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Communications Specialist/Teacher of the Year/Media Relations

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News and Press Releases

Education Headlines

January 20, 2017

Students across California react to inauguration with protests, teach-ins
Students and teachers in many California schools plan to mark Friday's presidential inauguration with teach-ins, walk-outs and real-time civics lessons aimed at shining a light on what one superintendent described as “these unprecedented political times.”

Teachers mount protests against Trump's education agenda and 'to protect public schools'
On the eve of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, teachers unions on Thursday mounted a statewide protest involving thousands of teachers and supporters in California to “protect public schools” and to urge lawmakers in Washington to reject the nomination of billionaire Betsy DeVos, who Trump selected to become the next U.S. education secretary.

Band concert to benefit Brentwood area music students
BRENTWOOD — A band concert this month will raise money for local teens who need help covering the cost of music lessons and camps.

January 17, 2017

Questions from California: what education leaders would ask Betsy DeVos – if they could
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is expected to hold a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.

Pittsburg schools make themselves immigration 'safe haven'
PITTSBURG — On the same night the county's community college district took a similar action, the Pittsburg Unified School District board approved a resolution to make the district and its schools a “safe haven” into which immigration officials may not enter without prior written approval from the district superintendent.

Mt. Diablo schools to host workshop on teen drug use
The workshop, Marijuana & Beyond: Teenage Drug Use in 2017, will be held on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Concord High School at 4200 Concord Blvd.

January 11, 2017

Governor proposes minimal funding increase for K-12 schools next year
Citing recent revenue declines and uncertainty about the future, Gov. Jerry Brown has lowered funding for schools by $500 million in the current year and is proposing little more than a cost-of-living increase in the 2017-18 budget that he presented Tuesday.

Northgate community seeks split from Mt. Diablo school district
WALNUT CREEK — It has been viewed by some as a form of modern-day economic and racial discrimination in public K-12 education, while others say it's a way to gain more accountability, oversight and local control of their schools.

West Contra Costa: New online kindergarten enrollment available
RICHMOND — Parents looking to enroll their children into kindergarten at West Contra Costa Unified schools for the 2017-2018 school year have the option of using a new online enrollment system.

January 3, 2017

Education issues to watch in 2017 – and predictions of what to expect
The first week in January is like the first day of spring training: Everyone's an expert on predicting what Gov. Jerry Brown will sign and veto and who'll win the World Series.

Songs, raps, games and movement help make learning fun
Justin Timberlake may never have imagined that his music would help 2nd-graders learn math.

Cal High special-needs winter dance a success
Winter dances are rites of passage for many students but often aren't designed for those with special needs in mind.

December 20, 2016

Early childhood education pays big dividends, study says
Providing poor children with high-quality early childhood education – from birth through age 5 – results in adults who are healthier, earning higher incomes and less involved in crime, according to a new study that followed participants for 35 years.

Contra Costa Community College district chancellor's contract approved
MARTINEZ — The Contra Costa Community College District board on Wednesday approved a 31/2-year contract for Dr. Fred Wood, who was selected in November to become the district's new chancellor.

Contra Costa college district seeks to become a 'sanctuary'
MARTINEZ — Following the impassioned pleas of more than two dozen students and faculty, and bolstered by more than 700 others who have signed a petition, Contra Costa Community College District leaders are moving to declare the district a sanctuary for undocumented students and their families.

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CCCOE Press Releases - 2017

January 2017


Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial is looking for legal professionals to volunteer a few hours of their expertise

MARTINEZ, Calif., January 12, 2017—Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professionals are needed to provide assistance to their future brethren at the upcoming 36th Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Program, held in the early evenings throughout the month of February, at the Martinez Court Rooms. Last year, 120 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys and sworn judges, as well as third-year law students volunteered their time with the Mock Trials.

Coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), Mock Trial is an academic event provided for high school students. The hands-on educational program was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. This year's grabbed-from-the-local-and-national-headlines case, the People v. Awbrey, is a trial about human trafficking and false imprisonment. The pretrial issue involves the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, namely protection against illegal search and seizure and against self-incrimination.

“I encourage all my fellow law professionals to join us in serving as Mock Trial judges and attorney scorers,” says Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Jill Fannin. “I have been volunteering with this program for over fifteen years. I’m continually impressed with the dedication demonstrated by all the teams that participate in this challenging academic event. Every volunteer will tell you that the professionalism and skill these high school students demonstrate in our courtrooms during Mock Trial, rival those they witnessed earlier in the day with the professionals.”

Teams of high school students work with teachers and volunteer coaches to prepare their version of the criminal case, from both the prosecution and defense perspectives. Students assume the roles of trial attorneys, pre-trial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, bailiffs, artists, and court journalists. Mock Trial judges and attorneys score their performance and provide immediate feedback. Winning teams advance through seven rounds of competition. The county’s champion advances to the State finals. This year, there will be 18 Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams competing.

Volunteers will score two competing schools that argue the case in their assigned court. Each night, will begin with a 15-minute rules and regulations training, then the volunteers will go into their scheduled courtrooms to serve as Mock Trial judge and scorers. The Mock Trials’ scorers are made up of Bay Area deputy district attorneys and deputy public defenders, as well as public-sector, private-practice, and corporate lawyers. In addition, seasoned law students are also welcome to participate. A practicing or retired judge or commissioner will preside over each trial, and also serves as one of the trial’s scorers.

Teams from the following 17 Contra Costa County high schools will be competing:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Pinole Valley (Pinole), Richmond (Richmond), St. Patrick–St. Vincent (Vallejo).

Schedule for 2017 Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials:

Preliminaries: February 7, 9, 14, 16, 5:00–8:00 p.m. (Eight competitions each night)

Quarterfinals: February 21, 5:00–8:00 p.m. (Four competitions)

Semifinals: February 23, 5:00–8:00 p.m. (Two competitions)

Final and Consolation: February 28, 5:00–8:00 p.m. (Two competitions)

Mock Trial will be headquartered at the A.F. Bray Courthouse, 1020 Ward Street, in Martinez.
Interested volunteers can learn more by visiting the CCCOE’s Mock Trial Web page, or contacting Jonathan Lance at (925) 942-3429.

The two highest-scoring teams will advance to the finals on Tuesday, February 24. The winning team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in Riverside, Calif., March 24-26. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held May 11-13, Hartford, Connecticut.

In 1977, the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) introduced the concept of mock trials to the Los Angeles schools. In 1980, the program expanded to the state level. The California Mock Trial Program currently involves more than 36 counties and over 8,000 student participants from more than 400 teams. Approximately 1,500 attorney volunteers serve as team coaches and scorers, and 500 Municipal, Superior, and Appellate Court judges preside over the trials.

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Page updated on: January 20, 2017

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