Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Charter School Brings Test Scores Up

Jamie Crispin, principal of E-Institute High School in the Phoenix, Arizona area, tells the San Bernardino City Unified School District governing board about the success his school has had, and how  the founding group could similarly help students in San Bernardino with Carden Virtual Academy. Photo by Chris Sloan

Carden's Arizona students take state reading and math tests in the third, eighth grades and 10th grades. In 2008 the Carden Traditional Schools had 100 percent mastery of these tests in some cases, and no less than 80 percent in all other cases.

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) A charter school that has helped elementary, middle and high school students in Arizona raise their state test scores and graduation rates plans to open in San Bernardino in August 2010.

“Carden Virtual Academy is not new to education,” said Executive Director Tim Smith. “We have a 14-year history of graduating 85 to 100 percent of our students in Arizona, and of producing state test scores that are well over the state average.”

Carden Virtual Academy will serve all students, kindergarten through 12th grade, in the San Bernardino City Unified School District. It will offer individualized education plans, which can include on-campus classes and online classes.

The school’s curriculum will be based on California education standards, and employ California certified teachers.

“Carden Virtual Academy’s mission is to deliver a high quality education focused on building skills, character and confidence,” Smith said. “The curriculum will be personalized for each student, offering a mix of onsite classes in day and evening hours, online classes and independent study. Onsite courses will include hands-on learning activities and high technology.”

Carden Virtual Academy is affiliated with the Phoenix-area’s Carden Traditional School of Glendale, Carden Traditional School of Surprise, both of which serve kindergarten through eighth grade, and E-Institute Charter Schools, which serve grades 9-12 on three campuses.

“E-Institute Charter High School, which opened in 2000, has a proven track record of successfully serving high school students that may be at risk of dropping out of school or not successfully completing school,” Smith said. “It uses a “hybrid” approach – in-class instruction led by a teacher, combined with personalized computer learning.”

“Working with parents and teachers, each E-Institute student develops a personalized learning plan,” Smith continued. “This plan identifies academic goals and completion deadlines to keep the student on the proper path to successfully passing Arizona’s high school exit exam and graduating.”

Arizona students take state reading and math tests in the third, eighth grades and 10th grades. In 2008 the Carden Traditional Schools had 100 percent mastery of these tests in some cases, and no less than 80 percent in all other cases.

Eighth-graders at Carden Traditional School of Surprise had 100 percent mastery in both subjects. Third-graders at this school had 89 percent mastery of reading, and 80 percent mastery of math.

Combined, the test results for Carden Traditional School of Surprise have qualified this campus for an elite list of Arizona’s “high-performing” schools. It is also the first charter school in Arizona to offer the International Baccalaureate Middle Years program.

Carden Traditional School of Glendale also has high test scores, and is ranked in the top 29 of Arizona charter schools for its growth in both math and reading scores. All of its third-graders demonstrated mastery of reading in 2008 and 91 percent of its eighth-graders. In math, 83 percent of the third-graders and 75 percent of the eighth-graders demonstrated mastery.

These Arizona schools started out in 1996 as International Studies Academy in Glendale, Ariz. At the time, International Studies Academy served college preparatory students in grades 7-12 only.

In 2000, the founders of International Studies Academy decided they needed to help the many Phoenix-area students who weren’t planning to go to college. This group developed the first campus of E-Institute Charter School, thus expanding the high school program to meet the needs of all students in the Phoenix area.

Since then, it has added two new campuses of E-Institute Charter Schools, one in the Phoenix metro area and another in Surprise.

In 2000, the founders also received a charter to operate Carden Elementary School for grades K-6 in Glendale, Ariz., now known as Carden Traditional School of Glendale. The founders opened the Carden Traditional School in Surprise, Arizona in 2002.

Carden Virtual Academy in San Bernardino is expected to be approved soon by the San Bernardino City Unified School District.

To attend an information session on March 25, or for more information, call Shannan Gonzales at (909) 888-0017.


Gene Wood Joins Inland Community Bank Board

Gene Wood has joined the Inland Community Bank Board of  Directors.  Wood says, My goal with ICB is simple: it’s to help the bank grow successfully.  ICB is making loans.  We lend to our current clients and are actively seeking new clients in need of project financing.

(Ontario, Calif.) Inland Community Bank (ICB), headquartered in Ontario, has brought aboard the local banking luminary Eugene “Gene” Wood as the newest member of the board of directors.
“Gene knows his stuff,” says bank President and Chief Executive Officer James Cooper. “While banks are contracting and closing, ICB is expanding, and Gene will contribute to that expansion as few others can.”

Born in San Bernardino and now a Beaumont resident, Wood has more than 45 years in banking. He brings a breadth and wealth of experience to ICB that few others nationwide could match.

Wood worked with former Security Pacific Bank (acquired by Bank of America in 1992) for 23 years, becoming manager of the Commercial Loan, Construction Loan and SBA Division for San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono counties.

As if that responsibility weren’t enough, in the late 1980s Wood took on the difficult, but successful, challenge of financially leading a large local supermarket chain in defeating a hostile takeover by another giant market chain. “It was a long, hard battle,” he recalls, “but one that was wonderfully rewarding.”

