East Union HS release “thought exchange”

Students and parents of East Union High School are being invited by district officials to share their thoughts on how the school can meet the evolving facility needs.

Called the Thought Exchange program, the public will be asked three questions relating to the current facility condition at East Union, as well as health, safety, or maintenance changes and which buildings need the most modernization.

The link can be found HERE.

All thoughts and ratings shared during the exchange are confidential.

By participating, thoughts and star ratings will be shared with others in the committee, but identities will remain private.

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Two corpsmembers receive $1,000 scholarships

The San Joaquin County Office of Education announced the Greater Valley Conservation Corps had an annual recognition lunch to highlight members of the corps and awarded two recipients of a new GVCC Scholarship, a competitive scholarship awarded to assist corpsmembers reach their career or educational goals.

The scholarship was awarded to Katie Yang, 20, and Roberto José Henriquez, 22. The scholarship is $1,000.

According to the SJCOE, Henriquez completed high school and entered community college as his family moved from place to place in the Bay Area. Jumping from home to home for years, he now lives in Stockton and is attending San Joaquin Delta College. His goal, the SJCOE said, is “to become an architect working on sustainable developments that will make the world a better place.” The scholarship would allow him to buy a new laptop to take with him to college and to continue practice his drafting.

Yang is only a few classes away from earning her associate’s degree at Delta College and her goal is to get a master’s degree in psychology. To get there, the SJCOE said, she wants to transfer to a university where she can earn her bachelor’s degree. The scholarship will help pay her way as she works toward the next step to achieve her goal.

The GVCC helps youth 18 to 25 years old with academic instruction, employment opportunities, green-job training, life skills, and more. The GVCC provides services such as habitat restoration, invasive species removal, landscape maintenance, litter removal, graffiti abatement, and recycling to businesses, schools, nonprofits, municipalities, and other organizations throughout San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Amador, and Tuolumne Counties.

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Lathrop High student uses CPR; saves boy’s life

Lathrop High School junior Valerie Villanueva is being recognized for putting her life-saving skills to good use after she performed CPR on a child who had fallen into a pool.

Over the weekend on Sept. 16, an 11-year-old boy and his 9-year-old brother slipped and fell into a pool. They were submerged for 15-20 seconds before an adult pulled them out. The younger boy started to cough, however, his older brother was not responsive, Manteca Unified officials said. His lips were turning blue and his skin became an ashy color.

Villanueva, who has been taking CPR training in a Health Careers class, sprung into action.

“Get out of the way, I know CPR,” she said according to district officials.

Villanueva performed the first set of 30 compressions, but the boy was still unresponsive. She performed a second set of 30 compressions, that kept the boy’s blood flowing to his brain and gave his lungs a chance to recover.

On the third set of compressions, the boy began coughing up water and regained consciousness.

“I never thought that I would have to perform it,” Villanueva said in a statement. “I was so nervous that I was shaking, but I’m glad that I was able to help him.”

Lathrop High Health Careers teacher James Ward told district officials, “She just finished her CPR certification at the beginning of September. We are so proud that she saved a life. On Monday, we gave her a standing ovation in class.”

The experience has only increased Villanueva’s desire to go into the medical field as a career and to help children.

“The satisfaction of seeing that I was able to help him, to see that he was OK, is what I want to see for the rest of my life,” she said.

Photo courtesy of the Manteca Unified School District.

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Manteca Unified announces Microsoft Innovative Educator experts

Five Manteca Unified teachers have been selected as Microsoft Innovative Educator experts.

Tammy Dunbar (Lincoln Elementary), Christina Hansen (Stella Brockman Elementary), Rebecca Hunter (Weston Ranch High), Kristen Messer (be.Tech) and Steve Unterholzner (Sierra High) will join the more than 6,700 educators in the MIE Expert program worldwide.

“Being an MIE expert means that the world is your classroom,” Hansen said in a statement. “This amazing group of educators and innovators are available to you and your students, so that we can become global learners and leaders. No other cohort allows for the level of opportunity for myself and my students like the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program.”

Each year, Microsoft selects innovative educators to share ideas, try new approaches and learn from each other as a global community dedicated to improving student outcomes through technology.

According to the district, as an MIE Expert, “educators build their capacity for using technology in both the classroom and curriculum to improve student learning, advise Microsoft and educational institutions on how to integrate technology in pedagogically sound ways and be an advocate at conferences, events and trainings for how Microsoft technology can improve learning.”

