Lodi and Manteca Spelling Bee winners

Two San Joaquin spelling bees were held this week in the Lodi and Manteca school districts.

On Wednesday in Lodi, Lawrence Elementary sixth-grader Martiza De Jesus took first place. Her winning word was “tranquilizer.”

On Thursday in Manteca, three winners of two divisions were named.

For the fourth- through-fifth grade division, Walter Woodward fifth-grader Nolan Marley, Joshua Cowell fifth-grader Christine Nguyen and Neil Hafley fourth-grader Marlon Montano won.

In the seventh-through-ninth grade division, Brock Elliot eighth-grader Melanie Nguyen, George Komure seventh-grader Trinity Hillyard and Nile Garden eighth-grader Jillian Urbano took the top prize.

The State Spelling Bee Competition will be held in the spring.

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Eight inductees to Edison High School Hall of Fame

STOCKTON — Eight people are to be inducted into the Edison Hall of Fame this weekend, and a celebration is planned to include a reception dinner Saturday at Edison High School at 100 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Stockton.

The inductees:

• Dennis Buettner, Class of 1981: After Edison, Buettner took a psychology class at San Joaquin Delta College that eventually turned into an Associate of Arts Degree in Social Sciences. He then went to attend the University of the Pacific to study psychology. and during that time, he began working for the Community Re-Entry Program, which is dedicated to helping the mentally ill reintegrate into society. “It changed my view on working with those who have challenges whether with mental illness, developmental disabilities, or other challenges,” he wrote in his bio. “It was incredibly rewarding work.” Buettner continued to work with the Community Re-Entry Program throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies. “Some of the people, including some of the clients that I met then, still keep in touch with me.”

Walt “Butch” Howell, Class of 1968After graduating from Edison, Howell worked for ten years at Berg’s Clothiers, thereafter he started managing a young singing group from Stockton before moving to Los Angeles to continue to work in the music industry as a manager. He returned to Stockton after three years where he became employed with Port of Stockton as a shipping and receiving clerk and affiliated with the Longshoreman Union as Chief Steward. After a massive lay-off Howell went to work with the city of Stockton as an intern. He was challenged and motivated to open his own business in downtown Stockton and become self-employed, opening a business known as Dijon’s House of Legs, featuring a very large selection of women’s hosiery in various colors and designs, jewelry and dance accessories.

• Myke Lewis-Tyson, Class of 1977: As a kid, Lewis-Tyson played football for the Southside Vikings, along with also playing basketball for COS and the boys club and ran track for the St Georges track club. At Hamilton Jr High, he made the honor roll with a 3.2  GPA and ran on an undefeated track team in 1974. At Edison High, Lewis-Tyson played football and ran track, and the Edison track team was consistently in the section meet. He’s a proud member of the Frosh/Soph 4×1 school record team of 1975 running a 42.97 that still stands today. After high school, he went to work for the city of Stockton. Lewis-Tyson was also a volunteer coach for the Edison track team coaching the sprinters and jumpers, and were back-to-back league champs in 1978-79, and their banner hangs proudly in the Taggart gym.

• Claudia Moreno, San Joaquin Delta College trustee president: Claudia Moreno was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She migrated with her parents to the United States in 1978 when she was 12 years old. Upon arrival, the family settled in south Stockton. Moreno attended San Joaquin Middle School, and was scheduled to attend Edison, but then earn a scholarship to St. Mary’s High School. She then went to Delta College, where she helped tutor students for the High School Equivalency Program (GED) and Mini Corp Program in local Stockton Unified schools. In order to finance her schooling, she would work for the Migrant Education Program and in local packing sheds, canneries and retail businesses. In 1987, she was hired permanently as a paraprofessional in SUSD. In 1991 Moreno was hired as Outreach Liaison for the Drug Free School Zone program at Edison High. Her early work at Edison began with helping support the establishment of the first school based health center in San Joaquin County. This marked the start of her work in creating support systems at Edison. Moreno is best known for advocating for at risk students, their parents, the school and the community. In her 25 years of service at Edison, she has spear headed multiple programs beginning with the DFSZ Coalition, Comprehensive Student Support Program, Summer Home Visit Outreach project for incoming 9th graders, the Academy for at risk youth, a Summer Adventure In Learning Program for students who were behind credits, work shadowing internships, supporting a Policing Grant that piloted the first School Resource Officer Program on the school campus and paid for a part-time Probation Officer and Peacekeeper.

