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    Readin’, Ritin’ and ‘Rithmetic … and Thinking

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    Classroom_View web

    Common Core State Standards have come to Pacific Grove Unified School District. Teachers and administrators are embracing CCSS and are looking forward to its implementation in 2014, and the anticipated results, in a big way as they attend a set of workshops scheduled before implementation of the standards in 2014-15.

    Common Core is a set of expectations that set out what students should be learning in language arts and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through the senior year in high school. Read more…»

    Shrunken revenues threaten PG school budget

    by Michael Sizemore

    The Pacific Grove United School District has been forced by diminished revenues to engage in deficit spending for the most recent three years, according to Assistant School Superintendent Rick Miller, speaking at the PG School Board’s regular meeting September 5. Miller said that funding has been reduced for the schools by a shrinking of property tax revenues in recent years. Read more…»

    No election for PGUSD Board This Fall

    As the deadline for filing has passed, Monterey County elections Department announced that there will be no election in the Pacific Grove Unified School District for three empty seats on the board. With three candidates filing, there is no need. John Thibeau and Bill Phillips each announced they will stand for another term, filling their own spots once again. The seat to be vacated by Mike Niccum will be filled by John Pfaff, a stalwart of most school board meetings for years.

    Pfaff and the two incumbents will be sworn in in December, 2013.

    Common Core Standards for Schools Offer Academic Success

    National Standards Ensure Uniformity of Instruction Across the Board

    by Kacie Clark

    Pacific Grove Unified School District (PGUSD) teachers and staff have one more year to prepare for the nearly nationally adopted Common Core State Standards, which go into effect for the 2014-15 school year.

    The Standards have been adopted by 45 states nationwide. According to the California Department of Education Standards web page, the program is designed to equalize American education.

    Read more…»

    Reconfiguration may spell answers to class size problems for Pacific Grove’s school district

    by Kacie Clark

    The school board officially reintroduced the topic of school reconfiguration during the Thursday, June 13 board meeting.

    The idea, which has been introduced and failed three times previously, consists of reconfiguring Pacific Grove Unified School District (PGUSD)’s campuses by grade level, so that all of the students in the same grade attend school together.

    Possible splits include kindergarten through second grade at Robert H Down Elementary School, and grades three though five at Forest Grove Elementary School. There are also possibilities of bringing the sixth grade students back into an elementary setting, creating a middle school of grades seven through nine, with the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades remaining at the high school level.

    Last time the plan was introduced, it met resistance from parents, according to board member Tony Sollecito, because of the perceived inconvenience of having children at different schools, therefore requiring more driving and scheduling.

    Suggested solutions to this issue included an alteration of the bell schedule and transportation between schools to make sure children could be picked up at the same school, at the same time.

    Read more…»

    Spectre of school layoffs gone with state’s May budget revision

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    The governor’s May revision to his proposed budget caused sighs of relief at schools around the state, and no where more so than Pacific Grove Unified School District.

    The governor backed down on his January proposal which would have shifted all adult education to the community colleges, a move unpopular with both adult education institutions and community colleges. Instead, there will likely be a two-year study about how to best provide education services to adult learners, whether in core programs such as high school diploma and English learner categories or in the leisure learner categories such as exercise, computers, and art. The adult education program at Pacific Grove Unified School District provides a broad spectrum of instruction, some of which may be shifted to Monterey Peninsula College in years to come. Read more…»

    Mock Trial budget 2013

    Exhibits 47.00 (Reimburse Elaine McCleaf)
    Lodging 4,662.00 (14 rooms X $111.00 plus tax for three nights)
    Food 3,920.00 (40.00 per day X 24 students and 4 coaches X three and 1/2 days)
    Transportation 980.00 (700 miles round-trip/7 vehicles; 20 mi/gal at $4.00/gal)
    Team Dinner 500.00
    Team Sweatshirts 800.00
    Fundraising Supplies 50.00
    Team Pins 750.00
    Team Mugs/Awards 350.00
    Entrance Fee 1,800.00 ($75.00 per student X 24)

    TOTAL $ 13,859.00

    We won!

    MOCK TRIAL RESULTS: Pacific Grove’s Mock Trial Team, under the tutelage of Larry Haggquist, just took home another County Championship in Mock Trial today. Read more…»

    Architects tell timetable for Fountain Ave. project

    Ken Yamauchi, Architect presented an update to the school board at their recent meeting on the site improvement behind the Middle School which will create a permanent division on Fountain Avenue between Hillcrest Avenue and Sinex Avenue with cul-de-sacs and form a pedestrian walkway from the campus to the athletic field. Read more…»

    Raising the flag

    by Ashley Cameron

    February 19, 1945

    The day of invasion…

    Staring at the battleships swarming the harbor of Iwo Jima,

    Overcome by fear,

    He tries to get her out of his mind – but fails!

