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SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center
351 Avenue H                     
Bldg. 442, Treasure Island
San Francisco, CA 94130-1648
Tel: (415) 277-2371




Perhaps the first thing one notices when approaching the Treasure Island Job Corps Center is the magnificent view. Being situated in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, Treasure Island provides a sweeping panorama not only of the San Francisco skyline but also of the world famous Golden Gate Bridge.


Treasure Island Job Corps Center (TIJC) opened with a small culinary institute and initially included only a few hundred trainees. In 2000, TIJC expanded to include over 700 trainees and various trades including carpentry, electrical arts, cement masonry, accounting, word processing, security, information technology, computer repair, and child care.


One of the more unique trades at TIJC is the Advanced Culinary Institute. This continues to be the only advanced culinary training center in the Job Corps system and attracts trainees from around the country. The program’s trainees operate a “fine dining” restaurant that offers gourmet quality food at a minimal cost for all staff and trainees. Another unique program of TIJC is the networking program sponsored by CISCO. This offers comprehensive training in the maintenance of computers networks.


The unique location of TIJC also places it in a special position socially. Being situated between San Francisco and the East Bay, the center draws from a variety of communities. This gives the center a great diversity of trainees including African Americans, Latinos, Pacific islanders, and a large population of Asian immigrants who form a very important community of English language learners.


Overall, the staff and trainees of Treasure Island Job Corps Center look to the Golden Gate for our symbol: a bridge to the future. This is our motto and our ideal.


Success Stories


The Perfect Score!

by Kevin Jacks


Four students from the Treasure Island SIATech campus scored a Perfect 450 Score on their Math CAHSEE this past July! A BIG CONGRATS to Trainees Redwan Oussman, Temesgen Teklemariam, Kwok Wai Tsang, and Ming Lin. (pictured left to right)


The American Conservatory Theater Visits Treasure Island Staff and Students
by Khristel Johnson


SIATech and the Treasure Island Job Corps Academic team enjoyed Romeo and Juliet compliments of the American

Conservatory Theater's “Will on Wheels” traveling show.


The American Conservatory Theater (ACT) is a Tony award-winning Theater and training institution that has provided SIATech students with free shows in the past, however Friday March 7 was the first time they brought the show to us.


Thanks to the on-going efforts of ELA instructors Debra Lapidus, Donald Grose, and our students' exemplary behavior, ACT offered and we happily accepted an on-center production with the traveling cast for the play Romeo and Juliet.



The production was free and generated great responses from students and staff. In the words of an attending student: “Thank you very much for allowing me to experience this great play. I hope we have more of these!”



ACT is excited about working with our student population and developing future opportunities for our students.



Khristel Johnson is the principal of SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps in San Francisco.



Reading Initiative Takes Flight at
SIATech Treasure Island
by Mary Sanchez


The official grand opening of the new SIATech Treasure Island Library was on March 10. This has launched the beginning of our new reading initiative program!


Students were able to check out books for the first time. The library is organized by category so that students can easily find books that interest them and they can also find new genres that they may not normally read.


There is a wide variety to choose from. Whether students like magazines, horror, adventure or classic literature, there is something in the new library that will definitely spark their interest.





Principal Khristel Johnson praised the effort. "The library is part of the TI Reading Initiative to promote reading and increase literacy gains. Following student response to surveys and in recognition of our STAR growth needs, the entire staff embraced the concept and made it a reality."


The library is also full of teacher recommendations from all of the SIATech staff.


Pictured is the wall where teachers have written short descriptions of the books they think students would enjoy.


Students can check out books that their teachers recommended or even recommend a book of their own. Some of our popular books are already building up a waiting list!



Mary Sanchez is a special education teacher at SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center in San Francisco. Ms. Sanchez's leadership received numerous compliments from Principal Johnson. "Mary Sanchez spent countless hours organizing it over the past few weeks. She has done an outstanding job of moving an idea to a reality for our students."



Student Work to be Featured at 
San Francisco's Asian Art Museum

by Patricia Mott



A group of ten students fromSIATech Treasure Islandwere given the opportunity to do an art project for the Asian Art Museum.

Ms. Patricia Mott, the Resource Room teacher for SIATech Treasure Island, scheduled a free art teacher from the museum to come and offer the students the chance to be a part of a student art project.


The students were asked to create pop-up type books that detailed a memorable moment in their lives. With materials and guidance from an art teacher with the museum the students created creative and beautiful books. Each student did a great job on their project and was excited to be a part of this opportunity.


The student's work will be shown at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and students will be given free tickets to see their work on display! We look forward to sharing more information when the students go to the museum and see their projects.


Patricia Mott is the Special Education teacher for SIATech Treasure Island.



SIATech Treasure Island Fall Field Trips: 
Security Trade Students Visit San Quentin State Prison, Music-Oriented Students Visit Fantasy Studios, and Math/Science Students Hit the Exploratorium

by Kevin Jacks, Don Crouse, and Mike Hoey


SIATech students visited state prison San QuentinOn October 23, Job Corps and SIATech joined together and took 22 security cadets on a field-trip to San Quentin State Prison. San Quentin is located in Marin County and overlooks the San Francisco Bay. It is California's oldest prison and opened in 1852 due to the influx of people coming to California during the Gold Rush.



