Santa Cruz County Office of Education banner
Focus on Success
January 2015 Vol 6, No. 2  
 Partnering and Promoting Education
SCCOE logo
In This Issue
Trauma-Informed Care Initiative
Cyber Security Workshops
ROP Students Train Puppies for Future as Guide Dogs
ROP Students Visit Second Harvest Food Bank
Urban Mentes Photo Exhibit
ROP Green Careers
ROP Teacher Honored
Reel Fresh Films
Career Night
Seed to Table
Harvest Festival
Mountain School District Superintendent for a Day
Inside Education
Educators are Working to Save Career Courses
Board of Education
Business Services
Educational Services 
Human Resources
SC County Schools
Student Services
Technology Services
SCCOE Annual Report
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.
Ms. Jane Royer Barr 
Mr. Jack Dilles
Ms. Sandra Nichols

Mr. Dana M. Sales
Mr. Abel Sanchez
Mr. George "Bud" Winslow

Santa Cruz County Office of Education
400 Encinal Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 466-5600
(831) 466-5607 (FAX)
Join Our Mailing Listfollow suptwatkins on twitter 

Find us on Facebook

Superintendent's Message 

The first wave of educational reform known as the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) rolled in remarkably smooth considering the magnitude of the changes; however, we still have a long way to go before full implementation, with many more changes still to be considered. Foremost is the development of a new accountability system that is aligned with the 8 state Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) priorities and is inclusive of graduation data and student preparedness for college and career. We now know that a single measurement from a standardized test is of little value in predicting student success later in life. As we move down a path of new assessments using multiple measures, I cannot help but reflect on many of the stories in this issue of "Focus on Success." Not only are they replete with student and teacher passion but they are also indicators of what students should be learning and doing in the 21st Century: learning about the environment, creating opportunities for the less fortunate, learning service through volunteer work at a Food Bank, creating through Arts and film, linking students with their community through mentorship, and teachers engaging in best practices (Trauma Informed Care). These activities and activities like these should be part of every student's school experience, because if we are to truly succeed, we will need to unlock their passion.


Have a wonderful 2015!


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.

Alternative Education Launches Trauma-Informed Care Initiative


Alternative Education Classroom

Increasingly, public K-12 schools have noted and looked for ways to incorporate the ever-growing research that toxic stress or trauma affects the brain development and function of children, as shown in numerous reports by the Harvard Center on the Developing Child. In response to this research, Dr. Bruce Perry from the Child Trauma Academy has developed the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, which provides neuroscientific approaches to working with children who have experienced serious, chronic or extreme forms of trauma.


Santa Cruz Libraries Host Cyber 'Hygiene' Classes


Cyber Security workshops at public library

With the nation's consciousness raised about cyber crime after North Korea's attack on Sony Pictures, the Santa Cruz Public Library is partnering with law enforcement and education agencies to encourage residents to better protect themselves online.


Read the rest of the article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel...
Soquel ROP Students Train Puppies for Future as Guide Dogs


ROP students train guide dogs

Raising a puppy is a good test of responsibility for any teenager.


But four Soquel High students face a bigger task than just making sure their new furry friends are walked, fed an watered.


As part of a first-ever offering within the county's Regional Occupational Program animal sciences course, the students will care for and socialize yellow Labrador retrievers who eventually will become guide dogs for the blind.


Read the rest of the article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel...
Opportunity to Learn Through Helping: County's ROP program visits Second Harvest Food Bank


ROP at Second Harvest Food Bank

There is much to learn among the mammoth stacks of donated food, the gargantuan warehouses and the vast refrigerators at Second Harvest Food Bank.

There, hundreds of employees and volunteers every day perform countless tasks, from administrative duties to shipping and receiving to sorting food into the boxes and bags that go to hungry families. 


Read the rest of the article from the Register-Pajaronian...
Urban Mentes:
Photographs to Think About


ROP student works on Urban Mentes Photography exhibit.

"Where would you go if wanted to feel content? What makes you happy?" Karen Lemon, ROP Photography Instructor at Renaissance High School, encouraged her students to ponder these questions, look closely at their world through a different lens and express their thoughts through photographs.  


ROP Green Careers Students Experience Latest Marine Science Technology and Career Opportunities 


ROP students near sea wall

Twenty Pajaro Valley High School ROP Green Careers students were granted a rare and special tour of two different types of research vessels at the end of November. Scientists George Matsumoto, Senior Education and Research Specialist, and Jared Figurski, Ocean Observatory Technician from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), gave the class a tour to remember. Since the vessels are large and contain proprietary technologies, the students were required to wear security badges in order to be admitted to the vessels.


Read more about ROP Green Careers Opportunities ...
ROP Teacher Beth Hollenbeck Honored as Educator of the Year by Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce 


Scotts Valley High School Music Production

Beth Hollenbeck, a professional singer-songwriter in her fifth year as Director of Music for Scotts Valley Middle and Scotts Valley High, has led the program to numerous accolades. The honors include the GRAMMY Foundation Signature Enterprise Award and the National Association of Music Merchants Award for "Best Communities for Music Education" in 2013 and 2014.