    Intricate tunnels underground, enable an “element of surprise”

    Volcanic ash fills his lungs, making matters worse.

    Pictures of her flash through his mind, refusing to dissolve.

    His vision obscured,

    His defenses weakened,

    He refuses to give up.

    Flamethrowers shoot death into the air while grenades fly like metal birds –

    The atmosphere – a blur of confusion.

    He watches as countless lives wither into crimson pools,

    Into dust and smoke.

    Ghosts advance slowly, risking what the day will eclipse.

    His breathing deepens.

    His heart pounds through his chest.

    The image of her remains,

    Not in his mind,

    Amidst the confusion of death, and blood, and artillery,

    But in his pounding heart,

    As he fears not death,

    But life without her.

    Compelled by this love, he drifts forward with remaining troops,

    The sinews of their hearts woven together

    To create a force strong enough to vanquish this enemy,

    To bring down the Rising Sun,

    To watch it set behind the hills of Mt. Suribachi

    On February 23, 1945.

    He never wanted to let her go.

    The tears he cried,

    While watching his comrades stab his country’s flag into the soil

    Of the mountaintop –

    A star-spangled banner,

    Standing proud above the sunset –

    Were tears of hope,

    For the daughter he left behind

    On this triumphant day.



    Their mascot says it all: You show the world. You are the Phoenix.

    They come to Pacific Grove Community High School for many reasons, but they’re all going places when they graduate. On their last day of high school, they were finishing up their yearbook and looking forward to the summer vacation. Younger students were working on the computers, painting banners, reading. The students are self-motivated and have diverse skills and aspirations, and the best part is that they all seem to be friends.

    L-R front row: Jenna Rambo, Joey Davies, Persis Tomingas, Kyle Sumpter. L-R, back row: Chris Butler, Mikey Selbicky. Top, Michaela Miller. Bottom, Petika Hilton.

    L-R front row: Jenna Rambo, Joey Davies, Persis Tomingas, Kyle Sumpter. L-R, back row: Chris Butler, Mikey Selbicky. Top, Michaela Miller. Bottom, Petika Hilton.

    Read more…»

    PGHS Class of ’09 Valedictorian: Jeehee Cho

    By Cameron Douglas

    In the summer before her seventh grade, Jeehee Cho moved from Pleasant Grove, Utah, to Pacific Grove, California. Since then, her academic and athletic achievements have accelerated to the honor of class Valedictorian for 2009. Jeehee took time out from her busy schedule to stop in and chat with Cedar Street Times.cho

    CST: What motivates you?

    CHO: Education is a big part of the Korean culture. My dad came to the U.S. to go to graduate school at Brigham Young University, and decided to stay because there are so many educational opportunities in this country. He wanted his children to have that. Education has been a really big part of our family. My parents have always supported me through it. They’ve never pressured me. They just told me to do my best. Going off to college, I take that same idea. I want to gain a better understanding of everything that’s going on. I want to have enough education to educate my children as well.

    CST: Are you thinking of home schooling at some point? Read more…»

    Breaker Stadium Grand Opening

    Photos by Skyler Lewis



    Photos by Nate Philips

    Scholarships, honors for PGHS 2009 graduates

    At a special reception on May 19, 2009 for seniors, their parents and guests, a number of scholarships and awards were presented to graduating Pacific Grove High School seniors. The awards were presented by the donors, faculty and staff. We are pleased to present the list of donors and recipients.

    Pacific Grove Rotary Club Scholarship …………………………Anna Spade & Alexander Spears
    Presenter: Stephanie Lee

    A T & T Pebble Beach Junior Golf Assoc. Junior Golf Scholarship ………..Michael Yanoska
    Presenter: Ted Hollister, DVM

    Granite Construction Company Golden Rule Leadership Award ……………..Lillian Clements
    Presenter: Spencer Wright

    C.L. & Mary Dean Kier Scholarship…………………………………… …………………..Sarah Dennis
    Presenter: Ms. Lou Godfrey & Mr. Sam Kier

    Pacific Grove Masonic Lodge Scholarship #331 ……………………… Alison Lord, Anna Spade
    Presenters: David Salinger & Kurt Ferguson

    Monterey County Association of Realtors Scholarship ………………………….Brandon Cepress
    Presenter: Ms. Noni McVey

    First United Methodist Church …………………………………………………Uri Hong & Jeehee Cho,
    Presenter: Sam & Betty Kier Read more…»

    PG Middle School takes Distinguished School award

    By Marge Jameson

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell phoned the Pacific Grove Unified School District office to personally announce that Pacific Grove had been awarded a Distinguished Schools Award for 2009. The district’s innovative “Dot Program” was a huge factor.

