Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

October 31, 2012
Hot Cheetos banned from schools

Several Pasadena schools are banning Flamin' Hot Cheetos from their campuses saying they are too high in fat and sodium, reports the Los Angeles Times. Schools won't sell the hugely popular treats and kids won't be able to pack them in their school lunches.

This action comes on the heels of reports that the Hot Cheetos are causing some kids to have heartburn and may turn their stools red. Some health officials believe the high fat and salt content make the snacks addictive.

There is no doubt Hot Cheetos are popular with kids. So popular, in fact, that kids in
the Minneapolis North Community YMCA's Beats and Rhymes Program have written a rap about it and another treat called Takis that has 3.7 million views on YouTube.

October 30, 2012
A vote in error? Twin Rivers Unified reconsiders law firm choice

By Melody Gutierrez

Twin Rivers Unified School District trustees called a special board meeting for Wednesday to reconsider the law firm the board recently voted to hire.

The board voted Saturday to sever ties with its current law firm Timothy M. Cary and Associates and hire Meyers Nave, a firm with more than 80 attorneys in six offices statewide.

However, trustees said the 4-3 vote for Meyers Nave may have been in error, prompting Wednesday's 5 p.m. board meeting at the district's office, 5115 Dudley Blvd., Bay A, McClellan.

Trustee Bob Bastian said he meant to vote for Fagen, Friedman and Fulfrost at Saturday's meeting and was told he could not reconsider his vote once it was made. Trustees Linda Fowler, Walter Garcia Kawamoto and Rebecca Sandoval also voted for Meyers Nave. Trustees John Dexter, Cortez Quinn and Michael Baker voted no.

Bastian said he did not realize he was voting for Meyers Nave during Saturday's board meeting and asked that the motion be reconsidered.

"There were several aspects that were confusing," Bastian said. "I did ask for reconsideration and I was told I couldn't do that by our legal counsel."

October 29, 2012
Natomas boy to be guest correspondent on 'The Doctors'

GOLDEN APPLE - Nine-year-old boy genius Tanishq Abraham is making headlines again. The Natomas boy is reappearing on the CBS daytime program "The Doctors" at 2 p.m. Tuesday. He will be a special correspondent reporting on the health benefits of pumpkins.

Tanishq appeared on a pop-quiz segment "Do You Want to Be a MD?" on the program previously.

The Bee featured Tanishq in an article two years ago when the child, then 7, was enrolled in a class at American River College.

October 29, 2012
Twin Rivers Unified to sever ties with its law firm

Twin Rivers Unified School District trustees voted to sever ties with its current law firm Timothy M. Cary and Associates and hire Meyers Nave, a firm with more than 80 attorneys in six offices statewide.

In a 4-3 vote during a board meeting on Saturday, Twin Rivers trustees voted to give Cary's firm its 30-day notice, while reserving the right to extend the notice if necessary, said district spokeswoman Zenobia Gerald.

Voting in favor of Meyers Nave were trustees Linda Fowler, Walter Garcia Kawamoto, Rebecca Sandoval and Bob Bastian. Trustees John Dexter, Cortez Quinn and Michael Baker voted no. The school district's trustees were also considering Fagen, Friedman and Fulfrost.

October 29, 2012
Didion unhappy about use of red pencil, teacher recalls

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: Charles Warner called this morning. The 92-year-old was the print shop teacher at McClatchy High School for 30 years, more than 30 years ago.

He wanted to talk about "Free speech lesson's for real" - a story in today's paper on a debate over whether school officials should be able to approve advertising copy in student publications.

He says that McClatchy High's vice principals reviewed all copy that went into "The Prospector" back then - advertising and editorial.

The policy was upsetting to a young Joan Didion, he said. He remembers the unhappy young journalism student showing him the copy of a story she had written. The vice principal had stricken much of what she had written with a red pen.

"I told her 'You are smart enough to write around his red lines,' " Warner said.

And she was.

So, did Warner object to the policy. "I didn't care one way or the other I just had to get four pages out every week."

October 29, 2012
Dying Sacramento mom urges people to help save local teen

Sacramento mom Ann Silberman is dying. And she wants you to consider how you can save a life, but not hers.

In an opinion column that ran in Sunday's Forum in The Bee, Ann explained how joining the bone marrow registry as a donor can save someone's life. All it takes is a cheek swab and a commitment to step up should you be a match.

