Click on a thumbnail to view larger photos
Dr. David Lopez,
The new building is spectacular
As is the artwork
And the graduates
San Jose Mayor
Battalion Chief Jose Luna
Captain Jose Guerrero reminds us the station
Tornado hits San Jose?
|A Four-Year University on Story Road? Really? National Hispanic University|
|1997 National Hispanic University Grad Victor Rodriguez|
|New Realities at James Lick - Big changes for students below grade level by Joel Herrera|
|Back to School with Strawberry - TV crews swarm Lick lawn|
|Unsung Heroes of Alum Rock Avenue - Ready for your emergency – 24/7|
|“Small (Eastside) Tornado Packs Big Wallop!” Say What????????|
|Longtime Architect (and Neighbor) Marv Bamburg - Designed YSI’s aviary|
|Funding Your Child's Education - Part 3 How much should you save? by Jason Papier|
|You Dig It?|
|Mystical Convergence Brings Dresser Back Home by Ed Allegretti|
|FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)|
Does it only seem as though the Eastside’s treasures retain their “Best Kept Secret” status much longer than their counterparts in other parts of town? And, is it NNV’s imagination that we Eastsiders are kept in the dark – or that we keep ourselves in the dark – even from our area’s most outstanding accomplishments? Case in point: the Mexican Heritage Plaza at King and Alum Rock. It’s been on that corner for years. Is it on your radar screen yet?
Case in point #2: The National Hispanic University at 14271 Story Road. Are you aware that it’s part of our neighborhood? Did you know that it’s an authentic four-year-university with Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation? Did you know that WASC is the premier accrediting body?
Have you been wondering what’s going on inside the big three-story building just completed next to the old single-story (vintage 1959) Fred Marten Elementary School? NNV wondered, too, and visited NHU in mid-August to meet with President David Lopez and to take a tour of the fine structure with its polished interior and crisp new-building aroma.
Dr. Lopez has been president at NHU for just over a year. He earned his bona fides as a tenured professor of education at CSU Fresno where he taught for more than twenty years. He follows on the heels of his mentor, Dr. B. Roberto Cruz, the visionary founder of the university who passed away in September, 2002, not long after the school had attained the coveted WASC accreditation.
Dr. Lopez’ third-story office windows look out over the hills of the Mt. Hamilton range and the crazy-quilt of hill-hugging homes and neighborhoods. He savors the relaxing view of the dusky foothills and says he hopes, one day, to live in the foothill community with his two teenage daughters.
NHU, which has been on the Story Road site in the old Fred Marten building since 1994, has grown to about 700 students taking its university courses. Its mission is “To enable Hispanics, other minorities, women, and others to acquire an undergraduate degree or certificate using a multicultural educational experience to obtain a professional career in business, education or technology.” About 70% of the students are women – many with children. Most students attend evening courses so they can earn a living by day.
“NHU recognized… that Hispanic learners needed something different (such as) an educational system that recognized their learning needs.” A great emphasis at NHU is providing students “with an atmosphere where each person is valued, supported and encouraged toward reaching their utmost potential.” Its “…primary task is to develop students’ skills in critical thinking and inquiry.” Counseling help is readily available. Students don’t experience the intimidation of huge classes common at large universities. About 90% of students receive financial aid toward the $3700 - $4000 annual tuition.
The campus also hosts a public charter high school, Latino College Prep Academy. It has accepted one hundred motivated, economically marginalized, freshmen each year for the last four years from ESUHSD high schools. Those students now number close to 400. Of course, the hope is that LCPA graduates will use their polished academic skills matriculating as freshmen at NHU.
The university has had the help and support of the IBM Corporation, Quaker State Oil Company, the Sobrato Family Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, the Applied Materials Foundation, Safeway Foods and Drugs, SAP Labs, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, Adobe, NEC Foundation of America, Sobrato Development Companies, the Frito-Lay Company, Rudolph & Sletten and others. Several top Silicon Valley and national corporate leaders sit on the NHU Board of Trustees. Click here to see a list of NHU’s Founders Circle, Sustaining Donors and Board of Trustees (pdf file).
