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Advocates Fight To Keep San Pasqual Academy Open

 March 12, 2021 at 11:44 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:01 San Pasqual foster youth Academy fights to stop it from closing down. Speaker 2: 00:05 The students at San Pasqual Academy are devastated. You can imagine the trauma that they experienced. Speaker 1: 00:13 I'm Maureen, Kevin. This is KPBS midday edition. The effort is on to save San Diego's tide pools from climate change Speaker 3: 00:30 To be thinking about sea level rise right now, Speaker 1: 00:34 San Diego arts groups, soldier on through the one year anniversary of the pandemic. That's ahead on midday. Speaker 1: 01:01 Closing San Pasqual foster youth Academy in Escondido is seen by some as part of the state success in placing foster children in homes instead of institutions, but advocates for this first in the nation residential education campus for foster youth are fighting the plan closure, which has recently been moved up to October of this year. Supporters say children at San Pasqual are already in a family like setting and the school has paved success for many former students. Now, an effort is on to carve an exception to a federal law aimed at closing facilities like San Pasqual, San Pasqual Academy director, Tia Morris spoke yesterday at a press conference to implore the community to help keep spa open. Speaker 3: 01:47 The opportunities provided there, allow our kids to live their dreams. I hope that there is some empathy out there. You need to put yourself in these kids' shoes. You really do. And once you step in their shoes and you hear them, you will understand their true voice in their real stories Speaker 1: 02:06 Is Joan Scott, the president of the friends of San Pasqual Academy, and Joan, welcome to the program. Speaker 2: 02:13 Thank you very much for having me Speaker 1: 02:14 For people unfamiliar with San Pasqual. Could you describe what the Academy does and who your students are? Speaker 2: 02:20 Well, we have been caring for foster kids for over 20 years and the success stories are many and our kids come through no fault of their own through circumstances of abuse, neglect, abandonment for various reasons. And San Pasqual has provided them a safe, stable, nurturing environment. And they have told these kids, some of them have been placed. 10, 20, 30 times have been moved to various home after home. By the time they come to San Pasqual Academy, we have told them, you do not have to move away from here. This is your home. We will care for you. We will find your gifts and talents and nurture you. We will let you heal from your trauma that you've experienced, and this will be your family. Speaker 1: 03:18 [inaudible] falls into the category of congregate living facilities for foster children. And that's a category which federal law wants to eliminate. The push is to get kids into the care of foster families. Wouldn't your students be better off in family? Speaker 2: 03:36 Well, ideally that would be the best situation. However, reality is different for many of these kids, many of our kids have been placed previously with faster foster families and have suffered abuse and neglect. Some of them have been placed and have had success stories, but the majority of our kids have been placed home to home, to home in foster families and foster care. And, and when they arrive at San Pasqual Academy, they say, thank you, San Pasqual Academy has saved me because here I am allowed to stay and create my own family here and come home when I go to college. Um, and it is a village. Speaker 1: 04:24 And so many of the kids feel that San Pasqual is their family. So what's been the reaction of students who attend the Academy to its potential closure. Speaker 2: 04:35 The students at San Pasqual Academy are devastated. They have been told that this has been their last placement, uh, in the article of the union, it's said in the, that was, that came out February 21st. It said that the kids would be moved and placed other places as beginning as next, as early as next month, which is now. And you can imagine the trauma that they experienced, just learning about that in a newspaper article. So they have lost trust in adults, as you well know, many adults in their lives have failed them. They have lost this trust. And now they're saying to your more, they say, well, why do we trust you? You weren't going to be here. And where am I going to be? I'm forced to leave my home. And it's just been so traumatizing for them. And the staff, Speaker 1: 05:30 A notable alumni of San Pasqual, civil rights activist. Shane Harris has written to the governor in an effort to keep the school open. What other actions is the school taking to hang on? Speaker 2: 05:43 Well, that's the question. Shane Harris has been a wonderful advocate. He attended spa for two years. And so he knows firsthand what San Pasqual Academy has to offer that it is not a group home and should not be classified as a group home. It is one of a kind in the nation. I know that there's a push to get state officials, federal officials, and the County officials together to sit down and finally figure out how to keep San Pasqual open permanently. It has to start at the County level and appeal to the state. And I think once they realize that San Pasqual Academy does not fall under a group home or congregate care home, that it is a special, unique home and school and community that they can figure out a way to keep San Pasqual