Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS)

Class of 2001 PBO News

Rubio’s Night is Wednesday, Jan. 24. Between 4 and 8 pm, Rubio’s will donate 50% of their receipts to the Class of 2001. Bring your friends and family and join us at the Rubios on Scripps Poway Parkway in the new Von’s shopping center. Mark your calendars and we’ll see you there! Thank you, Rubio’s!

Attention senior parents! We need your senior’s photos to decorate a memory room for Grad Night. We also are compiling a memory video for our Grad Night celebration. Please pull out those old albums and gather your recent photos and not so recent photos of your grad with his or her senior friends for our senior video.

Copy Club on Scripps Poway Parkway, Suite B, in the new Vons shopping center has kindly agreed to copy grad photos at a discount of 50% until Sunday, Jan. 14, and then a 20% discount until June 2001. Be sure to get your copies made early so that you can get that greater discount! Any questions? Contact Cat Virca at 653-0247 for more details.

Other fundraisers include:

  • Membership drive: Sonya Bolton at 578-5927;
  • Pavers in SRHS courtyard, $100: Debbie Cerone at 693-8511 or Paula Tilley at 693-9232;
  • Lube, Oil, Filter Change, $20: Anna Gruhl at 693-4621.

We are starting our solicitations for corporate donations. Anyone having a corporate connection or contact that could make a donation of any kind including services, food, certificates, or dollars, please call Pam LaChapelle at 549-0055.

The real fun starts in January. We have lots of work and fun ahead for all of you parents who want to take part in giving the gift of Grad Night to your senior. We need your help in transforming the gym into a New York, New York theme. If you are artistic, have construction or electrical background, have business contacts, or just want to lend a hand, we want you! Meetings are the first Monday of the month in the SRHS faculty lounge at 7 pm. Please call Anna Gruhl at 693-4621 or 271-5543 if you have questions. Meetings in 2001 are on Mondays: Jan. 8, Feb. 5, March 5, April 2, and May 7. Please mark your calendars and join us.

A big thank-you goes out to everyone who already has joined the SRHS PBO Class of 2001! For those who haven’t joined yet, send us $100 and you’re off the hook for any further fundraisers. Send us $300 and we’ll send you a coupon for two oil changes and a ticket for your senior to both the senior breakfast and Grad Night 2001, and we’ll make sure your senior gets a paver.

We welcome donations of any amount! Make checks payable to SRHS PBO Class of 2001. Send to: Sonya Bolton, 10444 Spruce Grove Ave., San Diego, CA. 92131.

SRHS Foundation

The SRHS Foundation thanks the following contributors.

Scholar ($100 or more)

  • Denise and Andrew Allen;
  • Thomas and Ellen Anderson;
  • R.G. Benson;
  • Dennis and Carol Buckley;
  • Jae Chung;
  • Ron Iro;
  • Clarita E. Del Mundo;
  • Tom and Judy Fisher;
  • A. Sandy Fitzpatrick;
  • Dr. John R. and Joyce Magner;
  • Oren and Amy Patashnik;
  • Tomas Romero;
  • Bobbie Samilson;
  • William and Barbara Stroer;
  • John and Nan Thomas;
  • Stella Tom;
  • Dennis and Karen Wood;
  • Young Pyo Ha and Kyung A Ha;
  • Sergio and Valeria Encarnacao;
  • Dinia and Lloyd Green; and
  • Tomas Romero.

Graduate ($250 or more)

  • Gerry and Kathy Alker;
  • America Educate;
  • Francis and Elissa Barber, Jr.;
  • Bob and Lizann Camacho;
  • Chris and Sue Davey;
  • Sharon Levitt Edwards;
  • William and Jan English;
  • Don and Anna Gruhl;
  • Rick and Carlee Harmonson;
  • Karla Herzog;
  • Bob and Pam Hicok;
  • Sharon Edwards Jassy;
  • Chuck and Kathy Mendenhall;
  • Scripps Ranch Athletic Club;
  • Larry and Cindy Swikard; and
  • Karla Hertzog.

Falcon Club ($1000 or more)

  • Rod and Sonya Bolton.

Business Contributors

  • Ignition Solutions, Inc.;
  • Scripps Ranch Old Pro’s;
  • Brian Mooney and Associates;
  • R.A. Snyder Properties Inc.; and
  • U.S. Bank.

Major Business Contributors

  • Qualcomm; and
  • SAIC.

