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San Diego Unified’s vaccine mandate approved

 February 23, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good morning. I'm Anica Colbert. It's Wednesday, February 23rd charities, struggling with high gas prices more on that next, but first let's do the headlines. San Diego unified school board is moving ahead with its COVID 19 vaccination mandate. The mandate will require all eligible students 16 and up to be fully vaccinated in order to attend classes on campus enforcement was delayed in January by court action, but it'll now begin with the summer session and continue into the fall. According to board trustee, Richard Burrera.

Speaker 2: (00:45)

We are in a position now that we do have the authority as a district to move forward with our, uh, vaccine mandate for students who are 16 and older,

Speaker 1: (00:56)

The school board's action plan approved last night came just a few months before a statewide requirement goes into effect on July 1st, Ukrainians who live in San Diego are watching the events unfolding between Ukraine and Russia with anxiety, stressful,

Speaker 3: (01:13)

Frustrating. Yeah, nervewracking

Speaker 1: (01:15)

That's Nadia and Oscar Hawas who have family and friends in Ukraine. They say I've talked to is staying put no matter what, they're

Speaker 3: (01:25)

Putting up a great face, a great degree. Uh, yeah, we're okay. We're fine. We're cautious. We're not going anywhere.

Speaker 1: (01:35)

They also say they're glad to see NATO. And the European union are standing against Russian aggression. It'll continue to be cold windy and occasionally rainy in San Diego county today, the mountain areas remain under a winter storm warning through 6:00 PM. Tonight up to one foot of snow is expected in some areas from KPBS. You're listening to San Diego news. Now stay with me for more of the local news. You need Prices at the pump are breaking records in San Diego county and nonprofits are feeling the pinch too. K PBS reporter. Tanya thorn has more

Speaker 4: (02:18)

Nonprofits that deliver services are feeling the impact of the high gas prices. Brent Wakefield with meals on wheels. San Diego says many seniors rely on the food deliveries and wellness checks from the organization's volunteers, volunteers that dedicate their time and wallets because they are responsible for their own gas

Speaker 2: (02:36)

Because of the fact that we and our volunteers are every day going over the entire county to deliver meals to, you know, anywhere from 1900 to 2100 seniors. Um, gas costs mean a lot to our business.

Speaker 4: (02:50)

Wakefield fear is that the rising gas prices will drive away volunteers. Many who are seniors on fixed incomes themselves. He says donations in the form of gas cards are always welcome and a nice reimbursement for the volunteers delivering meals, Tanya thorn KPBS news,

Speaker 1: (03:13)

Former San Diego unified school superintendent. Cindy Martin got a promotion in last year to become the deputy secretary of education in the Biden administration that sent San Diego unified searching for a new superintendent. The process narrowed it down to two finalists, Lamont Jackson, who is currently serving as interim superintendent and Susan Enfield. The superintendent of Highline public schools in was state. Today. We bring you an interview with Dr. Susan Enfield. She's a California native who previously worked as interim superintendent of Seattle public schools. She was also named superintendent of the year in 2021 by the Washington association of school administrators, Dr. Enfield recently spoke with K PBS midday edition host Maureen Kavanaugh about her candidacy. Here's that interview?

Speaker 5: (04:03)

Tell us a little bit about yourself and, and why you want to become San Diego school superintendent.

Speaker 6: (04:08)

Sure. So I was born and raised in the, uh, San Francisco bay area. So spent, uh, the majority of my life up until my, uh, mid thirties in California. So California is home. My family is still in the state. And so, uh, I am a big believer that we have to choose our professional home wisely just as we choose our personal home wisely. And, uh, I'm in my 10th year serving as the superintendent for Highline public schools, just outside Seattle. And I've absolutely loved it. And I just felt that in my 10th year, it was time for a fresh professional challenge. And I began looking for a district that again, would be that professional home. Um, the work of public education leading in public education is not work that happens in two to three years. It takes time. And so I wanted to look for districts where I felt the values, um, the practices matched my own, and I believe that's the case in San Diego for so many reasons. Um, leadership stability at the board and staff level, a community that deeply cares about the education of its children and a real prioritization of acknowledging the rich diversity that makes, uh, at San Diego unified in the San Diego community, such a special place,

Speaker 5: (05:26)

You know, despite improvements made under the last superintendent statistics show that black students are still three times more likely to be suspended than white students at San Diego unified. How can San Diego unified do better?

