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Focus on Success
September 2012 Vol 4, No. 1  
 Partnering and Promoting Education
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In This Issue
Launch of Young Writers Program
Write-Start Backpack Project
ROP Middle School Career Exploration Classes
Ponderosa High School's First Year
Inside Out Project Watsonville
Construction Technology Pilot
Special Performance at Cabrillo Music Festival
A Year of Arts in Santa Cruz County Schools
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 provide quality educational leadership, programs, services, and support

to the children, school

districts, and the diverse community

that makes up Santa

Cruz County.

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 of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education's newsletter highlights the importance of collaboration and partnerships and the vital role they play in public education. Our diverse community came together to fund a summer youth employment program, acquire enough backpacks and school supplies for needy students, create a young writers initiative, pilot a Career Exploration class for middle schools students, use the medium of art to encourage peaceful communities, and use construction technology to increase algebra skills.


Without a doubt, the 2012-13 school year will be one of the most challenging to date. Past years' budget cuts have left many schools reeling, yet the resilience and creativity demonstrated by many schools has been nothing short of inspiring. Principals, teachers, aides, bus drivers, food service workers and others continue to put students first as evidenced by increased test scores. Volunteerism is up as revenues are down. The two education related measures on the November ballot can make a difference. Please take the time to read both (Propositions 30 and 38) as passage would do wonders for schools.


Our newsletter is sent out quarterly. If you would like more frequent updates, follow me on Twitter, or like the SCCOE on Facebook.

Michael C. Watkins
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools


Read past messages from the Superintendent.


Popsicles and Ping-Pong Party Launches Young Writers Program


 Young Writers Program launch party

It was definitely a "cool" way to bring in the fall. The first annual Popsicles and Ping-Pong Tournament brought together teachers, administrators, and potential volunteers to launch a new program co-sponsored by Santa Cruz Writes and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education.

The Young Writers Program will bring volunteers into classrooms countywide to work on teacher-initiated writing projects. The August 18 event gathered potential participants to play ping-pong, eat popsicles, and learn how to get involved. There were plenty of raffle prizes along with gift certificates donated by Bookshop Santa Cruz for ping-pong tournament winners.


Learn more about the Young Writers Program.

Summer 2012: Work4Youth


Work4Youth participantThe Santa Cruz County Office of Education in partnership with Work4Youth, the Youth Resource Bank of Santa Cruz County, and the Workforce Investment Board would like to thank all of the business partners that hired youth this summer. In addition we would like to thank the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, Good Times Santa Cruz, United Way of Santa Cruz County and everyone who participated in the "Bravo! Work4Youth Talent Showcase" fundraiser. Through everyone's combined efforts, approximately $60,000 was raised and 50 youth were employed in the summer of 2012.

Watch a student-created video about a student in the Work4Youth program.

Getting Ready for School: Write-Start Backpack Project Update


Twins getting backpacks from the Write-Start Backpack ProjectOn Saturday, August 11th, the "Stuff the Bus" Event collected close to 300 backpacks and a variety of school supplies. We are still looking for community support to reach our goal of 1000 backpacks.


Find out more information about the Write-Start Backpack Project. 

Middle School Career Exploration Classes are a huge success!


ROP Middle School Career Exploration classes 

Seventy-five Santa Cruz County middle school students were treated to the opportunity to test out high school Career Technical Education (CTE) classes on high school campuses this last June. Offered as a pilot program, Regional Occupational Program (ROP) teachers on three different campuses opened their classrooms and taught a weeklong course to enthusiastic students. 

Find out more about ROP's Middle School Step-Up classes.


Ponderosa High School's First Year


Ponderosa High School backpack tripPonderosa High School and Green Career Center celebrated a monumental first year. Ponderosa opened this year in Ben Lomond in order to provide students in the San Lorenzo Valley and Santa Cruz County with an alternative school program. Ponderosa's school curriculum focuses on academics with themes in sustainability, green consciousness, environmental studies, outdoor education, community involvement/service, and vocational training. 


Find out more about Ponderosa High School.

Inside Out Project Watsonville: Peace in the Streets - You Only Live Once


Inside Out Project WatsonvilleFive months of work on a very big community art project for ROP Photography teacher Karen Lemon and her students culminated in the recent installation of large-scale photographs on five city buildings in downtown Watsonville. Students at the three schools that participated have already felt the impact of working on this cooperative project, and now it is being shared with the public in the city of Watsonville. 


Read more about the Inside Out Project Watsonville.


Construction Technology Pilots at Ponderosa and Natural Bridges High Schools


construction program 

This summer ROP and Alternative Education Programs collaborated on a pilot project designed to increase Algebra skills while introducing Construction Technology concepts to summer school students at Ponderosa High School and Natural Bridges High School. The pilot program incorporates a series of specially chosen construction projects into the algebra curriculum traditionally taught during summer school. Student pre-testing and post-testing will confirm whether the theory is validated that teaching students with more concrete, relevant and hands-on projects leads to increase in acquisition, understanding and retention of abstract math concepts. Under the direction of Mark Hodges and Jim Howes of ROP and Carol Polhamus of Alternative Education, teaching staff includes David Grant, Brian Thom and Steve Hess.

The attached photo is David Grant's class working at Ponderosa High School.

Very Special Performance at Cabrillo Music Festival 2012!


composer john wineglass and performer charles holtOne of the pieces that was performed at the Cabrillo Music Festival was the World Premiere of Emmy Award-winning composer John Wineglass' Someone Else's Child, narrated by acclaimed Broadway actor, singer, writer and inspirational speaker Charles Holt.

Commissioned by philanthropist David Kaun, Wineglass' symphonic poem was inspired by and integrates poems from students at Alternative Education Program's Hartman School (poetry program taught by Dennis Morton), in the Santa Cruz juvenile detention center and poignantly describes the life and thoughts of incarcerated youth in America today. [More information about the program.]

Read a Santa Cruz Sentinel article about this.

A Year of Arts in Santa Cruz County Schools


student art, owlsThe end of the school year is an exciting time for students as they are given the opportunity to display the art they have been working on all year, both through performance and exhibition.

The Santa Cruz County Government Center exhibited 400 pieces of work in May representing visual arts by elementary school students from throughout Santa Cruz County who were given learning opportunities in the arts through the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County's SPECTRA and Mariposa's Art programs.


Find out more about arts in Santa Cruz County in 2011-12

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