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Opinion: Early college high school programs in San Joaquin Valley a smart path to success

BY DON SHALVEY Published in the Modesto Bee JANUARY 16, 2021 11:11 AM As we near the end of one of the most challenging and unique periods of many of our lives, we must begin to push ourselves to envision a brighter future: to a set of post-Covid-19 innovations that might benefit our youth and the economy of our region. We must start by acknowledging the impact of this pandemic on every aspect of our lives. We have lost friends, family and loved ones. We have lost businesses and jobs. We must deal with a virus that has challenged us in every way. But there are signs of hope – with vaccines being administered as we speak – that sometime in 2021 and into 2022 we will emerge into the light at the end of a long tunnel. The question is what will the light reveal, and what can we do to shape that world with the work we do now? Does it look like what we were doing before this happened or can we create a better future – one more aware of our vulnerabilities, and better prepared to provide our young people with more meaningful career opportunities and a more durable future? At San Joaquin A+, we recently held a webinar with business leaders in our region titled “How to Build Ladders to [...]

2021-01-20T19:22:44+00:00January 20th, 2021|News, Opinion|

San Joaquin A+ Announces $650K in Planning Grants for Three New Early College High School Programs

Grant awards will fuel partnerships involving San Joaquin County Office of Education, San Joaquin Delta College, Stanislaus County Office of Education, Modesto Junior College, and Aspire Vanguard School San Joaquin A+ (SJA+) is announcing the award of three planning grants, totaling $650,000 to local partners with plans to start early college high school programs. The grantees include San Joaquin County Office of Education in a partnership with SJ Delta College for a school focused on teacher preparation; a partnership between Stanislaus County Office of Education and Modesto Junior College to start an agricultural-focused program; and Aspire Vanguard School and Modesto Junior College to plan an early college high school focused on health career pathways. The Early college high school model was established in 2002 in order to increase the opportunity for traditionally underrepresented youth to earn a postsecondary degree and/or credential by beginning their college credits while still in high school. The benefits are well-documented. “We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with this group of local leaders and respected institutions to support their exciting plans” shared Don Shalvey, CEO of San Joaquin A+. “It is critical that we align Stockton’s education programming with the good jobs that not only can serve as an anchor for our economy going forward, but also will provide meaningful work and a family sustaining income for young [...]

2021-01-18T15:50:08+00:00January 18th, 2021|Announcements, News|

San Joaquin A+ Brings Together Leaders to Discuss How to Create Better Economic Future for Region

“Building Ladders to Good Jobs” Panel Featured Leaders in Education, Agriculture, Healthcare, and Other Industries Crucial to San Joaquin County Economy Stockton, CA [12/16/20] - Recently, leaders from San Joaquin County’s university, business, healthcare, and agriculture communities joined Don Shalvey, Executive Director of San Joaquin A+, for a discussion about the future of the region’s economy. Panelists included Donald J. Wiley, President and CEO of Dignity Health St. Joseph's Medical Center; Jeff Manassero, Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Rivet School; Kevin Phillips, Vice President of Operations at Phillips Farms and Michael David Winery; Thomas Pogue of the University of the Pacific’s Center for Business and Policy Research; Jeff Michael, Executive Director of the University of Pacific’s Center for Business and Policy Research; and Jessica Kaczmarek, Senior Program Officer at the James Irvine Foundation. “We were grateful for the active participation of our panelists, and feel lucky to bring this great group of industry leaders together to discuss the future of San Joaquin County’s economy,” Don Shalvey said. “It’s critical that we align Stockton’s education programming with the good jobs that not only can serve as an anchor for our economy going forward, but also will provide meaningful work and a family sustaining income for young people growing up across our region.” The panelists discussed a new report by researchers at the University [...]

