Education Briefs

Nation’s Report Card shows district’s test scores on the rise

Fourth and eighth-graders in the San Diego Unified School District continued to show learning growth in English and mathematics, according to the latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. NAEP is commonly referred to as the Nation’s Report Card.

The district’s scores put it in the top ranks of  20 other comparable large urban districts in the nation. Proficiency growth was 35 percent or higher in many areas since 2003, the district said. However, the achievement gap among ethnic and economic groups persisted. African-American students lost ground in some areas.

“There were gains in the number of students identified as proficient on these tough tests almost across the board for all ethnic and economic groups,” said Nellie Meyer, deputy superintendent for academics. “However, these tests show us that our concentration on African-American students with the achievement task force is the right place to focus our limited resources.”

For more information about the district’s test results, visit

School buses to “come clean” in 2014-2015

By the end of 2014-2015 school year, the San Diego Unified School District’s fleet of more than 500 buses will be powered by biodiesel to help reduce pollution and pollution-related diseases, such as asthma.

Trustee Kevin Beiser introduced the resolution to mandate the use of alternative fuel for the buses. “It’s our duty as trustees of the next generation to do everything we can to make their environment safe,” he said. “This step will not only make the environment better, we will be doing our part toward energy independence by using a renewable resource.”

The district has already cut pollution from its fleet by installing equipment to reduce particulates. The use of biodiesel, made from renewable sources, such as soybeans, will further cut pollution by lowering emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

Crawford High teacher wins another award

Within months of being named the 2011 San Diego Unified High School Teacher of the Year, Crawford High calculus teacher Jonathan Winn has won another award. In December, the district announced that Winn was honored by the Carlston Family Foundation as one of five 2011 Outstanding Teachers of America.

Winn teaches at Crawford’s School of Community Health and Medical Practices (CHAMPS). He was nominated for the award by former students who described him as having had a profound academic influence on their lives.

In a tribute to Mr. Winn, one student wrote, “He would take extra time to re-teach physics or geometry if we did not have the foundation. He helped us do things we never thought were possible. He was determined we would learn calculus. He pushed us because he believed in us.”

Inspired by Mr. Winn, the student took and passed the Advanced Placement calculus, AP history and psychology exams.

School volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed to serve as readers, tutors and mentors in the San Diego Unified School District.  United Way of San Diego County, in conjunction with the U-T San Diego, is working to recruit 10,000 school volunteers over the next three years.

To sign up as a school volunteer, go to