The work of many distinguished artists graces the walls of the new building. The 60,000 volume library is a visual delight.
Dr. Lopez says that NHU hopes to partner with SJSU and Santa Clara University to make ROTC training available to its students. Future plans also call for a very ambitious and sophisticated distance learning program. Friday, September 17th will see the official dedication of the new building and expanded campus. See NHU’s web site for details at www.nhu.edu. The community is invited to the 10:00 AM to Noon Dedication Ceremony and to the Noon to 2:00 PM Open House.
Click here for photos of NHU.
Victor Rodriguez didn’t want to be a “statistic.” Some time after earning his associate degree at Evergreen Valley College, he read that Hispanics who earned such two-year certificates, usually went no higher on the education ladder. Victor took this as a personal challenge and set forth on his quest for a four-year degree. He eventually earned that degree – a B.A. in Business Administration from National Hispanic University.
Son of Otilio and Ignacia Rodriguez of Maro Drive, Victor graduated from James Lick High School in 1976. He was a gifted, but not hard-working, student there and won a scholarship to SJSU which he let slip out of his grasp. He took advantage of the Community College system by way of Evergreen Valley and Mission Colleges, and by 1994 he found himself poised to get serious and finish up with a bachelor’s degree. But, where would he go?
By then a family man working fulltime at Amdahl, he noticed NHU in a catalogue of universities while he was mentoring some other employees. NHU had earned Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) accreditation the year before and was on Amdahl’s list of approved universities for their employees.
The stars really came into alignment when NHU moved from East Gish Road to the old, closed Fred Marten Elementary school on Story Road not far at all from the little Rodriguez family’s Eastside home. Victor attended an Open House when the tiny university opened its doors in his neighborhood and was absolutely blown-away by its magnetic, charismatic, founder, the late Dr. B. Roberto Cruz. Victor says that, like Steve Jobs, “Dr. Cruz could sell matches to the devil!” He also met Gloria DeMarco, the chair of the Business Department whose husband had been among Victor’s earlier professors. He was sold on NHU and has never regretted his choice.
It must be said, here, that Victor Rodriguez truly did have choices. He could easily have held his own at Berkeley or Stanford. He is one bright, motivated, engaging guy. He didn’t “settle” for NHU; he found that it offered what he needed – and then some! He found excellence in the professors and programs. He soon realized, “I like being here. I think it’s important. It’s a good place to be.”
NNV asked Victor what he thinks Eastsiders need to know about NHU - that they probably don’t already know. First, he said, students and parents need to know that, even though tuition at NHU is higher than at the community colleges, most students can expect to receive help with scholarships and other financial aid. (As noted in the story above, about 90% of NHU students do receive financial aid.) Secondly, students do not need to have high SATs or GPAs to be accepted at NHU.
Victor pointed out that in order for Hispanics to succeed they must get themselves organized and, until they’re educated, that won’t happen. Si se puede – at NHU.
Click here for a photo of Victor is you missed him in the NHU photos.
NNV Note: Victor, his wife Berta and their three sons live on Decker Way. He now manages support for new products at Apple where he’s worked for three years.
James Lick is facing some new realities as we open the 2004-2005 school year. After not meeting academic performance goals for the last few years, students and staff must implement state mandated intervention programs for students performing below grade level. This article will address some of the changes taking place at James Lick for various student groups, especially as they affect the curriculum.
For Students Below Grade Level
James Lick will have a strong focus on students performing below grade level in language arts and math, especially 9th and 10th grade students as mandated by the state. All 9th and 10th grade students are required to take intervention classes in these two subject areas if they are more than one year below grade level. The upper grades do receive intervention help also. However, the focus is on 9th and 10th grades as required by the state monitoring process.