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Growth and success at SUSD

On Monday, Stockton Unified trustee Lange Luntao shared a document with data taken from the district and state Dept. of Education featuring several areas of growth over the past school year:

  • Increased reclassification rate for English learners from 1,208 in 2015-16 to 1,767 in 2016-17, a 6.5 percent increase, meaning more students are considered proficient English speakers, readers and writers.
  • Number of students earning the state Seal of Biliteracy increased from 26 in 2015-16 to 201 in 2017.
  • Fifty additional high school students received diploma during mid-year graduations.
  • Developed senior non-grad summer program resulting in 127 additional seniors meeting graduation requirements and earning diplomas.
  • Creation of Ethnic Studies course for high school students; pilot program to begin for 2017-18 school year.
  • Recruited and hired Director of Educational Equity, one of two positions in the country.
  • Held first English Learner Summer Program, serving approximately 200 long-term English learners
  • Reduced suspension days throughout district from 12,107 students in 2015-16 to 8,197 in 2016-17.
The first day of class in SUSD begins Aug. 8.

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Lodi Unified announces summer nutrition program

The Summer Nutrition Services Program, hosted by Lodi Unified School District, will serve free meals to all children and teens 18 years old and younger at the following locations:


  • Sutherland Elementary (550 Spring River Cir.), 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. breakfast, 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. lunch – June 5-30.
  • Creekside Elementary (2515 Estate Dr.), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch – June 5-30.
  • Clairmont Elementary (8282 Le Mans Ave.), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch – June 5-30
  • Emerald Pointe Townhomes (9537 Kelley Dr.), 11 a.m. to noon lunch – June 5 to July 14.
  • McNair High School (9550 Ronald E. McNair Way), 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. breakfast, 10 to 11 a.m. lunch, June 5 to July 14.


  • Beckman Elementary (2201 Scarborough Drive), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch – June 5-30.
  • Boys & Girls Club (275 Poplar St.), 8:30 to 9 a.m. breakfast, noon to 12:30 p.m. lunch – June 5 to July 14.
  • Heritage Elementary (509 E. Eden St.), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch – June 5-30
  • Lawrence Elementary (721 Calaveras St.), 8 to 8:30 a.m. breakfast, noon to 1 p.m. lunch – June 5-30
  • Lodi High School (3 S. Pacific Ave.), 7 to 7:30 a.m. breakfast, 10 to 11 a.m. lunch – June 5 to July 14.
  • Nichols Elementary (1301 S. Crescent Ave.), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch, June 5-30.

For more information, call 888-287-5873 or go to www.foodservice.lodiusd.net.

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Friedberger Educational Fund Scholarship awards $61,000 to graduating seniors

Two dozen graduating seniors from San Joaquin County high schools were awarded a total of $61,000 in scholarships from the Friedberger Educational Fund.

According to the San Joaquin County Office of Education, each senior was awarded approximately $2,750, paid out in installments over four years.

To qualify for the scholarship, nominees must meet a list of criteria which includes: need for financial assistance, excellent schoolwork, outstanding character, leadership, public service, and intent to enroll in an institution of higher learning in California.

The applications were then reviewed by a three-member awards committee, which included San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas, Stockton Unified School District Superintendent Eliseo Davalos and San Joaquin County Board of Education Area 3 Trustee Peter Ottesen.

The fund, said the SJCOE, was established in 1963 by William Friedberger, a Stockton physician and medical director at San Joaquin General Hospital. He established the fund in memory of his father and mother –  19th-century pioneers to the Mother Lode and Stockton from the old country of Germany. Since the fund was created, the Bank of Stockton has been fund manager.

A big congrats to the following students:

  • Israr Ali, Tokay High School, Lodi Unified
  • Andrea Anaya, Sierra High School, Manteca Unified
  • Mariela Andrade Sanchez, Venture Academy Family of Schools, SJCOE
  • Jamie Castellanos, Pacific Law Academy, Stockton Unified
  • Kayla Davis, Stockton Collegiate International Secondary School, Stockton Unified
  • Kevin Gines, St. Mary’s High School
  • Gia Harris, Edison High School, Stockton Unified
  • Rania Ibrahim, John C. Kimball High School, Tracy Unified
  • Asia Jamosmos, Lincoln High School, Lincoln Unified
  • Sabah Khan, Stockton Early College Academy, Stockton Unified
  • Colby Leiske, Tracy High School, Tracy Unified
  • Megan McDonald, Lodi High School, Lodi Unified
  • Amairani Morales Silva, Merrill F. West High School, Tracy Unified
  • Adia Munoz, Health Careers Academy High School, Stockton Unified
  • Lejla Pepic, Manteca High School, Manteca Unified
  • Natasha Prasad, Lathrop High School, Manteca Unified
  • Emely Rodriguez, East Union High School, Manteca Unified
  • Christian Rodriguez Ochoa, Escalon High School, Escalon Unified
  • Marcos Romero Oropeza, Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy, Lodi Unified
  • Ana Saechao, Cesar Chavez High School, Stockton Unified
  • Kaylee Scholten, Ripon Christian High School
  • Mary Vang, Weston Ranch High School, Manteca Unified

