Manteca Unified superintendent joins First 5 San Joaquin commission

Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Jason Messer was appointed by the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors to the First 5 Commission, it was announced Monday.

First 5 has brought critical services to tens of thousands of parents, caregivers and thousands of children and their families, more than half of whom live at or below the federal poverty line.

Since 1998, First 5 has invested tens of millions of dollars into local preschool, health, literacy, school readiness and parent education programs—investments that research suggests will yield strong returns for quality of life in San Joaquin County.

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Manteca Unified announce two technology training opportunities

The Manteca Unified School District will offer two community opportunities to see the district’s Going Digital project.

Education Tech Tours will allow community members to participate in a two-hour tour of a school site and the district’s technology department. There they will learn more about online safety and classroom management, online learning tools and more.

There will also be seven scheduled Family Technology Training sessions during the course of the 2015-16 school year. Parents and students can see the features of the district’s website and some of the technology tools students are learning and how parents can help.

The dates for the Family Technology Training sessions are as follows:

  • Sat, Sept. 19, District RESC building
  • Tues, Sept.29, Online Webinar
  • Tues, Oct. 6, Weston Ranch High School
  • Tues, Nov. 17, Shasta Elementary School
  • Tues, Jan. 12, Golden West Elementary School
  • Tues, March 1, Mossdale Elementary School
  • Tues, April 26, Veritas Elementary School

Parents are being asked to bring their student-issued district device to participate and learn how to use programs such as OneNote, Office 365 and be able to ask questions.

Visit for more information and sign up dates. The Education Tech Tours are by appointment only and schedule by calling (209) 858-0845. To make a reservation for the Family Technology Training sessions should call (209) 858-0861.

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$500K establishes William K. Chase Memorial Scholarship

A gift in the memory of a Stockton business leader, William K. Chase, will establish a new scholarship to support the academic pursuits of generations of University of the Pacific students in its Community Involvement Program.

Through the Powell Match opportunity, the family-owned auto dealership’s donation of $250,000 was matched by the $125 million Powell Fund, bringing the total value of this new endowed scholarship to $500,000.

The memorial scholarship was established by Chase Chevrolet to honor the local business owner for more than 50 years.

“My father was a kind and generous man who passionately believed in paying it forward,” the third-generation owner of Chase Chevrolet, Stockton John W. Chase said in a statement. “I wanted to pay tribute to him in a way that reinvests in the community and creates opportunities for local youth – with tremendous potential – for generations to come.”

The William K. Chase Scholarship will be awarded each year to two CIP students who exhibit a strong work ethic and noteworthy achievements despite socio-economic challenges.

The inaugural William K. Chase Community Involvement Program Scholars are Jimmy Suliman ’16 and Iliana Abarca ’18, both are from Stockton.

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New Jerusalem Elementary School calling for action to help support victims of ‪‎Butte Fire‬

Students and families –

The recent “Butte Fire” in Calaveras and Amador counties has impacted many, including members of our staff and students we serve in those counties. Some have absolutely nothing remaining. Some have partial items remaining. For example, with no electricity since last Wednesday, all refrigerated food and beverages have spoiled (if not destroyed by fire).

I am asking for your help. Between now and Friday morning, please consider purchasing a gift card from one of the following stores to assist:

* Raley’s
* Safeway
* Save Mart
* Walgreens
* Walmart

As small as $5 will go a long, long way for many of the families impacted.

Our schools will want to collect as many gift cards as possible until Friday, 12 p.m., so that the gift cards can be delivered to Calaveras County for distribution. Please submit gift cards to the following locations:

* New Jerusalem Elementary School – June Gray/Don Patzer
* Delta Bridges Charter School – Rosie Wilson/Bill Redford
* Delta Charter Elementary School – Jolene Hughes/Gary Phillips
* Delta Charter High School – Nicollette Vazquez/George Vierra
* Delta Charter Online – Liz Trevino/Russell Irwin
* Delta Keys Charter School – Liz Trevino/Russell Irwin

On behalf of New Jerusalem Elementary School District and Delta Charter Schools, I thank you for your effort in assisting. I am sure the families will be extremely grateful for your generosity, regardless of the amount.

– David Thoming, Superintendent

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SUSD responds to civil grand jury on bus purchase

The Stockton Unified School District trustees discussed and adopted a response at a regularly scheduled board meeting last week to a 2014-15 San Joaquin County civil grand jury report criticizing district officials and trustees for their handling of the purchase and sales process of 31 never-used special-education school buses.

The board did not agree with a majority of the recommendations made by the grand jury: chiefly on the finding that the board bought the buses without proper analysis, the district said they demonstrated that staff compiled and provided a six year financial and operational history record of special education transportation services from 2007-08.

They said the decision to purchase the buses in June 2013 was made on facts and analysis available at the time, only after receiving information from staff.

In responding to the recommendation that the board should adopt a policy requiring at any proposal for the purchase or sale of district assets exceeding $30,000, district staff will provide a full accounting, justification and financial reports, the board will not implement.

Their response is they currently follow bidding, purchasing and contract practices as summarized in the Governing Board Policy.

