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  • Wednesday, May 31, 2006


    STEVE AMBRIZ: 1971-2006

    Kaitlyn Ambriz Scholarship Fund

    Assemblyman Todd Spitzer has made arrangements to create the "Kaitlyn Ambriz Scholarship Fund".
    1949 N. Tustin
    Orange,CA 92865

    For more details, please call (714) 744-6574, mailbox 2

    Service Arrangements

    Service arrangements have been made for Councilman Steven Ambriz as follows:

    Vigil Services at St. Norbert Catholic Church
    300 Taft Avenue, Orange
    Tuesday, May 30, 2006
    7:00 p.m.
    FOR MAP CLICK ON:,+ca+92865&spn=0.026692,0.040525&hl=en

    Funeral Mass at Holy Family Cathedral
    566 South Glassell Street, Orange
    Wednesday, May 31, 2006
    12:10 p.m.
    For Directions CLICK ON:

    Reception to follow at Plaza Park
    At the Center of the Orange Traffic Circle
    Chapman and Glassell Streets
    Downtown Orange
    2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    Official City Press Release on the death of
    Councilman Steve Ambriz

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006


    Metro TALK

    Orange Park Acres Grand Reunion
    Calling all current and former Orange Park Acres residences, the Orange Park Acres Reunion is set for July 3rd, 2006 at Irvine Park and your invited! The OPA Reunion Committee is looking for all former residence that have ever lived in Orange Park Acres to attend this grand reunion to share memories, good food and a great time with current and former neighbors who are attending from all over the U.S. A prepaid registration of $25.00 for adults (17 years and older) and $16.00 for children (4-12) includes a printed program, all-you-can-eat BBQ luncheon buffet, entertainment, games and a special memento. In addition, an optional Reunion Directory is available for purchase (available only to those who wish to be included in it). A photographer will be snapping memories for the OPA Reunion Book of Memories. If you can’t make it, there is a “Non- Attendance Reunion Package” available (please call or email to order).

    The OPA Reunion Committee is also looking for businesses who are able to donate prizes for the family-take-home bags or those always special “reunion awards” (traveled the farthest etc.). The also are looking for advertisers for the Reunion Program. In addition, they are looking for old local OPA photographs, OPA Newsletters and early editions of Common Talk or the Foothills Sentry. Also they are seeking 4H Directories of Clubs with OPA names and addresses, and some missing years of OABB, Buckaroos and Country Cousins (please contact them for years they are seeking).

    For more information on anything to do with the Orange Park Acres Reunion please contact Lois Wildly by telephone at 714-633-0836, or email at .

    Metro TALK is a community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization :GoCo:

    Sunday, May 21, 2006


    Orange Unified Schools DIGEST

    Department of Education Drops Panorama’s API “10” Score

    In a statewide revision of the similar school comparison rankings of the Academic Performance Index (API) scores, the California Department of Education downgraded Orange Unified’s Panorama Elementary School’s top ranked “10” similar schools ranking down to a “9”. The downgrade takes away Orange Unified’s only 10-10 school ranking for last year’s standardized testing. The state had withdrawn all the original similar school rankings last month when it discovered that it had omitted a demographic variable when it initially calculated the scores. The recalculated similar school ranking cores were released last week.

    Last month Panorama’s Principal Michelle Moore had come under criticism from the Greater Orange Communities Organization for her attributing her student’s high API scores to the controversial multi-million dollar OUSD consultant program called Focus on Results. Moore had written in the recent local throw-away School News (April/May) about initally finding out that her school had achieved the “10” ranking: “Thanks to Focus on Results and our district’s commitment to achieving excellence for all students, we were able to take a moment and express gratitude for the tools we have to support out students”.

    Moore’s comment was featured in the latest ONN Special Report series Focus on Consultants (see link below). It was reported that since the beginning of standardized testing, Panorama has always been above the state API score goal of 800, rising an average of only 11 points a year in the six years of standardized testing. The report also cited the Greater Orange Communities Organization’s characterization of Moore’s small 207 student school as a “fairy-tale school” because it has no statistically relative “subgroups” leaving only its 142 white student’s scores counting for the school rankings. Put simply, the school’s scores reflect none of the issues schools across OUSD and the state face in teaching to California’s diverse student population. The Greater Orange Communities Organization challenged Moore to back up her support of the controversial multi-million dollar Focus on Results program. The local watchdog group challenged that if Moore truly believed that OUSD's Focus on Results was instrumental in her school’s student performance, Moore should requesting a transfer to one of OUSD’s many state designated Underperforming Schools to duplicate Panorama’s results.

