CTA Award Winner
San Dieguito Faculty Association/California Teachers Association/National Education Association
Vol. 21, Issue 1 www.sdfa.net September/October, 2009
by Bob Croft
Once again, let me welcome you back to what I hope will be another rewarding school
year. As usual, there are many challenges that await us as individual professionals
and for SDFA as our professional organization. Your SDFA Executive Board will con-
tinue its commitment to provide the excellent service and assistance to which our
members have become accustomed. I am very proud to be among the leadership of an
organization that always goes the “extra mile” to support you professionally and to
improve your working environment. Please don’t hesitate to contact your site’s SDFA
Building Representative if we can be of help to you.
SDFA Website: www.sdfa.net
Also, please don’t forget to take a browse through our very own SDFA website,
www.sdfa.net. SDFA’s website has a printable version of our Master Contract, advice
for new and veteran members, and a tremendous amount of other valuable informa-
tion. CTA’s website, at www.cta.org, is another great online source of information! We
have recently revised our website, not only by giving it a more up-to-date look, but also
by adding many more important and user-friendly features.
One very important new feature we will be adding is that of the Latest News & Updates
link. The Vanguard is not always the most timely vehicle by which to distribute time-
sensitive and/or important information to our members! SDFA also wants to conserve
on the paper used, cost involved, and time spent on trying to Xerox individual staff
mailbox flyers, by posting important new information within the Latest News & Up-
dates link on our website. We will continue to publicize this new feature, so, hope-
fully, members will know where and how to access these timely updates on important
issues and concerns to them.
continued on page 4
2 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
NAMES TO KNOW
The 2009-10 SDFA Executive Board
Secretary Terry Hendlin
Treasurer Adrienne St. George
C.C. Academy Jennifer Chufo
Carmel Valley Jason Sowers
Diegueno Julia Van Cleave
Earl Warren Suzanne Brown
La Costa Canyon Mario Flores
Oak Crest Sharon Senese
S. D. Academy Sheryl Bode
Sunset/N. Coast Michelle Horsley
Torrey Pines Jerry Galiley
SDFA Vanguard is published for the information and edi-
fication of SDFA members. The editorial philosophy of
the Vanguard is governed by the practices of the San
Dieguito Faculty Association. Unless noted, the opin-
ions expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of
the Association. Also, unless specifically indicated, in-
clusion of editorials, an advertisement and/or insert does
not constitute Association endorsement. SDFA is an af-
filiate of the California Teachers Association and the Na-
tional Education Association.
Vanguard Contact Bob Croft
Editor Emeritus John Kohler VANGUARD LOCATOR
Format & Production Vetha Simpson
President’s Update 1
All letters to the editor to be considered for publication SDFA Scholarship 4
in the Vanguard must be sent to Bob Croft at Earl War-
Recognition Ceremony 5
1) Must be submitted directly to Bob Croft by
the first Friday of the month.
End-of-Year Pizza Party 8
2) Must include the name and site of the author.
3) May be edited for length or clarity. Member Tips 11
If in the opinion of the editor, any letter clearly contains
false or inaccurate statements, it shall be referred to the Out of Sites 12
Editorial Committee. If the Editorial Committee con-
curs with the editor’s opinion, the letter will be referred
to the SDFA President. The President shall then either Lighter Side 28
respond in writing to the author of the letter or shall
invite the author of the letter to the next appropriate
Executive Board meeting where the letter will be ad- Advertisements 29
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 3
2009-10 Calendar of
Important Phone Numbers SDFA Executive Board Meetings
Below is a partial list of the upcoming
SDFA Executive Board meetings for this
school year. All meetings begin at 3:00
p.m. All meetings will be held at Earl War-
Below are some numbers which may prove useful
ren Middle School in Room 43. Executive
to our members at some time during this school
Board meetings are scheduled to facilitate
the on-going official business of the San
Dieguito Faculty Association.
SDFA ........................................ 760/721-7332 Your Executive Board welcomes you to all
of its meetings and encourages your con-
EMERGENCY NUMBER ............. 760/635-3402
structive participation. Time is set aside
Retirement Appointments (SDCOE) 619/292-3565
at the beginning of each meeting for mem-
bers who wish to share some concern or
District Office ............................... 760/753-6491 information with the Executive Board. If
Paycheck/timecard/leave/jury duty you would like to address the Executive
(Dawn Pearson, A-D) ............................ Ext. 5522 Board, please be present at the beginning
Paycheck/timecard of the meeting you plan to attend.
[Courtney Rock, E-M) ........................... Ext. 5524
Paycheck/timecard If you are unable to attend a meeting but
(Donna Corder, N-Z) ............................. Ext. 5513
would still like to share some information
Workers’ comp/income protection
with the Executive Board, please don’t
(Sue Barnes) ....................................... Ext. 5525
Substitutes (Linn Willhite) ................... Ext. 5503 hesitate to contact your site’s SDFA Build-
Report an Absence, Request or ing Representative and request that he/
Cancel a Sub ............................... 877/214-9162 she share the information on your behalf,
Contracts, Credentialing & or at any time, you may phone (760-721-
Coursework (Debbie Rowe) ................. Ext. 5506 7332) or email (email@example.com) directly to
Credentialing & Adult the SDFA.
Education (Cristina Gamino) .............. Ext. 5501
Curriculum (Lesley Rhodes) .................. Ext. 5550
Curriculum (Rick Schmitt) .................... Ext. 5565
Book/supply order (Sheila Graciano) .... Ext. 5527
Personnel evaluations (Terry King) ........ Ext. 5566 September 1
Special education or 504’s
(Bruce Cochran/Cara Schukoske) ...... Ext. 5556
Sheltered English Program .................... Ext. 5531
Applications or interviews October 6
(Linn Willhite) ..................................... Ext. 5503
coaching contracts (Kathy Potter) ...... Ext. 5519 November 3
Benefits (Kathleen Margiotta) ................ Ext. 5626
Insurance: December 1
Blue Cross HMO ........................... 800/227-3771
Blue Cross PPO ............................ 800/627-7244
Blue Cross Dental ........................ 800/627-0004
Kaiser ........................................... 800/464-4000
Safeguard: .................................... 800/880-1800
Wellpoint Pharmacy ..................... 800/700-2541
STRS ............................................ 800/228-5453
4 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
President’s Message continued
Health Care Costs and Information - Updated
What follows is a reprint of a Vanguard article. It contains very important information
about health care costs well worth repeating for our members––some of you might not
have seen it, and there are many new employees this year who may not understand
how health care costs and salary increases are connected and how SDFA approaches
those items on behalf of our members. Please take a moment and read the following
article and don’t hesitate to contact SDFA if you have any questions.Please note that
costs mentioned in the following are for the 2008-09 school year.
Reprint - Health Care Costs Article:
Every school year’s health care costs are directly related to any salary increase that is
negotiated by school districts. The
All of our District’s plans saw funds to pay for health care and other
benefits that employees receive come
double digit premium increases. right out of the same limited pot of
discretionary money that is available
for salaries. Whenever SDFA sits down to bargain salaries with our District, we always
must take into account the amount of money it has cost the District that year to pay
for employee benefits. We could not fail to do so even if we wanted to as the District
has a very strict accounting to the penny what every benefit cost is to employees (see
example at the end of the entire cost of benefits to an employee with a salary of $80,000,
which happens to be very close to our current District average—pretty incredible, isn’t
it—that is how well paid we are, and, if I do say so myself, a great indication of the
great work SDFA has done in contract negotiations!). I am discussing health care costs
again because from time to time I still talk with employees who are under the miscon-
ception that health care is somehow “free” and that there is no cost to the District in
providing that benefit to our employees. I wish there were true, but, of course, it is
not. In the area of health care, the large increase of insurance premiums each new
school year further eats away at the one pot of available discretionary money. As I’m
sure you know from all the newspaper and TV reports, there is a health care crisis in
Some members also ask about other health care plans they may have seen from friends
or family members who work in the private sector. Unfortunately, that is like compar-
ing apples to oranges, as we work in the public sector, specifically, the world of public
education—and I think we all know the financial crisis that California has been going
through, with things seeming to go from bad to worse. Within San Diego County, and
comparing to other public school districts, our health care plans and benefit opportuni-
ties are second to none! Also, even in the private sector, most smaller employers have
utilized the very same tactics that many of the San Diego County public school dis-
tricts are using—that is, make their plans cheaper, by either reducing plan benefits or
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 5
President’s Message continued
by passing along some or all of the increased annual premiums to the employees.
