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Focus on Success
March 2013 Vol 4, No. 3  
 Partnering and Promoting Education
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In This Issue
County Science Fair
Ponderosa Boat Works
Mock Trial
FosterEd Pilot Program
Garden along West Cliff
Celebrating Black History Month
Transitional Kinder Classroom
Teen Peer Court
COE Solar Project
ROP Biotechnology Class
Digital Learning Day
Governor's Budget Threatens Career Education
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
Ms. Sandra Nichols
Ms. Gina Locatelli
Ms. Jane Barr
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 


The spring issue of Focus on Success not only highlights the many extracurricular activities that help to shape a child's life and spark their creativity and imagination but also shows the importance of early learning, supporting foster youth, integrating technology and celebrating the role of Black History.


County Offices of Education throughout this great state play an integral role in supporting student achievement by offering unique programs and services through collaboration with school districts. The Science Fair brought together over fifty-five schools and five hundred students. Seven high schools, two hundred students, two judges and a cadre of lawyers participated in Mock Trial. Hundreds of students have participated in Teen Peer Court. Many more are taking advantage of our new Regional Occupational course in Biotechnology and others participate in volunteer Community Service by helping to plant gardens in blighted areas.


In addition, we are very pleased to have fully converted our central office to solar power which will be a significant savings for taxpayers. We also work to keep students safe by providing Bullying Prevention workshops to teachers and administrators.


Education does not have to be confined to four walls, one teacher and thirty students. By involving parents and the community in school activities everybody wins. Spring can usher in much more than colorful flowers and beautiful weather; it can also herald new opportunities for schools.


Michael Watkins
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools

Read past messages from the Superintendent.

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What Goes Into a Science Fair Project


Students participate in Santa Cruz County Science Fair

Every year hundreds of students in Santa Cruz County schools put in long hours researching and presenting their findings at the Science Fair. How do they do it and what do they get out of it? To find out, we talked with a random sampling of students at the 2013 Science Fair, held March 9 at the County Fairgrounds, and also talked to a longtime Science Fair judge about the process.

Find out more about the Santa Cruz County Science Fair.

Alternative Education Students Gain Career and Life Skills through Ponderosa High School's Boat Works Program


 Ponderosa High School students work on a boat      

Ponderosa Boat Works is located on the campus of Ponderosa High School and Green Careers Center in Ben Lomond. It is an Alternative Education classroom, working under the umbrella of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, and closely affiliated to the Regional Occupational Program. The program is designed to raise student awareness of possible careers in Santa Cruz County's maritime industry while repairing, restoring and building boats on the Ponderosa campus. Once repaired, restored or built, the students launch the same vessels and become proficient in handling them in open water. 

Find out more about the Boat Works program.

AEDASAP: Health Organizations Team Up to Keep Santa Cruz Athletes Safe


 Students learn how to use the defibrillator    

During the 2011 American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Conference, NATA liaison Matt Ryan, MA, ATC, PTA, attended a presentation by Brett Toresdahl, MD. about sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in high schools. One slide, however, stood out in particular. A graph demonstrating the chances of survival drastically dropping with every minute the victim was without an automated external defibrillator (AED).


Find out more about the Save a Student program.

County Schools Tackle Bullying: New State Law Has Districts Revising Policies to Curb Mean-Spirited Behavior


 Safe School Symposium  

SANTA CRUZ -- County school districts are targeting a common problem: bullying.

To curb the mean-spirited behavior that often involves students singling out a classmate for ridicule or exclusion, school district leaders countywide are ramping up enforcement as part of a new state law known as AB 9, or Seth's Law.


Find out more in the Santa Cruz Sentinel article.

Santa Cruz County High School Students Show Off Legal Skills in Mock Trial


Students participate in Mock Trial  

WATSONVILLE -- A star high school swimmer, who happened to be the mayor's son, was accused of hitting a bicyclist with his car and fleeing the scene.


The defendant, Adrian Vega, concocted a story to pin blame on a jealous teammate in People v. Vega, an imaginary felony hit-and-run case that went to trial Thursday at the Watsonville Courthouse as part of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education's 24th annual Mock Trial competition.