"Whose life will you save?" Ann wrote in her column. "How about my son's friend, Kurt Lee? Kurt is a 16-year-old boy diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. He is of Chinese descent and now needs a bone marrow transplant. Can you imagine being 16, missing two years of school - the world of teenage fun: homework and crushes and sports - all going on without you? Can you imagine living your life on chemotherapy, feeling sick and constantly exhausted?
... I won't survive this cancer experience; it's too late for me. But Kurt can live and you can make it happen."

There is a bone marrow drive today for Kurt and others in need. It's from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Mira Loma High School, where Kurt attended school until he relapsed recently. For more on the bone marrow drive, click HERE.

To read Ann's column, click HERE.

October 29, 2012
Study ranks power of teachers unions across the country

California's teachers unions are the nation's sixth strongest in terms of raising money and influencing politics and policy, according to a study released today by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an educational think tank in Washington, D.C.

The study found Hawaii's teachers unions are the most influential, followed by those in Oregon, Montana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and California.

The Bee's Dan Walters has more on the study on Capitol Alert.

October 26, 2012
California now has more than 1,000 charter schools

Enrollment in California's charter schools increased by 17 percent over last year. The schools now serve 484,000 students at 1,065 schools - the highest number of charter schools and charter school students in the country, according to a report released by the California Charter Schools Association Wednesday.

Once again this school year a majority of charters that opened are in the Los Angeles area - 40. Sonoma County added 12 new charters, San Diego County 10 and Alameda County six.

The Sacramento region added six new charters this school year - two less than it did last year. Three of those charter schools - with a total of 401 students - are in the city of Sacramento and three - with a total of 806 students - are in Placer County.

The foothills has gained schools that primarily focus on independent study, while two of the three new urban charters mainly focus on closing the minority achievement gap.

Sacramento's new charters include Leroy Greene Academy in Natomas, as well as Oak Park Preparatory and William Lee College Prep in the Oak Park neighborhood.
Placer County's charters include Forest Charter School, Alta Vista Community Charter School and Placer County Pathways Charter School.

See Tuesday's Bee for more on the region's new charter schools

October 26, 2012
Delaying kindergarten leads to future success, study says

RP FIRST DAY FEARS.JPGIt's a decision that has been known to cause anxiety for parents with children whose birthdays are during the summer or early fall months. Do I enroll my child in kindergarten during the first year they qualify, making them one of the youngest in their class? Or do I wait a year when they would be one of the oldest?

A study at the University of British Columbia is getting some attention for the link researchers are making between children's birth months and their chances of becoming a successful CEO.

Researchers attributed the low number of company leaders in the S&P 500 with birth dates in June and July to the cutoff dates for school admissions. In other words, students with June and July birth dates tend to be among the youngest in their classes.

Of the 375 CEOs in the study, 23 percent were born in March and April combined. There were a combined 12 percent of CEOs with birthdays in June and July, despite more babies being born during those months.

Here is a link to a news story and a link to the actual study.

In full disclosure, I was born in July. However, I repeated kindergarten. No word yet on how this affects my chances of running a top publicly-traded company.

October 25, 2012
Race track event teaches students effects of distracted driving

CarOnCourse.CHP.jpgFour students from Mesa Verde High School learned first-hand the dangers of distracted driving earlier this week when they participated in an event that put them behind the wheel of a car at the raceway in Sonoma.

Students were asked to change lanes at freeway speeds as well as complete a timed course while an instructor rattled off a list of things to do -- send a one-word text message, adjust the radio, open the sun roof. Instructors from the Simraceway Performance Driving Center oversaw and rode with the students.

Seven students from Sonoma State University, Marin Catholic High School and Mesa Verde High School participated in the event, which was in partnership with St. Joseph Health of Sonoma County, the Simraceway Performance Driving Center, Farmers Insurance and the California Highway Patrol.

"I already knew not to drive distracted, but it showed how your reaction times are affected," said Wil Chavez, a Mesa Verde junior. "If you aren't distracted, you pay more attention to the road."

October 24, 2012
Wanted: Principals. No prior experience needed.

San Juan Unified is looking for a few good community leaders to be Principals for a Day on Nov. 7.
The residents will be paired up with an actual principal to get an inside look at the day-to-day operation of a school.

The "principals" will start their day at 7:30 a.m. by greeting families. They will spend the rest of the morning visiting classrooms, attending assemblies and talking with teachers before attending a luncheon with their host principals.

To sign-up, volunteers should visit or call (916) 979-8281.