More than one year below, but not more than two years below grade
If a student is more than one year, and not more than two years, below grade level in language arts and/or math, that student MUST receive one extra period of instruction per subject area. This additional instruction is designed to "intervene" and raise the academic performance of that student as soon as possible. It's possible that a student may fall into this level in language arts only, or math only, or both subject areas. Thus, a student in this category may be assigned one extra hour of either subject, or one extra hour for each subject. When you think about the possible scheduling configurations, realize that a student may have four periods (of a six-period day) devoted to language arts and math. Or, they may have two periods of language arts and one period of math (or vice versa), which then accounts for three periods of their six-period day. Either way, this level of 9th/10th grade student is required to take this coursework and James Lick is required to provide the intervention.
More than two years below grade level:
Unfortunately, many students arrive at James Lick and are more than two years below grade level. This level of student may devote five periods a day to language arts and math. How? Well, 9th/10th grade students in this level are required to take three periods of language arts, two of which are designed for intervention. This same student is also required to take two periods of math, one of which is designed for intervention. In addition, the core math class is delivered at a slower pace (for example, Algebra 1 over two years). Again, it's possible that a student may fall into this level in language arts only, or math only, or both subject areas. For a student more than two years below grade level in both subjects, five periods a day will be devoted to language arts and math. That leaves one period for any other electives or required courses. For 9th graders, PE is required. Thus, it's possible that a 9th grader at this level will take three periods of language arts, two periods of math, and one period of PE--that is the 6-period daily schedule until we accelerate the academic performance of that student.
For students that are below grade, and especially more than two years below grade level, they may be assigned into a 7th period class. James Lick will schedule various students into a 7th period so that they may take other coursework aimed at meeting university entrance requirements. These 7th period courses are also offered to give students some elective choices.
For Students at Grade Level
James Lick still offers Honors and Advanced Placement courses. Students at an advanced level, or at grade level, are still able to meet all the requirements of the University of California while at James Lick. This coming year James Lick will offer Honors English, Advanced Placement U.S. History, Advanced Placement Calculus, Advanced Placement Biology, Advanced Placement Spanish, and Advanced Placement Spanish Literature. In addition, James Lick will offer all coursework required to fulfill the University of California A-G sequence. The A-G sequence is the educational standard for the UC system and private universities such as Santa Clara University and Stanford University.
Other Changes at James Lick
To accommodate all the changes, James Lick increased their language arts and math staffing. Also, a few non-language arts and non-math teachers will help with some of the intervention courses they are allowed to teach. The three (no longer new) administrators assigned to James Lick in January 2004 will continue as Directors and are still raring to go. Our motto is "Achievement And Success, Nothing Less." As Directors we want to get everybody's support in terms of the sense of academic urgency needed at James Lick. We want to meet academic progress targets for two consecutive years, and beyond, so that we can escape the label of an "underperforming" school.
Most of the impact of the intervention coursework has fallen on the elective areas. For example, the Photo teacher transferred to another school and the course is not offered this coming year. However, we still offer other visual and performing arts courses to satisfy university requirements. In another example, the Business teacher retired, the position was left unfilled, and Business courses are not offered next year. In 2004-2005, we'll still offer other electives such as painting & drawing, band, choir, guitar and Central County Occupation Center courses. James Lick believes that we will be able to re-institute the Photo and Business courses as soon as we satisfy the academic growth targets set by the state.
James Lick Wants and Needs Your Help
You have learned about mandated intervention and how it affects our students and staff. We also need to engage our parents and community in elevating the performance of this special school. James Lick belongs to the community and has built a rich history since its inception in 1950. Some of our students are able to say, "My parents AND my grandparents attended James Lick." Please be on the lookout for calls of help--or find a program you want to support and become a "Friend of James Lick" for a year.
For example, English teacher Mike Herring has started his own "Eyes on the Prize" project in which he has selected a group of students to mentor into college. Mr. Herring's personal outreach to these students makes a difference. He volunteers his lunch hours, and other times, to make personal connections with these students. You can help by donating funds, materials, or donating time. In another example, Mildred Llanos-Richards works on Saturdays to provide classes to monolingual Spanish-speaking parents. The instruction includes academic counseling, learning computer skills, learning English, and learning to better support a high school student. Again, you can help by finding a way to support this parent outreach effort. We will create additional opportunities for being a "Friend of James Lick." In another effort, James Lick will convene regular monthly parent meetings for all parents in general and we will provide simultaneous translation in Spanish and Vietnamese. A separate meeting schedule for parents of students in intervention classes will also be held throughout the year. These meetings will focus on helping students raise their academic performance. Finally, a regular parent newsletter is also going to be published this year.