2020-12-18T17:00:25+00:00December 18th, 2020|A+ Speaker Series, News|

During Covid19 Every Teacher Is A “New” Teacher

A “new teacher” is defined in many ways. You can be “new” entirely to the profession, “new” to a school, network, or district, or “new” to an assignment. There are many firsts for a first-year teacher. Regardless of what kind of “new” you are, the work of a teacher is challenging, difficult and every other synonym you can imagine. I started my career as a middle school math and      science teacher in Merced. Like every other “new” teacher, my classroom and my students were both my professional and social life that first year. I planned all weekend long but that usually only got me as far as Tuesday. Then it was “night shift” for the rest of the week, only to be followed by another weekend of planning and learning. That’s what beginning teaching is like and it doesn’t change until year 3 or 4. But planning, learning, trying, failing, and trying again is what teachers do and it’s why the profession is such a noble and dignified one. It is “service over self” and the joy that comes from making a difference for young people and their futures. In today’s pandemic world, every teacher is a “new” teacher no matter how many years of experience or accolades are under their belt. The newness is in developing a fluency with distance learning, adjusting to interacting [...]

2020-10-16T21:37:16+00:00October 15th, 2020|Opinion|

3 Organizations Collaborate on Creating Hub for Community Nonprofits

See this story in the Stockton Record! STOCKTON – Three nonprofit organizations that serve various segments of San Joaquin County – charity, education and business – have co-located into a common headquarters and are collaborating to make space available as a hub and meeting place for other community-based nonprofits. Community Foundation of San Joaquin, San Joaquin A+ and the Business Council San Joaquin County are all operating out of offices at 6731 Herndon Place in northwest Stockton, west of Interstate 5 and north of West Benjamin Holt Drive. “We are excited about this partnership, because we believe we are a better philanthropic organization when we are engaged with organizations directly serving our community,” said Moses Zapien, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of San Joaquin. “With San Joaquin A+’s focus on working with local organizations to improve education, and the Business Council’s focus on supporting business and innovation, we believe this space will create organic collaborative opportunities that enhance philanthropic support and investments across our region,” Zapien said. The hub that the three organizations are creating will be available for use by other nonprofits to conduct meetings and strategic planning when restrictions for COVID-19 are removed. The organizations hope to create a place where professionals, philanthropy, community members and business leaders can come together for a “brighter future” in San Joaquin County. “I’m most [...]

2020-10-12T14:11:22+00:00October 12th, 2020|News|

CECILIA MENDEZ: Incumbent Board Member, Area 1

Current School Board Member Cecilia Mendez was raised in Southwest Stockton and is a native of Stockton USD Area 1. In 2016, she was elected to her first term as a member of the Stockton Board of Education, where she currently serves as the Board’s Clerk. Mendez is a community activist with almost 15 years of experience advocating for student and parent rights. She currently serves as a Trustee[1] and is a former President of Stockton District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC), where she has volunteered since 1996.[2] Mendez has shared three top priorities in her campaign this year[3]: Safety College and Career Readiness Student Achievement Mendez lives in Stockton and is mother to three children, two of whom have attended Stockton USD schools.   Sources: [1] “District English Learner Advisory Committee,” Stockton USD. [2] “Ceci Mendez,” LinkedIn. [3] Voters Edge Candidate Guide  

2020-10-12T13:59:50+00:00October 12th, 2020|Candidate Profiles|

LANGE LUNTAO: Incumbent Board Member, Area 4

Current SUSD Board Member, Executive Director of the Reinvent Stockton Foundation[1] Lange Luntao was born and raised in Stockton, where he graduated from Lincoln High School before attending Harvard University, graduating with honors and receiving a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to Malaysia. He returned to Stockton to begin his career in public service and become a third generation teacher, serving as field director for the Michael Tubbs for City Council campaign and teaching early college sociology and humanities at Aspire Langston Hughes Academy for four school years.[2] By day, Luntao works as the Executive Director of the Reinvent Stockton Foundation, a non-profit he co-founded with Mayor Michael Tubbs to create opportunity by investing in Stockton’s people and constructing a cradle-to-career continuum of support for Stockton’s children. Luntao is a founding member of the South Stockton Schools Initiative and serves on the boards of Little Manila Rising, Placeholder Arts Collective, Third City Coalition, and the Stockton Urban Revitalization Fellowship.[3] Since 2016, Luntao has served as the youngest person ever elected to the Stockton Unified School District Board of Trustees, and the first out gay man ever elected to office in San Joaquin County.[4] Luntao highlights four priorities the board has focused on during his tenure to build stronger, more equitable schools in the community:[5] College readiness - because every student deserves the chance to enter college prepared [...]

