Downey educators among Teachers of the Year

DOWNEY - The Downey Unified School District's board of education Tuesday heard Williams Elementary School principal Mary Weyers present Allison Israwi, the school's English language development coordinator for the past six years, as one of 16 winners of LACOE's coveted 'Teacher of the Year' awardsThe total field of nominees numbered 81 teachers representing various county districts. The top 16, including Israwi, are eligible for California Teacher of the Year honors. The decision will be handed down in a couple of weeks or so. Israwi said she was honored and proud to receive such recognition. "To whom much is given, much is expected," she said more than once, and thanked all concerned (the district, superintendent Wendy Doty, the school, her principal) "for the opportunity to have an impact" on the kids who have in turn "given me so much." Weyers, who claimed credit for hiring Israwi (they came to Williams practically together), said she's "just so lucky to have someone like Allison" who was able to answer such questions as, "Who's going to really help the kids?" and "Who's going to motivate them?" especially as the students represented different backgrounds and probably different schools. Brian Morita, a Downey resident and sixth grade teacher at El Sereno Elementary in the Los Angeles Unified School District, was also named a Teacher of the Year. "These hard-working teachers have been judged by their colleagues as exemplifying the very best in this wonderful profession of public education," Jon Gundry, interim superintendent of schools for Los Angeles County, said in a statement. "Every day in the classroom they make the most of a precious opportunity - to make a positive difference in the lives of their students." Meanwhile, the board congratulated Buck Weinfurter, director of maintenance, operations and transportation, for winning a $280,000 grant from the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) towards the purchase of two buses. With an additional $28,000 earmarked for CNG infrastructure, net cost to the district will amount to only $2,000. In other action, the board: *Acknowledged cash and in-kind donations from individuals and groups, including $1,000 from American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) intended for the maintenance of fields at Griffiths Middle School; *Ratified/approved usual district business, including: the payment of convention and conference expenses and other fees; special education placements; purchase orders by the purchasing department; the issuance of payroll orders for hourly, overtime, and Civic Center work performed by classified personnel, Adult School and Food Services; B warrants covering the month of August; the general agreements with a few organizations to provide various specialized services; the agreements between the Downey Adult School Career and Education Center and several clinics/medical groups to furnish practical training in the medical assistant, medical coding and billing, pharmacy technician, and phlebotomy technician programs; a couple of contracts with LACOE for Price Elementary and Sussman Middle School to participate in marine education programs as well as science and conservation education programs; a change order with a contractor in connection with the modernization of buildings J/K/N and L at Downey High School; routine personnel items until subsequent action is taken by the Board of Education; the abolishment of a couple of positions (child care leader and instructional assistant-bilingual) while approving the changes made to the duties of dispatcher/driver; *Ratified the interdistrict attendance agreement with Charter Oak Unified School District, as well that with Aspiranet to provide a counseling program to children and families referred by the district; *Accepted as complete fencing, back hoe, concrete, and electrical work performed by various contractors; *Approved the transfer of $4 million from the unrestricted General Fund to the unrestricted Education Fund; *Denied claim submitted by one Audrey Hargaray, in compliance with Gov't. Code Section 911-15 and 945; *Adopted a resolution confirming through a public hearing that sufficient textbooks and instructional materials are available and consistent with the cycles and content of the curriculum frameworks; *Adopted a resolution setting the district's estimated 2010-11 appropriations limit to be $83,297,944.31; such limits, referred to as the 'Gann Limits', allow government spending to grow at a rate no faster than inflation and the change in population, a method meant to calculate the amount of actual state aid received by the district, essentially a meaningless concept in today's state budget mess (last year's actual appropriations limit was $85,426,140.11). *Approved a resolution increasing the district's Dental Care Self-Insurance Trust Account balance, from $50,000 to $75,000 to cover claims processed each month; *Approved the re-appointment to the Personnel Commission of Stephen Sampley to a three-year term effective Dec. 1, 2010; *Approved the certification of the provision of standards-aligned instruction materials for K-12 students; *Approved the unaudited actual financial report for FY2009-10; and *Endorsed the actions of the superintendent on student cases, considered in closed session. Doty in the meantime expressed appreciation for the harmonious state of district-personnel relations under enlightened leadership. She also reiterated her and her staff's commitment to ever-improving student performance and achievement. The next regular public meeting of the Board of Education will be at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at the Gallegos Administration Center, 11627 Brookshire Ave.

********** Published: September 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 23