SIATech students listen to Lieutenance speak at San Quentin




The field trip consisted of a three-hour tour of the entire facility. Lieutenant Sam Robinson, San Quentin's Public Relations Officer, led the informative tour where cadets visited the medical facility, main yard, different tiers of cell blocks, furniture workplace, mess hall, and even California's controversial execution chamber.


Both male and female officers spoke to cadets about the various career opportunities within corrections. Students learned about both the qualifications needed and the pros and cons about working at San Quentin. Over 1,700 staff members are employed at San Quentin with an annual budget of $210 million a year.


Towards the end of tour, a group of inmates who are currently serving lengthy sentences had the opportunity to share their lives before prison and current prison lives. They talked about how the mistakes they made when they were younger took them straight behind the bars of San Quentin. Every inmate had different characteristics and personality, but what they all had in common is that they did not want anyone to repeat the same mistakes they had made before.


SIATech students saw the massive mess hall and murals at San QuentinThe students learned about some notable inmates at the prison. In 1951, inmate Alfredo Santos, also known as the "Diego Rivera of San Quentin," arrived at the prison and painted six murals, each measuring roughly 12 ft. high by 100 ft. long in the prison mess hall. Each mural reflects a populist vision of California History. After his release, Alfredo Santos became a well-known muralist in both New York and his hometown of San Diego. The murals are currently recognized by the Smithsonian.


One fact about San Quentin is that it is the only death row prison in California for male inmates, with over 700 people on death row. Like many prisons, San Quentin is overpopulated. The entire facility is designed to hold 3,082 inmates but currently has a population of 5,256. One participating student wrote, "I liked the tour, and loved learning all the history. I had NO IDEA how small the cells were, and it really does limit your freedom in your semi-personal living space. It made me appreciate my freedom more."


The field trip made a lasting impact on every student. One student commented on his experience on the field trip, "What impacted me the most on this field trip to San Quentin was to cherish my life to the fullest. I learned to always think before I act. Also to choose my friends and the crowd I'm around wisely. I think this trip was a great experience and it opened my mind a lot, about the choices I make every day."


Reflecting on the day, another student said, "I recommend Job Corps to go on this field trip for the future students. The entire experience is explicit and an eye opener. You get to see how you will end up if you choose the wrong path. In life I believe there is the right path or the wrong path. The wrong path leads you to three other roads, prison, the mental hospital, or the graveyard. This experience has made me realize a lot of things I haven't noticed before. I will forever remember this trip."


Kevin Jacks is the social studies teacher at SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center in San Francisco.


SIATech Treasure Island Students 
Take Tour of San Francisco Murals

by Kevin Jacks


SIATech Treasure Island students visit muralsTwenty 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.



SIATech Treasure Island students visit murals


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.






SIATech Treasure Island students visit murals


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.



SIATech Treasure Island Students 
Visit the DeYoung Museum
by Kevin Jacks


While traditional schools were on summer break, learning continues at SIATech which serves students year round. However it isn't all hard work, and additional opportunities supplement students' time in the classroom. In June, Mr. Jacks' SIATech Treasure Island Social Studies class and Mr. Chance's Job Corps Read 180 class took a field trip to the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco.


SIATech Treasure Island students visit San Francisco museum


The field trip focused on the Eye Level in Iraq Exhibit of Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson, two American-trained photo journalists who documented the impact and aftermath of the US-led allied invasion of Iraq in 2003.


The photographs displayed were during a two-year span that began in the months leading up to the allied invasion in spring 2003 and covers the emergence of the armed militias that challenged the allied forces and later the new central Iraqi government.


Students and staff enjoyed this opportunity to view and discuss the photos of the conflict.


Kevin Jacks is the social studies instructor at SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center.



SIATech Treasure Island Visits Terra Cotta Warriors
by Patricia Mott

Last month Mr. Jacks and Ms. Mott took 18 students to the Asian Art Museum in downtown San Francisco. Ms. Mott scheduled a free tour of the special Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit.


SIATech Treasure Island in San Francisco


SIATech Treasure Island in San FranciscoThe students received a docent led tour and explanation of the exhibit which included 2000 year old artifacts from the tomb of China's first emperor.

Some of the artifacts included life size terra cotta warriors that were hand built to protect the emperor in the afterlife.


Students and teachers enjoyed the hour long tour and hope to return for more free tours in the future.


Patricia Mott is a special education instructor at SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center in San Francisco.




Solar Cooker Heats Up at SIATech Treasure Island 
by Mike Hoey

A group of SIATech Treasure Island science students worked with the center's Facility Maintenance students to build a reflective parabolic solar cooker.


Facilities Maintenance trainee Doshea Price led the construction team. Under my direction the team built and tested the cooker for a demonstration on Earth Day.


SIATech Treasure Island works on science project solar cooker


We were all surprised when the thermometer reached a whopping 168 degrees Fahrenheit inside the glass-covered skillet!


In the spirit of Earth Day, repurposed materials were used, including an old umbrella and potato chip bags. This allowed the project to be folded up for easy storage and future use.


Special thanks go out to Khristel Johnson and Larry Hays, as well as all of the trainees who helped to build and set-up the cooker. Well done!


Here is a video of the project:


Mike Hoey is an instructor at SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center.



SIATech Treasure Island Students Visit 
San Francisco Chinatown
by Kevin Jacks and Chong Pang



SIATech Treasure Island students visit Chinese Historical Museum in Chinatown San FranciscoOn April 5, SIATech Treasure Island students went on a field trip to the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) Museum located in Chinatown, San Francisco. It was led by SIATech Instructors Kevin Jacks and Chong Pang who brought 17 students to the Chinese American Museum.


