Educators receive awards at board meeting

DOWNEY - Tuesday turned out to be more of an awards afternoon than a regular DUSD meeting, as several individuals were cited for their accomplishments and/or noteworthy contributions benefiting others.Warren High School principal John Harris presented multitalented senior Fabian Chavez who recently received recognition as a 2011 Friends of Arts education scholarship winner in instrumental music. Adept with the flute, clarinet and saxophone, Chavez, who gave a sample of his skill with the sax, is bound for Cal State Northridge on his jazz studies scholarship. Masonic 'teacher of the year' awards went to longtime Ward Elementary teacher Leslie Neill, West Middle School teacher Tracy Knibb and Downey High's Josette Bean. Neill, a teacher at Ward for more than 25 years and among other things is known for her "love of data," was lauded for her effectiveness in the classroom and for being a personification of a model teacher. She recently "seamlessly" transitioned from the classroom into the Title I resource teacher, according to her principal. Joining West eight years ago, Knibb, according to her principal Craig Bertsch, has "gotten a lot of things done" as an English teach, an ASB advisor, a SIOP coach, and a co-Title I coordinator. A Cal State Long Beach graduate (BA in English and MA in curriculum and instruction), she will serve as a summer school principal for the district. Downey High principal Tom Houts had fun presenting Bean, a native of Wasilla, Alaska and who once played basketball with Sarah Palin in high school. She has taught at the Hebrew Academy in Westminster and Marina High School, along the way waitressing at Antonucci's Italiano in Newport Beach and taking creative writing classes at Orange Coast College. She was an English Lit major at Arizona State University and has received multiple awards and recognitions. She currently teaches AP English, Sophomore English and intermediate ELD. Downey High junior Genesis Anguiano, 16, was also recognized for her speech and debating prowess, in addition to achieving a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.9. Among other things she has been a Miss Downey Princess and has qualified for the California state speech and debate tournament. Downey Council PTA president Karin Kirkpatrick meanwhile recognized Mathew Johnson for his recent participation in the PTA Sacramento Safari. In a surprise, DUSD board president Martha Sodetani received a public service award from the local branch of Delta Kappa Gamma, a national educational sorority organization. In other action, the Board: *Acknowledged with thanks the many cash and in-kind contributions the district received for the period from various donors, a few worth $10,000 and above; *Ratified all routine district business (including convention and conference expenditures, as well as special education placements, purchase orders, completed assorted construction projects, agreements with other educational/instructional institutions, etc.) detailed more fully in the agenda packet for April 12, 2011; *Adopted a resolution calling for the election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, of four members to the governing board of the Downey Unified School District; *Adopted a resolution urging the California state legislature to support and adopt Senate constitutional amendment (SCA) 5, which will reduce the two-thirds vote requirement to 55 percent on parcel taxes, which can be used to address the needs of the schools; *Received the proposed 2011-12 course of study for the middle and high schools for review, which will be voted on at the next board meeting; *Reviewed the slightly revised Downey Adult School course of study for 2011-12; *Established the assignments, a few tentatively, for participation in the upcoming class of 2011 graduation ceremonies; and *Endorsed the actions of the superintendent on student cases. The next meeting of the Board will be on Tuesday, May 10, at the Gallegos Administrative Center, 11627 Brookshire Ave.

********** Published: April 14, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 52