October 22, 2012
Golden Apple: Colfax students win with housing invention

Thumbnail image for CHS 2012-13 Photo J. Schwartz.JPGGolden Apple: This week's Golden Apple award goes to a group of Colfax High School students who will be showcasing their award-winning invention next year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass.

The Colfax High School students' project was awarded up to $10,000 in grant funding in the Lemelson-MIT Program's InvenTeam competition. Their project was selected along with 15 other teams across the country for its potential to be a readily available tool that will design emergency relief housing.

In its 10th year, the program awards up to $10,000 in grant funding for students to "pursue year-long invention projects that address real-world problems."

InvenTeam encourages high school students to apply lessons from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to develop invention prototypes. Students will showcase their projects in June 2013 at MIT.

Colfax High junior Patrick Bradshaw said their team was looking at the basic needs of people, from food and water, to energy and housing when deciding what they would focus their project on.

"We decided to tackle housing," Bradshaw said. "There are a lot of organizations that make materials, so we focused on the layout."

October 22, 2012
Afternoon ceremony to honor General Davie Jr.

Retired superintendent General Davie Jr. will be honored at 3 p.m. today, Oct. 22, when San Juan Unified officials rename a preschool facility in his honor.

Davie began his career in education as a teacher in the Elverta Joint Union School District. He was the superintendent at San Juan Unified from 1997 through 2005. After his retirement, he served as interim superintendent in the Natomas Unified School District and on the boards of the San Juan Education Foundation, Sacramento Children's Home and Sacramento Valley Symponic Band Association. He also plays bass clarinet in the Sacramento Symphonic Winds Community Band.

The popular district leader was named Superintendent of the Year in 1996 by the Sacramento Urban League and received the Marcus Foster Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership and significant contributions to education from the Association of California School Administrators.

The ceremony will beheld at the General Davie Jr., Primary Center, 1500 Dom Way
in Sacramento. There also will be a health and safety fair.

October 19, 2012
Sac City school trustee Ellyne Bell will resign

AOC_SchoolConference_105w.JPGSacramento City Unified School District trustee Ellyne Bell announced Thursday night that she will be stepping down from the school board at the end of the year.

Bell gave a 60-day deferred resignation after completing two years of her four year term.

After taking a job in San Francisco six months ago, Bell said she plans to relocate there at the beginning of the year.

"The work is increasing all the time and to run an organization and do this work to the best of my ability, I need to commit to being here in the city," said Bell, who is the executive director of the SAGE Project, an anti-human trafficking organization.

October 18, 2012
Fourth grade teacher nabs alleged tip jar thief

By Diana Lambert

Coach Todd Shadbourne was running with his soccer team in Elk Grove Monday evening when he saw two teenagers on bicycles being chased by people in green smocks.

The Starbucks employees were yelling for the bicyclists to stop.

Shadbourne let the first bicyclist whiz past, but jumped in front of the second teen, grabbed him by the belt loop and wrested him from his bike.

"Obviously, something wasn't right," said Shadbourne, who teaches fourth grade at Foulk's Ranch Elementary.

He was right. The two teens had just rode through the drive-thru of Starbucks at Elk Grove-Florin and Bond roads and snatched the tip jar from the window, according the Elk Grove Police Department.

Their bounty: $10 in bills and change.

October 15, 2012
No blue ribbon for local schools

For the second consecutive year, there were no schools in the four county region named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Statewide, 23 public schools and one private school received the honor from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for the 2011-2012 school year.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools where students achieve at high levels or have made significant progress to close the achievement gap.

The last school named a National Blue Ribbon School in Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado or Placer counties was in 2010 when Aspire's Capitol Heights Academy and Camellia Basic Elementary School, both in Sacramento City Unified, received the award.

October 15, 2012
Laguna Creek High students 'got milk' and $3,000

Got Milk - Laguna Creek_2[1].jpgLaguna Creek High School students are apparently eating more breakfast and drinking more milk.

The school won the "Got Milk? Breakfast Challenge" and $3,000 from the California Milk Processor Board.

The board wants to "encourage students to start the day off right with a nutritious breakfast with dairy milk for better academic performance and overall health."

Students were presented with the check during the half-time show at the Elk Grove/Laguna Creek Community Stadium Friday night.

Students at Florin, Pleasant Grove, Valley and Laguna Creek high schools held a three-week breakfast competition to see increase the number of students eating breakfast at school. Ultimately, Laguna Creek increased breakfast consumption - with milk - by 16 percent.

