Building at Downey High named after D. Mark Morris

DOWNEY -- The newly-completed B building at Downey High School, featuring classrooms and a small theater, has been christened "D. Mark Morris Building," after the current Downey Unified School District board president and Downey High Hall of Famer who has served continuously on the local education board for 26 years."I am deeply honored by this," said a flustered Morris. The surprise announcement was made at the board's regular meeting last week by colleagues Barbara Samperi and Don La Plante, who had his building dedicated at Warren High last year. Meanwhile, the board heard presentations recognizing the Assistance League of Downey, Kiwanis Club of Downey, Rotary Club of Downey, and Soroptimist International of Downey with the Superintendent's Vision Award in the area of parent/community relations. In handing the Vision Award to Assistance League president and longtime Downey resident Mary Lou Schmidt, board member and club member Martha Sodetani briefly outlined the club's major programs: provides some $12,000 a year for extensive dental work for DUSD students; conducts Operation School Bell (provides school kids with clothing, shoes, socks, backpacks, toiletries, etc.) and Kids on the Block puppet shows; holds skits to promote the Library Summer Reading Program; gives out scholarships to students as well as assistance to TLC; and is a big supporter of PTA HELPS food bank. "We do all we can to make all the students better students," said Schmidt, adding that the club currently has 178 members. Kiwanis Morning president Jeremy James Fitzl received the club's Vision Award from DUSD board and club member Willie Gutierrez. The 55-member club, said Fitzl, spends its energies on an array of youth-oriented activities: conducts the holiday shopping spree at JC Penney's for disabled students; Christmas with Santa breakfast; sponsors Warren High's Key Club and a leadership conference for high school students; provides scholarships and specialized school grants; and actively supports Gangs Out of Downey, Character Counts, TLC, and the 10-20 Club. Board and club member Tod Corrin next presented the award to Kiwanis Lunch president Mario Trujillo, who said the club's motto, 'Children of the World', pretty much explains the club's programs: provides Gauldin ASPIRE and Character Counts T-shirts; scholarships; support of Women's Empowerment Academy; conducts a Downey High School business class field trip; has donated $50,000 in computers and $50,000 in tech labs to the middle schools and selected elementary schools; and supports Downey High's Key and Kiwin's Clubs, East Middle's Builders' Club, and students attending conferences. "They really are about kids," Corrin said. Rotary president Brian Saylors, presented by DUSD Superintendent Wendy Doty who declared "I'm a proud member of the Rotary", listed a few of the club's student-oriented programs it supports: Principals' Funds (money is given to principals each year in support of DUSD students in need); conducts the Rotary/YMCA annual pancake breakfast (now in its 61st year, money raised at the event is used to sponsor students to attend the Easter Caravan); the Downey/Warren Spirit Day tradition; the Rotary Christmas party for 66 needy second grade students; provides specialized school grants; supports Gangs Out of Downey and the 10-20 Club with donations to both programs to support at-risk students; the TLC program; sponsors Warren's Interact Club; holds the Christmas Adopt a Family and Rotary Recognizes Readers each spring. "Our motto is 'Service Above Self'," said Saylors. "We're glad to be of service to the youth of Downey." Classified Personnel director and former president of Soroptimist International Pat Heineke did both presenter and recipient functions, and noted the following significant initiatives by the club: provides several scholarships to students with vocational goals at the three Downey high schools, special scholarships, one each at DHS and WHS, for "overcoming learning challenges," and an annual Marvel Dodson Art scholarship to a student who excels in the arts; recognizes a high school student each year for "outstanding citizenship qualities" with its Violet Richardson award; supports TLC; works with the Kiwanis Club in its Pathfinders (leadership) program; and just began a tradition of providing a holiday party for pre-school special education students at Alameda School. The Board also heard a presentation by Downey Adult School director Roger Brossmer honoring Maria Kulikoff "in gratitude for selfless action in a crisis." In other action, the Board: •Accepted with gratitude cash and in-kind donations from various individuals and an organization, including a cash donation of $1,000 from Michael Camunez and $200 from Robin Martin, to benefit the TLC Family Resource Center; •Authorized the payment of expenses for convention and conference attendance; •Ratified the general agreement with Tobinworld for the 2008-09 fiscal year effective July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009; •Ratified the payments for special education placements; •Ratified purchase orders by the Purchasing Department; •Ratified the issuance of payroll orders for hourly, overtime. Civic Center work performed by classified personnel, Adult School, and Food Services, through Jan. 31, 2009; •Ratified B warrants; •Ratified the engineering/technology agreement with Project Lead The Way, a New York nonprofit corporation, to provide a high school and middle school engineering and technology curriculum; •Ratified the agreements with L.A. County Office of Education for facilities, supplies and services for special education programs at Gauldin and Carpenter, through June 30, 2010; with CSU-Los Angeles providing a student teaching program; between Downey Adult School and American Indian Healing Center, Bright Health Physicians, Care Medical Office, and Dr. Sherie Carnegie, D.O., to furnish practical experience to students enrolled in the Medical Assistant program; as well as between DAS and Centro Medico Urgente, Cuevas Chiropractic Clinic, La Familia & Women Medical Clinic, Lakewood Plaza Dental Group, Marina Medical Billing Service Inc., New Smile Dental, Dr. Thomas Nguyen, Stat Diagnostic Service, and Superior Care Medical Service, Inc., to furnish practical experience to students enrolled in the Medical Billing & Coding program; •Authorized the advertisement of bids for the purchase of pipe and plumbing supplies for the Maintenance Department; •Rejected all bids received against Bid #09/08, for the Downey High School modernization, Bldgs. J, K, N, and the cafeteria, and authorized the re-bid of same, pending district review of options and revisions to scope of work; •Accepted and approved the use of the U.S. Communities contract by and between the County of Charlotte Mecklenburg and Auto Zone for light-duty vehicle parts by the DUSD, on an as needed basis to fill orders with the same advantages, terms and conditions; •Approved the change orders involving various work performed by various vendors doing construction/modernization at Warren and Downey High Schools, as well as for cosmetics services and specialized educational services; •Accepted as complete electrical, fencing, paving and concrete work performed by various contractors; •Approved the declaration and sale of District surplus property; •Approved the destruction of Class 3 disposable district records, and appointed Katrina Juarez-Lorenzetti, clerical assistant, document destruction coordinator; •Approved routine Personnel items until subsequent action is taken by the Board of Education; •Authorized the services of two teachers, as submitted, assigned a subject area not listed on their teaching credentials, for the 2008-09 school year; • Ratified the abolishment of one Senior Instructional Assistant position, and the establishment of one new limited-term position with duties corresponding to the current classification of Senior Instructional Assistant and Behaviorally Challenged; •Adopted a resolution approving the Behavioral Intervention Plans (Hughes Bill) Mandated Cost Claims settlement and agreement to waive future claims; •Adopted a resolution accepting a grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management of the Lower Emission School Bus Replacement Program (replacing diesel powered buses with compressed natural gas/CNG); •Reviewed the proposed revisions to BP and AR 3155 regarding combination-grade classes; •Approved the single plans in each school for student achievement and Title I parent involvement policies; and •Endorsed the actions taken by the superintendent on all student cases. The next regular meeting of the Board will be at 5 p.m. on March 10 at the Gallegos Administration Center, 11627 Brookshire Ave. ********** Published: February 27, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 45