From the daily archives: Thursday, August 26, 2010

By Luke Phillips
The Holtville Tribune recently sat down with Holtville High School principal Jackie Hester to discuss the upcoming school year. Classes at the High School begin this Monday.

HOLTVILLE TRIBUNE: What are you looking forward to the most this school year?

JACKIE HESTER: We’re looking forward to a lot of positives at the high school. We’re implementing a couple of new programs. We’re going to have an advisory this year to help get the kids started off on a real positive move first thing in the morning. We’re going to, not right at the beginning, but within the first month, we’re going to actually be serving breakfast in that advisory to every student. If you have a full stomach, your brain’s going to work better, you’re not as tired. Kids don’t take the time to eat breakfast so we’re going to help them.    We’re looking forward to a great athletic season. Football, cross-country, volleball, they’re all practicing right now. We’re getting great reports from the coaches. First football game here is on the 10th of September.HT: Is there anything new happening at the school this year that students may not be used to?
JH: Well, we’re starting at 8 o’clock to accommodate the advisory. The courses will still be the same, same number of courses, primarily the same classes, so not any big changes there.

HT: Any other items on this year’s calendar that you’re excited about?

JH: We have a community night at our homecoming rally. It’s scheduled for October 21 and our Homecoming Parade is also going to be that same day. We’re going to continue with our Pride Student of the Day, and our Pride Student of the Week, and Student of the Month recognition. Something new that we are doing as far as recognition is students who have gone a little bit above and beyond, for example we have students who volunteered to come in and help out today for registration, we’re going to start lunch with the principal and vice principal. Periodically, we’ll call those students in and bring lunch in for them and Mr. Pectal and I will have lunch with them as kind of a way to meet and talk to the students about their desires and what they think will make Holtville High School even stronger and better. We’re looking forward to that, I think it’ll be fun.

HT: What are you doing to improve the overall educational experience for Holtville High School students?

JH: We are going to be using some additional educational strategies. We’re going to be focusing on explicit, direct instruction. We’re going to be doing small-group intervention and that includes intervention in the classroom.
We started last year and will continue this year with homework centers before and after school. We have one homework center that’s open from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 every morning for any student who needs a quiet place for homework, and they can also get assistance from the teacher. We have two after school homework centers.
The majority of our teachers tutor before or after school, some of our teachers do both.
Another component that we’re going to be doing this year is our A+, which is an online, standards-based program. Students who need additional help with tutoring will be able to go to the computer lab after school and will work with the standards in the trouble area where they need help. That’ll be new this year.

HT: How are you coping with having a reduced operating budget this year?

JH: It’s challenging, but it can be done. The teachers here volunteer a lot of time. We still have all the educational materials that we need to have. We gave every freshman who came to orientation today a backpack and an agenda to take with them. So, we’re going to make sure our students aren’t suffering because of the budget cuts. We’ll be sure the students still have the materials they need, they’re going to have the books they need. Our teachers are still tutoring before and after school. If cuts have to be made somewhere else, it’s not going to be where it’s going to impact them in the classroom.
They (the students) are our number one priority. It’s why we’re here.

HT: What do you see as the biggest obstacle you’re facing this year?

JH: Well, one obstacle is we had to take our football lights down (Ed. Note: because of damage from Easter Sunday’s 7.2 earthquake), but thanks to community support we will have lights for every home football game, and we are so grateful. Holtville’s a tremendous community, very supportive.
I think one thing all schools are competing against anymore is the rapid media, the gaming, the cell phones, the texting. So we need to keep our classes moving at that pace to keep them interested.
That’s why we’re opening the computer lab for the online computer-based tutoring program. Some of our students are going to be very successful with that by having it on the computer. We currently have PowerPoint presentations, LCD projectors for the teachers and the students themselves give PowerPoint presentations. We have two computer labs that are available for the students. One is open every day after school. So we are trying to keep pace with that.

HT: Can you tell us about any new teachers starting this year?

JH: We have Ms. Williams, she’ll be coming back to the High School, she was at Finley. She’ll be teaching geometry here. We are really excited to have her. She taught here one year before. We are going to be welcoming Mr. Arturo Lopez. He will be teaching Freshman English this year and Jessica Dinn will be teaching Sophomore English this year.

HT: Can you go over the earthquake damages at the school and tell us how the repairs are coming along?