2020-10-15T01:51:32+00:00October 7th, 2020|Candidate Profiles|

VALENTINO SILVA: Board Candidate, Area 3

Special Education Technician, Community Activist[1] Valentino Silva was born and raised in Stockton,[2] growing up on the city’s east and south sides. He graduated from SUSD’s Health Careers Academy High School,[3] where he served as junior class president and ASB president. He is currently pursuing legal studies at Humphreys University.[4] By day, Silva is a special education technician. He is also an active community organizer: he serves as a current board member of Stockton Crime Stoppers and previously worked in the field for Susan Eggman’s state senate campaign and Jerry McNerney’s campaign for Congress. Silva says he is running to represent Trustee Area 3 because students deserve to be set up for success after they graduate, and he believes that this can be accomplished in part by supporting teachers and holding the district accountable. Silva has stated that, as a special education behavioral expert, he is able to see the impact of how education can transform lives.[5] Silva’s campaign has identified six issues as top priorities on his website:[6] Engage students and families in school and district decision making. Provide meaningful support to struggling school sites and escalate interventions if they do not improve. Invest in high-quality teacher residencies and other “grow-your” own models. Strengthen teacher monitoring and assistance to ensure every student has access to well prepared, appropriately placed, and effective teachers. Increase funding [...]

2020-10-07T16:01:05+00:00October 7th, 2020|Candidate Profiles|

VIOLA A. SHACKELFORD: Board Candidate, Area 1

Nutrition Educator, Edible Schoolyard Project Shackelford is a lifelong Stockton resident, a nutrition educator with the Edible Schoolyard Project, an in-home caregiver, and active local parent and grandparent. She completed high school later in life by obtaining her high school equivalency degree before earning an associates degree, a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and certificates in human service work and drug counseling. While going back to school, she volunteered with her church teaching bible study, and worked as a tutor with Stocktonians Taking a Stand to Neutralize Drugs (S.T.A.N.D.). In November 2020, she is running to represent Trustee Area 1 on Stockton USD’s Board of Trustees.  Shackelford has stated that completing her education in sociology and human services work in 2017 rejuvenated her interest in making sure students have access to a variety of opportunities and pathways to a great education. She believes that her life experiences give her an informed understanding of the unique needs facing Stockton’s Black, LatinX, and low-income youth, and says that she is running because she does not believe the district has made these underserved students enough of a priority. Shackelford has listed her top priorities on VotersEdge.org as working to make sure: Students are Prepared for College and Career (A-G for All) Students are Healthy and Safe in Our Schools Students are Lead by a Transparent and Accountable School Board [...]

2020-10-07T15:55:21+00:00October 7th, 2020|Candidate Profiles|

LAVICHIA JONES: Board Candidate, Area 3

Financial Coach & Community Activist[1] Lavichia Jones is a native of Stockton, where she attended Lincoln High School[2] and graduated from San Joaquin Delta Community College with a degree in business administration and management. Since 2014, she has worked at World Financial Group, where she is a full-service financial professional. Jones has 20 years of experience advocating for her community with multiple organizations, including her local PTSA, School Site Council, and Parent Advisory Committee. She has mentored and coached youth and has also worked with the Parent Leadership Training Institute. She says that this experience in support of the Stockton community has inspired her to empower her neighbors to use their voices to bring about universal change.[3] As a candidate for Trustee Area 3, Jones believes that Stockton needs to establish programs to adequately equip students to achieve their goals regardless of their background.  She says that her top priority as a new school board member will be to ensure the physical and emotional safety of students, teachers, and staff — whether it be safety from COVID-19, bullying, or abuse. Additional priorities that Jones has identified include:[4] Build trust and safety -- around students, staff, and parents. Establish programs -- on entrepreneurship, ethnic studies, home economics, and financial literacy. Ensure every child’s future -- which should not be defined by their parent’s race, zip code, [...]

2020-10-07T15:54:01+00:00October 7th, 2020|Candidate Profiles|
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