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Focus on Success
December 2010 Vol 2, No. 2  
 Partnering and Promoting Education
In This Issue
Teens positively affecting community
Arts Alive
Lesson Studies and Algebraic Thinking
Improving Content Literacy
New Teacher Project
ROP's Auto Shop
Community Partnership to Prevent Gangs
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
Ms. Gina Locatelli
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 

This issue highlights some of the many unique and diverse programs that are offered through the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE). As California continues to struggle with the ability to adequately fund public education, it is important to remember that partnerships and collaborations can fuel change, especially when resources are scarce. Many of the programs featured are the direct result of educational professionals, businesses, civic leaders, law enforcement, and artists coming together to benefit students. Now is the time to rely upon the collective wisdom of the community in an effort to sustain programs that are in jeopardy of being cut due to the state's budget woes. We all have a stake in the future success of schools.  Student engagement and achievement will be driven by innovation; the SCCOE will strive to meet this challenge by continuing to offer creative programs. 


Have a wonderful holiday.

Michael C. Watkins
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools


Read past messages from the Superintendent.

Teens positively affecting their community!

Natural Bridges High School student Abel JohnsSCCOE's Natural Bridges High School student Abel Johns is one of five teens featured in a December 16, 2010, Good Times Santa Cruz cover story. Abel Johns' passion is organic farming and food justice. Natural Bridges High School is a joint program of SCCOE's Alternative Education Program and Regional Occupational Program (ROP).

Abel Johns calls his earliest days growing up on an Indian reservation in Nevada "the most unhealthy period of my life, which was the most important because I was really little and growing, when I needed to be well fed but I really wasn't." Today, the soft-spoken 17-year-old at Natural Bridges High School in Santa Cruz is standing at the forefront of the local youth movement advocating organic farming and healthy living. And he hopes to transfer all that he's learned here, back to his Paiute tribe.


Read the Good Times article online.
The Arts are Alive in Santa Cruz County schools! 

Kids watching CharitoDespite all the budget cuts in education, the arts are alive and well in Santa Cruz County. Sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, two music groups brought their talents to Santa Cruz County classrooms through vibrant performances that really engaged the students. Seeing live music performances is not just prescribed by the California Visual and Performing Art Standards, but is also a great way to develop an appreciation for musical craftsmanship, and a rare opportunity for many local students.

Learn more about these arts events in Santa Cruz County.
Lesson Studies and Algebraic Thinking:

Opening Classroom Doors

Teachers at Algebraic Thinking Workshop20 teachers gathered this fall from across the county to deepen their knowledge around Algebraic Thinking. These teachers participated in a series of professional development workshops focused on building mathematical thinking, which in turn supports the students understanding of algebraic concepts.
The next step was to use their experiences to collaboratively plan a complete lesson together, which they could then observe being taught by one of their peers. They used the professional development model of Lesson Study, which originated in Japan. This continuous improvement model supports teachers as the experts, who learn from each other while others provide resources.

Learn more about Lesson Study and the Algebraic Thinking workshops.
Improving Content Literacy:

Leveling the Playing Field for English Learners

High school studentJuan sits in his 9th grade Biology class trying to pay attention to what his teacher is explaining about plant cells. He listens intently to an explanation of chloroplasts. As he focuses on the image the teacher is pointing to, his mind considers the English word, searches for the Spanish word, and then applies that word to the larger concept of plant cells.

Learn more about Improving Content Literacy.

New Teacher Project Supports Quality Teachers and Teacher Retention!


Early on a recent morning, approximately 75 educational leaders from across Santa Cruz County and beyond gathered at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE) for a breakfast meeting hosted by the Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project (SC/SVNTP).


The Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project is a California Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Induction Program. In its 23rd year, the SC/SVNTP supports new teachers in developing effective teaching practices that impact student success.


Find out more here.

ROP's Auto Shop: a Clean Ocean Business!

Barry Kirschen receiving award 
Barry Kirschen, a Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Instructor recently received an award for ten years participation in the City of Santa Cruz Clean Ocean Business Program. Barry teaches the Engine Repair, Engine Performance, and Smog Certification Courses for ROP at the Santa Cruz High School Auto Shop.

County Office of Education (COE) Superintendant Michael Watkins and Deputy Superintendant Bryan Wall both attended the event to recognize Barry and the award presentation.

Learn more about the ROP's Auto Shop.

Community leaders forming new partnership to divert youth from gangs

Community leaders plan to relocate a gang and truancy prevention program long active in Watsonville to Santa Cruz.

A group comprised of leaders in education, law enforcement, government, the judicial system, counseling, probation and other fields met for the fourth time Thursday to form a North County Broad-based Apprehension, Suppression, Treatment and Alternatives program known as BASTA. The group met first in May, led by County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins.

Find out more about these efforts here.

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education publishes news to the community several times a year, highlighting programs that support student achievement.