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Grad Summit: Increasing Graduation Rates through Career Pathways

San Bernardino County School Board District Members  and Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown gather for a group shot during the Grad Summit ceremony on Saturday, November 15. (Photo credit: Angela M. Coggs)

San Bernardino County School Board District Members and Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown gather for a group shot during the Grad Summit ceremony on Saturday, November 15. (Photo credit: Angela M. Coggs)

By Angela M. Coggs

On Saturday, November 15th, Grad Summit 2014 was held at California State University, San Bernardino from 8:30am to 3:00pm. The event was organized by a coalition of local, state and national organizations that joined forces to make college and career readiness a core educational priority in San Bernardino.

The summit convened in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and National GradNation Campaign and the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) and CSUSB, among other groups, which was attended by parents, students, and community officials.

The primary goal of the National GradNation Campaign is to achieve a 90% graduation rate nationwide by 2020 with no high school graduating less than 80 percent of its students.

The summits goal is to build on dropout prevention efforts by elevating San Bernardino County-Wide efforts to link classroom innovation with career development to improve graduation rates and college/career readiness. The day-long summit featured inspirational speakers and dynamic workshop sessions that demonstrated rigorous academics emphasizing real-world application critical for college and career.

Dina Walker (Photo Credit:: Angela M. Coggs)

Dina Walker (Photo Credit:: Angela M. Coggs)

Officials in attendance included SBCUSD Superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden, SBCUSD Communications Director Linda Bardere, Superintendent Elect SBCS Ted Alejandre, CSUSB President Dr. Tomas D. Morales, SBCUSD Board President Mike Gallo, SBCUSD Board Member Abigail Medina, and Executive Director Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) Rev. Samuel Casey.

Two SBCUSD students helped to kick off the morning with encouraging and inspirational words. Raihanah Medlock, Grand Terrace High School sophomore, recited an uplifting spoken word and Alexander Mattison, San Bernardino High School senior, also represented the student voice and challenged students to graduate from high school and to sign the pledge banner. His speech reverberated with the audience.

Dina Walker, newly elected member of the Rialto School Board and President/CEO of BLU Educational Foundation, was the moderator for the event.

“I thought the Summit was excellent. We had great buy-in from many community leaders, educational leaders, as well, parents and students. The connection for career and college was definitely evident. The feedback I received from some of the students was that they were very interested in everything especially about the entrepreneurship. It gave them ways to connect what they want to do and make money out of it. Even if they did not go onto college how they would be viable,” said Walker.

The keynote speakers, Eric Schmidt, Co-Founder of Exquadrum Inc. and Garner Holt, Garner Holt Productions, Inc. addressed the attendees with their inspirational stories of how their passion was realized at a young age and how they made a living from something the loved. Their message really resonated with the students, as well as the parents, in the audience. Walker agreed, “One of the things they (students) got out of the speakers today was taking their personal interest, even as a young person, and making into a business opportunity.”

Rev. Sam Casey with members of the SB County Sheriff Department (Photo Credit: Angela M. Coggs)

Rev. Sam Casey with members of the SB County Sheriff Department (Photo Credit: Angela M. Coggs)

In addition to the speakers and the many valuable workshops, including Building Ideas for Teen Entrepreneurs, Career Pathway Success in Public Safety Academy, College Knowledge 101, and Building Ninjas Robots, there were vendors on hand with information and giveaways. Edison International representative, Wendell Jones, attended the summit to promote their 2015 Edison Scholars Program and was very impressed with the day-long event. “The Summit was amazing. It had a lot of valuable information for the students and the parents here. It was a great informational session and I look forward to being a part of it again next year.” Jones spoke to many students and parents about the scholarship opportunity from Edison in hopes to motivate them to apply for the program. “Edison is offering thirty (30) $40,000 scholarships to high school seniors looking to go into a four year university in an S.T.E.M (Science Technology Engineering and Math) program. They must live or go to school in an Edison region, have a 2.8 grade point average. The application pool was low last year and this is why I am out here and going to other events and schools and letting students know about this opportunity.”

