SJCOE Academic Decathlon results

This weekend was the second leg of the 35th annual San Joaquin County Academic Decathlon, that drew high school teams from 12 schools in the county and more than 380 students taking part.

Tracy High School took first place overall, and more about Saturday’s event can be found here.

More results are in. Taking second was Middle College High (Lodi Unified) and Manteca High (Manteca Unified) placed third overall.

The overall top scoring student was Hamza Raniwala of Tracy High, who received a $1,000 Walter Rathhaus Award, provided by Premier Community Credit Union and the SJCOE Educational Foundation.

The top three Super Quiz teams saw two teams (Manteca and Tracy high) place first and Middle College in second.

The University of the Pacific awarded three renewable $5,000 scholarships for decathletes, who according to the SJCOE, met the university requirements and have shown a strong desire to attend the university: those winners are Vivianna Araiza (SECA), Helen Vo (Middle College High) and Rida Fatima (McNair High).

By category, students who ranked received scholarships and cash ranging from $100-$500:

  • Honors: 1. Hamaza Raniwala, Tracy High; 2. Surya Nehra, Tracy High; 3. Julien Belen, Middle College High
  • Scholastic: 1. Ayman Baydoun, Tracy High; Rahul Chumber, Middle College High; Joshua Blomgren, Tracy High
  • Varsity: 1. Praveen Jose, Manteca High; 2. Max Terriberry, Middle College High; 3. Daniel Wirtley, Tracy High

Congrats to all the winners!

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Watch First 5 California’s “Talk. Read. Sing.” campaign featuring Jose Hernández

Stocktonian and former NASA astronaut Jose Hernández was honored yesterday in Sacramento at a news conference by First 5 California as they announced the next phase of its “Talk. Read. Sing.” campaign.

Hernández will appear in a 30-second media advertisement promoting the importance of early childhood brain development. First 5 California’s goal is to reach out to young parents and caregivers with an effort to talk, read, and sing to their children at an early age.

Daily interactions are critical to building a child’s brain capacity and preparing them for school and for life. The ad will feature both a English and Spanish version and have already hit the airwaves. Watch by clicking the link.

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Stagg High School remembers long time assistant principal

Long time Stagg High School assistant principal and occasional interim principal Bea Grasham, 82, died earlier this week.

At a regularly scheduled Stockton Unified School District board meeting on Tuesday, a moment of silence was made to remember Grasham and another educator, Kathy McKaren from Hazelton Elementary.

Don Bott, a journalism teacher at Stagg said Grasham was his teacher growing up at Stockton Junior High on San Joaquin Street. She worked mainly as an administrator at other high schools during her time in the district but spent a majority of time as a Delta King.

“She was a tough but respected educator when I first encountered her, and she always continued to be that,” Bott said in an email sent to the district. “I will remember her loud voice and big smile. I am sure many of us will.”

In 2001, Stagg, SUSD’s largest school with more than 2,800 students, had been without a permanent principal for nearly 11 months. Grasham along with retired administrator Margaret Kelley served as acting principals during the 2000-01 school year.

According to Record archives, Grasham was also one of the longest serving members of the Garden Club in Stockton. Some of the annual projects have included creation of elementary school gardens and Arbor Day tree plantings.

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Manteca Unified’s Academy will hold an Open House event on Thursday, Jan. 14 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the school’s campus, located on 2271 W. Louise Ave in Manteca. The campus is directly behind the district’s offices.

The Academy focuses on career fields including the culinary arts, first responders/paramedics and the industrial arts including welding and iron work.

Parents and students interested in learning more can take a tour of the campus and visit with current students, teachers and staff. Refreshment, student displays will be provided.

For questions, contact Office Manager Kelley Wilson at (209) 858-7560 or email at

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Stockton Unified request public input for 2016-17 LCAP

Stockton Unified School District officials said they are preparing their recommendation for the Local Control Accountability Plan as well as other funding proposal for the 2016-17 school year.

