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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Friedberger Educational Fund Scholarship awards thousands to graduating seniors

Twenty-one graduating seniors from San Joaquin County high schools have been awarded a total of $63,000 in scholarships from the Friedberger Educational Fund, the County Office of Education announced.

Each of the students was awarded $3,000, to be paid out in installments over four years. More than $580,000 has been awarded since 2007. The SJCOE said since the selection of the first recipients in 1964, the Friedberger Educational Fund Scholarship has awarded more than $2.6 million to local students.

The fund was established in 1963 by William Friedberger, a prominent Stockton physician and longtime medical director at San Joaquin General Hospital. He established the fund in memory of his father and mother – Arnold and Lotta Friedberger. They were 19th-century pioneers to the Mother Lode and Stockton from their native Germany, the SJCOE said. The Bank of Stockton has been the fund manager since it was established.

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

Each high school in the county may nominate one applicant per year. The schools can be either public or private.

The 2016 Friedberger Educational Fund Scholarship awardees are:

  • Giacomo Abdallah, Stagg High School, Stockton Unified
  • Brian Berber-Ramirez, Stockton Early College Academy, Stockton Unified
  • Antonette Brito-Bersi, Lodi High School, Lodi Unified
  • Mia DeVecchio, Escalon High School, Escalon Unified
  • Valeria Diaz, TLC – Millennium Charter, Tracy Unified
  • Aakriti Dua, Manteca High School, Manteca Unified
  • Warren Gaines, Lincoln High School, Lincoln Unified
  • Makaila Genilla, Health Careers Academy, Stockton Unified
  • Avneet Gill, Tokay High School, Lodi Unified
  • Madeline Guajardo, Stockton Collegiate International Schools, Stockton Unified
  • Carrie Hang, Cesar Chavez High School, Stockton Unified
  • Benjamin Hoang, Lathrop High School, Manteca Unified
  • Gavenjit Kaur, East Union High School, Manteca Unified
  • Justin Layman, Bear Creek High School, Lodi Unified
  • Anne Loewen, St. Mary’s High School
  • Deena Morrar, Tracy High School, Tracy Unified
  • Jaira Navasca, Edison High School, Stockton Unified
  • Maritza Paniagua, Linden High School, Linden Unified
  • Esmeralda Perez-Razon, Franklin High School, Stockton Unified
  • Jennifer Tran, Ronald E. McNair High School, Lodi Unified
  • April Vang, Weston Ranch High School, Manteca Unified

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Merlo Institute senior a finalist in app competition; fan voting open

Merlo Institute of Environmental Technology senior Luis Torres has been announced as one of six winners in the Lenovo Scholar Network Mobile App Development Competition.

Torres created “The QMT Translator” app that translates text to speech and speech to text within seconds. His app beat apps from 29 other schools nationwide.

This July, he will join the other winners to present their app at the National Academy of Finance Next 2016, an annual professional development conference, in Orlando, Florida.

As a result of winning this top spot, Torres has been invited to compete for the final winning spot and the community can support him by voting him as their favorite app.

The community is asked to vote by clicking HERE. Voting is now open through July 19.

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Sexagenarian earns high school diploma

As the first high school graduation ceremonies start rolling through in the new few weeks, every year there’s someone doing amazing things and overcoming the most difficult of obstacles.

Look no further than Diana King, who will be officially receiving her high school diploma this morning at the age of 60.

Jeff Tilton, Deputy Superintendent of the New Jerusalem Elementary School District said King will walk across the stage at the Teranishi Events Center in Tracy this morning as a graduating member of the Delta Launch Charter School.

According to Tilton, King dropped out of Franklin High School in 1972, and was introduced to the charter school while school representatives were at a San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce job fair.

King needed just two courses to earn her diploma and is enrolling to the University of Phoenix with goals for an associate’s degree.

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