In this eUpdate:
AdvancED Grants Full Accreditation to All SIATech Programs
by Linda Dawson
Congratulations are in order to all SIATech staff and stakeholders for the wildly successful AdvancED accreditation visit held in Oceanside at the corporate office May 23-25th! We received a full five year accreditation for our Corporate Office and ALL subsidiary programs affiliated with SIATech, Inc.
This accomplishment was a quintessential example of "all hands on deck" to produce the desired results. Now, all of our programs are accredited under one, national body (AdvancED) and its local affiliates (SACS, CASI, North Central).
One of the most prevalent themes that the team gleaned from their visit was the deep sense of vision and purpose and commitment to the mission of SIATech: “Real Learning for Real Life.” They remarked about the passion each stakeholder expressed for how important our work is and the difference we make in kids lives. They cited the “culture of collegiality” and the opportunities available for staff to reach their potential and beyond.
The accreditation was bestowed with high marks. SIATech received the highest award of "highly functional" for six of the seven standards. The remaining standard received the second highest standard. The chair of the accreditation team called this "extraordinary"!
I am so proud to be affiliated with this organization and the people that make it great. You all ROCK and our kids are the beneficiaries!
Dr. Linda Dawson is the Superintendent / Chief Education Officer for SIATech.
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SIATech Sites are Recognized for Meeting Organization Goals for Student Learning
by Pearl Mathieu
SIATech sites from coast-to-coast were recognized for their hard work to meet the SIATech-wide goals for student learning in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years. (Pictured are Director of Education Services Laurie Pianka and SIATech Sacramento Principal Jane Ross.)
This school year's first organizational goal was that 80% of Cohort Students will meet or exceed expected individual learning gains in literacy and numeracy. The sites worked hard all year to meet our organizational goals while focusing on our mission of Real Learning for Real Life.
Each Education Director awarded certificates to their sites to acknowledge site success:
- SIATech Phoenix - Increased graduates for the 2009-2010 school year.
- SIATech Tucson - Increased graduates for the 2009-2010 school year.
- SIATech Inland Empire - 100% participation rate in STAR Reading for all graduates for the 2010-2011 school year.
- SIATech Long Beach - 100% participation rate in STAR Reading and Math for all graduates for the 2009-2010 school year.
- SIATech Los Angeles - 100% participation rate in STAR Reading and Math for all graduates for the 2010-2011 school year.
- NEWCorp Sacramento - Increased Literacy rate 27.5% and Numeracy rate 23.7% for the 2010-2011 school year.
- SIATech Sacramento - 100% participation rate in STAR Reading and Math for all graduates for the 2010-2011 school year.
- SIATech San Diego - 100% participation rate in STAR Reading and Math for all graduates for the 2010-2011 school year.
- SIATech Treasure Island - Increased graduation rate for the 2009-2010 school year.
- SIATech Gainesville - Expanded outreach to an additional 10% of students in the Alachua County area.
- SIATech at Greater Miami Service Corps - Expanded outreach to an additional 10% of students in the Miami-Dade area and achieving 91% participation rate on the Gallup Poll.
- SIATech Homestead - Increased graduates by 10% for the 2009-2010 school year.
- SIATech Jacksonville - Increased graduates by 10% for the 2009-2010 school year and achieved the most improved participation rate on the Gallup Poll.
- SIATech Miami - 100% participation rate for all graduates and cohort students.
- SIATech Albuquerque - Increased graduation rate for the 2009-2010 school year.
- NEWCorp Albuquerque - Increased the Literacy rate and Numeracy rate for the 2010-2011 school year.
Pearl Mathieu is an administrative assistant for Teaching and Learning.
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Successes from SIATech Miami: Student Earns Perfect Score on FCAT and Teacher Larry Rivero Named Florida Stock Advisor of the Year!
by Marjorie Lopez
Congratulations to student Natalie Villa from SIATech Miami who scored a perfect "6" on the essay portion of the FCAT writing test. She joins an elite group of students to earn such a high score - only about 5% of students received a perfect score. Wow!
SIATech teacher Larry Rivero traveled to Orlando to attend the Florida Governor's Awards ceremony. At the event, Mr. Rivero was recognized as the Florida Stock Advisor of the Year by the Florida Council on Economic Education. Mr. Rivero commented, "It was truly a great experience. I would like to thank Ms. Bonnewell for taking the time out of her busy schedule to complete the application and nominate me...When I decided to do the stock market challenge with the students, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this would have come about through it."
Marjorie Lopez is the director of education services for Florida. Read more about Florida school happenings in the East Coast Times.
