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Focus on Success
May 2016 Vol 7, No. 3  
 Partnering and Promoting Education
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In This Issue
Alternative Education Students Urged to 'Find Your Passion'
Michael Watkins Interview with Educators Lead
Scrabble Fun
2016 Santa Cruz County Math Contest
ROP Students Assist Porter Memorial Public Library
ROP at Graniterock
2016 Student Authors' Fair
Every Child Outdoors Festival
Young Writers Program
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.
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 

As we approach the end of another school year, I can't help but reflect on the many success stories that demonstrate how county office programs contribute to the growth and development of students. Each partnership and every program is unique, and they touch the lives of students in ways we can't imagine.
My memories of school revolve around unique experiences, not the ordinary, that took place outside of a classroom's four walls; in part, our mission is to recreate that opportunity for students.
Many of the articles contained herein demonstrate the power of using project-based learning and the use of the natural environment to stretch the imagination and inspire. The science collaboration with the University of Florida shows how geography doesn't have to limit teaching and learning, while the writing projects pressed students outside of their comfort zones, reading their words of wisdom to adults and the public. 
Learning can and should be fun, not drudgery. The past decade of the No Child Left Behind law took the joy out of learning for many students, primarily poor and low income, and stifled the creativity of talented teachers. The Every Students Succeeds Act has the potential to foster real change by ridding education of the "one size fits all" approach and addressing student needs from a more holistic standpoint. However, this can only happen if we put student needs over politics. The 58 County Offices of Education in California can play an integral role in this transition by continuing to develop meaningful opportunities for our state's 6 million students.

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.
Santa Cruz Alternative Education Students Urged to 'Find Your Passion'
Amy Hanley_ fourth from left_ a Google administrative assistant_ shares her best and worst working-world experiences at a Natural Bridges High School career panel talk on Wednesday morning. _Jessica A. York -- Santa Cruz Sentinel_
The sun is shining and graduation is just around the corner for many of Jennifer Izant's alternative education students. So, too, are the realities of finding a job and weighing the value of continuing their education. Wednesday morning, Izant invited eight professionals from the banking, fisheries, tech, public service, corrections and trades industries to class at Natural Bridges High School. The group served as a career panel to field students' questions and offer their own experiences in the working world. The 30 students were urged to find their passions, to volunteer to make career connections and to start with learning the basics and finishing high school.

Michael Watkins Interview with Educators Lead
Michael Watkins
Jay Willis of Eduators Lead interviews Santa Cruz Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins on the topic of leadership.

Scrabble Fun
Jack and the Youth Winners
In March, Scrabble enthusiasts gathered for the seventh annual local Scrabble Tournament at the Santa Cruz County Law Library. This year's fundraiser benefited both the County Office of Education's "Teen Peer Court Program" and the Santa Cruz County Law Library. On tournament day, we had a mix of 24 student and adult participants in an informal and friendly environment. The tournament was very successful and everyone had a wonderful time. Prizes were given out to top finishers in each division. Special prizes were also distributed whenever someone played a "law" word.

2016 Santa Cruz County Math Contest
First Place Winner _Grade 8_ Erin deCastongrene and Superintendent Michael Watkins
While most students look forward to Saturday as a day to sleep in, on Saturday April 30,2016, 359 students in grades 5-8 poured onto the Aptos High School campus to engage in Mathematics. While 7 squared may not have been a question on the test it does signify the 49 years the Santa Cruz County Office of Education has offered the math contest. Students were supported by 111 teachers, parents, and other volunteers.

ROP Students Assist in Porter Memorial Public Library Improvements
Don't be fooled by the new blue oval plaque displayed next to the entrance of the Porter Memorial Public Library. The Historical Trust award from the Santa Cruz County in no way indicates that the library is a thing of the past.

The seven-member board of directors makes sure that the doors are open and the availability of this space is constant and ever evolving. Member of the board and Secretary, Juli McDermott tells me that the excitement and engagement people of the Soquel area experience hasn't changed from when children from the Soquel Elementary School carried the large stones for the library's fireplace to this building in 1912.

ROP Students Gain Real Life Experience at Graniterock Quarry in Aromas
ROP students get Bobcat demonstration at Graniterock
Recently students who are enrolled in the ROP Green Construction academy at Watsonville High School, traveled to the A. R. Wilson Quarry in Aromas. Students participated in a reclamation project at the quarry, getting hands-on experience with heavy machinery and learning safety procedures. Students also learned about Graniterock's many different reclamation projects all over the county, replanting indigenous plants.

2016 Student Authors' Fair
Student Authors_ Fair 2016_ Santa Cruz Gardens students
Hundreds of students and families visited the Capitola Mall on April 30, 2016, for the annual Student Authors' Fair. The Student Authors' Fair (SAF), organized by the Santa Cruz County Reading Association with sponsorship of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, is a special celebration of the talents of elementary school students from throughout Santa Cruz County. This book fair features hundreds of titles, in a multitude of formats, written and illustrated by children themselves.

Every Child Outdoors Raises Money to Send Students to Science Camp
Children and adults alone show their excitement as they watch a puppet show at Harvey West Park in Santa Cruz on Sunday afternoon during the Every Child Outdoors event. _Kevin Johnson -- Santa Cruz Sentinel_
 When the Santa Cruz County Outdoor Science School Program calls itself "a lifetime of learning in a few days," it is not exaggerating. Program coordinator Jaime Langley is proof.

Langley first attended Outdoor Science School as a Westlake Elementary sixth grader. She returned as a cabin leader and has served in a leadership role at the immersive nature camp every summer for the past 13 consecutive years.

COE Joins Forces With University of Florida To Engage K-12 Students in 3D Digitization & Printing
iDigFossils classroom
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education is a stakeholder lead on a new $1.2 Million National Science Foundation ITEST Grant through the University of Florida, called iDigFossils. The grant is focused on integrating 3D Digitization and Printing into science & engineering instruction at the middle school and high school level. This will be a 3-year grant that involves 8 teachers from 3 local middle schools and 3 local high schools. The Santa Cruz COE will assist with the professional development and ongoing support for these teachers and will work with the University of Florida on the overall implementation.

Young Writers Program To Open After-School Writing Center This Fall
Writing Center Grant
SANTA CRUZ >> A local program that helps build student writing skills has won an award that will go toward creating an after-school center.

The Young Writers Program, a nonprofit run by the literary group Santa Cruz Writes and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, received a $20,000 grant from the LRNG Innovators Challenge, which is supported by the National Writing Project, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and John Legend's Show Me Campaign.

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