December 2015
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Excellence in Education Awards Ceremony

The Lake County Office of Education hosted the 21st Annual Excellence in Education Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 20th at Twin Pine Casino & Hotel in Middletown. This event honored the county teacher of the year, district teachers of the year, as well as others who have positively impacted education in Lake County.

April Leiferman, Lake County Assistant Superintendent of Schools, was the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Leiferman said, "In every school, during every era, the children, staff, and parents create a mini culture unique to them.  Over time, each of these cultures provide all the material needed for a dramatic mini-series.  You can find heroes, tragedies, comedies, laughter, tears, and especially learning in many dimensions."

This year's honorees include:

Teachers of the Year
  • Elisa Prather, Lake County Teacher of the Year and Lakeport Unified School District Teacher of the Year
  • Cheryl Mostin, Kelseyville Unified School District Teacher of the Year
  • Pam Ingersoll, Konocti Unified School District Teacher of the Year
  • Megan Grant, Lucerne Elementary District Teacher of the Year
  • Sue Olsen, Middletown Unified School District Teacher of the Year
  • Clarinda Higgins, Upper Lake Union Elementary School District Teacher of the Year
  • Paul Holt, Upper Lake Union High School District Teacher of the Year

Classified Employees of the Year
  • Eduardo Ledesma, Kelseyville Unified School District Classified Employee of the Year
  • Barb Denno, Konocti Unified School District Classified Employee of the Year
  • Tracy Columbi, Lakeport Unified School District Classified Employee of the Year
  • Marilyn Bingham, Middletown Unified School District Classified Employee of the Year
  • Mechelle Finney, Upper Lake Union Elementary School District Classified Employee of the Year
  • Buddy Thomas, Upper Lake Union High School District Classified Employee of the Year
Additional Honorees
  • Pamela Hobbs, Early Childhood Educator of the Year
  • Tim Gill, Administrator of the Year, Association of California School Administrator (ACSA)
For more information or to access additional photos, contact Annie Mills at or (707) 262-4134.

County Teacher of the Year, Elisa Prather, accepting the awards from Lakeport Unified School District School Board Member, Tina Scott.

Christina's Smile Children's Dental Clinic

LCOE's Healthy Start is sending huge thank you to to Public Health and Migrant Education for their collaboration in providing 8 Lower Lake High School students and 1 Carle High School student with free dental services at Christina's Smile Mobile Dental Clinic. 

Christina's Smile Children's Dental Clinic is a non-profit organization that works in cooperation with the PGA Tour and Champions Tour to deliver comprehensive dental care to children in need.  Unfortunately, poor dental health affects the lives of millions of children from low-income families and can cause pain and discomfort, infection, speaking and eating problems and low self-esteem.

The mobile dental clinic -- operated out of a 48-foot trailer equipped with dental treatment stations, X-ray and instrument sterilization equipment -- visits approximately 20 communities each year. The clinic spends three days in each community, treating underserved children that have been identified by local organizations.  The volunteer dentist and assistants perform a thorough dental exam to determine each child's dental needs and treat them on-site. Services can include: extractionfilling, root canal and sealants.

Volunteers with Purpose

AmeriCorps is a national service program which provides volunteers an opportunity to serve their community while receiving a living allowance. The Lake County AmeriCorps program engages members in direct service by focusing on community needs. The program focuses on academic support, assisting after school programs, oral health education, volunteerism, and much more.

2015/16 AmeriCorps Members
KVUSD PBIS Facilitator Honored

When it comes to PBIS at Kelseyville High School, the office of Safe Schools/ Healthy Students would like to honor Mrs. Areli Dohner-Chavez, counselor and teacher.  Mrs. Dohner-Chavez, as a PBIS facilitator, regularly inspires and motivates her already very busy colleagues and administrators to come together to look at the school's programs that give support
to student behavior. 

At a recent PBIS team meeting before school on October 7, staff me
mbers assembled under her leadership to discuss how Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports could be more present on campus. From utilizing posters; to recruiting student leaders from Council to the PBIS Team; to discussing the discipline flow chart; to inspiring more family involvement. Before the next PBIS team meeting, Mrs. Dohner-Chavez and her teammates set the agenda for the interim faculty meetings to include the misuse of cell-phones and the dress code.  Kelseyville High School is fortunate to have such a committed teacher who cares about her school community, rises to the occasion and cares the way Mrs. Areli Dohner-Chavez does.

LCOE Staff Member Honored with Lake County Star

The Healthy Start Coordinator of the Probation Family Pro program, Mari Valdez, won the Professional Youth Advocate Award at the Stars of Lake County Awards Program on Saturday, November 14th at the Soper Reese Theatre in Lakeport.

Mari works with youth on informal probation. They have voluntarily chosen to work with Mari to reach their goals and meet the requirements to reduce their probation. Previous to the existence of the program, 70% of the youth on informal probation would relapse back into criminal behavior. Since Mari has been working with these youth, the recidivism has dropped to 30%.

It's no wonder Mari Valdez is a star in this County! 

