In this eUpdate:
New SIATech Sites Welcome Students
Six new SIATech charter high school locations opened this Fall. The new SIATech campuses are in Arizona (Phoenix), Arkansas (Little Rock), California (Indio, Moreno Valley, and Perris), and Florida (Gainesville). Wow!
Welcome to all our new staff and students in those bright and shiny new classrooms!
All these sites are currently enrolling new students. Interested students should call their respective site or complete the Student Interest Form to learn more.
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Virtual HELPline: Have Questions? Get Answers.
by Nathan Kramer
Virtual HELPline is a brand new service offered to every SIATech and MYcroSchool student via their ANGEL home page. The service is brought to students by the SIATech Virtual Learning team.
If students cannot get help from their classroom teacher, for whatever reason, they can look for the big red HELP button! The button puts them just one click away from a real live instructor who can answer their questions in 15 minutes or less. Virtual HELPline doesn't require special hardware or software either!
Here are some examples of how students can use Virtual HELPline to:
- Work through a tricky math problem
- Ask a question about a new vocabulary word
- Brainstorm ideas for an essay
- Begin researching a science topic
- Receive help with tricky software (AutoCAD, Flash, Illustrator…)
Here are some clarifications about Virtual HELPline. HELPline is not a replacement for the classroom teacher. It is designed to augment the student experience in the classroom while integrating with existing classroom culture. Secondly, HELPline is not a tutoring service as students should expect interactions to last 15 minutes or less. Finally, HELPline is not a replacement for content mastery, and HELPline instructors never give answers to test questions.
For more information, contact Nathan Kramer, Lisa Nichols, Jennifer Noriega, or Kevin Pressley. See you in the HELPline!
Nathan Kramer is a virtual learning specialist for SIATech.
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SIATech San Diego Graduate Thriving
by Sara Lewis
Since enrolling at SIATech San Diego in May 2010, Kowser Elmi has gone on to accomplish many feats that she never expected were possible.
She came to SIATech knowing little English and did not know any students who spoke her native language, Somali. In less than two years, Kowser went on to make major gains in her English and Math skills pass her CAHSEE examinations, complete her Office Administration Trade, and graduate from SIATech San Diego Charter High School.
Kowser graduated with a Graduate of Excellence Award and a SIATech Scholarship. The Graduate of Excellence Award is a distinct honor that is granted to only one or two students every year who demonstrate an excellent academic record, leadership skills, and show immense academic growth in the areas of Math and English.
After graduating, Kowser enrolled at San Diego City College and received a 3.77 GPA in her first semester. She is currently in her fourth semester and has been given a prestigious honor. Kowser has been granted a membership to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at San Diego City College. This society is one of the oldest honor societies in the United States and it is required that each member has a minimum 3.5 GPA.
In addition to her stellar academic performance, Kowser has also worked full-time during her entire college career, often working five to six days a week.
Kowser is the first student in SIATech San Diego's history to be given this honor. She continues to be an inspiration to students and SIATech staff alike. She reminds us that we can accomplish anything that we set our mind too. She has made all of us realize that anything is possible if we are extremely determined and focused.
Sara Lewis is an instructor at SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center. She is also currently the acting principal of the campus.
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MYcroSchool Gainesville Off to a Great Year
by Randy Starling
MYcroSchool Gainesville is introducing a new reading program in an effort to improve student learning.
The program blends the Great Leaps approach with classroom-based learning facilitated by a staff member. Pictured above, MYcroSchool Gainesville staff watches a demonstration of the program.
Great Leaps develops and rapidly increases student fluency in reading. All staff and reading tutors from the University of Florida began the program October 1 in an effort to reach as many students as possible. Read more about the reading program.
Other recent MYcroSchool Gainesville News reports include:
Randy Starling is the principal for MYcroSchool Gainesville.
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SIATech Treasure Island Students
Tour of San Francisco Murals
by Kevin Jacks
Twenty students from SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps took a field trip to the Mission District of San Francisco to witness murals firsthand. The student field trip was chaperoned by Instructors Ms. Sanchez and Mr. Jacks.
The "La Precita Eyes Mural Walk" began with a 30-minute slideshow presentation about the history of murals, from ancient Egyptian times to current San Francisco muralists within the community.
After the presentation students were then led on a docent guided tour through the streets and alleys of the Mission District.
Jorge, our docent, explained the significance and meaning of various murals painted on garages, buildings, and homes within the community.
Murals reflected issues from Central American Civil Wars, Gentrification of Neighborhoods, AIDS Epidemic, Immigration Reform, Poverty and more.
