The Berlitz Guide to Parent-Teacher Conferences

Ed note: In the interest of educating all the parents, especially the new ones who will be attending parent-teacher conferences next fall, we felt that in these slow school months of summer, you might find this humorous and fairly accurate.



Marches to a different drummer


She’s a riot

I can’t stand her


None too bright

Very creative

A moron, actually

Needs to brush up on his people skills


He’s doing just fine

What’s your kid’s name again?

Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS)

Hickman is Teacher of the Year

San Diego City Schools is pleased to announce that H. Dean Hickman, music teacher at Scripps Ranch High School, was awarded High School Teacher of the Year. The following is an excerpt from his commendation.

“Dean Hickman knew from the time he was in high school that his life’s calling was to be a music teacher. He has taught music to City School students for twenty-four years, the past seven at Scripps Ranch High School. Music teacher takes on renewed meaning when you realize all that Dean teaches: two concert bands, a string orchestra, an electronic music class, a jazz ensemble, full orchestra, a pit orchestra, a steel drum band, a small pep band, and small ensembles designed to fit individual student needs.

“His pre-algebra students are not short-changed as he makes time available to tutor them when the need arises. He strives to make sure that students understand the art/academic aspect of music. His teaching style reflects the diversity of student needs. He consistently and expertly balances precision and free-form, order and chaos, step-by-step, and create-on-the-fly. He has committed to his own professional development so he can be the best he can be for his students.

“Parents have stated, `Mr. Hickman’s passion for music and dedication to teaching is an inspiration to his students. He provides them opportunities to develop musical skills in a fun and nurturing environment. They leave his tutelage not only with the ability to play a musical instrument, but a deep appreciation of how music impacts their lives.’

“He also has a passion for working with others involved in teaching music. He shares materials and ideas, mentors others, and team-teaches in particular situations. A colleague states, `Dean is always calm, reliable, productive, and highly effective, and professional in everything he does. His management skills and ability to work with people make him a valuable employee and an asset to every organization.’

“Dean draws the best from his students because he requires the best from himself. A student reflects this way, I have been graciously encouraged through Mr. Hickman’s devotion to broaden our awareness of music’s beneficial elements on the mind, body, and soul. His unique teaching style and compassionate personality allow those people he encounters to respect, admire and recognize his relentless efforts to communicate music positively. “

Congratulations Dean; the award is well deserved. We are most proud of you.

Library Program

Scripps Ranch High students, librarian Gail Richmond, and Spanish teacher, Joan Woods-Petties accepted an award from the United States National Commission on Libraries and Information Science in May. The goal of Sister Libraries, a White House Millenium Council Project, is for U.S. public and school libraries to pair with other libraries worldwide.

The Council selected the San Diego Sister Schools program as the Sister Libraries site. Children in San Diego and their partner schools abroad created books to exchange and to house in their respective libraries. These unique books reflect the visions of the young people involved and are colored with personal touches of their cultures.

The students at Scripps Ranch High authored “Viva San Diego,” a collection of photographs and sentiments which reflect the students’ school and personal lives. Copies of the book will be housed in school and public libraries in Tijuana and other sister cities. Scripps Ranch High is a member of SDISCC “Sister Schools Program,” a partnership with San Diego City Schools that links classrooms in San Diego with classrooms in sister cities abroad. This program promotes literacy, multicultural understanding, and bridges the Digital Divide.

Elementary Schools

Miramar Ranch Elementary School

Shirazi is Teacher of the Year

San Diego City Schools is pleased to announce that Betsy Sue Shirazi, a first grade teacher at Miramar Ranch Elementary (MRE), was nominated as the elementary level Teacher of the Year. A committee, comprised of past Teachers of the Year, selected one teacher for special recognition at each level: elementary, middle and high school.

Betsy has taught at MRE for the past ten years. As described in the Board of Education commendation, “Betsy exudes passion and enthusiasm in the classroom where she holds high expectations for all her students. She is committed to discovering what each individual student needs in order to be successful. She builds upon the strengths that are evident, to develop the areas that need support. Her classroom is busy and alive. Students are engaged in learning in a variety of ways. The respect for students’ uniqueness helps to create an environment in which all students learn, a classroom community is evident, and high expectations are met. One student reported, We have free time to play; it is called literature.