Lake Area Rotary Club Association helps 
Middletown Afterschool Program
The Lake Area Rotary Club Association (LARCA) Fire Relief Fund has committed to doubling the capacity of the Afterschool Program in Middletown.  The Lake County Office of Education (LCOE) is authorized to serve 29 students in the Minnie Cannon Afterschool Program.  With this donation, the program is now serving 60 students.  LARCA committed $12,500 to support this effort.
Due to the Valley Fire many families have been displaced. The waiting list for the afterschool program rapidly grew to 30 students. Many of these students had no homes to go to and were waiting on campus for working parents to pick them up. Rotary's financial assistance allows LCOE to hire an additional staff member to provide students with a supportive safe place to go after school. Lake County Superintendent of Schools, Brock Falkenberg, indicates that, "afterschool programs provide a safe and supportive environment to engage students  in supplemental learning activities and receive assistance with homework."

Afterschool programs provide a safe nurturing environment for students every school day until 6 PM. Students are given 1 hour each day of academic homework support and they are presented with hands-on activities that are fun and engaging yet also enhance the school curriculum. In addition, the program includes a healthy supper and lively team building physical activities.

Brock Falkenberg, Lake County Superintendent of Schools at Minnie Cannon Afterschool Program.

With the generous donation from LARCA, LCOE will be able to meet the increased demand for the remainder of the school year.  For more information about the Afterschool Program please contact Della Murphy at 707-263-4563x213. For more information about the LARCA Fire Relief Fund please visit 
  November Trainings at LCOE

Top Left: Supplemental Educational Services tutoring program application. Top Right: Secondary IEP Workshop. Bottom: SASH Training.

Hero Project's Take A SEAT Challenge

The Hero Project's challenge is underway for the months of November and December. They are challenging families to eat 3 meals together each week. Every family who completes the challenge will receive a FREE pizza from either DJ's Pizza in Lower Lake or Cheese's Pizza in Lakeport. One lucky grand prize winner will receive a $150 gift card to a local grocery store.

While it's always rewarding to be a parent, the truth is that some days are harder than others.  It may seem hard to believe, but eating just one family meal together each week can pay off big for you and your children. Studies prove that children who eat regular family meals are healthier and have a better chance at graduating high school! Commit to being a hero, turn the TV off and join us in our Take A S.E.A.T (sit, eat and talk) Challenge by visiting!

CDE Staff Visits Lake County Area

Brock Falkenberg toured the Valley Fire area with California Department of Education staff on October 22nd.
LCOE Celebrates Thanksgiving

LCOE celebrated their traditional Thanksgiving potluck lunch on November 13th. Some of the goodies included cheesecake squares, corn cassarole, apple pie, cookies and stuffing, complete with a deep fried turkey! Wayne Martin and Juan Huerta were the master chefs and master minds behind the deep fried turkey.

Ecology Workshop

Yuba College's Dr. Harry Lyons hosted a workshop for this year's Academic Decathlon students. On Saturday, October 24th, decathletes explored ecology through several hands-on lessons at the college. Students started the morning dissecting owl pellets to investigate the dietary preferences of the barn owl and how changes to prey and the environment could have long term effects. Among the findings were several vole skeletons and a rat skull. As one student described the exercise, "it smells like healthiness". 

In the "Survivorship in Bubbles" experiment, students used the logistic equation to chart the life cycle of bubbles. While it might have appeared that groups of students were enjoying outdoor play on a Saturday morning for sheer fun, they were conducting scientific experiments. The information gathered was used to compare the life cycles of different life forms. The third activity looked at habitat formations and the threats to biodiversity. Students discussed and hypothesized the changing climate at different elevations and made predictions of survival based on temperatures, soil types and partnerships. Lyons was able to connect much of the curriculum to the recent fires and environmental devastation as well as the constant change of Clearlake. 

The day was wrapped up with a terrific performance by Lyons as he put the newly learned terminology to music.  It is obvious that Lyons enjoys ecology and his passion for teaching is evident by his enthusiasm. His continued support of Academic Decathlon as both presenter and volunteer is greatly appreciated by the decathletes and staff. For more information on the Lake County Academic Decathlon visit the Career & College Readiness Department of the Lake County Office of Education -

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Calendar Highlights

SELPA Governance Council
December 07, 2015  8:30AM - 10:00AM  |  Lake County Office of Education, Board Room, 1152 South Main Street, Lakeport, CA

Healthy Start Collaborative & Children's Council 
December 09, 2015  11:00AM - 2:30PM  |  Lake County Office of Education, Kesey Room

Staff Recognition Holiday Party
December 11, 2015 5:30PM | Twin Pine Casino & Hotel 22223 CA-29, Middletown, CA 95461
RSVP with Melissa Reese

CPIN Visual Arts 
January 12, 2016  5:30PM - 7:30PM  |  LCOE Kesey Room, 1152 S. Main Street, Lakeport, CA 95453

Updated Tests of Cognitive Ability 
January 13, 2016  8:30AM - 11:30AM  |  Lake County Office of Education, Kesey Room

Pattern of Strength and Weaknesses (PSW) for SLD Identification 
January 13, 2016  12:30PM - 3:30PM  |  Lake County Office of Education, Kesey Room

Section 504 and Medically vs. Educationally Necessary Services 
January 26, 2016  9:30AM - 12:30PM  |  Lake County Office of Education, Kesey Room

For comments or submissions contact
Robyn Bera