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SIATech Treasure Island Welcomes
California State Senator Loni Hancock
by Khristel Johnson
California State Senator Loni Hancock of the 9th Senate District visited the Treasure Island Job Corps site on Friday, May 20th.
Thanks to the efforts of Ernie Silva the visit was well organized and timely. The Senator announced upon her arrival that she would have to cut her hour long visit short, however she extended her stay to well over an hour and a half. During her visit the Senator meet with students, took questions, and visited classrooms, the TI Robotics lab, and the center's farm.
Senator Hancock was very impressed with the visit. She commended the wonderful work being done at SIATech as well as the Job Corps center in general. She welcomed the invitation for future visits and she informally accepted an invitation to attend our August graduation. Thanks to the TI and JC staff for doing an exceptional job everyday and certainly on May 20th. Special thanks to Ernie Silva for making it all possible.
In addition to the senator's visit, SIATech Treasure Island was recently visited by leaders from the Eureka Community Court School. After reading an article about SIATech in Leadership magazine, the team reached out to SIATech to learn more. Nine staff members were welcomed and provided with a tour, overview of the SIATech program, and a question / answer period.
Career Education Mangers, and SIATech's ELL coordinator, Gary Smith proved a comprehensive review of our partnership and our support for English Language Learners. The team seemed impressed and were very appreciative of the joint presentation by SIATech and Job Corps.
Khristel Johnson is the principal at SIATech Treasure Island in San Francisco.
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SIATech Los Angeles Students
Head to the California Science Center
by Janet Balekean
Students from SIATech's campus at the Los Angeles Job Corps Center recently visited the California Science Center. The museum offers fun and informative exhibits in interactive worlds. Students enjoyed hands-on experiences and experiments in the various galleries, and learned about human inventions and innovations, the life processes of living things, and more.
According to student Ivan Rivera Coronado: "The Discovery Science center was the greatest and most adventurous place I have been in. They had so many hands-on exhibits where kids can learn how things operate. The transportation exhibit had how solar power can move cars around, very interesting. The Ecosystem exhibit was so amazing. I got a chance to see a baby shrimp and observe their development as they grow."
Unlike many other museums, the Science Center encourages guests to touch just about everything and students are guided along to the massive space's various exhibits on topics ranging from cells to cars. Exhibits include, but are not limited to, students exploring real aerospace artifacts at the "Air and Space" exhibits as well as learn about cells to the entire human body.
As explained by Elida “Crystal” Sevilla: “The California Science Center was a great learning experience and an opportunity to really do hands-on activities that relate to real life. I learned that science is involved in everything and is around us all the time. I even was able to ride the bike on the tight rope and learn about center of gravity.”
Earlier this year, the museum opened a new exhibit called Ecosystems. The exhibit features a blend of live plants and animals, and hands-on science exhibits in 11 immersive environments. From walking through a living kelp forest to experimenting on a polar ice wall, explorers investigate some of the Earth's most fascinating ecosystems. Guests experience exciting and innovative exhibits, including a 188,000-gallon kelp tank populated with live kelp, fish and other marine life; a desert flash flood; and a special gallery dedicated to the urban ecology of Los Angeles. Ecosystems occupy 45,000 square feet and features nearly 400 species of plants and animals. The experience empowers explorers with the science knowledge to become better stewards of the environment.
Student Paula Diaz said, “The California Science Center was a great experience. I had a lot of fun learning about the small animals, the economy, the body and the ecosystems. Being at the museum was very educational and exciting. It is a great place to have fun and learn at the same time.”
Students also were part of a premier sneak preview of a new IMAX filmed entitled “The Golden Ages of Arabia” in which they learned about life in Saudi Arabia, education, way of life, politics and religion as well as the opening of the new Science and Technology University that opens opportunities for both Saudi’s as well as international folk.
Kayry Molina summed up the visit: “I really enjoyed going to the California Science Center. It was fun, we had a good time, and we were learning at the same time. I learned a lot about science. It was an interesting field trip and I would say that it is the most exciting field trip that I have gone on before.”
Janet Balekean is an instructor at SIATech Los Angeles. Learn more about SIATech Los Angeles.
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California Assembly Resolution for a Dropout Recovery Week
by Ernie Silva
Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter introduced the California Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR 57) that recognizes the importance of dropout recovery. The resolution declares June 6-12 as Dropout Recovery Week and states the Legislature's intent to encourage the support of dropout recovery high schools with creative teaching strategies, alternative assessments, and adequate resources.
