Report Card

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

April 30, 2013
Paul Burke named principal of Oak Ridge High

Paul Burke has been named principal of Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills starting in July, the El Dorado Union High School District announced today.

Burke currently serves as principal at Samuel Jackman Middle School in the Elk Grove Unified School District. He spent his educational career serving as a teacher and vice principal at several Elk Grove school district sites during a 15-year period.

As a teacher, he taught high school business, and he served as department chairman for business and industrial technology at the middle school level.

April 27, 2013
Met High School principal in Sacramento speaks out about allegations

By Loretta Kalb

Met High School Principal Allen Young in Sacramento, placed on administrative leave this week pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct, says the allegations are false.

"The allegations are unfounded and will be proved as such at the conclusion of the investigation," Young wrote in an email Friday night to The Bee.

"I am a proud product of the Sacramento City Unified School District as a student, teacher and currently principal. For years I have taken students, with parental and district consent, to college previews.

"I have been honored to work with hundreds of amazing Metsters over the last six years. Met staff, families and the community have been essential to the success of our school. I am confident that the students and staff will continue to thrive. I am ready to get back to the job I love. At this point, I must trust the process."

District spokesman Gabe Ross on Friday that Principal Allen Young was placed on leave Wednesday afternoon, but said he could not provide details of the allegations.

"We're just beginning an investigation," he said.

The Met High School, at 810 V St., has an enrollment of 274 students. It is one of five charter campuses operated by the district. Ross said Assistant Principal Vince Wolfe has been placed in charge of the school.

April 26, 2013
High school principal in Sacramento under investigation

The principal of The Met High School has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct, a Sacramento City Unified School District spokesman said today.

District spokesman Gabe Ross confirmed that Principal Allen Young was placed on leave Wednesday afternoon. But Ross said he could not provide details of the allegations.

"We're just beginning an investigation," he said.

In an email Friday night, Young said, "The allegations are unfounded and will be proved as such at the conclusion of the investigation. I am a proud product of the Sacramento City Unified School District as a student, teacher and currently principal ... I am confident that the students and staff will continue to thrive. I am ready to get back to the job I love. At this point, I must trust the process."

The Met High School, located at 810 V Street in Sacramento, has an enrollment of 274 students. It is one of five charter campuses operated by the district. Ross said Assistant Principal Vince Wolfe has been placed in charge of the school.

On Thursday, district Superintendent Jonathan P. Raymond sent a brief letter to parents informing them of Young's leave, but the letter gave no explanation for the action.

The letter closed with, "Thank you for your patience and understanding.""

April 25, 2013
AR student awarded prestigious national transfer scholarship

Parisa_Lotfi_2013c.JPGA student transferring from American River College to a four-year institution has won a $30,000-a-year scholarship for her continued pursuit of engineering studies.

Parisa Lotfi, 21, is one of 73 scholars nationally to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. She was selected from about 700 applicants, said American River College spokesman Scott Crow.

Formal announcement of the award is planned for Monday, Crow said.

The scholarship is intended to cover a significant share of Lotfi's educational expenses, including tuition, living costs, books and fees, for the final two to three years needed to complete a bachelor's degree.

April 24, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown vows to fight for his school funding formula

Gov. Jerry Brown vowed today to fight for his school funding overhaul that would benefit areas with low-income students and English learners, the Bee's Capitol Alert blog reports.

The governor was joined at his Capitol press conference by Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond and other large California school district leaders who support the change.

Brown appeared a day before legislative Democrats are expected to release a significantly different proposal Thursday in response to the Democratic governor's plan.

Among the biggest local winners in Brown's overhaul would be Robla School District in north Sacramento, Winters Joint Unified School District and Woodland Joint Unified School District, The Bee found in February.

April 24, 2013
Deadline for SMUD summer internships closes May 17

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District this year is extending its student internship program to students in four unified school districts for this summer: Elk Grove, Folsom Cordova, Twin Rivers and Natomas.

The application period closes May 17, and high school students within those districts can pick up internship applications from their respective school offices.

