Manteca school wins $5K Bright Ideas grant

Manteca Unified’s George McParland School was among 39 across the state awarded a Bright Ideas Grant from Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the utility has announced.

McParland School was awarded $5,000 to help fund innovative classroom projects about energy and the environment and develop projects and curriculum that educate students about renewable energy, conservation and environmental stewardship.

The grant program aims to help support the understanding of renewable energy in public schools throughout Northern and Central California. Grants of up to $10,000 – PG&E awarded $250,000 this year and more than $2.5 million since 2005 – are awarded to educators for educational solar projects; youth energy and environmental programs; renewable energy or science-related field trips; Green Your School projects; and professional development/service learning or work force development programs.

Past projects have included installing solar panels, designing and implementing energy-saving ideas in classrooms, hosting solar car derbies, and other solar-powered inventions, according to PG&E.

“PG&E is pleased to support innovative educational programs that teach local students in our communities about renewable energy,” said PG&E President Chris Johns. “The Bright Ideas Grant program is dedicated to teachers throughout Northern and Central California who are inspiring young people to dream up the next big ideas in sustainable energy.”

K-12 public schools located in Northern and Central California are eligible to apply for the grants through Nov. 1, 2015. To apply, visit

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Teen gets 52 years to life for elderly couple’s slaying

The 17-year-old killer of a Stockton woman’s father and stepmother was sentenced Friday to 52 years in prison for stabbing to death an elderly couple in their Davis home, the Associated Press reported.

Daniel Marsh was 15 when he broke into the Davis home of Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin in 2013 and murdered them with a hunting knife. Yolo Superior Court Judge David Reed sentenced Marsh to the maximum of 25 years to life, plus an extra year for use of the knife, for each victim.

“He’s the most evil person I’ve ever encountered,” said Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral, who prosecuted the case.

Kathy Schick, one of Northup’s daughters and president of the San Joaquin County League of Women Voters as well as an adjunct instructor of microbiology at San Joaquin Delta College’s Mountain House campus, shared the impact the brutal slayings had on her and her family in October in hopes that her story would lead to better detection and treatment for those with mental illness. Stockton Unified was awarded two federal grants totaling more than $5 million that will enable the district to expand its approach to mental health and discipline and other types of critical needs.

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Parenting with Positive Behavior Reinforcement workshop Dec. 17

The Stockton Unified School District’s Community Advisory Committee will meet from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at 1503 St. Mark’s Plaza, Suite A-2, Stockton.


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SUSD police unveil new newsletter

With a debut issue introducing the “face behind the phone,” a new captain and the agency’s new K-9 officer, the Stockton Unified Police Department recently unveiled its first newsletter.

The publication will come out three to four times a year, Police Chief Bryon Gustafson said, and features news, tips and other information about the department – including a chance to take part in an upcoming Chief’s Luncheon with Gustafson (Those interested should contact Alice Nunez

“We’re looking to create to a basic outreach tool that we can give not only to students or parents but to other school site staff,” Gustafson said. “We’re a big district with 4,000 staff … so just to be able to pass out information to employees is a positive thing.”

The newsletter will be available in the department lobby, 640 N. San Joaquin St., and officers will also be handing them out in the community.

Gustafson, who has been working to make the department more transparent since his February hire and on Tuesday presented the department’s first Three-Year Strategic Plan to trustees, said in a recent interview that he’s been heartened by the support both he and the department are receiving in the community.

“I am privileged to be working with this community and I feel really great support,” he said, “and I hope that we can build on that.”

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State board moves to boost parent, community involvement in school budget process

The State Board of Education has approved final spending regulations for the Local Control Funding Formula and a revised template for Local Control and Accountability Plans, strengthening parent and community involvement in budget decisions and expanding local accountability measures to improve student achievement.

The file vote marks a major milestone in the formal rulemaking process required of the board and finalizes revisions and improvements suggested by educators, parents, students, lawmakers, education groups and advocacy organizations since the LCFF became law in 2013. Thousands of public comments about the regulations and hours of public testimony before the Board went into to the development of the final regulations and revised template.

LCFF links transparency and accountability directly to the local goal setting and budgeting process by requiring each school district, county office of education and charter school to adopt LCAPs. The Board approved a revised LCAP template that includes requested changes from county offices of education, local districts and education stakeholders.

Most area districts have LCFF/LCAP pages; you can find them here:

Stockton Unified

Lodi Unified

Lincoln Unified

Manteca Unified


Calaveras Unified




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Zumba fundraiser for teen cancer patient

Shaylee Murphy, 14, and her mother, Trina Murphy. CALIXTRO ROMIAS/The Record

STOCKTON – A Zumba fundraiser will be held Saturday to raise money for the medical expenses of 14-year-old Shaylee Murphy, a Christa McAuliffe Middle School eighth-grader who recently underwent surgery to remove a malignant carcinoid tumor growing on the outside of her colon.

The Zumba classes will be $5 and will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. in the multipurpose room at the school, 3880 Iron Canyon Circle. Lumpia and raffle tickets for donated will also be on sale to help raise funds, said Zumba instructor Mel Romasanta of Combined Fitness Personal Training Studio.