We were given a guided tour of the place. The tour was given in both Cantonese and English and led students through the beginnings of Chinese Immigration to America to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and to the modern day experience. The guides separated our group and Mr. Jacks led the English speaking group and Mr. Pang went with the Chinese speaking group.


SIATech Treasure Island students on field trip


Founded in 1963, CHSA is the oldest and largest organization in the country dedicated to the documentation, study, and presentation of Chinese American History.

Mr. Pang commented, "I was surprised to learn that the Chinese came here before the American Independence." They were enslaved by the Spanish in the Philippines to crew the ships that were sailing to the Americas.


SIATech Treasure Island students visit Chinese Historical Museum and view artifacts in Chinatown San FranciscoWe were shown a lot of artifacts that the early Chinese brought with them to the U.S. Many pictures and drawings showed Chinese building of railways, mining, fishing, and farming.


The early Chinese faced discrimination until the civil rights movement. Today, Chinese make up less than 1% of US population.


Kevin Jacks is a social studies teacher and Chong Pang is a math teacher at SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center.



SIATech Treasure Island Graduation Ceremony
by Khristel Johnson


SIATech Treasure Island student finds his seat at the school's graduationSIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps held their Winter Graduation last month to honor 35 young people who had earned their high school diplomas. Thanks to the generosity of San Francisco Wine and Catering, the evening ceremony was held in the historic Treasure Island Chapel.


A special staff presentation for each graduate honored their individual accomplishments and future prospects. Graduates shared memories of their experiences, thanked the staff for all the support, and joyfully recognized the support of family and friends.


SIATech Treasure Island graduates listen to regional director Brian Daher at the school's graduationTwo very talented future graduates read their own poems dedicated to the Winter graduating class. In addition, we were honored to have Department of Labor representatives Eric Gray and Regional Director Brian Daher(pictured) attend our ceremony.


Brian Daher spoke to the audience about the transformative power that comes from setting and achieving personal and professional goals. He congratulated students for staying the course and making Treasure Island the number one center in the nation.


SIATech Treasure Island graduates listen to Assemblymember Joan Buchanan at the school's graduationOur keynote speaker for the evening was California Assemblymember, Joan Buchanan, whose extensive experience in education, appreciation for "At Promise" students and passion for service was woven into her inspiring speech of student empowerment. Her consistent message of seeking and embracing opportunities for growth echoed our collective mission of individual success as life-long learners.


We thank Assemblymember Buchanan for her inspiring words, Brian Daher for his engaging speech, and the phenomenal SIATech staff and Treasure Island Job Corps team for making the 2013 Winter Graduation an evening to remember.


Khristel Johnson is principal of SIATech Treasure Island located in San Francisco on the Treasure Island Job Corps Center.



SIATech Treasure Island Field Trip
by Patricia Mott

SIATech Treasure Island students visit the theater


Students from SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center in San Francisco took a break from the classroom to go on a field trip. Escorted by Ms. Yvonne, Ms. Lapidus, and me, about 20 English students enjoyed the play Hamlet. The performance was at Cal Shakes Theater and was enjoyed by all.






Patricia Mott is the special education teacher at SIATech Treasure Island.


SIATech Treasure Island Gathers to Celebrate 2012
by Khristel Johnson

SIATech Treasure Island celebrates the end of 2012SIATech and Job Corps Treasure Island staff came together to celebrate with song and food at the end of the year. Hidden talents became public as staff shared the mike in some good old fashioned Karaoke fun. The Treasure Island staff celebrated the end of a wonderful year and the hope and possibilities of the new. From traditional holiday songs to strumming rhythms on the ukulele, fun was had by all.


Khristel Johnson is principal at SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center in San Francisco.



State Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Visits SIATech and Treasure Island Job Corps Center
by Ernie Silva


SIATech Treasure Island was visited by Assembly Member Buchannan, Debbie Look, and Delaine EastinCalifornia State Assembly Member Joan Buchannan visited SIATech at the Treasure Island Job Corps on October 16. Assembly Member Buchannan visited the Michele Obama Garden as well as Mr. Jacks' Social Studies class. The Assembly Member (pictured in middle) was accompanied by her Senior Field Representative Debbie Look (pictured on the left), SIATech Board Member Delaine Eastin (pictured on the right), and SIATech Principal Khristel Johnson.


Assembly Member Buchannan visited with students who had attended Senator Leno's Young Women’s Conference and heard about their experiences with community members who shared their stories about empowerment.


Assembly Member Buchannan walked through classrooms and talked freely with students. In the meetings with SIATech staff, she recognized that schools like SIATech which focus on reengaging students who have been frustrated by other schools, need greater flexibility and resources.


Assembly Member Buchannan told Ms. Johnson that her visit to Treasure Island was, "food for the soul." 


SIATech Treasure Island was visited by Assembly Member Buchannan who looked at students work at the dropout recovery high schoolAssembly Member Buchannan said, "I've always believed that one of the best features of public education in the United States is that we do not track students into careers at a young age based on their level of achievement or test scores.  We don't give up on our youth!  If they stumble, we give them a second chance. That philosophy is evident at SIATech. You help students who have had major obstacles in their lives learn and move forward.  Nothing is more important."