The program gives about 25 students a year experience working in different SMUD departments. The program operates in partnership with Sacramento Works Youth Council, which is part of the Sacramento Employment Training Agency.

April 22, 2013
Video: Student music video gets kids excited about state exams

Students at the Smythe Academy of Arts and Sciences created a music video to get other kids excited about take taking California Standardized Tests. In the video, students sing and rap about taking the annual exams.

"It got me up and out of my seat," said Principal William Brown, via email.

Smythe Academy of Arts and Sciences is a charter school with the Twin Rivers Unified School District. It's mission "is to provide an enriched educational environment for an ethnically and socio-economically diverse group of kindergarten through eighth-grade students that emphasizes the arts, science, technology and community service," according to its web site.

April 19, 2013
Video: Grant High students seek funds for peace park

A trip to Japan by five students in the Pacers for Peace club at Grant High School in 2010 spawned the desire to build a peace park near the school.

The students stayed with host families in Matsuyama, Sacramento's sister city in Japan, and visited Hiroshima during their Thanksgiving break that year.

The visit made an impression, especially the peace park in Hiroshima, said Wayne Hironaka, the students' adviser at time. He has since retired from the school district.

Students in the Pacers for Peace club and adults in the I Am Peace nonprofit mentoring program are trying to raise $170,000 to $200,000 to build the park complete with a garden and fountain.The land was donated by the Twin Rivers Unified School District several years ago.

April 18, 2013
Rid your garage of e-waste at Bella Vista High on Saturday

If there are old electronics piling up in your garage, you can take them to Bella Visa High School's parking lot on Saturday.

Televisions, computers, fax machines, copiers, scanners, printers, gaming systems and other miscellaneous electronics can be dropped off for collection by California Electronic Asset Recovery.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 8301 Madison Ave., Fair Oaks.

Donations of $5 will help support the Science Olympiad teams and the school's library program.

For information, call Susan Sloan at (916) 971-5030. Or email her at

April 17, 2013
Volunteers sought on future of Sacramento's closing campuses

The Sacramento City Unified School District is seeking volunteers with varied backgrounds to advise the Board of Education on the reuse or disposition of school buildings and vacant sites not needed for school purposes.

Trustees of the school district recently decided to close seven elementary schools after finding them to be chronically underenrolled.

The 7-11 committee - a group of seven or 11 members - is to have members that represent the ethnic, age and socioeconomic composition of the district.

Members also are to represent the business community, such as store owners or managers, as well as property owners or renters, preferably those linked to neighborhood associations.

April 17, 2013
Sacramento parents and activists meet over school closures

Members of Hmong Innovating Politics will meet with parents and community leaders at 6 p.m. today to discuss decisions by Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond and district trustees' to close seven neighborhood schools.

With less than two months before the start of summer vacation, students and families at the seven closed schools say they are scrambling to sort out their transition plans and have very few details about preserving student safety, adequate transportation and open enrollment decisions.

The announcement for the "Wrong-Sizing Fall-Out Forum" reports it will seek to enable parents to document their challenges and to develop strategies for responding to the board's action.

The two-hour session is set for Lemon Hill Community Center, 6000 Lemon Hill Ave., Sacramento.

April 15, 2013
Four American River students qualify for national skills contest

Four students enrolled in American River College's technical programs won top state honors in San Diego earlier this month and are eligible to compete in the national competition sponsored by SkillsUSA, the Los Rios Community College District announced.

Those who qualified for the national competition are Linda Froemel, who won a gold medal with her welding sculpture; Nial Ix, who won the gold in collision repair technology; Victor Dyachuk, who won in automotive refinishing, and Charles Relat, who won in electronics technology.

The national competition is set for June 24 - 28 in Kansas City.

In all, students from the technical programs at American River College won 11 awards.

April 11, 2013
Sacramento area campuses recognized for innovative practices

Thumbnail image for RB West Campus 1.JPGThirteen campuses in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties are recipients of California Distinguished Schools honors for 2013, the state Department of Education announced today.

The middle and high school campuses are among 218 public schools statewide recognized for their commitment to innovative approaches and improving academic achievement.