Academy open. Speaker 1: 06:37 When will you know the outcome of these efforts to keep the school open? Speaker 2: 06:41 Well, I know next Tuesday, the County board of supervisors is asking the state to extend it, to keep it open. However, we're unsure of that. There's another process of getting another extension, but I think the bottom line is, is that we need to keep this open permanently and finally do what's right, and be the voice of reason our alumni and our current foster kids are appealing to these officials. They're telling firsthand and I quote San Pasqual Academy has saved my life. Other quotes without San Pasqual Academy, I would not have become the successful adult I am today. I mean, they have been letting their stories known and it's very, very impactful and meaningful about how San Pasqual Academy has made a difference in their lives. Speaker 1: 07:36 I want to thank you for speaking to us about this today. I was speaking with Joan Scott, president of the friends of San Pasqual Academy. Thanks for your time. Speaker 2: 07:45 Thank you very much. Speaker 1: 07:51 California's tide pools are under assault from the warming planet, but the fragile ecosystems are getting a boost in San Diego Bay KPBS environment. Reporter Eric Anderson says artificial tide pools are now in place along Harbor Island. Speaker 4: 08:08 The long Bay side sidewalk on San Diego's Harbor Island drive is a favorite for locals and tourists. It's also close to the region's only artificial tide pools. We need to be thinking about sea level rise right now, port of San Diego commissioner Raphael Costa Yano says the interlocking concrete blocks at the base of the islands, armored rip rap seawall create an extra buffer against rising sea levels. This technology obviously benefits the port because we can start to create living shorelines, which will help accommodate sea level rise that will help Armour our coastline with non traditional technology, not just rip rap, but now using technology that will enhance our ecosystems along the Bay. Over the next few months, Costa Yana sea life in the Bay should start to move into the new tide pools and set up house. You'll get allergy, he'll get sea grass. You'll get barnacles, sea anemones among other forms of Marine life. Speaker 4: 09:08 And that all will serve to sort of gel. I biosphere. If you will, over this, um, artificial tidal pool system, in addition to the sea life, the tide pools make the Rocky concrete barrier along Harbor Island, a few feet wider. We are protecting against coastal flooding and we're also making for a greener, uh, more productive, uh, ecosystem here at the port of San Diego. The port of San Diego is investing $200,000 in econ concrete, the Israeli company that developed the idea. If the company builds other projects in California, the port could more than double its investment. It's part of the port's effort to encourage businesses in the ports, blue economy, incubator Speaker 5: 09:53 You're adding infrastructure, the water it'll Speaker 4: 09:55 Sell. It is a co-founder of E concrete. Andy's working on the coastal lock tide pool armor. Speaker 5: 10:01 Why not harnessing your existing infrastructure to provide similar ecosystem services and save this effort of putting an extra structures into work Speaker 4: 10:11 Says the 7,700 pound concrete blocks inner lock to give the structure stability. But he says the key to the project is how the concrete is mixed. Unlike commercial or industrial concrete. This mixture contains ingredients that are plant and animal friendly. What sella calls, salt and pepper Speaker 5: 10:31 Modify the company in a way that they become a better substrate for the abandoned biology to grow on. Speaker 4: 10:37 Corey Puccini is a conservationist working with wild coast to preserve the Coast's unique assets. Speaker 6: 10:43 I know there's more sustainable types of concrete that don't have as many additives, dyes, lie, things of that nature they can see about over time. Speaker 4: 10:50 He welcomes the addition of the artificial tide pools because the natural habitats are under fire from climate change. And he's optimistic. The ocean species will find the new habitats welcoming. Speaker 6: 11:01 Yeah. And actually a lot of Marine life that lives in that tide pool or that coastal zone is highly adaptable. I mean, they already have two. And when I say a day, I mean the species that they live in tide pool ecosystems, they have to adapt daily to rising and falling tides, fluctuating, current temperatures, storms, encouraging of fresh water. So they're highly adaptable species Speaker 4: 11:29 Court officials will check in on the project every six months to measure progress. If it does work and it takes hold in San Diego, there's a pretty good chance that you'll see the technology deployed elsewhere. That could be in California or any place in the world where there's a need for a manufactured shoreline. Eric Anderson, KPBS news. Speaker 1: 11:58 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This weekend marks one year since California enacted the COVID-19 stay at home order live performances and arts events were shut down and their future remained in limbo. But as we've seen over the past year, San Diego artists and performers have found ways to keep creative. This milestone weekend is no exception with plenty of dance, art and music to keep us entertained and connected. Joining me is KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans with all the details welcomed Julia. Speaker 