October 15, 2012
Golden Apple: Senior wins spot on All-American Marching Band

Thumbnail image for scottdowns.jpgGOLDEN APPLE AWARD: Granite Bay High School senior Scott Downs and his euphonium will travel to San Antonio Dec. 31 to Jan. 6 to become a member of the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.

The National Association of Music Education picked Downs' audition tape and 124 others from among 1,300 submitted by high school seniors across the country.

Thursday representatives from the U.S. Army visited the campus to formally ask Downs to be a member of the band.

"It was pretty neat because everyone was there to support me, and a lot of kids I didn't know came out to watch it and were chanting my name when I came out," Downs said.

The 17-year-old will play the euphonium - an instrument similar to a trombone with valves instead of a slide - in the band's baritone section.

This won't be Downs' first band performance. He has been a member of the Granite Bay High School marching band, as well as the Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps and Concord Blue Devils. Downs and the Concord Blue Devils won the Drum Corps International in August.

October 12, 2012
Galt residents come together to reopen school libraries

Community members sold cookies, held a spaghetti feed and donated household items for a giant rummage sale to help raise the money to reopen all six libraries in the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District.

The libraries were closed at the end of last school year to help address a $4 million budget shortfall.

The town's residents raised over $27,000 so far - enough to keep the libraries open until the Christmas break, said Superintendent Karen Schauer.

"This has really captured the hearts of the people here in our community," said Leesa Klotz, chairperson of the community committee that formed shortly after the meeting to raise money for the libraries.

The committee will continue to work to raise the $50,000 needed to keep the libraries open through the school year.

The school district will celebrate the re-opening of its libraries at a ceremony at 8:10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Marengo Ranch Elementary, 1000 Elk Hills Drive in Galt.

For more information about fundraising efforts, email or go to the Save Galt Elementary Libraries page on Facebook.

Read more about how the people of Galt saved their libraries in Saturday's Bee.

October 11, 2012
Folsom Cordova school leads local API gains with 90 point jump

Theodore Judah Elementary in the Folsom Cordova Unified School District increased its Academic Performance Index score by 90 points, marking the largest gain in the four county area among schools with at least 150 students.

State data released today shows 45 of 54 districts in the four-county area saw their scores improve, with a median improvement of eight points, or about 1 percent.

Among local leaders in API gains, Theodore Judah Elementary was followed by Folsom Cordova's Mather Heights Elementary (77) and Cottage Elementary in San Juan Unified (69).

Among schools with at least 150 students, John D. Sloat Elementary in Sacramento City Unified saw the largest decline (79 points), followed by San Juan's Greer Elementary (60) and Fairbanks Elementary in Twin Rivers (51).

Statewide, 53 percent of schools scored at or above the state target of 800, an increase of 4 percentage points over last year. Twenty percent of schools met or surpassed the API target 10 years ago.

"We've set a high bar for schools and they have more than met the challenge, despite the enormous obstacles that years of budget cuts have put in their way," State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said in a written statement. "The incredible efforts of teachers, administrators, school employees, parents, and students should serve as an inspiration to us all. While there's still more work to do, California's schools have earned a vote of confidence."

Related story: More than 50% of California schools hit academic score.

For more, read The Sacramento Bee on Friday.

October 11, 2012
Sacramento Be BRAVE conference to focus on bullying

Lisa Ford Berry will be among the speakers at an anti-bullying conference at the Saca Community Center on Oct. 20.

Berry's 17-year-old son, Michael, killed himself in 2008 after being the target of cyberbullying. He attended Mira Loma High School. Berry has since founded the Sacramento-based organization Bullies Really are Violating Everyone or BRAVE, one of the sponsors of the event.

The conference, which begins at noon, will include a number of sessions that will help families to deal with bullying and stay safe on the internet.

The Saca Community Center is at 2469 Rio Linda Boulevard in Sacramento. It is sponsored by BRAVE and Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

October 10, 2012
Trust fund set up for Skycrest Elementary students hit by car

Here's an item I thought was worth sharing from our Sacto 911 blog. It was written by Bill Lindeloff and Kim Minugh.

A trust fund has been set up and a carwash scheduled to help the family of two boys who were injured when hit by a driver in Citrus Heights last week.

Henry Perez-Rocha, 6, and his brother Juan, 8, were hit by the car shortly after 8 a.m. Friday in the intersection of Greenback Lane and Mariposa Road while walking to Skycrest Elementary School.