“Betsy’s contributions to the professional community have been many. She co-authored the first-grade standards for History/Social Science and the Resource Guide. She has been a beginning teacher support provider; supervised the scoring of district portfolios; participated as a History/Social Science fellow in conjunction with UCSD; chaired the Diversity Exhibition committee; facilitated the social studies materials review process; and is an Executive Board member for the Greater San Diego Council for the Social Studies.

“She receives outstanding evaluations for her presentations as local, state, and national conferences. As a district mentor teacher, she had offered guidance, materials, support, and coaching to new and experienced teachers. She always is ready to engage in a professional conversation with colleagues. In 1999 she became a Nationally Board Certified Teacher.”

Congratulations Betsy!

Jerabek Elementary School

Jerabek staff already has planned ahead for the new school year. Classroom assignments for grades 1-5 will be posted at 5 pm on Friday, Sept. 1. The courtyard will be open from 5 to 6 pm. Assignments can be read, friends greeted, and punch and cookies enjoyed. If you cannot be at school during that time, the classroom lists will be on bulletin boards positioned by the front gate all weekend.

Kindergarten orientation is Friday, Sept. 1, from 2 to 3 pm. Classroom assignments will be posted for kindergarten students only at this time. Orientation is for the kindergarten student and parents only. Due to space constraints, siblings may not attend.

Although Jerabek is on a year-round schedule it will re-open at the same time as traditional calendar schools on Tuesday, Sept. 5. The school hours remain the same, 9:05 am to 3:30 pm. The modified day is Thursday with hours 9:05 am to 1:15 pm. Students are not to arrive at school before 8:50 am as there is no adult supervision before this time.

Jerabek’s Family Faculty Organization invites parents and grandparents to the volunteer welcome on the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 9:15 am in the school courtyard. Stop by for a treat and sign up to volunteer for your child’s classroom and FFO programs. Some of the upcoming programs include:

  • Back to School Night on Tuesday, Sept. 26;
  • FFO membership drive from Monday, Sept. 18, through Friday, Sept. 29;
  • Art Corps volunteer orientation on Wednesday, Sept. 20; and
  • Wrapping paper fundraiser from Monday, Oct. 2, through Friday, Oct. 13.

The General Mills Boxtops and Campbells Soup Labels collection will resume, so please save these over the summer and deposit them in the decorated cans outside the office door when we return.

The way time flies, the doors will be opening on another outstanding Jerabek year very soon!

Dingeman Elementary School

Brad Callahan New Principal

The San Diego Unified School Board has selected Brad Callahan as the new principal of Dingeman Elementary School. Mr. Callahan, acting principal for the last few months of the school year, has now officially replaced Jan Kaneko, who moved to the San Diego Unified’s Institute of Learning this past spring.

Mr. Callahan has served as vice-principal at Dingeman Elementary the past year. He previously served two years as vice-principal at Marshall Elementary School in City Heights, and taught elementary classes throughout San Diego for ten years prior to his move into school administration. Mr. Callahan is a native San Diegan and a graduate of San Diego State University.

Mr. Callahan’s selection consisted of an involved process, which included input from teachers, staff, and fellow administrators. The process included an initial “paper screening” in which applicants were judged solely upon their written application. The top applicants were then invited to a panel interview. Finally, in keeping with the district’s new emphasis on selecting principals who can function as “instructional leaders” to the teachers in their schools, the top candidates observed classroom teaching (at a school other than Dingeman) and presented an analysis of the teaching styles they observed.

“I am delighted to continue to be a part of the Dingeman learning community, and I look forward to working with parents, students, and staff in the upcoming year,” said Mr. Callahan. Selection is now underway to choose a new vice-principal.

Summer News

This year, Dingeman will be seeing a lot of new faces around campus, but one person that we will be saying goodbye to is Gene Dekerguelen, our head custodian, or as the kids know him, Mr. Gene. Mr. Gene retired this summer and will be greatly missed.