7: 12:33 Hi Maureen. Thanks for having me. First Speaker 1: 12:36 City ballet has an on-demand production of staged ballet performances. Tell us a little bit about these. Speaker 7: 12:43 Yeah, so it's a collection and a nice mix of traditional ballets and some new choreography. I'll set two familiar pieces of music, whether classical or them or popular jazz of Gershwin. It opens with this, the ultra familiar Rhapsody in blue and as stage full of dancers and pretty high octane kind of quirky performance with new choreography by the companies, Jeff Gonzalez, and then they move into some traditional duets like Tchaikovsky's black Swan, Prokofiev's Cinderella, also a lovely take on Samuel. Barber's very familiar Adagio for strings. It's all a really approachable collection. And you could really see the delight on these dancers faces just for getting the dance together on a stage again, Speaker 1: 13:33 City valets Rhapsody in blue program streams on demand through March 21st Saturday, we have some projected photography and an artist talk. We can actually attend outdoors. What can we expect? Speaker 7: 13:49 Correct. Yeah. This is part of the medium festival of photography, which is locally based. And the closing weekend is this weekend. This is a hybrid option. You can view it from home virtually, or you can snag a ticket to view it outdoors at the Lafayette hotel in North park. This is where the festivals usually held on a normal year. And this projection work, isn't just some pandemic compromise or pivot. The photographer. Phillip Schultz Ritterman is known for his projected photography. He'll often layer different images of the same object or a landscape onto itself in this case, the hotel. And it's kind of a way of examining what we know about place and how our perspective as a viewer skews, the objects Ritterman will be in conversation. Uh, on-site with local curator, Kevin Miller they'll tour the works. Uh, I've heard that a perk for attending is that apparently these images are blown up so much that the pixels are large to see and, and walk through. You'll have pixels on your faces. So, um, also don't miss the exhibition of photography by artists living in Mexico's border States, it's called Northern exposure. And that is on view during business hours at coffee and tea collective, just down the street, that's all part of the medium festival of photography. Speaker 1: 15:13 The Phillip Schultz Ruderman's projected photography exhibition, and the artists talk takes place Saturday at 7:00 PM at the Lafayette hotel. And while we're on the subject of outdoor art Sunday afternoon, there's an outdoor screening of a new set of dance films made right here to commemorate a year of social distancing. How can we attend that? Speaker 7: 15:35 Yeah, so it says disco riots a year of distance, uh, play on the word. Uh, it's a contemporary dance company. They commissioned reflective works from six of their dancers and these pieces run the gamut of everything we've gone through this year from trying to find a meditative center while listening to news broadcasts and mincing herbs in the kitchen. That one almost sounds too real to me, to also grieving the loss of seeing people in person to desperately seeking joy. However, we can find it. I know I've talked this genre of dance, film up a lot in the space, but I'm really loving it. Dance film lately. And I've been finding a lot of comfort from watching dance. So I asked disco riots, artistic director, it's Zakia, Mahler Salinas a little bit about why that is here's. Lakia. Speaker 2: 16:31 One of the things that I find most important about dance is that it's an embodied art practice, which means that like I have a body and I'm doing whatever, you know, dancing that I'm doing. But you as an audience member also have a body. And even if the bodies are different, something about watching another human being processed through something in movement, we get this thing called kinesthetic empathy from that where we have some space hopefully to reflect or see ourselves reflected in some way in what's happening, Speaker 1: 17:04 Disco riots a year of dis dance screens Sunday afternoon at cinema under the stars or virtually on Tuesday. And finally what's on stage at the Casbah this weekend. Speaker 7: 17:17 Yeah. I'll leave you with a little out country there. Local steadfast rocker, grandpa Dru will host his famous and beloved flim-flam review from the empty Casbah live streamed, right to you on Twitch on Saturday night. And I've picked a pretty wistful and sad song here. This is wishes my grandpa drew from his 2012 album, but for the most part, it's impossible to be in a bad mood. When you're at a grandkid, you drew will be joined by a whole host guests and bandmates Speaker 3: 18:07 [inaudible] grandpa Drew's flim-flam, Speaker 1: 18:10 Um, review live streams from the Casbah Saturday at eight for more arts events or to sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS arts newsletter go to I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. Julia. Thank you. Thank you, Maureen. Have a good week.

Supporters of the San Pasqual Academy in Escondido are calling on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to help the school for foster youth stay open. Plus, artificial tide pools may help keep rising sea levels from flooding the land around San Diego Bay. And our weekend arts picks: City Ballet, Philipp Scholz Rittermann, a dance film reflection on a year of closures and the acoustic rock of Grampadrew.