Speaker 6: (05:41)

Well, the, that is a challenge, not unique to San Diego. And it's one that I have grappled with in my current district as well. Uh, I, I will link it back to, uh, first of all, relationships, um, every student needs an adult advocate in their school who knows them, who supports them, who holds them accountable. And I think that if we can put systems in place that allow for those connections to be made, and if we have a relationship with a student, when they make a bad choice, make a mistake, uh, we can actually turn it into a teachable moment. Now, again, I wanna be clear doesn't mean that we don't hold students accountable for behavior, but I think too often, and why we see some of these disproportionate discipline numbers is we punish the behavior before getting to the root of the problem. So making sure that a student is known that we look into why we're seeing the behaviors that you're, that we're seeing, and then figuring out what that student needs in, or order to make better choices and not be disciplined in the way. And I think we also have to be relentless and honest and constantly reviewing our data, uh, to see how we're doing and always do it in the spirit of how can we do better. I never want my principles teachers to feel that, you know, saying we're struggle here. We need additional help, uh, is a problem. That's what I need to hear as the leader of the system.

Speaker 5: (07:03)

COVID 19 of course, disrupted learning for many months, it's still having a big impact on schools and classrooms. Some things about our schools may have changed forever. What lessons do you think have been learned?

Speaker 6: (07:17)

So one example is exactly what we're doing now, the power of zoom, uh, because our families could actually attend meetings without having to find childcare or leave work. We saw family participation and engagement with their, their, uh, school staff for their to support their child's learning skyrocket. And so we've asked all of our departments in schools to make sure that whenever there's any kind of family meeting, whether it's his parent teacher conference or an IEP meeting, that they provide a virtual option so that our families can do that. Because I think that that's, that's a positive, and I think it's important for us to identify positives like that so that we can stain them. And similarly for our students, while we know that the vast majority of students learn better in person, and we want our students physically in school, we do have students for whom virtual learning really worked. And so we, I believe we have an app, an obligation to provide them with that as part of the menu of learning options that they have within our system. So this year we launched our Highline virtual academy, so that students who really wanted to work at more of a, um, independent study self-paced, uh, way could do so

Speaker 5: (08:33)

San Diego unified is actively trying to diversify its teachers and staff to look more like its student body. Did you do anything like that in Washington state? And was it successful?

Speaker 6: (08:44)

Absolutely. So we're a richly diverse school system in Highline. And, uh, we still have an educator workforce that doesn't mirror that now in recent years, we've increased the diversity of our workforce by about 40% because we've really invested heavily in recruitment and retention. We also though have come up with some innovative programs. So one of those is what we call our bilingual teaching fellows program in partnership with Western Washington university, we, uh, reach out to our para educators who are bilingual and they enter a cohort, uh, and do a two year pro completed two year program where they get certified to become teachers. So we can then hire them back to teach in our dual language program. Uh, we think that's important because it's wonderful to support our staff in their learning and growth, and also for our students to see staff, uh, who look like them as we know representation matters. And so this is work that is ongoing, but it's work that can be done.

Speaker 5: (09:45)

Now in Washington state, you oversaw a much smaller school district. I believe it's one fifth, the size of San Diego unified. How do you plan on transitioning from that smaller district to one of the nation's largest districts?

Speaker 6: (09:59)

Just prior to Highline? I was the interim superintendent in Seattle public schools, which is about 50,000 and earlier in my career, I also was the bureau director for teaching and learning support for all 501 districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. So I have worked in systems of, of larger scale before. And, and here's what I know while the scale may be different. The nature of the challenges remain the same, the need to go in and to listen and to build relationships and to have a clear plan where people feel heard and seen and included, uh, to collaborate with families, with staff community, to make sure that every child is receiving the public education that they deserve. Uh, that's the work no matter where you are. And so I believe that my strengths and the systems that I have led will continue to be strengths there in San Diego.

Speaker 1: (10:52)

That was Dr. Susan Enfield speaking with K PBS midday edition host Maureen Kana tomorrow. We'll bring you an interview with the other finalist for superintendent, Dr. Lamont Jackson, a public forum with both finalists is scheduled from noon to 2:00 PM on Saturday at Wilson, middle school, near normal Heights In response to an eye new source investigation, all five P lease departments that were illegally sharing driver's location data have stopped, but as Cody, Delaney reports, two departments, aren't ready to end the practice altogether

Speaker 7: (11:28)

Police and Escondido and LA MEA said they will stop the illegal sharing of license plate data. At least for now, Escondido is reviewing department procedures while LA Mesa is waiting for the results of a lawsuit in Northern California to provide more clarity. Genevieve Jones Wright is a criminal justice reform advocate.

Speaker 8: (11:48)

This entire look, the inquiries that you have made really underscores the need for safeguards.