Neither of these have happened in San Dieguito. Our plans include benefits that are
not common in other public or private sector plans—and while a particular benefit
may not mean much to one employee, and we often get questions as to why we don’t
change “this” or “that” which might reduce cost, experience tells us that there are
employees and/or their families that very much rely upon some of the benefits our
Of course, our District, like all school districts, is impacted by this crisis. Health
insurance premiums continue to rise everywhere in the nation. Last school year, all of
District’s plans saw double digit premium increases. While SDFA made certain that we
have an “escalator clause” within our Master Contract which automatically increases
each employee’s Flex Spending Account the same dollar amount of the largest in-
crease between our HMO plans, these large premium increases still eat away at the
one pot of discretionary money available to be bargained for salaries.
On the topic of our Flex Spending Account (FSA), no other San Diego County school
district provides one for their employees. Those districts have often negotiated to
provide only the employees’ health plan and pay for little more. SDFA and our Dis-
trict, via our Master Contract, have provided for our members a Flex Spending Account
which gives each full-time employee this school year $8,218.40. This is an additional
amount of money going to our District’s employees that almost no other district pro-
vides to their employees. It is also an additional amount of money which is taken from
the same pot of discretionary funds I keep mentioning. From this Flex Spending
Account, employees purchase one of the health care options, and then they get to
keep the remainder of the money to use as they wish. Some employees take the
additional money in their
FSA’s as cash payments,
“When will SDFA and the District give us enough money sheltering an equivalent
to completely pay the additional costs of family cover- amount from their paychecks
age for all medical plan options?” My answer is simple: in a TSA or mutual funds in
“We have already done so...” order to ease the tax burden.
Some use the money to help
pay for family health coverage, although the extra amount alone from the FSA will not
always cover the total costs of family coverage on all plans. Also, please note an
extremely important aspect of the FSA—when our members retire, they may add
on top of their salary the total amount of the FSA, which increases nicely the base
amount on which their pension will be calculated. For those who retired at the
end of last school year, that is like getting more than an $8000 raise on the way to
retirement, a raise that will increase their pension benefits for the rest of their
lives! No other district in San Diego County offers this and very few if the entire
State offers this benefit to their employees!
6 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
President’s Message continued
This leads me to another common question I receive: “When will SDFA and the District
give us enough money to completely pay the additional costs of family coverage for all
medical plan options?” My answer is simple: “We have already done so, but, unfortu-
nately, we have not really received the credit for it.” Read on, and hopefully you will
understand what I mean; if not, talk further with your site’s SDFA Building Rep for a
more detailed explanation.
As you know, in recent years SDFA has
Our philosophy has always
successfully negotiated salary increases been to MAXIMIZE the increase
that have been both above the State COLA
and more than what most other local dis-
to our salary schedule.... now
trict have bargained. These increases have these dollars are working in a
moved us to being, by far, the TOP PAID
districts within San Diego County. Any
better way for the employee!
number of times, SDFA could have chosen to take some of those funds going toward a
salary increase and, rather than place them on our salary schedule, used those funds
to pump up the Flex Spending Account dollars instead. We easily could have “built” FSA
large enough so that EVERY employee who so desired would have had more than
enough money from their Flex Spending Account to completely pay for family health
coverage from any of our plan options, and still have received a reasonable, but not as
large, salary schedule increase. Had we done that, SDFA would probably have gotten
more acclaim from those members needing to pay for family coverage, because some
look at the Flex Spending Account as the only source of money available with which to
purchase family health care.
SDFA and the District.... have However, SDFA chose not to artificially
inflate our FSA as we believe that to do
provided the funds necessary so is very shortsighted. Our philoso-
to our employees who wish to phy has always been to MAXIMIZE the
increase to our salary schedule. Re-
pay for family health member, that all increases to salary or
coverage. the FSA all come from the same pot of
District money, it just boils down to
what total amount we ultimately can bargain for our members and where it’s best to
place that money. Without a doubt the salary schedule is always the best place to
place any increase negotiated. The District would most certainly be happy for us to
place more of the money within the FSA—over the long run, that would cost them
Money placed on the salary schedule not only compounds with every future increase
but earns more STRS credit (not only helping each employee now, but most certainly
helping those veteran employees of ours nearing retirement), but it also increases
EVERY OTHER FINANCIAL ASPECT covered by our Master Contract (hourly rates,
coordinator/chair/coaches stipends, etc.) by the same percentage of the salary in-
crease, and the employee still has the very same total dollars that could have gone into
inflating the FSA, but now these dollars are working in a better way for the employee!
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 7
President’s Message continued
The long-term best financial interests of our employees dictate that we maximize in-
creases to our salary schedule—employees can then easily use the significant salary
schedule increases (compared to most other San Diego County school districts) to pay
for the additional costs of family health coverage, while all other employees will also
benefit from an increased salary schedule. So, I hope you now see, SDFA and the
District, through maximizing our salary schedule increases in recent years, have most
definitely provided the funds necessary to our employees who wish to pay for family
health coverage and the nearly 80% of members not using family health coverage have
significantly benefited as well.
One additional health care “benefit”
This waiver option... placed more
SDFA has been able to bargain for than $210,000 back into the pockets
with our Blue Cross health care
providers is the “Medical Insurance
of those members last school year
Waiver Program.” Blue Cross has rather than into the coffers of the
been the only health insurance
company which would work with us
to allow this option which is administered (with a strict deadline for enrollment and
maximum enrollment cap of 20% of our unit) via Terry King’s office. This waiver op-
tion, which nearly a 100 of our members qualified for in 2008-09, placed more than
$225,000 back into the pockets of those members rather than into the coffers of the
insurance company. Additionally, it accumulates funds which SDFA and the District
can use at a future date on behalf of all members. Members may recall the $800
bonus payment distributed in the Spring of 2008 which was made possible by our
unique insurance waiver fund!
Another benefit feature
Another benefit... provided that SDFA and the Dis-
trict have provided for
for our members is an our members is an in-
come protection plan.
income protection plan. You will see the cost of
that per full-time em-
ployee listed in the ex-
ample at the end. Again, almost no other districts provide that benefit to their mem-
bers. If you have an illness or injury and run out of sick leave and differential pay, our
income protection plan could provide 75% of your salary for up to one year. Employees
in most other districts who found themselves in this same situation out of sick leave
and differential leave would receive absolutely nothing, and if unable to return to work
would have been forced to take an unpaid leave, resign or retire.
Again, my goal in providing this information on salary and benefits is to further inform
and educate our members in these two very important areas. As you can see, there
are benefits we enjoy (and must pay for) that few of us may even have realized we had.
If you have any questions regarding salaries or benefits, please don’t hesitate to con-
tact your SDFA Building Rep at any time.
8 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
President’s Message continued
Example benefits cost to the District for an employee making the average $80,000
salary in the 2008-09 school year:
Flex $$ - $8,218.40
Life Insurance - $132.00
Income Protection - $272.00
Dental - $456.80
STRS (District’s share is 9.709%) - $7,767.20
Medicare matching contribution - $ 1,160.00
Unemployment Insurance - $24.00
Worker’s Comp Insurance - $1,441.60
Total Benefits $19,472.00 based on an annual salary of $80,000.00
Salary + Benefits $99,472.00
Safe and Healthy Schools
In the past few years, I am proud of the progress SDFA has helped bring about in the
area of safe and healthy schools. With input from our members, SDFA has been able
to work with the District in order to make our schools even safer and healthier places
in which to work. Many improvements have been made and more still need to be
implemented. SDFA is committed to continuing its work in this area on behalf of our
members. If you know of a “healthy school” concern with which SDFA can be of
assistance, please contact your SDFA Building Rep. Remember that your site, as
mandated by State law, has a Safety Committee that meets each month, and your
Building Rep either monitors its progress or is a member of that committee.
Member Rights Booklet Now Online
In the past, all members were given a copy of the SDFA publication
entitled Member Rights Booklet. This booklet is an excellent resource
for all our members on such topics as: threats to members’ safety and/
or property; school and/or class suspensions; student grades; our
District’s Parent Civility Policy; member tips about IEP and 504 meet-
ings, student excused and unexcused absences; and other important
school employment advice and reminders! This booklet will also outline many of your
Ed Code, Penal Code, and District Policy/Contractual rights in student/parent situa-
tions as they arise in and out of your classrooms.