I hope this update is useful. We need to reach out and we need the help of our parents and our community! Let's work together. We look forward to a successful year and we want and need your help. Please call me with your questions and/or comments (or donations!).
You can contact me at (408) 347-4559 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to read our recent NNV interview with Joel Herrera and see his photo, here for our interview with Co-Director Bill Rice and here for our interview with Co-Director Richard Esparza.
On Sunday, August 29, the editorial page of the San Jose Mercury News outlined their "James Lick Challenge" as "A special online project." The editorial began, "Today, we begin a new feature on our Web page, a look at life inside James Lick High School."
"We've chosen Lick because the oldest high school in East San Jose is under a microscope and needs to turn itself around quick."
"The state has never imposed this level of intensive remediation before. The question is, What difference will it make?" (Emphasis added)
They did note that, "Three new co-principals are trying to restore pride to a school dispirited by a bad reputation that, in many respects, is undeserved."
Then they gave a two-line Web address readers were supposed to follow to read the article on the "James Lick Challenge."
We doubt if very many Mercury News readers ran to their computer during the Olympics to find this article so, to make it easy for OUR readers, click here for the editorial and here for the article headlined "The pressure is on."
The article is about the 200 "missing" students, nearly "20 percent of the school," who didn't show up for the start of school this year. The Mercury News ends this article with "Where are the missing?"
We encourage you to send letters to the Mercury News if you don't (or do) like their coverage of James Lick. Letters to the Mercury News can be e-mailed to email@example.com. Please send NNV a copy to JudyET@NNVESJ.org. Their rules for letters are "include a name, address and daytime phone number" (yes, they may actually call you to verify that you sent the letter). Additional options for faxing or mailing letters to the Mercury News are on their Letters page.
We don't have all these bureaucratic rules and your letter is more likely to appear on our Letter to the Editor page quickly. If you'd prefer to ignore the Mercury News, just e-mail the letter to us at JudyET@NNVESJ.org with "Letter to the Editor" in the subject line, please, so we know we can use it without asking you for permission. Please include your first and last name, which will be used with your letter but no contact information will be included.
Lick High School kids are back on campus after a chilly, all-too-short summer, but at least on their first day back some of them were entertained by several visiting luminaries including Wild 94.9 KYLD-FM DJ “Strawberry” on the front lawn of the school.
Lick was chosen as the site for the August 24th kick-off of Mayor Ron Gonzales’ Attendance Challenge to San Jose high schools. The students weren’t exactly dazzled by the Welcome Back messages delivered to them by ESUHSD Superintendent Esperanza Zendejas, City Councilmember Nora Campos, or Mayor Gonzales, but did anyone really think high school kids would be so dorky as to act enthusiastic about three adult-authority-figures cajoling them? Even with cameras from all the local TV stations trained on them, the seventy-five or so students held on to their blasé expressions and gave "cool" responses. (Wouldn’t want to get a nerd label pinned on you on the first day of school, right?)
However, the occasion was totally redeemed by the appearance of Strawberry. Wearing an untucked colorful striped shirt, young Mr. Strawberry, whose name was apparently inspired by his bright red hair and freckles, stepped up to the microphone following the mayor’s improved attendance challenge and suddenly the pall was lifted.
What he had to say might actually sway kids to improve their school attendance because the prize to the San Jose high school with the greatest attendance improvement will be free tickets to a KYLD-sponsored “Bomb” concert for its entire student body next May. Now NNV does not claim to understand the significance of “a Bomb concert,” but the kids got it! KYLD’s “Kings of the Campus” contest could potentially help all the high schools remedy their sometimes sketchy attendance figures which, in turn, will improve their level of state funding (which is based on “Average Daily Attendance”) as well as promote gains in test scores and grades. What a Win/Win for all, thanks to KYLD’s commitment to the betterment of Bay Area communities.