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Trump education budget proposal gets “F” grade by Torlakson

In a press release sent on Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson did not hold back on criticizing President Trump’s federal education budget proposal, which includes cuts to teacher training, after school programs, mental health services and additional programs.

“I give this budget an ‘F’ grade for failing public school students in California and across the nation,” Torlakson said in the statement. “We need to invest more in our public schools, not slash away at programs that help students succeed.”

Here’s the rest of the press release:

Torlakson noted that the proposed Trump budget heads in a completely different direction than the California approach to education funding.

“In California, we are providing more resources to students with the greatest needs,” he said. “The proposed Trump budget takes money away from federal programs that benefit our most vulnerable students, including after school programs that engage our students, help them stay in school, and make communities safer by reducing crime.”

The President’s budget would cut federal education programs across the board and use the money to spend about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, and offer another $1 billion to push public schools to favor charter and private schools.

Torlakson noted that California already has nearly 1,000 public charter schools out of more than 10,000 total schools. And students and their families can use several existing methods to transfer between public schools.

In addition, California voters have resoundingly rejected school voucher proposals, which allow students to use public funding to attend private and religious schools. Voters in 2000 cast a 71 percent “No” vote on Proposition 38, which would have created a California voucher program. A similar effort, Proposition 174, received a 70 percent “No” vote in 1993.

“Vouchers are unpopular in California,” Torlakson said. “They take critical resources away from our public schools.”

The Trump budget proposes eliminating at least 22 programs nationwide. Gone, for example, would be $1.2 billion for after school programs that serve 1.6 million children, most of whom are poor, and $2.1 billion for teacher training and class-size reduction.

California, with the most public school students and schools of any state, would suffer, Torlakson said. For example, the federal cuts would decimate federally funded before-, after- and summer school programs that serve nearly 500,000 California’s students at nearly 5,000 sites statewide.

Other federal programs would suffer significant cuts, including grants to states for career and technical education, which would lose $166 million, down 15 percent compared to current funding. Basic adult literacy instruction would lose $95 million.

No money at all would go to a fund for student support and academic enrichment that help schools pay for mental health services, anti-bullying initiatives, physical education, Advanced Placement courses, and science and engineering instruction. Congress created the fund, which totals $400 million this fiscal year, by rolling together several smaller programs. The administration’s budget for it would be zero in the next fiscal year.

“We need the federal government to help support all California students as they learn on their way to success in 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said. “This budget fails. Congress needs to send it back, correct these errors, and produce a school budget that makes our great nation proud.”

Congress is scheduled to adopt a budget that would start with the new federal fiscal year on Oct. 1.

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Linden High Family Career and Community Leaders of America chapter report

From advisor Laura Nealy:

Estefania Becerril-Palacios, Maria Hernandez-Solis, Annamarie Gayla, Jiana Espinosa, Breanna Lee, Delsy Lopez, Karla Rivera, and Kathy Villanueva of Linden High School attended the 70th California Annual State Leadership meeting in Riverside in early April.

At the meeting the chapter, its members, and advisor were recognized with the following rewards and achievements. The chapter was awarded as a Gold State Superior Chapter and was only 1 of 7 schools in the state to receive this award. The chapter was 1 of 14 schools in the state to receive recognition for having 100+ members.

The chapter also has 100 percent of Home Economics Careers and Technology students affiliated with FCCLA and is only 1 out of 4 schools in the state to do so. Thirty-seven Linden High students (Berenice Anguiano, Dalila Aguilar, Adolfo Aredondo, Erick Balderas, Miranda Barbagelata, Kyra Dosier, Katie Frink, Alexander Godina, Alexander Guerrero, Isabella Grant, Destiny Herrera, Gabrielle Herrera, Lena Iff, Miranda Jackson- Horton, Zander Kuthe, Oliva Lee, Kalei Leppert, Delsy Lopez, Monica Luna, Eduardo Martinez, Sofia Martinez, Daniel Marquez, Anthony Melchor, Jasmin Melchor, Gabriel Miller, Gianna Missal, Natalie Morin, Emily Orr, Miguel Oseguera, Maritza Palacios, Cruz Sayuri Pizano, Nicolas Porter, Yesenia Rodriguez, Destiny Sabin, Matthew Solorio, Eddie Vasquez, Melissa Zaklan and Natalia Zuniga) earned their Chapter Degree pins for their knowledge and participation in FCCLA.