I hope you have stored your booklet in a handy place for quick reference. It will be
extremely helpful to know your rights, especially when faced with a possible abusive
or volatile situation involving a student and/or parent. As always, never hesitate to
contact immediately your SDFA Building Rep if you need assistance with any such
situation. You may now access the Member Rights Booklet online at our SDFA website
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 9
President’s Message continued
Once again, let me welcome you back to the 2009-10 school year. While your SDFA
Executive Board will continue its commitment to you, I must urge you to continue your
commitment to your profession! Become involved and stay involved. I believe that we
all have an obligation as professionals to know what is happening within our profes-
sion! Please, every month, read your issue of the Vanguard, and also read the CTA
and NEA newsletters that are mailed to your homes every month. Also, take a few
minutes and check out the SDFA web page (www.sdfa.net). It is only through your
continued involvement and support that SDFA can remain a positive advocate for our
membership. On behalf of the SDFA Executive Board, I would like to thank you in
advance for your support of our professional organization.
If you ever have any questions with which SDFA can be of assistance, please don’t
hesitate to contact us via phone (760-721-7332) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks, and
have a great school year!
SDFA WEB PAGE
MASTER CONTRACT AVAILABLE
The SDFA Web Page offers all listed below and more:
• Master Contract
• E-Mail to E-Board
• Vanguard Archives
• Important Phone Numbers
• Valuable Advice for Members
• And More!
10 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 11
New Guidelines On Treating Hoarseness May Benefit Teachers
In the USA Today (9/21) Your Health column, Kim Painter writes that “new guidelines on treating hoarseness
published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery” may benefit “more than half of teachers”
who are sidelined by the condition “at some point” in their careers. “Singers may be better known for
losing their voices, but 28 million Americans in jobs ranging from telemarketing to fitness instruction are at
risk.” And, “teachers are among the hardest-hit.” But few seek medical attention. However, “if you
smoke, have a lump in your throat, have trouble swallowing, are coughing up blood or have injured your
throat, a full evaluation is urgent.” Fortunately, “many schools are becoming more aware of teachers’
voice problems and installing amplification systems in classrooms,” which “also help students with certain
hearing or learning problems.”
Teacher Of The Year Says Classroom Management,
Fun Are Keys To Learning
The Ridgefield (CT) Press (9/11, Sanders) reported on the Effective Ridgefield Teacher workshop, a day-
long, “annual session put on at the end of each August for teachers joining the Ridgefield Public Schools.”
The agenda included topics ranging from effective teaching techniques to “nurturing the self-reflective
learner.” The training was made up of “presentations to the whole workshop as well as smaller ‘break-out’
discussions by elementary, middle school, and high school teachers.” In the middle school breakout
discussion, Mike Settanni, a former Teacher of the Year, told the teachers, “Kids really want to know the
boundaries in the classroom. ... If they know the boundaries, they know they’re safe - that’s for any level
kid. It doesn’t matter how old they are.” He also noted that in addition to classroom management, “having
fun” is also a “key to success in the classroom.”
California Districts Tapping Outside Sources Of Revenue
Amid Budget Crunch
The Los Angeles Times (9/7, Mehta) reported that as the economy unraveled, “and California faces continual
budget shortfalls, state spending on education has been dramatically reduced in recent years.” As a
result, California educators “are turning to outside sources” of revenue like retail sales and movie studios
“like never before in an attempt to ease the effects of multibillion-dollar cuts.” Los Angeles Unified School
District officials, for instance, “are courting the city’s professional sports teams to blunt cuts to athletics
programs.” Meanwhile, “Beverly Hills trustees are considering” selling “logo T-shirts, hats and other
apparel.” And in San Diego, education officials “announced earlier this year that it is selling naming rights
to two sixth-grade science camps. Sponsors could also have their names placed on dorms and dining
“Ten Minute Rule” Is Homework Standard In Many Districts
The AP (9/8, Wagner) reports that “a grassroots parents movement has taken hold in recent years calling
for less — or at least better — homework.” Yet the appropriate amount of homework to give schoolchildren
is a subject of debate. “One standard that many school districts are turning to is the ’10-minute rule’
created by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper,” and “endorsed by the National PTA and
the National Education Association.” The rule says that children “should get 10 minutes of homework a
night per grade. A first grader would have 10 minutes of homework each night; a fifth grader 50 minutes.”
12 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
DID YOU KNOW.......?
Federal, State Funds Do Not Cover Expense
Of Autism Education In Some California Districts
California’s Press Enterprise (9/28, Perrault) reported that “five years ago, the Riverside
County office of education created a class for one preschooler with autism.” Now, “there are
28 classrooms for students ages 3 to 22 and another 120 students attending in-home
programs.” Although “students with mild autism often can be blended into general classroom
environments,” those with “more severe cases” often must be in smaller classes with “a teacher
and two education assistants...to provide intense, one-on-one instruction.” Such “classes
required to teach autistic children cost an average of $36,000 per student, compared to just
under $8,600 for mainstream students,” but “federal and state funding hasn’t kept pace, forcing
districts to be creative about staffing classrooms, finding additional resources for more
services and tapping innovative programs that have worked elsewhere.
Arts Education Seen As Key To Providing A “Complete” Education
Arts Education Partnership Director Sandra S. Ruppert wrote in an op-ed for Education Week
(9/23) that “arts learning experiences play a vital role in developing students’ capacities for
critical thinking, creativity, imagination, and innovation.” Increasingly, “these capacities are”
being “recognized as core skills and competencies all students need as part of a high-quality
and complete 21st-century education,” Ruppert added. She lists “five strategies, drawn from”
the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ arts assessment, released in June 2009,
“that can help arts education leaders, policymakers, and educators improve performance in
the arts and narrow achievement gaps.”
NEA Calls Race To The Top An “Intrusion”
The Washington Post (9/25, Anderson) reports, “To the surprise of many educators who
campaigned last year for change in the White House, the Obama administration’s first recipe
for school reform relies heavily on Bush-era ingredients and adds others that make unions
gag.” For instance, “standardized testing, school accountability, performance pay, charter
schools” are all significant parts of “President Obama’s $4.35 billion ‘Race to the Top’ grant
competition to spur innovation.” The NEA called the proposal “‘disturbing’ federal intrusion.”
In a written statement, the NEA said it “cannot support yet another layer of federal mandates
that have little or no research base of success and that usurp state and local government’s
responsibilities for public education.”
continued next page
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 13
Did You Know continued
California Schools Show Progress On State Tests
Appearing in at least 26 media outlets, an AP (9/16, Terence Chea) report says the California
Department of Education on Tuesday released its Accountability Progress Report that shows many
schools, “while still making real academic gains, have fallen short on the federal measure,” according
to Superintendent Jack O’Connell. About 42 percent of K-12 public schools reached the target
score of 800 on the state Academic Performance Index in 2008-2009, up from 36 percent the previous
year. The data showed the state’s performance goal “was met by 48 percent of elementary schools,
36 percent of middle schools and 21 percent of high schools. The average score statewide rose 14
points to 755 in 2009.” In addition, the report found a “slight narrowing” of the achievement gap
between white and Asian students and their black and Hispanic peers; the average score was 878
for Asians, 828 for whites, 698 for Hispanics and 674 for blacks.
State, U.S. Disagree On Progress At Some L.A. Schools. The Los Angeles Times (9/16, Howard
Blume) adds, “Thirty-nine Los Angeles schools — a group larger than the entire Glendale school
system — identified as ‘failing’ under federal standards became eligible Tuesday for takeover under
a recent Board of Education policy. These schools bring the number of Los Angeles Unified School
District campuses eligible for takeover to 252.” The Times, citing Venice High, Belmont High and
112th Street Elementary in Watts, said the state yardstick “suggests that even within beleaguered
L.A. Unified, there are places where labeling campuses as failures may not tell the whole story.”
Tests Show Mixed Results For California Schoolchildren. In an analysis of state data, The
Sacramento Bee (9/16, Niesha Lofing, Phillip Reese) notes, “In the four-county Sacramento region,
the number of Title 1 schools in program improvement jumped almost 50 percent, going from 88 in
2008-2009 to 128 in 2009-2010. Sacramento County saw the biggest increase; 95 of its Title 1
schools are now in program improvement, up from 61% the prior year. Almost as many Sacramento
County schools that receive Title 1 funding are in program improvement as are not. Placer County
saw its program improvement schools tally go from 9 to 11; El Dorado grew from 4 to 6 schools and
the number of schools in Yolo County increased from 14 to 16.”
Innovative Math Program Boosts Scores At O.C. Schools. The Los Angeles Times (9/16,
Seema Mehta) adds, “Across the state, schools saw a 4.5 percent increase in the number of el-
ementary students scoring ‘proficient’ or ‘advanced’ in math. But 64 Orange County elementary
schools that took part in a math program created by the nonprofit MIND Research Institute saw a
nearly 13 percent increase in the number of students scoring in those top levels.” The Times ex-
plains that the MIND institute used neuroscience research to create a way to teach math based on
“spatial-temporal reasoning,” or as co-founder Mathew Peterson says, “It’s thinking in pictures.”
