Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

May 2, 2013
San Juan names principals to Carnegie, John Barrett schools

Mark Siewert, principal of Earl LeGette Elementary School in Fair Oaks, will be the new principal at Andrew Carnegie Middle School in the San Juan Unified School District, the district announced.

The district also named Brent Givens, an alumnus of Del Campo High, as the next principal of John Barrett Middle School, replacing retiring Principal Lisa Herstrom Smith.

Both the Siewert and Givens appointments take effective Aug. 5.

Siewert started with the San Juan district in 1988 as a teacher for former Starr King Elementary (now Starr King K-8), where he taught special education, media, electives and physical education. He also served as an intervention specialist before he was named the middle school vice principal 18 years later.

In 2008, Siewert became an interim principal at Oakview Community Elementary and, a year later, was appointed principal for LeGette Elementary.

Siewert was an active member of the district's strategic planning, was a coordinator for GATE and school standardized testing and an intervention math coach. He also was active in leading professional development opportunities for staff.

May 1, 2013
Cosumnes event commemorates 1994 genocide in Rwanda

The genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda nearly two decades ago will be the focus of commemoration Saturday at Cosumnes River College.

The keynote speaker will be Edouard Kayihura, a genocide survivor who spent 100 days as a refugee in Hotel des Mille Collines, also known as Hotel Rwanda.

In 1994, the Hutu-led government launched a genocide of Tutsis that claimed as many as 1 million lives.

Much of the public awareness of the largely ethnic-based genocide has been credited to the 2004 movie, "Hotel Rwanda," which addressed horrific atrocities and casualties that ravaged the east-central African country.

The three-hour event starts at 3 p.m. in the campus Learning Resource Center, room 104.

The Friends of Rwanda Association is sponsoring this event in collaboration with the Rwandan Community of California, Cosumnes River College, Pan-African Studies at Sacramento State University and Palo Alto University.

April 30, 2013
Paul Burke named principal of Oak Ridge High

Paul Burke has been named principal of Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills starting in July, the El Dorado Union High School District announced today.

Burke currently serves as principal at Samuel Jackman Middle School in the Elk Grove Unified School District. He spent his educational career serving as a teacher and vice principal at several Elk Grove school district sites during a 15-year period.

As a teacher, he taught high school business, and he served as department chairman for business and industrial technology at the middle school level.

April 27, 2013
Met High School principal in Sacramento speaks out about allegations

By Loretta Kalb

Met High School Principal Allen Young in Sacramento, placed on administrative leave this week pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct, says the allegations are false.

"The allegations are unfounded and will be proved as such at the conclusion of the investigation," Young wrote in an email Friday night to The Bee.

"I am a proud product of the Sacramento City Unified School District as a student, teacher and currently principal. For years I have taken students, with parental and district consent, to college previews.

"I have been honored to work with hundreds of amazing Metsters over the last six years. Met staff, families and the community have been essential to the success of our school. I am confident that the students and staff will continue to thrive. I am ready to get back to the job I love. At this point, I must trust the process."

District spokesman Gabe Ross on Friday that Principal Allen Young was placed on leave Wednesday afternoon, but said he could not provide details of the allegations.

"We're just beginning an investigation," he said.

The Met High School, at 810 V St., has an enrollment of 274 students. It is one of five charter campuses operated by the district. Ross said Assistant Principal Vince Wolfe has been placed in charge of the school.

April 26, 2013
High school principal in Sacramento under investigation

The principal of The Met High School has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct, a Sacramento City Unified School District spokesman said today.

District spokesman Gabe Ross confirmed that Principal Allen Young was placed on leave Wednesday afternoon. But Ross said he could not provide details of the allegations.

"We're just beginning an investigation," he said.

In an email Friday night, Young said, "The allegations are unfounded and will be proved as such at the conclusion of the investigation. I am a proud product of the Sacramento City Unified School District as a student, teacher and currently principal ... I am confident that the students and staff will continue to thrive. I am ready to get back to the job I love. At this point, I must trust the process."

The Met High School, located at 810 V Street in Sacramento, has an enrollment of 274 students. It is one of five charter campuses operated by the district. Ross said Assistant Principal Vince Wolfe has been placed in charge of the school.

On Thursday, district Superintendent Jonathan P. Raymond sent a brief letter to parents informing them of Young's leave, but the letter gave no explanation for the action.

The letter closed with, "Thank you for your patience and understanding.""

April 25, 2013
AR student awarded prestigious national transfer scholarship

Parisa_Lotfi_2013c.JPGA student transferring from American River College to a four-year institution has won a $30,000-a-year scholarship for her continued pursuit of engineering studies.

Parisa Lotfi, 21, is one of 73 scholars nationally to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. She was selected from about 700 applicants, said American River College spokesman Scott Crow.

Formal announcement of the award is planned for Monday, Crow said.

The scholarship is intended to cover a significant share of Lotfi's educational expenses, including tuition, living costs, books and fees, for the final two to three years needed to complete a bachelor's degree.

April 24, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown vows to fight for his school funding formula

Gov. Jerry Brown vowed today to fight for his school funding overhaul that would benefit areas with low-income students and English learners, the Bee's Capitol Alert blog reports.