Performances from local schools Richardson PREP Jazz Band, San Gorgonio High School Dance Group, and Arroyo Valley High School Dance Company in the afternoon were a real crowd pleaser. All the students put on a flawless routine and received standing ovations.

Brianna Robertson, 9th grader from Cajon High School, was empowered after the Summit. “I was really surprised how much of a good time I had. I learned a few new things that will better prepare me for college. Plus, I had friends there and we will remind each other of what we learned and to stay on track. The school band, BSU dancers, lunch and raffle prizes made the day even better.” Robertson attended the event with her mother who was also a vendor. Devona Robertson is an engage mother of three, community leader, District African American Advisory Council (DAAAC) Officer and Vice President of Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation (YWE), signed the San Bernardino 2014 GradSummit Call to Action Pledge banner after accepting the challenge given to the educational leaders, parents/caregivers and students during the opening welcome and remarks.

As a growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to end America’s dropout crisis, this day-long summit to help ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college and a career was a success.

 

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Recognized with Quality Achievement Award for Heart Failure Care

RRUCLA Exterior

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has received the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation guidelines for heart failure patients.

This marks the sixth consecutive year that Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has been recognized with a heart failure quality achievement award.

Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure is a quality improvement program that helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing hospital readmissions for heart failure patients.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include proper use of heart failure medications, including beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aldosterone antagonists, and diuretics while patients are in the hospital. Before patients are discharged, they also receive education on managing their heart failure and overall health, as well as referrals for early follow-up.

“Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our heart failure patients, and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure program helps us to accomplish this goal by tracking and measuring our success in meeting internationally-respected guidelines,” said Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center and co-chief of clinical cardiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

“We are pleased to recognize Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for their commitment to heart failure care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and Executive Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce patients’ length of stays and 30-day readmission rates and also reduce disparity gaps in care.”

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.1 million people suffer from heart failure.  Each year, 825,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 275,000 people will die of heart failure. However, many heart failure patients can lead a full life when their condition is managed with proper medications and devices and with healthy lifestyle changes.

About the UCLA Health System

The UCLA Health System has for more than half a century provided the best in health care and the latest in medical technology to the people of Los Angeles and the world. Comprising Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA; Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA; and the UCLA Medical Group, UCLA Health, with its wide-reaching system of primary care and specialty care offices throughout the region, is among the most comprehensive and advanced health care systems in the world. For information about clinical programs or help in choosing a personal physician, call 800-UCLA-MD1 or visit www.uclahealth.org.

About Get With The Guidelines

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 4 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org/quality or heart.org/myhealthcare.

 

“Who Let The Dogs Out?” Woof…Woof!

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

To put it bluntly, there is a lot of Phony Christianity out there. There are those who are deceived and who are deceiving others. There are those trusting more in rituals and church membership than a relationship with Jesus Christ. There are those claiming to speak for God and using their “ministries” to line their pockets with money from gullible people. Not only did the apostle Paul had to confront people who did dumb things in the name of the Christian faith, but God tells us that He doesn’t like it when people do not do the very thing that He has commanded. Exactly! Not only does He “not like it,” He hates it! He hates it when people fake it.  He hates it when people attempt to serve him with self-effort. He hates guile and duplicity. He hates it when people have the audacity to think that they can fool Him! We may be able to fool men – even ourselves- of our bogus piety and sincerity, but are we really so arrogant to think that we can fool God? You know Jesus warned about bogus Christianity many times? In Matthew 7:15 He said, “Watch out for false prophets.” He wasn’t speaking about false prophets in the world but about false ministers in the church. False prophets are ministers who preach a gospel of deception and lies. As agents of Satan, they speak lies and contradict the Word of God at every turn. They are dangerous, like ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing.  In Jeremiah 6:14, God says, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.” False prophets never speak about man’s sin, the wrath of God, or the coming judgment. Their mission is to put Band-Aids on people serious wounds, covering them up rather than dealing with them. Instead of preaching about sin, judgment, hell, the wrath of God, repentance, or saving faith, or saying the cross is necessary for salvation, they say God loves and save all people. But as Jeremiah asked, “To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? I tell you the dogs have been turned loose on folks trying to live for God like never before. Satan and his minions hate believers, and they strive to trip us up, tempting us and trying to lure us into sin and impair our effectiveness in God’s Kingdom. But thank God we were not created ignorant of what sin is and what it would do, (Gen 2:16-17; Romans 4:15; 5:13)

