.

To all our service members, past and present, whether far from home or here in the United States, we thank you for your countless contributions and selfless sacrifices.

In further JROTC news, the Grossmont High School NJROTC program is also actively involved in a local event to honor our veterans this weekend. On November 8, a Grossmont Color Guard Team will participate in honoring the United States Marine Corps in a celebration of the 238th birthday of the Marine Corps at the El Cajon VFW Post. Also, on Sunday, November 16, Grossmont Cadets will volunteer in support of the Silver Strand Half Marathon, in which many veterans participate annually.

Thank you to our students for honoring our veterans’ service to this great country.

Please enjoy your time off in commemoration of Veterans Day. Classes will resume on Wednesday, November 12.

Upcoming Annual Marching Band and Color Guard District Fall Showcase

The District Fall Showcase is an annual hit with crowds.
On Thursday, November 20, 2014, Helix Charter High School will host GUHSD’s Marching Band and Color Guard District Fall Showcase at 6:00 p.m. in their stadium. More information is available here.

Please come out and support our music programs. This annual fundraiser features musical performances by our schools. For the third year in a row, your Superintendent will serve as Guest Conductor for the combined band performance of Carry On Wayward Son in the grand finale. Tickets are $8 at the gate.