Report Card

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

May 31, 2013
Elk Grove student growth pushes some schools to capacity

Population growth on the east side of Elk Grove is forcing new students to attend school outside their normal attendance area this fall.

Pleasant Grove High School and Katherine L. Albiani Middle School are at capacity. All new enrolling students who move into the schools' attendance areas will be redirected to other campuses, according to officials at Elk Grove Unified.

Secondary school-age students who move into neighborhoods within the boundaries of Edna Batey Elementary, Cosumnes River Elementary, C.W. Dillard Elementary and Pleasant Grove Elementary will be redirected to Joseph Kerr Middle School and Elk Grove High School.

Those who move into the boundaries of Sierra Enterprise Elementary, Sunrise Elementary and Arnold Adreani Elementary will be redirected to T.R. Smedberg Middle School and Sheldon High School.

Students will be required to stay at the school for the entire school year, but will be able to enroll at Katherine Albiani Middle School and Pleasant Grove High School the following year if space permits.

Parents should register their children at Katherine Albiani Middle School and Pleasant Grove. They should contact the school where their child will be redirected to make an appointment to select classes.

Transportation will be provided for redirected students for no cost. Contact EGUSD Transportation at (916) 686-7733 to make arrangements.

May 30, 2013
Sacramento's Holy Spirit School principal suspended

Holy Spirit School Principal Fran Wise has been suspended pending an investigation into an allegation that she made "threats and comments against a third party," a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento said today.

Diocesan spokesman Kevin Eckery, reached in San Diego, said the suspension began Tuesday.

"We can't go into many details because it is a personnel issue," Eckery said. "But she is suspended because we received an allegation that had made threats and comments toward a third party.

"If true, that violates our policy and our professional standards."

He said the suspension would continue while the investigation is under way.

Wise has been a principal within the diocese for five years, including the last three years at Holy Spirit School on West Land Park Drive in Sacramento.

The diocese encompasses 20 Northern California counties and covers 42,000 square miles, serving about 1 million Catholics.

May 23, 2013
Sacramento area students show science, engineering chops

Three Sacramento area students received honors in Phoenix last week at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair.

Nathanial Varghese, a 15-year-old sophomore from Folsom High School, received second place honors in Engineering in the category of materials and bioengineering in the Phoenix event.

His design, "A Robust Human Fall Detection Wireless System," involved a wireless device to be worn by an elderly person. The device would alert remote emergency personnel if the wearer had a bad fall.

May 22, 2013
Roseville school accepted as IB program candidate

Warren T. Eich Middle School in Roseville has become an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program candidate, an initial step in a rigorous process to become certified.

Students in the IB program study at least two languages, as well as humanities, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical education and technology. In their final year, they also pursue an individual project that shows development of skills and understanding, according to the International Baccalaureate Web site, www.ibo.org.

Krista Bernasconi, spokeswoman for the school, said other schools in Placer County offer an IB program for select students. But Eich will establish an IB focus starting in fall 2013 for its entire enrollment. At the same time, the campus will expand its seventh- and eighth-grade student body to include sixth graders and, she said, become the county's only stand-alone middle school to offer an IB program.

May 21, 2013
Sacramento education summit aims to boost summer learning

Educators and providers of summer learning programs in the Sacramento area are invited to a summit on summer education at the Sacramento Library Galleria on Wednesday.

The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and includes workshops until about 2 p.m., including sessions on STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and math) as well as parent engagement and community school partnerships.

Speakers will include Michael Funk, director of the After School Division of the California Department of Education, Sue Stickel, deputy superintendent of the Sacramento County Office of Education and Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer.

The event is organized by Sacramento County Office of Education, Sacramento Public Library, UC Davis School of Education and National Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Funding comes from Sierra Health Foundation, Walmart, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

For information, visit http://summermatters2you.net/.

Other events are scheduled through the summer. Among them is a "National Summer Learning Day" rally set for June 20 at the state Capitol with literacy-themed activities on the grounds of Capitol Park at 12th and L streets.

May 21, 2013
Sac City students show energy-saving creativity to save money

Student teams from 13 schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District will offer their proposals for making their campuses more environmentally sustainable as part of Project Green Showcase on Thursday.