Thanks to all of our other contributors. As of the end of November, we have contributions from over 100 families and area businesses. Please remember to thank our business supporters for their contributions to our high school when you see with them! If you would like more information about the SRHS Foundation, please send email to [[email protected]] or write to SRHS Foundation, 10410 Treena Street, San Diego, CA 92131.


The Scripps Ranch Women’s Club will be awarding its annual college scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to a graduating Scripps Ranch High School female at the end of the school year. An essay will be required, and information and applications will be available in the spring at the high school counseling office.

Falcon Football

Congratulations to head coach Kevin Hedges and all the participants who have just completed the 2000 football season. Parent and community interest was at an all-time high with excellent attendance at all three levels.

The Falcon varsity finished the season with a 7-4-1 record. Along the way, they put together a six-game winning streak with five straight wins coming on road games. But for a questionable official’s call, which resulted in a tie with St. Augustine, the Falcons would have been co-champs in the Eastern league.

In the CIF playoffs, SRHS won its first-round game on the road over an excellent Mt. Miguel team 49-27. The following week Helix, who ended up as the Division II Champions, beat a very tough, never-say-die Falcon team. Congratulations and thanks for a great, entertaining season.

The following players were named for individual awards at the JV/freshman and varsity banquets sponsored by the Scripps Ranch football boosters. For freshman,

  • Coach’s awards: Joe Sassi and Jason Payton;
  • Offensive MVP: Chris Mayville;
  • Defensive MVP: Albert Soto; and
  • Team MVP: Robert Buckley.

for JV,

  • Coaches awards: Minor Schult and Kevin Long;
  • Offensive MVP: Bobby Steinau;
  • Defensive MVP: Colin Coffin; and
  • Team MVP: Dennis Dillard.

and for varsity,

  • Coach’s awards: Chris Petry and Colin Wood;
  • Outstanding receiver: Jonathan Reese;
  • Outstanding offensive lineman: Chris Johnson;
  • Outstanding running back: Clarence Cunningham;
  • Outstanding defensive lineman: Chad Blazer;
  • Outstanding linebacker: Scott Butler;
  • Outstanding defensive back: Tyler Coffin;
  • Jack Kuenly award: Tyler Coffin;
  • Offensive MVP: Nate Coughlin;
  • Defensive MVP: Jason Alazraki;
  • Team MVP: Kellen Winslow, II; and
  • Most improved: Ian Fleming.

For the season recap on all three of our Falcon football teams, visit our website at: [].

Marshall Middle School

January Events

  • Thursday, Jan. 4: PTSA meeting at 3 pm in the lounge;
  • Saturday, Jan. 13: Dance competition from 8 am to 5 pm;
  • Monday, Jan. 15: Martin Luther King’s birthday; no school;
  • Thursday, Jan. 18: Four-year planning at SRHS from 6:30 to 8:30 pm;
  • Wednesday, Jan. 24: Four-year planning at SRHS from 6:30 to 8:30 pm;
  • Friday, Jan. 26: End of the first semester; and
  • Wednesday, Jan. 31: Four-year planning at SRHS from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Literacy Focus

We believe in books. Somehow we want to make childhood better, and we believe that a book given at the right moment can work magic in a child’s life.

Did you know that the standard for reading in the State of California for grades 4-8 is 1,000,000 words per year? By grade 12, students are required to read 2,000,000 words per year! This works out to approximately 2,740 words per day for grades 4-8 and roughly 5,400 words per day for grade 12. Students in San Diego Unified School District are required to read 25 books per school year at or above grade level, which is equivalent to about 1,000,000 words per year.

No one would suggest that the purpose for reading is to count words. What it does make implicit is that we value literacy. Students in our schools must be enticed with compelling literature that will require them to think, question, ponder, explore, and test the ideas presented in text. As teachers, we must implement instructional strategies that will enable all of our students to access the information presented in their reading. Marshall teachers plan instruction daily to include how to read challenging text in addition to the content to be studied.

NBC 7/39 Weather Net Station

Mr. Finley’s science students were recently featured on NBC 7/39’s newscast to announce the selection of our school as a recipient of a Weather Net Station. This fully automated, real-time weather station is complete with temperature sensors, anemometer, wind vane, barometer, rain gauge, light sensor, digital display unit, weather data logger, and computer software. Through the Weather Net, NBC viewers can access real-time weather from other campuses across the world.

