Friday, May 27, 2016

What's New in GUHSD

East County High School and College District Boards Discuss Education Alliance Priorities

Members of the GUHSD & GCCCD Governing Boards
In their second joint meeting on May 17, the Governing Boards of East County’s college and high school districts set new priorities to expand and develop the East County Education Alliance, the two-year-old partnership to better prepare high school students for college and a career.

The Alliance was founded in 2014 by the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and the Grossmont Union High School District to smooth the transition between high school and college. The Alliance has begun promoting the Higher Edge scholarship, which will offer a free year of classes at Grossmont or Cuyamaca College to qualifying high school graduates, beginning with the class 2019.

The joint meeting was held to review the progress made and to set priorities for the Alliance. Board members also approved priorities for the Alliance, which include expansion of the Alliance partnership, better alignment of high school and college curriculum, improved career pathways for students, and engaging the East County community in supporting the work of the Alliance.

Representatives from the Alliance are visiting all GUHSD schools to tell current ninth-graders about the Higher Edge scholarship promise and let them know the steps they will need to take to be eligible for a Higher Edge scholarship.

To receive a scholarship, students must maintain a cumulative minimum 2.0 GPA and begin college within a year after they graduate from high school. Students must fill out a financial aid form and participate in an orientation and educational assessment. To help prepare them for college, students will need to participate in events to learn about college and take a college success course. For more information about the scholarship, go to

A key goal of the scholarship is to get students and parents excited about the prospect of college, so this year’s freshmen, who will be the first to benefit, all received congratulatory letters informing them they are eligible for the Higher Edge scholarship promise. 

Three high school freshmen spoke to board members about how the Higher Edge scholarship promise and the work of the Alliance will make their futures brighter. For more information about the Alliance, go to

Mount Miguel JROTC Memorial Day Ceremony

Mount Miguel JROTC's annual Memorial Day Ceremony
Mount Miguel High School JROTC held its annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 13, 2016. The program began with Battalion Executive Officer Cadet Major Dearmin Kassab providing a brief history and understanding of the significance of this important day.

The program included the playing of Reveille, followed by the National Anthem, as the flag was raised.

Originally, Memorial Day was called “Decoration Day,” because it was traditionally marked by parades, memorial speeches, ceremonies, and the decoration of gravesites with flowers and flags. In honor of this tradition, Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Johnlester Simon served as Honor Bearer, placing an American Flag, a helmet, and a pair of boots at the base of the flag pole. He then slowly saluted the flag as a symbol of respect and honor to those who have served and sacrificed their lives for America’s freedom.

The ceremony closed as the flag was lowered while To the Colors and Taps were played.

Santana Students 2016 State Champions for Engineering Design Challenge

2016 State Champions Victoria Hilke, Cole Stromberg & Nathan Garrett with teacher Jason Kay
On Saturday April 16, 2016 over 90 Project Lead the Way (PLTW) high school engineering teams from five regions throughout the state competed in the annual PLTW engineering design challenge. 

The top three teams from each region then go on to compete for the state championship in Sacramento.  Santana's engineering team earned a top three finish in the Southern Regional competition back in April and was awarded a spot to compete in the state championship on May 14, 2016. 

The top 15 teams in the state met at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning and each team of students was given an undisclosed design brief. The teams were tasked to develop a "Smart Toy" that ran off an iPAD that would serve a specific educational purpose for various child age groups.  The teams had only had 6.5 hours to come up with a design, create technical drawings for their design, and make a presentation in front of various engineers from around the state of California.

Students Victoria Hilke, Cole Stromberg, and Nathan Garrett finished in first place, claiming the PLTW Engineering Design Challenge state championship for 2016. Victoria Hilke created the amazing drawings; Cole Stromberg crafted flawless CAD parts using his amazing technical skills; and Nathan Garrett led the group with his innovative ideas.  It was a true team effort where all three students delivered an impressive five-minute presentation to the judges. For their efforts, each student was awarded the grand prize of a brand new laptop computer.

Mr. Kay's engineering program at Santana High School has been dominating this event.  His teams have made it to the state finals five of the past seven years and this is the third state championship over that span.  

Monte Vista Auto Competes in Cuyamaca College’s Auto Skills Day

Monte Vista auto teacher Mike Fleming and students with their new tools
On May 7, fourteen students from Monte Vista High School and teacher Mike Fleming had a very successful experience at Cuyamaca College's Auto Skills Day event. Now in its 37th year, the annual event showcases Cuyamaca College’s automotive technology program with high school and college students turning wrenches in head-to-head competition.

Our students competed in skills covering eight areas of the automobile: engine repair; engine performance, drivetrain, suspension, steering, brakes, heating/air conditioning; and electrical.

In the basic competition, students Angel Segura and Ismael Hernandez took first place with each earning about $400 in tools. Student Erik Palomares took third in the advanced competition and was awarded with approximately $300 dollars in tools. 

Congratulations to our students with thanks to Cuyamaca College for their partnership in helping our students grow in their passion.

Student Expo Leadership Training

GUHSD students participate in leadership training
Students leaders from all six GUHSD Health Career Pathways gathered at El Cajon Valley High School on May 17 to prepare for the upcoming inaugural GUHSD Health Career Pathways Awards and Student Expo at Grossmont College's Griffin Gate on June 1. This is the first event of its kind, bringing together leaders from all of our health career pathways across the district. 

These leaders learned about other Health Career Pathways in the district, interacted with leaders from other schools, practiced their presentation skills, refined their leadership and had fun! Every student did an impressive job representing their site's health pathway. Special thanks is extended to site coordinators Lyn Smith and Corrie Biggerstaff,  and the East County Career Center’s Sylvia Sposato for helping to facilitate the training.

GUHSD's 2016-17 Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)

GUHSD's 2016-17 Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and Executive Summary drafts are available for input on our district website. Please see link below to view the LCAP, the LCAP Executive Summary and stakeholder survey. Your feedback is requested by June 3.

The Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) is an important component of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Under the LCFF funding system, revenue limits and most of the state's 50 categorical programs have been eliminated. 

Under the LCFF, all local educational agencies (LEAs), or school districts, are required to prepare an LCAP, which describes how they intend to meet annual goals for all pupils, with specific activities to address state and local priorities. 

More information on LCFF and LCAP is available here.

Orchestra Showcase Tonight

Tonight, West Hills High School will host the GUHSD Orchestra Showcase at 6:30 p.m. Please join us for a wonderful evening of music performed by several high school orchestras in the district. Our music directors have a wonderful program planned. This event is presented by the Parent Music Advocacy Group (PMAG). Admission is $5.00 for adults and high school students. Admission for middle school students, seniors, and military, is free.

Superintendent Ralf Swenson