Hispanic Youth Leadership Council Coming to Denair High

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Students at Denair High School will again have a chance to participate on a Hispanic Youth Leadership Council after the club unanimously was approved Thursday night by school district trustees.

There are HYLC groups at more than 25 high schools in Stanislaus County, trustees were told during a presentation by organizer Luis Jimenez. He is the senior outreach executive for the Boy Scouts of America is this region, which shares oversight of the HYLC clubs with the Hispanic Leadership Council.

Denair High once had an HYLC chapter, but interest waned and it was folded. Now, said Spanish teacher Sandra Cisneros, there are plenty of new students. Freshman Christian Obando already has been chosen as president. Cisneros will be the on-campus advisor.

HYLC groups are open to all students, regardless of ethnicity. The goals are to foster leadership, community involvement, higher education and cultural awareness among students, Jimenez said. He said HYLC members in Stanislaus County already have contributed more than 18,000 volunteer hours this school year.

The organization’s motto is “Nunca Te Rindas” … “Never Give Up.” There are monthly meetings, social activities, career awareness and college information, speech contests, and community service projects at parks, animal shelter, Earth Day and other events.

In other action, trustees:

  • Agreed to re-open negotiations on salaries, sick leave and stipends with the Denair Unified Teachers Association for a contract that would run from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.
  • Approved the attendance of 11 Denair High students at the FFA Leadership Conference Jan. 20-21 in Monterey. Ag teacher Matthew Marshall said the conference focuses on FFA leadership and showing animals, classroom participation and access to ag classes, and student projects.

Reviewed a proposal for two $75,000 block grants – one each at Denair High School and Denair Charter Academy — to improve college readiness among students. The program could include increased preparation for Advanced Placement testing and assistance to help teens take better notes and foster more efficient study habits, among other ideas.

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Sac-Joaquin Section Committee Reverses Course, Votes to Keep Denair High in Southern League

Submitted by Denair High School

A passionate plea from Superintendent Aaron Rosander, the unanimous support of its league peers and an assist from Riverbank was enough Thursday to convince a Sac-Joaquin Section realignment committee to keep Denair High School’s sports teams in the Southern League.

The unanimous decision — while not final – is likely to have major influence on the Section’s Board of Governors, who will make the ultimate choice later this spring. It also marks a reversal from the committee’s recommendation last month to shift Denair from its longtime home in the Southern League to the much smaller Central California Athletic Alliance.

Denair High Principal Kara Backman, Athletic Director Darrin Allen and school Trustee Ray Prock Jr. joined Rosander at the Section meeting Thursday in Stockton.

Rosander read an emotional letter to the realignment committee retracing the perilous financial path the Denair Unified School District has been on the past five years. He told committee members that the district was nearly taken over by the state because its budget was so far out of balance. Its financial condition negatively affected enrollment, he said, especially at the high school level, which had a predictable domino effect on the competitiveness of almost all its sports teams.

“It was a dark time,” he admitted.

Fortunately, those days are well behind the district now.

“The district has repositioned and rebranded itself within its region, and a budget that was once insolvent is now healthy, with assets, and growing,” Rosander said. “Enrollment that hit a low of 1,249 students a short time ago is now well over 1,300 and climbing.

“Families and students that left the school district are now returning, and athletes who were once considering leaving the district after their eighth-grade school year are now beginning to stay in large numbers. … This year’s freshman class exceeded enrollment projections by some 30 students, representing a 10% growth at Denair High School.” Continue reading “Sac-Joaquin Section Committee Reverses Course, Votes to Keep Denair High in Southern League” »

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Denair to Fight Proposal to Move Coyotes’ Sports Teams From Southern League

Submitted by Denair High School

Denair High School’s sports teams have been a fixture in the Southern League for decades, but that athletic tradition would be lost and the Coyotes moved under a proposal being considered by the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.

The plan would shift Denair from the Southern League to the Central California Athletic Alliance, which also would include Big Valley Christian (Modesto), Brookside Christian (Stockton), Millennium (Tracy), Sierra Ridge (San Andreas), Stone Ridge Christian (Merced), Turlock Christian and Venture Academy (Stockton).

Denair intends to fight the proposal, which would take effect in the 2018-19 school year. District Superintendent Aaron Rosander and Athletic Director Darrin Allen will attend the section realignment committee’s meeting Thursday in Stockton to formally oppose the plan.

“This would make us the only public school in the league,” Allen said. “The  CCAA schools rarely have JV football, so that would hurt us, too.”

The section analysis suggests Denair should be moved because of its size and lack of competitiveness in the Southern League.

The CCAA is a Division VII conference, made up of many of the smallest schools in the section. Denair High has about 275 students; the rest of the proposed CCAA ranges from 100 (Sierra Ridge) to 931 (Venture Academy).

Division VII would include four other leagues in addition to the CCAA: the Central Valley California League, Mountain Valley League, Northern Pacific Athletic Conference and Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League.

The Southern League would remain a Division VI league. Its proposed members are Delhi, Gustine, Le Grand, Mariposa, Ripon Christian (except for basketball), Riverbank and Waterford. Only Riverbank is not currently a member. Orestimba, now in the SL, is proposed to be shifted to the larger Trans-Valley League.

The proposed reorganization is part of a larger review of the 27 leagues across seven divisions from Merced to Sacramento overseen by the Sac-Joaquin Section.

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Class Act! 10 Questions for Diana Hulbert

Submitted by Denair Elementary Charter Academy

Name: Diana Hulbert

Family: Husband, Clark; and three children, Trent, Danica and Vanessa

School: Denair Elementary Charter Academy (DECA)

Subject taught: Transitional kindergarten

Experience and education: Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, 12 years of teaching experience.

What most inspires you about teaching? I am privileged to teach the youngest kindergartners.  TK serves students turning 5 years of age between September 2 and December 2.  I’m inspired by watching my students interact with one another and by the pure joy they find in learning.  By being one of the first teachers the students meet, I hope to set a positive tone that sets students up for success throughout their education.

What are your biggest challenges as a teacher?  Sometimes students have difficult and unstable home lives.  In these cases, learning takes a back seat because basic needs are not being met at home.  It’s truly heartbreaking.  Students who are frequently absent have difficult time keeping up with the class.  There are not enough hours in the day for me to re-teach what was missed.

What is your favorite teaching tool or activity? I love using music and movement to teach!  We sing throughout the day, and I give my students ample opportunities to move.

How has Common Core affected your classroom strategy? Students are encouraged to talk to each other to solve problems.  It’s interesting to hear a five-year old explain how he or she got to a certain answer.

What do you want your students to remember? I’m sure some young students easily forget their earliest school experiences.  I hope my students will remember feeling safe and loved in our classroom. I hope they will remember the joy they brought to me and the fun we had together! Continue reading “Class Act! 10 Questions for Diana Hulbert” »

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January MAC Meeting Posted

Submitted by Denair Municipal Advisory Council

The Denair Municipal Advisory Council has posted the MAC Agenda for their January meeting, scheduled for January 3, 2016. The meeting starts at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the DUSD Board Room.

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