On June 1, ACR 57 was brought up on the Assembly floor. Assembly Member Carter introduced the importance of dropout recovery: "This is a crisis and we need to begin a solution."
Numerous state representatives chimed in their perspectives on the impact of dropout recovery schools.
- Martin Garick (Vista) commended Vista's great job by authorizing SIATech, a charter school to serve dropouts, and that in over 10 years the charter has awarded more than 7,000 public high school diplomas to previously out-of-school youth.
- Roger Dickinson (Sacramento) commented that SIATech had a dropout recovery campus in South Sacramento with over 800 graduates. He mentioned that he'd had the opportunity to visit the school and witnessed an outstanding example of what dropout recovery could do.
- Warren Furutani (Long Beach) took the floor to share that he too had a SIATech at the Long Beach Job Corps Center. He commented that "just lamenting" about dropouts is not enough. He urged for many options to address these issues like his linked learning and Career Technical Education (CTE) bills.
- Luis Alejo (Watsonville) got up to talk about how the issue is most profound among African American and Latino youth. When he was at the Harvard Civil Rights Project, he worked on these issues as part of the "school to prisons pipeline" and that dropouts earn less and have less health care.
- Alyson Huber (El Dorado Hills) mentioned her former chairmanship of the Dropout Prevention Select Committee and asked for a unanimous vote.
- Sandre Swanson (Oakland) commented that this is a "front line issue" that requires more resources. He commented that if students are not funded in the education system, money will be spent on them in other systems.
- Julia Brownley (Santa Monica) concluded that dropout recovery is an important issue and "shines the light on the fact that dropouts can be successful" and that "some charter schools are doing enormously well at making at-risk youth successful."
Assembly Member Carter closed by asking for co-authors to ACR 57 and an astounding 72 members added their names to the resolution!
Next week from June 6-12 will be a great opportunity to recognize the importance of dropout recovery in California.
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SIATech Visits Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles
by Daniel Butler
On Monday, May 23, staff and students took a trip to Homeboy Industries. Homeboy Industries was started in 1992 by Father Greg Boyle. It includes a café, a printing business, a gift shop and a bakery all run by former gang members. Student Francisco Pulido was moved by the visit: "It was a very inspirational experience. It showed me there are people out there who want to help people in the neighborhood."
The SIATech students were given a tour of the full facility by an ex-gang member while he shared his story. SIATech student Kimberly “Cuppie” Torres commented, "I think it’s cool how they help keep gang members from going back to the streets. It was crazy to see so many gang members from different gangs working together in the same place."
There are many different support services offered in the building including: high school classes, tattoo removal, lawyer services, counseling, and many others. Beatriz Flores observed: “Homeboy Industries was great. It amazed me to see the many services they provide to help people get their lives back on track and make it right this time."
The feedback from the students was overwhelming positive. "I think Homeboy Industries was a great experience," commented Lisa Giron. "I like that they try to help gang members do good in life. Anyone can succeed in life even if they have screwed up in the past." Her classmate Anthony Smith admired Homeboy Industries for helping "gang bangers off the streets and into jobs and help. They give them a second chance."
On a separate day, May 18, forty SIATech Los Angeles students went to the Grammy Museum. The highlights of the visit ranged from the exhibits to the performance by the band Parachute. Student Graciela Rangel remembers, "When we got to see the band Parachute play live it was fun. To see a young group of guys develop into a successful band and see how they made it into the limelight was inspiring.”
Sandra Reyes Chavoya felt inspired by the visit: "Every time I go to the Grammy Museum I enjoy it so much, because I get to learn more about music. I got to know this new band called Parachute. These guys met in high school and from there they started their band. That made me think everyone can and should follow their dreams and never give up."
Daniel Butler is an instructor at SIATech Los Angeles.
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SIATech Miami Alum Wins 400-Meter in National Championship
by Catherine Bonnewell
SIATech Miami Gardens 2006 graduate Dredame Carter recently won a national title for the 400-meter dash at the 2011 NAIA Outdoor National Track and Field Championships! The contest was held at Indian Wesleyan University from May 26-29. Dredame Carter's time of 46.52 earned the SIATech alum status with All-American Honors. View story from The Sun Conference.
Dredame is currently a junior and has been recognized as the Track Athlete of the Week multiple times from Florida Memorial University. In the last East Coast Times, you can read more about the recent trip by SIATech Miami to the Florida Memorial University campus to learn about university life and the undergraduate degree program offerings at the Miami campus. View the university's website for more information.
It is always heartwarming to see our SIATech alumni succeed!
Catherine Bonnewell is the principal for SIATech at Miami Job Corps Center.