"These schools have gone the extra mile to provide high-quality instruction that puts their students on the right path toward career and college," state schools chief Tom Torlakson said in a statement. He called the results inspiring "given the enormous challenges schools have faced in recent years."

April 11, 2013
San Juan district announces three new principals

It's principal recruitment season in the San Juan Unified School District, which has announced new principals at Mariemont Elementary School, Casa Roble High School and El Sereno High School.

Vice Principal Elizabeth Wahl was named Mariemont Elementary School's next principal, effective July 1. She replaces Principal Linda Dismukes, who will retire at year's end. Wahl was a longtime San Juan Unified teacher and a recent vice principal at Gold River Discovery Center K-8.

Michele Lorenzo has been named the next principal of Casa Roble High School, where she has served as a vice principal since 2008. Lorenzo has been interim principal since March, when former principal Jim Shoemake accepted a position in the district office. Her appointment is effective immediately.

Mia Funk has been named the district's new director of college and career and K-12 counseling and will also serve as principal of El Sereno High, an alternative program providing independent study options for students.

April 11, 2013
Community Colleges Scorecard to help guide campus choice

The online Student Success Scorecard released this week by the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office gives the latest statistics on enrollment, full-time faculty and college completion at each of the state's 112 campuses.

Scorecards for both Sacramento City and American River college campuses in the Los Rios Community College District show, for example, that students who started college by taking college-level courses rather than remedial math or English were far more likely to complete a degree or certificate or to transfer to a four-year college.

In addition, the data show that student enrollment at Sacramento City College is predominantly 24 years old or younger. At American River College, the population is mainly 25 years and older.

To see the scorecard for any California community college campus, visit the website at

April 10, 2013
Former St. HOPE official tapped for El Dorado County post

Ed Manansala, under contract with the Sacramento City Unified School District to serve as interim chief of staff, has been named an associate superintendent of educational services for the El Dorado County Office of Education, effective July 1.

Manansala, 43, will earn $153,971 plus $500 a month for in-county travel and other local expenses as part of a two-year contract. His appointment was announced on Friday, according to Superintendent Vicki Barber.

Manansala will become one of two assistant superintendents in the district. He replaces Jeremy Meyers, who is to become the county superintendent when Barber retires at the end of this year.

Manansala was principal at Sacramento Charter High from 2004 to 2009. Sacramento Charter High is operated by the nonprofit St. HOPE Public Schools, founded by Mayor Kevin Johnson. Manansala went on to be named superintendent of St. HOPE in 2009 and then director of strategic partnerships in 2011.

He resigned from St. HOPE at the end of December to become interim chief of staff for the Sacramento City schools district under a five-month contract.

April 10, 2013
Twin Rivers board president will remain in leadership post

By Diana Lambert

Cortez Quinn will finish his term as president of the Twin Rivers Unified School Board after some colleagues recently threatened to oust him.

The school board voted 4-2 Tuesday night against holding a public hearing that three trustees requested to consider removing Quinn before his term as board president expires in June.

The decision followed weeks of contentious debate, with those in favor of censuring Quinn citing a Feb. 28 California Fair Political Practices Commission report. The state watchdog agency found Quinn illegally accepted more than $55,000 in personal loans from a school employee and did not report them on financial disclosure forms. He was fined $14,000.

Last week three of the seven Twin Rivers trustees submitted a letter asking that Tuesday's agenda include a vote on whether to hold a future hearing considering Quinn's removal. Trustees Michael Baker, Rebecca Sandoval and Linda Fowler signed the letter.

Sandoval and Fowler voted for the public hearing Tuesday, but Baker voted against it. Baker said Wednesday he thought the issue deserved a public discussion but that he never intended to vote to remove Quinn.

Betty Williams, president of the Sacramento American Civil Liberties Union, expressed concern that politics were becoming more important in the Twin Rivers Unified board room than the district's students.

"I don't know why we have censure on the agenda," she said during public comment.

"We dealt with this with the previous board," Williams added. "Bottom line is we want you to focus on the education of the children, not to release Mr. Cortez Quinn when his seat ends anyway in June."

