A parent’s response to New Jersusalem’s despute with Tri-Valley Learning Corps

Over this past week, I reported on two stories involving the New Jerusalem Elementary School District’s intent to revoke two Stockton charter schools over financial reasons with the charter’s overseer, the Tri-Valley Learning Corp.

A day after the district announced a town hall meeting would take place for parents to voice their concerns, TVLC threatened legal action, thus cancelling the meeting.

Janine Youngbird, a Livermore Valley School Charter School parent whose children attend TVLC’s Livermore schools, wrote me an email detailing her part of an organized group of parents that have been fighting to change TVLC and “the corruption at the top of the organization” for the last several months, after they became aware of New Jerusalem’s Notice of Violation.

She provided a statement after the news broke of the cancelled meeting:

“It’s disheartening that with the various accusations against TLVC by both their authorizers, that TVLC would hinder communities from communicating and coming together to save our schools. Both Acacia and Livermore charter schools fall under the TVLC umbrella and we could be standing together as one. Over the past eight months, parents in Livermore have been uniting to discern what TVLC leadership is doing behind the scenes about the current perils facing TVLC.  Some Livermore parents have even attempted to reach out to Stockton parents, without success. We have been told that Stockton parents found out about the risk to their schools only within the last month. Liver more parents have known about the risk since April 8.

We have implored TVLC leadership to be forthright about the issues but we felt stonewalled and frustrated. So, we as parents are here to support the teachers, staff and children of Acacia and all the schools under the TVLC umbrella. It’s important for us to protect the children and make sure that their needs come first and foremost.” 

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Lodi Unified approve after-school support for Bridge program

The Lodi Unified School District will continue to receive funding from the state After School Education and Safety Program grant, which provides funds for after-school enrichment for K-8 students in the district’s Bridge Program.

The district has contracted with the city of Lodi along with the California Dept. of Education grant, funded by Prop. 49 (voted in 2002), to provide services for the past nine years, and has negotiated an agreement for the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department to continue in 2016-17 and into the year after.

The 13 schools to get additional funding are Beckman, Borchardt, Heritage, Lawrence, Needham, Nichols, Victor, Washington, Woodbridge and Live Oak elementary schools; Lodi and Millswood middle schools and Houston School. The district’s other schools in Lodi did not qualify for grant funding.

The department will receive $39,000 per year per elementary school site and $49,000 per middle school site.

The Lodi Unified board approved the contract on June 21.

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Davalos’ message for SUSD families

As I was on vacation all last week, it also marked the first official week of Dr. Eliseo Davalos’ first as new superintendent of Stockton Unified.

On July 1, the district posted his welcome message:

Dear Stockton Unified community,

It is with great pleasure and excitement  that I am returning to my native city to help lead this great school district. 

The educational foundation that was built for me in SUSD at Taft Elementary and John Marshall Junior High provided me with the knowledge and  skills necessary to be successful in high school, college, and graduate school.  I wish this same success for every student we serve. 

We will continue to work diligently to ensure that all SUSD students receive the highest quality education, in safe, supportive, and culturally proficient learning environments.  Upon graduation, our students will be able to select from any of the multitude of college and career opportunities available to them. 

This is an exciting time for Stockton Unified School District and I am blessed to return to serve my community and be a part of its future. 

Respectfully,

Eliseo Dávalos, Ph.D. 

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Torlakson marks successful completion of CAASPP testing

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on Thursday that more than 3.2 million students have completed the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), the state’s computer-based, online assessments given in Grades 3-8 and 11.

The total number of students taking part in Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts and literacy and mathematics have set state records: 350,606 students testing simultaneously on May 3 alone. A small number of school districts, however, will continue to conduct testing through July.

“Measuring the academic progress of more than 3 million students in 10,000 schools with one common yardstick is a daunting challenge, but our teachers, principals, administrators, and school employees rose to meet it,” Torlakson said in a news release. “Their hard work – and the California Department of Education staff – will help schools improve teaching and learning and in turn, help more students graduate ready for college and 21st century careers.”

The second year of CAASPP allowed individual districts and schools to access online results within three weeks of testing and were available much earlier than last year. Statewide and other aggregate results will be calculated and released at the end of August.

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CAVA students receive diploma, while online charter is hit with audit

Nearly 100 students with the California Virtual Academy online charter school at San Joaquin accepted their high school diplomas this morning at the Teranishi Event Center in Tracy.

This comes a day after State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the state Department of Education has contracted the state Controller’s office to conduct an audit of the online charter and related charter schools because of questions raised about a number of their practices.

The Virtual Academy in San Joaquin County is sponsored by the New Jerusalem Elementary School District.

Last June, several Virtual Academy teachers filed numerous complaints on several questionable practices and improper use of federal funds that affected thousands of students.

More on that story in Saturday’s Record.