 Listen; regardless of whether you realize it, Satan has targeted you as a victim. He knows your name and address, your strengths and weaknesses. Somewhere in the shadows, he and his forces lurk, even in churches, waiting, planning for the moment they will strike when you’re caught off-guard. He desperately hopes that you will, as many Christians remain ignorant of his reality. But as Jesus said, “whatsoever causes you to forget yourself, even if it is your right eye… then take it out and throw it away.” He is not saying anything that has to be taken literally; it is a metaphor. He is saying that it is better to be blind than to be forgetful of yourself because the blind man who remembers himself is not blind, he has the real eye. But if a man who has eyes forgets himself, what is the use of having eyes? He cannot see even himself; what else can he see? Either we need to hit our knees and pray for spiritual reality in us or assume God has given someone else a message. But I, for the sake of the ‘form of things’ or human convention or pride, WILL NOT FAKE IT!Who Let The Dogs Out?”  Because most of those who claim to represent Jesus actually don’t. Moreover, as time goes on, even more pretenders will arise, however sincere they may be. Jesus said, I have told you beforehand” (Matt.24 25).  So wake-up and smell the coffee! The truth will set you free!

Even though some of what I’ve said may sound critical.  It may sound harsh, even sarcastic.  There are times when truth sounds that way and I make NO APOLOGY.  In Matthew 23 Jesus is speaking out against the religious rulers of His day. His tone was angry.  He was both confrontive and critical.  He even used biting sarcasm several times to make His point and illustrate how far these men had departed from God’s righteousness and truth.  But His heart was pure.  His love and compassion for them was evident.  I’m not Jesus, and I can’t say my heart is pure, even though I’d like it to be.  But, I can identify with Jesus in this one thing: when I see the religious deception perpetrated on people, I grieve.

Some time ago the Lord took me to Jeremiah 5 and showed me that this passage doesn’t just describe the condition of Israel in Jeremiah’s day; it also describes the condition of churches today.  This is what it says:  “And should I not punish them for this rebellion? Declares the Lord! Should I not avenge Myself on a nation such as this?  A horrible and amazing thing has happened in the land: the prophets are liars, telling the people only what they want to hear; the leaders deceive my people, using a false authority that I have not given them; and worst of all, the people want it this way.  But what will they do when the end comes, and they are still bound up in all this deception?”  (Jeremiah 5:29-31

Herein lies my greatest fear: that most people in the Church are happy with the way things are and will not be interested in anything that opposes the truth as they see it.    But all I can say is that I’m confident of the message God has given me, and I know the Word of God can take care of itself. Since most of what God has given me represents a serious departure from conventional wisdom, I can only quote Paul:  “Remember what Isaiah said, God will turn conventional wisdom upside down.  The time will come when the so-called religion experts will be the ones who look foolish.  So where does that leave the one who thinks he’s wise, or the well educated, or the one who understands the ways of the world?  Isn’t God going to expose all this pretentious nonsense?  The world never had a clue when it came to knowing and understanding God.  That’s why He uses the things that the world thinks are foolish or just plain wrong, even unpleasant, to guide those who trust in Him on their way to salvation.”  (I Corinthians 1:19-21)  

I pray that we will examine our Christianity and see whether it is simply empty profession or whether we embrace the kingdom of God and its law. Think it through. Foolishness will never help us, because, according to the Bible, foolishness is rejection of God as King, rejection of His law, rejection of His plan, and rejection of His way. “Who Let The Dogs Out? Woof, Woof!”