• Mahlon Schmidt, educator:  In the fall of 1964, Schmidt transferred from Fremont Junior High to Edison High School as a teacher where his Edison Art Students won many awards including the award winning City Line Bus Competition which Edison won in 1976 and the following year in the Cinco De Mayo Parade. He also was involved as a set designer for Edison High Theater Productions to include “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Teahouse of the August Moon,” and “1984.” In 1965, he started teaching ceramics at the Blind Center which continued for 10 years and also taught night Adult Education classes and Summer School. In 1968, Schmidt joined the Board of San Joaquin Concert Ballet and served as president for 2 years and as a director until 1982. In 1984, he and his wife started a record company, Sanman Records. In 1970, he took over as advisor of the Edison High Yearbook for 17 years.

• Paula Ecker White, Class of 1982: Her career in law commenced two months after graduating from Edison. White worked full time in a small law firm while continuing her education through college and graduate school. White was debt free upon receiving her Juris Doctor in 1985 and by September 1998, she transitioned to working for Mullen & Filippi. In 1994, she and her husband created small church in the eastside of town. “Our ministry is very different than what we grew up with or what seminary prepared us for. My employment allows us the freedom to be very active within the community,” she wrote in her bio. Their church provides a safe place for victims of violent crime to meet and begin the healing process; feed the homeless in Mormon Slough; go to the homicide sites in town and pray. White is also a volunteer at Jim Elliot Christian High School as the school board president.

• Henry Wofford, Class of 1991: Wofford has enjoyed a 20-year career as a sports journalist, and has worked in California, Indiana, Michigan and Nevada. He earned a B.A. in Sociology at UC Davis and a Master’s in Journalism from San Jose State. Before joining Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area in 2010, Wofford covered sports in many prominent roles, including sports anchor/reporter at WTHR (NBC) in Indianapolis (2005-2010), sports director and anchor at WZZM (ABC) in Grand Rapids (2003-2005), and sports anchor/reporter at KOLO (ABC) in Reno (2000-2002). Wofford covered the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 and 2016 NBA Finals, the Detroit Pistons in the 2003 and 2004 Finals, and the Indianapolis Colts, who won Super Bowl XLI in 2007.  He did extensive reporting from 2006-2010 on the Indianapolis 500. In Indiana, Wofford’s reporting assignments included the 2006 NCAA Final Four, 2006 and 2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, 2007 and 2009 USA Swimming National Championships, NHRA U.S. Nationals, and NASCAR Brickyard 400.

• Dale Yurong, Class of 1979: For the past 33 years, Yurong has been on the air at KFSN-TV(ABC 30) in Fresno. Yurong anchors the 6:30 p.m. evening newscast and reports on stories ranging from politics to agriculture. To this day, he remains one of the few Filipino-Americans to anchor a nightly newscast. Yurong began his TV news career as a sportscaster so his interviews have varied from athletic icons like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan to entertainers like George Lopez and Damon Wayans. After graduating from Edison, Yurong earned a scholarship through the Community Involvement Program at the University of the Pacific. His broadcasting career began at KUOP-FM (91.3) where he delivered daily news and sports reports and live-mixed R&B records. He graduated from UoP in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications.

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County Office of Education announce mini-grant winners

The San Joaquin County Office of Education announced several teachers and other employees who submitted innovative proposals were selected to be funded by the Making a Difference Through Mini Grants program.

Sponsored by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Better Together Giving Program, the mini grants give SJCOE staff the opportunity to obtain the funding needed to try out a new idea or enhance current projects that ulimately benefit students. A grant-review committee awarded $7,888 to eight successful proposals for the 2016-17 school year.

The winning proposals are:

Classroom Science Lab Setup

This project will supply additional science materials and supplies to SJCOE-run classrooms at the Discovery ChalleNGe Academy, a new program for at-risk youth beginning in January through a partnership with the California National Guard. Students will participate in activities that support crosscutting curriculum in life science, physical science, and introductions to biochemical processes.

College Tour

Approximately 60 high school students from Venture Academy Family of Schools (VAFS) will participate in tours of nearby colleges. Students will have the opportunity to get a feel for the campus culture and environment and learn about the major programs and degrees offered and cost of tuition.