Schools that receive this automatically become part of the Worldwide School Weather Net Program that connects more than 4,000 domestic and international school-based weather reporting sites. Marshall is grateful to HNC Software, Pacific Bell, and NBC 7/39 for their generous underwriting of this gift. Mr. Finley would like to thank Principal Rick Novak for his support in obtaining this system. In addition, a special thank-you is extended to technology teacher Hank Berthiaume for his assistance in setting up the program.

Marching Band and Tall Flag Team

Congratulations to the marching band and Tall Flags team! At their last competition of the season, the Tall Flags received first place, the band placed third, and drum major Jessica Reid received second place.

Geography Bee

Congratulations to sixth grader Dhruv Gopinath who is the winner of this year’s Marshall Geography Bee, and to the second-place winner, eighth grader Ariel Patashnik. Dhruv will take a written test to qualify for the California State Geography Bee to be held in Sacramento in April 2001. Good luck, Dhruv!

Semester Grades

Our first semester ends on Friday, Jan. 26. Report cards will be distributed on Friday, Feb. 2. Be sure to ask your child to see his/her report card!


Parents of 8th grade students should have received a letter inviting them to our upcoming four-year planning conferences scheduled for mid-January through February. Most conferences will be held at the Scripps Ranch High School Media Center from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. If you haven’t received a letter, please contact Gloria Vega, counseling secretary, at 549-8840, extension 1207. Please plan to attend this very informative meeting with your son or daughter.

Learning Contracts

Students in grades 6-8 who are at risk of not meeting grade-level standards will be receiving a “Learning Contract” in January. The learning contract documents student academic performance, required interventions, and potential consequences. It serves as an agreement between the teacher, parent/guardian, and student, outlining the responsibilities of each stakeholder in the intervention process. At the end of the year, a Teacher Decision to Promote or Retain form will be completed for each at-risk student.

Students in grades 6-8 were identified as being “at risk” based on their Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test (SDRT) scores. Additionally, sixth-grade students were identified as being “at risk” based on their SAT9 total math score. Learning contracts will be filled out by CORE teachers and then will be mailed home. An informational meeting will be held at Scripps Ranch High School sometime in February. Invitational letters will be mailed home along with the learning contracts.

Six to Six After School Program

There are spaces available in the extended school day program. If you are interested in enrolling your student in this program, pick up a registration form in the office.


The book fair in December was a tremendous success. Students were able to browse through a large selection of popular as well as classic titles. This was an excellent opportunity to build home libraries and purchase books for holiday gifts. In addition, it gave teachers the opportunity to buy books for their classroom libraries.

We are encouraging our students to read the three titles nominated for the middle school and junior high 2000-01 California Young reader medal. They include: Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix, P.S. Longer Letter Later by Paula Danziger and Ann Martin, and Sasquatch by Roland Smith.

This program encourages recreational reading of popular literature. Students who read all three books will vote in March for their favorite title. The winning title will be announced in May. There are three other categories of books that students can read. Information about this program and copies of all of these titles will be available in the Marshall Media Center.

The most important factor in determining a child’s success in school is how well he/she can read. Please encourage your student to read each day. Buy books, give books as presents, visit the public library and the Marshall Media Center as often as possible. This year make a family commitment to reading.

Elementary Schools

Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary School (EBS)

The approval of the physical design of the school was unanimously approved by the Board of Education at their meeting on November 28. Those of us on the subcommittee and those representing the school district are very pleased with this outcome. Dealing with the intertwined issues of setting boundaries for the new school and determining which of the Scripps Ranch schools will retain a 6th grade class in order to mitigate the overcrowding of Marshall Middle School has been very difficult and wrought with complexities.

By Friday, Jan. 12, the Scripps Ranch Schools Committee will submit its suggestions based on the work of the subcommittees. By the end of January, when the Board of Education meets, these issues hopefully will be solidified and once again unanimously approved in favor of a plan that our community has cohesively put forth.

Through these months of planning and meeting to determine where the school would be sited; what it would look like; and how it could physically best function to meet multiple traffic, safety, learning environment, and aesthetic-related criteria, there has been a school philosophy and vision emerging. When Rich Cansdale was appointed principal of Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary aka Scripps Elementary aka EBS, a very wonderful thing began to happen in Scripps Ranch. We were given the opportunity to have a reputable educator, with remarkable energy, enthusiasm, resourcefulness, and infectiously positive attitude help us establish another first-rate Scripps Ranch school. Some of us, who were working with him on the physical design, joined him in his enthusiasm to become collaborators in the planning of this up-and-coming, state-of-the-art, want-to-come-and-learn sort of a school.