Witnesses said the boys were in the crosswalk when the car driven by Tresa Bales-Sterba sideswiped another car at the busy intersection, spun out of control and struck the boys.

Henry suffered head trauma and was last reported to be in critical condition. Juan has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.

Donations may be made at any Chase Bank under account number 423873525, according to a San Juan Unified School District e-newsletter. Any questions about the trust fund may be directed to Skycrest Elementary at (916) 867-2098.

A carwash has been scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Skycrest Elementary, 5641 Mariposa Ave in Citrus Heights. Volunteers will be accepting donations of any amount on behalf of the family.

Meanwhile, Orangevale resident Bales-Sterba, 52, has been released on $60,000 bail from the Sacramento County Jail. She had been booked into the jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, causing injury and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

October 10, 2012
California school information now offered in a snapshot

The California School Quality Snapshot will be released Thursday by the state department of education.

The new online tool will allow the user to select a school and see test scores, class size, fitness levels and graduation rates on a two-page report. It looks at five years of information, including California Standards Test results. A pie charts shows the school's enrollment by race.

Previously parents had to scan more than a dozen web pages to compile this information, said State superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a prepared statement.

To find Snapshot, beginning Thursday, go to the CDE website.

October 8, 2012
Golden Apple: Runnin' for Rhett gets kids moving

Rhettrace.JPGGOLDEN APPLE AWARD: This week's Golden Apple award goes to Runnin' for Rhett, an Elk Grove nonprofit that runs a youth fitness program at 24 local schools.

Runnin' for Rhett was formed in honor of Rhett Seevers, who was born with cerebral palsy and died in 2004 at age 7. His parents, Beth and Randy Seevers, founded the organization to encourage kids to run, which was something their son wanted to do, but never could.

The nonprofit runs a five week after-school training program in the spring and fall at two dozen schools. During the training programs, students meet twice a week with their coach to work on strength training, running and to learn about nutrition as they prepare to run a 5K.

The hard work of those students will culminate in the second annual Run Because You Can race on Oct. 28 at Crocker Park. The race is open to anyone, with the students beginning shortly after the general public. There is a 5K, 10K and kids run.

October 5, 2012
Petition may force West Sac district to hold special election

A recently appointed school board member in West Sacramento could be ousted from her seat after a petition was submitted Friday.

If 345 signatures on the petition are verified, the Washington Unified School District will be forced to hold a special election, which could cost the district around $100,000.

"This is a two year appointment," said Elizabeth Bagdazian, whose appointment has been called into question. "Our schools, our kids can't afford this."

Bagdazian was appointed Sept. 5 following the resignation of trustee Sandra Vargas.

After the appointment, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon alleged that the school district broke the law to keep the seat vacated by Vargas off the November ballot. Cabaldon said it was well known Vargas had moved out of the district and that her resignation was pending for many months.

He said her resignation arrived right after the deadline that would have put her seat on the November ballot.

"That magically gave the board the ability to appoint the seat," Cabaldon said recently. "The board is required by law to vacate the seat and take appropriate action. That would have been to put it on the November ballot."

For more on this story, read The Sacramento Bee on Saturday.

Get caught up on issues facing the Washington Unified district by reading this story HERE.

October 4, 2012
Lottery funds to schools increases

California state Controller John Chiang announced last week that $1.32 billion from the Lottery Education Fund has been paid to school districts and other agencies for the 2011-12 school year, according to a report from School Services of California.

K-12 saw an increase over last year - collecting $1.2 billion compared to $884 million.

October 3, 2012
Schools kick off recycling contest

299488_421296781261402_1757128681_n[2].jpgYesterday students from six schools - two in San Juan Unified and four in Natomas Unified - launched the Read, Write Recycle! contest.

Students at Natomas Park Elementary, Witter Ranch Elementary, Heron School, H. Allen Hite Elementary, Greer Elementary and Whitney Elementary will compete over five weeks to see who can collect the most paper, aluminum, glass and plastic.

The overall winner will be awarded $1,000. The top school in each district also will win $500.

The competition was kicked off Tuesday at Whitney Avenue Elementary School in Sacramento by Assemblyman Richard Pan and other officials.

"Between the enthusiasm these kids have for recycling and their spirit of friendly competition between schools, Read, Write, Recycle! is going to help them develop recycling habits that pay big dividends in terms of environmental responsibility," Pan said in a prepared statement.

