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Focus on Success
December 2013 Vol 5, No. 2   
 Partnering and Promoting Education
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In This Issue
Local Partnerships Benefit Students
ROP Teacher Awarded Educator of the Year Award
SOS Tours Cabrillo's Solari
ROP Aquaculture class
ROP Reel Fresh Film Festival
One Childhood, One Chance
ROP's Haut Surf Shop Mural
ROP Green Careers Class
ROP Environmental Careers
Young Writers Program Success
Meaningful Art Experiences
2013 Write-Start Backpack Project
Third Annual Summer Arts Institute
20th Annual High School Poetry Competition
Ponderosa Boat Works
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 end of every year is a time for reflection and 2013 is no different. The changes that we have experienced in the California public education system are the most dramatic since No Child Left Behind and they have the potential to reshape teaching, learning, assessment and accountability like nothing before. The transition of these responsibilities from the state to the local level means that parents, trustees, community members, students and teachers have a greater role in not only student outcomes but also in how to reach the goal of "Every Child Succeeds". 


This issue of Focus on Success highlights the many unique ways students learn and thrive. One of the changes California public schools will experience is that of adopting the pedagogy of the Common Core and along with that we will see a greater emphasis on hands-on and project-based learning. 


The programs we feature are early adopters of those methods. Regional Occupational Programs, Alternative and Special Education have understood the importance of personalized and multi-sensory approaches to teaching and learning and the programs we offer are inclusive of those strategies. Every child can learn and it is up to us as educators to ensure that it happens in every classroom every day. 


The SCCOE will continue to explore new and creative ways through a wide range of programs, as demonstrated in this issue, to promote and foster success.


Michael Watkins
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools  

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


Student participant in Bike Tech at School

ROP has joined forces with Cruzio, the Bicycle Trip and the Watsonville Wetlands Watch to offer unique learning opportunities to students in Santa Cruz County. Local businesses that join with the SCCOE to partner with ROP on co-funding Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs can have a big impact on students and our community. These businesses have made it possible for ROP/COE to offer technology rich courses that require expensive equipment and provide unique opportunities for students to gain hands-on skills that can lead to future jobs. 


Read more about how these partnerships benefit students


SANTA CRUZ -- The California League of High Schools has awarded Deb Tracy, Medical Pathway teacher and coordinator, with its "Educator of the Year" award.


Tracy, one of 11 nominees in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey counties, was selected Wednesday at a celebratory dinner at Elks Lodge.


Medical Pathways, taught through the county office of education, prepares high school students and adults for health careers.


Find out more in the Santa Cruz Sentinel article
Alternative Education Students from SOS Tour Cabrillo's Solari Green Technology Center in Watsonville and Envision Future Careers


SOS Students visit Solari at Cabrillo Watsonville

WATSONVILLE -- Monica Ramirez, 16, thought about a career in construction after helping her father build stables.


After a visit to the Solari Green Technology Center at the Cabrillo College campus in downtown Watsonville on Wednesday, the high school junior is even more convinced it's the right path for her.


"Looking at this building, I'm getting inspired to do construction," she said.


Read more in the Santa Cruz Sentinel article


Amongst the redwoods and ponds behind San Lorenzo Valley High School, students are learning about fish and ecology in a unique way.


Teacher David Grant and volunteer technician Nate Beck have spent 18 months refurbishing a fish-farming system that circulates nearly 50,000 gallons of Fall Creek water through 40 tanks.


Students in Grant's aquaculture class use the tanks to design and build yearlong research projects to study interactions of chemical compounds, fish and plants.

Read more about the ROP Aquaculture class


The 2013 Santa Cruz Film Festival opened the doors at the Rio Theater on Sunday, November 10th to students, families and the community to view some of the freshest films around. Reel Fresh is a film screening of student videos from the Santa Cruz County Regional Occupational Program (ROP).


A selection of the top projects from each class is featured in the Reel Fresh screening each year. This year's screening included a variety of genres and topics. While some projects reflected the traditional forms of western, comedy or detective genres, others veered off into more experimental forms, addressing topics of love, isolation, assimilation, and more.

Read more about Reel Fresh Film Festival


A welcoming and friendly crowd of nearly 300 early educators attended the Central Coast Early Care and Education's Annual Conference. They showed up for children. These early educators dedicated all day Saturday, October 12th learning how to better support the young children in their care. They understand that providing quality early learning opportunities for children helps families, children, schools and our community. Attendees were offered 30 workshops with topics ranging from supporting cognitive and social competences for young children to learning about positive discipline and fundamental movement skills.
Find out more about the Early Care and Education Conference


Doug Haut, a legendary surfer, has been shaping boards for Santa Cruz surfers since 1965. Now, a community project is shaping his shop on Swift Street.


Twice a week for the past month, three students from Natural Bridges High School have been heading over to the board store to scrape, prime and paint the exterior.

Read the Santa Cruz Sentinel article


Culinary Arts Students with Chef Andrea Mollenauer

Monschke Hall across from Cabrillo College was buzzing with activity. Students were busily hanging a gallery of color on the walls, prepping food in the kitchen, practicing speeches and performances, and decorating tables with fresh floral arrangements. Shareen Bell, Executive Director of Your Future is Our Business (YFIOB), says, "It all started with an idea. I wanted to show the business community the skills and talents of our students and what they are learning in their Career Technical Education classes in high school."  


Read more about Seed-to-Table


ROP Green Careers class

The Green Careers field is a growing industry with many diverse applications in science, math, communications, construction, agriculture, and technology. The ROP Green Careers class at Pajaro Valley High features a hands-on exploration of green career opportunities alongside experts from throughout the region as well as staff from Watsonville Wetlands Watch


Read more about ROP Green Careers


ROP students tour Watsonville's Water Resources Center

As 23 Pajaro Valley High School students toured Watsonville's Water Resources Center Tuesday, they saw the inner workings of the plant, which treats some 7 million gallons per day of sewage from Watsonville, Pajaro and Freedom.    


Read the article about ROP Environmental Careers.


Pacific Elementary Readers

It's a simple equation: learning accelerates when students have individual attention. Begun in August of 2012, The Young Writers Program (YWP) has worked steadily to support students in grades 4-12 with their creative and critical writing skills and to help teachers inspire students to write. Individual attention is at the heart of the program. Trained Writing Project Assistants work individually with students on their writing in the classroom. The end result of such a pairing is stronger skills that are fundamental to future success. 


Read more about Volunteers at YWP


butterfly artwork

The Child Development Resource Center introduced new art techniques to 80 family child care providers in south county. These providers will now be able to teach migrant preschool children and their farmworker parents how to use art and nature to increase children's vocabulary.  


Read more.


Write-Start 2013

For 24 years the Write-Start Backpack Project has been providing homeless and low-income students with new backpacks and school supplies to start the new school year. Since its inception in 1989, the Write-Start Backpack Project has provided over 26,300 backpacks to Santa Cruz County students.


Read more about Write-Start Backpack Project


Summer Arts Institute 2013, beginning circle

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.


Read more about the Third Annual Summer Arts Institute.


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 20th Annual High School Poetry Competition video on YouTube.

Ponderosa Boat Works Sails Through Summer School


Boat Works students
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.


Read more about the Ponderosa Boat Works summer school.

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