Wanting a change of pace, Wood then created his own consulting business, E.H. Wood & Associates in the Inland Empire. He served as sole advisor to many economic development agencies and arranged high-end municipal financing for their projects, including ones for an Inland Empire water district, and handled tax and revenue anticipation notes, which allowed municipalities to borrow funds on those expected taxes and revenues.

Additionally, Wood served as a consultant to several other large water districts, developers and municipalities, aiding them in formulating their various funding needs.

It was in 2000, while on the board of directors of Valley Bank in Moreno Valley, that Wood was asked to take over that 40-year-old financially troubled institution as president.

Within just two years Wood had transformed the bank into a well-capitalized business with no problem loans.  The success caught the attention of the 11th largest bank in the world, Spain’s BBVA of Madrid, who soon bought the bank. Wood stayed on for a year as chief operating officer, leading the bank’s expansion from seven branches to 45 additional branch offices throughout California.

As Wood says, “I could have stayed on, but it was just time to do something different. A few years later, in 2005, I left to establish Inland Valley Bank, a division of South County Bank in Orange County, acting as the President.” It was while there that he led the creation of a Redlands division, Inland Valley Bank, to serve small to medium sized businesses and among many other functions, finance loans for equipment, commercial real estate and construction.

A real highlight in Wood’s vast career happened in October of 1988. “I was running the National Orange Show and spent two weeks with President Ronald Reagan’s Secret Service advance detail and with the White House planning logistics and security for a speech by the president for 15,000 people at the Orange Show.

President Reagan was at the Orange Show for four hours and we all had lunch together, then the Secret Service came to me to ask if I’d like to spend 15 minutes privately with the President.

It was an amazing experience, just being together with him in conversation.” Years later, Wood met President Bill Clinton.

Over the years Wood has served in many community capacities. “When I was chairman of the World Affairs Council, I brought in prominent international speakers.  I was able to line up such heavy hitters as the editorial staff and the chief editor of ‘Newsweek,’ American astronauts, and a China attaché.

Wood served as President of the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce and then President of the San Bernardino County Children’s Resources. 

California Governor George Deukmejian appointed Wood as a member of the Mojave County Formation Commission.

“Northern San Bernardino County cities, such as Victorville and Barstow, wanted to split off and form a county of their own. The people of San Bernardino County didn’t vote for the proposal, though, so the creation of Mojave County never happened. But, this was a very fascinating effort to be involved in.”

Also, through consecutive reelections, Wood ultimately spent 18 years as a member of the San Bernardino Community College District, and today still serves as vice chairman of the Crafton Hills College Foundation and vice chairman of San Bernardino Valley College campus’ KVCR TV and Radio Foundation.

Academically, after starting out as a pharmacy major, then architecture, Wood earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of California San Diego.  He earned subsequent Master’s in business from Southern Methodist University.  Later he joined the faculty of the University of California Riverside teaching, naturally, Finance.

“My life has been a wonderful experience,” said Wood. “In my career I’ve had the opportunity to do things I’d never have dreamed I could be able to do when I was a young man, and I’ve met people I never thought I could have met.”

It was through a friend with ICB that he was urged to come out of his “retirement” to join the company in some capacity. Bank President and Chief Executive Officer James Cooper asked Wood to accept a coveted board of directors’ position as well as serve as Chairman of ICB’s Loan Committee.

The Loan Committee has four board members and two staffers. “My job is to use my 45 years of lending experience and knowledge to evaluate ICB’s largest loan applications,” said Wood.

It has been said that in today’s economy, banking is a daunting challenge, but at ICB things are a bit different.

Cooper says, “While most banks today are spending their time solving problems, at ICB we don’t have those same issues. We put our time into helping clients grow their businesses. I always tell them, ‘If we can’t add to your bottom line, you don’t need us.’

“ICB is making loans.  We lend to our current clients and are actively seeking new clients in need of project financing,” said Cooper.

Cooper said that while most popular consumer-oriented banks may average deposits of $4,000 to $6,000, ICB’s average deposits range from $35,000 to $50,000.

Wood says, “My goal with ICB is simple: it’s to help the bank grow successfully.  I want to see ICB expand to where we’re adding more select clients and more strategically located branches.” It’s something Wood has done before.

At ICB each new client is assigned a team of personal bankers to learn and understand the client’s specific needs.  “We go the extra mile to ensure that ICB provides clients with the resources they need to meet their objectives.  Also clients always are sure to be able to speak with or meet with a personal banker that knows and understands their financial needs,” said Cooper.

Businesses or professionals with gross annual revenue of $250,000 to $35 million are prime candidates to receive a team of personal bankers providing personal banking services. 

“ICB is not the bank for everyone, but our clients quickly find that our relationship encourages their profitability, and for them we become the only bank,” said Cooper.

Deposits at ICB are fully insured by the FDIC.  “We also assure each customer that any deposit made with ICB, regardless of size, is safe and sound,” said Cooper.

To schedule an appointment or for more information about ICB contact James Walling, Vice President or Christopher D. Maggio, Senior Vice President at (909) 796-7100.

