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Chief Communications Officer
925.942.3420


Communications Specialist/Teacher of the Year/Media Relations
925.942.3429

Communications FAX
925.942.3454

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News and Press Releases

Education Headlines

June 13, 2016

Gov. Brown agrees to add money for child care, preschool in budget
Advocates for expanding early childhood education and for better preparing low-income high school students for state universities wrested substantial money in the compromise state budget, announced Thursday, that legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown have negotiated.

Californians' support of transgender restroom access in schools growing, poll shows
Californians' support for transgender students being able to use bathrooms that match their gender identities is growing, especially among young people, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll has found.

El Cerrito panel hears charter school expansion plans
EL CERRITO – The Planning Commission appeared to react favorably during a June 8 session to study a proposal by Summit K2 charter school to add students and grade levels at the 1800 Elm St. site where it now operates a middle school.

June 9, 2016

Parents to receive easier-to-read reports on Smarter Balanced test scores
Parents across California will soon find out how their children performed on Smarter Balanced tests aligned with Common Core standards in math and English language arts.

East Bay school bond measures win across the board
Around the East Bay, voters appeared willing to pay more taxes to modernize educational facilities, as a host of school bond measures generated the required support for passage Tuesday night.

June 7, 2016

County superintendents speak out on making accountability work
California's 58 county offices of education generally receive far less attention than the school districts within their geographic boundaries.

West Contra Costa: Schools chief finalist named
RICHMOND – After months of searching, the West Contra Costa Unified School District board has chosen a finalist for the soon-to-be-open superintendent's post.

'Students of Excellence' awards ceremony honors 41 area youths
On Thursday, May 12, the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) honored 41 high school students, representing 27 schools in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, with the Student of Excellence Award for their outstanding achievement in their CTE/ROP (Career Technical Education/Regional Occupational Program) classes.

June 1, 2016

U.S. Dept. of Education releases draft regulations for new federal law
The U.S. Department of Education today released its much-awaited draft regulations to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA as it is referred to by insiders, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in December.

Contra Costa County's Teacher of the Year honorees
Contra Costa County's teachers of the year for 2016 – 2017, recently gathered at the County Office of Education for the annual Teacher of the Year (TOY) reception.

STEAM your way into a good book this summer
Contra Costa County Library is “STEAM-ing” into summer reading with a brand new reading challenge.

May 26, 2016

Plaintiffs appeal Vergara decision and back legislative fix
The organization that filed a lawsuit challenging California's tenure and other teacher protection laws on Tuesday asked the California Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the case.

Danville: Schmitt officially appointed as new San Ramon Valley schools chief
DANVILLE – Rick Schmitt was formally appointed Tuesday as the new superintendent of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, to succeed the retiring Mary Shelton.

Northgate High jazz band masters 'Next Generation' festival
WALNUT CREEK – In music as in the rest of life, everybody loves a winner. And that means the Northgate High School Jazz Band is getting a lot of love.

May 24, 2016

Districts receiving student test results faster than last year, officials say
As millions of California students take tests aligned with the Common Core standards for the second year, many districts and schools are getting results back more quickly than they did the first time around.

Oakley: Hetrick named new school district superintendent
OAKLEY – Trustees for the Oakley Union School District have hired Greg Hetrick to be the district's new superintendent.

West Contra Costa selects finalist for its superintendent search
RICHMOND – The search for a new superintendent to replace Bruce Harter is drawing to a close, with an unnamed finalist rising to the top of the competition.

May 20, 2016

Gov. Brown's push for more undergraduates to get teaching credentials
A small item in Gov. Jerry Brown's May revision of California's $122 billion budget for the coming fiscal year touches at the core of how the state prepares most of its teachers.

Antioch: Buddy Prom culminates year for new school program
ANTIOCH – Capping off the end of a successful first year of the school's Buddy Club, Antioch High School held its first Buddy Club Prom last week, mixing the school's general population with their prom “dates” from the school's special education program.

Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year Attend Annual Reception
PLEASANT HILL, Calif. – Recently the Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year (TOY), class of 2016-2017, gathered at the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), in Pleasant Hill, for a special event held in their honor.

May 17, 2016

California's graduation, dropout rates improve for the sixth straight year
California's high school gradation rate increased to 82.3 percent for the class of 2015, while the dropout rate fell to 10.7 percent, according to state figures released Tuesday.

Three Martinez schools get 'Gold Ribbon' honor
MARTINEZ – The California Department of Education awarded 2016 Gold Ribbon Awards to John Swett, John Muir and Las Juntas Elementary schools for their successful teaching methods that mirror revised state board standards – methods that can be replicated in other schools.

