SDSU and SoccerCity Events Stand in Stark Contrast, Farm to Fork Week and Vindication Voiced: San Diego Summarized | 9-10-18
Welcome to San Diego Summarized where each week we examine headlines from around the city:
This week we kick off with a look back at two distinctly different events that revolve around the Mission Valley Stadium debate saga.
On Thursday, officials from San Diego State University held a pep rally on campus. The advertised hour-long event ran for a mere 13 minutes and featured brief statements from new University President Adela de la Torre, retired legendary basketball coach Steve Fisher, and three current football players.
The purpose of the rally was to incite support for the weekend’s SDSU football match. The Aztecs eventually ran out 28-14 winners over Sacramento State, but the spirit on campus during the rally was anything but high during Thursday’s lightning event.
One member of the audience commented that there was more staff in attendance than students. "This whole thing is bull***t," said one of the more skeptical students who came out. "They want us to get excited about CTE? Really?"
The newly ensconced President de la Torre also made mention of the “vital SDSU Mission Valley expansion” proceedings that have been one of San Diego’s most toxic talking points for the better part of two years now. She made mention of the efforts, and encouraged the audience to support the project to the best of their ability.
Contrasting that rather lackluster outing on the Mesa was a Saturday filled with fun and friendly family focused activities as the SoccerCity team took to Del Mar to promote the Healthy Family Fest event in conjunction with the Super Soccer Stars organization.
Super Soccer Stars has a goal to teach soccer skills in a fun, non-competitive, educational environment. Their philosophy is to use soccer to nurture, to build self-confidence, and to develop teamwork in every class. Their specially designed curricula use positive reinforcement and a low child-to-coach ratio to ensure that each child improves at his or her own rate while having endless fun.
While the SoccerCity plan revolves around a competitive professional program, the partnership with Super Soccer Stars embodies the values that the leadership at SoccerCity hold dear. The event was free to all comers and focused on fun.
“We had a great time at the Healthy Family Fest!” exclaimed Arash Adami, a local professor at Mesa College. “From blowing bubbles to watching Landon Donovan play up close, it was adorable to watch my daughter get enthusiastic about soccer and the exciting prospects for Mission Valley’s future near my home. The fest was not only informative about the advantages of the SoccerCity measure, but also, the staff and volunteers created a fun and safe environment for kids to enjoy the outdoors.”
Retired Major League Soccer legend and United State Men’s National Team player Landon Donovan did indeed make an appearance; taking turns playing with kids and adults alike.
Donovan also spoke at length with media before signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans. Despite spending a long day out and about, Donovan also managed to find time to attend a reggae concert in Chula Vista Saturday evening, where headliner Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany proudly displayed his support for SoccerCity.
This past week I caught up with Lara Worm and DJ Tangalin from Bivouac Ciderworks and Trish Watlington from the Farm to Fork San Diego organization to preview Farm to Fork Week which runs from September 9th-16th all across San Diego County.
Farm to Fork Week is a celebration of our region's outstanding chefs and dining destinations and a chance to try creative events and meet new like minded locavores. What sets Farm to Fork Week apart is the commitments of the participating chefs to sourcing ingredients from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen who they know and trust, and the time spent verifying that participating chefs and restaurants are, in fact, buying from them.
We wrap up this week’s summary with a spotlight on the latest Voice of San Diego Podcast.
Voice of San Diego’s investigation of graduation rates at the San Diego Unified School District didn’t go over very well with district leaders.
Former VOSD education reporter Mario Koran found that some of the school district’s lowest-performing high school students transferred to charter schools focused on credit recovery — sometimes at the urging of school employees — which helped the district land a 91 percent graduation rate in 2016.
The district worked aggressively to push back against those findings. It posted a web page aimed at refuting the reporting, and it hired a PR professional to spread the word about its grad rate achievement.
And yet, a new Union-Tribune editorial board interview with San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten revealed that the district did end up quietly forming a committee to look at grad rates. That committee released a new report on San Diego Unified’s graduation rate for the class of 2016, and the report confirms Koran’s major findings, including that nearly a third of students left district high schools for charters. Among the report’s recommendations is keeping tabs on the number of students who leave for district charters schools and identifying how many of them are behind academically.
In this week’s podcast, Andrew Keatts, Sara Libby and Scott Lewis walk us through VOSD’s graduation rate investigation and the district’s surprising reaction to it.