Of course, the NNV community says “Go Comets!” We hope it will be a Lick student who writes a review of the concert for the June NNV.
Click here for photos from this event.
Caskey Country Club Properties, Call Larry and Barbara Caskey at (408) 926-5400
E.M.S. LLC, Environmental
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Windermere Silicon Valley
Properties, (408) 251-5860
Keith Bush, Artist/Sculptor, (408) 923-6666, www.keithbush.org
The financial planning firm PW
Papier, (408) 747-1222
Let’s say that all of a sudden your precious loved one clutches at his chest and his face turns ashen. Or, God forbid, your darling toddler grandchild has slipped out of your house and into the swimming pool or you find that she has tumbled headfirst into a pail of water, is limp and blue after being unable to extricate herself.
Your trembling fingers numbly punch in 9-1-1 on your telephone keypad. You search the back recesses of your brain trying to remember the fragments of emergency response training which have evaporated over the years since you took that Red Cross training course. Or you curse yourself for never learning CPR. Thankfully, the police dispatcher routes your call to the fire department’s dispatcher who guides you with pre-arrival instructions until a crew arrives from San Jose Fire Department Station 2.
Within a very few moments (which no doubt seem an eternity to you) a team of skilled emergency responders is at your side with an arsenal of emergency room equipment and a medicine chest full of the most sophisticated drugs. And they know how to use them. Every firefighter and engineer at Station 2 is trained as an EMT – Emergency Medical Technician. An ALS-trained (Advanced Life Support) paramedic is a part of each crew to provide pre-hospital treatment and medicines. They are ready and willing to take the responsibility of restoring the rhythm of your husband’s quivering heart or quickly performing life-saving techniques to ensure there is no water in that baby’s lungs and that she’s breathing before her ride to the hospital in the ambulance they’ve summoned.
Fire personnel tackle these hair-raising scenarios every day. They rescue us in our most vulnerable situations, calmly ministering to our emergencies, carefully and competently applying state-of-the-art emergency medicine, and tending to us in our very fragile, embarrassing moments.
Chief Luna Invites Everyone to Stop By
“Fire Station 2 is located on one of the East San Jose's busiest streets. I am sure many of our residents pass by the station every day, see the station and wonder what goes on there. I extend an invitation to all of our fellow residents to stop by and satisfy that curiosity. We can share information on fire prevention and emergency protection, or just look at the equipment up close.”
Vial of L.i.f.e.
One reason to stop by Station 2 is to pick up a Vial of L.i.f.e. kit. The Vial of L.i.f.e. is a plastic container used to store your important medical information in the top shelf of your refrigerator so the firefighters and paramedics can find it easily in an emergency. L.i.f.e. stands for “Life saving Information for Emergencies” and the kit includes a magnet for your refrigerator door to alert emergency personnel to look for your Vial of L.i.f.e. Click here for more information.
And don’t hesitate to ask to see the fire engines and trucks while you are there.
NNV recently visited Station 2 at 2933 Alum Rock Avenue to find out more about the superheroes who “man” the station. (As it happens, at present there are only men filling the three shifts at our fire station, but there are indeed 35 women performing the same duties at other SJFD stations.) Arriving at 9 AM on a Saturday morning, we visited with Captain Jose Guerrero who showed us around the station and patiently answered our queries. Captain Guerrero is the leader of the Engine Company during the C Shift and is a long-time resident of our neighborhood. We came away with a much heightened appreciation of just what he and his fellow crew members do for the community.
Although one thinks of “firefighters fighting fires” the great preponderance of calls to Station 2 (the busiest station in the County, by the way) are rescue calls where injured or sick people need help. Those calls are answered by the crew of either Engine Company 2 or Truck Company 2, which are both housed at Station 2.