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Stockton students receive 2016 Horatio Alger–JobRedi Grant

More than 20 Stockton students were selected to receive the 2016 Horatio Alger–JobRedi Grant. According to a press release, the grant recognizes outstanding students, who exhibited commitment to obtaining career or technical certification. The students are listed below:

  • Alicia Arrendondo-Griego, Franklin High
  • Elizabeth Ayala, Edison High
  • Aleena Bounlem, Edison High
  • Alexis Brown, Stockton High
  • Christian Carbarloc, Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory High School
  • Maria Castaneda, Merlo Institute of Enviromental Technology
  • Ricardo Cepeda, Stockton High
  • Frankie Cortez, Cesar Chavez High
  • Janette Delgadillo, Lincoln High
  • Lauren Dzubak, St.Mary’s High
  • Zoe Galindo, Lincoln High
  • Claudia Gonzales, St. Mary’s High
  • Celeste Hernandez, Escalon High
  • Francisco Hernandez, Weber Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology
  • Joshua Jimenez, Lincoln High
  • Nazish Liaquat, McNair High
  • Azelia McKenzie, Edison High
  • Noe Negrete, Edison High
  • Joshua Obedoza, Weber Institute
  • Xavier Olaso, Stockton Collegiate International Secondary Schools
  • Taylor Pereira, Escalon High
  • Andrea Perez Guillen, McNair High
  • Marcello Salazar, Stagg High
  • Efrain Serrano, Chavez High
  • Nicholas Tank, Escalon High
  • Imani Ward-Brooks, Edison High

The Horatio Alger Association administers one of the nation’s largest privately-funded, need-based financial aid programs. Established in 1984, the program has awarded more than $125 million in undergraduate, graduate and specialized scholarships.

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Tribute video for SUSD interim superintendent Julie Penn’s retirement

For the past two years, Julie Penn has delayed her retirement to act as interim superintendent of the Stockton Unified School District.

Come June 30, she will finally ride off into the sunset after 30+ years in education, 25 of them spent at SUSD.

At the 2016 San Joaquin County Office of Education Classified Employees of the Year and Teacher of the Year dinner on June 9, a tribute video was screened. It features words from Penn and a couple SUSD administrators. The video was produced by the Office of Education’s multimedia department.

You can watch the 3:30 minute video by clicking the link below:

Julie Penn feature

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Torlakson releases statement on Orlando shooting

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released a statement about the mass shooting of a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida over the weekend:

I want to express my deepest condolences for the victims and their families and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with those who died and were injured in this horrific attack.

An attack on any community is an attack on us all. All of us grieve along with members of the LGBT community in Orlando, California, and the rest of the world.

Diversity is strength. Tolerance, understanding, and compassion can and will survive this horrible event.

Although there is no apparent threat against schools, I want to assure all students, parents, and staff that the California Department of Education is committed to helping all schools maintain safe, secure, and peaceful school environments and to help them have the most effective mandatory safety plans they can.

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Jim White speaks at teachers college graduation ceremony

Jim White. Courtesy of the San Joaquin County Office of Education

The Teachers College of San Joaquin County held their graduation ceremony this past Sunday at the Bob Hope Theatre in downtown Stockton.

More than 100 graduates either completed programs in master’s degrees or teaching credentials, which for a state like California that is so short on educators, that’s a welcoming sign.

Graduates and their families and friends were able to listen to a commencement speech by Jim White, better known as the coach who was the subject of the Disney movie “McFarland USA,” starring Kevin Costner.

Katie Turner, college and community liaison for the TCSJ, said White graduated from Franklin High School in 1959 and is a classmate of college board member Anthony Gutierrez.

White has been recognized as the California CIF Coach of the Year and has been inducted into the California CIF Coach’s Hall of Fame. He’s also been named to the Bob Elias Hall of Fame in Kern County and the Vince Lombardi Hall of Fame.

San Joaquin County Office of Education spokesman Zack Johnson said the ceremony was a good event. Some 900 tickets were handed out.

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Lincoln Unified Summer Nutrition Program schedule

The Lincoln Unified School District Child Nutrition Services have announced the location for three locations where children 18 years or younger can get a free meal this summer.

The LUSD Summer Feeding Program will hold late morning lunches at Tully C. Knoles elementary, John R. Williams elementary and Sierra Middle School/Lincoln High School annex.

All individuals who require this service can come to any of the listed sites during designated times meals are served. They are broken down below:

  • Knoles Elementary, 6511 Clarksburg Place, Stockton from June 7 to July 14: Breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Available Monday through Thursday only except the week of June 7, which will be Tuesday through Friday and the week of July 4 will serve Tuesday through Thursday.
  • Williams Elementary, 2450 Meadow Ave, Stockton from June 13 to July 21: Breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Available Monday through Thursday only except of July 4 will serve Tuesday through Friday.
  • Sierra Middle/Lincoln High, 6768 Alexandria Place, Stockton from June 7 to July 21: Breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:25 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Available Monday through Thursday only except the weeks of June 7 and July 4, which will be Tuesday through Friday.

Any changes made to the schedule will be available at the Child Nutrition Services website found HERE.

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