As soon as Rich arrived, he began to listen and learn whatever he could about what the community liked about our schools and their programs such as language, theater, Art Corps, choir, band, and before and after-school child care. He has set himself assiduously to finding ways to bring as many of these as he can to EBS. He already has established alliances with community members and businesses who may be interested in providing some financial assistance as partners in education. He has people on tap who have experience setting up these programs and will assist us in bringing them to EBS.

We are interviewing for key teaching and staff positions, establishing a foundation from which we can begin developing our framework for the learning environment and culture of the school. I say “we” because at this point Rich has invited all those who are interested and committed to the planning process of EBS to join him and have a voice in the process. He has allowed it to be an exciting, collaborative effort among all those he terms stakeholders, that is anyone who in some way has a vested interest or stake in EBS.

Some of these stakeholders have come together to form the content design team. This team comprises individuals including Rich, as the principal; Leslie Hine-Rabichow, a consultant and meeting facilitator; Phase I teachers; parents; and community partners. We have met twice already to discuss and define our philosophy, core values, guiding principles, and mission statement that will be used to develop the guiding framework for the development of EBS school content and substance.

By way of initiation into this process, Rich has provided team members with a copy of his thoughtfully composed work plan, 2000-01, some of which was published in the November issue of the SRCA Newsletter, and with a shrink-wrapped copy of Shelly Harwayne’s book Going Public, where she describes her experiences in creating a wonderfully unique and successful school, The New Manhattan School, in a previously defunct Manhattan, New York, elementary school.

The content design team is open to anyone who would like to participate in the meetings, discussions, and two retreats. There still are teachers to interview, programs to help establish, construction of the campus, and set up of the school. There currently are innumerable ways to become involved in this school, a ground floor opportunity, so to speak.

If you cannot make the commitment to the content design team, but have questions, concerns, or are interested in assisting in some way, you can contact Rich. Please join us as we build the teaching and learning infrastructure of EBS. Workshops and retreats have been scheduled on:

  • Saturday, Feb. 3: 9 am to 4 pm;
  • Wednesday, Feb. 21: 6:30 to 8:30 pm; and
  • Saturday, Mar. 10: 9 am to 4 pm, at Miramar Ranch Elementary, room 201.

Please contact principal Rich Cansdale at 693-8593 or by email [[email protected]] to confirm your participation. I anticipate it will be the good fortune of children who can attend this high striving school. Grab your shovels and pack your backpacks!

Dingeman Elementary School

Happy New Year from Dingeman Elementary! We hope everyone had a fun, exciting, restful, and joyous winter break. School was back in session right after the New Year and staff and students alike were hard at work as usual.

Dingeman students have an opportunity to explore many different types of fields through our academy programs. Academy programs are held for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders every Thursday morning. Teachers prepare challenging, interesting, and hands-on activities for each group of students. Students are mixed with other students outside of their regular classroom and take courses such as electronics, fine arts, chocolate, quilting, microbiology, and music. Each course runs for several weeks and then students rotate to the next course.

Thursday academy is part of our Dingeman curriculum that students really look forward to each week. To find out more information about Dingeman’s successful academy programs such as descriptions of each course, check out our website at [] and go to the specific grade-level pages.

Family Art Night was a huge success. A special thanks to all the workshop leaders, parents, and students for their help. Everyone left relaxed with a smile on their face and a beautiful piece of artwork in hand. It’s always inspiring to observe families working together and exchanging ideas; Family Art Night provided the perfect opportunity. Many made comments such as, “How come we don’t do this at home?”, “This is great!”, and “Wow, I guess I can!” The last statement says what it’s all about and what is most important to art education.

Thanks to the FFC for funding a wonderful night of creativity and to the Dingeman community for supporting Art Corps. Also, if you did not get a chance to buy the set of note cards featuring artwork from Dingeman students, order forms will be sent home in January for additional purchases. This fundraiser supports our wonderful Art Corps program.

Yearbooks will be on sale again in mid-January; look for upcoming information in the Tuesday family info packs, or call Melissa Bovet at 578-5247 for more information. Cost is $15 per book, with checks made payable to Dingeman FFC. Please submit your child’s name, grade, teacher, and room number with your order. Remember, this will be our last sale of the school year. This is a great way for your son or daughter to treasure their school memories. Also, a big thank you to all the parent volunteers who are working on the yearbook. We couldn’t get the yearbook published without you!

