Let's Learn About Each Other!

Hello to the new California DEN team!  My name is Jannita and I am the Discovery Educator Network Manager for Southern California… however lately I have been spending a lot of time up north as well, as our Northern CA DEN members would say.  I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic initiative. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know a little more about me.

For the past 6 years, I have taught in the Anaheim City School District.  During my stay there, I had the privilege of teaching 4th, 5th, 6th, and 1st grade, which included working in the Gifted and Talented (G.A.T.E.) Program and combination classrooms.  Many people ask which grade I loved the most, and honestly I have to say there are perks to each.  The 1st graders were a constant source of entertainment and exhaustion…. the 6th graders a source of inspiration and frustration.  I am sure than many of you would agree.  What I have found is that in each grade there are blessings and challenges.  Wouldn’t you all agree?!? 

I also happened to jump on board many projects that included KidNews, Galapagos Project organized through KOCE and the Orange County Department of Education. I also co-directed an after-school English Language Development class that focused on integrating science and technology. Last year, I worked with our PTA, Warner Bros., and DreamWorks to host 2 different family nights. Needless to say I loved projects! Now the biggest project lies before me… Networking the best teachers in California together, because I know dynamic things happen when dynamic educators are linked together. 

On a personal note, I was married on April 17th 2004.  We actually met while working as servers at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant at Knott’s Berry Farm.  Anybody been there?  No kids, yet, just our Black Lab ‘Bear’ who likes to play the part of a baby.   

I am anxious to learn more about each of you and the exciting things you have done or are currently doing in your classes.  Let’s use this blog to get to know each other.  Post a comment and let us know where you are, the grade you teach, and anything you’d like to share. Also let us know what you would like to see happen in the Network (events, trainings, etc.)  Feel free to think out of the box!


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  1. Carol Anne McGuire said:

    My name is Carol Anne McGuire. I am the Vision Specialist in the Orange Unified School District in California. I teach blind and visually impaired students, grades K-6. Yes… the ultimate combo!
    The motto of our classroom is, “Vision Does Not Require Sight!” These students shine this motto. I have been blessed to be their teacher for over 15 years. Many of my students are married with children of their own… I’m not sure how that happened, since I haven’t gotten any older!
    Each year I teach my students to become filmmakers. They write their scripts in Braille, film and edit their own movies. I LOVE that they have used a medium that is thought to be “visual” and have not only overcome the fact that they have limited sight, but have become quite skilled in the area of filmmaking! (One of their movies, “Get A Clue”, can be found on the Apple website: http://www.apple.com/education/accessibility/disabilities/vision/profiles/myths.html
    It is a testimony to us all to never limit our students.
    I am not a technical teacher, so if I can teach blind students to make movies, then everyone should be doing it!
    This past year they’ve used Unitedstreaming in a dramatic way to learn about their world. We’ve created and hosted an International project called, “Rock Our World.” Together, with students around the world, we’ve collaborated to compose music, produce movies and even a TV show.
    I am looking forward to a new year with my students and discovering together new talents, gifts, and abilities!
    Thank you, Discovery, for making this Educator Network. What an awesome time to be a teacher!

  2. Kenneth Decroo said:

    My name is Ken Decroo. I am the principal at Dorothy Grant Elementary school, our newest school in Fontana USD. I, also, am a professor at California State U., San Bernardino. I am a technology and ELL specialist. My area of research and practice is using “Communities of Practice” as vehicles of change. I have spent most of my career infusing technology into standards based curriculum.

    I began my career at the California School for the Deaf in the 70’s…I came to Fontana about ten years ago as 3rd grade bilingual teacher. I taught technology and ELD classes at Truman Middle School and was an assistant principal in charge to technology and ELL at the same school.

    I love what I do… There is nothing I would rather do. I feel my work is important and I am very lucky to work for a district that has an inspired and enlightened leadership, committed to raising student achievement and focusing on the needs of our ELL population. We are helping shape the next generation.

    I am an avid cyclist. Our whole family belongs to the Redlands Water Bottle Transit Company cycling club. My wife, Tammy, and I just finished the Cool Breeze Century ride in Ventura. We are very excited about coming up to San Francisco to support the “best of the best,” in cycling, in one of the premiere races in the country, the San Francisco Grand Prix of cycling.

    If you would like more information about me, here is link to my web site:

    Warm regards,

  3. Sarah Johangiry said:

    Hello everyone! My name is Sarah Johangiry, and I am a second grade teacher at Dorothy Grant Elementary in Fontana, CA. This is my third year in the district, and this is my first year at Dorothy Grant. I am so excited about working with such a wonderful staff, and I am loving all of the technology that I have access to. Having a LCD projector, great lessons put together by my team last year, and students who are prepared for the second grade has made my teaching experience so much more delightful this year. It is amazing what you can do with Unitedstreaming and the interent in the classroom. I am definately still learning and in need of a lot of training, but I am gettting a little better at the technology component everyday!! Overall, I am loving my job, and I am looking forward to this school year.

    I am married to a wonderful man, and I have two great children. My son is atttending Kinder this year, and my daughter is in pre-school. I am amazed at how fast they grow. We love to travel, especially to Mexico. This year we plan to visit Michoacan, Mexico in December and we will travel to Newfoundland, Canada in July. I am so excited. I love meeting people from other countries and learning about their culture.

    I am definately looking forward to being a part of this network! It is a great idea, and I believe that all teachers will benefit from it. Please share great ideas!!
    Sarah Johangiry

  4. Jutti said:


    My name is Jutti Marsh. I’m a fourth grade teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, at Monte Vista Elementary. The majority of my students are ELL students. I am always looking for ways make the curriculum accessible for these students. On United Streaming I can usually find a video or two to illustrate what I am teaching.

