Superintendent Message – February 10, 2020

  • Superintendent Message – Board Meeting February 10, 2020
  • Welcome to our second Board Meeting of 2020!
  • Once again, we want to acknowledge the loss of another Sweetwater employee – Robert Blas, Instructional Health Care Assistant at ELH/Coach Extraordinaire at ELH & BVH. Mr. Blas worked with Sweetwater for the past 25 years after graduating from Montgomery HS. He grew up in our district and then chose to give back. He launched the girls’ lacrosse program and, according to colleague Jauhn Hinkle, “he was a big advocate for women’s sports.” The students, parents, and staff of the Eastlake community refer to Mr. Blas as a kind, positive, and supportive educator. “We can all honor his legacy,” said Dr. Cooke, “by continuing his work of making sure that all students feel that they belong to something special.” Here’s a quote from Mr. Blas, “Everyday life…we always go through challenges. We always have things to conquer.  Just never give up. You can do what you need to do….and you got it!”  Great advice for all of ….rest in peace Mr. Blas!
  • I want to give a huge shout-out to the AP Computer Science Principles teachers and counselors at CPH – teacher Daniel Pearson, MVH – Chip Case & Anthony Villanueva, MoH – Devon Senneseth for being recognized with the College Board AP Computer Science Principles Female Diversity Award – your schools are closing the gender gap and engaging more female students in computer science coursework. Your schools have reached 50% or higher female representation in this AP course in 2019 or whose percentage of female examinees met or exceeded that of the school’s female population. This is a fabulous achievement! Kudos to all high schools in our district for increasing the number of AP Computer Science sections over the past 5 years. We had 16 sections across the district in 2015; this year we have 53 sections of AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles. According to TOSA Art Lopez, we added a new course this year called, “Exploring Computer Science.” In 2018-19, there were 797 students enrolled in the AP CSP course; 677 passed with a “C” or better; 258 females were enrolled with 247 earning a “C” or better. In total, we had 376/586 students passed the AP CSP exam for a 65% pass rate.
  • The Chula Vista Star News Reader Poll results are out for the Best of South County. Congratulations to CVH teacher Charles Batchman for being selected as the Silver Star winner for “Best Teacher!”
  • So far, two groups in Sweetwater have been chosen as a Chula Vista Champions by the City of Chula Vista: ELH PTSA, President Dania Avalos and SUHSD Adult School Program. Congratulations to both organizations – if any other group is being recognized, please let us know! The awards event is planned for Saturday, Feb. 29th at the Olympic Training Center, 11:00am.
  • SUHSD STEM Science Fair Results: there were 166 students who placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th place in the junior and senior divisions and categories like Engineering – Energy & Transport, Electrical & Mechanical, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Behavioral & Social Science, Earth & Planetary Science, Environmental Sciences & Management, Medicine & Health Sciences, Microbiology, Physics & Astronomy, Plant Sciences, Product Testing, and Animal Sciences. The Sweepstakes Award Winners in the Junior Division are Hunter Haynes, Life Sciences – BVM, teacher Mr. Kennerly; Lucas Fouch, Physical Sciences – BVM, teacher Ms. Shimasaki.  Senior Division winners are: Noah Nafarrete, Life Sciences – BVH, teacher Dr. Mardahl; Audrey Vargas, SUHI, teacher Mr. Chase; Aurora Czajkowski – Physcial Sciences- BVH, teacher Dr. Mardahl. Congratulations to all the winners and teachers!
  • Congratulations to Granger Jr. High – because of their participation in The Great Kindness Challenge, led by teacher Lorena Jarumayan, GJ has been designated as a Kindness Certified School!
  • This week we are hosting our first Budget/LCAP Advisory Committee. This committee includes representatives from all stakeholder groups: students, parents, teachers, counselors, classified staff, confidential staff, and administrators. It continues to be the preference of this Board and district leadership to approach our work and seek input in a collaborative way. We received clear direction from our Board that we are to right-size, restructure where possible, be more efficient, and keep reductions away from directly impacting students. That means looking for budget solutions that eliminate positions and not people, look for opportunities of increased revenue, and reduce general fund expenditures without directly impacting students! Please remember we have a link on our district website for all to submit budget ideas. I want to draw your attention to yesterday’s UT article with the headline: Nearly Every San Diego County School District may be spending more than it can afford. The article stated all but one district “are expecting to spend more than they take in, either this year or in the next two school years. Most are projecting to do so for all three years.” Kristen Taketa wrote, “School districts often say that they’re facing budget troubles because their enrollment – and thus the number of students for whom they can collect per-pupil state funding – is falling while mandatory costs, like special education and pensions, are increasing.” Even SDCOE’s Mike Simonson “said the most common reason he saw for districts’ financial struggles is declining enrollment.” Sweetwater is not alone. Here’s the link.
  • A Hilltop HS alumna Monica Hernandez is a local reporter/anchor for WMUR Channel 9 in Manchester, New Hampshire. You might have also seen her as a local anchor joined ABC News anchors George Stephanopoulos and David Muir in questioning candidates at the Democratic primary debate. Our alumni are making impacts across the nation!
  • I want to finish my message tonight with a YouTube video. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, a colleague shared this video with me, and I want to share it with you. In our community, in our state, and in our nation, we need and could use a lot More Heart – Less Attack!  Here’s the video.
  • Thank you very much!