Friday, November 20, 2015

What's New in GUHSD

27th Annual Thanksgiving Feast at Chaparral

Students enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at Chaparral
Chaparral High School hosted the 27th Annual Thanksgiving Feast on Wednesday, November 18. 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.

El Capitan Shines at National FFA Convention & Expo

El Capitan FFA student Tatiana Woliung with her project
The El Capitan High School FFA program competed at the 88th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky on October 28-31. The National FFA Convention & Expo is the organization’s premier gathering during which all FFA competitive events, programs and awards are recognized on a national stage. The event brings FFA members together to learn, be inspired and celebrate their accomplishments in the organization.

Top honors recognizing outstanding student achievement went to:

Tyler Mellott and Danny McMullen
3rd place
Gold Award
Food Products and Processing Advanced Team

Tatiana Woliung
9th place
Silver Award
Animal Systems Advanced Individual

Ralph Eastham
12th place
Silver Award
Food Products and Processing Individual

We are very proud of our students for their hard work in reaching this level of competition as well as the outstanding program at El Capitan High School.

Health Pathways Students Attend Men in Nursing Conference

A Health Pathway senior observes valves in a cow heart 
On Friday, November 6th, GUHSD Health Pathway students attended the Men in Nursing conference, hosted at Grossmont College. Students interacted with industry professionals, explored nursing as a career, met with local nursing programs, dissected a cow heart, toured the simulation nursing lab, and practiced the skill of manually taking a blood pressure. The hands-on experience, coupled with the mentorship of actual health care practitioners has helped prepare these future nurses to succeed in their future programs of study!

Special Education Hosts Dutch Educators

Dutch Educators meet with Superintendent Swenson
Last month, the Special Education Career Center and the El Cajon Valley High School Mod/Severe Special Education Department hosted eleven Special Education teachers from the Netherlands. The opportunity grew out of a partnership with the SDSU Interwork Institute and Director Dr. Caren Sax. This was the third year that the two departments collaborated in hosting the Dutch educators. The visit included the sharing of programs, curriculum, and strategies and services to assist the teachers in developing inclusive education and experiences for students with special needs. The group was treated to a visit by Superintendent Swenson, who shared his family's experience of when he hosted a Dutch Foreign Exchange Student. 

In 1973, the United States passed the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the first groundbreaking legislation regarding education for students with disabilities. This Act ensured all students, regardless of the disability, a free and appropriate education. The Netherlands enacted their first legislative act, the Act of Inclusive Education, thereby strengthening the expectation that individuals with disabilities be educated and employed alongside their non-disabled peers. The goal of the Dutch Educator tour is to assist, educate, collaborate and support our fellow teachers around the world to provide what is every student’s right regardless of (dis)ability. 


The Grossmont Athletic Conference is experiencing quite a bit of success in the CIF-SDS Fall sport playoffs. 

Tonight we have six quarterfinal football games scheduled. Helix Charter, Grossmont, Valhalla, and Granite Hills will all be at home, while Steele Canyon travels to Grossmont, and Santana plays at University City. All games begin at 7:00 p.m.

The Volleyball Division 4 Championship will be decided tonight with El Capitan taking on Calexico at 7:00 p.m. at Canyon Crest High School.

On Saturday the Cross Country Championships will be held at Morley Field in Balboa Park. Ten races are run, with the first at 8:30 a.m. and the last race going off at 1:25 p.m. All eleven of our schools will be represented. 

Two more Volleyball Championships are scheduled for Saturday at Cathedral Catholic High School. In the Division 3 Final, Steele Canyon vs. Mission Bay will begin at 11:00 a.m., with Valhalla trying to defeat Olympian at 1:15 p.m. to claim the Division 2 crown. 

Also on Saturday, Valhalla's water polo match will be held at La Jolla High School at 4:45 p.m. to determine the Division 1 title.

Local news media will highlight our Football semifinals to be played over Thanksgiving weekend. We should also have teams playing in the State Volleyball playoffs and runners competing in the State Cross Country meet on Saturday, November 28. 


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.

Superintendent Ralf Swenson

Friday, November 13, 2015

What's New in GUHSD

26th Annual JROTC Veterans Day Ceremony at Mount Miguel

Mount Miguel JRTOC Cadets render honor to those who have served
Veterans were remembered with honor on the morning of Monday, November 9, as the JROTC Program at Mount Miguel High School held its 26th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony. Principal Kim Hedrick 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 Dearmin Kassab introducing the key leaders of the battalion and their companies, and he delivered a brief message on the significance of this important day.

