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Focus on Success
September 2013 Vol 5, No. 1   
 Partnering and Promoting Education
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In This Issue
Third Annual Summer Arts Institute
20th Annual High School Poetry Competition
Ponderosa Boat Works Sails Through Summer School
2013 Write-Start Backpack Project
Investigating Paleo-Panama
ROP Step-Up Summer Classes
ROP Cooking
School's Out For Summer!...Highlights 2013
Perfecting Their Craft: Ponderosa Boat Works
Gooru Resources
SCCOE Launches Arts Advocacy Video
Model Technology Classroom Program
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 


We usher in the 2013-14 school year amidst great hope and promise, for the educational landscape is changing quickly with new funding formulas for schools, new Common Core Standards across the United States, different assessments for students and new accountability models for school districts. In addition, our office is transitioning to a new and improved financial and data system that will benefit all schools in the county.


First of all, the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will eliminate 40 to 50 categorical programs and redistribute those funds among districts. Concentration grants of an additional 35% will go to districts with 50% or more English Language Learners, and/or low income and/or foster youth students. Monies will also be available for programs like class size reduction in grades 1-3 and to provide Career Technical Education in high schools. This will create more flexibility for school districts as they align their spending plans with their priorities.


The new Common Core Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts have been formulated to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn and when they are expected to learn the material. This gives both teachers and parents a common understanding of our expectations for students. The standards are to be used across the United Sates and are designed to be relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. Having the same high quality standards from state to state will allow for collaboration in development of textbooks, digital media and teaching materials.


So you can see why there is excitement in the air for this school year.


Michael Watkins
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools  

Read past messages from the Superintendent.

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


At the end of June, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, in collaboration with the Arts Council Santa Cruz County (formerly the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz), was delighted to once again sponsor a week-long Summer Arts Institute for K-8 teachers. The attendees included both classroom teachers and teaching artists from throughout the county.


20th Annual High School
Poetry Competition  


Hear students read their poetry in the competition, which was recorded by Community Television of Santa Cruz. (Watch on YouTube)


Watch the video.


Thanks to a generous offer made by the University of California Santa Cruz, eight students from the Ponderosa Boat Works haven't missed a beat to quarters, a jibe, a tack, a tide, or a westerly wind.


These students, along with about ten other students from the Santa Cruz community, show up daily at 0900 hours, at the University Sailing Center, where they have been learning the intricate science behind the operation of the University's Coronado 15 sailing fleet. Working in teams of 2 or 3, the students crewed together showing mastery in the beginning dinghy operations sailing of the Coronado 15 sailboat. Many of the Ponderosa students have had experience with their El Toro fleet, but the Coronado 15 is almost twice as long and carries much more sail area.   


Read more about  Ponderosa Boat Works.
2013 Write-Start Backpack Project is Here Again!  


For 24 years the Write-Start Backpack Project has been providing homeless and low-income students with new backpacks and school supplies to start their new school year. Since its inception in 1989, we have provided over 25,000 backpacks to Santa Cruz County students. Each year the community and local businesses have supported the Write-Start Project. Recently, our local Santa Cruz Costco has given us a great start by donating 400 backpacks! 


Read more about the Write-Start Backpack Project.


Follow Curriculum & Instruction Coordinator Jason Tovani's blog about his experiences during a two-week trip (7/10-7/14) to Panama to do some fieldwork with the scientists at the Panama Canal. The project was a partnership between the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the University of Florida, and Santa Cruz City Schools. 


Middle School Students Get a Step-Up to High School by Participating in ROP Summer Classes  


"Who in the class used a right angle today?" Twenty middle school students eagerly raised their hands in answer to David Grant's question. David is an instructor for ROP (Regional Occupational Program) teaching Construction Technology, Engineering and Aquaculture classes at San Lorenzo Valley High School. The middle school students were enrolled in his class for a weeklong Industrial Technology Step-Up Class.


Read more about ROP Step-Up classes.
Cooking -- it's not just for adults: Local camps, classes give kids recipe to healthy habits, confidence 


Kids with knives are cooking up healthy habits and confidence. Healthy eating, locally grown produce and sustainably raised meats are the buzzwords these days -- but they're not being tossed around by adults alone.

 Read the Santa Cruz Sentinel article.
School's Out For Summer!
Highlights 2013

WE MADE IT AT LAST! The final days of school are a wonderful time for taking pics and remembering the year's highlights. The dedicated sketchers shown in the following photos worked with The Scribbles Institute for one or two full years. Whew! Lots of drawing sessions!



There was a collective gasp at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor as half a dozen people watched Jessica Price sail an 8-foot El Toro straight toward dock. The gasp was almost immediately followed by a huge cheer as the 17-year-old Ponderosa High School student, who was sailing solo for the first time, cleanly came about and headed back out into the main channel.


Read more about Ponderosa Boat Works students
Gooru Makes Finding and Sharing Resources Easier for Teachers 


For many, it seems like the school year has barely ended and that summer vacation has just begun. But anyone who is or knows a teacher understands that as soon as one year ends preparation and planning for the new one has to start. That is why schools and teachers across California are getting set up and trained to use Gooru.


Read more about the Gooru Resouces for Teachers.

SCCOE Launches Arts Advocacy Video Why The Arts?


Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins is a strong advocate for arts programs in schools. Believing in the importance of arts education, the SCCOE has created a video featuring student voices expressing their thoughts on the value of studying the arts.


Read about and view the Arts Advocacy video.

Model Technology Classroom Program


Pajaro Valley Unified School District is working with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education to implement model technology classrooms within the school district. The PVUSD Model Technology Classroom Program has equipped 6 classrooms in PVUSD with technologies such as SMART Boards, Voice Amplification systems, iPads, scientific probe-ware, document cameras and student responders.


Learn more about the Model Technology Classroom.

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