Computer games as well as interactive visuals in the classroom help teach students fractions, equa-
tions, comparisons and other math processes. Later, they learn the vocabulary and symbols that go
with the subject matter. The Orange County Register (9/16, Fermin Leal) also runs a report crediting
the MIND Research Institute for local progress.
continued next page
14 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
Did You Know continued
Education Data Systems Viewed As Key
To California’s “Race To The Top” Eligibility
The Los Angeles Times (9/15, Felch, Song) reports that California’s chance to receive hundreds of
millions in “Race to the Top” funds “may rest heavily on an obscure and long-neglected piece of
education infrastructure: a statewide data system that tracks students, teachers and administrators
year to year.” Such data systems “are expensive, complex and do not win elections for politicians.”
Yet experts “say they are essential to learn how much of the nearly $60 billion that California spends
on K-12 education makes a difference, a fact that student achievement tests only hint at.” According
to the Times, last month, California “rolled out the first component, a student database known as
CalPADS. ... The second major component, a teacher and administrator database known as
CalTIDES, will not come online until 2011.”
ACT Viewed As Better Gauge Of Academic Achievement Than SAT
The Washington Post (9/14) published excerpts from a recent “Answer Sheet” blog written by Valerie
Strauss in which Edward Carroll, a standardized test expert and tutor at the Princeton Review
answered questions on the relevance of the SAT and the ACT. Carroll is quoted saying that the SAT
is “not a measure of a student’s raw math or verbal ability. The College Board itself does not claim
that the SAT predicts subject skills, but rather that it is a predictor of performance in college.” However,
according to Carroll, the ACT “tests what students learn better than the SAT. It has its own flaws, but
what it purports to do it does better than the SAT.”
GRIEVANCE CONCERN? FOR EMERGENCY
SDFA has been successful in its efforts
If you ever have any grievance-related in having the district create a dedicated
concern: a possible violation of Master phone line for emergencies. A line
Contract, Board Policy, Education Code, which has been guaranteed NOT to roll
Administrative Procedures and Past over to voice mail, but one which a real,
Practice, disregard for areas of employer live person will answer. This number
responsibility or discriminatory treat- is not only for employees at school, but
ment areas where SDFA can be of as- also so that their spouses, children, or
sistance, please don’t hesitate to con- whomever may contact employees at
tact us at any time. The easiest way to work in case of an emergency.
contact us is via email at email@example.com
or call the SDFA at 760.721.7332.
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 15
Avoiding the pitfalls of electronic communication
Many of you may have started teaching before anyone ever heard of email or the
internet, but now find yourselves working in a world where these methods of
communication are the norm. Please remember that with the convenience of new
technologies, also comes potential pitfalls; pitfalls which could damage you
professionally. Also, you should be aware of pitfalls which might endanger your personal
privacy or that of your students.
Be Aware — Protect Yourself!
Never assume your e-mail messages are private. Emails created, sent, and stored on a
public school district’s computers and/or server are legally considered public records.
Never send an e-mail with content that you would not want read by a parent, student,
colleague, or administrator.
Emails, as public records, may more easily than you know be requested by any member
of the public and may also be subject to subpoenas as part of legal proceedings.
Always be professional and courteous in what you say to, or about others, in e-mail.
Be careful when using humor or sarcasm, or any strong language. Without face-to-
face communication, your intent may be misunderstood.
All e-mails sent or received using your district e-mail account are subject to the
Acceptable Use Policy and can be monitored or reviewed at any time.
Solicitations on district email for personal events are not permitted, e.g.: the sale of
your child’s Girl Scout cookies, a Tupperware event, or for individual causes or charities.
Use your personal e-mail account (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc) for all personal
Use your district e-mail account for school-related purposes only.
Pick up the phone! If you need to communicate something that is confidential or
sensitive, call or conduct a direct, in-person, discussion.
Before you click “send” for any district email, please make certain your message is
related to school business, written with the appropriate tone, addressed to the correct
person, and will reflect well upon you as a professional.
16 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
Legal Notes continued
Maintain Appropriate Boundaries!
Social Networking Sites
Don’t post any pictures or messages on a blog or social networking site that you
wouldn’t want your students, parents, administrators, local newspapers or TV
news programs, or even the credentialing commission to see.
Do not invite or accept students as “friends” or invite them to view your personal
profiles or blogs.
Cell Phones & Text Messaging
Many parents are uneasy with adults calling or text messaging their children
directly on their personal cell phones. If you need to contact a student, it is
best to make the call or leave the message via the parent or by calling the
student’s home phone number.
Even well meaning voice or text messages like, “How are you,” might seem
inappropriate to a parent if taken out of context.
But what about free speech?
Don’t school employees have the right, on their own time, to contact students
outside of school or to blog about their private lives without fear of consequences
from their school districts or other agencies? According to National Education
Association’s Office of General Counsel, Michael Simpson, probably not. NEA
states that it is generally accepted that school employees can be disciplined for
off-duty conduct if the school district can show that the conduct had an adverse
impact on the school or the teacher’s ability to teach. If inappropriate contact is
made directly with students or explicit content on a blog is viewed widely by
students or others, NEA tells us a disciplinary case may not be difficult for a
school district to make.
As to a possible free speech claim, NEA reminds that the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled in 2004 that is was not a violation of the First Amendment for the City of
San Diego to fire a police officer for posting sexually explicit content on the
internet. The unanimous Court said that such “speech” was “detrimental to the
mission and functions of the employer.” NEA believes that if such a case may be
made against a police officer, one could more easily be made against a teacher
considering the special trust and appropriate relationship teachers must maintain
at all times with their students. Bottom line: be appropriate and professional at
all times—an entire world may be watching!
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 17
OUT OF SITES
by SDFA Building Representatives
by Jennifer Chufo
Welcome back, Everyone! It’s Chufo here, signing on to keep you posted on our
campus happenings. Here’s what’s new in Ravenland. . .
First, I want to warmly welcome our newest Ravens. Some of them have already em-
braced school pride donning the red and black!—see picture below. We have quite an
amazing crew over at CCA and we are excited for them to join in the mix. Be sure to
introduce yourself to our newest Raven family members.
(Front row, from left to right: Paula Furgerson (Special Education); Dorothy Kowalski (Psychologist); Rebecca Pierce (Business, ROP);
Ed Gerstein (Science); Laura McKay (Art/Envision)). Back row, from left to right: Lauren May (English); Kristin Pina (Counseling);
Taylor LaSalle (Special Education); Chedly Benattia (Social Science); Chris Tallman (Social Science); Jackie Bergeron (Art);
Don Quinn (World Language)).
A few of our newest members had a few words to share with you for your reading
pleasure. In the coming months I’ll be sure to highlight the rest! Stay posted, beauti-
Chedly Bennatia (Social Science): I got my B.A. in Political Science from SDSU and
my credential from Chapman University. I love cycling and watching sports in my free
time. I had an action packed summer where I went to Maui for a week and then to
Club Med Ixtapa for a week. I also went to AP by the Sea for a week but I don’t consider
that a vacation.
Jackie Bergeron (Art): I am teaching Sculpture and Drawing and Design whoo hoo!! I
moved to San Diego two years ago from Boston, Ma. I love Boston and miss my family
and friends a ton but cannot stand the weather. I love Boston sports teams. You may
see me wearing a shirt every so often. Brady will one day divorce Gisele for me, haha.
I teach yoga at three studios in San Diego, Sculpt Fusion, Sorrento Valley Yoga and PB
Yoga and Healing arts. I became a teacher last summer and have been teaching as
much as I can.
18 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
Out of Sites continued
Lauren May (English): I am happily married for 17 years...I am the mother of four
sons, ages 7, 10, 12 and 15...in my head I am writing a humorous novel, the title of
which is Please Don’t Put Buttered Toast On Your Brother’s Head...I am often be-
mused at the flexibility of the English language to express sentences you never knew
would become necessary...when I am not teaching, I live a glamorous life doing laun-
dry and chauffeuring young men to sporting events...in my head I am in a Parisian
garret, taking art classes and hanging out at coffeehouses...I have a rich inner life that
keeps me going...I am enjoying the creative culture of CCA!
Don Quinn (World Language): I have taught Japanese for almost 10 years and I love it!
