April is Stress Awareness Month

Of course, the teenage years are, almost by definition, stressful. Hormonal and other physical changes in the body, along with fluctuating relationships with peers and parents create tension for all kids as they shift toward adulthood. But without the proper coping tools, these and other pressures of family, friends, grades, or finances can quickly begin to feel overwhelming.

Studies show that America’s children are more stressed today than ever. Suicides among adolescents have quadrupled since the 1950s. One major study revealed that only 36% of seventh graders agreed with the statement, “I am happy with my life.” In the past decade, the use of pharmaceuticals to treat emotional disorders has increased by 68% for girls, and 30% for boys.

It’s hard to pinpoint why kids are experiencing more stress today. Some studies indicate that it’s a result of a greater sense of uncertainty they feel about the future. Others indicate that they are learning from their stressed-out and anxious parents, who are not setting clear boundaries.

Whatever the cause, when young people are stressed, their academic performance suffers, and the rate of depression, anxiety, withdrawal and aggression, along with unhealthy coping strategies like drug and/or alcohol use, increases.

One surprisingly effective toolbox for managing stress involves learning the relaxation techniques of Mind Body Medicine. A typical exercise that helps evoke the relaxation response might be:

  1. Sit or lie quietly in a comfortable position.
  2. Pick a positive word or phrase, for example: relax, one, I am at peace, I am calm, etc.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Relax your muscles.
  5. Breathe slowly and naturally, and as you do, repeat your focus word or phrase as you exhale.
  6. Assume a non-judging attitude. Don’t worry about how well you’re doing. When other thoughts come to mind, simply say to yourself, “Oh well,” and gently return to the repetition.
  7. Continue for 5-10 minutes. You might want to have a clock nearby to see how much time has passed.

Research shows that children and teens who were trained in mind body techniques developed more efficient work habits, and felt less stress and anxiety. They also increased their grade point average, self-esteem and feelings of control.

  • SUHSD Student Health Services, April 2017

California School Dashboard 2017

The state of California released the California School Dashboard, which is the new accountability system for all California schools.  This dashboard contains data on schools throughout the state to provide parents and community members access to a more comprehensive picture of the performance of our schools.  This new framework is based on three principles.

The use of Multiple Measures instead of just one measure
A Focus on Equity for all student groups
Supporting Local Decision Making above state control

You can read more about those foundational principles here and here.

Schools will receive a color coded indicator for each measure that is based on both status and change.  The state measures are:

Suspension Rate
4-year cohort Graduation Rate
English Learner Progress Indicator
English Language Arts Academic Indicator  (grades 7 & 8 only)
Mathematics Academic Indicator (grades 7 & 8 only)
College and Career Indicator (coming in 2017-18
Chronic Absenteeism (coming in 2017-18)


You will note that each measure is given an overall rating based on status and change according to the following system.


This data is from the 2015-16 school year and this spring is a field test.  The new accountability system goes into full effect this fall when the results from the 2016-17 school year will be released.


Key data points from Sweetwater schools:

Suspension Rate is YELLOW and based on a status of 5.7% of our students have been suspended at least once in the  2015-16 school year, which has not changed since the 2014-15 school year.

Our 4-year cohort Graduation rate  is GREEN and increased again last year by 1.2% and now stands at 86.5%.  This is an 8% increase since the 2009-10 school year.

English Learner Progress is GREEN as 77.8% of our English Learners grew at least one CELDT level or were reclassified during the 2015-16 school year an increase of .4%

English Language Arts Academics is YELLOW as our Middle School students are averaging 8 points below Level 3 on the SBAC ELA exam, which is an increase of 16.7 Scale Score points.

Mathematics Academics is YELLOW as our Middle School students are averaging 48.7 points below Level 3 on the SBAC ELA exam, which is an increase of 7.9 Scale Score points.

The Sweetwater school districts fully embraces the spirit of this system that is intended to connect accountability with continuous improvement so that we can enthusiastically celebrate our successes and address our challenges with resolve to support the college and career aspirations of each student in the Sweetwater Union High School District.

Parent Needs Assessment Survey

Dear Parent/Guardian,
Parent engagement is one of the primary goals of Sweetwater Union High School District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Your feedback is critical in assessing that we are providing our parents with the necessary tools to help their child navigate their education and post-secondary plans.

Click on the survey above to assist school counselors to develop parent events that meet your needs and improve our engagement with parents at each school site and across the district. The survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete.

  • Your answers are confidential.
  • Your answers will be combined with those of other parents. No one will be told how you answered.
  • This survey is voluntary. You do NOT have to answer any question if you do not want to, but we hope you will answer as many questions as you can.

We appreciate you taking the time to complete this survey.

Estimado Padre / Tutor,
La participación de los padres es uno de los objetivos principales del Plan de Responsabilidad de Control Local (LCAP) del Distrito de Sweetwater Union High School. Sus comentarios son fundamentales para evaluar que estamos proporcionando a nuestros padres las herramientas necesarias para ayudar a su hijo/a a navegar en sus planes de educación y post-secundaria.

Adjunto a esto hay una encuesta para ayudar a los consejeros escolares a desarrollar eventos para padres que satisfacen sus necesidades y mejoren nuestro compromiso con los padres en cada escuela y en todo el distrito. La encuesta debe tomar 10 a 15 minutos para completarse.