Interview Project helps students prepare for jobs, college
PITTSBURG – No matter how confident a high school senior thinks they are about beginning a new chapter in their lives and taking the world by storm, there is no such thing as being over prepared when it comes to interviewing for new jobs and college entrance programs.

May 16, 2016

Governor's latest early education budget proposal disappoints advocates, providers
Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal for early education, released Friday as part of the May revision of the 2016-17 state budget, is virtually unchanged from his initial proposal in January, offering no new spending and envisioning the creation of a $1.6 billion block grant that would combine funding for the state's preschool, transitional kindergarten and quality rating and improvement programs.

'Free college' mantra embraced by California's two-year schools
A year after President Obama raised the challenge to make community colleges free for all, two-year colleges across California are responding with a flurry of tuition-free offers, scholarships and other efforts to lower costs and boost dismal completion rates.

Contra Costa students honored for excellence at annual Career Technical Ed/ROP awards ceremony
On Thursday, May 12, the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) honored 41 high school students, representing 27 schools in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, with the Students of Excellence Awards for their outstanding achievement in their CTE/ROP (Career Technical Education/Regional Occupational Program) classes.

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CCCOE Press Releases - 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

May

All 21 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year
gather for annual reception

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., May 18, 2016 – Recently the Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year (TOY), class of 2016-2017, gathered at the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), in Pleasant Hill, for a special event held in their honor.

“The annual TOY Reception is a great opportunity for the 21 revered teachers to meet each other in person,” reports CCCOE TOY Coordinator Jonathan Lance. “This year’s honorees represent their school districts and their schools, from El Cerrito to Byron to San Ramon, and everywhere in between.”

For a complete list of the latest TOYs, please review this news release.

Along with the outstanding opportunity of fellowship between the honored teachers, as well as many of their school principals and school district superintendents, the reception provided information about what the newest TOYs can expect during the upcoming year. The group learned about the history of the TOY program, that began in 1973; the Classroom Grants that they will receive this fall; and the upcoming Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration. A heartwarming portion of the event took place during the teachers' introductions, and each of them were asked which person in their life inspired them to enter a career in education. In addition, the group enjoyed hearing about what they can expect during the upcoming year from the current 2015-2016 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year Maria McClain and Kate Perry.

On the evening of September 22, 2016, all 21 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of close to 500) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects her classroom visits of each teacher during the current spring and summer months. This will be followed by the TOY four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

For information about the four TOY finalists, please view this news release.

Currently, there are approximately 8,400 teachers educating more than 174,800 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives this past March. This year's 21 TOYs represent 16 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).

The two winners of the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

For additional details about the CCCOE’s Teacher of the Year program, please visit this Web page.


Annual CTE/ROP Students of Excellence Awards
Ceremony Honors 41 Students

2016 CTE/ROP Students of Excellence winners

CONCORD, Calif., May 13, 2016 – On Thursday, May 12, the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) honored 41 high school students, representing 27 schools in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, with the Students of Excellence Awards for their outstanding achievement in their CTE/ROP (Career Technical Education/Regional Occupational Program) classes. The celebrated students were each presented a certificate of merit and a $250.00 scholarship award. Scholarship funding was provided by Honda Walnut Creek, John Muir Health, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Walnut Creek Honda, and C&H Sugar.

More than 200 attendees were on hand at the Concord Senior Center. Along with the honored students and their families, the students’ teachers and ROP business-partnership representatives were also on hand. Welcoming remarks were made by Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, County Board of Education President Christine Deane, Assembly Member Jim Frazier, and CCCOE Director of Student Programs Janet Haun.

Superintendent Sakata individually presented the awards and checks to each student on stage, followed by a short speech from each of the awardees. The common themes of the heart-felt speeches were their gratitude of their parents and families, as well as their appreciation for their CTE/ROP courses and teachers. Many of the students said their CTE/ROP courses were the highlight of coming to school, and that the classes made their future career goals much clearer.

The Contra Costa County CTE/ROP serves nearly 12,000 students annually with classes in 34 high schools throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Currently, there are 393 state-of-the-art career development classes in this program. CTE/ROP focuses on career preparation and exploration, hands-on experience, and academic excellence to prepare students for success in college and future careers. CTE/ROP provides students with the newest equipment, rigorous academic standards, and classes in emerging technologies. All of the CTE/ROP classes and programs are directed by and funded through the CCCOE. For more information about CTE/ROP classes, visit their website.

