OPINION: School cluster group moving forward

By Sharon Jones

La Jolla Elementary parent

Parent representative, La Jolla Cluster Association

In a week or so, the La Jolla Cluster Association (LJCA) should finally be a legal entity.

I say “finally” not because we’ve been working toward this a long time. It was just nine months ago that a group of parents launched this effort to unite the public schools that make up the La Jolla High cluster.

But so much has happened since January, it makes it seem like more time has passed.

We now have a new superintendent: Bill Kowba. A retired rear dmiral, Kowba has worked for San Diego Unified School District since 2006. He is not an educator, but is respected by educators. He has encouraged our efforts to organize and has been responsive to our concerns.

We also have a new area superintendent, Mike Price. He has served ably as principal of University City High and Point Loma High, and also has worked at district headquarters. We look forward to having him as a resource and an advocate.

Over the past nine months, the cluster organization has gained respect. The district’s 2020 Vision for Educational Excellence, adopted in February, promises that schools and clusters will have increased authority to “establish instructional strategies designed to assure the success of each student.”

LJCA members will file papers soon to create a nonprofit public benefit corporation. In the papers, we have described the purpose of LJCA as “to promote and support excellence in education.” We have listed two goals: (1) to work “collaboratively to meet the needs of our diverse student population through the K-12 school experience,” and (2) to prepare “students for college, careers and life by providing a rigorous, comprehensive, standards-based curriculum that includes technology, the visual and performing arts, physical education, and character education.”

Thanks to LJCA, there are new internship opportunities for high school students. Computer-savvy high school students can work as technology interns at the elementary and middle schools. Teens will gain work experience and academic credit, and teachers will have someone tech savvy to help them resolve problems and develop curriculum.

It’s a win-win for the students, the teachers and the community.