Allied Road gets facelift
Allied Gardens residents who drive along Allied Road got an early Christmas present last month when the worn-out street was finally resurfaced.
“This is by far the worst road in District 7,” said Councilmember Sherman, in a press release prior to the work being started. “This repair of Allied Road was a top priority for me when I first took office. It is exciting to finally see work begin on this important project.”
Allied Road was known as one of the worst streets in San Diego. In 2011, Allied Road received an Overall Condition Index (OCI) rating of 7.45, one of the lowest scoring streets in the city on the 0-to-100 scale. The road is about one-third of a mile long and the resurfacing project – which was waiting for utility undergrounding work to be completed – took around two days to complete.
The resurfacing of pockmarked Allied Road – located between Mission Gorge Road and Greenbrier Avenue in Allied Gardens – is among the more than 300 miles of roads that will be repaired during the current fiscal year. That is double the amount of road repair completed last year.
“This is an example of the type of road work we’ll see across the city as we repair 1,000 miles of streets,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This year’s budget doubled the amount of road repair we’re doing annually so neighborhoods like Allied Gardens will have smoother, safer streets.”
Alvarado earns top marks
Alvarado Hospital has once again been recognized by Healthgrades as one of the country’s best hospitals for orthopedic surgery, spine surgery and critical care. The report puts Alvarado in the top 5 percent in the nation for overall orthopedic services and spine surgery for two years in a row, and critical care for three years in a row.
Alvarado Hospital also garnered five stars two years in a row from Healthgrades for treatment of hip fracture (2014-2016), back surgery (2014-2016) and spinal fusion (2014-2016). In the area of gastrointestinal treatment, Alvarado earned five stars for esophageal/stomach surgeries for two years in a row (2015-2016) and gallbladder removal surgery for three years in a row (2014-2016). The hospital also is a five-star recipient for the critical care treatment of sepsis for three years in a row (2014-2016).
Each year, Healthgrades evaluates hospital performances at more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide for 33 of the most common inpatient procedures and conditions. A five-star rating indicates clinical outcomes at Alvarado Hospital are statistically better than expected when treating the condition or conducting the procedure being evaluated. For example, from 2012 through 2014, if all hospitals as a group, performed similarly to hospitals receiving five stars as a group, on average 222,392 lives could potentially have been saved and 166,086 complications could potentially have been avoided.
“Consumers can take comfort in knowing that an outside agency—such as Healthgrades, which is a leading resource in compiling and reporting on hospital outcomes nationwide—has evaluated our quality of care and found it to be among the best in the nation,” said Robin Gomez, Alvarado Hospital administrator.
“We continue to attract some of the most respected physicians in the region and their expertise is making a difference in our patients’ outcomes; consumers should take into consideration these highly rated hospitals when making a decision on where to seek care,” she added.
For its analysis, Healthgrades evaluated approximately 40 million Medicare inpatient records for nearly 4,500 short-term acute care hospitals nationwide. It assessed hospital performance and patient outcomes for 33 common conditions and procedures, then identified the 100 best-performing hospitals within specific service lines. Statistics are based on Healthgrades’ analysis of MedPAR data for years 2012 through 2014 and represent three-year estimates for Medicare patients only.
The findings were released online in Healthgrades’ “2016 Report to the Nation.” The complete report with detailed cohort-specific outcomes data, hospital-specific quality achievements, and detailed study methodology, can be found at healthgrades.com/quality.
New GCCCD vice chancellor takes reigns of budget
The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s newly appointed associate vice chancellor of business services may spend his days scrutinizing budget minutiae, but Doug Jenson finds satisfaction in taking the broader view of helping to mold students’ futures.
“I have always loved that the end goal is to help a student transition to a better life as they progress through the journey of identifying and completing their education goals,” Jenson said in a press statement released by GCCCD. “What I like most about working for this district is my role in assisting the colleges as they help students reach their graduation milestones and watch as the doors of opportunity open even wider for them.”
Jenson was hired in January as an interim administrator for GCCCD, and his permanent appointment to the position was approved in October.
Among other duties, Jenson is charged with overseeing the district’s budgeting, coordinating audits and playing a key role in the integration of a new human resources, payroll and financial system for the district.
