Archive for the ‘Carlsbad Schools’ Category

California Needs to Prioritize

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

The economy has created troubling times for many people and institutions, and it is interesting to look at how the states are dealing with these problems. California is no exception, and is trying to help revamp the state budget so it can run more efficiently. What are the biggest problems in our state, and how can they be better handled?

Prisons: There was an article  in the OC Register today about the rising costs of annually housing a prisoner in California Рwhich has doubled in 10 years to $46,700. The majority of this cost comes from health care and security. The article points out that a year at Harvard costs around $50,000.

So what is the state of California doing to help curtail the overcrowded and overly expensive prison system? It is laying off those employed by the system, including those who actually help inmates get to a place where they can re-enter society, such as prison psychologists. The state is also releasing prisoners incarcerated for “lesser” crimes. Surely there is a better way to reform our prison systems…?

I believe our prison system needs to be focused on rehabilitation for the lesser offenders. They need counseling and need to be able to learn how to make a living. The recidivism rate has always been in the high 90th percentile, but we can turn that around if we approach it smartly. The hard core offenders need to do their time – rehabilitation should not be the goal for these prisoners, as they will never reenter society.

Schools. Many of California’s schools are in dire trouble (again). Locally, the Carlsbad Unified School District faces an $11 million shortfall next year. The district has been trying to figure out how to deal with the cut, including sending out a survey to parents asking where we think cuts should come from. Some of the choices included cutting teacher and administration salaries, programs, and shortening the school year or individual school days. Should we even be considering any of these, considering that our children are continuously outperformed by students in other nations? We need to motivate teachers and students, not alienate them.

With a decaying educational system and annual budget cuts, tough choices lay ahead. We need to get rid of tenure, and retain teachers who are excellent educators – not just because they have worked longer. We need annual reviews of teachers and Principals, as well as administrative staff, to make sure they are doing the best job they can. We need smaller class sizes again, to benefit learning. We need to incorporate technology more and bring back electives that teach trades, and provide more options with career counseling. We need to closely monitor student performance and give the districts more authority to set priorities and make decisions, because every area and every school could face different challenges.

There is possibly help on the way, via the Think Long Committee for California. They have some hefty proposals and the ability to infuse money into the system by revamping the state tax system via taxes – many are against this, but we can’t waste any more time arguing about alternatives when there are none presented that will help us achieve our educational goals.

The bottom line is that California, like many other states, needs to prioritize. I am all for raising taxes if it is truly going to benefit our schools. I say this from a non-partisan point of view, with education being the priority. If we turn our education system around chances are down the road it will have an effect on our prison system as well. I know we can do it.

 

 

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Help Prevent School Bullying on October 8 (and Have Fun Too!)

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Bullying is one of the worst and most relevant things children today must deal with. It is something that we as a society need to tackle, and it will not go away unless we all work together to help educate our children. If you have always wondered how you can help, or what you can do or say to eliminate it, here is your chance.

On October 8 from 4-7 p.m. come on down to Rock for Challenge Day at The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach for some great music (by Temple of the Dad) for a great cause. All proceeds will go towards Challenge Day at Aviara Oaks Middle School, which is an award-winning program for teens to combat bullying. Challenge Day is coming to a Carlsbad School for the first time on November 7. Over 100 children and 35 adults experience this amazing workshop, to help stomp out bullying and teasing on school campuses.

If you have not read one of my previous blogs about Challenge Day and do not know about it, you can go to MTV’s website and watch an episode of “If You Really Knew Me.”¬†http://www.mtv.com/shows/if_you_really_knew_me/series.jhtml This show is a reality show that highlights the Challenge Day program at campuses across the nation. You can pick any episode, but make sure to have tissues handy. Share it with your teens too. Challenge Day is the most real, raw, intense and inspirational wake up call to kids. NO ONE IS UNAFFECTED by this program.

Our biggest dream is that Challenge Day can one day be on every high school and middle school campus, but we need your help. It is not free, and there are few people who are trained to run the program, so there is a waiting list. Here is your opportunity to really make a difference in preventing bullying, and all you have to do is come to the Belly Up and enjoy some great music with friends, have a drink, and relax.