They are 37 out of 87 students in the state to earn this award. Jiana Espinosa earned her Region Degree pin for her knowledge and participation in FCCLA. She is 1 out of 11 students in the state to earn this award. Breanna Lee served as the 2016-17 State Treasurer and she was awarded $1,000 in scholarship money for her service as a State Officer and earned her State Degree pin for her knowledge and participation in FCCLA. She is 1 out of 6 students in the state to earn this award.

Linden High is a part of Region 6 which covers San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties. Annamarie Gayla was the 2016-17 Region Historian. Jiana Espinosa will serve as the 2017-18 Region Vice President and Delsy Lopez will serve as the 2017-18 Region Historian. Laura Nealy was recognized as a silver standing for Outstanding Advisor.

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Manteca Unified hosts district celebration

Manteca Unified School District Board President Stephen Schluer presided at a special district celebration. Along with San Joaquin County Superintendent James Mousalimas, awards were given to district employees and students.

Here is what MUSD said about the event:

“Student board member Joe Contreras conducted the meeting, with assistance from student board member alternate Shubnaz Kaur Jagpal. They begin the recognitions by celebrating employees of the year Jimmie Jacobs, Head Custodian from Neil Hafley school and Robin Miller, Office Manager from August Knodt.

MUSD honors educators of the year in multiple categories. This year, award recipients includes Great Valley educators Melissa King for K-3 Primary, Jeanette Pacheco for 4-6 Intermediate, and Kevin Niendorf for 7-8 Junior High. Also being honored are Lathrop High’s Allison Birakos for 9-12 Secondary and August Knodt’s Heidi Azevedo for her role as a Support Staff educator.

MUSD recognized honored Brock Elliot 8th grader Sofia Fiallos, who was selected by the Association of CA School Administrators of the San Joaquin Charter for the Every Student Succeeding Award. Sofia shows daily resilience in her efforts to be successful despite her health struggles.

The district also chose to honor New Haven School with the District Service to Others Certificate for the school’s efforts to raise $12,000 on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Eighth grade students Hunter Campbell and Nicole Sebastian were on hand to accept the award on behalf of New Haven.

District Spelling Bee winners were also recognized for their achievement, including 4th grader Marlon Montano from Neil Hafley, 5th graders Nolan Marley from Walter Woodward and Christina Nguyen from Joshua Cowell, 7th grader Trinity Hillyard from George Komure and 8th graders Melanie Nguyen from Brock Elliott and Jillian Urbano from Nile Garden.

For their excellence in the arts, MUSD honored Sierra High School’s senior Louisa Hunter, and Weston Ranch’s senior Kimberly Juarez. On this celebratory night, the district art show was also happening inside the district office.

Celebrated from Sierra High School, were junior Haris Hanif and senior Savannah Rohloff-Flores, whose student films were featured in the Grand Foundation student film festival.

Lathrop High School honored seniors Farhat Khairzadah and Ian Steffes with their LHS Gold Shield Award for academics and character.

Also receiving certificates for their being chosen as Boys and Girl’s Club Youth of the Year for 2016 were sophomore Eric Nascimento and junior Kiana Watson from East Union High. Lathrop Elementary’s Kevin Paz, grade 8, was also honored.

Next, Sierra High School honored sophomore Belen Ramos-Hurtado, junior Maleena Salehi, and seniors Kyndra Kiser and Devin Ontai for their attending the annual Focus on Freshman Conference in Los Angeles.

Recognizing students for their success in partner organizations is also important to MUSD. Manteca High Senior Guadalupe Piceno was honored for taking 3rd place in accounting at the DECA Northern California Career Development Conference.

Sierra High School was recognized for achieving the Superior Chapter Award from FCCLA. As members of that chapter, juniors Ashley Rodriguez and Deja Tuggle both won 1st place for their FCCLA service projects. Also recognized were Amy Lee, Valerie Flores, and Liz Aschenbrenner for their achievement of FCCLA silver medal as outstanding advisors.