If you ever find yourself in the Bay Area this can definitely be a great, inexpensive, and engaging addition to your travel itinerary!
Kevin Jacks is a social studies instructor at SIATech Treasure Island.
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Celebrating the Graduation of a Hard-Working SIATech Inland Empire Student
by Bill Moseley, Maria Montoya, and Deidra Bowen
On September 27, SIATech Inland Empire celebrated the graduation of our student Leonardo Perez.
Leo completed his SIATech classes only weeks before his two-year stay at Job Corps was to end, and many of the SIATech and Job Corps staff were very nervous about him completing in time.
Leo is an excellent example of how hard work, determination, and a wonderful learning environment can truly make miracles happen. Leo's father passed away when he was only five, and his mom left shortly after. He lived with grandparents until age of eight.
At the young age of eight, he left his grandparents because of abuse, and he went to work as a bagger at a market in Colombia. He also worked in restaurants cleaning. He lived on his own anywhere he could. He struggled to get by on help from friends and doing whatever other odd jobs he could get, but life was very difficult.
Leo had been trying to come to the United States since the age of 12. He finally got to Texas at 19. When he arrived in Texas, immigration put Leo in a shelter. He was given a social worker, who told him about Job Corps.
Leo does not remember going to school at all while in Colombia. When he came to the United States he didn't have any education until coming to Job Corps. When he arrived at the Inland Empire Job Corps Center, he barely spoke any English, and hadn't been in school since he was a very young child.
While at the center, he had to learn not only the curriculum and trade requirements, but also a whole new language and the ins and outs of how a school works. He approached these challenges with a smile and a great attitude, but his progress was initially very slow.
After a few months of struggles with Job Corps' rules and the SIATech and Plumbing trade's curriculum, he wasn't getting very far. Most of the staff thought that at best, he might complete if he could get an extension with Job Corps. However, an extension seemed unlikely for him because of his trouble adjusting to the more rigid and structured Job Corps environment. Remember, he was used to being on his own and doing whatever he wanted from early childhood.
At some point, Leo realized that he needed to get serious. He had always been a hard worker before Job Corps, and he put that same work ethic into practice here. He began to show up for classes an hour before school and stay an hour late every day. He took work to his dorm. He worked during his lunch time.
The SIATech staff worked with him to develop a plan to get him back on track, and he amazed us all. He began making good progress every week and this success built upon itself. His language skills developed more rapidly and allowed him to more easily access the curriculum.
Through all this hard work, Leo kept his positive attitude and smile. His achievements here at Job Corps and SIATech are nothing short of amazing given his background and the challenges he has faced. As he prepares to leave Job Corps, he hopes to enlist in the military. His perseverance, positive attitude, and strong work ethic have helped him to succeed where many others would have failed.
Bill Moseley, Maria Montoya, and Deidra Bowen are educators at SIATech Charter High School at Inland Empire Job Corps Center.
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SIATech Professional Development Leads New Staff Academy at Riverside Independent Study
by Lori Belzman
Nine new Independent Study teachers gathered for a week for New Staff Academy training. Staff members from Indio, Perris, and Moreno Valley were treated to five intense days of learning and training.
We began our adventure at Inland Empire Job Corps where we focused on SIATech's mission, vision, and values; curriculum; and technology training. Teachers trained and practiced SIATech's frequently used platforms: iLinc, ANGEL, and Helpdesk. The group also found time to do some teambuilding.
On Day 3, we traveled to the Indio site where teachers began training and discussion on IS regulations, transcript evaluation, and Report Writer. ResCare also presented to the staff and shared goals, values, and hopes for the partnership.
On Day 4, teachers met at the Perris site where they worked on PowerSchool, enrollment/withdrawal process, student attendance, graduation plans, and weekly tutoring schedules.
Teachers worked at their own respective sites on Day 5 to ready themselves, their classrooms, and materials for the first day of school.
Lori Belzman is a curriculum coordinator for SIATech.
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MYcroSchool Jacksonville Kicks Off 2013-2014
by Rachel Maldonado
MYcroSchool Jacksonville participated in the Carnival Festival on September 15, 2013.
The popular event was a great way to spread the word about our new charter high school that is serving students in the community.
Other recent MYcroSchool Jacksonville News reports include:
Rachel Maldonado is the principal for MYcroSchool Jacksonville.
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SIATech Los Angeles Student Shares Story of Returning to School at SIATech
by Jake Gordon
SIATech students' lives are rich tapestries of educational experiences. One student from SIATech Los Angeles, Joyce Marzan, recently shared her story with Principal Jake Gordon.
