Special programs: SES is the only 7-12 Linked Learning school in SCUSD that integrates engineering and science across subject areas.
Clubs: Future Women of Science and Engineering; FIRST Robotics; FIRST LEGO League Robotics; Book Club; Junior ACE and ACE.
The School of Engineering and Sciences’ (SES) mission is to provide students a quality and relevant academic experience that supports their personal learning goals and prepares them for future careers and studies in engineering and sciences. The only 7-12 grade Linked Learning model within the school district, SES integrates engineering and science topics across subject content areas.
SES uses enrichment programs and opportunities to enhance and strengthen hands-on experiences for students such as FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology), FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST Lego League, ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) and Jr. ACE for both middle and high school students. Student pathway outcomes are demonstrated in the areas of effective written and technological communication, problem solving development and organizational/team management.
School of Engineering and Sciences student Gabriela Vargas is featured in a June 6 Forbes.com article.
A senior, Vargas began at SES in seventh grade. “For the past six years I’ve learned the ins and outs of design and manufacturing processes through my school’s integrated curriculum, participating in internships and after-school robotics,” Vargas says in the article.
Vargas obtained an internship at Aerojet Rocketdyne through LaunchPath, an online work-based learning platform. This fall, she will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to study mechanical engineering.
Read the article, written by California Foundation for Commerce and Education President Loren Kaye with Rebecca Sterling of the Linked Learning Alliance, here.
Editor’s note: Great schools begin with great people, and Sacramento City Unified has no shortage of talented educators leading our campuses. The eConnection will be profiling principals new to their campuses this year to help our community get to know our administrative team. We kick off this occasional series today with two high school principals — Jim Hays at the School of Engineering and Sciences and Kal Phan at Hiram Johnson.
Jim Hays, Interim Principal, School of Engineering and Sciences
Hometown: Castro Valley
Very first job: “I was a batting cage consultant. Really, I was a clerk. But I thought of myself as a consultant. I got paid $4.25 an hour and I loved it.”
Education: UC Davis, Bachelor’s of Science, Managerial Economics; University of San Francisco, teaching credential and master’s degree
Previously: Hays served as Assistant Principal at C.K. McClatchy High School and Luther Burbank High School and taught math at Burbank for six years.
What I like best about being principal: “Meeting and greeting the kids as they walk in through the door and making those contacts.”
People would be surprised to know that…: ”I’m a closet ‘Star Wars’ fan. The new movie comes out December 18.”
2015-16 area of focus: ”I want to build the culture around social-emotional learning. They’ve done a lot of work here with the curriculum and I want to make sure it’s infused through all the grade levels so SES stays a nice place to learn.”
Of note: Hays’ first “real job” after graduating from UC Davis was as a staff accountant at a rubber stamp manufacturing company. “I hated it. I didn’t feel like I was making a difference in any way. I realized that I like working with kids so I went back to school.”
Kal Phan, Interim Principal, Hiram Johnson High School
Hometown: Phan grew up in Laos and spent four years in a Thailand refugee camp before coming to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1979.
Education: UC Berkeley, Bachelor’s of Art in Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies; CSU East Bay, teaching credential and master’s degree; Mills College, doctorate
Previously: Phan served as Assistant Principal at Johnson and John F. Kennedy High School.
What I like best about being principal: “Seeing our students succeed. You can get no greater satisfaction in life than seeing them achieving their goals. That’s the greatest joy I can get.”
People would be surprised to know…: “I’m a very normal person. I’ve been unassuming at Johnson but now I’m displaying who I am.”
Of note: Phan had very little formal education when he arrived in Alabama at 15. “We lived in the jungle. We didn’t know America existed. You couldn’t dream about being in a city because we never saw a city.” After arriving in the US, school officials placed him in a third grade classroom with students half his age. “It was challenging. Other kids ridiculed me. But it gave me a chance to learn a few basic things in English and math.” His family later moved to Richmond, California, where Phan started high school. Through hard work, he was accepted into UC Berkeley three and a half years later.
“Every step there was somebody who recognized something in me and supported me. Our kids need that kind of support and help. I’m trying to give back what was given to me.”
Help send Sacramento’s hard-working future engineers and scientists to the 2015 FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis next month.
John F. Kennedy High School’s robotics team has been selected to compete in the prestigious competition — the first Sacramento City Unified School District robotics team to ever make it. School of Engineering and Sciences’ team may qualify for the championships as well, depending on the outcome of its next bout.
These dedicated teens need your help in covering the costs of travel, accommodations and other expenses. Make a contribution at www.gofundme.com/sacrobot.
Your donation could make the difference between just a few select members of a team or the entire team going to the competition. Please help our students represent our great city by supporting our teams with a generous donation.
