Friday, February 26, 2016

What's New in GUHSD


A recent lawsuit against the California Department of Education (CDE) is impacting all school districts across the state, including Grossmont Union High School District.

In April 2012, two organizations, the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association and the Concerned Parent Association, filed a lawsuit against the CDE alleging widespread, systemic noncompliance by local education agencies with special education laws. The suit also alleges the CDE fails to monitor, investigate and correct such noncompliance in accordance with the law. The CDE denies these allegations and is actively defending the litigation.

As part of the litigation discovery process, the plaintiffs have requested numerous documents as well as student data collected and stored by the CDE. Many of the requested documents and data stored in the CDE databases contain personally identifiable information (PII) of children, including children with disabilities, children who requested an assessment or who were assessed for special education eligibility, and children who are attending or who have attended a California school at any time since January 1, 2008. Although the CDE has contested the production of such information, the court at this juncture has ordered the CDE to produce to plaintiffs’ legal counsel documents and data that contain student PII. Included in the court’s order to produce documents and data is a Protective Order prohibiting the plaintiffs and their legal counsel from disclosing confidential information acquired in the course of the lawsuit, including PII, to anyone other than the parties, their attorneys and consultants, and the court. None of this information may be used outside the context of this lawsuit; no student’s identifying records will be disclosed to the public.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) sets out the requirements for the protection of privacy of parents and students, including privacy of student records. Generally, parents and/or students must provide written consent before an educational agency may disclose PII. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Specifically, an educational agency must provide PII when ordered by a court, which the CDE has been ordered to do in this litigation. The CDE is obligated to inform the parent or student that the court has ordered it to produce documents and/or data that includes those individuals’ PII and that such persons may object directly to the court regarding this disclosure.

A copy of the court order along with the form wherein parents can object and opt out of sharing their student information is online at the CDE website here. The form must be submitted by April 1.

Annual PTA Founders Day Celebration

GUHSD Officials and PTSA Representatives at the Founders Day Brunch
On Tuesday, February 23, I joined school administrators, principals, teachers, school board members, superintendents and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) leaders from across San Diego County to celebrate the founding of the PTA and its rich history of accomplishment.

This year’s Ninth District PTA Annual Meeting/Founders Day Celebration Brunch was held at the Scottish Rite Center. Several of our local PTSA presidents were in attendance including Foothills Secondary Council PTA President Lisa Stewart. We deeply appreciate our local PTSA leadership and its service on behalf of our youth.

The Founder’s Day event underscores the dedication and commitment that the members of our school PTAs offer. Parent involvement and presence makes a positive difference at our high schools.

If you are not a member of your school’s PTSA, I encourage you to get involved.  Membership forms are located in your school office and on your school or PTSA website.  Please join today.

El Cajon Valley Invites Public to Grand Re-Opening of Museum on Saturday

Museum Memorabilia on Display at El Cajon Valley
The public is invited to a grand re-opening of El Cajon Valley High School’s museum on Saturday, February 27, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The new museum features memorabilia and highlights school events dating back to its inception in 1955. Please join us and learn more about El Cajon Valley’s rich history as the third school in the Grossmont Union High School District. 

Save the Date: Grossmont College Open House on 3/5

Grossmont College is hosting an Open House on Saturday, March 5, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Grossmont College is located at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon.

Attend this event to learn about:

·      Financial Aid and other Student Services
·      Short-term training, certificate and degree programs
·      Transferring to a four-year college or university
·      Student leadership and extracurricular opportunities

Students will also be able to apply that day, speak with a counselor, tour the campus and more. To RSVP, visit this link. The first 100 GUHSD students to register will receive a free lunch. For questions, please email

Superintendent Ralf Swenson