Attention San Elijo Middle School Parents and drivers:
SEMS has an opportunity for you to find a carpool to school. SEMS has registered with iCommute, a program through SANDAG. iCommute gives you access to a database of commuters – neighbors who live near you – looking for a carpool match.
Go the SEMS website @ www.sanelijmiddle.org and look for iCommute headline for link and instructions. Register to join our private network today. Plan a trip with TripPlanner, potential matches displayed, if you find a match, send a message OR “Post Your Own Carpool.”
Save time, money and help alleviate traffic. iCommute is one small step to help our parents, community and most importantly our students get to school safely and on time.
City of San Marcos hosts a successful biennial Education Forum
San Marcos education leaders celebrate ten years of partnership
SAN MARCOS – The leaders of the three major educational institutions in San Marcos — the state university, community college and school district — described how expanded educational partnerships, strong enrollment growth and dramatic campus construction have marked the evolution of San Marcos as a regional education hub over the past 10 years at a biennial educational forum Wednesday hosted by the City of San Marcos.
Dr. Karen Haynes, president of California State University San Marcos; Adrian Gonzales, interim president of Palomar College, and Dr. Kevin Holt, superintendent of the San Marcos Unified School District reviewed accomplishments over the past ten years since the forum’s establishment and detailed how collaborative programs linked to the City or education partners have helped reach bold milestones.
Over that period, the number of students at California State University San Marcos has doubled to about 14,000, making it California’s fastest-growing state university said President Karen Haynes. In the San Marcos Unified School District, from elementary school through high school, about 21,000 students are being taught, up from about 16,000 in 2005, said Superintendent Kevin Holt. Interim President Adrian Gonzales noted that Palomar College offers educational opportunities to more than 23,000 students.
Mayor Jim Desmond described the city’s sponsorship as “a conscious effort to embrace our educational community” with a goal of “providing skills for the workplace of the future.”
With many school board members, trustees, city council members and the general public in attendance, the forum, “Making the Grade: In Just Ten Years,” for the first time was held at the campus of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Marcos. The private university, which specializes in graduate training for occupational and physical therapy, expanded to San Marcos in 2009 and also has campuses in St. Augustine, Florida, and Austin, Texas. President Wanda Nitsch moderated the forum.
Partnership was a key theme in describing how the school district, community college and state university work together to encourage and insure that students graduating from San Marcos high schools have a supportive pathway to higher education.
Superintendent Holt pointed out that the Pace Promise program guarantees every graduating senior who meets entry level requirements a spot in the entering class at Cal State San Marcos. “We live in a community that prioritizes higher education for kids,” he said.
President Haynes noted that such a guarantee is increasingly important as the number of applications for the freshman class has continued to go up, making admission more difficult. The current entering class had 19,000 applications for 2,500 slots, she said.
Holt also detailed efforts to reach out to San Marcos high school students through the GEAR UP program with Palomar College to provide workshops on preparing for and getting into college, including help to pay for all SMUSD 10th and 11th grade PSAT tests, an important early round test in the admissions process.
Gonzales noted also that the college is working with the district to help students who take a senior year math course to transition into college algebra.
Gonzales then described the achievements of Palomar College as a “hidden secret in San Marcos,” from its planetarium, the fifth-largest in the state, to its 22 varsity athletic teams, its student radio station ranked as No. 1 in the country, its debate team ranked nationally, and its standing as one of the top three colleges in the nation in graduating Hispanic students.
Haynes, too, touted the accomplishments of Cal State San Marcos in serving minority students, noting that for the third year in a row, more than half of graduating students were the first in their families to achieve a four-year degree.
Over the past 10 years, the most visible accomplishments have been the construction of new buildings, helped with funding from major, voter-approved bond measures for the San Marcos Unified School District and Palomar College.
San Marcos High School, now a modern landmark on San Marcos Boulevard, opened in 2014 and Double Peaks School, the district’s first kindergarten through eighth grade school, is set to open next August. Palomar College is beginning work on a new library and learning center. And a 1,400-seat multipurpose arena now under construction is set to open next fall at Cal State San Marcos.
While school funding has stabilized across the state with the rebound of the economy, Haynes said Cal State San Marcos plans to reach out with its first comprehensive fund-raising campaign. She said that 85 percent of the alumni stay in the region and that the university generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the local economy.
“Cal State San Marcos is now an investment in our region,” she said.
Honing in on the link between economic development and education, Mayor Jim Desmond detailed major developments close to the university and college campuses that are bringing new housing and businesses and continue to interconnect road improvements and SPRINTER transit stations to make the community a place where people can thrive in both education and career.