Ms. Buchanan sat down to talk with students. She stressed the importance of both quality education and job training to thrive in our modern society. She also spoke about the current California issues concerning lack of education funding from early childhood programs through college. SIATech students were able to ask an array of questions that ranged from her thoughts on school uniforms to current budget cuts.


SIATech Board Member Eastin said of the visit, "Joan Buchannan is a strong advocate for students. She is one of the most caring and independent voices for education in the State Legislature. It was critical for her to come out and visit with our staff and students. She now 'gets us' and will be a strong advocate for program and our students."


Assembly Member Buchannan was recently appointed as Chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee.  The Education Committee Chair is a much coveted appointment among legislators.  The Committee acts on legislation dealing with preschool to high school.  All of the legislation that SIATech addresses goes through that committee.  We are glad that someone as knowledgeable and passionate about education issues will lead the committee.


Ernie Silva is Director of External affairs at SIATech. Kevin Jacks, the social studies instructor at SIATech Treasure Island, also contributed.


SIATech Treasure Island Student's Gift for Prose
by Khristel Johnson

SIATech Treasure Island student Cassandra Woods poetryCassandra Woods joined Treasure Island Job Corps Center (San Francisco) in December 2011. She enjoys reading and is currently in Office Assistant trade. While she has variety of interests she is very passionate about writing poetry.


After reading some of her displayed work I spoke with Cassandra about her gift and how moved I was after reading her piece entitled, "Daddy's Little Girl."


Always pleasant and thoughtful in her communications, Cassandra cited therapeutic qualities that poetry writing has rendered over the past decade, stating that it became an effective vehicle of communication that helped her deal with her feelings of challenge and triumph.


Cassandra explained: "My parents separated when I was five and I had a lot of mixed feelings about it. Sometimes things take a toll on you and you aren't aware of it until later."


"Daddy's Little Girl" is a great example of her exceptional ability to paint a picture with words and ability to draw the reader into her experience. I applaud Cassandra for her talent and thank her for allowing me to share her work with a broader audience.


Daddy's Little Girl
by Cassandra Woods


Daddy's little girl,
The one who ran up to you when you got home from work or from spending all day outside working on cars,
my memory is blurry because I chose to remember the negatives about you and filled it with scars, but let me try to go back.

Daddy's little girl,
The one who loved you no matter what 
you did or how mad you got at us,
it was like your heart told my heart secrets and 
promises I could always trust.

Daddy's little girl,
Too young to understand your mind and thoughts,
but wise enough to know there were demons you had fought.

Running to my room after over-hearing 
an argument amongst two lovers,
praying to go "please Lord just let them start over."

Daddy's little girl,
Looking out the backseat window of mom's small white Nissan,
squished between clothes and thoughts of what had gone wrong.

Time passed; daddy's little girl became silent,
attitude like no other but a heart that was quiet.
Experiencing life, school, and boys,
looking to others to fill this void.

"How could you?!" I would cry every night before I went to sleep,
mad at you and God and the secrets you two seem to keep.

"Why me?" I was a good girl, I never meant for this,
but too young to understand the actions of grown folks business.

Single mother raising two girls was the rest of my memories,
you didn't come back until my heart made you an enemy.

Daddy's little girl hated you and was filled with so much pain,
told myself my love and trust you would never regain.

The older I got the more I understood,
but was torn between daddy's little girl and 
the man who was no good.

Swear I forgive you, but my past won't let me start over,
it's like my heart is saying go but my mind won't get closer.

Don't make up for lost time or tears I have cried,
cause daddy's little girl prayed, fought and survived.


Khristel Johnson is the principal of SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center.




SIATech Treasure Island Students Visit 
Federal Reserve Bank
by Kevin Jacks


On Wednesday June 6, SIATech Treasure Island students took a field trip to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  The guided tour focused on the role of the Fed, micro and macro economics, and most importantly, personal finance.  Students were even able to watch the Fed in action and tour the vaults where millions of dollars were being counted!




Back: Ty Mayes, Alexander Pavon, Markkeys Jefferson, Justin Villers
2nd Row: Amber Smith, Guillermo Montes, Tyreisha Robinson, Magadalena Calixto, Jose Martinez
Front: Hana Girmay


Kevin Jacks is the Social Studies Instructor at SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center in San Francisco.




Congratulations to the SIATech VEX Robotics team! The team received a special invitation to the VEX World Championships which will be held in Anaheim, California, later this month.


Below is a video on SIATech Robotics that highlights how the program helps students in their regular coursework:





Hands-On Learning + Community Service:
San Jose and Treasure Island Science Teams Restore Wetlands

by Natasha Loveless


Hana Girmay is a student participating in the Palo Alto Baylands cleanup as part of a SIATech field tripOn Feb 28, 2012, SIATech Science Teachers Matt Hesby from SIATech at San Jose Job Corps and Natasha Loveless from SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps in San Francisco went on a field trip to the Palo Alto Baylands. The Palo Alto Baylands are a salt water wetlands area. The field trip included 20 of the science teachers' students. Pictured above, SIATech student Hana Girmay gets her hands dirty as part of the restoration project.


The group spent time learning about plant and animal diversity. They also discussed the impact of wetlands on the Bay Area and how they had been destroyed and are now being re-grown. After a very interesting and extensive lesson the teachers and students spent some hands-on time helping to restore the wetlands.