  • Sus respuestas son confidenciales. Sus respuestas se combinarán con las de otros padres. Nadie sabrá cómo respondió.
  • Esta encuesta es voluntaria. Usted no tiene que responder a ninguna pregunta si no quiere, pero esperamos que responda a tantas preguntas como pueda.

Agradecemos que tome el tiempo para completar esta encuesta.

Information Re: Student Transcripts – March 13, 2017

The Sweetwater Union High School District is in its first year of transitioning to a new student information system – Infinite Campus. Transition to this system was necessitated by the sunset of support for our previous student information system. The Infinite Campus student information system will eventually provide students, families, and staff with greater functionality and real time access to grades, attendance, and other important information. While the system becomes fully operational, we have experienced difficulties with the student transcript. We had planned to have a senior transcript available at the end of the fall semester. Data transfers and validation problems occurred between the old and new systems and senior transcripts were delayed until the beginning of the second semester. However, senior and junior transcripts are now ready for students and are updated on a weekly basis. Students and/or parents can request a copy from the school counselor.

We are currently working on the sophomore and freshmen transcripts. At this time, these transcripts are available from Infinite Campus without the grade point average information. We apologize for the temporary inconvenience and appreciate your understanding during this transition time. If your child requires a transcript for a particular program, please do not hesitate to contact the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning at 619-691-5546 or via email ana.alvarez@sweetwaterschools.org.

Climate and Perception Survey – 2017

Parent and Community Member

The Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) is currently administering a survey to parents and community members to assess their perceptions of SUHSD and to receive feedback about various factors related to the district’s overall climate. – Click here to view the survey.  

SUHSD has partnered with Hanover Research to administer and analyze this survey. Hanover Research is an independent market research firm based in Washington, D.C., and is in no way affiliated with any other entity or organization. Your responses to this survey are completely anonymous and will be kept strictly confidential. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Grants and Communications Department at (619) 691-5578. We value your input and appreciate your participation!

El distrito Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD por sus siglas en inglés) actualmente administra una encuesta para padres de familia y miembros de la comunidad con el fin de entender las percepciones del distrito y recopilar sugerencias sobre distritos factores importantes relacionados al ambiente general del distrito. – Oprima aquí para tomar la encuesta .

SUHSD se asoció con Hanover Research para administrar y analizar la presente encuesta. Hanover Research es una firma de mercadeo independiente con sede en Washington, D.C., y no está afiliada a otras entidades u organizaciones. Sus respuestas se mantendrán de manera estrictamente confidencial. La encuesta se contesta en 15 minutos aproximadamente.

Valoramos sus sugerencias y agradecemos su participación.



Click here for staff survey link.

Sweetwater Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF)

February 7th, 2017 @ Otay Ranch High School

The Sweetwater Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) has been showcasing District Science and Engineering projects since 1998, when 50 students from 6 schools participated. Since then, the SSEF has grown to 200 students with 180 projects representing 12 District schools. Through the years over 2,000 students have participated, with more than 500 going on to the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair (GSDSEF). The 2017 SSEF will take place at Otay Ranch High School on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.

Click here for more information.

SweetPD17 In-Service Gathers 2,000 Sweetwater District Educators

The day before 41,000 Sweetwater District students filled the halls and classrooms of their schools after winter break, nearly 2,000 district teachers, administrators and counselors gathered for a professional development in-service, also known as SweetPD17.

The first of its kind, held at San Ysidro High School, Sweetwater Superintendent Dr. Karen Janney called the event a purposeful collaboration designed by teachers for teachers and staff showed district spirit by wearing their “Putting Students First” t-shirts.

“Today is a powerful learning opportunity I hope we all take advantage of, to continue to build and expand ourselves to meet the needs of our students,” said Dr. Janney.

The morning began with a keynote address from Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade author of “Roses in the Concrete” and a 21-year Oakland Public School teacher. Duncan-Andrade is no stranger to Sweetwater District staff and personnel. His charismatic keynote included feedback on the districts mantra “Putting Students First”. “I believe by Putting Students First you first have to put your most vulnerable students first, “said Duncan-Andrade. “The real measure of the quality of a classroom, school or district is how you are able to put your most vulnerable students first and see them succeed.”

The SweetPD17 conference provided teachers, administrators and counselors with quality sessions one would find at a regional or national conference. According to Superintendent Janney, “the expertise is here in our own backyard, and together we can share this know knowledge.”

Nearly 70 breakout sessions were offered to district staff to attend after Duncan-Andrade’s keynote session.Presenters for the conference include Sweetwater teachers, college professors, and industry professionals who shared lessons, strategies, and structures found to be successful. Dr. Fulcher, Assistant Superintendent of Equity, Culture and Support Services hosted a session on “The initial steps of our new and collaborative Equity Walk: If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” Dr. Joseph Johnson, from the National Center for Urban School Transformation hosted a session on Quality First Instruction. And Castle Park High Schools Social Justice Club students led a session on “Breaking the Silence” Supporting LGBT students, families and staff.

“The SweetPD17 conference provided teachers, administrators and counselors with quality sessions one would find at a regional or national conference,” said Superintendent Janney. ‘The expertise is here in our own backyard, and together we can share this know knowledge.”

“Every policy and every practice has to be good for the kids that need us the most. Then we are really on an equity move,” said Duncan-Andrade. “Programs don’t work, people work.”

Click here to view Presenter materials from the event.

Click here to view more photos from the event.