Superintendent’s Message

October 24, 2016


  • Welcome to our board meeting! We would like to thank Dr. Tom Gray and his team for working with Board Clerk Deanne Vicedo to prepare for tonight’s meeting here at Hilltop HS. There’s a lot to do to ensure a smooth-running board meeting including sound checks, recording checks, communication to all stakeholders regarding change in location to name a few. Much appreciation for Ms. Vicedo for her organizational skills and kudos to the Hilltop Lancer Team for getting the work done! Special thank you to Jose Sandoval who assisted with technology!
  • We want to acknowledge the loss of one of our employees, Victor Tapia, who worked at the district office in Student Support Services. Mr. Tapia served our Sweetwater community 20 years and we appreciate his contribution to thousands of students during this time. Later in our agenda you will hear a tribute to one of his efforts that’s on our agenda.
  • I want to acknowledge members of our Sweetwater team who have been recognized by partner organizations. First, 79th District Assembly Woman Shirley Weber selected Board President Nick Segura for a Latino/Hispanic American Leadership Award – he earned that distinction because of his work on our school board. BVM teacher Amy Cruz was awarded the Fortissimo Award – Teacher of the Year for the California Music Educators Association Southern Border Section (CMEA-SBS). Band teacher Ms. Cruz created a class last year where her band students were mentoring students with disabilities as they learned to play a recorder. The culminating event was a concert where both the band students played along with the students with disabilities! What a great way to learn empathy and compassion! The third recognition goes to a group – Becky Bravo, AP SoH and Jennie Carbuccia, General Counsel – were awarded by San Diego Chapter of Phi Delta Kappan with an Innovative Leadership Award for creating an Empower Hour for women administrators. Congratulations to all of you!
  • School is in session officially Monday through Friday for approximately 7 hours of teaching and learning. Some staff and some community members may be surprised that our staff – teachers, administrators, and classified – spend many more hours working and supporting our students well beyond the official expectation. There are clubs, athletics, visual and performing arts practices where our students and staff continue to teach and learn after school hours! And that’s not all. There are thousands, and I do mean thousands, of students and staff involved on the weekends, too!
    • Let me share some examples: this past Saturday I started my day at Olympian HS where close to 1000 middle school students participated in our Middle School Athletics league. Every middle school in our district in addition to the charter middle schools in CVESD, SDUSD, and San Ysidro MS compete against each other in softball, baseball, football, and cross country. Every field space was used at OLH. Every hour on the hour from 8am -2pm, games are played. With 1000 students and their families, we need to have teachers, administrators and our classified staff who coach and supervise. Standing ovation to Mr. Joe Heinz and Mr. Alex Estrada for organizing and leading the league!
    • After I watched for a while, I then drove over to SUHI where our inaugural Quad Copter Challenge was being held. NAVAir engineers volunteered as mentors to our high school students (CVH, ELH, HH, OLH, SOH, SUHI) as they designed and built their own quadcopter that had to complete an obstacle course. There were approximately 200 people present at this event including three of our board members – Mrs. Hall, Mr. Solis, and Mr. Tarantino. It was very, very awesome! Flying colors to Mr. Leo Ulloa, our STEAM Coordinator who organized this event.
    • When I tweeted the Quad Copter event, I got an invitation to a workshop that was also being held on SUHI’s campus. A group of approximately 20-25 Sweetwater teachers and student teachers were participating in a workshop (yes, on a Saturday), called, Global Voices – Digital Storytelling. It was exceptional! Applause to TOSA Kelly Leon for coordinating and SUHI teacher Missy Lawler who hosted.
    • The final event I attended on Saturday was a ribbon-cutting ceremony at ELH for a three site joint venture project between our district and the Greater San Diego City Tennis Council (GSDCTC). The project involved the renovation of 30 tennis courts at BVH, ELH, and MoH. These courts were professionally renovated and resurfaced in two-toned US Open blue and green at all three school sites. The renovation was financed by a combination of the following sources: SUHSD, San Diego Tennis Association, Bowden Family Foundation, Farrell Family Foundation, Randi and Charles Wax, BVH Woo Family, and the GSDCTC. The budget for the 30-court project was in excess of $155,000. We now have been able to renovate almost six of our 12 high schools. This is great news for our students and community who will be able to use these professionally surfaced tennis courts! The principals of the three high schools, many staff from planning, construction, and maintenance, students, staff, donors, and Mr. Tarantino attended this ceremony.
    • I know there were events and activities at almost every site in our district that day. When I started this portion of my message, I mentioned there were thousands of students and staff involved in co- and extra-curricular activities over the weekend! This more than proves we have amazing, dedicated staff who serve our students and families; and, I am so proud of the work they do both on official and unofficial times. I am going to call what I’ve just described as the “Sweetwater posi-tude” – Sweetwater staff exhibiting a positive attitude! Thank you Mrs. Hall for sharing that new word with me.
  • Congratulations to Helen Farias, SEA President, who was recently selected as the Executive Director of South County Teachers United. We say farewell and wish you the best! At least you are near and will stay in touch. Welcome to the new SEA President, MVH teacher Gene Chavira! We wish you the best as you begin your new role!
  • Before I close tonight I want to leave you with something to think about. Each morning when we awake, we have an opportunity to create our day with what inspires us the most. The moment we very first open our eyes and come into consciousness is a precious opportunity. It sets the tone for all that comes after it, like the opening scene in a movie or novel. It’s at this moment that our ability to create the day is at its most powerful. We empower what inspires us to be the guiding principle of our day. What is it that inspires you when you awaken? Or, perhaps this moment for you happens at the end of your day if you’re a person who thrives in the evening hours. At either the beginning or the end of the day, we can reaffirm our vision or affirmation as we move through the morning or evening. It’s important to recall this vision at various times throughout the day. Put a reminder on your phone or calendar or write it on a piece of paper and carry it with you. When we deliberately affirm our vision or what inspires us, we become active participants in the creation of our lives and how our day will proceed. I invite you to intentionally feed your self-fulfilling prophecy.


Thank you for the opportunity to serve and support each of you!

Karen Janney, Ed.D.


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