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SIATech San Diego Students Win College Scholarships
Four students from SIATech at San Diego Job Corps were recently awarded $1,000 scholarship from San Diego Scholarship Fund. They are: Jorge Suarez, Elijah Suh, Jose Mendoza, and Colt Carter. These students were selected out of a pool of 300 applicants. The scholarship committee visited the center and was impressed by the campus, the students, and the program overall.
This news was forwarded by Sally Klein, principal of SIATech San Diego.
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Welcome to SIATech's Alumni Intern: Adriana Madrigal Meneses
We are thrilled that a SIATech San Diego graduate, Adriana Madrigal Meneses, has joined our Alumni Outreach team. Here is an essay that she wrote which shares her story of transformation at SIATech:
Stories from successes like David Beckham, who was a high school dropout at 16 yet managed to played his first professional game when he was 18, or Sir John Major, who was a high school dropout at 16 yet went on to become a British Conservative politician and later Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, help us believe that a transformation from a high school dropout to a success is possible.
These celebrities not only went back to school and graduated, but continued on to pursue a college career. Even the most brilliant entrepreneur could have made a wrong decision when it came to their education. However, the important decision of transformation was made.
The same opportunity for a success story is given to any high school dropout who is willing to make his or her way to for a brighter future. In order to redirect one’s path, it is necessary to become aware and acknowledge in what direction we are heading and then head a different way.
A second opportunity to get back on track and finish up was given to me by SIATech Charter School and San Diego Job Corps Center. Competent teachers and caring staff assisted me in my very own individual high school study program. They helped me accomplish my life and educational transformation, and this made my entire life take a different direction.
I dropped out of school when I was a freshman in high school. I recall being scared and intimidated by the school curriculum. For some reason the expectations for students seemed a lot higher and too difficult for me to achieve. I was used to having one classroom and one teacher every school year. This structure facilitated my good grades all the way up until 8th grade; I feel it was due to fewer distractions and more individual attention given by the teachers. Once in high school and entering the into a new school structure with a different teacher for every subject really made me feel out of my comfort zone and really distracted me. My assignments were never completed by the due date, and every time the bell rang I was late. Soon they were sending home notes for my parents to read regarding my low grades and excessive tardiness. My parents could not understand what the problem was and instead of seeking for answers and obtaining the appropriate help, they accused me of being lazy and irresponsible.
At the beginning I made an effort to climb out of this awful situation with school and my parents. I made every effort to obtain better grades and positive school notes, but I just couldn’t understand and retain much of the lessons’ information. I recall asking a teacher for a one-on-one session and she suggested after school tutoring. Math tutoring was not the answer for my problems as I still could not completely comprehend and solve all the problems by myself. I was falling too behind and was not able to catch up with the rest of the class.
It seemed like projects and homework sheets were piling up for me, and tests’ 50% scores were not adding up to a passing grade. My father’s resolution for all of this was for me to become responsible and accountable. In his eyes I was just not trying enough. Finally I became rebellious to everything and everyone, my parents and the school system. I ran away from home countless times and problems in school continue to progress. I was discouraged and had a bad attitude. As a teenager, it’s so easy to become discourage by even the minimum failure. I needed major courage, motivation, and inspiration in order to regain my academic confidence.
After a school administrator reviewed my academic progress notes, my mother was called into the principals’ office who suggested I might be presenting symptoms of dyslexia. She recommended a school with smaller classes and self-paced achievement would perhaps work better for me, so she referred me to San Diego job corps. She stated it had a high school educational program that would help me get a high school diploma and empower me to become responsible and eventually a contributing member of society. My parents talk about the different trades and high school program they offer at the Job Corps center. They offer to take me to a center tour so I could make further enrollment arrangements. Students will typically be matched with a center located close to their hometown, and in my case, it was the San Diego center.
The time came for me to make a decision, one that would change my existence and transform me from the inside out. One thing was obvious to me I needed better education that would lead me to success and a better quality of life. During the tour they explained the benefits offered, In addition to the training and high school program, free housing, meals, basic health care, and a living allowance twice a month - all at no cost. It looked like a clean and safe, drug-free environment. So I decided to enroll and take advantage of the resources provided by this program. Guided by my intuition I began to ask all my friends to join me in this new journey, but there was only one out of the crowd who decided to take such step with me, her name was Brenda. Brenda and I did not have much to our name so we began selling homemade articles and chocolate candy door by door in our neighborhood in order to raise money. The days went by and I was excited to have a second opportunity for a fresh start.
