Friday, April 10, 2009


East San Jose City Council member Nora Campos(center) is joined by Mayor Chuck Reed, City Manager Debra Figone(left) and others for the ground breaking of a new state of the art fire station on Alum Rock Avenue.

When shovels hit the ground for San Jose's new fire station #2, it was more than just another groundbreaking for a big city project, it was a symbolic victory for the residents of Alum Rock. The old Station 2, known by firefighters as "The Rock" was growing weary after decades of service and was in need of repair and seismic upgrade. It was a significant safety issue because Station 2 was also the busiest fire station in San Jose, with more calls for service than any other location.
But city leaders differed on how to upgrade the station. Mayor Chuck Reed favored a less costly "retrofit" while District 5 Council member Nora Campos argued for an entirely new modern station house. That's when the neighborhood got involved. People wrote letters, lobbied the city council and showed up in force at council meetings whenever the issue was discussed. The community's efforts paid off when the council was persuaded to support the building of a new station. The 60-plus year old firehouse was demolished, firefighters and equipment were relocated to a temporary firehouse up Alum Rock near St. John Vianney. New construction is now underway. The new station will add to the redevelopment of the Alum Rock corridor and ensure a safe environment for the dedicated men and women of the SJFD, plus provide reliable, upgraded fire protection for the residents of Alum Rock.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


photo by Len Ramirez
Fresh cut grass, sunshine and soccer! Those are the ingredients to a perfect Saturday morning in San Jose. My son's team the sharks did not end up winning this game, but the team played well despite some giants on the other team (under 8? c'mon!) The games were played on the nicely tended fields of Rancho Middle School in Milpitas. Great times.

Friday, April 03, 2009


Norma Rodriguez of Dorsa Elementary wins 2009 Elementary Principal of the Year for Santa Clara County.

By Aurora Quevedo

SAN JOSE, CA – The Association of California School Administrators recently announced Norma Rodriguez, Dorsa Elementary Principal, as 2009 Elementary Principal of the Year. In May of this year, Ms. Rodriguez will be recognized by her peers for her county-wide recognition at the Annual Awards Dinner sponsored by ACSA Region 8. Ms. Rodriguez will also receive her state-wide award at the annual ACSA State Leadership Summit which will be held in Sacramento November 5-7, 2009. "Norma is a shining example of what is possible in public schools when the right person is in the position to lead," said José L. Manzo, Interim Superintendent of Alum Rock Union Elementary School District. "She is a model leader, a fierce advocate for education equity, and an inspiration for educators." During Ms. Rodriguez’s four years of leadership at Dorsa, the school has experienced a positive increase in student achievement, boasting an Academic Performance Index (API) growth score of 715 which represents a total gain of 123 points. Norma has led the school transformation through a systematic and complex program. The Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) strategy embraced by Ms. Rodriguez and her entire school community requires knowledgeable leadership and a strong commitment by all involved. Now in its third year of implementation, RTI2 encompasses high-quality instruction, early intervention and prevention, and behavioral strategies. By using culturally relevant, research-based instruction, and with continuous assessment of student learning and increased parental involvement, student learning is accelerated. The RTI2 program integrates resources from general education, categorical programs, and special education into a comprehensive system of instruction and intervention that best fits the needs of the students. Therefore, the focus of the program is on the individual student and what will best help him or her learn. Through her strong leadership, Ms. Rodriguez has motivated the total school community and harnessed its energy and dedication to make this an effective instructional method, resulting in significant student academic growth. In a recent interview, Ms. Rodriguez appeared humbled and honored by the recognition. She gave kudos to her dedicated staff, supportive parents, and district resource professionals. “Even though ACSA is giving me this award, I feel like it has been a team effort,” said Ms. Rodriguez, acknowledging a student’s education involves teachers, support staff, and parent participation. Dorsa Elementary serves approximately 574 students in grades K-5; its demographics include a high Hispanic/Latino community (92.7%) and a high English learner population (66.9 %). The efforts at Dorsa have significantly narrowed the achievement gap.