I also taught health for seven years too. I was born in New York, moved to San Diego,
my brother was born, then moved to Japan (my younger brother was born) and lived
there since I was eight years old. I spoke perfect Japanese until I entered Atsugi Air
Force Base Military School near Tokyo, Japan. I pretty much grew up in San Diego
since I was eight and I played baseball, basketball and football. I started to play and
mimic the styles and likes of Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. I love
tennis. My American Uncle Wayne was the main reason why I started to play guitar at
age 10. I am currently in a pop rock band, First Class Fiction, and we are signed under
a two-year indie label contract. We have tons of songs and we believe our song “Fa-
mous” will be a hit for us. So, did I make a spaceship in my garage? haha. No, but I
did make electric guitars from scratch. I can make the body in about three hours. It’s
fun and relaxing. As musicians, we are always after the best tone! I have recorded
many musicians and stars (many R&B) such as Frankie J, Baby Bash, Lil Rob and
some talented local artists in San Diego. I really enjoy recording and sharing micro-
phone techniques and sharing pro tools editing techniques and short cuts. So if you
want to write a hit song, let’s collaborate and record a hit! I also own my own recording
studio business. I just want to say I really appreciate everyone at CCA for making me
feel welcome and at home. When I first met and spoke to Mr. Brian Kohn, I felt like I’ve
known him for 20 years! I really feel like this with all teachers, secretaries, janitors
and others! What an exciting place to work! I can’t wait to experience more excite-
ment at CCA. Keep your ears open for First Class Fiction. We may perform here soon!
Leanne Schwartz (English Department): I taught at LCC for three years before taking
two years off to mother my little budding English nerd Sophie (born on 4-23-07,
Shakespeare’s 423rd birthday, of course). Now I’m very excited to be at CCA.
Next on the list. . .
Raven Entertainment: Los Chicarrones Guapos (Janet Berand, LCC; Pablo Martin,
and Tracy Yates, CCA) will be performing at the Belly Up on October 2nd from 5:30 p.m.
to 8:30 p.m. Perhaps Quinn will be joining the jam session. . . hmmm. I see musical
developments on the horizon.
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 19
Out of Sites continued
Green News: Some CCA Ravens are going green. We’ve got
two south county carpools rolling: 1) the early birds, with Shay
and Chufo 2) the later birds, Fox, Chen, and, potentially,
Kortman second semester. Get on the wagon and jump in the
car with someone! Get your pool goin’.
Oh, and our fearless drama leader Mr. Schwartz is going green
at home. Forget store bought eggs. He is officially a chicken
owner. So, we anticipate omelet love from him one of these
Lunch and Raven Community Love: Bob Hoff is heading off our social committee
with Happy Hour Fridays and Roberto’s teacher luncheons on the lawns. Thomas
Lockhart’s room is a local lunch connection, if you are looking to get out of your room
and step into some riveting lunch discussions. Keep an ear out for more activities to
come. Rumor around the copier has it that Lockhart is trying to establish a bowling
night. And, as is tradition on our campus, the annual teacher Halloween costume
exchange will be in full effect. More on that later.
Summer Wedding report: Here comes the bride. . . Jennifer Dahlquist, (Education
Specialist) married her handsome husband Michael Ramirez in Maui, on July 29th.
And, I (Jeannie Chufo) married Christopher Black in beautiful Cortona, Italy on June
17th; yes, just a few days after the last day of school. We are crazy!
Lastly, I want to wish our one and only Mark VanOver great success with his promo-
tion to the “upper deck” as assistant principal at LCC. We are wishing you love and
success, Vanny. Have a brilliant year. . .Ravens!
Feel the love. . .
Chris and Jeannie Black Michael and Jennifer Ramirez
20 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
Out of Sites continued
by Jason Sowers
Welcome back to school! Where did the summer go? Time does fly by when you are
having fun and staying busy. There were plenty of exciting events that took place for
our members during the summer, such as…
Lori Meyer took a trip to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Sounds fun!
In August, Physical Education teacher and CV’s fitness guru, Jasmine Stiles, raced in
the Solana Beach Aquathlon, a 1000 meter ocean swim and 5K run. She raced a
39:27, dropping 5 minutes from her time last year, placing 5th overall for females and
26th overall males and females. The four women who had better times were between
17 and 25 years younger than Jasmine. That’s amazing –way to go Jasmine! Jasmine
also spent plenty of time surfing in Pacific Beach.
Brett Williams got married on July 3rd at the Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas.
It has been reported by some (Brett) that it was the greatest wedding ever known to
mankind. He and his wife also honeymooned in Southeast Asia and saw the Khmer
Temples and palaces of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. They ate wonderful curries and
noodle dishes in Thailand and surfed perfect waves in Indonesia. Wow- it sounds like
that trip would make at least the top five greatest of all mankind for honeymoon trips!
Finally, Yours Truly and wife Renee had the entire sum-
mer to spend with our new baby boy, Holden William
Sowers. Holden was born on June 18, less than a week
after the last day of the school year. While the two of us
enjoyed taking care of the baby, we also had the “help”
of our “oldest” son, Trent, who will be two in November.
Although it was not a restful summer, it was the best
one I have ever had.
The Sowers will take any help they can
get. Here’s a picture of their little helper,
During our inservice meeting in August, Principal Laurie Trent, feeding his baby brother, Holden.
Francis was pleased to report to staff members that our
site had the highest API scores of any middle school in the county for the 2008-2009
school year. Kudos to our staff for all of the hard work and time you put into your
teaching, re-teaching, tutoring, training, enriching, and everything else you do for
student achievement. Although there is not a ton of room for improvement, there is
some. Knowing our staff like I do, I believe we will do what it takes again this year to
try and close some of those small gaps.
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 21
Out of Sites continued
Our largest challenge this year, as it has been in previous years, is to manage a site
that has reached its student enrollment limit. With 1,435 students, we are beyond
full capacity. It has taken great efforts by counseling, administration, and teachers to
create new ways to maintain a safe environment that is conducive to learning for all
students. Along with some creative master scheduling with various room sharing
situations for teachers, another way was to offer students a chance to be in a club
during lunch. Thank you to all the teachers and counselors who are volunteering their
time, energy, and rooms as club supervisors. Club supervisors are: Holly Vermilyea,
Mary Fritsch, Naomi Clum, Chuck Adams, Mike Starr, Lisa Curry, Toni Zurcher,
Angie Miranda, Tamara Espinoza, Kasey Galik, Mary Freeman, Martha King, Deb
McVay, Jason Dickinson, Jamie Swope, Katrina Peterson, Holly Clark, Michelle
Challis-Hall, and Shannon Merideth.
Special thanks to our ASB Advisor and Art teacher Holly Vermilyea who is helping to
run the clubs and for setting the tone early on this year for how much this will help
As our site continues to grow, it is expected and it is always nice to see some new
teachers. This year those new teachers are: Holly Clark (World History), Amy Olson
(Science), Cynthia Woods (Special Education), and Monetta Ennis (English).
I would like to remind those new teachers, and all faculty association members, that if
you ever have any contract-related questions, concerns, or grievances, to please con-
tact me. Please see the SDFA bulletin board in the teachers’ workroom near the door
leading to the Media Center for the list of more detailed contact information
And finally, I would like to congratulate Cherie Wall for her new administrative posi-
tion as an assistant principal at Cajon Valley Middle School (as Cherie pointed out – it
is another CVMS!). Cherie has been an integral part of our Bobcat community, taking
on many leadership roles, such as being an amazing department chair for the History
department the past two years. Cherie, we will miss you dearly, but we also wish you
Some Bobcats in the teacher’s lounge celebrating Brett Williams showing his grill skills
Cherie Wall’s promotion
22 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
Out of Sites continued
by Julia Van Cleave
Welcome back and best wishes for another outstanding year!
The opening of the 2009-2010 school year included some staff changes. We welcome
two new teachers to the Diegueno team:
Alicia Labrum will be teaching two sections of English and
one section of Academic Success.
Alicia: “This is my sixth year of teaching, but its my first
year of teaching middle school; so far I love this age group! I
became a teacher because I love to learn. This is a profession
that allows me to constantly grow both as a teacher and as a
human being. I love working with the youth in our commu-
nity. According to coach John Wooden, ‘teaching is the most
important profession, except for parenting!
Before I joined Diegueño, I spent the most recent school year
travelling through Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Needless to say, it was
amazing! I have taught at both Rancho Bernardo High School and Burlingame High
School in northern California.
I love spending time outdoors, scuba diving, travelling, reading, cooking, and practic-
My favorite thing about teaching is that no day is ever the same. I never get bored
because Im constantly challenged. I’m a hard worker, so I love to put 100% effort into
the school year and to relax during vacations.”
Erin Zoumaras is sharing teaching band between Oak Crest and Diegueno.
“I’ve been teaching music since 2007. Before I became a teacher at Diegueno I taught
EW band, TP choir and music theory, and CCA orchestra.
My hobbies include baking, gardening, reading, and spending time with family and
friends. My favorite thing about teaching is when students are in the beginning
stages of learning an instrument it’s all very new and exciting for them.”