Some SIATech high school students immigrated to the United States as children. Joyce was born in the Philippines but came to the United States without her parents. She recalls, "My parents allowed me to go to the U.S. with my cousins. I was born in Manila and came to the U.S. when I was seven years old. I was the first of my brothers and sisters to come to the U.S. My parents eventually joined me in the U.S. about 6 months after I left the Philippines."
Joyce is a bright young woman with a number of talents. "I especially like creative writing and thinking. I also like learning languages and can speak Arabic and Korean. I picked them up when I arrived in the U.S. I didn't like school much before. Whatever I was producing in school wasn't enough and it wasn't good enough."
When asked why she came back to school, Joyce said, "I was sad that I missed my first graduation and my first option was to drop out of school, but my family would be disappointed and I didn't want to disappoint them. I came back to school to give it another shot. I went back to school for myself and for my family."
Joyce has taken ownership of her education at SIATech. She enjoys the relationships she has with her teachers. "I feel like they are mentors and guide you. They are different than my other teachers that I've had in the past. I feel like I'm more responsible for my work and they are there to guide me."
A talent for art is evident in Joyce's work and she transforms her surroundings into art. In one of her favorite works she is inspired by street art of a powerful leader from Myanmar (Burma).
"Everything that I see in my day to day life inspires me. One of my favorite pieces that I have created is my Aung San Suu Kyi portrait. She's a famous Burmese activist and I wanted to draw her because she fought for the rights of her people especially for women's rights. Highlighters, sharpies, and acrylic paint were what I used to make this piece.
"I never took any interest in activists, but then I saw a movie about her at my other high school it really inspired me and her story that she has. I listen to a lot of her speeches on YouTube. She's a very powerful activist."
After high school Joyce looks forward to continuing her education. "As far as goals when I graduate from high school I would like to enter film school and focus on that or graphic design."
We congratulate Joyce and her path to graduation and look forward to seeing more of her art in the future!
Jake Gordon is the principal of SIATech at Los Angeles Job Corps and of SIATech Pico-Union at Youth Policy Institute.
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Riverside Independent Study High Schools
Spread the Word
The staff from Riverside Independent Study High School sites of Indio, Moreno Valley, and Perris shared the news of their establishment as new local educational opportunities at recent events.
The school was at the Perris Valley 8th Annual Community Resource Fair on September 25. Pictured are SIATech staff members Kelly Heffern, Roger Reinecke, and Bobbie Arterberry.
The purpose of this fair was to showcase the non-profit organizations in the area. The turnout was amazing! Nearly 80 individuals signed up to let the school know that they were interested or they knew of a family member who might be interested in coming back to school. Even more exciting news was the request by eight different organizations for SIATech to present our program to their respective sites!
It was heartwarming for the staff to realize the tremendous need and hope from the community for these new high school locations in Riverside.
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Assembly Member Toni Atkins Visits
SIATech San Diego Job Corps
by Sara Lewis and Ernie Silva
On September 27, Assembly Majority Floor Leader Toni Atkins (AD 78) visited SIATech classrooms at the San Diego Job Corps Center in Imperial Beach.
Pictured from left to right are: SIATech Student Dove King, Director of External Affairs Ernie Silva, Assembly Member Atkins, SIATech Student Marquis Blue, Superintendent Linda Dawson, and California Director of Education Services Liz Hessom.
Assembly Member Atkins worked for Job Corps early in her career and is a passionate advocate for Job Corps and SIATech students. She was a co-author of AJR 13 which the State Legislature passed to call on Congress to end the Job Corps enrollment freeze and a co-author of SCR 50 which declared the week of August 6th as Dropout Recovery Week honoring the staff and students who reengage in high school.
Ms. Atkins toured the SIATech English, Math, Senior Projects and Social Studies classes. She talked with a number of students and our teachers about their school work and their future plans.
In Mr. Luke Sponsler's Social Studies class she enjoyed a great conversation with students about a range of issues including health care and affordable housing. In response to one question about the need for more affordable housing for SIATech students and their children, she described AB 1669, a bill which she authored that is awaiting action by Governor Brown. Her bill would make it easier for cities to implement affordable housing policies across California.
She spent an entire hour touring the classrooms and met with Job Corps' Business and Community Liaison Frank Buttino. She introduced the SIATech community to Rachel Gregg and encouraged SIATech students to keep her in the know on activities and future plans.
Assembly Member Atkins deserves our appreciation as an outstanding example of the commitment and public services provided by San Diego's legislative delegation.
Sara Lewis is a teacher and acting principal at SIATech San Diego. Ernie Silva is SIATech's director of external affairs.
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