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Assemblymember Medina Welcomes Community to Open House

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On Friday, March 15, Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) hosted an Open House at his district office in Riverside. Community leaders, friends, and neighbors attended the event in order to visit the District Office and discuss state and local issues with Assemblymember Medina.

“I was delighted to meet with constituents and community members to discuss important issues facing our district and California,” said Medina.

The Open House was a great success with over 250 guests attending the event. The guests had the opportunity to meet the Assemblymember and discuss the work he is doing on behalf of the 61st Assembly District. As well, guests met with the district staff, were given tours of the office, and received a firsthand experience of the District Office.

Medina’s district office is located at 1223 University Avenue, Suite 230, Riverside.

S.B. County Superintendent Delivers State of Education Address

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Incorporating the themes of leadership, advocacy and service, San Bernardino County Superintendent Gary Thomas recently delivered his fifth annual State of Education Address.

“We know that distinguished, bold and active leadership aspires to transform lives through education,” Thomas said. “That advocacy shapes policy, as well the lives of students and families; and with both innovative and responsive service, it keeps students at the heart of our calling and work.”

Thomas delivered his speech at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts in downtown San Bernardino. Greg Devereaux, Chief Executive Officer, San Bernardino County, emceed the event and introduced Thomas.

Several hundred community members attended the event, including elected county leaders, community and business partners, teachers, superintendents, classified staff and board of education members.

In his speech, Thomas introduced video presentations of students, representing different focuses of his speech from college and career preparation and school safety to student activities and programs.

“The students represented today are only seven of the more than 414,000 public school students in our county, and they only represent a microcosm of the diverse populations we serve,” he said. “We are aiming high and see it as a moral obligation to work across boundaries to support the success of every child.”

Strong leadership from the classroom to the administrative offices and across the county’s 33 school districts takes a cooperative spirit, which is taking shape in San Bernardino County. Thomas highlighted the collaborative efforts under way with the countywide vision project, citing the work of Devereaux at the county, as well as newly appointed President Tomás Morales of California State University, San Bernardino, who co-chairs the project’s education element group with Thomas.

“We want to create broad-based support for a countywide goal where all sectors of the community partner to support the success of every child from cradle to career,” Thomas said. “Education lays a foundation for the fundamental future success of our county and region.”

Support from the public in passing Proposition 30 in November is the first good news about the state budget that Thomas can report since he began his tenure as county superintendent.

He also said that Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed new overhaul of school funding through the Local Control Funding Formula finally begins to address the state’s inequitable and outdated system. The proposed formula recognizes the needs of disadvantaged students, but in no way adequately funds the needs of California’s public education system.

“I am hopeful that the tables have turned and we are seeing the beginning of a reinvestment in public education in California,” he said. “One thing is for sure: a strong finance system for our schools is essential to meet the need of preparing students for college and careers, and for schools to succeed in teaching to a more rigorous set of Common Core standards.”

With the new Common Core standards on target to be fully implemented statewide by the 2014- 15 academic year, an emphasis on project-based learning and a heavy emphasis on increasing use of technology will be cornerstones to the new standards.

Along with the new focus through Common Core, increasing graduation rates with the goal of providing more post-secondary educational opportunities for county students will remain top priorities. In a recent Forbes.com report, this region ranked as second- fastest in the country for growing high-tech jobs.

Having strong science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM curriculum in schools is paramount to continuing to fuel the trend for creating more high-tech opportunities. Preparing students for post-secondary educational and career opportunities is one of the strategies County Schools adopted as part of its strategic planning process in 2012.

“The gap between the demands of California’s economy and the supply of college-educated workers represents a serious hurdle to an economically viable future for our state as a whole, and particularly for the Inland Empire region,” Thomas said.

Dropout rates in the county have been decreasing – down to 15.3 percent during the most recently reported data in 2010-11 – while grad rates have been on the rise, up to 74 percent.

On the subject of school safety, Thomas said the collaborative nature in the county among educators, law enforcement and justice have made differences in protecting students and staff on campuses. Being even more vigilant, schools need to rehearse scenarios about active shooters on their campuses just like drills that have been done in the past concerning fires and earthquakes.

“My office has pledged to work with the district attorney, county sheriff and other public safety partners to tackle challenging issues that threaten the safety and well being of our children,” he said.

In conclusion, Thomas wants to provide educational opportunities for all students to achieve.

“At County Schools, we see it as our purpose to lead, to advocate and to serve - on behalf of students and on behalf of you,” he said. “We believe that through this stewardship and through our commitments we can deliver on this promise and transform lives through education.”

Remembering the Life of Minister, Activist Frank Stallworth

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Minister, activist, community leader, and humanitarian Frank Douglas Stallworth was recently remembered during a celebration of his life. Born February 28, 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama, Stallworth departed this life on March 1, 2013.