The thirty-three men of Station 2 are divided into three shifts. All shifts start at eight in the morning and last until eight the next morning. Each man is “on duty” for those twenty-four hours, then has 24 hours off, 24 on, 24 off, 24 on, and then has four days off. This unusual schedule can mean gruelingly long hours during a protracted emergency, but also the freedom to spend a considerable amount of time with family.
Most of the men at Station 2 commute to San Jose. They live in other parts of California or in the counties surrounding ours, or, in some cases they live out of state! Besides Captain Guerrero, Battalion Chief Jose Luna (also C Shift) also lives in the Alum Rock area. They feel very fortunate to live here in the community – most of their fellow firefighters find our housing prices just too steep.
As if it weren’t enough, fire personnel don’t “just” put out fires and rescue people. Each man is responsible for procuring and cooking lunch and dinner on his appointed day. As Captain Guerrero tells it, they all follow the rule, “If you eat – you cook! Your mother doesn’t work here!” They also maintain their equipment and keep the station clean and tidy – they even wash the windows every two weeks. If they had a lawn (which Station 2 doesn’t) the firefighters would mow it!
There is a real family bond among the men. They live, eat and sleep together and they face danger and tragedy together. Some of them nurture their bond by riding bicycles together. They arrive ahead of their shift at 6:30 AM to join Captain Guerrero to ride up Alum Rock Avenue into Alum Rock Park. They zip through the park, pedaling up to Eagle Rock and back down again (whew!) and back to Station 2 before their shift starts at 8:00.
Each man must maintain peak fitness. The exercise machines in the station are available to all the firefighters and the expectation is that they will be used. Each man (and woman) must be able to carry a 150 pound dummy – down a ladder!
These highly-trained men are personable and friendly. They love their work (there is enormous competition to be hired by the San Jose Fire Department) and it shows. They admire San Jose’s commitment to top drawer, well-maintained equipment and skilled personnel. NNV hopes you won’t need to get better acquainted with the firefighters by requiring their professional services, but we do hope you will stop by the station and meet these people we entrust with our lives and homes.
SJFD Coverage Area
OK, if this is the San Jose Fire Department, why do we see their fire engines roaring up Alum Rock Avenue into the unincorporated County areas? And then on up Mt. Hamilton Road? And why don’t we see any County fire engines in this area?
There are several reasons you see the SJFD fire engines outside the San Jose city limits. First, the County of Santa Clara contracts with the City of San Jose for fire protection services in the unincorporated County areas on the east side of San Jose. Thus the SJFD coverage area goes well east of Crothers Road, especially during the winter when the CDF (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) stations further up Mt. Hamilton are not manned.
Second, Alum Rock Park is a San Jose Regional Park and is within the city limits (as is the old Alum Rock Stables property and some other parcels along Crothers Road, including the Country Club Heights townhomes above the Park). Third, all of the fire departments in this area participate in a Mutual Aid plan and often send engines to assist other fire departments when there is a big fire or to back up stations that have already sent out their engines. The CDF planes we see when there is a wildfire in our area is another form of Mutual Aid since the SJFD does not have any planes to drop water or fire retardant.
So why is there a Santa Clara County Fire Department which doesn’t serve this area? The SCCFD is now responsible for some areas which are generally south and west of San Jose but they used to be responsible for our area and, indeed, Station 2 was a County Central Fire Protection District station before 1977. There’ll be more on the history of Station 2 in future editions.
Click here for some photos we took at Station 2 and here for the SJFD Web site.
Next time we’ll tell you more about the firefighters and equipment at Station 2 today and then we’ll cover the history of Station 2 and the 150+ year-old history of the Empire Engine Company from San Francisco which is now at Station 2. Meanwhile, please don’t hesitate to take Chief Luna up on his invitation to visit Station 2 (see sidebar) and you might also take your kids to see the reproduction of the Empire Engine House façade in Kelley Park's History Museum.
(This newsletter is in two sections to reduce the download time for this page)
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Copyright© 2004 by Judy Thompson, 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127
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Copyright© 2004-2005 by Judy Thompson. All rights reserved. Updated 5/8/05.