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Focus on Success
March 2010 Vol 1, No. 2  
 Partnering and Promoting Education
In This Issue
Migrant Head Start Extends Services to North County
ROP Middle School Career Exploration
Mock Trial Competition
Building 21st Century School Leadership
Science Fair Fosters Creativity and Innovation
Inside Education: Why the Early Years Matter
No Longer Vocational Ed - It's Career Tech
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education serves the community, districts, and schools to provide high quality access to education, from preschool to higher education. 
Santa Cruz County Board of Education 
The Santa Cruz County Board of Education is comprised of seven trustees each of whom represents a designated trustee area within the County.
Mr. Jack Dilles
Mr. Aaron Hinde
Mr. Arnold Levine
Mrs. Kathy Mann
Mr. Vic Marani
Mr. Dana M. Sales
Mr. George "Bud" Winslow

Santa Cruz County Office of Education
400 Encinal Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 466-5600
(831) 466-5607 (FAX)

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Superintendent's Message

At this time, when the state of California is facing serious financial constraints and despite the fact that the education budget is being cut yet again, it is vital that we continue to provide and support programs and services that focus on the needs of all students, teachers and school districts.  It is important that we do so to ensure that pre-kindergarten students are ready for school and that K-12 students are offered every possible opportunity to succeed academically. At the Santa Cruz County Office of Education we will continue to focus on solutions to move forward through collaborations, partnerships and innovation.


In this issue of our newsletter, we highlight programs that reflect our focus, from pre-school to students who are preparing to enter the workforce of the 21st century. 


Student success is evident in competitive events: Mock Trial, Science Fair, the annual Spelling Bee and in early May, the annual Math Contest.  These competitive events are excellent showcases for the entire community to attend in order to see first-hand the talent and skills of students in Santa Cruz County.


In closing, I invite all who are able to join with superintendents, school board members, teachers, and administrators from all levels of education as we participate locally in the statewide Start the Day for Students.  The Start the Day for Students event is a rally to raise awareness that it is time for elected leaders in Sacramento to find a solution to the state's chronic budget problems and to call attention to the devastating effects the current budget has on education.  The event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 3, 3:00 p.m. on the steps of the County Courthouse in Santa Cruz.  A second, community sponsored event will be conducted Thursday, March 4, 4:00 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Clock Tower.

Michael C. Watkins
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools
Read past messages from the Superintendent.

New Child Care Services Available for North County Migrant Workers

Migrant Head Start studentThe Migrant Head Start Program, part of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, will be expanding our services to meet the needs of the migrant children in north Santa Cruz County. We need your help to find these smaller pockets of farm worker communities scattered throughout Beach Flats, Davenport, Live Oak, and the Santa Cruz mountains.

Our mission at Central California Migrant Head Start is to ease the transition of these farm worker families into our community and to encourage the love of learning among the most vulnerable of our children.
Learn more about Central California Migrant Head Start
Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Fosters Middle School Career Exploration  
ROP at College and Career NightIn an attempt to encourage students to begin an exploration of their future career paths, middle school students were invited to participate in the College and Career Night held on the Cabrillo College campus.

Senior Director of ROP Bryan Wall and Assistant Director Mark Hodges introduced the young audience and their parents to the idea of Career Technical Education and Early Career Exploration.
Learn more about ROP's outreach to middle school students.
Mock Trial Competition Immerses Students in Law Related Learning 
Celeste Gutierrez, previous Watsonville High School Mock Trial student, shares her Mock Trial experience:
Mock Trial students and judge"Mock Trial prepares you for the honesty of real life. Attorney scorers and coaches are honest to Mock Trial students and sometimes it is hard to hear, but it makes you a stronger person. Mock Trial teaches you to further understand the law. It is a test of your knowledge and critical thinking skills and makes you truly recognize the power of words."
Mock Trial is a trial simulation where students form defense and prosecuting teams and compete against each other before a judge in a courtroom. Participants develop critical thinking skills, confidence in public speaking, and knowledge of legal practices and procedures.
Find out more about Mock Trial and Law Related Education Programs at the SCCOE.
Building 21st Century School Leadership 
 TICAL SV regional professional development
What do Google, blogs, wikis, digital photo sharing, and social networking have to do with education? These tools can and are being used in classrooms, schools, and districts today to motivate and engage students in content mastery. The tools and their application in schools were demonstrated to several Santa Cruz County school leaders at a TICAL Silicon Valley workshop held at Apple Headquarters in Cupertino.
Learn more about regional TICAL professional development and visit the TICAL web site.
Science Fair Fosters Creativity and Innovation 
Science Fair participantsThe 24th Annual Santa Cruz County Science fair will be held March 13th at a new location: the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. 
This year's Science Fair, made possible by funding from Seagate Technologies, leadership from the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE), and the tremendous volunteer effort of scientists, researchers, and educators, continues to top all previous student participation records. 
The Santa Cruz County Science Fair provides the highest quality science education, professional training, technical support, and special events for students seeking opportunities in pre-collegiate scientific research, and world class science and technology competitions.
Student exhibits can be viewed by the public from 5:00PM - 7:00 p.m. on March 13th  at the Fairgrounds. 
Visit the Science Fair website for more information.

Inside Education: Why the Early Years Matter


Inside Education participant with preschool childrenInside Education is a series of workshops conducted once a month over a period of nine months, designed to better acquaint the community with the programs and services of public education in Santa Cruz County. Registered participants obtain a first-hand, interactive, in-depth look at the business of education and the methods of teaching students in our public schools.


The first of the 2009-10 sessions, titled "Why the Early Years Matter," concentrated on preschool education. The early years of a child's life are a window of opportunity to chart a course for a lifetime of learning.


Inside Education participants were provided a report by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education which identified local needs and produced a "blueprint" for establishing a successful preschool program for all children in the County.

Learn more about "Why the Early Years Matter."

Inside Education: No Longer Vocational Ed - It's Career Tech


Inside Education participant at ROP's Economics of Marketing classInside Education participants visited and participated with students enrolled in one of the over 50 classes offered by our Regional Occupational Program (ROP). Known as vocational education in years past, the demands of preparing students for meaningful careers in the quickly evolving workplace of the 21st century has transformed the educational requirement from simply skills preparation to the complexities of full career technical education.

Find out more about what participants experienced and more about ROP programs.
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education publishes news to the community several times a year, highlighting programs that support student achievement.