Finally the day came to enter the center. It was as if I suddenly played a different role in my life, and my thinking just seemed to aim to a different direction and with different priorities. Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? To live in the city of San Diego was the dream of my life, the totally opposite of the desert where I had lived all my life. The dorms were decent and clean, and the cafeteria always smelled really good.
The staff was very nice, considerate, and polite. It seemed as if everyone was a counselor and their mission to make you stay and accomplish your goal. They always talked about a brighter and better future. Motivation was everywhere and slowly but surely I began to gain the academic confidence I once had, by learning to meet and accomplishing goals and deadlines. This was a very effective tool, that promoted prioritizing and motivation, bringing down thoughts of failure and making the unreachable possible. Setting realistic goals for each and every student was particularly encouraged by the high school staff; they had goals and deadlines written down in a binder for every student according to their academic and trade level. It was review biweekly, in order to catch any academic downfall a student might have. In order to overcome an area of difficulty a teacher would work with you individually and attentively until all requirements were achieve in such subject.
For some reason it seemed like they understood everyone’s different personal level and manage to work with each and every students individual work phase. Overtime we got to be familiar with each other and it felt to me like a second family. This was a family that believed and encouraged me to overcome many past failures, whether they were academic or personal. At the time my main focus was to obtain my high school diploma, to proof my parents and family I was not going to be what they had already level me to be the rest of my life (an insignificant person without a future). I attended every class period, and asked every question I had. At times I had major problems understanding the lessons taught. Sometimes other students would make comments of how dumb my questions could be, but I learn to overcome the fear of being rejected, scare or made fun of. I continue to move forward in every area and subject. The staff was always willing to give me the individual attention I needed.
One day while having lunch in the cafeteria, I was chatting with my friend Brenda and I was telling her about the hard time I had passing my math final exam. A guy offered to help me with a math practice test. That day I met the love of my life (Frankie) who offered to help me as he was good in math. He also offered to tutor me after school hours if I needed any additional help. That day we became high school sweethearts and wrote love letters to each other instead. He encouraged me every time I failed a test and reminded me of how important my education was to have a better future.
A year past by and I completed all my requirements for both trade and high school graduation. Finally there I was in my high school graduation ceremony! All my friends and family were there to cheer me with presents and flowers. But the best present of all was a promise/wedding ring from Frankie, a ring I still wear till this day 10 years later. While attending college we decided to get married. We now have three beautiful children and our own carwash business named “Inside Out.” We believe anything or anyone can be transformed and cleaned from the inside out, even cars. We also work and volunteer in to different charter schools with the intention to offer and encourage to others the same opportunity of a life transformation that we once received.
Look for more from Adriana in the coming months. You can connect with her and other alumni on the brand new SIATech Alumni Facebook page or through email at email@example.com!
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In Other SIATech News
Congratulations to SIATech San Diego Principal Sally Klein who qualified for and completed the prestigious Boston Marathon last month. Whether running miles or running a school site, there is simply no taming that woman's energy! Way to go, Sally!
The Greater Miami Society for Human Resource Management (GMSHRM) Workforce Readiness Committee partnered with the Homestead Job Corps Center to host a full-day workshop for graduating students on May 25, 2011. This was the second year that GMSHRM Workforce Readiness Committee partnered with the Homestead Job Corps Center to assist students with valuable tools necessary to become more marketable in their job search. As explained by Lesly Diaz, Homestead's Business and Community Liaison, "The skills taught in this seminar are invaluable to our students. Workshops such as 'dressing for success' and 'social media do’s and don’ts' are related to the success of our students out in the workplace. We begin teaching these concepts from the very beginning of their Job Corps training. When the students hear it again and again, especially from professionals in the community, it really sinks in."
US Attorney General Eric Holder visited the San Jose Job Corps Center on Friday, May 20. He was met by many leaders in the San Jose community, San Diego’s Center Director Bobby Brown (standing in for the San Jose CD while on vacation), and SIATech’s very own student Angel Miranda. Angel is one of our legislative interns at San Jose.
Angel was the only student Ambassador, only student Tour Guide, and the main student selected to talk to all media stations. Wow!
SIATech Class Tour: Angel explained to the United States Attorney General and guest that he was a graduate of SIATech High School at the San Jose Job Corps Center. While in the SIATech English class, Angel introduced the Attorney General and guest to our English teacher, Ms. Laura Van Swearingen. From there Ms. Laura explained the lesson for the day and the United States Attorney General asked students what they working on and interacted with the students.
Here are a couple of clips from the local TV coverage of the day: ABC and KTVU.
Great work to Angel and the many teachers who have helped mentor him into such a terrific student leader and ambassador!
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