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Focus on Success
March 2015 Vol 6, No. 3  
 Partnering and Promoting Education
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In This Issue
27th Annual Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair
ROP Medical Technologies Students
ROP Students Honored by Soquel Water Board
2015 ROP Expo
26th Annual Mock Trial Competition
ROP Graphic Design Student Wins
Migrant Head Start - Treasures of the Library
SchoolGrown LEAF Greenhouse
ROP Career Advancement Program
Alt Ed Graduations
ROP Agricultural Careers
Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee
Two ROP Success Stories
Science & Engineering Fair Student's Research Published
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. Bruce Van Allen
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 

Although the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) enacted in 2013 emphasized the role that each school district plays in improving student outcomes, it is equally important to understand the critical role of regional collaboration. This edition of Focus on Success highlights the importance of building relationships and working together.

It is amazing what can transpire when district boundaries are eliminated as barriers to student achievement. The programs highlighted in this issue depict stories that can only be told due to the synergy created through cooperation. The Science and Engineering Fair involved over 400 students from 10 school districts; Mock Trial included all of our county's high schools; more than 100 students participated in the Spelling Bee competition; and many of the Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) are magnet classes that enroll students from each of our high schools. As educators, it is our responsibility to assist every child in finding his or her place in society by allowing them to follow their passion and there is no better way to do just that, than to offer an array of enriching activities.

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.

Young Scientists Compete for Awards at 27th Annual Santa Cruz County Science Fair


Good Shepherd School sixth-grader Dillon Cambra, 11, looks over another student‚€™s project during the annual Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville on Saturday. (Kevin Johnson -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Three years of research and presentations came to a culmination Saturday for Connor Lydon and Natalie Gallagher at the 27th annual Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair.

For Lydon, 18, and Gallagher, 17, both seniors at San Lorenzo Valley High school, it was their third time presenting their findings to judges at the Watsonville County Fairgrounds on particulate matter 2.5 and its impact on respiratory health.


Read more about the Santa Cruz County Science Fair...
ROP Medical Technologies Students Visit Dominican Oaks Assisted Living


ROP students with residents at Dominican Oaks Assisted Living

Twenty-five ROP Medical Technologies students spent the morning at Dominican Oaks Assisted Living for a tour of the facility and to spend time with the residents. The students toured the different areas of the facility including residential, beauty shop, post office and dining areas. After their tour, the students and residents were seated in small groups to share stories of their lives. Some of the residents brought photographs of special times so that the students could learn about their life experiences. Over cookies and lemonade, 16-18 year old Harbor High students were able to witness that not all elderly people are incapable of independent living as they transition into retirement.

ROP Students Honored by the Soquel Water District


Soquel Water Board with Award-winning ROP students

Four Regional Occupational Program (ROP) students in Marco Lucadano's class at Soquel High School were recognized for their winning poster designs for a public tour of the Soquel Creek Water District for Groundwater Awareness Week on March 22. Two ROP classes had a presentation about our groundwater resources and water conservation and then submitted poster designs for the open house event. The polished designs were critiqued by the teacher, Soquel Creek Water District staff and directors and the top 3 poster designs were awarded prizes at the Board meeting on March 3rd in Capitola.


See more about the honored ROP graphic art students...
ROP Expo in Santa Cruz Showcases Student Skills, Talents


Pajaro Valley High School Regional Occupational Program graphic design and 3-D design students demonstrate their skills as the work on projects during the County Office of Education‚€™s ROP Expo at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on Thursday. (Shmuel Thaler -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Jacob Smith knows about bikes, from the headset that holds the bicycle fork and the handle bar in place, to the bottom bracket that holds the cranks in place.

Smith, 18, is a byproduct of the bicycle technology class in the Santa Cruz County Regional Occupational Program.


On Thursday, Smith and more than 100 other students from the various Regional Occupational Program classes showcased their knowledge and skills during the 2015 Regional Occupational Program Expo at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.


Read the Sentinel article about the 2015 ROP EXPO...
26th Annual Mock Trial Competition


Mock Trial Team - Harbor High School

Santa Cruz Mock Trial competition started on February 5, 2015 with six teams from various schools throughout the county. The participating schools were Aptos High, Harbor High, Santa Cruz High, Scotts Valley High, Soquel High and Watsonville High.

The case this year was People v. Shem, which concerned the trial of an art student accused of stealing a painting and facing a felony count of theft by larceny. The pretrial issue centers on the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure and whether or not the art student's roommate could consent to the search of a storage cabinet located in an unattached parking carport.

ROP Graphic Design Student Wins "Join the Movement" Art Contest


Ride-4-Life poster

The winner of this year's Green Ways to School and Ecology Action "Join the Movement" poster contest is Matt Hohmann of Soquel High School. Matt is a student in Soquel's ROP Graphic Design class, and his work will be featured on hundreds of Bike to Work and School posters, t-shirts, and other promotional materials for the whole county! Matt will also receive a $100 prize for his stellar submission.

