E-News: Nov. 27, 2012

District Named Finalist for “Race to the Top” Grant
New Haven Unified is one of 61 finalists announced Monday by the U.S. Department of Education in the Race to the Top-District (RTTT-D) competition. The finalists -- including only four from California -- were selected from 372 applications submitted by districts across the country vying for nearly $400 million. RTTT-D grants are intended to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps and prepare every student for success in college and careers.
“These finalists are setting the curve for the rest of the country with innovative plans to drive education reform in the classroom,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a news release. “This competition was designed to support local efforts to close the achievement gap and transform the learning environment in a diverse set of districts, but no matter who wins, children across the country will benefit from the clear vision and track records of success demonstrated by these finalists.”
The Department expects to select 15 to 25 winning applications for four-year awards that will range from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of students served through the plan. New Haven’s application is for $28 million. Awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31.
Logan to Play for NCS Championship
The James Logan High School football team will play for the North Coast Section championship Saturday (Dec. 1) against perennial champ De La Salle of Concord. The game will be played at Dublin High, starting at 7 p.m., and will be telecast live on cable (Comcast SportsNet California).
Logan, under Coach George Zuber, improved its record to 12-1 with an impressive 40-7 victory over California of San Ramon in the semifinal round last Saturday. De La Salle, which has won 20 consecutive NCS titles, is 12-0.
The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the Northern California championship, one step away from the state finals.
AMS “Joins” NFL
Through the initiative of physical education teacher Darlene Crittendon, Alvarado Middle School has been selected by the Oakland Raiders to participate in the National Football League’s “Play 60/Fitnessgram” project, Principal Jesus Varela reports.
NFL Play 60 is a national youth health and fitness campaign, focused on making the next generation of kids the most active and healthy by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Fitnessgram is a fitness assessment tool with an educational reporting system. It emphasizes health-related fitness for life by measuring aerobic capacity, body composition and muscular strength, endurance and flexibility. Results, based on age and gender, are available in a report-card format that P.E. teachers can use to educate families and students and encourage healthy behaviors.
"Save the Date" for Foundation Fund-Raiser
The New Haven Schools Foundation, which for the second successive year has pledged $100,000 to help fund co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for District students, has announced Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, as the date for its second annual "Casino Night" fund-raiser.
This year's event is titled “On a Mississippi Riverboat” and the theme is "Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler" (“Let the good times roll”).  Tickets, priced at $100, include a gourmet southern buffet dinner and espresso cart, beverages and 1,000 in casino chips to play blackjack, roulette and other games. A separate Texas Hold 'Em tournament also is scheduled this year. VIP packages and sponsorship opportunities also are available.
The event, from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, will be at the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church, 32975 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Union City. For more information or to request an invitation, contact NHSF Executive Director Barbara Aro-Valle (471-3850 or info@nhsfoundation.org).
Parents Sought to Host Superintendent Meetings
Superintendent Kari McVeigh, who last year met informally with parents at homes throughout the District, would like to do so again starting after the holidays. Parents willing to host the Superintendent and invite a few other parents for casual conversations about school-related topics are asked to e-mail the Public Information Office (rlaplante@nhusd.k12.ca.us).
Names ’n’ Notes
The New Haven Administrators Association has announced its 2012-13 award winners: Vicki Ballard (District Level Administrator), Amy McNamara (Secondary Principal), Abhi Brar (Secondary Co-Administrator), Lisa Metzinger
(Elementary Principal), Marcus Lam (Elementary Co-Administrator), Gina Ciccolo (District-Level Confidential), Sandy Vaughn (Classified Management) and Mireya Casarez (Valuing Diversity Award). … A Zumba fund-raiser to benefit both the wrestling team and the Puente program at James Logan High will be held Friday (Nov. 30) from 7 to 9 p.m. at Guy Emanuele Pavilion. Donation is $10. Free babysitting will be available and refreshments will be available for purchase. For more info or to get tickets, the wrestling contact is Tracie Noriega (tnoriega@nhusd.k12.ca.us) and the Puente contact is Sue Garcia (sgarcia@nhusd.k12.ca.us). …Logan M.E.Ch.A (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) is helping needy families in the area, adviser Gaby Esquivez reports. “We have raised $75 for each of four families, as well as collected non-perishable food items, (and) former Mechistas Lizbeth Martinez and Cynthia Esquivez have donated two turkeys each,” Ms. Esquivez reports. “M.E.Ch.A will be helping out 15 needy families for winter as well.” To help, contact Ms. Esquivez (gesquivez@nhusd.k12.ca.us). … Union City Dental Aesthetics is offering free dental exams, cleanings and fluoride treatments for children 2 to 14 on “Give Kids a Smile for Christmas Day,” Sunday (Dec. 2) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parents are asked to bring one healthy, non-perishable food item for donation to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. For more information, call 429-8300.