To find out more about Rock for Challenge Day on October 8, Challenge Day itself, and to order your tickets, please visit http://www.villatortuga.net/ChallengeDay/ChallengeDayBenefit.html. Tickets are only $15, and will be $20 at the door. The Belly Up Tavern is a 21 and over venue.

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Celebrate Carlsbad and Have a Blast in May

Monday, April 25th, 2011

This is one of my favorite times of the year here in Carlsbad, our beautiful Village by the Sea. Our city offers events for the whole family, a time to get out and enjoy why it is so wonderful to live here. Here are a few of my favorite things that will be going on in May, so grab the entire family and enjoy being outside.

Celebrate Carlsbad Day at Legoland, May 14: Legoland carries on the tradition of Celebrate Carlsbad by discounting tickets to $15 for the day. This is a huge discount off the regular price–which is more than 4x that.. The catch is that tickets must be purchased in advance, so if you would like to spend a day at Legoland and enjoy the great prices, you need to call the Carlsbad Educational Foundation at 760-929-1555, or email info@carlsbad.org. You can also purchase tickets at some of our local schools, like Aviara Oaks Middle School.

The best part of Celebrate is that it is hosted by the Carlsbad Educational Foundation (CEF), which benefits local schools, so come on out and support our schools! For more information on CEF and how you can help, visit their website at http://www.carlsbaded.org/events.aspx.

Carlsbad Vilage Street Faire, May 1: the famous and fabulous street faire will once again be open for business. If you have never been I highly suggest it–great food, entertainment for all ages, rides for the kids, shopping, crafts…the list is long. Come on down to the Village and mingle with fellow Carlsbadians and enjoy the sunshine. For a list of road closures and to figure out where to parke visit the City’s website at http://news.carlsbadca.gov/pr/ca/carlsbad-village-faire-road-closures-202169.aspx.

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$50k Grant to Carlsbad Unified School District

Monday, November 29th, 2010

There is some great news on the horizon for San Diego schools. The Carlsbad Unified School District was one of several districts in San Diego county that was recently awarded $50,000 in federal technology grants. This was part of over $3 million in grants that went to schools in San Diego County. The grants will be used toward education data and technology to help students better prepare for college.

Other recipients of $50,000 included the San Diego County Office of Education, Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, Escondido Union School District and Charter School of San Diego.

With the state of California financially strapped these grants could not have come at a better time. Recently, Proposition P allocated funds to Carlsbad schools to help with construction grants to update dilapidated buildings and build additions to campuses. With the new technology grants our schools will be ready to face the future and assure that our students get an even better education.

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How Safe Are Our Schools?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

In case you don’t listen to local news, or if you don’t live in the San Diego County area, there was a shooting this past Friday at a Carlsbad elementary school. An obviously deranged man decided to go to the school, jump the fence to the playground, and shoot at children. Luckily some construction workers chased him down before any lives were lost. This school is only a few miles from my home and in our district, so it really made parents open their eyes to school safety. I was interviewed on this issue today by San Diego’s 10News, which will air tonight at 6 p.m.

What can be done about school safety? If you visit any school campus, at least the schools in my district, security is virtually non-existent. Sure, some schools have fences and/or cameras. But the fact is that anyone can get past those, easily. I have walked into both my childrens’ schools on numerous occasions without stopping in the office.

The issue is this: how do we protect our childrens’ safety during school hours without turning schools into a police state? Can it even be done? After the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 a lot of changes were made in airport security, but even that has tapered off over the years. Furthermore, others have proved that they can still get past TSA security with bombs and weapons despite the heightened surveillance. So will installing a metal detector and barbed wire, or placing armed guards on campus, really stop these psychos bent on hurting our kids? Sadly, the answer is no.

I think what we need to learn from this and other tragic events on school campuses is the following:

* Everyone on school campuses needs to be trained to report strange behavior or the presence of strangers, even if that behavior comes from another child. In some cases potential tragedy might be avoided if students can articulate any abnormal behavior or statements made by other students, as these may be cries for help. As for strangers, in some cases (like with the incident on Friday) this is a non-issue, as obviously this man came out of nowhere and there was not time to alert anyone until he started shooting.

