education

California Department of Education

The California Department of Education today  made public its new system for evaluating how local school districts are performing. Local educators say it is more complex but also more helpful.

Cliff DeGraw, the Petaluma City Schools Assistant Superintendent, likes the five-colored grids that are used to track districts’ progress in each of the areas being analyzed.

State Education Department spokesman Robert Ochs, notes that some additional focus areas will be added to the Dashboard in the months ahead.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

Ag Days returned to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds this week. The annual event, hosted by the local Farm Bureau, gives thousands of elementary school students some first-hand exposure to this region’s agricultural heritage and its products. 

Training new teachers for local schools isn’t enough. The Sonoma County office of Education is also partnering in efforts to help secure housing for them.

Learn more about the Housing Land Trust of Sonoma County here.

To meet the persistent shortage of teachers locally, a new program is recruiting and training would-be educators who are already here, but doing something else right now.

One of the re-entry members in the current cohort is Amanda Park, who already has teaching experience, but decided to change course after moving to California last year.

Derek DiBenedetti has long enjoyed being a high school baseball coach. Now he’s joined the teacher internship program in order to be on campus even more of the time.

Living With Autism

Feb 23, 2017

While Temple Grandin has become a well-known exemplar of a person with autism, attaining that status required overcoming a daunting series of challenges. It was a journey begun and largely shared with her mother, Eustacia Cutler, who has become an ardent advocate for families that include children on the autism spectrum. She has her own story to tell.

As school budgets shrink and curriculum requirements tighten, are Sonoma County students still getting taught about the arts? Creative Sonoma is trying to assess the situation, with an eye toward boosting those efforts going forward.

Creative Sonoma Director Kristen Madsen says the plan to address shortcomings in local arts education will be as comprehensive as possible—and give priority to areas where the needs are greatest—but implementation will have to proceed in stages.

According to a recent study, Latinos trail other segments of the California population in understanding mental illnesses and how they can be treated. But the gap closes as they become acculturated.

Naranjo’s study interviewed 100 subjects, statewide, during the summer of 2014. She explains that her survey asked a series of questions to gauge each person’s awareness and understanding of mental illnesses and their symptoms and treatments.

A scholarship program that works specifically with undocumented students who want to attend college has added Sonoma State University to its list of partner schools in California.

Find out more about the Dream.US scholarship program on their website.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

For 50 years, Jim Doerkson has managed and maintained a small mountainside covered in fir and redwood, and narrow footpaths. His Rancho Mark West is becoming an increasingly popular place for nature education and family outings.

Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as abuse and neglect, have life-long effects on both mental and physical health. But recognizing, and working to prevent them, can begin to break that pattern. That’s what a new educational program in Sonoma County hopes to do.

Programs similar to the local ACES Fellowship have been offered on a statewide basis elsewhere, but Sonoma County Public Health Director Ellen Bauer says this is the first one to focus just on a single county.

Long before this week’s election results came in, organizers of the annual Latino Health Forum in Santa Rosa had selected as this year’s theme, the health impacts of racism and Discrimination. But current events added new notes of alarm and urgency to the event.

Beyond her insights and analysis into the neurobiological “scripts” that contribute to perpetuating racial inequities, Dr. Jann Murray-Garcia says it is important for health care professionals to exercise their influence and authority to “interrupt” these longstanding social patterns, in schools and beyond.

Tiffany Camhi

Sausalito and Marin City’s  school district has been slowly gaining traction over the past 15 years by attracting parents and students back to the area’s two schools. But after disappointing test scores in recent years and a scathing report from a state agency accusing the district of diverting money away from its largely minority school parents, teachers and community members are looking for change. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports that change could come soon after voters in the district cast their ballot for two open seats on the school board tomorrow.

A new, targeted effort to combat violence against women is taking hold in an important, if unexpected context: junior high and high school locker rooms.

CBIM provides the coaches with cue cards that outline 11 discussion topics, including Respect, Personal Responsibility, Insulting Language, Understanding Consent, and Communicating Boundaries.  Verity’s Zach Neely cites another, Bragging about Sexual Reputation as an example of how the program works to change behaviors.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Efficiency and curiosity are fundamentally at odds with each other, says a Sonoma State liberal studies professor. And that basic conflict needs to be acknowledged in shaping our educational systems.

Curiosity and imagination are separate but closely linked qualities, says Wendy Ostroff. She cites a recent experiment that underscored their importance in problem solving.

Nicolas Grizzle, SSU

  Dr. Judy Sakaki, the newly installed 7th president of Sonoma State University, greeted the campus community yesterday at the annual convocation, which marks the beginning of the new academic year. 

Dr. Sakaki addressed the convocation for more than 30 minutes, during which she also introduced the new members of her administration. You can hear her speech in its entirety below.

Tiffany Camhi

Toolbox, the social and emotional learning program that began in Sebastopol about a decade ago, is gaining more traction in the U.S. and worldwide. And educators near and far are hungry to bring it to their own classrooms. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi went to a recent Toolbox training to find out how teachers are learning the skills to bring the program’s 12 tools to their own schools.

