New SDCOE blue logo
December 2022
jccs executive director tracy thompson
Grateful for our JCCS Family

Esteemed Colleagues and JCCS Family,

Where did 2022 go? It seems like yesterday when I was drafting my 2021 Breaking Barriers holiday and New Year’s message. As always, I hope you and your family are well, and if traveling, please be safe. Equally important, as many of us will enjoy the comfort of family and friends, please be mindful that this time of year is difficult for many of our students and families, especially those who are in foster care, impacted by homelessness, parenting, unaccompanied, or incarcerated.

This is the time of the year in the Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) where we celebrate academic excellence integrated with visual and performing arts via the Design Jam, which will take place in January. It is also the season for student-led conferences, where students facilitate a meeting with their parent/guardian and school staff on their progress toward their goals using personal learning plans.
The end of the year is also a time that many of us look back and think about the individuals who have had an impact on us in our personal or professional lives – or both. I recently learned about the passing of our first JCCS executive director, and my mentor, Charles "Chuck" Lee. Chuck modeled valuing every voice, shared and servant leadership, and ensuring students get what they need and when they need it.... JCCS Making a Difference. Please keep his wife Geri, a retired JCCS teacher, and their family in your thoughts.
I would also like to take this moment to recognize and celebrate another leader who shares the same character and values, Suzanne Miyasaki, San Pasqual Academy (SPA) principal. Suzanne, who is retiring Dec. 30, has been at the San Diego County Office of education (SDCOE) since 2006, serving in a variety of leadership roles. She started as principal in the East Region, then at SPA for three years before moving into the coordinator role with the CTE/ROP and college and career readiness programs. Suzanne returned to SPA as principal in 2014 where she has served the last eight years. Thank you, Suzanne, for your leadership and dedication to our students.

As the 2022 calendar year comes to an end, I want to express my appreciation for each of you and the support you provide to our Juvenile Court and Community Schools students and their families. I sincerely wish each of you and your families a spectacular holiday season, good health, happiness, and joy.

As usual, I leave you with a quote: “The Joy of brightening other lives, bearing each other’s burdens, easing each other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” – W. C. Jones

With much admiration and appreciation,
Executive Director
Juvenile Court and Community Schools
San Pasqual Academy Student Honored as ‘Remarkable Teen’
SPA student Alurah Chappell
San Pasqual Academy (SPA) senior Alurah Chappell was recognized by the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office for her ability to overcome adversity to succeed at its 5th Annual 25 Most Remarkable Teens awards ceremony.

Alurah received the award for Courage to Overcome: Family Situation. She has been in the foster system for the past three years as a result of a tumultuous family situation. While life on her own has been challenging, she has excelled at SPA where she plays five sports, has maintained a 4.0 GPA, and received 10 awards for academic excellence.

“I am proud of Alurah for everything she has overcome and accomplished thus far in life,” said Christopher Toomey, a counselor at SPA who nominated Alurah. “As her journey continues, I can't wait to see what the future brings. She is a promising young lady with a bright future ahead of her.”

Alurah hopes to attend UCSD and be the first in her family to graduate from college. This past summer she took a college class at Palomar College and also passed a difficult oceanography class. Toomey said she is the first one to volunteer when it comes to community events and has been a role model to her fellow peers.

“While waiting to receive my award the instant thought in my head was, ‘I don't hold a dime to any of these kids around me.’ I felt like I had nothing to offer besides a sob story to tell,” Alurah shared. “After my story was read, I saw tears in people's eyes and even my own started to water. Standing there in the light made me feel like everything was finally coming together and my work and effort were finally paying off. I am very appreciative to all who joined me for my ceremony, and who have been supporting me for years. I would like to thank all the politicians, and even the mayor who I got the chance to meet.”

Share Your Thoughts at the 2023 LCAP Community Forums
Join JCCS in January and February for the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) community forums.