A business college alum who went on to earn a bachelor’s and an MBA, Jenson has worked in higher education for the past decade. He served as the chief financial officer for United States University in Chula Vista for over two years starting in September 2012, and before that, as vice president of accounting/treasurer for Eagle Gate and Provo colleges in Salt Lake City, Utah, from 2005-2012.
Prior to his employment in higher education, Jenson worked as a controller for a succession of private businesses in the Ogden and Salt Lake City regions of Utah. With a lifelong fondness for working with numbers, he got his start in the financial field working for certified public accountant firms handling audits of school districts, nonprofits, municipalities and various private-sector companies.
Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said the district budget is in capable hands with Jenson holding the financial reins.
“Doug came aboard and was immediately assigned to getting this year’s budget ready for Governing Board review,” Miles said. “He very adeptly took over the complex task of putting together the district’s largest budget ever.”
Jenson said he is grateful his hiring as the district’s new budget guru came at a time of economic recovery, having heard horror stories of the district’s five-year stretch of state funding cuts during the recession that totaled in excess of $16 million and forced the district to slash more than 1,600 classes. In contrast, the $244-million budget approved by trustees in September was fortified with additional state funding that translated into hiring more faculty, adding more classes, and providing more support for students on their path to graduation.
Still, Jenson understands well the year-to-year fluctuations in state funding and is cautious in assessing what lies ahead.
“The budget picture for the current year is bright, but we need to continue to discuss, prepare and plan for possible future recessions and difficult times,” he said.
San Diego Unified makes strides in closing the ‘a-g’ gap
The number of students classified as English learners in the Class of 2016 and who are on track to meet all “a-g” course requirements for high school graduation has doubled compared to 2014 data, according to new statistics from the San Diego Unified School District. Data also reveal double-digit increases in other student sub-groups, including African-American students, Hispanic students, and students receiving Special Education services.
“We are very happy to see such dramatic improvements for students in the space of a single year,” said Cindy Marten, Superintendent of San Diego Unified in a press statement issued by the SDUSD. “It is very exciting to see that the changes we’ve made systemically to help students meet a-g requirements made a difference not just for the class of 2016, but even more so for the class of 2017.”
The percentage of this year’s junior class considered on track for meeting the a-g requirements needed to graduate high school is up seven percentage points from the previous junior class cohort. Some student subgroups had even more dramatic gains.
“A year ago, 9 percent of our English learners were on-track to meet all a-g requirements as juniors. This year, 18 percent are on track. While still low, it means twice as many are ready entering the junior class,” said Marten. “Imagine doubling again next year, and the year thereafter. We are building momentum.”
Significant increases are also noted for other subgroups, compared to the previous junior class. Fifty-six percent of African-American students in the class of 2017 are on track to meet all a-g requirements compared to 45 percent the previous year; an 11-point increase that was the highest growth among all subgroups. Fifty-two percent of Hispanic students are on track, compared to 44 percent a year ago.
Marten noted the data tell an important story when it comes to closing the achievement gap.
“If every student group were to accelerate at the same rate, we’d never close the achievement gap,” she said. “When you see subgroups increasing at a faster rate –– like we are seeing with our African-American students, our Hispanic students, and our English learners –– that’s how you begin to close the gap.”
The data are included in a district accountability update to the Board of Trustees entitled “Focus on Equity and Plan to Ensure Each and Every Student is On Track to Graduate.” The report is available online at bit.ly/1SjXdvs.
“A year ago, we took a very hard and critical look at the on-track status of the class of 2016. This pushed us to make major changes to our Master Schedules in order to provide greater access to ‘a-g’ coursework for all students and to put necessary interventions in place for students who were missing credits or off-track in some way,” said Cheryl Hibbeln, executive director of secondary schools. “We wanted to make sure that the San Diego way was one where we didn’t make any categorical presumptions about groups. We were going to look at all groups and support them in meeting this goal.”
The accountability update also includes findings from Alliance San Diego, a community empowerment organization which conducted focus group research with teachers, counselors, principals and parents in the district on the status of a-g on track rates and solicited recommendations for strategies to help students meet a-g requirements. The findings from the surveys, published in their study include recommendations for pursuing smaller class sizes at high school, offering after-school courses or extended school days, and pursuing and promoting online coursework to help students meet a-g requirements.
The organization praised the district for the work done to ensure all students are graduating career and college ready, and acknowledged that many of the survey recommendations are already being implemented
“Let’s call the a-g requirement what it is: the tide that lifts all boats,” said Matt Yagyagan, Alliance San Diego development manager.