High school robotics teams in Sacramento work very hard all year long to raise the funds necessary to compete in robotics events. These funds are used to build sophisticated machines and pay for competition entry fees, transportation, food and lodging. When a team is successful, they need additional help in a hurry.
The FIRST Robotics Championship is considered to be the World Series of robotics competitions. A team strong enough and lucky enough to earn a place on this roster must raise funds in a very short time. Many teams find out only a few weeks before the championship event and have to pay higher prices for team airfare and hotel accommodations. Then there is the cost of getting their robots, heavy batteries, tools and team booths to the event. Give now and help make dreams come true!
Several Sacramento City Unified School District high school and middle school students won high honors at the Synopsys Sacramento Regional STEM Fair in Folsom on March 14.
Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School first place finisher Will Gaudreau has been nominated to move on to the California State Science Fair Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition.
Nicholas Wong, John F. Kennedy High School: Second Place, Behavioral and Social Sciences, for “What Factors Influence Currency Bill Tracking?”
Will Buelna, The Met Sacramento: Second Place, Biological Sciences, for “The Effect of Pollution on Plants”
Jacquelyn Davila, School of Engineering and Sciences: Third Place, Energy and Transportation, for “A Coral Safe Sunscreen”
Anthony Cordova, Trejon Croffet and Maribel Campos, John F. Kennedy: Honorable Mention, Energy and Transportation, for “Is Water From Our School’s Drinking Fountain Safe?”
Peter Milam and Darius Gordon-Gregor, School of Engineering and Sciences: Honorable Mention, Energy and Transportation, for “Rock You Like a Hurricane”
Viktoriya Gracheva, School of Engineering and Sciences: Honorable Mention, Physical Science, for “How Many Pulleys”
Julia Heckey and Sophia Sidley, Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School: Third Place, Behavioral and Social Sciences, for “Cellphones”
Maya Steinhart, Sutter Middle School: Honorable Mention, Behavioral and Social Sciences, for “It’s All in the Eye.”
Sydney Walthall, Sutter Middle School: Third Place, Biological Sciences, for “Water Disinfection — Testing a Simple Solar Disinfection Approach”
Sophia Peavy and Lola Jan, Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School: Honorable Mention, Biological Sciences, for “Home Clean Home”
Ben Powell, Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School: Second Place, Chemistry and Health Sciences, for “Tums, Tums Tums Tums Tums”
Alexa Gray and Bridget Herbert, Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School: Fourth Place, Chemistry and Health Sciences, for “Are Your Hands Really Clean?”
Elizabeth Low, Sam Brannan Middle School: Honorable Mention, Chemistry and Health Sciences for “Get the Soap Out”
Will Gaudreau, Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School: First Place, Engineering, for “What’s Cooking?”
Alex DeNuzzo, Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School: Honorable Mention, Engineering, “Why No WiFi?”
Kenny Duong and Tommy Hoang, Sutter Middle School: Fourth Place, Math and Computer Sciences, “Want to Make a Video Game? Here’s How!”
Darin Thao, Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School: Third Place, Physical Sciences, “A Breath of Fresh Air”
Special Award Winners: Will Buelna, Jacob Artho (Sutter), Quincy Johnston (Sutter), Lucy Lindgren (LdV), Jacquelyn Davila, Sydney Walthall
By Joseph Stymeist, Career Technical Education Coordinator
John F. Kennedy High School’s robotics team is headed to the 2015 FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis next month — the first SCUSD robotics team to ever make it to the coveted competition.
JFK’s wild card selection was announced by judges at the conclusion of the team’s successful showing at the Inland Empire Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Rancho Mirage on February 28.
The Kennedy team — plus teams from School of Engineering and Sciences, Rosemont and C.K. McClatchy — can be witnessed in action at the Sacramento Regional event at the UC Davis ARC Pavilion March 19 – 21.
Treat yourself to the spectacle of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in action and see the bright future in technological achievement. There is a nominal fee for parking, but admission to the event is free.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), is an organization whose mission is to inspire youth to become future science and technology leaders. If you have read some of my previous articles regarding FIRST, you will recall that SCUSD teams have been competing in these events since 2007.
The Kennedy robotics team, mentored by teacher Robert Greene, performed very well at Inland Empire Regional FIRST Robotics Competition.
JFK advanced through the quarter and semi-finals, and secured the second place team captain position. This earned them the privilege to choose two other teams to form their three-team alliance for the final rounds of competition. The finals consist of two alliances competing with each another in a best two-out-of-three match competition. Having lost the first round and then coming back with a perfect performance to win the second round, JFK’s alliance team gave the standing-room-only crowd an exciting third and final round to enjoy. Although their alliance fell short of winning that third round, JFK’s team took home honors for Second Place Silver Medalist, the Industrial Safety Award, and the coveted Excellence in Engineering Award.
