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Focus on Success
March 2016 Vol 7, No. 2  
 Partnering and Promoting Education
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In This Issue
Together for Kindergarten 2016
7th Graders Visit UCSC
Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair
Maria Castro Honored
Leadership Santa Cruz County
Mock Trial Contest
ROP Biotechnology Course
Tony Hill Memorial Award
Opening of the Kinsey Collection
ROP Floral Design Program
Annual County Spelling Bee
Harbor High ROP Expo
2015 Santa Cruz Forestry Challenge
Santa Cruz Expo
Central Coast Early Childhood Education Conference
New Greenhouse at San Lorenzo Valley High
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 

California's Blueprint for Great Schools 2.0 highlights a number of promising researched-based strategies to increase student achievement, and college and career ready rates for all students. Their recommendations have a high correlation to many of the supportive services offered through county offices of education. This Spring issue of the Focus on Success offers you a snapshot into how the foundation for that vision can be realized.
Our Santa Cruz County College and Career Commitment (S4C) sent over 1000 7th graders to college, thanks to our partnership with the University of California at Santa Cruz, and many more students took advantage of the Forestry Challenge, Mock Trial, the Science and Engineering Fair, the Career Technical Education Expo and the countywide spelling competition. All collaborative student events are designed to ignite a student's passion, build strong interpersonal relationships, and engage students in community service. However, to truly make the changes that we want to see in education, we need to involve the community. To that end, we took over 40 community leaders on a tour of our schools using our students as ambassadors. Needless to say, the student ambassadors were great, and the day was a success.
This past month also included many workshops and conferences. California is ranked number 1 in the nation in the number of low-income 2-4 year olds who are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Workshop and conference topics included nutrition, the environment, and African American History. Partnering with our local Museum of Art and History we were able to host the Kinsey Exhibit on African American History (previously at the Smithsonian) for three months. The exhibit runs through May and is worth a trip to Santa Cruz.
As we move into a new era under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), an era that truly embraces the whole child, it is important to offer and provide our students with creative choices. County offices play an important role in that process.

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.
Together for Kindergarten 2016: What's in Your Lunch Box?
student with lunch basket
What's in your lunch box? County Superintendent of Schools, Michael Watkins put that question to 200 early educators at the Together for Kindergarten Forum on March 16, 2016. Building relationships between kinder teachers and those who educate children before they start school, the annual forum helps children start school eager and ready to learn.
Now in its seventh year, Together for Kindergarten has taken on a diverse range of topics including early literacy, new legislation, early math, social emotional development, and the importance of family involvement. Each topic is based on brain research that shows that 90 percent (90%) of who we are is determined by the age of five, so early investments into a child's well-being prevents expensive catching-up later on.

UC Santa Cruz Offers 'College Experience' to Seventh-Graders
S4C 7th Graders Visit UCSC
Nearly 1,200 Santa Cruz County seventh-graders streamed across the UC Santa Cruz campus Friday, making a reality out of their teachers' college requirement lessons.
"I want to know how they got here," said 13-year-old Alondra Flores of Branciforte Middle School. Alondra said she was hoping to learn from a panel of UCSC students.

Students Compete at Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair
Students Compete at Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair
Does a parachute's shape affect drag? Which metal best conducts electricity? How clean are local creeks?
These were some of the nearly 300 experiments and inventions on display at the annual Santa Cruz County Science and Engineering Fair. Students from all grades and from schools all over the county competed on Saturday at the fairgrounds in Watsonville.

The winners will be announced Tuesday, and there will be an awards ceremony 7 p.m. March 22 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. About 40 students are expected to continue onto the California State Science Fair, and one top place finisher will compete at the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Maria Castro Honored with 2016 Plate of Bounty Award from the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association
Maria Castro holds 2016 Plate of Bounty Award
Maria Fátima Castro is the Manager of Migrant/Seasonal Head Start at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. Central California Migrant/Seasonal Head Start is a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the County Offices of Education of Stanislaus, Merced and Santa Cruz, that together with the Parent Policy Council governs the program.

The Plate of Bounty Award was bestowed on Maria Castro by the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association at the 2016 Annual Conference held in Tysons Corner, Virginia. The Plate of Bounty Award acknowledges an individual who has made significant contributions to migrant and seasonal farm worker families, and is given once every two years.

Leadership Santa Cruz County Holds Annual Education Day at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education
Michael Watkins discusses education in Santa Cruz County with Class 31 Leadership Santa Cruz County participants.
Class 31 of Leadership Santa Cruz County met at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education in February to participate in "Education Day", a day long series of hands-on activities and interactions to find out what is happening in K-16 education. Leadership Santa Cruz County is sponsored by local businesses that value growing leaders in our community. Members participate in a year-long series of workshops to enhance the knowledge and civic participation of emerging community leaders.