Northern California is home to a growing number of innovative and holistic farms and farmers. A new Farm School program in Sebastopol is out to help export those practices more widely.

  The Farm School doesn’t just teach aspiring agrarians what to do on and with their land, says Director Miriam Volat, it also strives to help those students find land they can work.

SSU

  The Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove on the Sonoma State campus should be more than a reflective space for remembrance, its founders said at a gathering there Tuesday morning:  it can also be an educational resource for young people.

And in the North Bay Report archives, you can also see our 2009 report on the creation of the Memorial here.

Bruce Robinson

  They’re back! After a four-year absence, a pair of tall-masted wooden sailing ships will sail back into Bodega Bay Wednesday for a 5-day stay, offering public tours and excursions.

  The Lady Washington’s companion vessel is actually older, and an original. The builder synthesized elements from several different historic ships to create the Hawaiian Chieftain, explains first mate Matthew Callen, but the first impression most modern observers have is “pirate ship.”

 

  Californians have been coping with drought for a few years now. For the Masai people of eastern Africa, water shortages have been a fact of life for generations, one of several needs that a local non-profit is helping with.

  The Masai are a long-standing tribal presence in their region, a people that, Alias Morindot explains, have managed to preserve most of their traditional way of life into the 21st century.

From that perspective, he sees pronounced contrasts with the culture of contemporary California.

  

  It is Women’s History Month again, as it has been every March since 1988. But the roots of that national observation reach back even further, to 1977, when they first sprouted here in Sonoma County.

The Project also got some extra love from Congressman Mike Thompson this week, along with some local honorees. Congratulations to all.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  he number of people with autism in Sonoma County is both growing and aging. A newly launched program at Becoming Independent in Santa Rosa is designed to aid young adults on the spectrum in navigating life beyond school.

  Because of the widespread need for programs like becoming Independent’s new “Passport to Independence, CEO Luana Vaetoe foresees a time when they may be able to export it to other sites.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

A modern replica of an 18th century sailing ship—built to 80% scale—is taking shape on the edge of Richardson Bay. When it is finished, the new tall ship will mostly host educational trips for Bay Area school kids. 

In the video below, Executive Director Alan Olson explains the Educational Tall Ship project in greater detail, while showing the ship's infrastructure as it appeared this past summer.  https://youtu.be/gI27zoISddo

Better Foster Care Provides a More Typical Life

Dec 14, 2015
cherylholt/morguefile

  Children in foster care thrive when they are able to live a more typical life, a new study concludes. We hear more from Suzanne Potter.

North Bay Corporation

  Expanded recycling programs, such as here in Sonoma County, have succeeded in cutting the waste stream going into the dump. But the economics behind them are not working out as expected. And that is leading to some reconsideration.

Long-time recycling advocate Mike Anderson, the current chair of the Sonoma County Solid Waste Management Task Force, contends that one factor in North Bay Corporation’s higher-than-permitted volume of “residuals” at their Standish Avenue sorting facility is the age of the equipment in use there.

  Beyond reading, math, and science, young school kids need to learn to navigate their emotional and social worlds. That’s where the Toolbox Project comes in.

Since Mark Collins defined the 12 tools in his Toolbox Project, they have remained essentially unchanged--basic actions, spelled out in simple terms, that carry powerful ideas.

Students who were introduced to the Toolbox Project early on were recently interviewed about how those lessons had carried forward with them. You can see that video here.

  After 30 years spent crisscrossing Europe and writing about it, Rick Steves remains an enthusiastic advocate for international travel, and the broader perspectives that result.

Find details on Steves' local appearance this week at this link.

Rick Steve's work takes him back and forth across Europe for four months each year. So what would he like to do for a vacation?  More of the same...sort of.

Wednesday was Sustainability Day at Sonoma State, but the keynote speaker for the event warned that attaining “full spectrum sustainability” will require long-term and sweeping changes in all areas of modern life.

There is no question that confronting climate change is a political challenge, says David Orr. But it is less about elections, and more about recreating a way of governance that rests on fairness and balance, rather than dominance and profits.

  Improving community health requires political participation. That was the theme of this year’s Latino Health Conference, which used the Portrait  of Sonoma County as its starting point.

At the Forum, Dr. George Flores from the California Endowment also noted the critical importance of reaching out to the current generation of Latino youth.

  One way to increase such engagement, suggested Oscar Chavez, is to take a cross-generational approach.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

The California State University system got a 10% boost in its budget this year—a $ 269 million increase—so the faculty statewide are pushing hard for a 5% salary increase. The administration has drawn a line at 2%, leaving the two sides at impasse, and a strike vote set for next week.

SSU professor Andy Merrifield, a member of the CFA’s statewide bargaining team, has been down this road before. But this time he says, the stakes are higher—and he believes the level of public support for the faculty is, too.

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