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NEW TASK FORCE FOCUSES ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS IN SAN BERNARDINO CITY SCHOOLS

A new task force made up of parents, educators, and community leaders has begun focusing on ways to boost the academic success of the San Bernardino City Unified’s nearly 8,000 African-American students.

Among the first goals of the Task Force for African American Student Achievement is surveying parents about the District’s parent and community engagement practices. The task force, headed by the Rev. Samuel Casey of Communities Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE), hopes to establish more community engagement opportunities that will help parents and guardians work with the District as it strives to increase the number of African-American high school graduates who are ready to succeed in college and careers.

Formed late last year, the task force represents a spectrum of grassroots community organizations, among them the Westside Action Group, Young Visionaries, BLU Educational Foundation, the San Bernardino chapter of the NAACP, Boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino, Youth Action Project, Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches, and the Black Voice Foundation. The task force’s mission is to ensure that the District’s Targeted Instructional Improvement Plan, known as TIIP, is implemented for the benefit of African-American students.

“We have a responsibility to hold the District accountable but also to work alongside the District,” Casey said. “Effective collaboration is essential to real change.”

This summer, the Task Force for African American Student Achievement will host a Parent Learning Institute to educate mothers, fathers, and guardians, so they can become better advocates for children. The institute will also focus on empowering parents and caregivers to participate in the decision-making process at the school, District, and community level.

Task force members will have a booth at the April 5 Day of King Celebration at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, located at 1250 Medical Center Drive in San Bernardino. The parent survey will be available during the event.

Superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden, who has long supported authentic parent engagement, welcomes the task force’s help.

“We have already begun a productive dialogue that I believe will be beneficial to the task force, the District, and, most importantly, our students,” Marsden said. “Educating students and ensuring their future success is the work of our entire community.”

For more information about the work of the new task force, please call COPE at (909) 915-1776.

Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown Honors Women of Distinction

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) honored groundbreaking women from the 47th Assembly District at her annual Women of Distinction event on Saturday, March 29, at the Sierra Lakes Country Club in Fontana. The 2014 honorees were (L to R): City Clerk Eileen Gomez, City of Colton; Jasmine Hall, a member of the board of directors at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (pictured is her daughter accepting the award on her behalf); Sally McGuire, a business owner and president of the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce; Marge Mendoza-Ware, a longtime school board member of the Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD); the Honorable Grace Vargas, City of Rialto; and Vicki Lee, a homeless student liaison at the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD)

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) honored groundbreaking women from the 47th Assembly District at her annual Women of Distinction event on Saturday, March 29, at the Sierra Lakes Country Club in Fontana. The 2014 honorees were (L to R): City Clerk Eileen Gomez, City of Colton; Jasmine Hall, a member of the board of directors at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (pictured is her daughter accepting the award on her behalf); Sally McGuire, a business owner and president of the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce; Marge Mendoza-Ware, a longtime school board member of the Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD); the Honorable Grace Vargas, City of Rialto; and Vicki Lee, a homeless student liaison at the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD)

SAN BERNARDINO, CA - In recognition of Women’s History Month, Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) honored groundbreaking women from the 47th Assembly District at her annual Women of Distinction event on Saturday, March 29, at the Sierra Lakes Country Club in Fontana.

The recognition event was attended by the honorees and their family members and included special guest appearances from Supervisor Janice Rutherford, chair of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors; Mayor Acquanetta Warren, City of Fontana; and Mayor Carey Davis, City of San Bernardino.

The 2014 honorees were: City Clerk Eileen Gomez, City of Colton; the Honorable Grace Vargas, former mayor of the City of Rialto; Jasmine Hall, a member of the board of directors at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency; Vicki Lee, a homeless student liaison at the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD); Sally McGuire, a business owner and president of the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce; and Marge Mendoza-Ware, a resident of Bloomington and longtime school board member of the Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD).

City Clerk Eileen Gomez, a long time Colton resident, was first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. As the Colton city clerk, she provides quality public service to her constituents by accurately recording and maintaining the proceedings of the Colton City Council and providing accessibility to official records. As a community leader, she serves as a board member for various community service oriented groups such as the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio, the Inland Empire Scholarship Fund, Youth for C.H.A.N.G.E., and Seeds of Hope, Inc., based in Colton.

Honorable Grace Vargas made history when she became Rialto’s first female mayor in 2000. She was later re-elected in 2004 and 2008. Born in Yuma, Arizona, Ms. Vargas moved to California in 1959 as a 22 year old single mother of seven children. While residing with her sister in the city of Fontana, she joined the California Employment Training Act (CETA) program, which became a major turning point in her life. She landed a job as a clerk for the City of Rialto and that position led her to several other promotions within the city’s administration. She was first elected to the Rialto City Council in 1998 before her election as Rialto’s first female mayor in 2000.