Frank earned his Bachelors Degree and a Coro Fellowship at UCLA. Returning to Alabama after completing his education, he began his political training as an Administrative Assistant to Rev. John Thomas Porter, who was Rev. Martin Luther King’s only Administrative Assistant and served as a member of the Pardon and Parole Board.

Frank was a resident of San Bernardino for 29 years, where he began his political career in politics. Frank served such honorable officials as Mayor Bob Holcomb, Senator Ruben S. Ayala, Senator and Congressman Joe Baca, Sr. and Senator and Assemblywoman Nell Soto. He was also deeply involved in numerous organizations within his community such as the Sheriff’s Department Information Exchange Committee, Westside Action Group and BAPAC to name a few.

Minister Frank Stallworth, a member of Loveland Church for more than 20 years, served as Chairman of Governmental Affairs under the leadership of Pastor Chuck Singleton.

Frank was married to Vela Gooden Stallworth for 30 years and the proud father of four sons, Frank, John, Daniel and James. He served his family, his community and his church.

Services were held Monday at Loveland Church.

Riverside County's First Female Undersheriff to Run for Riverside City Council

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RIVERSIDE-- Retired Undersheriff Valerie Hill has announced her candidacy for Riverside City Council Ward 3. The Ward 3 seat was vacated after William “Rusty” Bailey was elected Mayor of Riverside.

Hill was the first female to be appointed Undersheriff in the Riverside Sheriff’s Department’s 118-year history. She served under Sheriff Stan Sniff until she retired in 2010. At the time, Hill was responsible for a staff of more than 4,000 people and a budget roughly a half-billion dollars.

“One of the things I learned at the Sheriff’s Department was the value of hard work and tenacity, Hill said. “Although this is my first effort in the political arena, I have served my community proudly for many years. Over the next few months I want to introduce myself to as many voters as possible.”

Retired Riverside County DA Grover Trask, serving as Hill’s Honorary Campaign Chair, said “Val Hill is exactly who we need on the city council. Her integrity alone makes her a qualified candidate.” The long list of Hill’s endorsers includes Sheriff Stan Sniff, current District Attorney Paul Zellerbach, Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione and former Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge.

“I am impressed by Val’s career success and community service,” Loveridge said.

Hill has long been active in a variety of civic and charitable organizations such as Operation Safe House, Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center, Riverside Kiwanis and the Riverside Community College District Foundation. She has also participated in the Soroptimist “Live Your Dream” Conference, designed to help 7th and 8th grade girls identify steps needed to reach their dreams.

Hill was honored in 2002 as a YWCA Woman of Achievement. Two years later she was recognized in Inland Empire Magazine as a Woman Who Makes a Difference. In 2005 Hill received the Soroptimist International Riverside Gold Key Award, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee (LEAC) (2007). Hill was named a 2010 Woman of Distinction by the University of Redlands. She received the prestigious ATHENA Award (2010) from the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. Hill holds a Bachelor Degree in Business and Management from the University of Redlands. She is married, the mother of three grown children and grandmother of four.

CSUSB Honors Pioneering Black Faculty, Staff

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown delivered the keynote speech and eight current and former Cal State San Bernardino faculty members and alumni were honored during the Black Faculty, Staff and Students Association Pioneer Breakfast on Friday, March 8.

Brown, D-San Bernardino, who is a longtime supporter of the university, is herself a CSUSB alumna, having received a bachelor’s degree in geography.

Proceeds from the event supported scholarships and the annual African American Graduation recognition dinner, said Kathryn Ervin, chair of the university’s theatre arts department.

The honorees were:

• Former California Assemblywoman and CSUSB alumna Wilmer Amina Carter, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in education from Cal State San Bernardino. Carter also coordinated legislative and community relations for CSUSB under president Al Karnig.

• Walter Hawkins, retired director of research policy and analysis at the CSUSB department of undergraduate studies.

• Jean Peacock, an alumna, a professor of psychology and former assistant dean in the university’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

• Mildred Henry, the first African American to become a tenured professor at the CSUSB College of Education and now a professor emeritus.

• Lois Carson, a member of the university’s first graduating class in 1967, she also created the Black Future Leaders program.

• Sam Fellows, alumnus, who holds a master’s degree in education and social work and served as a CSUSB adjunct instructor and also as a guidance counselor at Eisenhower High School in Rialto, before retiring from the Rialto Unified School District.

• And Milton Clark, an alumnus and associate professor of English, who is currently the CSUSB associate vice president for undergraduate studies and was recently named the university’s chief diversity officer. Also to be honored were departed alumni and staff members who were campus pioneers.

For more information, call Kathryn Ervin at (909) 537-5892, fax at (909) 537-7016 or by e-mail at kervin@csusb.edu.

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BVN National News Wire