Honored for the prestigious achievement of earning their FFA State Degrees were senior Dominic Romero and junior Elizabeth Townsend from East Union, senior Victoria Cabello from Lathrop High School and seniors Destinée Perales, Krystal Luis, and Bridgette Walraven from Sierra High.

From Weston Ranch High School, senior Teresa Novoa was honored for winning a top 5 HOSA reflection scrapbook and senior Rajdeep Singh for taking the HOSA Healthcase Issues Exam.

Also this year, be.tech freshman Angela Delgado and Sophomore Rosalinda Valdivia won gold and silver medals respectively in the Skills USA commercial baking competition. Also honored were Freshman Gianni Chavez for his gold medal in culinary arts and senior Donavin Arellano for his gold medal in welding, both at the Skills USA competition. Angela Delgado and Donavin Arellano also won medals at the state level, silver and bronze respectively.

Manteca High’s faculty member Dough Obrigawitch was next recognized for his achievement of being the UC Davis C-STEM Teacher of the Year.

Great Valley’s Principal Patricia Boutte was honored by the University of Pacific chapter of Phi Delta Kappa for Distinguished Service in School Administration. Health Service’s Homeless Liaison Lynda Donelson was honored for the San Joaquin County Children’s Services Coordinating Commission for winning the 2017 Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Award.

Academic and Scholarship Recognitions

Continuing the celebration, the valedictorians of MUSD’s five high schools were next recognized. From East Union, Emma Rice, has been accepted to USC. From Lathrop High, Navneet Garcha has been accepted to UCLA. From Manteca High School, Lejla Pepic has been accepted to Stanford University. From Sierra High, Komalpreet Badial has been accepted to UC Davis, and from Weston Ranch High School, Charlie Zhang has been accepted to UCLA.

Also showing his unique academic achievements, East Union’s Jordan Barajas was honored for receiving the Quest Bridge Full Scholarship to Stanford University.

Next, winners of the Pappas Foundation Scholarship were recognized. Seniors Arshjot Kaur from Manteca High, and seniors Emily Kehl and Brianna Wollaston from Sierra High were recognized. This local scholarship is awarded to students who wish to attend Modesto Junior College.

Also recognized for their scholarships were some gifted musicians from Sierra High. Seniors Zachary Zumstein and Diana Ayala both received University of the Pacific music scholarships. Xachary Wagner was honored for receiving the UOP Brubeck Jazz Institute full music scholarship.

Manteca High senior Gladis Sandoval was next recognized as the recipient of the VOL Dale Lackey Scholarship for her contributions to the girl’s tennis team. Then, Loretta Kakala of the Manteca High Girl’s Basketball Team was recognized for being named a McDonald’s All-American and for her achieving a Full Athletic Scholarship to the University of Louisville, KY.

Athletic Recognitions

For their athletic achievements, East Union High School’s senior Jack Weaver was honored for being named a CIF San Joaquin Scholar Athlete, recipient of the National Federation Award, and being named to the Valley Oak League (VOL) 1stTeam All Area.

Branden Rullan, Sierra High senior, was then recognized for being a CIF State Qualifier in Wrestling.

East Union’s Manuel Pines was then recognized for his being awarded the Sac-Joaquin Section Model Coach award.

From the Lathrop High Boy’s Golf team, junior Christian Guzman was honored for his being named the Stockton Record Athlete of the Week. Also from Lathrop High, freshman Kassandra Ceja was recognized for being named to the Stockton Record All-Area Team for her contributions to Girl’s Soccer.

Next, East Union’s Natalie Cowan and Kendra Cambell, both juniors, were recognized for being named to the VOL All Team and All League for Girl’s Golf.

For his achievements on East Union’s Boy’s and Girl’s Basketball teams, seniors Gysbertus Hulseboch and Ruby Daube were then honored for being named to the VOL 1st Team All League. Also being given this honor from East Union were Boy’s Soccer players Enrique Garcia, Arturo Galvan, Cameron Chapman and Victor Hurtado—all seniors— and Daniel Gomez and Jesus Jurtado who are juniors on the varsity team. For Girl’s Soccer, junior Chelsey Medeiros and senior Ilena Rivera were also honored for achieving this recognition for being named  VOL 1st Team All League.

Likewise, the CIF Div. III Section Champion Girl’s Tennis Team and the CIF Div. IV Section Champion Football Team, both from Manteca High, were also honored. The football team could not be present, but the MHS Girl’s Tennis Team came up in style with matching team shirts and their coaches.



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