DOWNEY - Warren High School was recently recognized as California's "2009 High School of the Year" for beating out a number of other high schools representing different school districts throughout the state in the Governor's Challenge Competition.According to Warren principal John Harris, who flew to Sacramento with Warren senior Alex Galiviz and PE teacher Dan Latham for the recognition ceremony, Warren High was selected from among 19 finalists in the state, from which one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school were chosen to each receive a grand prize of a $100,000 fitness center. The governor personally congratulated the winners. The competition is an annual contest among K-12 California schools that encourages students, teachers, and parents to be, in Harris' words, physically active 30-60 minutes a day, at least three days a week. Harris said that more than 2,300 Warren students completed the governor's prescribed fitness program. In making the announcement at the Board of Education meeting Tuesday, Harris introduced Latham, along with the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports executive director Kenny Rogers, who exhorted everybody to join the project and exercise. The theme of the Governor's Challenge Competition is "Don't Quit! Rise to the Governor's Challenge." Harris said the fitness lab will be delivered in two months, and there will be an appropriate ribbon-cutting ceremony then. Vision Award Meanwhile, three certificated employees (read teachers) were honored with the superintendent's Vision Award in the area of instruction: Downey High's Jeannette Hernandez, West Middle School's Louis Cortez, and Unworth Elementary's Carole Ozima. Hernandez was in the news recently for having tutored Downey grad Kalief Rollins in a nation-wide business plan competition which Rollins won. Rollins was awarded $10,000 for his entry and won an audience with President Barack Obama. He was accompanied on the trip by Hernandez who, Downey High principal Tom Houts said, even as a new teacher already displayed a talent for thinking "outside the box" and on her own initiative developed, among other things, a curriculum on entrepreneurship. West Middle School principal Craig Bertsch lionized Cortez, who joined DUSD in 2001 as a science and math teacher, as a real professional whose "every lesson he teaches is well-planned and exhibits research-proven strategies that promote student learning of the California content standards as well as important life skills." He added: "Every lesson maximizes instructional time and is differentiated to meet the unique needs and learning styles of our diverse student population." Bertsch also cited Cortez for being West's SIOP coach, responsible for "developing, monitoring, and implementing a plan to assist fellow teachers with professional self-reflection and instructional improvement." SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) addresses methods of academic instruction for "limited English proficient" English Learner students. Unsworth Elementary School principal Yolanda Cornair used many superlatives in describing Ozima, who she said began teaching in 1988 at Carpenter and immediately won notice for her "strong focus on instruction" and for working well with students, parents and staff members. She has also been praised for "demonstrating the highest level of professional conduct, both within her classroom, in the Rio San Gabriel community, and in the larger educational community." Currently serving as the Title I, school improvement and English resource teacher at Unsworth, Ozima was lauded for her valuable work and contributions in several areas (curriculum and instruction, BTSA, math leadership team, etc.). "She has enriched the lives of Unsworth students in many ways," said Cornair. In other action, the Board: •Accepted with gratitude various cash and in-kind donations from several individual and institutional donors for use at various schools, including: $3,900 from the East Middle School PTA in support of student activities and recognition, Character Counts and the Renaissance at East Middle School; nine large koi fish valued at $2,000 from Randy Brandon for the koi pond at Downey High School; and $1,000 from the Eleanor Kehoe Eck Trust, in addition to other no less important donors, for use by the TLC Family Resource Center; •Authorized the payment of expenses for convention and conference attendance; •Ratified the general agreements entered into with various institutions, including one with the Downey Family YMCA, for the 2009-10 fiscal year effective July 1, 2009 though June 30, 2010; •Ratified the payments for special education placements; •Approved the revision to AR 2380 dealing with eligibility requirements involving grades 6-12 when they participate in such extracurricular activities as interscholastic athletics, cheer leading, drill team, student council, band, dance team, etc.; •Ratified purchase orders by the Purchasing Department; •Ratified the issuance of payroll orders for hourly, overtime, and Civic Center work performed by classified personnel, Adult School, and Food Services, through October 2009; •Ratified B warrants; •Ratified the agreements between the Downey Adult School Career and Education Center and a number of clinics/institutions to provide practical experience to students enrolled in the Medical Assistant/Dental Assistant program; •Ratified the license agreement with the Administrative Office of the Courts for use of space in Downey Superior Court, at 7500 East Imperial Highway, for SARB (School Attendance Review Board) hearings, effective Oct. 1, 2009; •Ratified the services agreement with LifeCare Resources, Inc. for the DUSD employees' Wellness Program (provides administration of the following services: influenza, pneumonia, hepatitis B, tetanus & diphtheria shots, tuberculosis tests, and lipid profile services) effective Oct. 1, 2009-Oct. 1, 2011; •Ratified the contracts with the Los Angeles County Office of Education for a) state fiscal stabilization fund entitlements for use in DUSD's ROP program, and b) bilingual teacher training program curriculum and instructional services, to run till June 30, 2010: •Approved the fifth year renewal of Bid #05/06-02 for roof repairs, replacement & asbestos abatement of roofing materials, with FC & Sons Roofing, Inc. of Bell Gardens, in the annual estimated amount of $800,000 to be charged to the General Fund, Maintenance Fund, and/or Bond Funds, as appropriate; •Approved the change order for low voltage systems for the new library, classroom building and modernization (Bid Package #20) at Warren High School, with JAM Fire Protection, Inc. of Monrovia, in the increased amount of $27,880; •Accepted as complete electrical, roofing, fencing, backhoe services, carpentry work, doors and framing, HVAC, concrete, and food service equipment & cafeteria modernization (at WHS) work performed by various contractors, •Approved the adjustments to the 2009-10 General Fund restricted and unrestricted budgets; •Approved the adjustments to the 2009-10 budget for all funds to reflect the 2008-09 ending Unaudited Actuals in the 2009-10 beginning budget; •Approved routine Personnel items until subsequent action is taken by the Board of Education; •Authorized the approval by the Committee on Assignments to approve teaching assignments based on special skills and preparation, for the 2009-10 school year (for a maximum of one school year at a time), pursuant to Ed. Code 44258.7 (c) & (d); •Authorized the service of the teachers, as submitted, assigned a subject area not listed on their teaching credentials for the 2009-10 school year, pursuant to the corresponding sections of the Education Code; •Ratified the abolishment of a few vacant positions in the Instructional Assistant area and one Senior Accounting Technician, and the establishment of mostly Senior Instructional Assistants in the behaviorally-challenged and severely/multiply handicapped areas, assigned to different schools and Downey Adult School, with varying effective beginning and ending dates; •Meanwhile approved the changes to the duties of the Instructional Assistant position, per attached updated duty statement; •After a public hearing on the receipt and use of certain Tier III categorical funds in accordance with Ed. Code Section 42605(c)(2), approved the use of available funds in such programs as arts and music block grant, CAHSEE intensive instruction, community-based English tutoring (CBET), school safety and violence, etc., as follows: 1) $2,000,000 for the purchase of approved textbooks; and 2) $2,519,093.62 to offset the cost of 35 full-time equivalent certificated and classified positions to avoid further staffing cuts; •Reviewed and approved the annual report on developer fees for fiscal year 2008-09; total income received from residential and commercial transactions was $429,802.26, while total expenditures amounted to $258,445.27; and •Endorsed the actions taken by the superintendent on all student cases, noting that not a single one involved expulsion. The next regular meeting of the Board will be at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009 at the Gallegos Administration Center, 11627 Brookshire Ave.
********** Published: November 20, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 31