In December, Mr. Saguil’s fourth-grade class presented a holiday recital with recorders and xylophone to the residents of Wesley Palms retirement village. The production included Christmas and Chanukah songs and readings by some of the students of their favorite holiday traditions. Brandon Dang performed a violin solo of Concerto in A Minor by Vivaldi. The director and accompanist was Garner Saguil and the concert hosts were Ashley Anning and Charlie Showley. The residents of Wesley Palms thought it was a big treat to have Mr. Saguil’s class perform for them and then treated the children to holiday cookies. Kudos all around!

From []

The Dingeman website committee has been active these past few months too, by fine-tuning the current classroom web pages and adding new ones. Of the 44 teachers, 27 of them have active sites and ten more are under construction. As a way of showing our appreciation, the website committee passed out lollypops during November and December to all the children in classrooms that have a website up and running.

Several significant additions made recently to the Dingeman website include: lightning rod worksheets, grade-level pages, and an Art Corps site. More information about each of these exciting, helpful pages is online.

Many of our students enjoy looking up their school work on the Dingeman site. They also enjoy inviting Grandma and Grandpa to check out their schoolwork on the web. We hope that you do!

Make it a habit to check the Dingeman website. We know you’ll be glad you did. If you have a suggestion, please contact me at [[email protected]]. See you on the Net!

Jerabek Elementary School

Here at Jerabek, we are fortunate to have many wonderful opportunities. One of them is for the children involved in the “FLES” program (Foreign Language in the Elementary School) where Spanish is being taught for 30 minutes daily. This program was started in kindergarten two and a half years ago. It is designed to follow the pilot group all through elementary school so that when the children reach middle school they should be biliterate in English/Spanish. It is very exciting to see how quickly these young minds are able to learn another language.

The four teachers work closely together and are writing their own curriculum. We craft lessons that incorporate the cultures of Latin America through song, dance, food, and literature. Much of what the children learn in their primary language is being reinforced in the second language as well. We started out in September with learning about the various sports in the Olympics, using that as an opportunity to express action.

That lead naturally to the human body, including discussions on how to keep healthy. We learned about the five senses and how to express how we feel emotionally. Since there is a skeleton inside; we had fun talking, singing, and dancing as esqueletos. Our students were fascinated with the study of dias de los muertos, a day to honor the memory of loved ones.

As we go along, parents, teacher, and children are seeing how important it is to learn a second language and to learn it during an important “window of opportunity,” when the mind seems to be wired for learning language. This is a beautiful opportunity and the hope is that we’ll all work together to find a way to provide this to all children.

December saw a variety of celebrations of the holiday spirit. The generous Jerabek spirit that filled up the “Toys for Tots” bin, Nutcracker field trips, classes sharing their holiday traditions, and the music of the Jerabek band. The first concert of the school year was in December under the direction of Ms. Rhonda Thompson. The 4th grade, 1st year band has accomplished so much in a few months. The 5th grade, 2nd year band also distinguished themselves, demonstrating how continued practice can shape a musician.

Worried that you and your kids will never lose the weight you’ve gained over winter break? Well, you are in luck. Jerabek begins their new running club on Monday, Jan. 22, every day, from 8:45 to 9 am. Students and parents can get out and do some laps around the field. Kids earn a raffle ticket for each lap they complete. We’ll keep track of each child’s mileage and award prizes once a month for 5, 25, 50, and 100 miles.

Parents can pledge to run or walk at least 5 miles a week and their child gets 10 extra raffle tickets. There also will be prizes for runners up and for the class that runs the most. So get ready, get set, … and run! Do you want to volunteer or donate prizes? Do you have any questions? If so, please call Susie at 586-1242.

Mr. Kasarda’s third-grade class is going to write and perform a play about Chauncey Jerabek, the man our school is named after. If you have any information or anecdotes about Mr. Jerabek, let Susie know at 586-1242 or [[email protected]]. The class is hoping for a springtime debut. Be a part of the next big hit before it reaches Broadway!

Jerabek will be open for six intercession classes from Tuesday, Jan. 2, through Friday, Jan. 12. The school will re-open for all classes on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Keep up your reading!

Miramar Ranch Elementary School (MRE)

Welcome to the real 21st century, not the premature 21st century so wildly celebrated on Millenium Fools Day last year. This year (shall we call it Y2K+1?), will marshal in a vast array of activities and experiences for the staff and students of MRE.

But before we delve into the exciting possibilities of Y2K+1 (or because “K” = “kilo” and kilo is a prefix, shouldn’t that be YK2+1?), let’s review some of the many activities that have happened at Miramar Ranch Elementary School over the past few months.