In a report released June 16, the grand jury said the decisions to spend $2.05 million to purchase the buses in 2013 and to then sell them a year later were made with little documentation.

During its review, the grand jury determined bus service for special-needs students was also managed ineffectively. The grand jury found the district had been transporting on buses reserved for special-needs students about 100 students who were not qualified, based on their Individual Education Plans.

The Record previously reported that in June 2013, trustees unanimously agreed to buy the buses. Storer Transportation had previously handled that transportation on a contractual basis.

Carlos Chicas, a former SUSD transportation director, said last year the district would realize an annual savings of at least $700,000 by using its own buses and drivers. Wayne Martin, an ex-chief business officer, supported the proposal.

Both have since left SUSD.

The grand jury found information provided to trustees was “too brief, inadequate and generated very limited or no discussion.”

The grand jury recommended in the future that any new purchase exceeding $30,000 should have a full accounting and justification as required by board policies and the California Education Code.

The recommendations, the report states, are meant to strengthen SUSD operations.

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A new weapon in the fight for a clean head

I recently wrote about a new breed of head lice that has appeared in 25 states including California, dubbed “super” lice.

Sounds like a terrible B-movie horror flick, but “super” lice are a real enemy and a time consuming problem that now can stand up to the normal treatment of special shampoo.

When students become infested with head lice, the Stockton Unified School District will give parents the resources needed, using shampoo given from the Public Health Department. A proper dose of the shampoo, plus a vigilant approach to keep a clean environment is key to winning the battle.

“Then we keep checking for two weeks,” district health administrator Mary Jo Cowan said, “once they find a head to land, they lay five eggs a day and need 10 days to hatch. A head can hold 10 live lice at once and die in less than 24 hours. It’s all about blocking that life cycle.”

Now there’s new treatment technology developed by the University of Utah as another option available for parents who might not want to use chemicals and has been in the market for the last eight years.

Called AirAllé, it uses dry, warm air to dehydrate and eliminate both the lice and eggs. The AirAllé is an FDA cleared device that is 99% effective in stopping super lice once and for all.

Larada Sciences CEO Claire Roberts said the Lice Clinics of America, which uses AirAllé, have 85 treatment centers nationwide and 190 worldwide. The closest clinic centers in San Joaquin County are located in Sacramento on 9837 Folsom Blvd. and Happy Heads Lice Treatment Center in Fremont.

“It’s a machine that uses heated air – its more science than a hairdryer,” Roberts said. “The key is a warm temperature is held to any specific area for 30 minutes and it quickly dehydrates lice and eggs. It is specifically hot enough to kill them, but not so hot to burn the scalp.”

She said more research will be conducted and next year the clinic will be rolling out smaller units for those to use the machine at home.

The battle for a clean head still rages on, and as frustrating as it is, the battle can be won with patience.

“We tell kids when they’re playing to pick up their jackets off the floor or hang up their book bag on chair,” stressed Cowan. “Lice thankfully don’t carry disease but someone who gets them becomes a social pariah. Lice don’t care, they are an equal opportunity bug and it can take a long time to clear up.”

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Pacific pharmacy students earn their white coats

Two hundred future pharmacists will participate in the annual White Coat Ceremony of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at the University of Pacific on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

New pharmacy students will don white coats they worked very hard to earn at the Faye Spanos Concert Hall. The white coat signifies the official start into the pharmacy program.

A press release from the Pacific said 208 new students were chosen from a competitive pool of nearly 1,400 applicants for seats in the Class of 2018.

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Calaveras Unified School District closed due to fire

The Calaveras Unified School District cancelled classes Friday as a growing Butte Fire is spreading rapidly to 32,000 acres.

Superintendent Mark Campbell told the Calaveras Enterprise he made the decision due to not only the fire situation, but to large number of students and staff members likely to be absent, and smoke- and heat-related concerns voiced by parents.

He said classes will resume on Monday.

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Bear Creek High School newspaper earns National Pacemaker nomination

Bear Creek High School’s student newspaper, The Bruin Voice, has earned a National Pacemaker nomination from the National Scholastic Press Association.

Editors and staff will be traveling to Disney World in Orlando, FL from Nov. 12-15 to receive their award and compete in On-the-Spot competitions in writing, layout, design, editing and photography.

The NSPA began the Pacemaker awards in 1927. Judges select Pacemakers based on several factors including coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design, photography, art and graphics.

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Lodi music teacher receives $2,000 grant in Unsung Heroes program

Voya Financial has announced Reese Elementary School music teacher David Shorts has received a $2,000 grant as part of the company’s 2015 Unsung Heroes award.

The Unsung Heroes program awards grants to K-12 teachers nationwide to highlight their teaching methods, educational projects and ability to influence their students.

Shorts’ idea, “Be Amazing Video Program,” put his students in front and behind the camera in producing their own music video, while receiving training in music recording, video editing, writing and performing.

Shorts was selected out of 1,000 applicants and one of 100 winners across the country. He is now in the competition for one of the top three prizes, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 from Voya Financial.

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