Projects deemed viable will be in line for $1 million in Measure Q bond money set aside for green school initiatives. Measure Q, approved by voters in November, authorized up to $346 million in bonds for construction, rehabilitation or replacing school facilities.

Project Green Showcase is set for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Phoebe Hearst Elementary School, 1410 60th St., Sacramento.

The student "green teams" formed earlier this year with a mission to audit their school campuses and make recommendations for green improvements. Last year, those included replacing outdated windows and installing water-saving plumbing.

May 16, 2013
Rocklin school trustees pick San Juan official as new leader

Trustees in the Rocklin Unified School District have named Roger Stock as the new superintendent, replacing veteran Superintendent Kevin Brown, who is retiring after more than a decade in the job.

The unanimous vote at the district board meeting Wednesday night capped a search that drew 47 candidates, a district spokesman said. Stock takes the job starting July 1 and will receive an annual salary of $185,000.

Stock, 45, is the chief academic officer for the San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento. This week he became one of two top officials placed in charge of the San Juan district pending an investigation of its superintendent, Glynn Thompson.

May 15, 2013
Two top officials step in for San Juan superintendent

The San Juan Unified School District has tapped two top officials to run the district starting today while Superintendent Glynn Thompson is on paid leave pending an investigation of employee complaints.

Thompson's duties will be split between San Juan Chief Academic Officer Roger Stock and Assistant Superintendent for Operations and School Support Services Kent Kern, according to a district announcement.

Incidentally, the Rocklin Unified School District board will consider tapping Stock tonight as its next superintendent, but not effective until July 1.

May 14, 2013
$1 billion will help California districts prepare for Common Core

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to spend $1 billion to help California schools prepare to teach new national standards is getting a warm welcome by school officials, particularly those in small districts.

Districts across the state have been hurriedly training educators to teach to new national standards - commonly called the Common Core. Some have been at it for years, but many have yet to begin. They often lack money to pay for training and materials to teach to the new standards.

School districts also must find funds to pay for computers and the infrastructure to support the computer-assisted testing that begins in 2014-15.

Small districts in rural areas have even fewer resources than urban districts, which often have more funds and nearby benefactors, said Fred Adam, a board member for the Small School Districts Association told the Bee recently.

"It will be a major challenge for small districts," Adam said. "It's a disadvantage when there are no computer companies around."

May 14, 2013
Raymond speaks in D.C., meets Beach Boys' lead singer

MikeLove-elliothaney-3.jpgSacramento City Unified Superintendent Jonathan Raymond joined more than 400 education and business leaders at City Year's 2013 National Leadership Summit today, May 14, in Washington, D.C.

Currently 50 City Year corps members serve at five public schools in Sacramento City Unified, according to a press release from the organization. Corps members work with teachers to address student attendance, behavior and academic performance.

Raymond served as on a panel at a session titled, "National Service in Education: Powering Reform & Unlocking Student Potential" earlier today. He discussed how critical partnerships can be to ensuring that more children receive equal access to quality education.

The Beach Boy's lead singer Mike Love was honored at the event. Love began StarServe, "Students Taking Action and Responsibility to Serve," which enlisted high-profile celebrities to inspire young people to serve their communities.

May 14, 2013
Supporters laud governor's proposed budget

State schools chief Tom Torlakson joined other education advocates in sending out messages of support for Governor Jerry Brown's proposed state budget this morning.

The proposed budget implements the governor's Local Control Funding Formula, increasing spending for education by $240 million. Brown also proposes spending $1 billion to help schools train teachers and plan for implementation of new English and math guidelines known as the Common Core Standards.

"As a teacher, it's heartening to finally see new resources directed to California schools after so many years of painful cuts," said Torlakson. "Californians want our schools back on solid financial ground, and Governor Brown's proposal represents another step in the right direction."

Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst also send out a message of support for the budget, although it came from the organization's Vice President of Fiscal Strategy Rebecca Sibilia.

"We're pleased that Governor Brown's revised state budget proposal continues to prioritize education by improving funding flexibility and equity and by providing significant resources toward implementing the Common Core State Standards," Sibilia said in the prepared statement.

"We're also pleased Governor Brown is standing by his Local Control Funding Formula, which fairly funds all students and provides disadvantaged students with additional resources. We urge the Legislature to support this bold plan and work with him to ensure these funds are deployed in a transparent and accountable way."