    Most of Panorama’s 6 years of API growth took place under the former principal Anne Schrader. Moore was named principal last summer (July 2005) after serving as Acting Principal at Panorama. Moore also served as Assistant Principal at McPherson Magnet School.
    SPECIAL REPORT: Focus on Consultants PART 6: CLICK ON:

    Updated API Information on Panorama CLICK ON:

    Panorama’s Current OUSD information page: CLICK ON:

    Orange Unified’s revised API scores: CLICK ON:

    The Orange Unified School Board will formally approve the resolution (Agenda page 68) at its May 25th meeting to call for an election on November 7th of this year. One of the reforms still in place that the current Citizen’s Board instituted when it took over after the Orange Recall was to change the OUSD Trustee elections to coincide with the even year regular elections, thus saving the district hundreds of thousands of dollars in election fees. The change also extended the terms of the current OUSD Trustees until this December. Trustees Rick Ledesma, Kathy Moffat, Kim Nichols and Melissa Smith terms will expire on December 1st, 2006.

    In other business:
    Action Item 12 A: High School Diploma- With the preliminary injunction against enforcing the California High School Exit Exam OUSD is preparing for the injunction to stay or be appealed away. If the injunction is upheld, Board Policy 6146.1 requiring 230 credits to graduate would apply.

    Information Item 13 B: Legislative Coalition Report- an update on the committees trip to lobby state legislators.

    COMMUNITY GIFTS: Musical Instruments to Cerro Villa from Hillary Thomas, Tricia Thompson, Elizabeth Patrick and Neil Lehman; 1992 Ford Aerostar to Orange H.S. from Sofia Kwon; $7,360 to Nohl Canyon for a computer aide from Nohl Canyon School Association; $7333 for projectors from El Modena Education Foundation to El Modena H.S.; $315 for supplies to Imperial E.S. from Washington Mutual. For a complete list of the $112,603 in community gifts see Agenda page 17- 18.

    To view Agenda CLICK ON:


    “We’re a $220 million dollar business; we’re going to spend the money somewhere.” -OUSD Trustee Wes Poutsma 9/22/05

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars spent in 2006: $ 272,317.00:
    2006 Consultant Fee Tally:
    3/09/06 Bob Sadler 3 Day Workshop $ 10,000

    2006 Attorney Fee Tally:
    4/20/06 Parker & Covert: $ 50,000
    1/19/06 Parker & Covert: $200,000
    Total $250,000

    2006 Administrative Conference/Travel:
    2/9/06 Roney and 5 principals to Florida $ 10,623
    2/23/06 Roney and 2 principals Tx/ Fl $ 4,050
    3/09/06 2 to Florida Conference $ 3,644
    Total $18,317

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars spent in 2005:$ 978,300.000:
    Total 2005 Conference Administrator/Board Fees: $ 7,500.00
    2005 Attorney Fee Tally: $730,600.00
    Total Watched 2005 OUSD Consultant spending: $ 270,200.00

    The next Orange Unified School Board Meeting: May 25, 2006
    Closed Session will begin at 6:30 pm, Regular Session remains at 7:30 pm
    For a complete OUSD Board Agenda CLICK ON:
    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040

    Orange Unified Schools Digest is an independent news service of
    “Independent, Local, News and Viewpoints”


    Monday, May 15, 2006


    SPECIAL REPORT: Focus on Consultants

    Panorama Principal’s “Once upon a time…”
    –a fairytale without Minority Subgroups

    An OUSD Principal working for a firm she recommends that then gets multiple year contracts; pirated works used in district meetings are copied without the owners’ permission; a top OUSD administrator comparing a controversial multi-million dollar educational tax dollar consultant program to “marriage encounter training”; 40% of the consultant contract is cut back with no reciprocal program cuts; the consultant program is paid for by local federal teacher training money that could supplement specialized training in other programs and free up money for student centered needs: Welcome to the Orange Unified School District’s Focus on Results program. The Focus on Results educational consultant program in OUSD has cost taxpayers over two million dollars in educational tax funds over the last four years that include years with budget cuts of popular programs. Orange Net News is producing this yearlong exclusive news analysis series that examines the OUSD consultant program; the financial implications; and the worth of the program to the taxpayers that paid for the controversial multi-million dollar program.