To start off the day, two Save the San Francisco Bay staff members, Jack and Crescent, began with an activity of identifying characteristics of plants and coming up with unique names. They then explained binomial nomenclature to our students (part of the unit 3 Ecology curriculum) and explained the importance of the different plants they held. They then explained what a wetland is, why they are important, and the history of the wetlands.


These specific wetlands had at one time been dredged and turned into a harbor for a yacht club. We also learned about the Clapper Rail, which is an endangered bird (only 700 are alive in the world, all in California, and 20 of those in the Palo Alto Baylands).


Justin Villers is a student participating in the Palo Alto Baylands cleanup as part of a SIATech field tripThe students were then taught how to plant seedlings and were given time to plant. Pictured at right, Justin Villers uses the pickaxe to prepare the soil. Each student planted between four and six seedlings. All together with three SIATech staff members and 20 SIATech students we were able to plant over 100 seedlings in our designated wetland restoration spot!


Once finished, we ate lunch. Afterwards, Jack and Crescent spoke to the students more about the impact of the work that the students did and why it was important.


We then went on a short hike to see the bay itself and the students spent time drawing something they found interesting or writing down thoughts and facts that they learned. It was an enriching and memorable day for all!


Natasha Loveless is a science teacher at SIATech Treasure Island.



Oakland Technology Exchange Donates Computers to SIATech Treasure Island Graduates
by Khristel Johnson


The Oakland Technology Exchange (OTX) made a generous donation to SIATech graduates. The Treasure Island team did an annual community service project at OTX and one of the supervising OTX staff volunteered at our VEX Robotics competition last month.


Effective February 9, 2012, OTX has agreed to provide every graduate with a refurbished computer in exchange for 20 service hours (they generally require 40 hours).  Each graduate received a certificate at the February graduation that they can present to OTX. A representative from OTX was present at the graduation and made this announcement to the students at the conclusion of the ceremony. 


SIATech is working with the Treasure Island Job Corps Center to organize transportation to and from the Oakland site to ensure the graduates can complete their 20 hours needed to receive a computer.  Each student is given the opportunity to upgrade their computer if they volunteer more hours.  The center's Work-Based Learning team is also working to establish some training for Electrical and OA students.


Thank you to OTX Director/Founder Bruce Buckelow and Supervisor Domingo Vasquez for their outrageous support for SIATech and TIJC in general.


Khristel Johnson is the principal at SIATech Treasure Island.



Assembly Member Susan Bonilla and Delaine Eastin Visit SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps in San Francisco Bay Area
by Khristel Johnson

On December 2, California State Assemblymember Susan Bonilla and former California State Superintendant of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin visited Treasure Island Job Corps.


These dignitaries are shown below with Mr. Jacks' Social Studies class (On the far right are Mr. Jacks and Delaine Eastin, and Susan Bonilla is pictured seventh from the right.)


SIATech Treasure Island Social Studies class visited by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla and former CA Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin

The visit began with a student panel that shared their personal stories of challenge and triumph with Mrs. Eastin and Assemblymember Bonilla, followed by a tour of the SIATech labs, VEX Robotics classroom, and the Michelle Obama farm.


SIATech Treasure Island Senior Projects class was visited by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla and former CA Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine EastinThe measure of effective instruction is evident when students can independently demonstrate understanding and mastery of subject matter content in real world context. Such was the case when the Assemblymember and Mrs. Eastin responded to student-generated questions around current and relevant social issues while visiting Mr. Jacks' Social Studies class. The dialogue generated high interest among students and a comprehensive review by our visitors.


Next stop on the Treasure Island tour was our Senior Projects class where Mrs. Shcherbataya invited Assemblymember Bonilla and Mrs. Eastin to talk with students working on various elements of their Senior Projects project. While the visit was intended to be a brief stop, it lasted nearly 20 minutes.



SIATech Treasure Island VEX Robotics lab was visited by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla and former CA Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine EastinTreasure Island Job Corps' Electrical Instructor Bob Christensen gathered the Treasure Island VEX Robotics team members to the Robotics room where Assemblymember Bonilla and Ms. Eastin watched as students demonstrated and explained the objectives of this year's VEX competition.




SIATech Treasure Island Michelle Obama farm was visited by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla and former CA Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine EastinOur last stop on the tour included a visit to the Michelle Obama farm. Program Director Corey Block and a Culinary Student led the tour while providing valuable information about the farm and the different trades involved in the construction, maintenance, and harvesting of vegetables as well as the newly added chicken nursery.


The 90-minute comprehensive center and SIATech school tour provided Assemblymember Bonilla and Mrs. Eastin an opportunity to meet with our exceptional students, visit our phenomenal labs, see our VEX Robot in action, and tour the acclaimed farm. We are grateful to provide them with a flavor of the wonderfully exciting things happening here at SIATech and the Treasure Island Job Corps Center.


Khristel Johnson is the principal for SIATech Treasure Island.


Treasure Island will host the Treasure Island Bay Area VEX Robotics Competition - Event Link - on January 28, 2012 from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public. To learn more about the SIATech Robotics program, view a video here. For additional information and details, email



SIATech Treasure Island Students Motivated by Young Women's Conference
by Natasha Loveless


SIATech Treasure Island students attend womens conference in San FranciscoOn October 14, 2011, four SIATech Treasure Island women, Helena Gagnon, Therese Gallegos, Mia Howard, and Kaila Homolka (pictured with Senator Mark Leno), attended the 8th Annual Young Women’s Conference in San Francisco. This year’s theme, “Own it – Your Body, Mind and Life,” framed the many workshops and presentations given throughout the day.