Our staff inservice day was fun and valuable. Elizabeth Wosika and Hilary Crain
presented information on the Avid Insitute that was held during the summer.
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 23
Out of Sites continued
We welcome Bryan Marcus, our new Diegueno Assistant Principal. Bryan comes to us
Bryan: Subjects Taught: 7th World History 7th/8th Sheltered World History, 8th US
History, 8th Grade US History Topics, AVID, and ASB…All at OCMS. I also did my
student teaching at OCMS.
Years of Teaching: 4
Years in Administration: 2 years as the AP at Oak Crest and starting my 3rd at DNO
Years In SDUHSD: 7
· Served on the BTSA Advisory Committee
· Member of the District Strategic Planning Committee
· Oak Crest Middle School—Teacher of the Year—2006
· Crystal Apple Award Recipient—2007
· BTSA Support Provider
This about me….I enjoy
· And most of all spending time with my wife and our new golden retriever puppy.
Elizabeth Wosika spent some time at Lake Tahoe with her family over the summer as
you can see below...
24 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
Out of Sites continued
From Jacquelyn Karney: “WOW! I think I had the best
summer EVER. All three of my boys love the beach, so we
spent a lot of time in Carlsbad. My oldest son learned to
surf! I stayed on shore and read. We also went to Dallas,
Texas to visit my mom. We had a blast, and my mom even
taught me to crochet. Finally, I planted two rose bushes
and a pomegranate tree...and they are all still ALIVE! Of course, I didn’t want it all to
end, but it’s not so bad when you work with great people and kids like we do at
Here is a picture of Jacqueline Powers with
her nephew and son in front of the new Mets
ballpark in NY: Citifield. Her goal is to get to
every baseball stadium in the country before
she perishes! She has yet to get to the Mid-
Laura McCormick and her family spent some
time canoeing and kayaking down the St. Croix
River near their cabin in Wisconsin. Check out
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 25
Out of Sites continued
Hearts were breaking all over San Diego County when, on July 25th, the ever-elusive
Vetha Pierce said “I Do” to her sweetheart, Alan G. Simpson. Marily Pugh (former
Principal of Diegueno), Adrienne St. George (librarian/media at Diegueno), and Suzanne
Brown (history teacher at Earl Warren) were among the bridesmaids. The ceremony
and summer potluck BBQ BASH of a reception were held on their five acre estate in
Valley Center. A good time was had by all... well into the next week!
The Scene of the “Crime” - Al and Vetha’s backyard
Al and Vetha Simpson
Vetha’s sons, Danny and Michael,
walked her down the aisle
Bryan Marcus met with all students through their PE classes on Friday, Sept 11th.
He reviewed all the rules and regulations with students.
Tuesday, September 2nd, we kicked off our Magazine Drive with two assemblies which
got the kids pretty excited about selling magazines.
Back to School Night was held on September 24th. Principal Mary Anne Nuskin
greeted the huge crowd with a warm welcome. The parent turn out was great, and
Mary Anne received lots of kudos and compliments about all the teachers.
Julie Aselstine and the Peer Mediators are taking on the recycling on campus and
26 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
Out of Sites continued
So, with all of these activities completed, we are up and running and looking forward
to a terrific school year.
Student photo credits go to Kari Smiths journalism class. See below...
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 27
Out of Sites continued
by Suzanne Brown
Welcome to the start of another school year. Very good news on our enrollment front -
Earl Warren opened its doors to 678 students this year, a sizeable increase from last
year and a total that includes 145 inter- and intra-district transfers. Of those transfers,
86 are from an overcrowded Carmel Valley MS, our area of focus. EW’s Educator
Group will continue to meet this year to investigate opportunities to further increase
enrollment, with an eye toward drawing students from the south end of the district.
One of the goals of our Educator Group has been to im-
prove the appearance of our school – no easy feat for an old
school in tight budget times. But, over the summer, the
front of the school received a
facelift. Old overhangs were re-
moved and concrete was poured
to create a much more appeal-
ing entrance into the school.
The Solana Beach Friends of the
Library have also approved a beautiful mural to be painted
on the exterior walls of our joint-use library, and our Art
Department has plans to place another student-generated
mural on the Art building. We’re still hoping for new paint
trim, uniform signs throughout the campus, additional gates to deter skateboarding
on campus, and continued landscaping.
I’m happy to introduce a handful of new staff members to Earl Warren:
First of all, we welcome Assistant Principal Ryan Yee to our campus. Carmel Valley’s
loss is most definitely our gain, and we are delighted to have him here.
The English department welcomes three new members. Sharon Armstrong is back
with us after a spending the last several years at Diegueno and La Costa Canyon.
Stephanie Wolters comes to us from and Oak Crest, and Steve Ruecker is new to our
The Math department also has two new additions. We’re happy to have back Michelle
Anderson who started her teaching career at EW in 2000, and to welcome Sherry
Tieman who is new to our campus.
The Visual and Performing Arts department welcomes two new teachers. Art teacher
Jennifer Koett is dividing her time between EW and SDA, and Band and Guitar
teacher Scott Drechsel is new to the district.
And finally, we welcome Julia Chowdhury, our new Speech Therapist.
28 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
Out of Sites continued
In other news, our ASB class, along with new advisor Stephanie Wolters, was busy in
early September organizing Welcome Week to help new students adjust to life as a
Seahawk. To kick off the week, all students were given a colored wristband to wear.
Students who introduced themselves to 15 new people wearing the same color wrist-
band during the week earned a free Jamba Juice.
In honor of Constitution Day on September 17, eighth-grade US History students
were treated to a presentation organized through the American Civil Liberties Union.
After a brief study within their US History classes of the essential principles of our
democracy, San Diego lawyers volunteered their time to speak to classes about our
Constitution and our rights as citizens of the US.
And finally, congratulations to Art teacher Greta Lynn (formerly Erbe) who was mar-
ried this summer. She and husband Denny had a military ceremony at St. Elizabeth
Seton and honeymooned in Ireland.
Denny and Greta Lynn
LA COSTA CANYON
by Mario Flores
A new year is underway. We have a new principal and of course that is not new. What
is new? For me it is a feeling I have not had for a while and simply put it is positive
energy. I feel it from myself and from many around me. I’m sure not everyone feels
the way I do. I do feel this administration is reaching out. We must also wait to see
how things continue to go. A new administration team, a budget deficit, at best, a
stagnant enrollment does not make things easy, but an understanding of a school
working together can open doors and brighten days. Welcome back and look forward
to this terrific new year and working with each and every one of you.
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 29
Out of Sites continued
If you have not heard all LCC teachers should be proud. LCC was in Newsweek’s list of
the Top 1300 High Schools in the U. S. at #291. To show that LCC is the complete
package, ESPN voted it one of the Best High School Athletic Programs in the USA.
LCC was ranked 32 out of 50. Congratulations to all teachers and coaches for their
hard work. Day in and day out, LCC shows how great of a school it is. It is nice to have
our teachers and coaches honored for all they do to improve the lives of our students.
If you have not had a chance to read the article that gives kudos to David Emmerson
and the O2 for Life Club, go by Christopher Greenslate’s class. He has hard copies of
the Coastal Dispatch. The article mentions that the club is focused on creating con-
nections between students and the rainforest as well as the people who live there.
Great job, David!
Congratulations to Sue Raley. As a teacher, it is so rewarding when your students go
on to bigger and better things. Two of Sue’s and LCC’s past students have made it to
Hollywood. Haley Webb (2003) is now starring in “Final Destination 4”, which had
grossed over 25 million. Melody Khazee (SDHS-LCC-1996) co-starred with Harrison
Ford and Ray Liotta in “Crossing Over” which released last spring. Congratulations to
Sue for inspiring our students to reach for the stars.
On that note, welcome to our new Principal Kyle Ruggles. Along with Kyle, we offer
our welcome to Bjorn Paige and Mark Van Over our two new LCC Assistant Principals.
I don’t want to leave Doug Kamon out, so I say welcome back. Check with our awe-
some newspaper advisor Christopher Greenslate who has copies of an article written
about our new leader.
If you haven’t already, please stop and say “hi” to our new LCC teachers. Welcome to
Masayo Isogai who comes to us from Canyon Crest and is teaching Japanese, Sara
Zook who is teaching in the Special Education Department, Kaitlin Richardson who
is teaching English 9 and is our new ASB director, and to Teresa Stanley who was
hired to teach in our Math Department. Congratulations, and welcome to the Maver-
Thanks to all of the LCC teachers for making this such a great campus. All the hard
work that our teachers continue to put in was rewarded with the fact that our API score
went up. As we continue to collaborate, use best practices, make use of new technol-
ogy (Data director) LCC will continue to provide a top notch education in which 96% of
our students go to college. Thanks to all of you and have a great year.