    The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released their statewide 2006 Special Survey on Education (April 2006) that showed a high level of dissatisfaction among Californians with their schools and the elected officials responsible for them. In the PPIC Statewide Survey almost every area of California’s education system gets poor grades. In the survey 60% say the schools are not doing a good job in preparing students for the work force; 53% say that the schools are not doing a good job preparing students for college; 44% said the schools are failing in basic teaching of reading, writing and math skills. The survey reports that of likely voters: only 16% approve of the California Legislature’s handling of educational issues; 32% approve of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s handling of educational issues. Fiscally, only 12% in the survey of likely voters trust the state government on fiscal decision making; 13% trust school principals; 30% trust teachers; and only 36% trust local school districts about monetary issues.

    One of the survey’s most glaring statistics is that 81% of residents, and 83% of most likely voters believe better use of existing educational tax funding would improve education in California. Events over the last four years in Orange Unified provide supportive evidence as to why this statistic is so overwhelming. Two almost identical Measure A Bonds were defeated within months of each other by local OUSD voters. Meanwhile, community members and watchdogs have complained about the spending priorities and influence of what they describe as OUSD’s bloated administrative spending priorities and the creation of a Consultant Culture as student centered programs have been cut. Even as the district and the OUSD Trustees insist that the district has cut district bureaucracy, community members point to an administration that has balanced its budget for the most part by eliminating proven student centered programs and hard won community centered reforms. OUSD’s multi-million dollar consultant driven local Focus on Results program is pointed to as a prime example of wasted educational tax funds. Yet, even with program cuts to proven student centered programs, the OUSD Trustees continue to approve OUSD educrats request to continue to spend on OUSD’s Focus on Results, a program so lacking in hard evidence of any effectiveness that Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Cheryl Cohen described the program in a report to OUSD Trustees as being akin to “marriage encounter training”.

    As further proof of the purported disconnect between the OUSD Administration’s Consultant Culture and local taxpayers, the Greater Orange Communities Group, a community watchdog group, has highlighted the blatant administrative “consultant cheering” in the latest OUSD edition (April/May 2006) of its “Good News” newspaper- School News. While every other OUSD principal wrote about their schools “good news” (from innovated reading and writing programs and contests, to honoring parent volunteers), Principal Michelle Moore of Panorama Elementary School choice of “good news” was asserting that OUSD’s Focus on Results consultant program was responsible for her students outstanding test scores on the state standardized tests.

    The Greater Orange Community Group disputes Principal Moore’s assertion. The 207 Panorama students tested scored a top score of 10 in the 2005 Statewide Ranking (all 2005 Similar School Ranks have temporarily been withdrawn by the state). Under state rules, of those 207 students, only the 142 white students were “statistically significant” as a subgroup (i.e. numerically significant) and collectively those white students scored 902 on the state Academic Performance Index (API) base scale ( the target for a whole school’s API scores are expected to be above 800). Panorama had only 13 English learner students and 16 socioeconomically disadvantaged students, numbers too small for their scores to be counted apart from the white population as “statistically significant”. The whole school’s API base score for 2005 was 887. Six years ago in 1999 (well before OUSD’s controversial Focus on Results program) Panorama’s first school-wide API score was 819, nineteen points above the state target of 800. In six years, Panorama has increased its total API 11 points a year, not significantly above the state-wide rise in scores during the same period. In addition, as a school with an API score above the targeted 800, Panorama has never had to make a yearly API Target Score because schools above 800 have met the states 800 target score. Most of the Panorama’s API gains occurred before Principal Moore.

    The Greater Orange Communities Group uses OUSD’s California Elementary School as a comparison to Panorama. The 548 California Elementary School students scored 472 on the API scale in 1999. The school had 467 Latino/Hispanic students, and a total of 455 students were identified as socioeconomically disadvantaged. The school had a total of 56 white students, too small a number to statistically qualify as a subgroup. In the 2005 API testing, California Elementary had 432 students tested. Out of the 432 students, 378 were Latino/Hispanic, 375 were socioeconomically disadvantaged and 280 were English Learners. California Elementary had more “English Learners” than the entire Panorama student body of 207 students. In 2005 the California Elementary API Score was 701. In six years, California gained an average of 38 points per year. In the latest OUSD edition of School News (April/May 2006), California Elementary Principal Andrew Fisher writes about 22 teachers at California Elementary participating in the federally funded Reading First program to ensure all students have learned to read by the end of third grade. The Greater Orange Communities Group compared Panorama Principal Michelle Moore’s School News article (page 42) choice of focusing on a consultant program to explain her elite students moving ahead slightly on the API scale, to California Elementary Principal Fisher’s article (page 16) highlighting the real work of education his staff is doing as follows:

    “Panorama Principal Michelle Moore’s choice of highlighting the OUSD Administration’s “Consultant Culture” in her fairytale-school does not come close to representing the diverse challenges facing education in the majority of this district’s schools and across the state. Moore’s hollow endorsement of OUSD’s waste of educational tax dollars with Focus on Results is in stark comparison to the back-to-basics approach of Principal Fisher with his “Good News” that the basics work in the real world of the educational challenges facing California and OUSD. If Moore believes her own ‘Once-upon-a-time’ story in the May edition of School News, the community challenges her to transfer to one of OUSD’s many California Designated Underperforming Schools to bring those struggling children into her fairytale world with her Consultant Culture.”Greater Orange Communities Group; May 2006

    The same week as the April/ May edition of OUSD’s School News was delivered, the Associated Press (AP) released a comprehensive investigative report (see link below) on how public schools across the nation skirt the penalties of the federal No Child Left Behind Act that require all races that are statistically significant at a school to show progress on standardized tests (at Panorama, only whites are counted as statistically significant, while at California, whites are not counted as statistically significant). The AP report stated that nationwide over 2 million minority students scores do not count statistically because the states set the number of students needed to be considered a “significant” subgroup. In California schools the number is 100 students in a subgroup at a school are needed to be “significant” and have their scores impact the schools standing. When a California school has a subgroup of students (i.e. Hispanic; English learner; poor/disadvantaged) of less than 100 students, then that subgroup’s scores (like minorities at Panorama) do not count as a statistically significant subgroup. The AP report cited various state examples of different state requirements including the state of Washington. In Washington, schools sub-groups were considered “insignificant” and not counted only if they had fewer than five students. The reason the subgroups are important is because if a statistically significant subgroup does not make progress on testing, then the whole school fails to meet their goals. The AP investigation argues by keeping subgroups statistically insignificant, their scores cannot jeopardize the schools results.

    The Public Policy Institute of California survey shows citizens and voters nationwide want public schools to make better use of existing educational tax dollars. Yet, the OUSD Administration and “fairytale” administrators (without significant subgroups at their schools) are quick to support spending educational tax dollars on a Consultant Culture even as the district’s leading consultant program, Focus on Results, is characterized by OUSD Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Cohen as “marriage encounter training”. This is just a local example of why the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) statewide 2006 Special Survey on Education (April 2006) showed a high level of dissatisfaction among Californians with their schools.

    For further information on the items in PART VI:
    Public Policy Institute of California 2006 Special Survey on Education CLICK ON:

    OUSD’s Racial Make-up CLICK ON:

    Panorama’s 1999 API Scores and subgroups CLICK ON:

    Panorama’s 2005 API scores and subgroups CLICK ON:

    California Elementary 1999 API Scores CLICK ON:

    California Elementary 2005 API Scores CLICK ON:

    CNN/AP Summary Story on Associated Press NCLB Minority Students investigation CLICK ON:

    Associated Press NCLB Minority Students Investigation and related AP Stories CLICK ON:

    To view the previous parts of this exclusive Orange Net News special series CLICK below:





    Friday, May 12, 2006


    Metro TALK

    A community service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization

    Emergency Medical Service Week May 14-21
    The Orange County Health Care Agency's Emergency Medical Services plan a week of public information and outreach about the many vital emergency services and trainings that are available throughout Orange County. Most EMS Week events are open to the public and focus on various injury prevention topics and education in various ways to keep ourselves and our families safe from harm. EMS Week will culminate in an opportunity to honor and celebrate Orange County's Emergency Services personnel at a Family Day tailgate celebration at Angel Stadium of Anaheim before the Saturday, May 27, 2006 Angel vs Baltimore Orioles game.

    EMS Week is a partnership between the Orange County Health Care Agency's Emergency Medical Services and the Orange County Fire Chiefs Association, the Orange County Fire Authority, Orange Fire Department, Anaheim Fire Department, Orange County Sheriff's Department, the American Red Cross-Orange County Chapter, Garden Grove Police Department, Orange County SAFE KIDS and the Ambulance Association of Orange County.

    CLICK ON For more information on the following events:
    Gun Safety (Orange O.C. Sheriff Training Center)

    Bike to Work Week

    Drowning and Pool Safety:

    Senior Injury Prevention Conference

    Fire Safety Day 2006

    Saddleback Memorial Marathon and 5K

    Super CPR Saturday Angel Stadium

    Family Tailgate and Angel Game

    For a complete list of all EMS WEEK events allover Orange County CLICK ON:

    What if they held an election, but nobody worked the polls?