May 10, 2013
Twin Rivers, superintendent choice still working on contract

Contract negotiations continue between a consulting company hired by Twin Rivers Unified School District and Steve Martinez, who the board selected to be the next superintendent, according district officials.

The school board was expected to finalize the contract at Thursday night's meeting, but instead came out of a closed session on the matter to announce that the negotiations are still ongoing.

Martinez is an assistant superintendent at the Fresno Unified School District. He has been a principal, assistant principal, coach and science and math teacher in his 12 years in education, according to his résumé. He has a doctorate in educational leadership from California State University, Fresno.

May 10, 2013
Los Rios trustees authorize sales of voter-approved bonds

Trustees of the Los Rios Community College District this week authorized the sale of $80 million in general obligation bonds to raise funds for a variety of projects - including $16 million for a gymnasium at Folsom Lake College.

Jon Sharpe, Los Rios deputy chancellor, said about $20 million in bonds would be issued under the district's Measure A, which voters approved in 2002.

In addition to funding the gymnasium, the proceeds would help fund a portion of two other projects: American River College's Life Science and Fine Arts project as well as $2.6 million for site improvements for Folsom Lake College's planned Rancho Cordova Center.

May 9, 2013
ARC President David Viar plans departure for Glendale post

David Viar, American River College president for nearly eight years, has accepted the post of superintendent/president of the Glendale Community College District, effective July 1.

Viar, 66, wrote in a May 2 letter to friends and colleagues that he and his wife Jane are moving to Glendale where the couple's son and daughter-in-law reside.

Before arriving at ARC in Sacramento, the Illinois native served as chief executive officer of the Community College League of California and before that worked for the Association of Community College Trustees in Washington, D.C.

May 9, 2013
Twin Rivers prepares for Common Core Standards

In the rush to get to another news assignment yesterday, I forgot to include information about Twin Rivers Unified in a sidebar to my story "Toward A Common Goal."

Here it is:

Twin Rivers Unified: Teachers have learned about the new standards in workshops. A week-long summer camp will be offered to about 400 teachers and administrators in the coming months.

Teachers are working this year to create curriculum. Next school year, teachers will begin instruction on the math and English language arts Common Core Standards based on the unit plans developed.

In order to prepare for computerized testing, eight schools have completed Smarter Balanced Assessments pilot testing. Seven more are scheduled over the next few weeks. The district has purchased additional computers and is in the process of expanding wireless connectivity at each school site.

May 2, 2013
San Juan names principals to Carnegie, John Barrett schools

Mark Siewert, principal of Earl LeGette Elementary School in Fair Oaks, will be the new principal at Andrew Carnegie Middle School in the San Juan Unified School District, the district announced.

The district also named Brent Givens, an alumnus of Del Campo High, as the next principal of John Barrett Middle School, replacing retiring Principal Lisa Herstrom Smith.

Both the Siewert and Givens appointments take effective Aug. 5.

Siewert started with the San Juan district in 1988 as a teacher for former Starr King Elementary (now Starr King K-8), where he taught special education, media, electives and physical education. He also served as an intervention specialist before he was named the middle school vice principal 18 years later.

In 2008, Siewert became an interim principal at Oakview Community Elementary and, a year later, was appointed principal for LeGette Elementary.

Siewert was an active member of the district's strategic planning, was a coordinator for GATE and school standardized testing and an intervention math coach. He also was active in leading professional development opportunities for staff.

May 1, 2013
Cosumnes event commemorates 1994 genocide in Rwanda

The genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda nearly two decades ago will be the focus of commemoration Saturday at Cosumnes River College.

The keynote speaker will be Edouard Kayihura, a genocide survivor who spent 100 days as a refugee in Hotel des Mille Collines, also known as Hotel Rwanda.

In 1994, the Hutu-led government launched a genocide of Tutsis that claimed as many as 1 million lives.

Much of the public awareness of the largely ethnic-based genocide has been credited to the 2004 movie, "Hotel Rwanda," which addressed horrific atrocities and casualties that ravaged the east-central African country.

The three-hour event starts at 3 p.m. in the campus Learning Resource Center, room 104.

The Friends of Rwanda Association is sponsoring this event in collaboration with the Rwandan Community of California, Cosumnes River College, Pan-African Studies at Sacramento State University and Palo Alto University.



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.

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