April 8, 2013
Students combat negativity with online compliment pages

Union Mine High School students have joined the latest cyber craze: starting compliments pages for their schools on Facebook.

Students at the El Dorado County school are following in the footsteps of college students across the country, who have established compliment pages to counter the slew of confessions pages and negative Internet posts about fellow students and teachers.

The Union Mine page, called Diamondback Compliments, says "Please write only positive compliments to brighten someone's day :)"

April 5, 2013
San Carlos 12-year-old wins California geography bee

By Richard Chang

Tuvya Bergson-Michelson placed first at the 2013 California Geographic Bee Friday afternoon, after a grueling five-hour contest that included more than 100 students from across the state.

The 12-year-old from San Carlos will represent California at the national bee on May 22 in Washington, D.C. This will be his second time representing the Golden State at nationals, and Friday's event was his third time competing in state championships, held annually for 25 years at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento.

"I do this for fun because I'm intrigued by politics and international relations," the sixth-grader said shyly after the competition, stunned that he had won it again.

April 3, 2013
Sacramento districts score low for disadvantaged outcomes

No district in the greater Sacramento region graduated more than 90 percent of their Latino or African American high school students on time, according to the annual Ed-Trust West Report Cards issued today.

The annual Report Cards grade California's largest school districts on outcomes for Latino, African-American and low-income students, according to a press release from the Oakland-based advocacy group.

Rocklin Unified in Placer County received the top score in the region with a B-. It ranked among the top 10 districts in the state for educating its low-income, African American and Latino students, as well as for high graduation rates for students of color, according to the report.

The lowest score in the region went to San Juan Unified, which was given a D-.

The grades are based on student performance, academic improvement over five years, the size of achievement gaps and college readiness. The information is gleaned from data compiled by the California Department of Education.

Sacramento City (67 percent) and Twin Rivers (64 percent) joined San Juan (65 percent) in graduating less than 70 percent of their students of color.

April 3, 2013
Trustees consider converting Rosa Parks Middle School to K-8

You'll recall that in February, trustees decided to close seven elementary campuses in the district because of falling enrollment, requiring about 2,300 students to attend other schools.

The campuses to close in the fall are Washington, Maple, Collis P. Huntington, Fruit Ridge, Joseph Bonnheim, Mark Hopkins and Clayton B. Wire. Most students are expected to attend their newly designated home schools.

This week, yet another shoe is set to drop.

At Mark Hopkins Elementary, the designated replacement campuses were to be either John Bidwell or John Sloat elementary.

On Thursday night, Superintendent Jonathan P. Raymond is recommending, instead, that the board convert Rosa Parks Middle School, which is adjacent to Mark Hopkins, to a K-8 campus.

April 2, 2013
Student artists could have work displayed at U.S. Capitol

High school students in Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties can participate in the Congressional Art Competition by submitting entries to the Office of Congressman John Garamendi.

The Congressional Institute has organized a nationwide high school art competition since 1982. The selected art pieces are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol. The winners will be invited to Washington, D.C. for the awards ceremony.

"I encourage all 3rd district high school students with an interest in art to submit a work," said Garamendi in a prepared statement. "Who knows? The next Picasso, Rembrandt, or Georgia O'Keeffe may be a Northern California high school student."

Students interested in submitting artwork or with questions can contact Garamendi's office at (530) 753-5301.

April 1, 2013
Walk planned to inspire students at Jessie Baker School

A 1.5-mile walk to raise money for equipment and programs at Jessie Baker School in Elk Grove on April 27 will give participants a chance to help the school and to meet some of its inspiring students and their families.

The school serves 158 students ages 3 to 22 with severe disabilities. It provides academic programs, as well as music and movement programs and vocational training. The benefit will be used for programs to encourge the students to have active lifestyles.

The cost to participate in "Walk in Our Shoes" is $20 a person and includes a T-shirt. For teams of 25 walkers or more the registration is $15 a person. Participants also can collect donations to help raise money for the school programs.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with opening ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. The walk starts at 11 a.m. All activities are at the school, 8850 Southside Ave. in Elk Grove.
To register online, visit For details, email

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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