* We need to talk about this incident and others with our children. Even though it is scary it needs to be discussed. Our children need to know what to do should anything remotely similar ever happen on their school campuses or elsewhere. Our family discussed this over the weekend. I told my children exactly what to do even if they were not close to a building. Hopefully in a panic they would be able to remember what we discussed, since I gave them a plan of action. Knowledge is power.

* The community at large needs to discuss these issues. Unfortunately there is insufficient financial means to secure schools (and again, whether this is even possible is highly questionable), as the state continues to annually chop up our school budgets (a topic for another blog, one that could be very long). I know that a lot of the “extras” at my daughter’s elementary school come from parental involvement–fund raisers and donations. We need to have forums to discuss school security issues, much like to meet to plan fundraisers to update the computer labs. Maybe PTAs could get involved in this.

* Despite the desire some parents may have to pull kids out of schools and start a home-schooling program after incidents like this (I’ll admit that my husband and I discussed this over the weekend), we need to remember that, like after 9/11, we can’t let the actions of a few create fear and force us to change the way we live. The fact of the matter is that my kids go to good schools, with (mostly) great teachers. They have access to state-of-the-art technology and modern classrooms. The public school system can provide an excellent education. So we need to forge ahead and perservere.

I welcome any comments or suggestions to this blog. It is important to share viewpoints and ideas to make our communities stronger.

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New High School To Open In Carlsbad

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Pacific Ridge, a private school located in the Bressi Ranch area of Carlsbad, is in the process of completing a new high school building that will open this fall. The campus has been open since 2007, providing private education to over 350 seventh through twelfth graders.

The City of Carlsbad has been helpful in helping the school with expediting the planning and permit process so that the buildings could be completed before the school year begins this fall. School officials have designed the buildings with energy efficiency and sustainable features in mind, hoping to become one of the first nationally recognized schools to receive gold accreditation under LEED–Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Pacific Ridge School has a high focus on academics, with an integrated curriculum that focuses on community involvement, ethics and global engagement. The school has received some nice reviews from media as well as families whose children attend the school. I spoke with one young man who is a current student. He told me that classes are small, teachers are wonderful and he is happy there. His parents felt the same, and told me that the financial assistance program at Pacific Ridge is very accomodating and helpful.

For more information visit the informative Pacific Ridge website at http://www.pacificridge.org/Default.asp?bhcp=1.

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Celebrate Carlsbad Day Is Coming!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

It’s that time of year again…time for the annual Celebrate Carlsbad Day sponsored by the Carlsbad Educational Foundation. On May 1st the celebration will take place at Legoland from 1:00-9:00 p.m., and admission will only be $15 for the day–that’s a $52 savings off the regular $67 ticket price!

The Carlsbad Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization with the primary goal of raising private money for public school programs in the Carlsbad Unified School District. They have an annual telethon and student performances each year. This year the student performances will take place at Legoland between 3:00-6:00 (my daughter’s class is performing and it will be fantastic!), followed by fireworks at 8:00.

There are 5 ways to purchase tickets:

1. Go to the office at a CUSD school.

2. Visit a ticket sales outlet (Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, Visitors and Convention Bureau, San Diego National Bank, Lola’s 7-Up Market and Deli, Facelogic Spa, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Carlsbad Educational Foundation).

3. Call 760-929-1555 to have tickets emailed to you.

4. Go to website (http://www.carlsbaded.org/) and fax order form to 760-929-8788 with complete credit card information.

5. Mail order form with payment to: CEF, 5651 Palmer Way, Suite H, Carlsbad, CA 92010.

So round up the family and head on over to Legoland on May 1st…not only will it be a fun-filled day for a great price, but a portion of ticket sales will be supporting wonderful music and science enrichment programs at Carlsbad Unified School District schools. If you can’t make it please visit the website for more information on how you can help this worthy cause. http://www.carlsbaded.org/.

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