The governor was joined at his Capitol press conference by Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond and other large California school district leaders who support the change.

Brown appeared a day before legislative Democrats are expected to release a significantly different proposal Thursday in response to the Democratic governor's plan.

Among the biggest local winners in Brown's overhaul would be Robla School District in north Sacramento, Winters Joint Unified School District and Woodland Joint Unified School District, The Bee found in February.

April 24, 2013
Deadline for SMUD summer internships closes May 17

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District this year is extending its student internship program to students in four unified school districts for this summer: Elk Grove, Folsom Cordova, Twin Rivers and Natomas.

The application period closes May 17, and high school students within those districts can pick up internship applications from their respective school offices.

The program gives about 25 students a year experience working in different SMUD departments. The program operates in partnership with Sacramento Works Youth Council, which is part of the Sacramento Employment Training Agency.

April 22, 2013
Video: Student music video gets kids excited about state exams

Students at the Smythe Academy of Arts and Sciences created a music video to get other kids excited about take taking California Standardized Tests. In the video, students sing and rap about taking the annual exams.

"It got me up and out of my seat," said Principal William Brown, via email.

Smythe Academy of Arts and Sciences is a charter school with the Twin Rivers Unified School District. It's mission "is to provide an enriched educational environment for an ethnically and socio-economically diverse group of kindergarten through eighth-grade students that emphasizes the arts, science, technology and community service," according to its web site.

April 19, 2013
Video: Grant High students seek funds for peace park

A trip to Japan by five students in the Pacers for Peace club at Grant High School in 2010 spawned the desire to build a peace park near the school.

The students stayed with host families in Matsuyama, Sacramento's sister city in Japan, and visited Hiroshima during their Thanksgiving break that year.

The visit made an impression, especially the peace park in Hiroshima, said Wayne Hironaka, the students' adviser at time. He has since retired from the school district.

Students in the Pacers for Peace club and adults in the I Am Peace nonprofit mentoring program are trying to raise $170,000 to $200,000 to build the park complete with a garden and fountain.The land was donated by the Twin Rivers Unified School District several years ago.

April 18, 2013
Rid your garage of e-waste at Bella Vista High on Saturday

If there are old electronics piling up in your garage, you can take them to Bella Visa High School's parking lot on Saturday.

Televisions, computers, fax machines, copiers, scanners, printers, gaming systems and other miscellaneous electronics can be dropped off for collection by California Electronic Asset Recovery.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 8301 Madison Ave., Fair Oaks.

Donations of $5 will help support the Science Olympiad teams and the school's library program.

For information, call Susan Sloan at (916) 971-5030. Or email her at

April 17, 2013
Volunteers sought on future of Sacramento's closing campuses

The Sacramento City Unified School District is seeking volunteers with varied backgrounds to advise the Board of Education on the reuse or disposition of school buildings and vacant sites not needed for school purposes.

Trustees of the school district recently decided to close seven elementary schools after finding them to be chronically underenrolled.

The 7-11 committee - a group of seven or 11 members - is to have members that represent the ethnic, age and socioeconomic composition of the district.

Members also are to represent the business community, such as store owners or managers, as well as property owners or renters, preferably those linked to neighborhood associations.

April 17, 2013
Sacramento parents and activists meet over school closures

Members of Hmong Innovating Politics will meet with parents and community leaders at 6 p.m. today to discuss decisions by Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond and district trustees' to close seven neighborhood schools.

With less than two months before the start of summer vacation, students and families at the seven closed schools say they are scrambling to sort out their transition plans and have very few details about preserving student safety, adequate transportation and open enrollment decisions.

The announcement for the "Wrong-Sizing Fall-Out Forum" reports it will seek to enable parents to document their challenges and to develop strategies for responding to the board's action.

The two-hour session is set for Lemon Hill Community Center, 6000 Lemon Hill Ave., Sacramento.

April 15, 2013
Four American River students qualify for national skills contest

Four students enrolled in American River College's technical programs won top state honors in San Diego earlier this month and are eligible to compete in the national competition sponsored by SkillsUSA, the Los Rios Community College District announced.

Those who qualified for the national competition are Linda Froemel, who won a gold medal with her welding sculpture; Nial Ix, who won the gold in collision repair technology; Victor Dyachuk, who won in automotive refinishing, and Charles Relat, who won in electronics technology.

The national competition is set for June 24 - 28 in Kansas City.

In all, students from the technical programs at American River College won 11 awards.

April 11, 2013
Sacramento area campuses recognized for innovative practices

Thumbnail image for RB West Campus 1.JPGThirteen campuses in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties are recipients of California Distinguished Schools honors for 2013, the state Department of Education announced today.

The middle and high school campuses are among 218 public schools statewide recognized for their commitment to innovative approaches and improving academic achievement.

"These schools have gone the extra mile to provide high-quality instruction that puts their students on the right path toward career and college," state schools chief Tom Torlakson said in a statement. He called the results inspiring "given the enormous challenges schools have faced in recent years."

About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

(916) 321-1073
Twitter: @LorettaSacBee
(916) 321-1090
Twitter: @dianalambert

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