Find out more about the art contest...
Treasures of the Library Discovered by Farm Worker Families


Child with library book bag in front of sculpture.

Our program served 165 children this year, providing childcare for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in local family childcare homes while their parents work in the strawberry fields.

Migrant Head Start also organizes monthly workshops to engage parents in their children's education and to introduce families to community resources.

Find out more about the  Migrant Head Start library event...
ROP Instructor Helps SLVHS Become First School to Host a SchoolGrown LEAF Greenhouse


SLVHS LEAF Greenhouse

During the first week of February, the San Lorenzo Valley School Board approved the lease and operating agreement to allow SchoolGrown to place and operate a LEAF (Living System Aquaponic Facility) greenhouse at San Lorenzo Valley High School (SLVHS), in Felton, CA. SchoolGrown is a non-profit organization based in Half Moon Bay, dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture, savvy water use, and resource conservation through advocacy, education, research, and service.
Read more about SchoolGrown LEAF Greenhouse...
ROP Provides Career Technical Courses to Middle School Students at the Cabrillo Advancement Program


Santa Cruz County ROP has been participating and supporting the Cabrillo Advancement Program since 2008 by providing Career Technical courses during their summer academy. Since this cooperative venture started, supported by a Career Technical Education (CTE) Grant, over 700 students have received academic and technical support through classes such as Culinary Arts, Medical, Construction and Engineering, Bike Repair, Video Production and more. Karen Lemon, ROP Middle School Career Outreach Coordinator, has worked with Liz Dominguez, the Director of the CAP program, to provide this instruction. ROP is proud to be part of this program that allows students to envision their futures through career and academic development. In 2014, the Cabrillo Foundation hired a videographer to make a short video about the Cabrillo Advancement Program (CAP) academy.
Find out more and watch a YouTube Video...
Alternative Education Programs January 2015 Graduations


Alternative Education Graduate Student

The Alternative Education Program of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education held two mid-year graduation ceremonies on January 19th for students from 10 school programs. Both ceremonies were intimate affairs, during which teachers and students were afforded the opportunity to celebrate each other and to comment on the students' successes.

Michael Watkins, County Superintendent of Schools, Sandra Nichols, SCCOE Board of Education President, Deb Tracy, ROP Teacher, and Jeanne Milnes, OASIS educator, were all featured speakers.
Watsonville High Plants Seeds for Agricultural Careers


Suncrest Nurseries manager Jim Marshall talks with Watsonville High School students during an Agriculture Careers Day fair in the school's gym Wednesday. (Shmuel Thaler -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

For many Watsonville teens who grow up watching family members and neighbors pick berries, the only career they see in agriculture is in the field. With two days of presentations dedicated to agriculture and related careers, Pajaro Valley school officials aimed to dispel that notion. Wednesday, in a gym crowded with representatives from farming companies and associated businesses, Watsonville High School students had the opportunity to learn about the cornucopia of professions the Pajaro Valley offers.
A-Buzz with the County's Top Spellers


Spelling Bee 2015 - Elementary Winners

UCSC's Classroom Unit 1 and 2 buzzed with excitement on Saturday, Jan. 31, as over one hundred of the county's top spellers gathered for the annual Spelling Bee. The students, selected as the top two spellers from their schools, represented over thirty public and private schools from throughout Santa Cruz County.

The Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee is a written event. Spellmasters (Mardi Browning of the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Michael McCawley of UCSC) read a word, provide a definition and use the word in a sentence. Then each student is given fifteen seconds to write the word. Volunteer proctors check the spelling of each word as the bee proceeds. After approximately sixty to seventy words have been spelled, the total number correct for each student is calculated and the students with the most correct spellings win. 
Two ROP Success Stories


Brandon Gruber

Aptos High School Senior Named Homecoming King On A Mission To Pay Popularity Forward


If it had happened to someone else, it might have been considered a happy ending. But when Brandon Gruber, an 18-year-old senior with Down Syndrome, was carried off the Aptos High School football field this past September after being voted homecoming king, it wasn't a happy ending to his story. To be clear, Brandon was happy. It just wasn't an ending to him.

"I decided to make it the beginning of my new journey," Brandon says.  
Science & Engineering Fair Student's Research Published in Scholarly Journal


Saige Manier presenting Jumping Galls project at Science and Engineering Fair

Ever heard of a Neuroterus saltatorius, or jumping gall? Neither had I until I met Saige Manier at our County Science & Engineering Fair in 2012. Saige, a Harbor High School sophomore at the time, was researching tiny wasp larvae and the seed-like gall that forms around them because of their interesting ability to move, or jump. A cousin of the more commonly known "Mexican jumping bean," the gall wasp can be found in places like Davis, CA, where oak trees act as hosts. In July and August, galls detach from the oak leaves and fall to the ground beneath the tree. Rather than remaining still, they begin to jump in random directions.


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