    “This reflects on Matt Bell’s tenure as principal,” noted Mary Riedel, Pacific Grove Middle School principal. She was vice principal when the Dot Program was conceived in a staff conference involving Bell, Riedel, Todd Buller and Stan Dodd. Searching for ways to increase staff involvement with students on all levels, the administrators hit upon a method of tracking staff-to-student interactivity by placing a colored dot next to a student’s name each time a staff member had contact with that student. Read more…»

    Culinary Arts at PGHS take state award

    L-R: Alyssa Van De Cort, instructor Adrian Schueneman and Mackenzie Horsefield

    Two students from Pacific Grove High School placed second in the entire state of California in the Boyd’s Coffee Culinary Cup Competition, sponsored by the California Restaurant Association Education Foundation, the highest level under the National Restaurant Association.

    Read more…»

    Looking in the looking glass: How are PG’s Schools Doing?

    by Jon Guthrie

    On a knoll near the Borunda Adobe, the Monterey County Historical Society guards one of the treasures recovered from our county’s past: a one-room school.

    Not so very long ago, pupils crowded that one room wearing pig tails and pinafores, caps and knickers, coveralls and long dresses.  They wrote spelling words and ciphers upon slates, labored to parse sentences, traveled with fingers upon a globe to far places, reveled in the antics of history.

    Read more…»

    Schools: Barbara Priest Wins Award

    Barbara Priest, Instrumental Music Director for Pacific Grove Middle School, has won the prestigious 2009 California Music Educator’s Association (CMEA) Outstanding Music Educator award for the Central Coast Section of the CMEA.  Fellow music teachers voted for their choice in the Central Coast Section. There are eight sections in California. Priest, shown above at a rehearsal of her beginning band class, will receive the award plaque at the Gala Awards Banquet at the CMEA State conference in Ontario this March.

    Priest is also the PGUSD Music Coordinator, CMEA-CCS Board President Elect, and the Pacific Grove Performing Arts Center Foundation Board and Facility Coordinator.


    State schools chief looks at Dot program

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell visited Pacific Grove Middle School Wednesday, Feb. 18 as part of an education conference he was attending. At the invitation of Dr. Ralph Porras, Superintendent of the Pacific Grove Unified School District, he came to look at the “Dot Program” for which PG received lauds in the recent Monterey County Grand Jury report (see Cedar Street Times  Vol. 1, Issue 18 of Jan. 23-29, 2009). Also at the meeting with Porras, O’Connell and staff was Monterey County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Kotowski, who is looking at the Dot Program for the entire area.

    The program was adopted for the Middle School more than a year ago in response to a previous Grand Jury report requiring that local schools seek out methods to prevent gang activity, including activities which would target at-risk students. It is aimed at creating better connections between students and staff, both in the campus setting and outside of it. And it not only uses instructional staff, but all adult staff.  “You never know who kids are going to connect with,” Porras said. And that connection is key.

    At the beginning of the semester, a chart was printed with the name of each student listed. As teachers and staff make connections with students, they place a simple dot next to the student’s name. By the end of the semester, it is hoped there will be at least three dots next to each student’s name.

    Porras says there has been a noticeable drop in “errant” behavior. Suspensions are down at the Middle School, and administrators look forward to implementing the program at the high school level and then at grade school level. It was felt that the Middle School was the place to start, however, while students are at a more impressionable age.

    O’Connell applauds PGUSD’s work in improving scholastic achievement and believes that it is a direct result of improving students’ feeling of safety at school. He says he believes the Dot Program is part of closing the “achievement gap” for middle school-aged students.

    Another question foremost on the minds of administrators, teachers, staff and the community is the budget, both in Pacific Grove and statewide.

    O’Connell was instrumental in promoting the class size reduction goals in the state and admits that those goals may have to go by the wayside in the face of the severe budget crisis facing state schools. He says he has seen some classes with as many as 40 students in other districts.

    One of the big things he likes about the Dot Program is its price tag: It’s virtually free. Staff time is used for monthly meetings about the program, and more will be expended to analyze the program, but other than the cost of paper and pens, there is no cost to the district.



    High School Honors Concert a Smashing Success

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    Photo: Guest Honor Band Conductor Paul Bambach takes a bow with the Honor Band at Saturday’s Central Coast Section Honor Concert presented by the California Association for Music Education.

    Last Saturday’s performance by the Central Coast Section was rousing. As we reported last week, more than 40 Pacific Grove High School students were selected for this honors concert from schools on the central coast from Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo. PGHS students made up a sizeable percentage of the chosen students and, as always, gave an exciting concert before a full audience of family and friends.

