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Focus on Success
March 2012 Vol 3, No. 3  
 Partnering and Promoting Education
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In This Issue
Third Annual Together for Kindergarten Community Forum
Natural Bridges High School LiMPETS Program
Spelling Bee 2012
Y.E.S. Serves Teens
Ponderosa High School Community Service
California Common Core Standards Training
No More Drama: Administrator's Breakfast
Bonny Doon Elementary School Video
Art Teachers Do Art
Board of Education
Business Services
Educational Services 
Human Resources
SC County Schools
Student Services
Technology Services
SCCOE Mission
The Mission of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education is to increase the proficiency of students by providing quality educational leadership, services and support to all school districts in Santa Cruz County, as well as to a diverse community of learners.

Strategic Vision

To improve education in Santa Cruz County by using data and research to prepare all students for college and/or career success in the 21st Century global economy
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 spring issue of "Focus on Success" demonstrates the important role that regionalization of services plays in partnering and promoting student achievement. From bringing together early educators and kindergarten teachers from throughout the county, to bringing together students countywide to participate in a spelling bee, to bringing together teachers to learn about the Common Core State Standards and innovative art projects, to bringing together administrators from three counties to hear Dr. Anthony Muhammad speak to the importance of creating a positive culture in our schools, student success begins when everyone is involved.


In addition, we highlight three alternative educational programs that provide students with unique opportunities to learn about the environment, service to their community and how to stay clean and sober. In the best of times working together is important, in these lean times it is essential.


Michael C. Watkins
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools


Read past messages from the Superintendent.


Third Annual Together for Kindergarten Community Forum


Together for KindergartenMore than 200 early educators, kindergarten teachers and administrators from across the county gathered on Wednesday, February 29th, for the 3rd straight year to attend the "Together for Kindergarten" community forum. Organized by the COE and the Child Care Planning Council, the forum presented an opportunity for early educators to sit together in neighborhood "hubs" working cooperatively to brainstorm activities that support kindergarten readiness. After a long day at work, educators conversed about how to make a child's first impression of school more positive and less stressful, and how to better prepare children to enter kindergarten socially, emotionally and academically ready.


Read more about the Together for Kindergarten community forum

Natural Bridges High School Community Service: LiMPETS


LiMPETS programThis spring Natural Bridges High School and Green Careers Center students are participating in the LiMPETS program as part of Community Service Fridays. LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) is a hands-on environmental monitoring and education program for students, developed to monitor the coastal ecosystems of California's National Marine Sanctuaries to increase awareness and stewardship of these important areas. 


Learn more about Natural Bridges High School and the LiMPETS program

Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee 2012
Stellar Santa Cruz County Spellers


Spelling Bee 2012For close to 30 years, the most gifted spellers from school sites across Santa Cruz County have been coming together to show off their superior word formation knowledge. Saturday, February 25th, 2012, followed suit with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education hosting concurrent Spelling Bee Championships at UCSC for students in grades 4-6 and 7-9. 

Find out more information about the 2012 Spelling Bee. 


Alternative School, Y.E.S., serves teens overcoming drug addiction


YES school studentsSANTA CRUZ - Tucked away behind Youth Services on Mission Street is a one-room school with a garden in back and a tight-knit group of teens who embrace the unicorn as their school mascot.


The Y.E.S. School, Youth Experiencing Success, is an alternative education program run by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education that serves students who have struggled with drug addiction and have committed to remaining sober.


 Read the article published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Students Engage in Community Service While Learning Local History


Ponderosa High School studentsOn Community Service Fridays, for the past several weeks, Ponderosa High School students have volunteered at the Evergreen Cemetery in Harvey West Park. Ponderosa High School students have performed trail and walkway maintenance, non-native plant eradication, tree trimming and brush removal, and general clean up in the historic cemetery, which is one of the oldest cemeteries in the nation. 


Read the rest of the story about the Ponderosa High School community service program at Evergreen Cemetery.
California's Common Core State Standards Make their Debut


Common Core Standards trainingEducators across our county are spending time this year becoming familiar with the new Common Core State Standards in professional development workshops offered by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. These California educators have joined a national movement to adopt common standards and assessments for English language arts and mathematics. Currently, standards for what students should know and be able to do vary among states, as does the difficulty of the assessments used to determine whether students are meeting those standards. Common standards allow for collaboration among states on best practices and professional development. 

Find out more about these workshops on California's Common Core state standards for local educators. 

No More Drama: Getting Everyone on the Bus and Becoming a Real Professional Learning Community


Anthony Muhammad administrator breakfast"When people are educated, they are in power!" This was one of many "nuggets" starting off the morning of February 1st for 153 site, district and county level administrators from Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties. These administrators, spanning the K-12 spectrum, converged at the Cocoanut Grove for a mid-year Administrator Breakfast to connect with each other as well as learn from Dr. Anthony Muhammad, an expert on leading organizational change. 

Read more about the Administrator Breakfast.

Students Create Film Depicting Daily Life at the Small, One School District


Bonny Doon Elementary videoUpon hearing that the Santa Cruz County Office of Education's Inside Education participants would be visiting the campus to learn more about small schools, excited and motivated students who wanted to show what is special about Bonny Doon School spent three weeks filming as many facets of their school life as possible. The short film features interviews with teachers and staff as well as the art, music, and dance programs at the school. It was "crunch time" as excited students worked through recess and noon hours to finish the film before the premier on November 16th, 2011 to the Inside Education group. 

Find out more about Bonny Doon Elementary School and watch the video.



Art Teachers Do Art!


Art teachers working in clayThere has been a decline in arts programs in Santa Cruz schools over the last couple of decades which makes it tempting to focus on what isn't happening, rather than the high quality arts teaching which is still happening in several schools throughout the county. Santa Cruz is a county which attracts artists of all types and fortunately for our students, many of those artists are also credentialed teachers. However, the limited number of arts programs in schools leads many arts teachers to feel isolated with little (or no) peer interaction. 


Read more about local professional development for art teachers.

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