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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|

ALICIA RICO: Board Candidate, Area 3

Independent Businesswoman & Community Volunteer Alicia Rico has lived in Eastside Stockton for over 30 years[1] and is the mother of five children attending SUSD schools.[2] By day, she is an independent businesswoman whose work includes beauty and cosmetics consulting.[3] Rico has experience as a community volunteer and has served on School Site Councils and English Language Advisory Committees at three SUSD schools, holding positions as secretary, vice-president, and president. She has also served on the districtwide SUSD Parent Advisory Council and the District English Language Advisory Committee. Rico’s campaign to represent Trustee Area 3 is her second and follows an unsuccessful 2016 candidacy that included a push to improve campus safety and bring better opportunities for parents, students, teachers and district employees.[4] As a new school board member, Rico says she will be committed to ensuring student's academic, social, and emotional success by providing the resources needed to graduate high school and be college and career ready. She is focused on aligning school budgets to the success of all students by providing the necessary instruction, intervention, and support needed during and after school. Additional priorities that Rico has highlighted include: My focus is to assure that the school budget is aligned to the success of all students by providing the necessary instruction, intervention and support needed during and after school. I’m committed to working [...]

2020-10-07T15:53:27+00:00October 7th, 2020|Candidate Profiles|

GABRIEL CASILLAS: Board Candidate, Area 4

Parish Administrator & Youth Minister[1] Gabriel Casillas is a Stockton native and husband[2] who works as a parish administrator and youth minister at St. Bernadette’s Church.[3] In addition to his work with the Church, Casillas is active in Stockton charities and is a firm believer in serving others with zeal and compassion. Casillas says he is running to represent Trustee Area 4 because he believes the school board is divided and must reunify, work together, and place student needs first. He also believes that Stockton must do more to prepare and protect youth from the many challenges and negative influences of our current society. He believes public educational institutions are the cornerstones of society and have the ability to truly mold the future of communities.[4] Additional priorities that Casillas has identified include: Addressing obstacles students face outside the classroom -- including broken home environments, lack of basic resources, mental health issues, and influences that can lead to criminal behavior. Thinking beyond the academic -- to prepare students to be ethical, free thinking, happy, and healthy individuals. Leaving no students behind -- by providing outlets and resources to help all students who are struggling, and by not labeling students “troubled” or “bad.” Going beyond college preparation -- and preparing students to be successful in all aspects of life.   Sources:  [1] Photo Source: “Gabriel Casillas For [...]

2020-10-07T15:51:33+00:00October 7th, 2020|Candidate Profiles|

RAY C. ZULUETA, JR.: Board Candidate, Area 4

Education Support Services Entrepreneur Ray Zulueta, Jr., is a fourth generation Stocktonian, husband, and father of three.[1] Zulueta and his siblings each attended Nightingale Elementary, Hamilton Middle, and Franklin High School in Stockton, and both his mother and grandmother were employed by SUSD. Zulueta graduated from the University of the Pacific with a degree in communication and media studies in 2013. He proceeded to hold various jobs, including as a project coordinator with the NAACP,[2] that he says led him to realize his passion for education.[3] Today, he owns an educational support services business that serves the Stockton community. Zulueta has said that his experience meeting with administrators, teachers, parents, and students has revealed that members of the SUSD community do not feel heard or connected. As a new school board member representing Trustee Area 4, he promises to hear and connect the community. Additional priorities that Zulueta has highlighted include: Promoting technical education and craftsmanship in schools - by bringing back classes like woodshop, engineering and agriculture. Expanding resources to support the expression of cultural identity - by growing access to counselors, interventions, and spaces to allow students to express who they are. Community policing and outreach - that supports building positive relationships, without but does defunding the police. Restorative justice practices - to inform staff on culturally supportive best practices. Frequent sanitation of [...]

2020-10-07T15:49:56+00:00October 7th, 2020|Candidate Profiles|
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