Jasmine Hall, a resident of Fontana, was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Inland Empire Utilities Agency board of directors in 2013. She was employed at Southern California Edison (SCE) for over 27 years as a business and utilities analyst. During her tenure at SCE, she promoted energy conservation initiatives to businesses and community members in the Inland Empire. She has also served on various boards and commissions including the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) Commission, the California Association of Sanitation Agencies and the Association of California Water Agencies.

Vicki Lee, a native of San Bernardino, serves as a mentor to at-risk youth as the homeless liaison for the SBCUSD. Prior to this position, she worked with homeless youth and young adults as an evening manager at the Covenant House California for ten years. Ms. Lee is the coordinator of “Our Children Sing,” an annual program that’s held in San Bernardino around September 11. The program seeks to promote peace, unity and commemorate those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Ms. Lee is also an active member at her church, New Hope Missionary Baptist, where she serves as the director of the Drama Ministry.

Sally McGuire, a longtime Grand Terrace resident, currently serves as president of the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce. After 25 years of working at General Electric (GE) as a sales executive, Ms. McGuire decided to become a certified senior advisor and open her own business, Helping Hands Companion Care, to provide non-medical in-home support services to seniors. As a community leader, Ms. McGuire is greatly involved in the Grand Terrace Woman’s Club, the Foundation of Grand Terrace and the CJUSD Community Cabinet focusing on students’ mental and physical health.

Marge Mendoza-Ware, a Bloomington resident, is one of the longest serving school board members of the CJUSD. Her most notable accomplishment during her fifteen year tenure includes organizing the ROTC programs for the area high schools. Ms. Mendoza-Ware also worked in various leadership positions at the County of San Bernardino, Harvey Mudd College, the Claremont Colleges, and Bright Beginnings Preschool. As an active community member, she founded the Bloomington After School Program, which provides tutoring assistance to students. She also served on the CJUSD Health Advisory Committee, the Bloomington Save Our Youth, the Bloomington Municipal Advisory Committee, the Bloomington Woman’s Club, and the Republican Women Federated.

For more information, contact Ashley Jones at (909) 381-3238.

What Do You Do When Life Fails To Meet Your Expectations

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

When life fails to meet your expectations, you should expect God to do the unexpected. We become discouraged when life, people and God don’t meet our expectations. We believe that we live in a cause-and-effect world. We believe things are supposed to turn out a certain way. We believe that if we continue to do “A”, eventually it will result in “B” but life doesn’t work that way.

It is in these times that we need to expect God to do the unexpected. We have nothing to lose by expecting God to do the unexpected in our lives. God is always ready to do his greatest work at precisely the moment we begin to think things are hopeless. The moment Moses reached the end of his rope, God stepped in and said, “Don’t worry, I have everything under control. I am going to let Aaron be your spokesman and when I get through, Pharaoh will think you are God.” God’s power is far beyond anything we can comprehend, so why shouldn’t we expect God to do the unimaginable?

God wants your faith to grow through experience. Experience comes in following God one day at a time. We walk by faith and not by sight. God seldom gave extensive details on the front end. When God calls us He doesn’t give us all the details up front. God told Abraham to get out of his country. God’s call wasn’t that specific. Abraham didn’t know where he was going. God simply called him out of his country into a land that God would later show him. He didn’t know the details up front. Initially, the important thing was just to get out. The important thing was to take that first step. Without that step things remain the same. Actually it is much easier to just take one step at a time than it is to know everything beforehand. How many of us would have taken the road to where we are now if we had known about the obstacles in our path beforehand? I don’t think I would have been doing what I do for 15 years if I had known the hardships beforehand.

When you step out one step at a time it allows God to fill your life with His presence. It allows God to work through you to the accomplishing of His will. It will be God at work in you. Moses finally realized God was all he needed. God is all you need. When you follow one step at a time you will find yourself in the center of God’s will for your life. When you follow one step at a time into the will of God you will become more confident with each step.

We Must Believe in God’s Wisdom. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are, there is one lesson we all must learn in life. God can’t do the unexpected with our lives until we do what He says. Even if doing what He says doesn’t make things work as we expect them to. Even if doing what He says doesn’t seem to make sense. Moses realized that when he did what God told him to do things worked “just as the Lord had said.” If we do exactly what the Lord says, things will always work out just as the Lord has said. This is the first great step we all must take in faith. Yes, it is scary to stop trusting in yourself and start believing and following God’s will. However, it is the only way to live beyond what is expected. (Scripture Ref: Exodus 6:28-7:5; James 5:13-18; 1 Corinthians 1:24-29; Ephesians 3:20-21)