Machado at his best
30 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
Out of Sites continued
Who would put this on their desk top?
Coach Brown going for Championship #2 Coach Vice has the X-Country team working hard
by Sharon Senese
Welcome back to all. The summer went fast as they
always do but it was great! Oak Crest staff members
arrived on campus in August to a beautifully cleaned
campus and lots of great refreshments from our won-
derful parent foundation. The pre-school meetings
were bustling with ideas for staff collaboration, ways
to conserve and save funds. We opened our doors to
1,000 students and the first week of school was as
smooth as they come. Counselors Laura Martin and
Karen Infantino did another awesome job to ensure
that classes were as balanced as they could be and that the students of Oak Crest were
afforded the best chances for a great beginning to their school year.
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 31
Out of Sites continued
The theme for Terry Calen’s opening message was centered around the district’s bud-
get dilemma and how we can work around it to ensure our students get the best
education. Terry also stressed the importance of keeping our students on track and
increasing their motivation so that they may compete globally in the future. The staff
always enjoys Terry’s opening messages. As the exceptional administrator and a tal-
ented teacher that he is, Terry creates goals and aligns his vision for Oak Crest in a
way that is meaningful and comprehendible by staff -- just as we teachers do for our
students in our classrooms.
We welcome many wonderful new faces to our fine school:
I am Mariah Weibel and I am so excited to be teaching 7th
grade English at Oak Crest this year! While I am new to Oak
Crest, I am not new to teaching or to SDUHSD. I have had
the pleasure of teaching both English and Spanish at
Diegueno Middle School and working as an Assistant Princi-
pal at La Costa Canyon High School and Diegueno. I am a
North County native and received my BA in Spanish and in
Literature and Writing, as well as my MA in Educational Ad-
ministration, from CSUSM. I am also the proud mom of Emmi Rose, born in April
2009. I look forward to a wonderful year with you and your student(s)!
I will be teaching band at Oak Crest and Diegueno Middle
Schools. I previously taught at Earl Warren, Torrey Pines
and Canyon Crest. My husband, Josh, and I moved to San
Diego in 2007 from Missouri were we grew up and went to
college. We’re loving the warm weather and the beach and
enjoy gardening and cooking. A fun fact is that my cousin,
Jennifer Turfler, teaches English at Torrey Pines.
A veteran of the US Army, I am graduate of CSUSB with a B.A. in Psychology and a
M.A. in Education with emphasis in Special Education. I come to Oak Crest with six
years experience at the high school level in Special Ed. preparing students for the
CAHSEE. My wife, Michiko, and I have two sons, Zachary and Talen. Something you
do not know about me is that I still play D&D with my friends in the garage. (I’ve been
playing since 1982—shhh!)
32 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
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I grew up in North County and graduated from
SDSU with a Bachelors degree in philosophy. I
completed my teaching credentials at CSUSM
in social science and language arts as well as
special education. In addition, I hold a Califor-
nia real estate broker’s license. In my free time
I enjoy surfing, going to the gym, and playing
golf. My two favorite hobbies are traveling and learning new languages; currently I
speak Italian, Portugese and some Spanish.
Our NEW VP
This is my first year with SDUHSD and I am thrilled to
be the Assistant Principal for Oak Crest Middle School.
This will be my eighth year in education and my fourth
year working in an administrative capacity. I taught Tech-
nology and AVID in Rowland Unified School District be-
fore teaching Math and becoming an Assistant Principal
for Capistrano Unified School District. I’m married with
two kids and currently live in South Orange County.
We warmly welcome Geoff Westermeyer back from his
yearlong sabbatical. “Westy”, as he is so endearingly
referred to, is a pillar at our school. He teaches com-
puters and History and is the Social Studies Chair.
He is also a key participant in the “lawn lovers lunch
club” and he is our golf coach. Students enjoy his
fair and calm demeanor, staff loves his witty sense of
humor. While on sabbatical, Westy rewrote curricu-
lum and implemented access for all social studies
teachers. Welcome back, Mr. Westermeyer— it wasn’t
the same without you.
“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it
will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”
~ Herm Albright (1876 - 1944)
The Lawn Lovers Lunch Club
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 33
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SAN DIEGUITO ACADEMY
by Sheryl Bode
Welcome back, Mustangs!
After a warm summer full of beach days, camping, motorcycle riding, remodeling houses,
taking care of grandchildren, writing books, reading piles of books, taking up lan-
guage and sport lessons, doing yoga, working out, sleeping in, playing with our ba-
bies, hiking, buying houses, traveling, cooking, and just having time to clean our
houses, we are finally back at SDA. Our first day back, I saw many relaxed, tanned,
and smiling faces who all told me their summer was fantastic, but it was good to be
back. I also received many positive comments regarding having those first two days
back being full prep days, and how many felt prepared for the first day with kids. This
is good news and I wish you all a smooth and satisfying first month. I am excited to
report that we have a new Assistant Principal on campus. Marc Trocchio has great
energy and passion for his profession and we feel fortunate to have him working side-
by-side with Dr. Jones and Mike Grove. Marc has been kind enough to share some
personal and professional details with us. He reports:
“My first few weeks at SDA have been very interesting and I am excited for the new
challenges I will face. The vibe at SDA is unlike any I have ever experienced as the
staff, students and parents are absolutely IN LOVE with this historic campus! Having
went to Palm Springs with the SDA ASB I am very impressed with the energy and spirit
that surrounds SDA student leaders. I am anxious to get to know all of the SDA Staff
and work with them for many years to come. Outside of SDA I love spending time with
my beautiful wife Kelli and my two sons Jack 4 and Ben 2. We are USC season ticket
holders and are a Trojan Family of sorts, often times traveling around the country visit-
ing college campuses. I golf as much as possible and quarterback a team in the LC35
Touch Football League! If there is a Dave Matthews Band concert within a few hundred
miles of S.D. I am at it!”
Also, this year, we have four new teachers here at SDA, and I would like to help you get
to know them better. I asked each one to tell us about what they like to do when they
are not teaching. One even gave me a photo of herself hiking the Inca Trail in Perú. It
has been a pleasure working with them these first few weeks and I wish them the best
So, first let’s meet our new Japanese teacher, Takeshi Takakura. He writes:
“I grew up surfing in Japan and surfing is still part of my life. I like getting up early in
the morning to surf with less of a crowd. What I always keep in mind is not to forget
sun-protection. I always put a lot of zinc all over my face and so you may not recognize
me in the water. My friends sometimes make fun of me by saying ‘Here comes the
Geisha’ when I join the line-up. Anyway, my favorite spot is Salt Creek in Dana Point
34 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
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which is five minutes from my house. We have very good breaks, and I like the crews
and the waves over there. However, I am currently searching for good breaks here in
Encinitas so that I can surf after school. I am married to a Japanese woman. She is a
make-up artist, having a busy life; going back and forth between two countries (Spain
and California). Since we both have been busy since we came to California this Febru-
ary, we haven’t really had a chance to spend time relaxing together, but we both love
board-walking and doing different types of sports together.”
Next up is our math teacher, Dorothy Kim, who shares:
“Other than teaching math, I love running, traveling, hiking, going
to the beach, and pretty much anything outdoors. This past year, I
ran four half marathons and my full first marathon at the San
Diego Rock-N-Roll marathon. It was an awesome experience! An-
other passion of mine is traveling. I’ve traveled to many countries,
and this past summer, I had the opportunity to travel to South
America. I visited Ecuador and Peru and was able to enjoy God’s
beauty! The snow-capped mountains were absolutely breath-tak-
ing. In Ecuador, I had the opportunity to work with the Cofan people,
an indigenous people group, to help with a church construction
project. In Peru, I took part in a 5-day hiking/camping trip through
the mountains and jungles. The trip ended with Machu Picchu to
see the Inca ruins!”
Our new art teacher Jennifer Koetts shares,
“HELLO SDUHSD! I’m very excited to be part of your community. I teach part-time at
San Dieguito Academy (Sculpture) and Earl Warren Middle School (Art I). I am also
faculty at Point Loma Nazarene University and teach two courses in the evenings (Vi-
sual Arts in the Classroom I and Fundamentals of Art) and thoroughly enjoy teaching the
fine arts to students of all ages! When I’m not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my
family and friends, traveling, playing the piano, swimming and creating art! I became
an “auntie” for the first time in May of 2009 and love spending time with my new
nephew (Liam)! I completed my BA in Studio Art in 1995 and hold a Professional
CLEAR Single Subject Teaching Credential in Art. I pursued graduate studies at George
Washington and American Universities (in Washington, D.C.) and completed my MA in
Non-Profit Arts Management in 2006. I was fortunate to be able to intern in the Educa-
tion and Development Divisions at the Freer and Arthur M. Sackler Galleries at the
Smithsonian (Washington, D.C.) and at BlackRock Center for the Arts (Germantown, MD)
during my graduate studies and am excited to get to know the community and bring my
passion, knowledge and skills in the visual arts to the SDUHSD community!”
