Friday, April 15, 2016

What's New in GUHSD

2016 – 2017 Teacher of the Year Recognition Ceremony

GUHSD 2016-17 Teachers of the Year
At the Governing Board meeting on April 14, we recognized the Teacher of the Year nominees from each of our schools. This is a great honor, as each nominee was selected by their peers. 

School site nominees are interviewed by a panel comprised of previous Teachers of the Year and District personnel. The panel selects two representatives from this distinguished group to recommend to our Board of Trustees for consideration for the San Diego County Teacher of the Year competition. If selected to represent the County, the next step is the California Teacher of the Year Competition. 

These GUHSD teachers are representative of the quality of our educators. I am pleased to present to you the GUHSD 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year:

El Cajon Valley High School ~ Anthony Devine 

El Capitan High School ~ Abigail Anders

Granite Hills High School ~ Carrie Gaeir

Grossmont High School ~ Megan Long

Monte Vista High School ~ Travis Engstrand

Valhalla High School ~ Christa Glavas

West Hills High School ~ Jamie Gwyn

Alternative Education/Chaparral High School ~ Matt Farley

Idea Center High School ~ Todd Meyers

And our two 2016 - 2017 GUHSD Teachers of the Year who advance to compete at the County level for San Diego County Teacher of the Year:

Dr. Mark Jeffers and Brooke Crocker, GUHSD Teachers of the Year, who advance to the County Competition

Brooke Crocker – Representing Santana High School

Ms. Crocker is a History Teacher who began teaching at Santana in 1994. She is very involved at Santana as AP/GATE Coordinator, US History PLC Leader, and Varsity Academic League Coach. She received the Varsity Academic League Coach of the Year award seven times and was a Golden Apple Award winner in 2007. 

Ms. Crocker realizes education is powerful and that being an educator is a gift. She is a well-respected teacher by her peers and the students at Santana. A senior student had this to say about her Ms. Crocker, “She is supportive, compassionate, and extremely hardworking. It’s obvious how much she cares for her students and how dedicated she is in helping them achieve success.” A colleague noted, “I have come to know her as one of the most dedicated and talented educators with whom I have ever worked.”

Dr. Mark Jeffers – Representing Mount Miguel High School

Dr. Jeffers is an English Teacher, who began teaching at Mount Miguel in 2004. He is very involved in the life of Mount Miguel as English Language Arts Department Chair, Academic Board of Directors, Matador Early College Coordinator/Facilitator, and East County Education Alliance – English Council Co-Chair. 

Dr. Jeffers founded the Matador Early College program at Mount Miguel at the start of his career as a teacher and has since grown the program to a position of being the highest-quality academic program on campus. He led a team in the development and implementation of a school-wide research and writing program. Those efforts have led to 82% of Mount Miguel’s students scoring near, at, or above standard in both writing and research this past school year, scores that exceed those of many traditionally higher-performing schools. Perhaps Mount Miguel Principal Dr. Kimberlee Hedrick said it best, “He’s not just our Teacher of the Year, he is the ambassador of all things great at Mount Miguel.”

Please join me in congratulating Brooke Crocker and Mark Jeffers, as well as our other inspirational Teachers of the Year! We are very proud to have these fine teachers represent their school sites and our district as our 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year.

Grossmont NJROTC Hosts Annual Military Inspection

Grossmont NJROTC Cadets Participate in Annual Military Inspection
Grossmont High School’s NJROTC unit conducted their annual military inspection on Thursday, April 7, 2016. The inspection, which requires a thorough review of all internal unit procedures as well as a detailed inspection of each cadet was conducted by Lieutenant Danielle Redmond, USN of HSC-70 Helicopter Squadron based on North Island. 

Lieutenant Redmond, a former High School NJROTC Commanding Officer, inspected the entire unit, was the reviewing officer for the cadets’ parades, and heard the cadets staff briefing before departing. Lieutenant Redmond met with cadets and spoke about setting and achieving their career goals. Her review of the unit will be forwarded to the Commanding Officer of Naval Service Training Command. The cadets were rated as excellent/outstanding by the Lieutenant. 

El Cajon Valley Students Conduct Brain Surgery

El Cajon Valley students dissecting a sheep brain
El Cajon Valley teacher Lynette Smith's Physiology students had the opportunity to test their skills and knowledge this week when they dissected a sheep brain. Working in teams, these El Cajon Valley Health Pathway students applied their learning from their current Nervous System unit by identifying brain structures such as the corpus callosum, pituitary gland and medulla oblongata. 

Many Health Pathway students list "Neurosurgeon" as one of their possible career objectives, so having the opportunity to participate in these types of hands-on experiences in high school gives these young people a head start on their futures.

GUHSD Students Attend Pre-Professional Health Conference

GUHSD Health Pathway Students Attend SDSU Health Conference
Nearly four dozen Health Pathway students representing all six health careers pathways in Grossmont Union High School District attended the 11th annual Catch the Wave to Success Pre-Professional Health Conference at San Diego State University last month. The annual event was hosted by SDSU's Pre-Professional Health Office.

The day began with inspiring keynote speaker Dr. Connie Mariano, the first military woman to become the White House Physician and the first female Director of the White House Medical Unit. She motivated the group to follow their passions and grow from their mistakes. Students and Health Pathway teachers Penny McDowell, Corrie Biggerstaff and Brendan Casey then ventured out into intensive workshops where they learned about career pathways in medicine, stem cell and cancer research, as well as college and military options from doctors, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, nurses, chiropractors, and researchers. 

Some students attended a breakout session where they practiced suturing. Following lunch, Dr. Kristian Brown, provided insight about the life of a transplant surgeon. The day wrapped up with a campus tour and a graduate school and volunteer fair where Health Pathway students were able to practice their soft skills and learn about volunteer and community service opportunities related to health and medicine.

SDCOE Unanimously Approves Trustee Areas for GUHSD

On April 13, the San Diego County Board of Education, acting as the San Diego County Committee on School District Organization (CCSDO), unanimously adopted the resolution approving the implementation of by-trustee-area elections for the Governing Board of the Grossmont Union High School District.

On February 25, the GUHSD Board of Trustees adopted Map Option #1 and also voted to seek a waiver from the California Department of Education as outlined above.  As the next steps in the process, the By-Trustee Area Election Plan and GUHSD Adopted Map were submitted to CCSDO and the waiver was submitted to the State Department of Education for separate consideration by each body. 

The CCSDO conducted six duly-noticed Public Hearings throughout the GUHSD boundaries to gather public input regarding the proposed change in election process and the GUHSD adopted Trustee Area Map.  Hearings were held in La Mesa, El Cajon, Alpine, Lemon Grove, Jamul and Lakeside, and on April 13 the CCSDO approved of the plan for Grossmont to move to By-Trustee Area elections as well as the GUHSD adopted Map. 

The State Board of Education will act on the waiver at its regular meeting on May 11 and 12.  Upon approval of the waiver, the Registrar of Voters will begin the process of establishing the GUHSD trustee areas and the new By-Trustee-Area election process will be effective with the November 2016 GUHSD Governing Board election.


In closing, I share with you a number of board recognitions which showcase the athletic achievements of our talented students:

2016 CIF-SDS Girls Varsity Basketball Division IV Champions, Grossmont High School

2016 CIF-SDS Girls Varsity Soccer Division II Champions, Valhalla High School

 2016 CIF-SDS Girls Varsity Soccer Division III Champions, Helix Charter High School

2016 State CIF Wrestling Champion Trence Gillem, Helix Charter High School