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Valley High School Turns Trip to the Movies into Journalism Teaching Moment

September 22, 2014

Valley High School Movie OutingPonder this for a moment: You are a high school student and someone offers you the opportunity to view a first-run movie at a local theater during the school schedule. What would you do? Of course you would go. But what are the conditions? We explore all of these questions.

Through the generosity of CityServe of the Tri-Valley and others, this potential became a reality. CityServe is a community/faith based organization that supports a multitude of schools and other civic organizations. Over the last few years, they have “adopted” Valley High School in Dublin and have supported a number of their initiatives. Since last spring they have generously hosted a “Breakfast Club” on alternating Fridays. Through this venture, they have provided a healthy breakfast to the students at VHS.

Executive Director, Gloria Gregory has been the “tip of the spear” in leading this effort. While CityServe has supported many organizations throughout the Tri-Valley, VHS has become one of their favorite partners. In August, Gloria and her husband, Dean, viewed the widely distributed film “When the Game Stands Tall” at the Regal Cinemas. The film chronicles the path of the highly decorated De La Salle Football team once their 151 game winning streak had been stopped. The film depicts the many challenges that their coach and teammates met once they realized that the “streak” had little to do with themselves and how they must create a legacy for themselves. The film is based on a book by former Contra Costa Times Writer Neil Hayes. Generally, movie critics have been kind to the film and its message.

However, this is where it takes a local turn. Again, with Gloria’s association with the students of Valley High School and the positive messages delivered through the film, she wanted the VHS students to have access to this movie. Through her best efforts, she attempted to negotiate a reduced rate for both admission and refreshments. Once rebuffed, she further reached out directly to City of Dublin leadership in the form of Mayor Tim Sbranti and Councilman Dave Haubert to supplement this effort. It was successful in that the Valley High School students were able to participate in this event at no personal cost.

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Dublin High Homecoming Skit Rally HD Video Journal 2014

September 19, 2014
Dublin High School Homecoming Skit Rally

Dublin High School Homecoming Skit Rally

Dublin High School’s Sports Complex was standing-room only Wednesday evening for the 2014 edition of the annual Homecoming Skit Rally.  For the families, friends, alumni and curious  community members who were unable to attend is pleased to present all four skits and the spirit squad performance in HD video, with a time lapse movie of the skits (if you only have three minutes to spare) as an added bonus. Photos from the event are available on’s Facebook page (available here…).

Dublin High School Freshman Skit

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Dublin Elementary School Boundary Changes Debated at Public Forums

September 16, 2014

Dublin Unified School District Elementary School Boundary Public ForumThe Dublin Unified School District has a small problem. However, it is a problem that many other school districts would wish to have. In 2006, the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) released a statement that 11 of its 18 districts would experience a decline in enrollment over the next several years. The notable exception to this was DUSD, which was projected for a +7.35% increase in the immediate term. This conservative estimate turned out to be more than accurate. With the rapid residential development in Dublin Ranch, Positano and beyond, DUSD has elected to take action to ensure that this exponential growth could successfully be managed. The opening of the new Amador Elementary School in 2015 needed to be factored into this equation. In addition, there are plans for the construction of a fifth elementary school (E-5) in the vicinity of Jordan Ranch sometime in the future.

But before one can look too far ahead, the immediate term requires immediate attention. Six months ago, the district assembled a formal Boundary Committee to examine and to construct a five year plan that could then be placed in consideration before the Board of Trustees for implementation. The committee consisted of numerous stakeholders including Parents, Teachers, Trustee members, School Administration and District Staff. Tess Johnson served as the Boundary Committee Chairperson. The group met numerous times starting in the spring of 2014 and into the fall. The goal was to solicit feedback/suggestions from the parties that would be directly be impacted by any boundary changes and to then crystallize multiple options for the Board of Trustees to consider. The plan is two-fold. One, critically examine the options that make the most sense in terms of “student load” vs. a school site’s actual capacity. And two, ensure that the residents potentially impacted would have a voice in any proposed changes. DUSD’s presentation at the community forum is available here.

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City of Dublin Mayor Candidates Answer Questions on School Overcrowding and Education Issues

September 14, 2014

School BellDublin voters have many important decisions to make on Tuesday November 4, 2014. One of those decisions is to select a new mayor for the City of Dublin.’s mission is focused on education so we posed the same five questions to candidates Kevin Hart, David Haubert and Kasie Hildenbrand:

  1. Given the importance of schools to attracting and retaining families, what will be your top three priorities as Mayor to ensure we have the best schools in the East Bay?
  2. There are significant concerns in the community about school overcrowding and the conversion of commercial property into housing. What will you do to help address this problem?
  3. Students are under tremendous pressure due to global competition, the cost of education and the challenge of being accepted into college. What role should the City play in supporting students?
  4. Not all students are college bound; what role can the City play in helping connect students to other career paths?
  5. One of Dublin’s strengths is the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of our community; what role should the City play in ensuring all families have an equal opportunity to a quality education?

The responses from each of the candidates are available here:

Mark the date: There will also be a debate for City of Dublin mayoral candidates on Thursday October 2 starting at 7:00pm in Dublin City Hall.