Learn more about the Mock Trial program.
Santa Cruz County Pilot Aids Foster Children at School


FosterEd pilot project  

WATSONVILLE -- Children in foster care are more likely to miss school, to struggle academically and to drop out before finishing the 12th grade. Less than 3 percent make it to a four-year college.


Once out of school, more than a quarter of foster children are homeless at some point. About the same number end up in jail. A third receive public assistance, and more than half find themselves without a job.


Learn more about the FosterEd pilot program.

New Garden Along West Cliff in Santa Cruz Offers a Native Feel


Students work on garden along West CliffSANTA CRUZ -- West Cliff Drive has a new and native garden on a site that was previously marred by drug dealing and litter.


The garden, just east of the Shrine of St. Joseph along West Cliff, is the brainchild of Karen Toole, a local artist and interior designer, who has teamed with Tom Ralston Concrete, Granite Rock Co., and the city to help beautify an overlook that already had a scenic ocean view.


Learn more about this project.

Celebrating Black History Month at the COE


Dr. David Anthony

President Obama proclaimed February as National African American History Month. This year's theme is At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington. 2013 marks both the 150-year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington. Each of these events were dramatic turning points in American History. 

Santa Cruz County Office of Education Takes A Trip to a Transitional Kinder Classroom


Transitional Kinder classroomOn many days throughout the year, you can find students getting into vans for field trips to a variety of exciting destinations. Today, it was teachers and administrators from across the county who loaded into vans to visit a model Transitional Kinder classroom at Antonio Del Buono School in Gilroy, California.

Transitional kinder ensures that children have pivotal skills, which are foundations to successful learning, when they begin kindergarten. The youngest kids in a kindergarten class risk struggling academically, emotionally and/or socially. At their young age, some may not be practiced in socializing with their peers and teachers, while others may not yet know how to listen or follow a structured class schedule. 


Find out more about Transitional Kinder classrooms. 

Order in the Court: Students Learn Real-Life Skills in Teen Peer Court Program


WATSONVILLE -- In a courtroom in Watsonville, Monte Vista Christian School sophomore Elisabeth Wayne is prosecuting a 14-year-old boy who skipped school, broke into an abandoned bowling alley and drank beer with his friends.


"He didn't respect the law," Wayne told the jury comprised of 12 teenagers. "He believed it was OK to ditch school, enter an abandoned building and drink beers with his friends."


Find out more about the Teen Peer Court program.

County Office of Education Unveils Solar Project


SANTA CRUZ -- The cloudy, cold weather broke Thursday, just in time for the Santa Cruz County Office of Education to unveil a project that will make perfect use of the sun.

The county's education headquarters, located on Encinal Street in Santa Cruz, will now receive much of its energy via a large array of solar panels mounted on the building's roof and on a slope behind it.

Find out more about this project in the Register-Pajaronian.
New Science Class in Santa Cruz County Opens Door to Biotech Field



SANTA CRUZ -- The 26 students inside a science lab at Harbor High on Thursday worked tediously to remove dabs of jellyfish DNA from vials and drop the clear liquid into pools of bacteria the size of a living-room coaster.


They'll know if the experiment was done correctly if the harmless bacteria, after sitting overnight with the jellyfish DNA, glows fluorescent green when exposed to UV light.


Read the rest of the Santa Cruz Sentinel article.

Digital Learning Day 2013


Digital Learning Day is a nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology that engages students and provides them with a rich, personalized, educational experience. The inaugural Digital Learning Day-held February 1, 2012-quickly gained momentum as a grassroots effort in states, districts, schools, and classrooms. It highlighted and celebrated successful models, great teaching practice, and effective uses of technology to improve learning for all students.

Read more about the Digital Learning Day.

State School Finance Plan Threatens Career Education


Costanoa students work in ROP horitculture classSANTA CRUZ -- Wednesday, a day before Gov. Jerry Brown was expected to unveil a proposal to revamp California school finance as part of his budget plan, 17-year-old Alma Martinez weeded a row of broccoli in a garden at Costanoa High School.


Martinez's effort was part of an agricultural class that combines vocational experience with academic instruction in science. It's one of 44 courses offered through the Santa Cruz County Office of Education's Regional Occupational Program. The program serves about 3,500 students countywide each year.


Read the rest of the article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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