    The Orange County Registrar of Voters is inviting you to turn your patriotic words and feelings into patriotic action by working on one of the most American institutions, an election.

    Precinct workers and Precinct Officers are needed. A small honorarium is paid for the training and working on Election Day. High school students are welcome to work for class or community service credit, and yes, they receive an honorarium too.

    Please see the links below for more information:
    High School Students CLICK ON:

    General Poll Working information CLICK ON:

    ONLINE Poll worker application CLICK ON:

    Mayor Murphy Sings His Way into Blogs
    If you missed City of Orange Mayor Murphy at the Orange Library Fund Raiser, or in Supervisor Campbell’s Third District Newsletter, just click on below to see the “King” of Mayors strumming away on the influential OC Blog.

    OC Blog:

    Third District Newsletter photos:

    Metro TALK is a community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization

    Thursday, May 04, 2006


    Metro TALK

    VILLA PARK H.S. and EL MODENA H.S. named to
    NEWSWEEK’s List of America’s Best High Schools

    Orange Unified’s Villa Park and El Modena High Schools were two of 20 Orange County High Schools named to Newsweek Magazine’s annual List of America’s Best High Schools. The list includes a total of 1139 high schools from across the nation. Newsweek uses a formula of dividing the number of graduating seniors by the number of Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) tests taken at a school. To make the Newsweek list, the schools measured must have an index of at least 1.000 and are in the top 5% of public schools. Villa Park High School is number 557 on this year’s list and El Modena H.S. is number 1073. Also on the list: Tustin H.S. in Tustin Unified was 756; and Foothill H.S., Santa Ana was 996.

    Other Orange County high schools include: Mission Viejo H.S., Mission Viejo; San Clemente H.S., San Clemente; Esperanza H.S., Anaheim; University H.S. and Northridge H.S., Irvine; Troy H.S., Fullerton; Tesoro H.S., Ranch Santa Margarita; Ocean View H.S., Huntington Beach; Dana Hills H.S., Dana Point; Capistrano Valley H.S., San Juan Capistrano; Valencia H.S., Palcentia; Newport Harbor H.S., Newport Beach; Aliso Niguel H.S., Aliso Viejo; Los Alamitos H.S., Los Alamitos; Garden Grove H.S. and Bolsa Grande H.S.; Garden Grove.
    For the complete list CLICK ON:
    For the story:

    Villa Park’s Pauly gets GOP Honor
    Deborah Pauly is featured as Volunteer of the Month on the Orange County Republican website. The site lauds long time politically active Pauly as a dedicated volunteer and for her organizational skills. The site states:
    “Deborah organized an entire Assembly District by recruiting a good percentage of City Chairmen and Neighborhood Representatives. In addition, she was an officer in a local Republican club, and founded a Community Service Foundation”

    Metro TALK is a community service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006



    3 May 2006

    Information is all around us. With the proliferation of so-called new media, new technologies and new ways of distributing content, information has become far more accessible. It is also becoming more diverse. Mainstream media reporting, for example, is being supplemented by “participatory media” such as blogs.

    But as media and journalism evolve, certain bedrock principles remain paramount. On World Press Freedom Day, I again declare my firm support for the universal right to freedom of expression. Many members of the press have been killed, maimed, detained or targeted in other ways for pursuing that right in good conscience. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 47 were killed in 2005, and 11 have lost their lives so far this year. It is tragic and unacceptable that the number of journalists killed in the line of duty has become one of the main indicators of press freedom. I urge all governments to reaffirm their commitment to the right to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”, as set out in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    At the same time, I appeal to everyone to exercise that right responsibly and, where possible, proactively. Media have a powerful influence on human behaviour. As such, and as the General Assembly affirmed in its recent resolution establishing the new United Nations Human Rights Council, they have “an important role to play in promoting tolerance, respect for and freedom of religion and belief.” Media should not be vehicles for incitement or degradation, or for spreading hatred. It must be possible to exercise discretion without encroaching on fundamental freedoms.

    On World Press Freedom Day, let us recognize that national and global media not only report on change, but are themselves agents of change. We should all be grateful for the work and imagination of the press. I trust old and new media alike will be able to continue their work, unencumbered by threats, fear or other constraint.


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    Greater Orange News Service is a community service of the Orange Communication System /OCS/, the communications arm of the Greater Orange Community Orgainization