The Industrial Safety Award honors the team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards. The JFK team was judged on the quality of their safety manual, informative safety presentation, and helpful safety videos. This is the second year in a row that JFK Robotics has earned the Safety Award.
According to FIRST, the Excellence in Engineering Award celebrates an elegant and advantageous machine feature. JFK’s technical drawings, which were bound in a book containing details documenting the design process, allowed the judges to see “inside” the machine, and prompted them to reward JFK students for their excellence in the design and execution of their student-built robot.
Nearing the end of the awards ceremony, the master of ceremonies announced the team names that would be going to the World Championships held in St. Louis, Missouri. Since the three teams on the winning alliance are automatically selected, everyone in the audience knew which three teams would be going. After the last team was named, there was a surprise announcement. Because two of the winning alliance teams had pre-qualified for the championship, two wild card spots became available for the judges to fill. After an excited roar from the audience, JFK Robotics was named as a wild card team.
Students and staff from the School of Engineering and Science and Rosemont High School’s Energy, Science and Engineering Academy visited with state legislators, including Senator Richard Pan and Assemblyman Ken Cooley, during California State University Community Partnerships Advocacy Day at the Capitol.
The focus of the day was to discuss the work of the partnership to increase college access and success, especially for underrepresented students, and build a pipeline of students from high school through the university in the energy, science and engineering pathways.
UC Davis’ School of Engineering celebrated and rewarded Sacramento City Unified’s efforts in C-STEM (computing, science, technology, engineering and math) education at its fourth annual Conference on Integrated Computing and STEM Education held May 18.
Peter Milam, an eighth grader at SCUSD’s School of Engineering and Sciences (SES), was honored as C-STEM Student of the Year.
C-STEM Teacher of the Year awards were given to Dylan Besk and Ryan Mangan from SES, Mafe Aguilar from California Middle School and Clayton Dagler from Luther Burbank High School.SES Principal Matthew Turkie accepted an award recognizing the School of Engineering and Sciences as the C-STEM School of the Year.
Superintendent Jonathan Raymond addressed participants and made note of many of the STEM related accomplishments made by SCUSD schools, teachers and students.
The long list included:
Award-winning elementary and middle school FIRST Lego teams
High school FIRST Robotics teams making it into the semi-final rounds at regional tournaments
Eighth grade teams from the School of Engineering and Sciences that took first and second place at the 2013 UCD C-STEM competition
An award for technical design for a solar powered boat used in the SMUD Solar Regatta.
Robotics teams from several SCUSD schools participated in the initial Northern California FIRST LEGO League qualifying tournament held November 10 at John F. Kennedy High School.
FIRST LEGO League is an international competition that develops critical skills in science and technology in a super-charged learning atmosphere. Small teams of 9 to 14 year olds design, build, program and test an autonomous LEGO Mindstorms robot along with a project developed as a solution to a real world problem developed with experts.
SCUSD schools participating included Martin Luther King Jr. K-8, Will C. Wood Middle School, Sam Brannan Middle School and School of Engineering and Sciences.
Matsuyama Elementary School also sent two teams to the tournament — the only K-6 school in the district to compete.
Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 School’s RoboWizards team walked away with the highest score of the day and the top prize: The Championship Award.
Robotics teams from the School of Engineering and Science and John F. Kennedy High School traveled to Madera during Spring Break to compete in the FIRST Robotics Central Valley Regional competition. The SEStematic Eliminators advanced to the semi-finals before being knocked out of the competition. Both teams received awards: SES won the Creativity Award and JFK won the Industrial Safety Award.
Advanced Placement (AP) college-level courses and exams offer high school students the opportunity to earn college credit, stand out in the competitive college admission process and prepare for the rigors of college through challenging classes.
Our students dream about their futures. They want to be engineers and nurses and chefs and video game designers and senators. They want to go to college. They want successful careers and lives filled with passion and purpose.
At SCUSD we are committed to helping all of our students achieve their dreams. Every school is focused on preparing students for college and careers through rigorous course work, positive relationships with caring adults and meaningful connections to the world at large.
Students in 7th and 8th grade are not included in the GATE identification process in the Sacramento City Unified School District. Students who are identified as GATE in grades second through sixth will continue to be identified as GATE students throughout their middle and high school years. These classes include GATE identified students as well as students who have demonstrated high achievement or high potential.
With rising college costs and an uncertain job market, interest is growing in non-traditional, smaller high schools that put teens on a proven pathway to post-high school success. SCUSD offers five small high schools geared to preparing students for such growing employment fields as health care, engineering, sustainability and design.