About ICB
Since 1990 ICB has served select professionals and businesses with teams of personal bankers delivering a full range of banking and financial services. ICB delivers one-on-one service to its clients through banking offices in Los Angeles, Duarte, Ontario, Loma Linda and Rialto. 

ICB is a publicly traded company listed on the OTC Bulletin Board: ICBN. The website is ICB is headquartered in Ontario, California.

Safe Harbor Statement
ICB and its management may make certain statements that constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation reform Act of 1995. We make forward-looking statements when we use words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “should,” “may,” “can,” “will,” “outlook,” “project,” or similar expressions. These statements are not historical facts, but instead represent ICB's current expectations, plans or forecasts of its future results and revenues, asset growth, loan volume, interest margin, effective tax rate, noninterest expense, and other matters. These statements are not guarantees of future results or performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict and are often beyond ICB's control. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, any of these forward-looking statements.

You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement and should consider all of the following uncertainties and risks, as well as those discussed in ICB's Annual Report and in any of ICB's subsequent SEC filings. Risks include but are not limited to negative economic conditions that adversely affect the general economy, housing prices, the job market, consumer confidence and spending habits; the level and volatility of the capital markets, interest rates, currency values and other market indices; changes in consumer, investor and counterparty confidence in, and the related impact on, financial markets and institutions; ICB's credit ratings; estimates of fair value of certain ICB assets and liabilities; legislative and regulatory actions in the United States; the impact of litigation and regulatory investigations, including costs, expenses, settlements and judgments; various monetary and fiscal policies and regulations of the U.S.; changes in accounting standards, rules and interpretations (including SFAS 166 and 167) and the impact on ICB's financial statements; increased globalization of the financial services industry and competition with other financial institutions; ICB's ability to attract new employees and retain and motivate existing employees; mergers and acquisitions and their integration into ICB; ICB's reputation; and decisions to downsize, sell or close units or otherwise change the business mix of ICB. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and ICB undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect the impact of circumstances or events that arise after the date the forward-looking statement was made.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Mayor Morris and Councilmember Marquez Plant trees in San Bernardino

Mayor Pat Morris, his son Jim and Grandsons Owen and Aden plant a tree in San Bernardino's Secombe Lake Park 

San Bernardino City Council Member Virginia Marquez plants a tree in San Bernardino's Secombe Lake Park 

Rabbi Hillel Cohn, Bicentennial Chairperson and Mayor Patrick Morris, plant a tree in San Bernardino's Secombe Lake Park

San Bernardino Visitors and Convention Executive Director Wayne Austin and Council member Virginia Marquez plant a tree in San Bernardino's Secombe Lake Park

Cal State San Bernardino Sigma Chi & Alpha Delta Pi and Rabbi Hillel Cohn plant trees at Tom Minor Park

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.)  As part of the Bicentennial Celebration Mayor Patrick Morris, Councilmembers Virginia Marquez, Bicentennial Chairperson Rabbi Hillel Cohn and volunteers including San Bernardino Visitors and Convention Executive Director Wayne Austin planted 200 trees in the City of San Bernardino, each representing a year of San Bernardino’s existence.

“The 200 hundred trees were planted as a lasting tribute to San Bernardino’s Bicentennial and its residents’ philanthropic spirit.” said Nick Calero, chair of the Bicentennial Celebration’s Tree Planting Committee.

“When we first began formulating plans for the celebration of our Bicentennial we knew that we wanted to leave a legacy to the future generations. Trees will not only beautify our city now, but they will continue to provide beauty for generations to come. Just as we enjoy the trees that our forbearers planted, so we have plant trees for those who come after us,” said Rabbi Hillel Cohn, Bicentennial Committee Chairperson.

Picture Slide Show:


Helen McNair performs Easter concerts

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.)  Singer, Helen McNair performs a concert celebrating the glory of Easter on Tuesday, March 30, at 10:00 a.m. on 780 E. 21st Street in San Bernardino at Perris Hills Senior Center.

McNair says, “Singing is a joy to me and I am blessed to be able to share that joy with others.”

She will also perform at 5th Street Senior Center on April 1, at 9:30 a.m. at 600 W. 5th Street in San Bernardino.

Her performance includes: My Tribute (To God Be The Glory), What A Wonderful World, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Just a Closer Walk With Thee, Blessed Assurance, His Eye Is On The Sparrow, You Are So Beautiful, He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands and Wind Beneath My Wings.

“I like to sing Gospel, spiritual songs, and the classics,” said McNair. She performs for weddings, banquets, religious functions and community organizations throughout the Inland Empire and Los Angeles.

McNair has performed on stage with some of gospel’s greatest artists including: The Clara Ward Singers, Professor James Cleveland, Professor Raymond Rasberry, Gregory Perkins-Bowen, Vernard Johnson, Shirley Caesar and Albertina Walker.

McNair is a member of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in San Bernardino, where she is an active member of the Sanctuary Choir, the Mass Choir, and Mission Chorus.
  For more information or to book McNair, call (951) 315-5961 or fax (909) 888-2331.