Speaker 7: (11:55)

Both agencies will let residents know if they decide to resume sharing license plate data out of state for KPBS I'm eye knew source investigative reporter Cody Delaney

Speaker 1: (12:06)

Eye knew source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of K PBS Coming up. Some San Diego students and Barrio Logan are learning to cook in an unconventional culinary classroom. And there's more than just food on the menu.

Speaker 9: (12:24)

By the way we make it is kind of like love. Like you give somebody a hug, they love it. You give somebody food. I

Speaker 1: (12:33)

Love that's next. Just after the break. Not far from downtown San Diego in the heart of Barrio Logan, there are students learning to cook in an unconventional culinary classroom. It's part of the new California culinary arts Institute for adults, but KPBS education reporter mg Perez shows us how children are now the special ingredient in this community of learning

Speaker 10: (13:18)

11 year old, Carlos Sandoval is a chef in the making. He

Speaker 11: (13:22)

Can do the answer right

Speaker 10: (13:23)

Now. His mentor is executive chef instructor. So Robar COHI, who is also the director and founder of the new California culinary arts Institute in the common K of a commercial kitchen. Carlos has learned his lessons. Well,

Speaker 9: (13:38)

When you're plating something, you have to be like organized. You don't just put the food on the plate. You have to be very presentive.

Speaker 10: (13:47)

This sixth grade student spends at least 10 hours a weekend plating and learning the art of cooking in a six week program am now catering to kids ages 10 to 16 during the week, the school has adults working on cooking and baking certifications, which happens to include Carlos' mother Angelica, but it's his father who inspired him most.

Speaker 9: (14:09)

He always wanted to be a chef one day, and then he didn't have that awkward opportunity to be a chef. So I wanna accomplish his dreams as mine.

Speaker 11: (14:21)

You're gonna lean meat against the

Speaker 10: (14:23)

Plato. Chef ARD COHI is an immigrant from Iran by way of Spain. He's been cooking since he was six years old. His is not only a culinary story. It's a love story too.

Speaker 12: (14:35)

Every time that my mother cooked, I look first for the leftovers and I wanted to eat the leftovers because I appreciated for what she had done. And I'm going to turn it on for you and

Speaker 10: (14:47)

Yo Danica mat arena is almost 10 years old. You

Speaker 9: (14:51)

Had to put, um, a little bit fire on it. And it turns like brown.

Speaker 10: (14:56)

She's making crem brew Le on her first day, she tells us her home cooking includes pancakes, cookies, and tortillas among many other talents. Danica day answers too. While living with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, which only makes her dreams to become a chef that much more exceptional.

Speaker 9: (15:19)

I want to have a restaurant. I want to make my own foods and desserts.

Speaker 10: (15:27)

The chef and his team of instructors are here to educate and cultivate young cooks.

Speaker 12: (15:32)

They want to be proud and they want their parents to be proud of it. It is good for them to teach. 'em how to eat healthier rather than, uh, fast foods.

Speaker 10: (15:43)

The new culinary Institute is in the heart of burial, Logan, a neighbor to culture and the crisis of homelessness, the chef plans for or scholarships to include homeless students. And he wants to hire those in need to staff, an outdoor patio restaurant with all proceeds, going to homeless programs and other charities.

Speaker 12: (16:03)

When ability comes in responsibility should kick in as well. If God made me available to have this school, I don't want to be the only one who gets the benefit.

Speaker 13: (16:14)

It'd be nice to learn how to cook other things. Aside from just eggs.

Speaker 10: (16:17)

14 year old, Joshua Mesa is more comfortable chopping boards than food He's successful at mixed martial arts. And now steps out of his comfort zone to try his skills in a kitchen. I

Speaker 13: (16:30)

Think cooking is a way we can express ourselves and the way to get to know a lot of people and without even having to use or learn another language. Cooking is just kind of a universal thing. We all know, and all do

Speaker 10: (16:42)

Cooking with love is also universal. Carlos puts it this way.

Speaker 9: (16:47)

By the way we make it is kind of like love. Like you give somebody a hug, they love it. You give somebody food, they love

Speaker 10: (16:56)

It. Like students like chef.

Speaker 12: (16:58)

Once you touch a food and you touch this food with a passion to care for someone to give with someone, uh, because you love that someone, uh, it tastes different.

Speaker 10: (17:11)

That's a delicious recipe for love and learning mg Perez, KPBS news.

Speaker 1: (17:21)

That's it for the podcast today. As always, you can find more San Diego news I'm Anica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Last night, San Diego Unified passed a plan to require all students 16 and up to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Meanwhile, nonprofits in San Diego are feeling the pinch due to record breaking prices at the pump. Plus, a new cooking school in Barrio Logan is teaching children culinary arts and has plans to help those who are struggling with homelessness.