After the welcome by Senator Mark Leno, the first presentation of the day was a performance by the Medea Project. The group performed short skits about decision making, overcoming obstacles, and women taking charge of their lives. They reminded everyone in the audience through their performance that we are all affected by HIV in the community even if we are not infected with HIV, and it’s never too late to get your life together.


SIATech Treasure Island students attend womens conference in San FranciscoAfter the group presentation, our students were invited to join a variety of workshops to address various issues affecting many young women in our city. Each student was able to attend two workshops of their choosing and had many interesting things to share with me by the end of the day.


Helena "felt everyone could relate and have sympathy and empathy for the women in the Medea Project. It was well put together and interesting to watch." Helena also felt comfortable sharing in the workshops with the students from schools all over San Francisco and Marin because they all had so much in common. She didn't realize how many young women felt the way she did when she was in traditional high school.


Kaila also mentioned the time she spent in the workshops helped her realize just how many of her peers were sharing similar feelings and experiences. In an activity called "step up" the facilitator read a series of statements and the women in the workshop stood up if they have had that experience or experienced those feelings in their lives. Then they would sit back down for the next statement to be read. It helped her see that not only was she not alone in many experiences, but that she was in good company.


SIATech Treasure Island students attend womens conference in San FranciscoKaila felt, "All young women should be able to attend a conference like that. Everyone should learn about empowering themselves and about the emotional support that is available to them."


Kaila also mentioned that the presenters shared a more balanced view of sex and relationships and not just the negatives that most high schools use as a focus. This helped her see that there are adults out there that were available to encourage women to make informed, safe, mature decisions.


Although the day was short, all four of our young women felt this was an interesting, challenging, and worthwhile activity for women their age. Hopefully this will be a workshop that SIATech attends for many years to come.


Special thanks to Senator Mark Leno and his office, both for the invitation and for putting on this amazing event!




Department of Labor and other Leaders Visit Treasure Island Job Corps Center
by Khristel Johnson

On Friday, August 26, the Treasure Island Job Corps Center in San Francisco hosted a team of more than 90 visitors on center.  Representatives from various businesses came to the Island to learn more about the success of the program and tour the campus.


In addition to the business representatives, the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training at Department of LaborJane Oates visited the center. Regional Director Brian Daher and the center's management team were also present. The visiting team led by Mrs. Oates stopped in to chat with SIATech students in Mr. Jacks Social Studies class.  What was intended to be a quick walk through ended up being about a 20-minute sit down discussion with students. 


Treasure Island Job Corps Center welcomes Jane Oates, Brian Daher, and others to the SIATech social studies classroomPictured from left to right:Christian Lopez, Jahant Boykin, Isaac Hicks,Reynaldo Flores, Kevin Jacks, Jane Oates, Trevor Ketner, Brian Daher, andKhristel Johnson. Photo by Michael Hoey.


Mrs. Oates shared with great enthusiasm her past experiences as a teacher and her appreciation of the educational process.  Mrs. Oates made real life connections to curriculum and daily life and responsibilities as citizens to take an active role and interest in our government. 


Some main points that were shared in the discussion included:

  • She is in meetings with President Obama 2-3 times a month.
  • Senator Ted Kennedy was her mentor and encouraged her to reach beyond teaching into administration and government service.
  • She encouraged all students to find a mentor whether at the Center or beyond.
  • She encouraged students to register to vote and was please to hear that there is a voter registration project on site.

We also had a tour of the Michelle Obama gardens on site which was lead by urban farm coordinator Corey Block.  Corey shared that the gardens won the Mayor’s Best Green Community Project award.  She also explained that in addition to having students from a variety of trades develop the project, there were also students from the Sacramento Center driving tractors and helping with infrastructure development.


The Treasure Island tour also included a visit to the trade areas, dorm, gym, and other SIATech classrooms. The visitors expressed appreciation for the SIATech charter high school and the great work that is being done every day for our students.


SIATech Treasure Island graduation photo, August 4, 2011:SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Center graduates pose in in front of San Francisco skyline




SIATech at Treasure Island Job Corps Students Win VEX Robotics Programming Award
by Angelo Williams


This article is adapted from the Treasure Trove Newsletter created and distributed by the Treasure Island Job Corps Center.


SIATech Treasure Island students competed in Vex Robotics in AlbuquerqueMy name is Angelo Williams, and I am the Treasure Island Job Corps (TIJCC) Student Government Association President and a member of the SIATech Robotics Club.


As a student at SIATech, I found out about the Robotics Club through various staff and the interesting looking robots on display which captured my attention. I always thought the Robotics Club would be something exciting to try. When I got into senior projects I was able to join the team and I’m glad I did! We’ve been working hands-on with the robots - building, fixing, and programming them - and it’s been a blast!


Last weekend the robotics team, comprised of Electrical Instructor Bob Christiansen, Senior Projects Instructor Mila Shcherbataya, fellow trainees Anthony Barnhouse, Catya Padilla, and I, journeyed to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a Vex Robotics Competition.


Vex Robotics is a brand of robots, parts, and tools. The Vex Competition is specifically for robots made from Vex parts. It consists of six teams (or schools) that must build robots to either climb a ladder or pick up rings and put them on posts. For every ring the robot accurately inserts on posts, a team obtains points. Teams also gain points by automating their robots to climb to certain heights on the ladder. The team who accrues the most points wins!