Mock Trial: Students' Analytic, Public Speaking Skills Judged in Annual Contest
The Santa Cruz High School and Harbor High School mock trial teams plead before Judge John Salazar in Department 7 of Santa Cruz County Superior Court during the semi-final round of the County mock trial competition Thursday. _Shmuel Thaler -- Santa Cruz Sentinel_
The judge's ruling was mixed in People v. Hayes, but the verdict was clear. Santa Cruz High School's team proved superior in the finals of the annual mock trial competition. After besting teams from five other Santa Cruz County high schools, the first-place finishers move to the state contest in March in Sacramento.

Santa Cruz ROP Biotechnology Course Charting New, 'Real World' Course
Eroz Fabian examines his own DNA sample during a classroom experiment in Nehal Pfeiffer_s biotechnology class at Harbor High. _Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel_
The stakes are a little higher in Nehal Pfeiffer's Harbor High School classroom. Nehal Pfeiffer calls herself the CEO of a fictional company made up of her students and run like a Silicon Valley biotechnology laboratory, such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, where she worked before earning her teaching degree. The class "business" has its own website and is dubbed NTP Biolabs, a student's idea because it is the initials for both Pfeiffer's name and the DNA backbone molecule nucleoside triphosphate.

Educator, Student Advocate to Receive Tony Hill Memorial Award
Michael Watkins receives the Tony Hill Memorial Award
Michael Watkins, Santa Cruz County superintendent of schools and a tireless advocate for students, is this year's winner of the eighth annual Tony Hill Memorial Award. Watkins, who has a special place in his heart for special needs students,  will receive the award as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Convocation on February 12 in downtown Santa Cruz.

Opening of the Kinsey Collection at the Santa Cruz MAH
The Kinsey Collection
Spanning 400 years of history, the Kinsey Collection reflects a rich cultural heritage. Includes work by Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, and Richard Mayhew alongside archival material related to Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, and Malcolm X.

ROP Floral Design Program Students Visit Residents of La Posada
La Posada resident admires ROP Floral Design class arrangements
The Santa Cruz County ROP Floral Design program taught at Soquel High School visited La Posada Retirement home. The students presented residents with Valentine bud vases and spent time socializing. At the end of their visit the class was asked to return and teach a floral design class. The students stated that the love and enthusiasm that they received from the patients generated a warm sense of wanting to give to the community.

Spirits Soar Despite Rainy Skies at Annual County Spelling Bee
Rainy skies couldn't dampen the spirits of nearly 100 of the county's top spellers and their families and supporters as they gathered on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at UCSC for the annual county-wide Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. The students, selected as the top two spellers from their schools, represented over forty public and private schools from throughout Santa Cruz County.

Read all about the 2016 Spelling Bee...

Harbor High ROP Expo Brings Tailored Career Advice To Students
Harbor High students fill the school_s multipurpose room during a Regional Occupational Program career expo Wednesday. _Shmuel Thaler -- Santa Cruz Sentinel_
Olivia Hays is not sure what her next step after high school will be. The 16-year-old Harbor High School student, however, peppered Chandra Morvay with a flurry of questions about educational requirements for college nursing programs. "Some programs are saying you need a bachelor's. But it doesn't hurt to get on the wait list (at Cabrillo), so you have options," said Morvay, who works as a nurse in Dignity Health Dominican Hospital's emergency room.

See more about the Harbor High School ROP EXPO...

Students from Soquel High School ROP Participate in 2015 Santa Cruz Forestry Challenge
Bohdi Dannley measures tree diameter
Four students from Soquel High School participated recently in the 2015 Santa Cruz Forestry Challenge, one group of a total of over 90 high school students from 11 schools from the Santa Cruz and central California region. The event was held at Redwood Christian Park, near Boulder Creek, California. The team placed sixth out of a field of 22 teams.

Read more about the 2015 Santa Cruz Forestry Challenge...

Santa Cruz Expo Connects Teachers with Science and Environmental Groups 
CREEC Environmental Fair 2015
Santa Cruz and Monterey counties are full of field-trip opportunities for students and teachers, from state parks to the Seymour Marine Discovery Center to the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Yet elementary and middle school teachers might not know about all the environmental and science opportunities out there, as well as how to incorporate trips into their lesson plans and curriculum.

Discovery. Exploration. Knowledge.
Cabrillo Children_s Center
Discovery. Exploration. Knowledge. These themes ran throughout the 2015 Central Coast Early Care and Education Conference organized by the Child Care Planning Council. The full day of workshops helped more than 200 early education providers and Cabrillo College Early Childhood Education students continue a process of discovery along their chosen career path-caring for and educating young children.

New Greenhouse at San Lorenzo Valley High Takes Root
San Lorenzo Valley High School senior Chase Kammeier harvests from a raft in SLV_s aquaponics greenhouse Tuesday. _Shmuel Thaler -- Santa Cruz Sentinel_
An education in agriculture is taking root at San Lorenzo Valley High School as the school is putting the finishing touches on a greenhouse.
The project is in partnership with School Grown, a Monterey-based nonprofit focused on teaching sustainable agriculture to students while producing locally sourced food for the community. The greenhouse is set to complement the current aquaculture class, which has a 15-year history with the school.

Read the Santa Cruz Sentinel article about the San Lorenzo Valley High School greenhouse...

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

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