    The concert, held at Sherwood Hall in Salinas, was divided into 3 sections, Honor Choir, Honor Orchestra, and Honor Band, each section with a different group of students and a different guest conductor. Students spend many hours in practice with these conductors. In a sense, the rehearsals are nothing short of workshops in their length and intensity. In a matter of a few days, in very intense rehearsals, each conductor moulds dozens of students from different schools into unified performing units. The process leaves the students enriched and leaves the audience impressed.

    Guest conductor of the Honor Choir, Dr. Elena Sharkova, set the high energy mood immediately with traditional Zambian song “Bonse Alba”, which had the nearly 90 singers dancing, singing, and moving energetically to this happy praise song. The Choir moved on to choral music, then a wonderful tango piece, “Libertango”, concluding with an entertaining gospel piece “You Got Ta Move”, based on an old blues song but tricked up with some very modern features, including a bit of gospel “rap”. Hard to imagine, but it worked. The Choir’s performance left the audience cheering.

    Honor Orchestra showed it’s performing prowess under guest conductor John Morrice in a selection of symphonic pieces by Handel, Mendelssohn, and Holst. The Holst piece in particular, the first movement of the “St. Paul Suite”, moved the audience into some of the lovely abstractions and impressionism of our modern era. Orchestral performance may be the hardest to master due to the nature of the string instruments, but these students, many of whom we have watched grow over the years, have risen to the challenge and have reached their mark.

    With UC Santa Barbara’s Paul Bambach conducting, Honors Band wrapped up the concert with some well executed pieces starting off with Fanfare for a “New Era” by Jack Stamp and moving on to Scenes from “The Louvre” by Norman Dello Joio. These are moody, fun pieces, but “Cloudburst” was the moodiest and the most fun, since the audience participated. As the cloud bursts in the music it begins to rain. Bambach turned to the audience to give the cue to start snapping fingers. The collective sound of an audience snapping fingers creates a realistic imitation of pattering rain. The Band concluded with Frank Ticheli’s energetic “Nitro” .



    Grand Jury commends Middle School “Dot” program

    The 2007 Monterey County Grand Jury stated in its report on gang activity that prevention is key to long-term control of gang activity, and recommended that each school district in the county encourage after-school activities aimed at including all children, including at-risk students. In response, Pacific Grove Unified School District established the “Dot” program at the outset of the 2007-08 school year. The program is described as follows: “Teachers at all school sites reviewed the list of students in their classrooms and placed a dot after the name of those students whom they knew outside the classroom, through some other activity. Those students with no dots, meaning no one at the school interacted with them outside the classroom, were assigned to a staff member who engaged with that student in a mentor capacity. There were positive changes in those students’ self esteem as they became more socially engaging and their grades improved.”
    Staff at Pacific Grove Middle School is trained in issues related to the program. The staff also frequently reviews the program and discusses it regularly at staff meetings.
    The 2008 Grand Jury set out to discover whether the program is operating as described, and whether the program is repeatable or worthy of being repeated in other school districts throughout the county. The Grand Jury conducted interviews with key District personnel as well as observing and reviewing documents related to the Dot Program.
    “In at least one instance a review of students at the middle school without dots led to ‘adoption’ of a challenged student by a faculty member. This resulted in a positive impact on that specific child in terms of academic performance,” according to the Grand Jury report. Some students targeted as potential failures saw marked improvement.
    The program is being implemented at the high school level as well.
    The Grand Jury reported that the program “has inspired new energy and focus amongst the staff at the middle school” and commended the Pacific Grove Unified School District for its innovative and inspiring “Dot” program, while recommending that PGUSD continue the program as it is currently operating and expand the program to include all students in the District. They also recommended that the district collect, analyze, and report on the impact of the “Dot” program for other schools and districts to use in deciding whether to undertake a similar program.

    PGUSD Sustainability Plan

    The first step in the Pacific Grove Unified School district’s “Sustainability Plan” will be inaugurated at Forest Grove Elementary when the Zero Waste Lunch Program is at a kick-off assembly there on January 26. Read more…»

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  • 416 Fountain Av, Pacific Grove

    This charming two-bedroom, two-bath 1325ft2 Victorian built in 1905 has a historical plaque. It has been thoroughly renewed with lovely wide plank original floors freshly refinished. A living room with high ceilings and bay windows, fireplace with mantel and gas logs, formal dining room, kitchen with gas stove, d/w, disposal, pantry cabinet, French doors opening to enclosed back paver courtyard, lockable walk-in and bike access gate. New tankless hot water heater. New laminated wood floors in kitchen, baths and laundry. Renovated attic bonus room with skylights and closet adds about 350 usable sq ft. Ocean view from front yard and street. Short walk to quaint PG village, restaurants, theater shopping, and Robert Down Elementary school.
    $1,075,000 call Barbara 408-506-5102 to schedule a viewing.

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