Dublin High School Homecoming 2014 Schedule of Events

September 12, 2014
Homecoming 2013

Homecoming 2013

Dublin High School’s Homecoming is around the corner, earlier than ever. Homecoming is an annual opportunity for students to learn real world skills in collaboration, problem-solving, time management and team-building, while having fun and unleashing their creativity. The event involves students from across Dublin, including elementary and middle school students that participate in the parade and carnival, along with Dublin High alumni and the community. The Dublin High School Homecoming 2014 theme is Disney “Cities”, with each class competing for coveted Homecoming points:

  • DHS Class of 2015 Seniors: “New York”
  • DHS Class of 2016 Juniors: “Los Angeles”
  • DHS Class of 2017 Sophomores: “Honolulu”
  • DHS Class of 2018 Freshmen: “Las Vegas”

Dublin High School Homecoming Schedule 2014

Dublin High Homecoming kicks off Monday September 15 and concludes on Saturday September 20 with the Homecoming dance. There are events every day giving all students a chance to participate. Several events including the Homecoming parade, carnival and football game are open to the community. The Dublin High School PFSO has prepared a “Homecoming 101″ guide available here. Below is a summary of planned events:

  • Monday: Athletic Jersey Day
  • Tuesday: Twin Day
  • Wednesday: ‘Merica Day
  • Thursday: Homecoming/Class Shirt Day
    • Note – 2 points for Homecoming shirt; 1 point for class shirt
  • Friday: Gael Force Day
    • Note – 2 points for going “All Out” Gael Force; 1 point for Gael Force shirt

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Google Intern Sierra Kaplan-Nelson on Changing the World Through Code

September 10, 2014
Sierra Kaplan-Nelson

Software Engineer Intern Sierra Kaplan-Nelson

Programmer. Coder. Software engineer. Computer scientist. What image pops into your mind when you hear these job descriptions? Have you been influenced by an unconscious bias or stereotype?

An increasing number of Silicon Valley companies, colleges and K-12 educators are acknowledging that a lack of diversity in the tech sector is a serious problem and are taking action to encourage more women and underrepresented minorities to pursue an education and careers in technology.

As part of its Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Series recently spoke with Stanford University computer science major and Google intern Sierra Kaplan-Nelson to learn more about her passion for coding and her advice to women seeking to make the world a better place through technology. What inspired you to pursue computer science at Stanford?

Sierra Kaplan-Nelson: “I had an amazing female AP Computer Science teacher, Helene Martin, who now works at the University of Washington. She has a blog focused on encouraging girls to pursue computer science.

“At the time, AP Computer Science was the only programming course offered at Garfield High School. The course was new, I needed a class to fill out my schedule, and it sounded interesting so I thought I’d try it!

“The stereotype is that you can’t become a computer scientist unless you were coding in your basement at age 10, or that you created a successful app before you hit your teens. That stereotype isn’t true; even taking my first computer science course as a junior in high school was early compared to most of the people I know who are majoring in computer science at Stanford.” When you first started coding what hooked you? What was it about coding that fascinated you?

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Dublin School District Nurse Alex Meadows on Why Healthy Kids Learn Better

September 8, 2014

Alex Meadows

Alex Meadows recently had the opportunity to meet with Dublin Unified School District nurse Alex Meadows. Ms. Meadows is a product of Dublin schools, attending Dublin Elementary School, Wells Middle School and graduating with the Dublin High School Class of 2009 before earning a nursing degree in 2013 through the 2+2 program at St. Mary’s College of California and Samuel Merritt University.

Ms. Meadows not only brings her expertise as a nurse to help keep over 9,000 students healthy in Dublin’s rapidly growing school district, but is also an active fitness instructor with a passion for health and nutrition. As Meadows notes below, “healthy kids learn better”. What role do school nurses play in keeping our kids healthy? Read on… What inspired you to pursue nursing?

Alex Meadows: “I started at San Diego State University undeclared. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted my major to be and at the end of the first semester I declared for a kinesiology, with an emphasis in fitness, health and nutrition, but I wasn’t 100% sure what I could do with that degree. My roommate was in the pre-nursing program at San Diego State and when she spoke about her classes it got me really interested in nursing. I’ve always been interested in healthcare, fitness and nutrition, and was already a group fitness instructor. I saw that through nursing I could both help people prevent becoming sick and help those that are sick.

“I decided to switch schools, transferring to St. Mary’s College of California, and it was the best choice that I’ve made. I love nursing and was exposed to many different forms of nursing during school. I did my clinical rotation for community health at the De Colores Head Start program in Oakland, which is a daycare and healthcare center for kids at the poverty level and below. We organized health screenings and preventative care for the kids and that sparked my interest in becoming a school nurse.

“At St. Mary’s I enrolled in the 2+2 Pre-Nursing program which is generally two years at St. Mary’s and two years at Samuel Merritt University. Samuel Merritt has relationships with St. Mary’s College and several other schools, and also accepts direct applicants, for their nursing program. From the schools that feed Samuel Merritt you are automatically accepted into the nursing program if you maintain the required GPA.” For high school or college students who are thinking of nursing as a profession, what advice do you have for them to achieve that goal?
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