Friday, December 1, 2023

CUSD Update: CHS Library Makeover, 2022-2023 Calendar, Teachers and Students Awarded for Arts and World Languages

The Coronado Unified School District school board trustees met on Thursday, June 9th at District Offices where the board approved the 2022-2023 school calendar, approved the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program Plan, and approved the contract for the CHS library renovation. But not before a few moments of celebration.

The CHS band entertained community members to a medley of music.

The CHS advanced band students, led by Matt Heinecke, treated the room to a collection of Beatles songs from the Cirque de Soleil musical, Love, as well as standards from 1920s Duke Ellington.

The board recognized the recipients of the Arts Empower Ovation Awards, which was created by the San Diego County Board of Education to ensure that every child has access to arts education. The “Arts Empower Creative Leader” award was given to four people: Cyndi Fuhrmann, Village VAPA teacher; Laura Hill, CHS art instructor; Linda Kullmann, performing arts teacher at CMS, Village, and Strand; as well as Kris McClung, founder of Coronado School of the Arts. Karrie Jackson, art teacher at Coronado High School and Shane Schmeichel, CUSD Director of Special Programs, both received the “Artful Visionary” award.

The Arts Empower Ovation Awards recognized teachers for their role in teaching the visual and performing arts.

In addition, 47 students were awarded the California State Seal of Biliteracy for excelling in languages from Filipino and Gallic to French and Spanish. Retired Director of Learning, Claudia Gallant, said that when she was working with the district in 2015-2016, the Seal of Biliteracy was a new—but very promising—initiative.

The State Seal of Biliteracy acknowledges students who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing one or more languages in addition to English.

“[Biliteracy] was important to me and our district as a measure of academic success, as a 21st century skill, and as a life skill,” said Gallant. “There’s nothing like being able to converse with people in their own language. It builds bridges, and I think our world really needs that.”

The CHS ladies’ lacrosse team was also recognized for their CIF championship, beating Bishop’s in the final match.

The CHS ladies lacrosse team was recognized for their CIF win.

In board member comments, Trustee Whitney Antrim said that the legacy of CUSD is a place where all students learn and thrive. She congratulated CUSD students on their successes over the last few years.

“I want to thank every single CUSD student for their courage the past two years, for their resilience. They are remarkable,” said Antrim. “Everywhere I go in CUSD, I see kids who are grounded in their truths, being led by incredible educators. Who they are is not up for debate.”

Trustee Esther Valdes-Clayton asked for a moment of pause and reflection to remember the shooting victims of the Uvalde school shooting tragedy. On a related note, Superintendent Karl Mueller shared that the district would be holding summer inter-agency trainings in order to harden school facilities and create safe and secure learning environments. The trainings, which will focus on site safety plans, will be held on school campuses with the Coronado Police Department and the Coronado Fire Department. The work also includes the strategic placement of cameras and implementing safety recommendations from the Coronado Police Department, according to Mueller.

“It’s important that partnership continues to strengthen and that we all collectively work to prioritize the physical and emotional safety of our students,” said Mueller.

Mueller also shared that he attended the “Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,” a CoSA theater production that chronicled the rebuilding of a community in Wyoming after the murder of a gay student. He said it was important for the community to remember that in 2011, when CHS hosted a performance of the Laramie Project, the production drew protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church. But the Coronado Council of Churches aligned to step in and support the students and the production.

“The Coronado Council of Churches came to that performance in solidarity, and stood up in support of our students,” said Mueller. “That was a very special and powerful moment.”

When it comes to academic recovery, Mueller said that he was pleased to share that summer school was set to serve all students who sought remediation. Summer school will be free, and will focus in the areas of math, language arts and biology, according to Mueller.

Several members of the community spoke, including Scot Youngblood, who is running for school board. He shared data from a recent Harvard study which demonstrated the negative consequences of remote learning on the education of students, especially those who are economically disadvantaged.

Laura Wilkinson, a resident and mother of two, said she was concerned about the economic ramifications of bowing to those in the community that seek to impose their values and change Coronado schools.

“I want to implore you to ignore those who want to change Coronado schools, which are already top-performing,” said Wilkinson.

She said that if people are concerned about equity, diversity and inclusion, they should look no further than over the fence at the United States Navy. Wilkinson quoted a Navy document which said, “ As a Navy – uniform and civilian, active and reserve – we cannot tolerate discrimination of any kind, and must engage in open and honest conversations with each other and take action.”

“If it’s good enough for the U.S. Navy, it’s good enough for CUSD schools,” said Wilkinson.

In board reports, graduating senior Declan Dineen gave his final report as ASB President. He thanked the board for the privilege, and shared that he would be attending Colby College in Waterville, Maine, most likely studying economics. He introduced incoming ASB President Luke Johnson who would be taking over next year. He said he could not imagine a better person equipped for the job.

The board voted to accept the annual audit for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 2021, and also approved the CUSD LCAP Federal Addendum Annual Update. Trustees also voted to approve the CUSD 2021 Expanded Learning Opportunities Program Plan, which will provide scholarships to CUSD families for childcare, as well as before-and-after school tutoring for CMS and CHS students.

The Board also approved the tentative agreement between CUSD and its employee organizations, the Association of Coronado Teachers (ACT), and the California School Employees Association (CSEA). Highlights of the agreement include a cumulative salary increase of 11% for both the ACT (3%, 4%, 4%) and CSEA (4%, 3%, 4%) over the three school years ending with 2023-2024, according to Deputy Superintendent Donnie Salamanca.

“We are one of the few school districts in the county to have settled this early in the game,” said Salamanca. “I think it’s a testament to the trust and the collaboration between the district and employee groups have with each other.”

In addition, the board voted to approve a contract for the CHS library renovation. The upgrades should be complete by the start of the 2022-2023 school year, according to Mueller, and will ultimately transform the space. Updates include new charging stations, places where students can Zoom in for a class at Southwestern College, new flooring, new paint, LED lighting, study rooms, collaboration spaces and more.

Finally, the board approved the adoption of new AP chemistry textbooks at CHS, and approved the 2022-2023 school calendar.

Next regular board meeting will be held on June 23.

Edited June 18, 2022 with clarification on salary increases.


Christine Van Tuyl
Christine Van Tuyl
Christine was born and raised in Texas, but moved to Coronado with her family as a teen in 1993. Although initially horrified by surfers, flannels and skateboards, she ultimately grew to love all things So-Cal. A graduate of UCSD, Christine got her first writing job on the KUSI ten o’clock news while simultaneously juggling a reporter position at the San Diego Community News Group. She worked as a public relations professional, a book editor, real estate professional, and a freelance writer before eventually succumbing to motherhood in 2008.A decade later, Christine resurfaced to start the Island Girl Blog, a Coronado lifestyle blog. In addition, she writes a monthly page for Crown City Magazine. Christine loves hanging out with her husband, Ian, and their two spirited daughters, Holland and Marley, who attend Village Elementary and Coronado Middle School. When she’s not working, you’ll find her practicing yoga, spilling coffee at school drop off, meeting friends for sushi, or sailing the Bay with her family and English Bulldog, Moshi. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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