October 3, 2012
International Walk to School Day fills local sidewalks

Lines of students and parents wended their way to school today in celebration of International Walk to School Day.

Locally thousands of student joined walking school buses or walked with parents.

Students at all 39 Elk Grove Unified elementary schools participated. Spirit rallies, safety presentations and entertainment added to the festive mood of the day.

Elitha Donner Elementary kids were greeted at school with a farmers market, followed by a spirit rally and a health and safety fair.

In North Natomas about 500 students walked to H. Allen Hight Elementary and Natomas Park Elementary, said Mellissa Meng, of the North Natomas Transportation Management Association. The organization will host similar events over the next two weeks at other North Natomas campuses.

H. Allen Hight students formed a walking school bus to get to school. Participants were rewarded with a "special pair of shoelaces and an apple," Meng said.

October 2, 2012
Students quiz San Juan Unified candidates

Five candidates running for three seats on the San Juan Unified School Board were grilled last night by a panel of high school seniors.

It was the second such forum sponsored by the district.

Wally Harmon and Sabine Wilson of Rio Americano High School and Megan Archer and Jared Anderson of El Camino High School asked candidates what skills they will bring to the job, the value they put on teaching arts in the class and how they would close the achievement gap.

Candidates Lucinda Luttgen, a retired teacher; Saul Hernandez, a business owner; Pam Costa, a retired teacher; Mike McKibbin, a retired educator; and John Hawes, a professor, answered questions before about 100 onlookers in the El Camino High cafeteria.

Mark Lennon, a veterans administrator, also is on the ballot but has withdrawn from the campaign, said Trent Allen, district spokesman. Lennon indicated that he would accept the seat if elected, Allen said. The Bee could not reach Lennon for comment.

Luttgen, the only incumbent running, faced an amicable group of competitors who all seem to agree the district is headed in the right direction.

McKibbin said educators need to continue to move away from assessments and toward project-based learning, and that district officials need to work harder to close the achievement gap.

Hawes, an online college professor, said technology is a key to student success. "My desire as a board member is to have cutting-edge programs that connect students to technology," he said.

Hernandez, a parent volunteer on school site councils and district committees, said parents want to be heard.

October 1, 2012
Rio Americano teacher wins coveted science award

Dean Baird.JPGGOLDEN APPLE AWARD: Rio Americano science teacher Dean Baird is being spotlighted with this week's Golden Apple Award.

Baird received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which is considered the highest honor in the nation for math and science teachers. In June, Baird represented California in the science category and became the 25th high school science teacher to receive the award since its inception in 1983.

Along with 96 other teachers, Baird was invited to the White House in June to be recognized for his accomplishments. Winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching received $10,000.

Baird has taught physics, physical science, computer science and electronics at Rio Americano in the San Juan Unified School District since 1986. He has also led workshops and outreach efforts for new high school physics teachers in Northern California. Baird has authored and co-authored numerous lab manuals and writes about teaching on his blog

(Photo by Rebecca Leroux/San Juan Unified School District.)

October 1, 2012
Rocklin superintendent disappointed in retaliation ruling

Rocklin Unified School District Superintendent Kevin Brown said he is disappointed in last week's Public Employment Relations Board decision that found the school district retaliated against four nurses.

Brown said he will recommend that school trustees appeal the ruling here RocklinPERB.pdf, which ordered Rocklin Unified to reinstate the nurses with two years of back pay, plus 7 percent interest.

Brown said the PERB Administrative Law Judge Robin Wesley "took the latitude to assume what our motivation was and then developed an argument to support her conclusion in spite of the evidence that was presented."

Wesley's ruling, which was reported by The Bee on Friday, found the Rocklin district violated the Educational Employment Relations Act by laying off nurses Jennifer Hammond, Genevieve Sherman, Susan Firchau and Jennifer Bradley.

October 1, 2012
Rio Americano musicians will take it to the streets

Bands from Rio Americano High School have performed at the Lincoln Center in New York to standing ovations. They have played jazz, rock, pop and reggae to appreciative audiences throughout the region.

But on Oct. 13 - from 4 to 8 p.m. - the musicians from the high school's nationally recognized program will be on the corner of 17th and I performing during Second Saturday.

There will be four hours of music by combos and soloists, on-site food trucks and artisans' booth.

About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

(916) 321-1073
Twitter: @LorettaSacBee
(916) 321-1090
Twitter: @dianalambert

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