“To see double-digit gains in subgroups and the gains achievement across the board is tremendous.”
“There is still work to be done, but we commend the district for rolling up its sleeves and doing the hard work. This is moving boulders to do whatever it takes to move this district forward,” he added.
Marten echoed the need for hard work to continue. “If we are truly going to deliver on the promise of public education for each and every student, we do indeed have a lot of hard work to do,” she said. “The data show that our high expectations for all students are being met and that we are on the right course to make even greater progress across all student groups.”
“San Diego Unified has been laser-focused on realizing equity, access, and educational excellence for all students,” said Marne Foster, Board President. “I’m pleased to see positive movement and expect this trend to continue through our commitment to collective action with district leadership, school community and corporate partnerships.”
Intersession and spring semester registration underway at GCCCD
Registration for spring intersession classes at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges is currently underway from now until Jan. 4, 2016. Intersession classes run from Jan. 4-22 and students can complete a course, including those satisfying general education requirements, in only 15 days.
The cost of the courses is the same $46 per unit that applies for regular-session classes, with most classes meeting daily for 3.5 hours and earning students three units. Registration for regular spring semester classes is also underway and ends Jan. 22, 2016.
A variety of general education (GE) classes are offered during intersession at both colleges, including Interpersonal Communications (COMM. 120); Early World History (HIST 100); Early American History (HIST 108); Modern American History (HIST 109); Introduction to U.S. Government and Politics (POSC 121); Introductory Psychology (PSY 120); Public Speaking (COMM 122); and Introductory Sociology (SOC 120).
Both colleges are also offering personal development classes to help students improve their learning and study skills, as well as make good career decisions.
At Grossmont College, additional GE classes include online classes in anthropology, economics, intermediate algebra, and sociology. Specialized training and instruction is also offered in Business Office Training, Administration of Justice and Theatre Arts. At Cuyamaca College, additional GE courses are offered in art and health education, and specialized training and instruction include classes in Child Development.
For students interested in physical fitness and health, Grossmont College is offering four levels of Pilates, while Cuyamaca is offering conditioning classes for intercollegiate golf and intercollegiate track and field. Exercise science classes in teaching fitness walking to children, and learning about childhood obesity are also offered at Cuyamaca College, as well as health education classes in personal health and lifestyles.
The short-term courses are an efficient way to satisfy general education course requirements for university transfer, offering a compressed alternative to the semester-length schedule. The longer classroom hours and generally smaller classes also provide more one-on-one time with instructors.
Information on admissions and registering for classes is available online at www.gcccd.edu/now/
Grossmont College is located at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in the community of Rancho San Diego.
The deadline for registering is Jan. 4.
Opera program offers free tickets to students
On Nov. 12, Councilmember’s Scott Sherman and Chris Cate joined San Diego Opera General Director David Bennett to announce a new youth educational program that will provide free full-season subscriptions to San Diego Opera performances to San Diego youth in each Council District. Students will also be able to go backstage after performances to meet and learn from singers, performers, and backstage personnel.
The My Voice in the Arts program will expose students from all backgrounds who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience the arts firsthand. The program will also help create and educate a new generation of opera enthusiasts. My Voice in the Arts was funded through the council offices of Sherman, Cate, Gloria and Zapf.
To apply, students must complete an application and submit a written 250- to 500-word essay responding to the question: “One example of how art has affected me is…”
“To be a world class city, San Diego needs world class arts and entertainment. This new youth program will help inspire new interest in the opera for the next generation of San Diegans,” Sherman said in a press release.
“San Diego Opera is much more than an opera company,” said San Diego Opera General Director David Bennett. “We are a community presence in schools around the county, providing high-quality arts education to San Diego youth.”
The company’s Words and Music Program provides weekly, year-round instruction in composing, producing and performing student-created operas; San Diego Opera master artists and production technicians provide hundreds of hours of curriculum during each school year; and Student Night at the opera provides free tickets and transportation to San Diego Opera performances to over 8,000 students and educators annually, Bennett said.
“With My Voice in the Arts, which is due in part to the generosity of the City Council, we’re incredibly pleased to be able to expand our offerings to the city we call home.”
Applications for My Voice in the Arts will be accepted through Dec. 16. Students and parents can find more information and apply at sdopera.org/education/my-voice-in-the-arts.