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MUSD schools make history during 2013

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MUSD schools make history during 2013

Nile Garden Elementary celebrates a long tradition – the annual Medieval Faire staged by teacher Michael “King Lewis the Wise” Lewis. The event is an end-of-the-year project of his Social Studies c...


POSTED January 2, 2014 1:01 a.m.

The year 2013 was full of historical highlights for many in the Manteca Unified School District.

Lathrop High School will remember it all throughout its history as the year it received its official accreditation as an institution of secondary education.

On the academic level, accreditation is important because graduates will now have an easier time getting accepted to their college of choice. The University of California and California State University systems do not accept credits from high schools that don’t have accreditation, and while there is a way to go around that requirement, it is quite a lengthy and complicated process. On the college application is a question that asks student applicants if they graduated from an accredited high school. If they answer no, they have to go through a whole level of paper work as well as meetings with intake counselors to make sure that the classes they are taking are actually college prep classes.

“(Accreditation) tells universities and the community at large that your school is doing what it should be doing, preparing kids to college after high school. We’re good till 2019,” said Spartans’ Principal Mike Horwood who shepherded the long process involved.

For Manteca Unified, 2013 will come down in the annals of the school district as the year the district’s $30 million solar-energy system officially went online. Once in full swing, the installed solar systems at 26 elementary and high school sites in Manteca Unified will collectively produce enough energy that will reduce the district’s utility bill by up to 65 percent.

During the same September ceremony when the district’s solar system was officially launched, the new Regional Environmental Studies Center also had its public debut. This, on the other hand, served as a backdrop for another official announcement – the grand re-opening of the then-MUVA Café operated and run by the students in the Culinary Arts program, the first to be offered under the district’s first-ever public vocational charter school. The brand-new Regional Environmental Studies Center built by Manteca-based American Modular Systems will be utilized as an educational facility not only by the vocational students but by everyone in the region as well for educational purposes.

Corollary to the public offering of the MUVA Café services is the official name change of this vocational institution to which was officially approved at the last meeting for the year of the Board of Education in December. The new name is intended to distinguish the vocational school from the district offices so as to avoid confusion between the two being located at the same site. The letters B and E stand for Boundless Education, Beyond Expected. They are words meant to immediately and specifically convey the mission of Manteca Unified’s first ever vocational charter school which the school board initially christened Manteca Unified Vocational Academy.

The year was also one of rejuvenation for the school district as far as the long-vacant Lindbergh School on East North Street and Lincoln Avenue is concerned. It’s the year the architecturally rich and iconic building came to life again.

For many years, the building, which is the structural anchor of the district property that occupies a whole city block, was home to the Manteca Adult School. It is now the new offices for the district’s Health Services department. The move was part of the Manteca Unified’s larger vision of creating a campus on this district site.

The relocation took several weeks to accomplish, starting in July. With the move complete, the district can now expand its campus as originally planned. The vocational academy’s School of Culinary Arts which is now in its second year, shared spaces with the Human Services and other district programs in the portable complex to the west of the district property’s main entrance on West Louise Avenue. At this same complex is the Café which is now open to the public. This move also will allow the expansion of the vocational academy which added the School of Industrial Technology and Design in August. Next year, a third program will be introduced – a First Responder School. is a two-year program, tuition free, which is open to all incoming juniors living in San Joaquin County. In addition to receiving their certification of completion from, successful students also receive their high school diploma at the same time.

Another first in the district during 2013 was a training undertaken by the district’s school bus drivers. More than 40 of them took a day off from their fall break to learn what they need to do in the event of a hijacking or shooting incident while on the job. On Oct. 17, the drivers went to Dublin in Alameda County for a day-long training session with the Sheriff’s Department. It involved two hours of classroom time which included lectures on the history of hijacking, what to expect when the SWAT team arrives, and things that the bus drivers can do to help. The morning session was followed by a four-hour hands-on training that revolved around a make-believe hijacking and shooting scenario.

(Projected enrollments, Manteca Unified schools’ pro-active stance efforts against bullying on campus, where Measure M bond’s $76 million went, and the 2013 Academic Performance to write home about in Part 2 of the three-part series on the school’s year-in-review.)

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