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Focus on Success
June 2014 Vol 5, No. 4    
 Partnering and Promoting Education
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In This Issue
ROP Video of El Día E
21st Annual Poetry Competition
SELPA CAC Awards Ceremony
Strawberry Blast at UCSC
BASTA Web Site
K-12 Arts Specialists
"Crazy Learning" at Leadership 3.0
ROP Class Builds Music Shed
Photoflex Donation to ROP
ROP Students Create New Ice Cream Flavor
Latino Role Models and Parent Education Conference
Paper Gardens Bloom at the COE
Superintendent works to 'move the dial forward in public education'
Mentoring By the Numbers
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 2013-14 school year was replete with change. Most districts either partially or fully implemented the Common Core. Local Control Funding became law and district Accountability Plans are, for the first time, being submitted and reviewed. These are all major changes to have taken place in a single school year. They could very well have consumed most of our time. Yet, as you review this issue of Focus on Success, you will see that county offices continue to play a vital role in schools and the community all the while navigating some of the most significant changes to have taken place in California's school history.


Career Technical Education, student poetry and art, school safety (the BASTA website is a wonderful resource), and working with parents and the community through the Latino Role Models Conference and the Community Advisory Committee's celebration highlight the importance and value of what some may deem the non-essentials of a school. However, it is sometimes the unsung or less glamorous programs that can change the life and direction of a student forever.


June is a special month for educators and graduates alike, for it is the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication by both teacher and student. The joy at a high school graduation ceremony is unparalleled. Speaking of happiness and joy, check out the ROP Digital Media's class video on "happiness"; it is a real winner. As we wind down another school year and close the book on 2013-14, it is nice to reflect on the lesser known programs, as highlighted in this issue, that truly impact the lives of so many.


Michael Watkins
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools 

You may also be interested in two recently published op-ed articles, one about our Inside Education program, and another about the importance of summer as the real key to student success

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

ROP Video Production at Harbor High School Collaborates with Spanish for Spanish Speakers 2 to Present: El Día E


El Dia E The students in Spanish for Spanish Speakers 2 begin the school year with a unit on identity and language and what it means to live their lives between two worlds. One assignment is the "favorite word" speech competition, where students must speak to the class for two minutes persuading the class to vote for their most compelling word. In collaboration with these two classes at Harbor High School, students of ROP Video Production created a movie, modeled after the Cervantes Institute, a language school in Spain, which hosts El Día E--a special day of celebration for those who speak Spanish anywhere in the world.

Find out more about the El Día E video...
21st Annual Santa Cruz County High School Poetry Competition


Each year Poetry Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education present the Santa Cruz County High School Poetry Competition in which high school students in the county are invited to submit up to three poems. This year, the 21st annual competition was held. 360 poems were submitted and three judges selected three prize winners whose authors receive cash awards, seven Honorable mention poems and a total of 51 poems to be published in the annual anthology. The annual reading, awards ceremony, and celebration of the publication of the anthology was held at the County Office of Education on May 22, 2014 starting at 7 p.m. and recorded by Santa Cruz County Community Television.

Read more about the 21st Annual Poetry Competition...
North Santa Cruz County SELPA Community Advisory Committee 2014 Awards Ceremony


The CAC's recent awards ceremony honored dedicated individuals serving students with disabilities in the North County schools, as well as students recognized for their perseverance and growth. Mayor Lynn Robinson presented retiring COE Deputy Superintendent, Bryan Wall, an award for his dedication to students and their families.

Read more about the CAC Awards Ceremony...
Strawberry Blast at UCSC Introduces Youth to Food Issues


Enjoying a morning break from class, about 200 teenagers strolled through UC Santa Cruz's strawberry field, pausing occasionally to sample fruit. Hosted by nonprofit Food, What?!, the annual Strawberry Blast brought Santa Cruz County students to UCSC's farm Tuesday. Monica Falcon, a junior at Delta Charter High School in Aptos, first sampled organic smoothies, tacos and tarts. Delicious, she said.

Read the article about the Strawberry Blast at UCSC...
New BASTA Web Site Helps Educators and Parents Learn About Gangs


A new website shows the graffiti, the hand signs and the colors of gangs in Santa Cruz County. It also explains the levels of gang involvement in a six-minute video, and it offers resources for parents and teachers who want to keep kids out of gangs. Developed by Santa Cruz police and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education in a roughly year-long project, police this week launched a new website for Basta, the broad-based apprehension, suppression, treatment and alternatives program. The website is at

Read the Sentinel article about the BASTA web site...
Cabrillo College VAPA Department Hosts K-12 Arts Specialists


On April 23rd, the VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) Department at Cabrillo College, in collaboration with the SCCOE, once again welcomed over 30 arts teachers from throughout Santa Cruz County for an exciting afternoon of professional development. Cabrillo instructors were more than generous in offering various specialist workshops to the teachers in visual arts, music and theater.