“I’ve never met this kid, but she is a classmate of my daughter,” Romasanta said. “It just touched me. That could easily have been my kid.”

Shaylee shared her story with The Record earlier this month. Shaylee’s Nov. 4 surgery went well, and doctors were able to completely remove the cancerous tumor, according to eighth-grade teacher David Yinger.

Shaylee’s fellow students at McAuliffe came up with the hashtag #shayleethecancerfighter and staffers at the Lodi Unified campus are also trying to raise funds to pay mounting medical expenses. Donations can be made online by visiting 

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Nominations open for 2014 Cortopassi Teaching Awards

The Cortopassi Family Foundation is accepting nominations for its Annual Excellence in Teaching Awards in the areas of Mathematics, Science, and Alternative Education, which come with $5,000 for both the winning teacher and his or her school, the San Joaquin Office of Education has announced.

Awards will be given to two mathematics teachers and two science teachers who teach at a San Joaquin County public or charter high school. The award recognizes distinguished teachers who motivate students to excel, support students in their academic pursuits both in and outside of the classroom, provide leadership in curricular and co-curricular events, encourage students to pursue a career in mathematics and/or science.

One award will be given to a teacher in a noncomprehensive public or charter high school, specifically a school that serves to educate students who have been unsuccessful in the traditional school settings. The awardee will be a distinguished teacher who motivates at-risk students to give their personal best and who inspires students to continue their educations beyond a high school diploma.

Teachers may be nominated only by their current principals. The nomination forms and three recommendation forms should be submitted to the Cortopassi Family Foundation, 11292 N. Alpine Road, Stockton, CA 95212, ATTN:  Carla Donaldson, or emailed to Application deadline is 5 p.m. Jan. 30.

Past winners are not eligible, but principals are encouraged to reapply on behalf of previous nominees.

To download an application for the Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching Awards click here.

To download an application for the Excellence in Teaching—Alternative Education Award click here.

For more information, contact Carla Donaldson at 209-481-1054, or email

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Different kind of Election Day drama: Trustees thwart would-be thief

George Neely and Steve Smith with the recovered trailer.

As if Election Day wasn’t exciting enough for Stockton and Lodi Unified Trustees Steve Smith and George Neely, they found themselves foiling a crime Tuesday morning after each spotted a man walking off with a stolen school trailer.

“I was out checking my signs, making sure they’re up, and I see this guy walking down Ben Holt pulling a trailer with his hands,” Smith said. “I think either he lost his car or something’s wrong with this picture.”

“He had even attached it to shopping cart,” Neely said. “He decided he could make better use of it than us, I guess.”

Smith called police, who were dispatched at 7:05 a.m. Meanwhile, ABLE parents who saw the man making off with the trailer called Neely, middle school director for the charter, who jumped in his car with a school security guard to track it down. It wasn’t hard; the man had trekked it over to nearby Angel Cruz Park.

“He was dancing and listening to music with our trailer there,” Neely said. “I walked up to him and just said. ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m doing a science project.’ I said ‘That’s our trailer there and if you don’t mind, we’d like to get it back,’ and he said ‘OK’ and took his stuff.”

Police who showed up asked Smith to come and identify the culprit, which he did, and then, since he had a tow ball on his vehicle, helped Neely get the distinctive trailer back to the Inglewood Avenue campus.

Police arrested Masters Puu, 30, on suspicion of felony grand theft and took him to the County Jail, where he was being held on $100,000 bail, police spokesman Officer Joe Silva said.

“Kind of a weird morning this morning,” Smith said later Tuesday. “At least they got their trailer back. The police were right on it, though. I thank them for their persistence and taking care of it right away. We got some good people on the police force.”

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School districts, community colleges can apply for $250 million in Pathways grants

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is inviting school districts and community colleges to apply for $250 million in California Career Pathways Trust grants for programs that provide skills and practical experience to help students prepare for success in college and careers, he announced in a news release Monday.

A career pathway program helps students chart the classes they need in high school and community college to prepare for work in a particular industry. These programs lead students to two-year degrees, certificates, or four-year degrees that prepare them for highly skilled jobs in growing industries. The grants pay for collaboration efforts among school districts, community colleges, business, and community leaders, and the development of courses and are part of Torlakson’s Career Readiness initiative to curb dropouts and support career technical education.

“This program is a great example of teamwork among educators and employers,” said Torlakson. “By giving students a taste of the working world before they graduate, these programs motivate and excite students, reduce the drop-out rate, and increase the college attendance rate.”

For application information, visit the California Department of Education’s California Career Pathways Trust Implementation Grant and California Career Pathways Consortium Development Grant webpages. The CDE also will hold several grant workshops in November for prospective applicants.

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S.J. seniors can apply for $1,000 Lincoln Center scholarships

High school seniors, applications for the 2014-15 $1,000 Lincoln Center Scholarship are now available. All seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher attending school in San Joaquin County can apply ~ deadline is Jan. 5, 2015. You can download the application here. Last year, $4,500 in scholarships was awarded by the program with funds raised from the Lincoln Center LIVE! Classic Car Show.

For information about the scholarship or the program, contact  Lincoln Center marketing director Janelle Meyers at (209) 477-4868 or by email at


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