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Cheating probe leads to 6 suspended at Rancho Bernardo High School


RANCHO BERNARDO – Six Rancho Bernardo High School students have been suspended pending the completion of an investigation into a recently discovered cheating scandal that involved hacking into the computer system, school officials said Monday night.

Grades were changed and some tests were accessed, Poway Unified School District Superintendent Donald Phillips said.

The hacking appears to have been limited to Ranch Bernardo High grades and tests and does not extend districtwide, Principal Paul Robinson and Phillips said.

Police are aware of what's going on but are waiting for the district to finish investigating before moving forward, Robinson said.

...follow the link for the rest of the story... > News > Education -- Cheating probe leads to 6 suspended at Rancho Bernardo High School

ACLU defends Poway student who protested Day of Silence


We didn’t make this up

ACLU defends Poway student who protested Day of Silence

News Release
American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties

In a significant free speech case that has sparked national attention, the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties has filed an amicus brief in U.S. District Court in Harper v. Poway Unified School District. Our brief argues that the anti-gay t-shirt worn by Tyler Chase Harper did not amount to harassment that the school was permitted to punish.
In 2004, students at Poway High School organized a “Day of Silence,” a national youth-run effort using silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people due to harassment, bias, and abuse in schools. On the Day of Silence and the following day, Harper wore a t-shirt that said, "Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned" on the front and "Homosexuality Is Shameful 'Romans 1:27' " on the back. There was no evidence of any disturbance on the first day, and on the second day, a teacher observed “several students off-task talking about the shirt.” It was also alleged that there may have been a “tense verbal conversation” about it, but Harper characterized it and other conversations as “peaceful discussions wherein differing viewpoints were communicated.”

...for the rest, follow the link...

California Catholic Daily - We didn’t make this up

Three get Teacher of Year honors

One winner has received notice of possible layoff

POWAY – One let out a yelp, another got very self-conscious about her attire, and the third heard a round of applause from a roomful of colleagues.

After each initial shock, it was a time of celebration for the Poway Unified School District's Teacher of the Year winners.

District Superintendent Donald Phillips led a small delegation in back-to-back surprise visits yesterday, bestowing compliments and a spring bouquet on the three teachers, and on two support staffers.

The awards place the teachers into a countywide competition that can lead to state and national honors.

Here are mini-profiles of the teachers who were honored:

Elizabeth Pletcher-Goff, a second-grade teacher at Shoal Creek Elementary School, emphasizes storytelling as a precursor to her writing curriculum. Her students are encouraged to ask their parents and grandparents to help them with written reports that draw on elements of their cultural background.

“You're very lucky to have her,” Phillips told the students as Pletcher-Goff admitted to a bit of embarrassment about her jeans and hooded sweat shirt. Phillips then made an announcement to the entire school over its public-address system.

... for rest of story, follow the link... > News > North County -- Three get Teacher of Year honors

Teachers' protest shirts require some alterations


Murphy's Law, the theory that if something can go wrong it will, caught up with some local teachers.

The Poway Federation of Teachers distributed signs and T-shirts custom printed with anti-budget-cut slogans. The only problem is that a misspelling appears on all of them – much to the teachers' chagrin.

An employee of the union, which represents teachers in the Poway Unified School District, said no one noticed the error until the products arrived from the printer.

The misprinted shirts and signs criticize “Govenor” Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed education spending cuts.

With neither time nor money to correct the faux pas, they did the next best thing: They advised folks to black out, cross out or tape over the second half of the misspelled word, making it “Gov” Schwarzenegger. > News > Metro > Diane Bell -- Teachers' protest shirts require some alterations

Taxing the System : April 2008 : THE Journal


Taxing the System

by Bridget McCrea

Eager to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which addresses concerns over access to "offensive" Internet content on school and library computers, the Poway Unified School District made a move this year to ensure that its 33,000 students are kept as far away as possible from such content. By beefing up its Internet content-filtering, the San Diego, CA district also put itself in the position to qualify for federal grants not accessible to schools that don't comply with CIPA.