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 35
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We also have the pleasure of working with Guen Butler this year. She was teaching
Spanish and French at Torrey Pines until three years ago when she took a leave of
absence to study in New York and work on health care and education policy in Africa.
She is teaching French here at SDA, and we are enjoying her wit, kindness, and
expertise. Additionally, back with us this year is Jennifer McCluan, who began teaching
part-time at SDA last January and is teaching Chemistry. Last year she dazzled us
with her amazing foot work in the Irish Dance Off against former SDA student Cameron
Let’s take a look at what is happening around campus. First off, the big news is that
we are starting to make progress on our Performing Arts Center. Portable classrooms
have been moved off the hill and from the front of our campus, so that construction
can begin. This is exciting news for us, yet we know it will still be a while before we
enjoy the benefits of our beautiful building.
Also new this year are student seminars. Our counseling office will be presenting
seminars to each grade-level focusing on options after high school, how students can
connect with school, what they want to be when the grow up, and preparing senior for
life beyond high school. Another successful program that will continue is the coun-
seling support groups. Counseling does weekly support groups that have been going
on since the Academy started. SDA usually offers general support groups for both
boys and girls, all topics; girls group, self-esteem groups, boys group, grief/loss. Groups
are created on the needs of the students and they are always facilitated by at least one
counselor. They meet one time a week and go all year as long as the student needs
support. All issues can be addressed in the support group and confidentiality is
I am sure there is much more going on around SDA, and will happy to report on it in
future articles. Now, let’s find out what some of our staff did over summer break. I
truly enjoy hearing about what you all are doing out there. It is exciting and inspiring.
SDA has always been proud of our
unique and colorful students. Well,
we have a pretty amazing and origi-
nal staff as well. No wonder things
have such a cool vibe here.
Elizabeth Dargan’s baby Lucas,
having fun at the beach in Dana
Point. Five months old .
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Blaze Newman is thrilled to say that she got married!!
Susan Coppock: “This summer Teal was filmed for a profile
by the Disney Channel. I took photos of the whole day and
I can send you a couple. She was chosen from across the
nation to showcase girls who ride and
jump horses even though she has only
been riding for about a year and a half. (She was nominated by
her trainers.) Disney came to her barn in Bonsall to film her
(they said the total cost to film was $50,000!) with a crew of 13
and a huge amount of equipment. Teal also volunteers at Ivey
Ranch, a therapeutic riding center, and they filmed her there as
well. The 2-3 minute profile is in post production right now and
should air in a few weeks, several times a month for the next few
years. I’m very proud of my wonderful daughter. Disney chose
the perfect girl!”
Ronnette Youmans: “I went backpacking for five days with
my family in the John Muir Wilderness (Lake Sabrina
trailhead). Did day hikes up to 11,000 feet in elevation. The
wildflowers were worthy of a William Wordsworth poem—or
better! Enough alliteration! I have to get back to work!”
Eric Neubauer: “I made an impromptu off-road adventure from
Telluride to Ouray, Colorado. We were travelling to visit some friends in Denver, and
decided to try a jeep trail we saw on a map. It ended up taking us over 1,3000 ft in
elevation and through some of the most amazing gold-mining country I’ve seen. To
give you an idea of the size, we drove through/past a gold-mining area that sold for
$2million in 1897! The trail was great and showed the true beauty of Colorado’s
Mountains. I also took some time working with my dog, Fly, on his herding skills. We
didn’t work with sheep this summer, but we did get some work done with a goat or two
and a friend’s dog, which is also a rescue from northern Arizona. He does like chasing
tennis balls and swimming as well. Indy, my other Border Collie, did her usual lazy-
thing this summer.....hanging out on the back of the boat and just waitin’ for her next
meal or someone to pet her.”
Angie Vazquez: “I had a great summer relaxing and having
fun here in beautiful San Diego. I had a lot of fun hanging
out with my girlfriends and doing cool things with them like
going to the beach, trying out new restaurants and just catch-
ing up. I also was able to spend a lot of time with my parents
and brothers. It was fun just sitting in the kitchen and talk-
ing with my mom for hours. And I was happy to be able to
spend time with my aunt and uncle that visited from Nayarit,
Mexico. We took them to Puerto Nuevo to enjoy good lobster
and good company.”
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 37
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Ed Cooper: “Over the summer, I re-discovered the dubious joys of golf. Goat Hill in
Oceanside became my realm of dysfunction. Golf at Goat Hill closely resembles Obama’s
healthcare plan: unexpected hazards, halting progress, and a yawning gulf between
intention and execution.”
Deb Abrahamson: “Seven weeks of pure relaxation and a lot of
reading! La Paz is a wonderful place to live!”
Candice Rolfsmeyer: “My husband and I went back to Cincinnati
to visit friends and family. While there, we also visited the fairly
new National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It was a
great educational and emotional experience. If any of you are ever
in the area, I strongly recommend it.”
Jill Seidenverg’s little princesses and a neighboring duchess in her gorgeous yellow
Rie Tsuboi took 9 students to Kyoto, Japan for 8 days.
Sheryl Bode: “I went to Spain with the SDA students, spent time with my niece and
nephew, stayed at Esalen in Big Sur, and had a blast being on the support crew for
Tibi’s 1000 miles desert race: Las Vegas to Reno, the Long Way.”
See you all at the pizza party on October 6th!
38 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
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by Michelle Horsley
Welcome back to what I’m sure will be another great school year! We started this year
with a few less folks than we’re used to, courtesy of the budget crisis. Sunset and
North Coast folks are handling it with our normal grace and good attitude. We work as
a team and when things get tough we just pull together more.
The big news at Sunset is our huge improvement on our API scores. We jumped 98
points and are now not only the highest ranked of any continuation high school in
San Diego county, but one of the highest in the state! We all know that test scores do
not reflect the entirety of what happens at a school, but they are an indication of
students being connected and invested in their own education. We have worked hard
to get our kids on board and feel confident in their abilities and have pride in their
school. This huge jump in API scores reflects our success in this area.
Another positive change is our new teacher’s lounge. We have upgraded from the 5x6
kitchen with no chairs to a real room! It is a wonderful place to sit, relax, eat and talk
with our fellow staff members. Thanks to Rick Ayala for making it happen!
Sunset ladies luxuriating new and improved ‘teacher lounge’ our old ‘break room’
There have been other physical improvements at our site including front sidewalks,
new trees, and a stone marquee with our name (soon to come).
So,we are ready to go. Enjoy your year!
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 39
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by Jerry Galiley
Welcome back!! As I say this, I have to reminisce a bit to our “End of School” party last
June because of the deadline for our articles can be as much as three weeks early. I
couldn’t report on this fun event that was held on Wednesday, June 10th at Yogi’s
Sports Bar in Cardiff. We are so lucky that this restaurant is so supportive of our
faculty. Everything was FREE; the venue, the view, and we could order any appetizer
from the menu. What a great way to end the year!
Deep in conversation
Brennan Dean counseling some of our teachers
Can you identify the “party crasher” in this photo?
40 SDFA Vanguard September/October, 2009
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A happy Barb Swovelin
As you can see, a great time was had by all. Remember that there are other great
times in our future, namely the annual S.D.F.A. Welcome Back Pizza Party to be held
at “Today’s Pizza” in Encinitas on Tuesday, October 6th. This function is for all of our
certificated colleagues and administrators as a way to enjoy time away from school.
The food is FREE. I hope I can take lots of pictures at this event!
On to more news: Welcome to our faculty members who are at the best school in the
world!!! They are:
· Susie Benniefield – American Sign Language
· Brooks Bunnell – Severely Handicapped
· Scott Dreschel – Choir and A.P. Music
· Sarah Kaye – Dance P.E.
· Anastasia Kokkinis – English (she comes back to us after two years in Grad
· Julie Limerick – Art
· Angela Willden – Science
And last but not least, a veteran teacher coaxed out of retirement: Bob Zakowski is
teaching Computer Science & Programming. Welcome back, Bob!
In closing, we all know it could (will) be a difficult year ahead. I wanted – and forgot – to
say this at our brief and somewhat challenging staff meeting: Be kind to one another
and support each other. We are all in this together, and if all else fails, blame a
September/October, 2009 SDFA Vanguard 41
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