The visual arts offerings included working with small metals, creating a monoprint picture and a rich discussion on Art History.

Read more about the K-12 Arts Specialists ...
"Crazy Learning" at Leadership 3.0


The Leadership 3.0 Symposium is a three-day professional learning event designed especially for educational administrators that targets the intersection of leadership, technology, and innovation. This year's Symposium was held April 10 - 12 in San Mateo and was attended by 275 school leaders-the largest crowd to date! The Symposium is produced collaboratively by Santa Cruz County Office of Education's Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership (TICAL), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and CUE, Inc.


Read more about the Leadership 3.0 Symposium...
Santa Cruz ROP Class Builds Music Shed for Scotts Valley High


A group of Santa Cruz High School students and Scotts Valley Vice Mayor Dene Bustichi constructed a storage shed on the Scotts Valley High School campus last weekend.

The 8-foot-by-16-foot shed was designed and constructed by students in the Santa Cruz County Regional Occupational Program Construction Technology Class at Santa Cruz High which Bustichi teaches.


"It is for Beth Hollenbeck's band to store their instruments," said Bustichi, who owns BCI Builders in Scotts Valley.


Read the complete Press-Banner article...
Photoflex Donation to ROP Assists Photo, Video Students


The Santa Cruz County Office of Education's Regional Occupational Program has received a donation of state-of-the-art Photoflex Professional Lighting Tools for every digital photography and video production classroom in Santa Cruz County.


Watsonville-based Photoflex is a 30-year-old company that provides professional, state-of-the-art lighting tools to the photography and videography industries.


Read more about the Photoflex donation to ROP classes...
Ice Cream, Technology Entrepreneurs See Partnerships as Growth Strategy       


Andrea Mollenauer's ROP Culinary Arts program has created a new flavor of ice cream (rosemary with candied orange peel and citrus-scented brownies) at the Mission Hill Creamery...






Find out more in the Santa Cruz Sentinel article Sunny Business Forecast for 2014 as Leaders Share Strategies...
COE Partners with Districts for Latino Role Models and Parent Education Conference


Pouring rain did not deter nearly 200 students, parents and community members from attending the Latino Role Models and Parent Education Conference held on a Saturday morning at Harbor High this spring. The theme for the conference, Juntos (Spanish for "together"), also expresses the collaboration between Santa Cruz City Schools, Soquel Union Elementary School District, Live Oak School District, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, local agencies such as the Santa Cruz Police Department, and dozens of community volunteers that made the event possible.


Read more about the Latino Role Models and Parent Education Conference...
Paper Gardens Bloom at the COE


Central California Migrant/Seasonal Head Start provides childcare to over 800 babies, toddlers and preschoolers at 90 family childcare homes, while their parents work in the strawberry and raspberry fields in Watsonville.


Providers plan monthly study topics to add variety and a focus to their daily activities with young migrant children. Typically they rely on books, puzzles, & flannel boards to illustrate their study topic. This year we're hoping to add creative, open-ended art projects to reinforce the concepts they are learning and to stimulate children's vocabulary.


Read more about Paper Gardens...
Superintendent Works to 'Move the Dial Forward in Public Education'


Michael Watkins, superintendent of Santa Cruz County Office of Education since 2007, knows the importance of learning the fundamentals and providing leadership that reflects a broad perspective and understanding of how to create a culture of achievement.


As point guard for an Oakland high school basketball team, Watkins honed his emerging ability to lead the way. He learned to quickly assess a player's strengths and weaknesses, developed the agility to control the basketball and the confidence to set up a winning play.


Read the Santa Cruz Sentinel article...
Mentoring By the Numbers


As a writer and English teacher, I've always preferred words over digits and metaphors over data, but now that my third year of being a new teacher mentor with the Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project is coming to an end, I've begun to reflect on the numbers of my experience and I'm surprised at how much fun and awe-inspiring numbers can be.

The first set of numbers is 3, 14, 30, 5, and 6,300. Three is the number of years I've mentored teachers in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Aromas, and Castroville. Fourteen is the number of teachers I mentored each year. Each of these fourteen teachers has, on average, thirty students in each class and each teacher teaches five classes. That means, in my tenure with the SC/SVNTP, I have positively impacted the learning and success of approximately 6,300 students. I had to check my math on this last number. Is that right? 6,300 students?

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