“San Marcos is a place where you can go from kindergarten to graduate school to employee,” Desmond said. “By partnering together, we are fostering a friendly, collaborative city that embraces our role as the education hub of North County.”
This email was sent to San Elijo Elementary School Families Today
Hello SEES Families,
Thank you for your quick response to our incident on Monday morning on the trails. With the help of several parents, we have been able to identify the person who was offering our students candy. Our school resource officer visited his home and spoke to him and his family about stopping this action immediately. The man does live in our community so you may encounter him on the trails. We have no further information to believe that there is any further concern.
Please continue ongoing conversations with students about stranger danger as well as keeping the school office informed of any situations.
The opening of Double Peak School, the first K-8 grade school in the San Marcos Unified School District, has been delayed because of a legal dispute over the purchase of a small piece of land necessary to complete road improvements.
San Elijo Middle School was named as one of 193 middle schools in California to receive the Gold Ribbon School Award. The new program is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program while California creates new assessment and accountability systems.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, said, “These schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching,” Torlakson said. “They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right—embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching, and creating a positive school climate.”
Doug Hall, principal at San Elijo Middle, couldn’t agree more. “We had a great validation visit. The visitation team were very impressed with our programs, but, more importantly, they were impressed with the positive feeling, tone and the whole SEMS family.”
The Gold Ribbon awards recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. To see the list of all recipients, click here.
This poll was suggested by a local San Elijo Hills homeowner and longtime reader of San Elijo Life. The poll is designed to engage the community of San Marcos and generate some thought and discussion into one potential option for reducing school generated traffic and congestion. Who can share the history of school buses in San Marcos?
Option 1: Taxes assessed to all homeowners (consider that this could provide buses for all schools in SMUSD). Assuming that not all homeowners have kids nor will have kids, a tax may be looked down upon but the argument could also be made that the buses will reduce the traffic and congestion in general.
Option 2: A private charter solution could be controlled in terms of costs by only billing parents that opt-in but this would also restrict the passengers to only kids that pay. Parents could opt-in or out annually based upon their kids age and attendance. It’s assumed it would be a higher cost option.
Intra-District Transfers – The SMUSD’s Student Services department and DPS have spent the last three weeks working on intra-district transfers. There has been an increased complexity to the puzzle with over 600 transfer requests and DPS opening at 3 different sites. Over the next two weeks, Student Services will be processing transfers (approvals and denials) and mailing them home. Thank you for you patience.
GATE and Honors Classes – DPS will have both GATE and honors classes. Students may be assessed for GATE in third grade, with the program starting in fourth grade (district-wide standard). For sixth grade, the amount of honors classes depends on the amount of students who qualify.
PTO Meeting – The next PTO meeting is scheduled for May 7th at 5:30 p.m. at the SMUSD District Office. All PTO meetings are open to the public. Hope to see you there.
K-6 Opening – DPS will officially open as a K-6 for the 2015-2016 school year and transition to a K-8 over the next two years.
As of last Monday, all of the walls are vertical. You can now start to see the design of the campus. The large open space to the west will be the play fields and one of the parking lots.
OotM is a “creative competition.” The kids are tasked with putting together an 8 minute skit completely by themselves. After months of hard work, they enter their skit in tournaments and compete against other teams from the region, state and possibly the nation and world. The program focuses on creativity, teamwork, project management and decision making.
The team is made up Ella, Katja, Maya, Marissa, Elisenne, Claudia and Morgan. They are sponsored by the San Elijo Hills Foundation and are students of SEES. The kids have been hard at work on their project since the school year.
In the regional competition in Feb, they placed 2nd and advanced to State. Last weekend, they competed at UC Riverside, and came in 1st place out of all of California! This allowed them to advance to the World Finals at the end of May at Michigan State University in Lansing, MI.
At the World Finals, there will be about 800 teams from all over the world, showcasing their creative solutions! This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the kids.
We’re very excited and very proud of them. The elite schools from Poway, Carlsbad and Encinitas routinely have OotM teams place high in these tournaments. This year, our kids put San Elijo Hills and SEES on the map as the place for bright and creative kids!
Join Principal Baum for one of the scheduled informal informational meetings. He will provide an update on the campus and the transition plan and then be available for any questions. This informal setting is also a way to support our local businesses.
Wednesday, March 25th at 9:00 am – Cafe Stoked
Thursday, March 26th at 4:30 pm – San Marcos Brewery (back/side patio)