JH: I’m just really glad we didn’t have kids here that day. All of our football lights had to go down. When they did the inspection, they found that some of them weren’t safe. Some of them had moved a little bit, so that took our lights down, our P.A. system is down, but as I mentioned we have portable lights that have been paid for by community members so we’ll be good to go.
Otherwise, the majority of our damage has been cosmetic and not structural. Cracks in walls, some paint needing to be redone, and that is ongoing by our district office working with FEMA. As soon as that’s processed our cracks will be patched and the painting will be done. We’re very fortunate that we didn’t receive the structural damage.

HT: Is there anything else that students and parents should be aware of?

JH: The first day of school is going to be a half day. We just want to really invite the community to come to our games, all our home games and be a part of it. Our band members have been showing up at 7 o’clock  every morning this week practicing. This is the first year we’ve had a band camp before school starts. They’re all really excited.
We had freshman orientation today. We had 100 freshman come. We had 96 parents come to the parent orientation last night which was great, a really good turnout. So I think the freshman are ready to go.


Brawley- Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, WIC Program celebrated World’s Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, 2010 at their Brawley, El Centro, and Calexico sites.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) theme for this year is “Breastfeeding, Just 10 Steps! The Breastfeeding-Friendly Way. WABA is a global network of individuals, and organizations concerned with the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding worldwide.

Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, WIC Program kicked off the celebration with providing breastfeeding information tables and breastfeeding incentives for breastfeeding moms at those sites. The WIC program also attended the World’s Largest Baby shower on August 5, 2010 at the Casa de Mañana building that was made possible by the Imperial County Breastfeeding Coalition.

To conclude the celebration, WIC has invited Gini Baker, RN,

MPH, IBCLC-R to present “Ten Steps to Become Baby Friendly

In Your Practice” at Pioneers Memorial Hospital Auditorium on

August 31, 2010 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.  She will speak about

breastfeeding and how to incorporate breastfeeding in clinics,

hospitals, and businesses.

Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, WIC Program has breastfeeding rooms available at their Brawley, El Centro, and Calexico sites.  These rooms are open to the public during the hours of 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. If you have any questions please call 1-877-686-5468 for more information.


Aid includes supplies and financial assistance as two disaster experts leave for Pakistan

Washington, D.C., Tuesday, August 24, 2010 – As flood waters continue to wreak havoc on communities across Pakistan, the American Red Cross is increasing its support to $5 million to help families who have lost their homes and jobs and have little access to clean water and food.

“The need for increased support could not be more urgent, given that more than 10 million people in Pakistan are in need of humanitarian relief,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services for the American Red Cross. “Given this dire need, we are using reserve funds in addition to donations received for Pakistan to get more aid into Pakistan more quickly.”

The American Red Cross had previously committed $1 million in supplies and financial support to Pakistan relief, and today’s announcement is for a $4 million increase in support for the flood-ravaged country. The aid will go to support the efforts of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network on the ground in Pakistan. In addition to aid, two disaster experts are being deployed to Pakistan to help coordinate the relief efforts.

Tens of thousands of Pakistan Red Crescent staff and volunteers continue to work around the clock to distribute relief items, such as tents, water, and food to nearly 400,000 people. Thirty-seven Red Crescent field medical teams are now working up and down the flood zone and have treated more than 48,000 people, including – with epidemic fears growing – nearly 12,000 cases of diarrhea.

“One of our major concerns is that when people, especially children, are desperately thirsty they will drink from contaminated water sources, which can result in water-borne diseases such as cholera,” said Alex Mahoney, Asia disaster response manager for the American Red Cross.

The Pakistani government has not confirmed any cases of cholera, but tens of thousands of people are said to be suffering from the acute diarrhea that invariably follows major floods, which instantly contaminates natural water sources.

The global Red Cross and Red Crescent network is also increasing its response, with an increased appeal to help more than 900,000 people for 18 months. Seven Red Cross Emergency Response Units for relief, logistics, water and sanitation, and health are being deployed to support the ongoing relief efforts.

The Pakistan Red Crescent Society, the equivalent of the American Red Cross in Pakistan, was formed in 1947 and similarly responds to floods, fires, droughts, earthquakes and other natural disasters in the country. It has approximately 130,000 volunteers and provides first aid and CPR training, blood collection, ambulance services, HIV/AIDS education and prevention and operates several auxiliary medical service centers.

To help those affected by the flooding, please make a donation to the American Red Cross online at or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

You can help people affected by disasters, like the floods in Pakistan, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.  Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

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