It was amazing when the TIJCC Robotics Team, along with several different schools, made it into the finals rounds. Our team ended up winning the Programmer’s Award because we had the only robot that was pre-programmed to run on its own without human control!!! That was an exciting moment and really reinforced the good work of the club and validated the training we received from the staff instructors. We were so proud!


We had a blast in New Mexico; the people, atmosphere, and the food were great! Participating in the Robotics Club and ultimately attending the Vex Competition was amazing and I would definitely recommend joining the team to anyone with an interest in the sciences, gadgets and automating things to work!


Angelo Williams is a student at SIATech Treasure Island. Learn more about the June 11 VEX Robotics tournament in this slide show.



SIATech Treasure Island Welcomes
California State Senator Loni Hancock
by Khristel Johnson

SIATech Treasure Island in San Francisco is visited by Loni Hancock to meet with students at SIATech and Job Corps.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.



SIATech Treasure Island in San Francisco is visited by Loni Hancock to meet with students at SIATech and Job Corps. 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 Managers, and SIATech's ELL coordinator, Gary Smith, provided 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.



An Evening to Remember
by Khristel Johnson

A SIATech graduate walks to receive her diploma.On Thursday, February 3, SIATech at Treasure Island held our 2011 winter graduation.  The evening ceremony was held at the historic Treasure Island Chapel at 51 California Street.  Thanks to the generosity of San Francisco Catering and Winery we were given access to the facility free of charge for nearly two days. (Pictured: TaShante Johnson walks with her fellow graduates to the stage to receive her high school diploma.)



A SIATech graduate at the graduation ceremony.The intimate environment complimented our personalized evening program which included a PowerPoint presentation celebrating the individual successes of every graduate.  Students made personal statements about their challenges and successes and the SIATech staff provided reflective comments on the accomplishments and well wishes for each graduate. (Pictured: A smiling Alexis Anderson enjoys her graduation day.)


Guests were welcomed in five different languages followed by three student speakers who shared moving stories about the power of self-determination and perseverance. 


California State Senator Mark Leno gives the commencement address at the SIATech graduation.In addition to the outstanding student presentations, California State Senator Mark Leno joined our celebration and spoke of the significance and relevance of attaining a high school diploma with future success.  He praised students for overcoming obstacles and staying the course.


California State Senator Mark Leno congratulates a SIATech graduateSenator Leno's celebratory words were followed with a personalized letter to each graduate extending an invitation for future communications with him and his office as they travel down their individual paths. (Pictured: Senator Leno congratulates one of the SIATech student speakers, Eber Quintanilla.)


The historic location, personalized messages, student stories and phenomenal guest speaker truly made this an evening to remember and one that will guide us as we plan for future graduations. 



Applied Academics at Treasure Island
by Khristel Johnson

Treasure Island partners between SIATech and Job CorpsOver the last few months, SIATech Treasure Island in San Francisco has worked to improve the partnership between SIATech instructors and the Job Corps instructional staff. The following describes the meetings that have been held in an effort to increase collaboration on the center.


SIATech Treasure Island staffOn June 26, 2010, Treasure Island Job Corps Construction Technical Training instructors met with several SIATech staff to discuss Applied Academics.  Senior Projects instructor, Kristine Giamona and Math instructor Delano Spicer led the presentation and discussion with a PowerPoint presentation using examples of students' work in AutoCAD.  The presentation was followed by hands on demonstration in one of our Science labs.  ITA Travis Johns helped to facilitate the hands on demonstration along with Ms. Giamona and Mr. Spicer. Job Corps staff expressed a desire to learn more about AutoCAD and was interested in a Trade/Academics instructor exchange day in the future.


SIATech Treasure Island staff meets with Job Corps staffOn July 16, Treasure Island Career Technical Training Instructors and SIATech staff participated in a joint meeting and discussion about shared areas of academic need and support. SIATech staff provided a summary of a recent TAR review they conducted which identified common areas of academic focus. Career Education Manager, Roanne Francisco gave a general overview of life of a trainee from day 1 to completion. The ½ day meeting proved an open forum of discussion and clarification of our common ground focus and needed skill sets to help prepare our "At-Promise" students for success.    


These meetings followed one-on-one surveys conducted by SIATech staff with all JC instructors in early May.  Our primary goal was to engage in discussion and assess how we could maximize support for our Job Corps partners in an effort to create a more seamless partnership. The initial and aforementioned efforts have proven to be very positive and productive in meeting this goal.


Our on-going communication and efforts to make Applied Academics a daily reference will help to facilitate a center wide culture that reflects the SIATech core value of Real Learning for Real Life.



SIATech Students Learn Value of Mentorship by Being Mentors
Treasure Island Students Speak to Students At-Risk of Dropping Out
by Molly Gerber


SIATech Treasure Island Students speak out to students at-risk of dropping out.Treasure Island SIATech developed a new program with a former SIATech teacher, Lisa Frecerro.  Ms. Frecerro now works at a different Bay Area charter school and noticed a group of younger students (9th and 10th graders) who seemed to be making very poor academic decisions (poor attendance, incomplete work, defiant behavior, etc.).  She saw potential in involving some of our more mature SIATech students as mentors for her group students.  The idea evolved from a semester-long, cross-curricular theme at their school: Cause and Effect.