The LCAP is a state funded program that provides further assistance to improve achievement for low income, English language and foster students. Other areas include technology and providing additional counselors on site.

The district will hold numerous LCAP presentations in January. The first is scheduled on Jan. 20 at Cesar Chavez and Stagg high schools from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Jan. 21 at Franklin and Edison high schools, also 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Officials urge parents to attend as their voice and opinions matter.

Parents can also visit the district’s LCAP web page within their official website and submit comments or questions about the LCAP through “Let’s Talk,” that allows public input. You can visit the website by clicking HERE.


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McParland Elementary shuts down annex due to smoke

George McParland Elementary School in Manteca was closed Thursday after smoke was detected in the annex office before classes began.

The Manteca Unified School District posted a note from Principal Dale Borgeson that the fire department was called to investigate the campus at 1370 London Ave., and that students were kept away from classrooms until the cause for the smoke could be found.

An investigation by the fire department and PG&E determined that students would not be allowed back into the classrooms and were sent home.

Borgeson said annex students were walked over to the main site under direct supervision. Parents and guardians were allowed to check those students out of school and all pupils were accounted for.

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New California education laws for 2016

With the ringing in the New Year also comes new laws going into effect. California will see over 20 new laws as they become official on January 1, and a couple are geared towards education:

  • No more exit exam (SB 172): High school seniors will no longer need to take a exit exam in order to graduate. This will lift the requirement till the 2017-18 school year.
  • Guns on campus (SB 707): Should be a no-brainer here as concealed firearms are banned from college campuses and K-12 schools.
  • Sex Ed (AB 329): Sexual education used to be voluntary but now it will be a required class in schools, unless parents seek an opt-out for their child. Students will also get new updated information, mainly on HIV and gender identity.
  • Yes Means Yes (AB 695): Tying in with the mandatory sex ed classes, schools will be required to teach students about consent to sexual acts, otherwise known as “yes means yes.”

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GoFundMe for slain teen available

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the funeral of Juwan Small, a Cesar Chavez High School teenager who was shot and killed Monday afternoon in northeast Stockton, is now available.

On Dec. 14, Stockton police were called to the scene on East Swain Road at Lorraine Avenue shortly before 4:30 p.m. on reports of shots fired in the area. Upon arrival, they discovered Small suffering from a gunshot wound, police reported.

Medical personnel responding to the scene pronounced Small deceased, according to the report. Detectives were called in to take over the case, the 45th homicide they have investigated this year. Forty of those have been at the end of a gun.

A GoFundMe account was made to help with funeral costs or any other expenses that the family will be facing. It can be found by clicking HERE.

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School boards elect new positions

Several school boards throughout San Joaquin County held regularly scheduled meetings on Tuesday, the last of the calendar year before classes will resume in January after winter break.

Lodi, Manteca and Stockton unifieds took time last night to appoint board members to new positions on the board, mainly for President, Vice President and clerk.

In Lodi, Ron Freitas was named President, Ron Herberle was named Vice President and Ralph Womack as clerk.

Manteca’s board kept Deborah Romero as President, while trustee Stephen Schluer was appointed Vice President and Sam Fant was named clerk.

Kathy Garcia is now board President for Stockton Unified. Previous President, Gloria Allen, will move to Vice President and Maria Mendez is now clerk.

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San Joaquin County’s top spellers set to compete for state

The 2015 San Joaquin County Spelling Bee Championship is set for Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. at the county office headquarters located on 2707 Transworld Drive in Stockton, at the Wentworth Education Center.

The top spellers in both public and private schools in the county will compete for a slot in the state competition. Students in grades 4-6 will be in the Elementary Division, while students in grades 7-9 will compete in the Junior High Division.

This year saw 97 student spellers make it to the county Spelling Bee and 72 will be left remaining on Wednesday.

The top two winners in each division will earn a plaque, a gift card to Barnes & Noble and be able to compete in the state Spelling Bee.

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