The LCAP is important for JCCS and SDCOE as it provides a roadmap for what we will do to help our students succeed and how we will measure whether those actions are working. It explains how our organization will direct resources to benefit all of the students that attend our Juvenile Court and Community Schools and our special education school, Friendship.

The LCAP is created with input from school staff members, parents, students, board members, and community members, and it’s reviewed by these groups every year. The LCAP process is our opportunity to decide on our priorities locally so all of our students succeed.

Community forums will take place in January and February. Parents/guardians are encouraged to attend the forum in their region. Dates and times are listed on the JCCS LCAP web page.
Student Spotlight: Ke'Shawn
jccs student rep ke'shawn
The JCCS student representative on the San Diego County Board of Education for November was Ke’Shawn, a senior at San Pasqual Academy (SPA).

Ke’Shawn came to SPA behind in credits but worked with counselor Chris Toomey to develop and execute a plan that would put him on track to graduate. Because of his tenaciousness, he is planning to graduate in June and attend Palomar College to pursue his interest in being an auto mechanic.

According to Toomey, Ke’Shawn is an versatile athlete, excelling in football, basketball, and track. He is humble and lets his actions demonstrate his abilities.

Ke’Shawn encourages other students to not to be afraid to lead. He credits his teacher Donald Jackson, Coach Andrew Serrano, and Toomey with helping him get through some tough times and always encouraging him to do the right thing.

Board Member Paulette Donnellon introduced Ke’Shawn at the board of education meeting and said she looked forward to seeing him play in a basketball game this season.
For Schools and Students
Register Now for the 2023 Black College Expo
Mark your calendars for the 2023 Black College Expo scheduled for Jan. 26 from 12:30 to 5 p.m. at Bayview Baptist Church in San Diego. The Black College Expo features historically black colleges and universities with on-the-spot college scholarships and acceptances awarded to qualifying students. Some college application fees may also be waived. There will be informational seminars on financial aid and other helpful sessions. Juniors and seniors of all racial and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to attend this event hosted by SDCOE in partnership with the National College Resources Foundation. Scholarships are available with the deadline of Jan. 16 to apply. Interested students must submit an essay of 500 words or less about “Why is a college education important to me.”
Equity Conference 2023 logo
Equity Conference 2023

The 2023 Equity Conference Jan. 19 to 20 at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego has reached capacity and registration is now closed. However, you can still register your team to join our waitlist. The Equity Conference will be an opportunity to connect, grow, and learn as we work to make our campuses safe spaces for all students, staff members, and families, where they feel honored and valued.
illustration graduation cap and scroll
FAFSA, CADAA Applications Due March 1

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important thing a student can do to get money for college. Most students receive some type of financial aid, such as grants, work-study funds, federal student loans, and certain state-based aid. It’s free to fill out and could be a requirement for some schools and private scholarships. It’s for everyone! And it’s first-come, first-served so finish your FAFSA ASAP.

Another important acronym is the CADAA, which stands for the California Dream Act application. This allows undocumented students, DACA recipients (valid or expired), U Visa holders and students under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), who qualify for a non-resident exemption under Assembly Bill 540, Senate Bill 2000, and Senate Bill 68, to receive certain types of financial aid such as: private scholarships funded through public universities, state administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants. In addition, the California Dream Act, allows eligible students to pay in-state tuition at any public college in California.

Around the County
College rep and student talking about jccs east region resource fair
East Region Hosts College and Career Resource Fair
Students in the East Region had the opportunity to learn more about local college and career options at a recent resource fair. Outreach staff from Cuyamaca College, Grossmont College, the San Diego Community College District, San Diego College of Continuing Education, and Southwestern College provided students with information on their schools as well as other career options.
JCCS East Mesa Staff posing in different era clothing
Getting in the Spirit
Employees at San Diego SOAR Academy’s East Mesa site recently celebrated spirit week, donning costumes in honor of their favorite superheroes, wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and groovin' in clothes from their favorite era.
Get up-to-the-minute information about what's happening at the San Diego County Office of Education and in school districts across the county.