Education Briefs

Central Elementary School named YMCA Principal of the Year

Cindy Marten, the top administrator at Central Elementary School in City Heights, was celebrated as Principal of the Year at the YMCA’s annual Principals’ Recognition Breakfast held on Nov. 3.

She was given the honor by the YMCA of San Diego County, which operates 16 branches and more than 175 after-school programs in the region. The Copley Family YMCA in City Heights nominated her for the award for her collaboration with the Y’s PrimeTime extended day program at Central.

“Principal Marten is by far the most influential, involved, committed and caring principal,” her nomination form stated, according to the San Diego  Unified School District. “Since day one that we got here (Central Elementary), Principal Marten has demonstrated a “WE” attitude by staying in constant communication with PrimeTime. She is a role model to the YMCA and an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Monroe Clark students pledge to say no to tobacco

In honor of the annual Great American Smokeout, 369 sixth graders at Monroe Clark Middle School in City Heights took a public pledge on Nov. 17 to never try tobacco products. The event was organized with the support of Kaiser Permanente San Diego.

Students participated in an hour-long workshop that shed light on the harmful effects of tobacco and marketing strategies designed to lure youth. They learned about the real cost of smoking and the diseases caused by tobacco.

A recent study published in the the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that occasional smoking among teens rose from 67.2 percent in 1991 to 79.4 percent in 2009, while heavy smoking fell from 18 percent to 7.8 percent. One particularly worrisome trend is that the percentage of Hispanic high school students who are heavy smokers rose from 3.1 percent to 6.4 percent.

Childhood obesity rates declining in San Diego County

The fight against childhood obesity in San Diego County appears to be gaining traction. A recent study published by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy found that the percentage of overweight or obese children in the region has declined by 3.7 percent over a five-year period, but 34.5 percent of the local children are still heavier than they should be. The San Diego region saw the biggest drop among counties in Southern California.

Authors of the study focused on California students in fifth, seventh and ninth grades. They used data from the California Department of Education’s Physical Fitness Tests from 2005 and 2010.

Statewide, 38 percent of children are still either overweight or obese, down just 1.1 percent from 2005. Despite the improvement, researchers noted that the current rates are still three times higher among 12- to 19-year-olds and four times higher among 6- to 11-year-olds than they were in the 1970s.

Crawford IDEA wins honorable mention for gear exhibit

At the 7th annual Canstruction San Diego competition where participants create giant works of art with canned food, students from Crawford’s Invention and Design Education Academy in City Heights took home an honorable mention award for its gear design.

Canstruction is created by the Society for Design Administration and organized by San Diego Food Charity Inc. The event took place Oct. 20-23 at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego.

Competing teams built art sculptures that were up to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide with no interior structural support allowed. Once the structures were taken down, the canned goods were donated to local food banks.