    We have also gotten into producing our own videos based on literature and science.

    I write professional development classes for my district. I have developed several classes to help teachers integrate the use of technology into their teaching. The purpose of the classes is to teach participants how to use technology and at the same time find creative ways to use it to enhance their teaching.

    My hobbies include herpetology. I currently keep three kinds of lizards and many frogs, including poision dart frogs. To see some of my frogs go to http://www.marshfrogs.com/frogphotos.html

    Carol I love your comments! You are an inspired teacher! : o )

  5. Robb Lash said:

    Hello Southern Cali,

    My name is Robb Lash and I’m a 5th Grade Teacher at Dorothy Grant Elementary. I’m very excited to be part of something new and fresh. I’ve been teaching for eleven years now and find something new to work on each day. I look forward to being part of a great team at Discovery.

  6. Robb Lash said:

    Hi Carol,

    I just watched your video and was truly amazed. You are blessed to have such amazing children.

  7. Rick Brown said:

    My name is Rick Brown; I am a hybrid. In the Placer Union High School District I am known as a “teacher on loan”, a combination of a curriculum, instruction and assessment director and a classroom teacher (photojournalism). I am entering the second year of a two-year assignment. Participating in the field testing of unitedstreaming.com has been both exciting and informative. The teachers in our districts have taken to the service with enthusiasm.
    I am in my 34th year of teaching. My wife, Jackie, and I live in Meadow Vista, CA. We have three children.
    I hope to make this service a vital part of the PUHSD curriculum and instruction delivery system.

  8. Rita Fennelly said:

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Rita Fennelly, and I am starting my third year as an 8th grade science teacher at Saddleback Valley Unified School District in the OC. I love my school, my fellow teachers and the diverse body of students.

    Our school and department have been very supportive in helping me create a differentiated classroom that utilizes any technology that we can use. I am currently working on developing a ready-to-use multimedia lecture series. I have also been given a new room, which will give me the amazing opportunity to dabble in room design.

    On a personal note, I have been married for 8 years — no children yet. I love running, salsa dancing, and going on adventures. This summer my adventures included a 24-hour trip to see the Discovery shuttle launch, a stroll through the Atlanta botanical gardens, and a swim to Wisconsin from Minnesota.

    I am really excited about this year and the DEN. I really hope to meet some of you in person.

  9. Jannita Demian said:

    How exciting! You will surely have lots to share with your students this year about your adventures to the Discovery Launch! I have always wanted to learn salsa dancing… maybe you can give lessons 🙂 I am so excited to have you on our team!

  10. Linda Slater said:

    Please take a look at the Garden School website which encapsulates what I’ve been working on for the past 3 years…My role in the project began as a co-founder with the LA Times writer, Emily Green and chef, Nancy Silverton. I am now focusing on integrating technology into the project by creating professional development classes for teachers on how to integrate science teaching with garden-based learning and technology.

  11. Marie Belt said:

    My name is Marie Belt and I work as a literacy coach at Dorothy Grant Elementary in Fontana. I have been in education for 22 years (wow!), as a teacher and literacy coach. I have also had the opportunity to work across the country as an educational consultant with the Foundation for Comprhensive Early Literacy Learning (CELL) based in Redlands for 8 years. In my spare time, I worked with Special Education teachers as Cal State San Bernardino, helping to teach the Language Arts Methods course.
    On a personal note, I am married, and my husband Tom is also a teacher in Fontana. We have 4 kids, 1 grandson, 2 dogs and 1 cat! Quite a full house! For fun, we have just started cycling together. I enjoy scrapbooking and watching the cooking channel. I love the 30 Minute Meals show…also The Barefoot Contessa. Also…I guess I like them all! I occasionally try the recipes as well!
    I am very excited to see the wonderful things we are going to do with students with the resources Discovery has to offer!

  12. mforst said:

    Joining the Marie line-up, I am Marie Forst. I taught kindergarten at Solorio Elementary for the past five years. Last Friday I must have lost my mind because I volunteered to teach the K/1 combo! I’m incredibly excited about the sharing and learning this challenge promises.

    I’ve been a tech trainer and an Intel Teach to the Future Trainer for my district for the last 4 years. My heart lies in design and problem solving when it comes to technology. I’ve been designing web pages since the early days before WYSIWYG. In fact, I’m sure that my skills are now outdated! (How fast technology changes, eh?)

    My struggle with technology and learning has been in finding authentic uses for computers with early childhood children. There are many games out there for young children, but very few applications (ideas) that will truly support the daily curriculum for these students.

    On the flip, my husband and I will be celebrating our ten-year anniversary this year. We finally decided that our three dogs were not enough family for us. We now have a very happy eight-month-old boy that is approaching the ability to terrorize the cat. (We are expecting crawling action at any moment!) Needless to say, my hobbies right now include catching some winks, playing patty-cake, and dodging baby food. In the old days, my husband and I loved to camp, hike, and fish.

    (P.S.I was once a student of Ken’s at CSUSB!)

  13. Cherise Dias said:

    Hi! My name is Cherise Dias. I am currently a fourth grade teacher at Clara Barton Elementary School in the Corona-Norco Unified School District. I am looking forward to the futher integration of technology in our classrooms. I have just completed a Master’s Thesis on the effects of proper integration of technology in the classroom. With appropriate integration technology can be highly effective in raising student test scores. As we all know, test scores are key…for now. I am a very technology minded person and enjoy training others in my district on how to use UnitedStreaming and other programs that enhance learning. I am currently taking courses to achieve the INTEL Teach to the Future Certificate.

    I just married in April of this year and am enjoying married life. Thank you for letting me share with you.

  14. Singha said:

    Good job! THANKS! You guys do a great website, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. best regards,

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