"Our first few filters were software-based and too slow and cumbersome," explained Marc Ludwig, systems engineer for the district, which comprises 23 elementary schools, six middle schools, four comprehensive high schools, and one continuation school. "Students were getting around the blocked Web sites by simply turning the proxy off in their browsers, so we knew we had to look around for something more robust and comprehensive."

When shopping around for a better solution, PUSD learned of a solution being offered by St. Bernard Software, also in San Diego. The vendor presented its iPrism Model 3100, a dedicated Internet filtering appliance that secures organizations from potential Internet-based threats, such as spyware, IM, P2P, and inappropriate content, while also helping to enforce acceptable use and security policies.

"We saw that the filtering would be easy to manage; you could pretty much install the appliance and forget about it," said Ludwig. "So we bought it." The appliance allows the district to block all pornographic, gambling-related, and other sites that district administrators have deemed inappropriate for students. "We have a whole list of categories that we give to our school board," said Ludwig, "which looks at it and decides what it wants blocked, based on CIPA and bandwidth."

In March, the district took its dedication to Web security a step further when it became one of the first to install St. Bernard's new iPrism h-Series Web monitoring appliance. Designed for enterprises of all sizes, the new models are available in five configurations (the iPrism 10h, 20h, 30h, 50h ,and 100h) and target risks associated with Web, instant messaging, and P2P applications.

Starting at $1,200, the iPrisms are hybrid-ready and designed to enhance iPrism Web Filter capabilities now while helping organizations prepare for new features and functionality in the future. Compatible with all supported versions of iPrism operating software, the new appliances provide throughput speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps, depending on the model.
Steve Yin, St. Bernard's vice president for worldwide sales and marketing, said the appliance stands out from other security options in that it gives school districts a complete package that includes an operating system, applications software, and the necessary hardware.

Taxing the System : April 2008 : THE Journal

Proposed cuts protested at school


RANCHO PENASQUITOS: About 60 students, teachers and parents protested proposed school budget cuts yesterday morning outside Mt. Carmel High School. They waved signs with the slogan “Save Our Schools” in the before-school rally on Carmel Mountain Road in Rancho Peñasquitos.

Many motorists caught in the traffic snarl of parents dropping off students honked in support.

The high school is in the Poway Unified School District, which would have to cut $15.5 million from its 2008-09 budget as part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 10 percent across-the-board reduction in state spending.

The governor's plan includes $4.4 billion in education cuts statewide. About 180 teachers, counselors and administrators could lose their jobs in the district, and class sizes in most grades could increase. –C.S. > News > Education -- Proposed cuts protested at school

Creative Teaching Awards - Hey PUSD is in here!


Creative Teaching Awards

Winner: Vice Principal Rita Wilson, Rancho Bernardo High School, Poway, California

Approach: During the 2002 April Dance, Ms. Wilson wanted to make sure that female students were following the dress code. So, as they were entering the building, she lifted up the girls’ skirts to see if they were wearing thong underwear, which was prohibited. According to a source, she even did so in front of male students.

Reaction: The Poway Unified School District investigated and concluded that the vice principal “used poor judgment”…then demoted her to a classroom teaching job.

Creative Teaching Awards « The Loveliest Words

Extra security, no incidents at Black Mountain Middle School


Extra security, no incidents at Black Mountain Middle School

Students streamed into Black Mountain Middle School Monday morning amid an extra degree of caution in response to a crude bathroom-graffiti threat.

A San Diego police squad car parked on campus and a more visible presence by counselors and other school officials before the morning bell, however, were the only visible signs the school was experiencing anything other than a normal day.

Principal David Hall said the school took the measures because of a message that read, “Going to kill you all 3/31/08,” found Friday afternoon in a boys' bathroom. Parents got word of the graffiti in e-mail and telephone messages later that day.

Sharon Raffer, a district spokeswoman, estimated roughly 260 students, or 20 percent of its 1,289 6th, 7th and 8th grade students, stayed home because of the threat. The number does not include additional absences due to illness.

... for rest of story, follow the link... > News > Metro -- Extra security, no incidents at Black Mountain Middle School