On the Big Screen to a Full House: Reel Fresh Showcases ROP Student Films


Reel Fresh Group Photo

On Saturday, November 15, 2014, the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Video Production students screened their work at the Rio Theater as part of the Santa Cruz Film Festival. The student show, Reel Fresh, has been a part of the film festival for the past five years. The short films shown this year were the products of students enrolled in the ROP Video Production classes at Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo Valley, Harbor, and Aptos High Schools. This year's films showcased the students' skills in advanced techniques and emerging technologies including the use of drone footage, underwater cinematography and computer animation. The screening included music videos, documentaries, animations, action films and short form experimental narratives. Santa Cruz High student Diego Diaz-Lundquist said, "It's a dream come true-it's definitely the best thing at school. It's why I wake up every day."  


Read more about Reel Fresh Student Films...
Cabrillo's College and Career Night Wraps Up County Awareness Week 


Representatives from more than 60 colleges and universities spoke with prospective students at Cabrillo College. (Thomas Mendoza -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

For the first time, Santa Cruz County schools, Cabrillo College, UC Santa Cruz and others collaborated to create a week of activities centered on a single issue: how to prepare local youth for eventual careers. College Awareness week, organized by Cabrillo and Santa Cruz County College Commitment (S4C) began Oct. 25 with a UCSC campus open house, followed by college workshops at local high schools and middle schools. The week culminated with Cabrillo's College and Career Night on Monday, a fair attended by thousands of county teenagers and parents. 


Read more about Career Night...
Aptos Nonprofit Links Students with Professionals 


The Seed to Table Luncheon attracted 250 people to Twin Lakes Church on Friday. (Thomas Mendoza -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Teenage chefs across the county toiled for hours this week, preparing items such as smoked trout crostinis and tomatillo salsa for the 250 guests at the Seed to Table business luncheon Friday.


Around 150 students from the county's Regional Occupational Program not only cooked food, but also harvested vegetables, grew flowers, designed banners and edited videos used for the 14th annual event - a thank you for local professionals who have spoken on career panels and hosted job shadowing events for the students.


Read the Sentinel article about the ROP event...
Harvest Festival Brings 300 Students to UCSC Farm - Food, What?! Nonprofit Teaches Life Skills


Harbor High freshman Evan Coto presses apple cider at the Food, What?! Harvest Festival at the UCSC farm on Thursday. (Kara Guzman -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Emilie Stevens, 12, scooped teaspoon after teaspoon into her cup, showing classmates how much sugar is in a Rockstar energy drink. The answer, 15.5 teaspoons, was not surprising, said Emilie, an eighth-grader at Branciforte Middle School. "I could tell it's really bad for you," she said. "I'm not allowed to drink it."  


Emilie was one of about 300 Santa Cruz County students who converged on UC Santa Cruz's organic farm Thursday morning for the Food, What?! Harvest Festival. Food, What?!, a youth nonprofit housed on UCSC's campus, employs low-income high schoolers as interns not only to grow, cook and distribute organic produce, but also educate peers. 


Read more about the Harvest Festival event...
Mountain School District Superintendent for a Day


Superintendent Michael Watkins with Superintendents for the day Sophie and Jace

What a day it was! Mountain Elementary School students Sophie O'Rourke (3rd grade) and Jace Hyer (4th grade) were treated to a day with Mountain Elementary School Superintendent Diane Morgenstern and received the 'royal treatment' from the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. Sophie and Jace are still talking about their October 7th tour of the County Office of Education. They were treated to meetings with tour leader Associate Superintendent Mary Anne James, visitations to numerous busy COE departments, a special 'insider visit' to the technology complex, and more. 


Read the Superintendent for a Day article ...
Inside Education:An Innovative Look at Education in Santa Cruz County Schools


Young child with book

The 2014-15 school year kicks off the seventh series for the Inside Education Program sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and the ten local school districts. This innovative program was created to build awareness and support for public education through "hands on," interactive seminars in educational settings throughout the county. Participants from the community along with business and civic leaders and educators meet on a monthly basis to discuss the opportunities, current issues and challenges facing schools as they prepare students for the demands of entering college and the work force.  


Read more about the Inside Education program...
How Educators are Working to Save Career Courses


Capitola Police Chief Rudy Escalante teaches a criminal justice ROP class at Soquel High where ROP classes are in jeopardy unless school districts identify funding.

When Capitola Police Chief Rudy Escalante was a Santa Cruz High student 35 years ago, he took a criminal justice class from professional law enforcement officials through the county's Regional Occupation Program, and it affirmed his desire to be a cop. Now he's lending his expertise to the next generation as an ROP instructor, leading a course at Soquel High School called "Criminal Justice: Contemporary Perspectives." 


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