Did you see our Tiger float in the Scripps Ranch 4th of July parade? The float featured our 5th grade graduating class of 2001. Our 5th grade class this year is the first class to attend Dingeman starting as kindergartners back when the school first opened in September of 1995. Special thanks goes out to Brad Callahan and Wayne Toupes for bringing it all together for us!

Keep saving those General Mills Boxtops for Education! Collect them over the summer and send them to school in the fall! We will continue our very successful reward program of providing a little surprise to each child who submits 10 boxtops. Exciting news–now look for specially-marked boxtops on Betty Crocker products, such as Hamburger Helper, Bisquick, and Supermoist Cake Mix–they will now be participating in the Boxtops for Education program! Check out their website at [].

Also, don’t forget about eScrip! You can still help our school raise money during the summer by making your purchases at Vons count. If you haven’t already signed up for eScrip, they are currently doing a promotional. From now until Thursday, Aug. 31, if you register with eScrip, they will send you a gift certificate for $10 to Vons. For more information, you can either call 1-800-592-0942 or check out their web site at [].

School is back in session on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 9:05 am. Immediately after drop off, please join us at the Back-To-School Tea in the multipurpose room. Find out more about Dingeman’s various fundraisers and activities and how you can help. Don’t forget to check out our web site at []. We look forward to seeing both familiar and new faces on the first day of school!

Other Schools

United States International University (USIU)

Register for Fall Classes

Have you been thinking of going back to school to finish a bachelor’s degree, start an MBA or pursue a teaching credential? Fall Quarter classes at USIU begin Thursday, Sept. 7. Classes in most programs are scheduled to meet the needs of working adults. USIU offers bachelor’s programs in a variety of subject areas and master’s and doctoral programs in business, psychology, and education. For more information, call USIU’s office of admissions at 635-4772.

Foreign Coop Agreements

In addition to its international campuses in Mexico City and Nairobi, Kenya, USIU has cooperative relationships with a number of colleges and universities abroad. Among the most successful is a relationship with the International University of Moscow, which brings Russian students to USIU each quarter for English as a Second Language and business courses.

More recently, the University has entered into agreements with several Asian institutions: Wuxi University of Light Industry in China; Bunri University in Japan; and Syungkyunkwan University in Korea. Focusing on executive MBA programs and, in the case of Bunri, cooperation in the field of hospitality management, these efforts complement and supplement USIU’s longstanding commitment to multicultural-multinational education.

New Faculty

The university welcomes two new faculty members this fall. Dr. Louise Kelly has been appointed associate professor of strategic management in the College of Business Administration. She holds the Ph.D. from Concordia University in Montreal and, most recently, she taught at Northeastern University in Boston.

Sally Gill has joined the Department of Global Liberal Studies as assistant professor of communications. She holds the M.S. from San Francisco State University and is completing her doctorate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Dining Hall Expansion

Thanks to a grant from Sodexho Marriott Corporation, USIU’s on-campus food service provider, construction began several months ago on a patio extension for the campus dining hall. The seating capacity of McDonald Hall, as the cafeteria is known, has nearly doubled now that the outdoor dining area has been completed. Students first had an opportunity to enjoy the al fresco dining experience in mid-July. Landscaping of the area is underway and an official opening celebration is being planned for September.

Chabad Hebrew Academy

Imagine building and firing rockets in your Mathematics class. That is just what our eighth-grade class did at Chabad Hebrew Academy. It was all part of an exercise where we put our lessons in algebra into practice. The class was using quadratic equations to find the height that our rockets rose into the Scripps Ranch skies. Besides being educational, it was a lot of fun. All of us took pride in building, painting, and launching our rockets. We timed the flight, and when the rockets reached their vertex, we measured the angle and determined the height achieved. The highest was 1,253 feet.

From our science lessons, we checked Newton’s Laws showing the heavier the load, the less height and speed achieved. Not only did we get to put our new math skills to work, we also had a lot of fun.