Historic Durham Ferry SLEWS Riparian Habitat Restoration

The mini-grant award will fund the Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) program field days for students at Historic Durham Ferry (HDF). The goal of the program is to create a mosaic of habitat types that will support a diversity of wildlife at SJCOE’s 290-acre Durham Ferry site and create a variety of learning opportunities. Students will plan and install a hedgerow driveway, pollinator garden, and restore riparian woodland habitat.

HOSA State Leadership Conference

Approximately 25 students from VAFS’ Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) chapter, a professional organization for students interested in pursuing careers in the healthcare industry, will prepare for and compete in this year’s annual HOSA State Leadership Conference. At the conference, students will compete in their selected competitive event, such as medical terminology, medical math, healthy living, CPR/first-aid; network with their peers and other HOSA advisors and sponsors; and meet with legislators at the State Capitol.

If you build it, they will come…

Students at Discovery ChalleNGe Academy will build model airplanes that teachers will use to teach mathematical processes, such as scale, geometry, and aerodynamics. The project will also complement lessons in history as students learn about the industrial revolution, and World War I and II. Students will research the era from which their models were created, paint their models from an artistic perspective, demonstrating their knowledge of the elements of art and principals of design, and present their completed project to peers and the National Guard Cadre.

Mock Trial Beach Ball Classic

VAFS’ Mock Trial team will prepare for the county mock trial competition by attending the Beach Ball Classic invitational where they will scrimmage against some of the best mock trial teams in the state to improve their overall performance and gain specific skills that are best learned through competing with other teams. The invitational is a team-building experience where students learn to trust one another, learn to support each other, and work as a team while also honing their individual skills.


The one.Growing and Reaching Opportunities through Work (GROW) project will prepare 35 at-risk youth and young adults enrolled in County Operated Schools and Programs (COSP) for careers in food or food service. Students will learn about COSP’s School Nutrition Program, receive training in proper hand-washing techniques and how to effectively prepare and sanitize food preparation areas. Upon successful completion of the project, students will receive an industry-standard food handler certificate from ServSafe National Restaurant Association.

Relationships and the Environment

This project will inform students about the relationships of all things in the environment. Students will create conservation action plans that target the California coastline. Students will travel to Asilomar State Park to conduct tide pool and sandy-beach research. Conservation action plans will directly address how to restore or counteract destructive factors in the ecosystem.

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Stockton Teachers Assoc. release statement on SUSD’s “pretzel logic”

Press release from STA:

After 15 months of trying fruitlessly to get the Stockton City Unified District’s Board and managers to make students and teachers the top priority and with a strike in the offing, members of the Stockton Teachers Association desperately needed a laugh.

The teachers got their laugh break on Monday when they read the response by district attorneys to charges filed against the district with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). The district’s legal eagles declared that the “teachers” made the district engage in the charged violations of state law.

And the district’s legal team cited such “authorities” as a Facebook post by an individual teacher to support their case.

“If this situation weren’t so serious with the education of thousands of students hanging in the balance, this would be a great joke,” said Erich Myers, a Chavez High School mathematics teacher and president of the 1800-member Stockton Teachers Association. “The district’s lawyers are saying they had to violate the law by tripling strike-breakers’ salaries because teachers were organizing for a strike. We expect to hear next that it’s okay for district officials to speed because they had to hurry to the office because teachers are planning to strike….and if they get any tickets, it’s the teachers’ fault.”

“We have been dealing with this kind of cavalier indifference to our students, teachers, and the law for more than a year,” Myers said.  “We’ve been telling the district for nearly a year and a half that Stockton is losing highly qualified and experienced teachers because salaries here are so low. The loss of these teachers is harming our students. This late in the school year, the district still has some 30 classrooms temporarily staffed by a carousel of day-to-day substitutes.”

“It is time for this school board to wrest back control of this district from these bureaucrats and their poor legal and fiscal advice. It’s time for the school board to direct them to ditch the excuses and reach a settlement with teachers,” Myers said.