Battalion XO Kassab with his Principal & Supt.
He 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. Over 250,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are deployed and stationed in more than 100 countries. Their determination and readiness to go where needed serve as 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.

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

Grossmont NJROTC Marksmanship Team Aims High

Grossmont NJROTC's Marksmanship Team
In further JROTC news, the Grossmont High School’s NJROTC program participated in the Area 11 Qualifier Match in Phoenix on Saturday, October 24. The match was hosted by Thunderbird High School and fired at the Ben Avery Range Complex. 

Grossmont High School’s Marksmanship Team Captain Anah Rosas fired a 276 to win the Area 11 Qualifying match in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, October 24, besting the entire compliment of Arizona shooters along with shooters from three California schools.

Following up her impressive win was Cadet Khaing who fired a 272 to finish fourth. The team fired a school record of 1,030 to take third place in the intensely competitive match. The team also earned five individual medals. Cadet Rosas earned a medal for first overall and top kneeling shooter. Cadet Than earned medals for second place in both the standing and prone categories. Cadet Callista Zaenger earned a medal during the JV match for the top score in the prone position. The Grossmont High Cadets have now qualified for the Area 11 Championship Match in January. 

Mount Miguel Hosts Visiting Dignitary

Mount Miguel JROTC Cadets with LTG Jeffrey Talley
Mount Miguel High School hosted an Army Advisory Council luncheon with Lieutenant General Jeffrey W. Talley, Chief of Army Reserve and 7th Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command, on Thursday, November 12.

Lieutenant General Talley holds a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, Executive MBA from Oxford University, and several masters degrees. He has taught at LSU and Notre dame and was recently named a Harvard Fellow. He is notably the strongest proponent of education in the US Army.

Mount Miguel JROTC’s Armed and Unarmed Drills Teams performed for the large audience that included representatives from the Union Tribune, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, QUALCOMM, The Heroes, Point Mortgage, Interfaith Community Services, Cubic Corporation, T-Mobile, Solar Heroes and more.

Monte Vista Students Outdo Competition at Surrealism Hair Show

Monte Vista Cosmetology Pathway Students
On October 18, Monte Vista High School Cosmetology Pathway students competed at the Surrealism Hair Show. The event was hosted by the California Hair Design Academy at the Joan Kroc Theater in La Mesa. The event theme was “Flight of the Imagination.”

Monte Vista students swept the competition, taking home first, second and third place in the hair, costume and make-up division. Congratulations to all of our competing Monarchs!

Upcoming Annual Marching Band and Color Guard District Fall Showcase

The District Fall Showcase is an annual tradition
On Thursday, November 19, 2015, West Hills High School will host the GUHSD 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 by the Parent Music Advocacy Group (PMAG) features spectacular musical performances by students throughout the district. Tickets are $8.00 at the gate.

Superintendent Ralf Swenson

Friday, November 6, 2015

Update on the Alpine Lawsuit

Dear Parents and Staff:

Over the past year, I have communicated with you regularly regarding the Alpine lawsuit and its impact in blocking 11 of 14 bond-related school improvement projects on campuses throughout the Grossmont Union High School District. 

Today, I am writing to update you with information regarding the recent series of decisions and rulings related to the lawsuit filed against our school district by a small group of Alpine residents.
This week, after reviewing the evidence, Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman issued his final ruling in the case, dismissing the lawsuit and canceling all scheduled court dates, including a December trial date.

On the heels of that decision was an opinion entered by the Court of Appeals on GUHSD’s appeal to the Superior Court’s earlier granting of a preliminary injunction (which forced us to set aside $42 million).  The preliminary injunction would have remained in place pending the outcome of the permanent injunction trial in December, unless the matter was overturned on appeal or the final matter was decided or dismissed.

On Wednesday, we received word that Judge Pressman had vacated his final ruling in light of the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s decision.  Judge Pressman indicated he will set a hearing to reconsider his ruling.  He has requested that both parties appear in court today at 1:45 p.m. for a Status Conference and to set dates for the new hearing.

We remain optimistic that after further consideration of the evidence, the court will come to the same conclusion as issued in the final ruling and ultimately dismiss this matter. We will update you as this matter unfolds.

Superintendent Ralf Swenson