We met with our students several times and on March 18, we traveled to Metropolitan Arts and Technology High School in San Francisco.  There, our students split into groups to address four different advisory classes.  They began by giving a personal testament revealing poor decisions in the past (causes), the results and consequences of these decisions (effects), and the hard work and effort needed to overcome obstacles, persevere, and succeed.  Next, they were given time to answer students’ questions.  In follow-up activities, the students at both schools used critical thinking and writing skills through analysis of their own lives.

In a luncheon the following week, we celebrated our students’ struggles through difficult situations, and the personal and socially responsible decision to return to school and become a contributing member of society.  Students reported they felt empowered by the chance to make previous mistakes or obstacles a lesson learned and their efforts a positive example and inspiration to others.  They were happy to have the opportunity to give back to their community and show social responsibility through service learning.

SIATech staff members, Molly Gerber, Brian Sweeney, and Georgina Bowers worked in concert with Job Corps counselor Naya Gordon to make this possible.  The following students participated: Ayana Allen, Meaa  Burton, Lavada Coon, Lisa Frazier, Ashley Morris, Carmina Whitmore, and Morganne Williams.


Thank you to SIATech Treasure Island English Instructional / Technical Assistant Molly Gerber for submitting this story.



Robotics Teams Shatter Stereotypes
Season Off to a Winning Start

The SIATech Robotics program is in its fifth year and continues to make waves in the Robotics world and beyond. Spectators are surprised to learn that our students were previously struggling students who did not experience success in Jacksonville SIATech at Jacksonville Job Corps Center Participate in Relief Effort to Haiti the traditional high school classroom. At the past two tournaments, SIATech teams have walked away with the Gracious Professionalism Award, a Judges Award, and a Regional Finalist award.

Why the SIATech Robotics program so significant: (1) Approximately 42% of the participating students are English language learners or bilingual. (2) Mentors are instrumental in the technical leadership as well as being a caring adult in the lives of these students. (3) Despite teams comprised on 99% previous dropouts, more than 90% of SIATech Robotics participants graduate from high school. And 40% of past team members have gone on to college. (4) Public-private partnership: The exceptional transformation of the students is a result of the collaborative hard work of SIATech, mentors from the classroom and community, and partners at Job Corps.

The engineers and teachers that mentor the students in the SIATech Robotics programs always knew these students were smart and capable. Thanks to their participation in SIATech Robotics, the students now know it, too.  

About the 2009-2010 Season
The San Jose and San Francisco (Treasure Island) teams traveled to the Silicon Valley Regional on March 19-20 to compete with more than 50 teams, some of which were from the top schools in the country. Both teams had an exciting and enriching tournament. And, the San Jose Team 1834 won the Judges Award!

Each team learned a great deal at this competition. For example, the ranking system is different this year and teams are awarded extra points called “coopertition” points during the qualifying matches. This system of “coopertition” was devised to promote cooperation between the opposing teams and not just between the alliance mates. Based on a complicated logarithm, teams earn points for helping opponents in the other alliance score points if the score starts to become too lopsided.  This was not an easy lesson to learn. SIATech Area 1 Director of Education Laurie Pianka wrote, “For our competitive group of students who like to score points and enjoy a strong defense which they interpret as their opponents having zero points, there was a learning curve before we all got it. (This was hard for the mentors too!)”

Each year, everything is new: a new Robotics game and often for an open entry / open exit program like SIATech, new student participants. SIATech Treasure Island Principal Khristel Johnson commented, “The Treasure Island Pirates managed to hold 12th place at the end of the first day of competition and concluded in 27th place out of 50 other competitors.  What makes our ranking most impressive is the fact that we entered our third competition like every year, with all new students and a new lead mentor.  To assemble and competitively engage with these unique challenges makes our students winners in the true sense of the FIRST mission.  We are thankful for the opportunity and appreciative that our students will carry this empowering experience with them long after FIRST season has ended.”

The San Jose Team 1834 was awarded the Judges’ Award at the Silicon Valley Regional. They were the only team of the 50 teams present who received it. The description of the award is as follows: “During the course of the competition, the judging panel may encounter a team whose unique efforts, performance, or dynamics merit recognition.” Then, at the Regional competition held at UC Davis, Team 1834 made it all the way to the finals. After a fun and fierce two days of competition, Team 1834 earned two awards: Regional Finalists and the Gracious Professionalism award. The Gracious Professionalism Award (sponsored by Johnson & Johnson) celebrates outstanding sportsmanship and continuous gracious professionalism in the heat of competition, both on and off the playing field. At FIRST Robotics, sportsmanship means playing fairly, playing with humility, helping others, and not allowing results to compromise or drive your efforts. According to FIRST, “It is a high standard, and one that we are proud to report is one of the distinguishing features of the FIRST's robotic competitions.” Congratulations to SIATech San Jose!

In the span of a few weeks, the Robotics program at SIATech impacts the lives of young men and women who just a year or two ago were out of school, out of work, and out of hope. FIRST Robotics inspires these students to become lifelong learners and look toward the future with hope, determination, and anticipation of being contributing members of their families and their communities. Thank you FIRST for this remarkable program that reinvigorates our students inspires our school and our community and forever changes lives!

Read about the SIATech Robotics program in the Job Corps San Francisco Region’s Annual Report.

Visit the SIATech Robotics website.