Ironically, at the time district attorneys were making this filing, the district’s chief negotiator, Craig Wells, and its attorney, Marie Nakamura, were presenting a workshop to officials from other districts at a meeting of the Association of California School Administrators in Sacramento.  Like Roman Emperor Nero who fiddled while Rome burned, the two Stockton officials were hosting a workshop entitled, “When Negotiations Get Tough, The Team Starts Singing.”

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Lammersville Unified to celebrate perfect CAASPP scores

The Lammersville Unified School District announced Friday that 60 students achieved perfect scores on last spring’s California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) assessment.

The number also includes seven students who achieved perfect scores in math and English/language arts, the district said.

Lammersville Unified trustees will honor all 60 students at a board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

The CAASPP tests consisted of two parts: an adaptive test done on the computer that provided students different follow-up questions based on how they answered, and why they decided on that answer.

Second was a performance task that challenged students to solve real-world problems and were essentially open-ended. The two parts, said the California Department of Education, measure depth of understanding, writing, research and problem-solving skills.

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STA President Erich Myers sets his own record straight

Stockton Teachers Association president Erich Myers took to Facebook last night to provide an update to contract talks between the teachers union and the Stockton Unified School District.

In the comments section, Myers related the district’s request of having someone from the California Teachers Association at the table to having “the Mets telling the Giants we want (Johnny) Cueto to pitch not (Madison) Bumgarner or the Nationals to tell the Dodgers we want Rich Hill to pitch, not (Clayton) Kershaw. How disrespectful that our district is now trying to pick our bargaining team and call me a liar that I don’t want to meet.”

Further talks between the district and union have not been positive. With classes on fall break next week, it’s sill unknown when teachers will go on strike, unless a contract can be made before then.

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Stockton educators help guide policy in STEM education

Three San Joaquin County educators will represent Stockton at the Enhancing Teachers’ Voices in Policy Making for K-12 Engineering Education in Washington, D.C. this weekend.

Those representing are Lori Green, principal of John McCandless STEM Charter School (Lincoln Unified), Justine Sares, a fifth-grade teacher at McCandless STEM Charter and Katie Burns, coordinator at Teachers College of San Joaquin.

Green, Sares, and Burns are among 75 individual and team applicants that were chosen nationwide, according to a press release by the Teachers College. Attendees selected to participate in the two-day convocation include K-12 educators, administrators, and other stakeholders in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.

The National Academies Teacher Advisory Council and the National Academies of Engineering have support from 100Kin10 to initiate a national dialogue on how K-12 STEM educators can be more engaged at the policy and decision-making level to improve and expand the reach and quality of K-12 engineering education. The 100Kin10 project is a network of academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies, and government agencies with a goal of bringing 100,000 more STEM teachers into U.S. classrooms by 2021.

Burns and Sares both earned their Master of Education degrees with a STEM concentration from the teachers college and all three teach in the college’s STEM Master’s program.

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California receives grants to help low-income students take Advanced Placement tests

The U.S. Department of Education announced it awarded California $11,043,703 in Advanced Placement grants as part of its efforts to boost college- and career-readiness for under-served students.

California is one of 41 states and Washington, D.C., that received a total of $28.4 million to help settle the costs of taking advanced placement tests for students from low-income families.

In a press release sent from the department, the grants will be used to help pay for students from low-income families take approved advanced placement tests administered by the College Board, the International Baccalaureate Organization and Cambridge International Examinations.

By funding test fees, the program encourages all students to take advanced placement tests and obtain college credit for high school courses, reduce the time and cost required to complete a post-secondary degree.

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Manteca Unified releases mobile app

Manteca Unified, known for embracing technology to a different level than any other district in San Joaquin County, has introduced their own mobile application.

Called “MantecaUSD,” parents and students can download the free app for direct links to the district website, directory, calendar, YouTube channel, sports scores, nutrition education menus and PeachJar, another new technology initiative that is the district’s new e-flyer system.

The district said since the app was launched on August 25, it has been downloaded over 1,500 times. The “Parent Connection” feature has by far the most popular.

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Annunciation School celebrates 60 years

The Annunciation School in Stockton kicks off their first day of classes today but are also celebrating another milestone: turning 60.

First founded in 1956, in the building formerly housing St. Mary’s High School, the school, located on 1110 N. Lincoln St. in central Stockton, provides students a quality education in a faith filled environment.

According to the school’s website, they are fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges as well as the Western Catholic Education Association.

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