The MRE fifth graders have been hard at work, raising money for their year-end promotion ceremony and related activities. The hard-working students raised almost $1,200 at their Halloween carnival haunted house and added to their coffers with a cookie sale at the book fair last month. Next up for the enterprising youngsters are a See’s Candy fundraiser in February and a possible T-shirt sale later in the year. For more information, call Denise Ouellette at 566-1540.

An ongoing successful fundraiser is the Box Tops and Earning for Learning program with students dropping off their clipped boxtops from practically any General Mills or Betty Crocker products at the school. You also can help the school when you when you shop at Westfield Shoppingtown UTC and show your receipts at the customer service booth. MRE will receive double points when you do. For more information, contact Lori Erlenbach at 566-2804.

Rolling Reader tutors for are still needed for grades 1-3. Tutors volunteer once a week to read and work with children on a one-on-one basis. One hour a week is all it takes and volunteers attend a short, one-time training session. Becoming a Rolling Reader tutor really does make a difference in the lives of children who need extra reading support and, at the same time, supplements teaching and learning in the classroom. For more information, contact Annette Radogna at 271-0470, ext. 159.

The Miramar Ranch Stars Program, funded by an Early Mental Health initiative grant from the state Department of Mental Health, is showing every sign of success. Some 32 K-3 students participate in the program, which is set up to more positively connect kids with the school though fostering self-esteem and enhancing a sense of belonging. Students meet with a trained adult “special friend” individually and then in small groups. Special friends this year are Mrs. Anna Marquez and Mrs. Mariam Roashan.

Applebee’s, Fin’s, and Hometown Buffet in Mira Mesa have supported Stars with donations of gift certificates and Sony donated a TV/VCR combination and a portable CD player to the Miramar Ranch Stars program. For more information, contact district counselor Clara Cho-Hayashigawa at the school.

And one other bit of round-up information: the school’s gift wrap fund-raiser final figures are in and the generous families and friends of MRE students purchased approximately $12,000 in wrapping paper from them. Ms. Kijak’s and Mrs. Perez’s classes had 100% participation in the fund drive.

The month of December kicked off MRE’s schoolwide author studies series. During December, every class focused on author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who wrote Where the Wild Things Are and other notable children’s books. Each class studied and discussed a Sendak book of their choice and created projects and exercises that analyzed his works. You can see examples of the class projects posted on bulletin boards around the school.

Books by a multitude of other authors were examined a little less seriously at the evening book fair and ice cream social in December. MRE families flocked to the fair to peruse and purchase hundreds of books for gifts for themselves and for others.

The last month of the true 20th century also was the last month for MRE vice principal Michael Cole, who was promoted to Chesterton Elementary School in Linda Vista. In his nearly two years at MRE, Mr. Cole showed a great deal of dedication to improving the quality of learning at the school and was committed to providing a nurturing environment for all students.

On Dec. 11, each grade level was treated to an assembly on manatees, courtesy of the Crystal River, Florida, Manatee Expedition team. The multi-image presentation–which included a 13-foot inflatable manatee–showed manatees’ environments, feeding habits, and sleep and play. You can find out more about manatees and the Crystal River project by going to [] on the web.

Newly appointed principal Tim Timothy Asfazadour held his first parent coffee forum in December for parents to communicate ideas and suggestions and learn more about school issues. The inaugural speaker for the forums was Board of Education representative Sue Braun, who heard from parents on the sixth-grade retention and other issues.

Also in December, the children, parents and staff of Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) were saddened to learn of the unexpected death of SAY coordinator Juli Garcia-Liston. Juli always will be remembered for her love, care, and devotion to the children of MRE. Donations of books to SAY in Juli’s name are still being accepted. Call 271-0470 for details.

The first month of Y2K+1 (or maybe that should be Y2M+1, because “M” is the Roman numeral for 1,000) brings the seventh annual hot air balloon festival on Friday, Jan. 5, with fifth-grade students launching their homebuilt tissue paper hot air balloons. The festival takes place on from 7:30 to 9 am in the upper playground.

Also, beginning in January is the expanded extended day reading program that will include first- through fifth- grade students. This program provides exciting opportunities for children to increase their reading skills while participating in quality learning experiences.

So, as Y2K+1 or maybe that’s Y3+1 (ask a math student to explain it to you) rolls in, you know that if there is ever a group that’s ready to make its mark on a new century, it’s the students and staff of Miramar Ranch Elementary School.