The following outstanding students received certificates of merit plus $250.00 in scholarship awards for the CTE/ROP courses they excelled in during the current school year:

Awarded students listed alphabetical by high school’s city. Link to event’s program.

ANTIOCH
Mark Jovero, Art & Animatio,
Antioch High School Erin Susoev, Instructor

Angelita Yarborough, Careers in Teaching
Antioch High School Tamsen Armstrong, Instructor

Shyriah Vaughn, Cosmetology
Delta Beauty College Tamara Reaves, Instructor

Jacqueline Villaseñor, Sports Medicine
Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Kim O'Leary, Instructor

Jordan Bjorklund, Television Production
Deer Valley High School Kiel Olff, Instructor

Noah Lema, Marketing
Deer Valley High School Steve Kish, Instructor

BERKELEY
Milo Whitburn-Thomas, Advanced Digital Photography
Berkeley High School Gabriel Berent, Instructor

BRENTWOOD
Miranda Breves, Robotics Engineering
Heritage High School Rob Pardi, Instructor

Christianna McFarland, Law Enforcement Careers
Heritage High School Matt Carr, Instructor

Joseph Gliedt, Fire Science
Liberty High School James Scarbrough, Instructor

Tianna Nelson, Automotive Technology
Liberty High School Jonathan Dorr, Instructor

CLAYTON
Miya Adolphson, Game Design
Clayton Valley Charter High School Evan Hughes, Instructor

Andrey Pristinsky, Civil Engineering & Architecture
Clayton Valley Charter High School Scott Farquhar, Instructor

CONCORD
Jake Gorospe, Computer Applications
Concord High School Laurie Harris, Instructor

Zachary Ruiz, Robotics Engineering
Concord High School Tom Trowbridge, Instructor

Yoselin Tamayo, Careers in Teaching
Ygnacio Valley High School Thatcher Palmer, Instructor

Claire Rader, Biotechnology
Ygnacio Valley High School Maria Fletcher, Instructor

DANVILLE
Grant Hayes, Architectural Design
Monte Vista High School Mike Huntsman, Instructor

Katie Parker, AP Environmental Science
San Ramon Valley High School Cindy Egan, Instructor

EL CERRITO
Lucy Tabor, Art of Video Production
El Cerrito High School Theodore Grover, Instructor

LAFAYETTE
Julia Lauer, Digital Arts/Design for the Web
Acalanes High School Susan Lane, Instructor

MARTINEZ
Elizabeth Doty, Automotive Technology
Alhambra High School Brian Wheeler, Instructor

Matt Webb, Construction Technology
Alhambra High School Jay Heeb, Instructor

MORAGA
Holly Moore, Advanced Sports Medicine
Campolindo High School Ray Albiento, Instructor

OAKLEY
Kaleigh Rubio, Careers with Children
Freedom High School Elizabeth Rodriguez, Instructor

PIEDMONT
Kaitlyn De Mello, Culinary Careers
Piedmont High School M'Lisa Kelley, Instructor

PINOLE
Marina Boudsady, Publications
Pinole Valley High School Alexander Van Hook, Instructor

Shalvena Sharma, Law Enforcement Careers
Pinole Valley High School Patricia Blades, Instructor

PITTSBURG
Shudipto Rahman, AP Computer Science
Pittsburg High School Romeo Simionas, Instructor

RICHMOND
Luis Arreola, Hospital Health Services
De Anza High School David Pintado, Instructor

Simranpreet Kaur, Hospital Health Services
De Anza High School Fathom Riordan-Ng, Instructor

Jacqueline Hopkins, Digital Photography
Kennedy High School Steve Pinto, Instructor

Mariana Romero, Advanced Photography
Richmond High School John Ohlmann, Instructor

SAN RAMON
Annissa Bensalah, Journalism Productions
California High School Brian Barr, Instructor

Kathryn Lew, Analytical Forensic Science
California High School Andrew White, Instructor

Emily Lai, Introduction to Business
Dougherty Valley High School Jeff Silverman, Instructor

Bethany Vega, Computer Graphic Arts
Dougherty Valley High School Jeff Silverman, Instructor

WALNUT CREEK
Jaclyn Leonard, Medical Technologies
Las Lomas High School Kathleen Mooney, Instructor

Makena Paynton, Sports Medicine
Northgate High School Glen Barker, Instructor

Roya Stoops, Veterinary Science
Northgate High School Melanie Scott, Instructor


April

Contra Costa County Classified School Employee
of the Year Honored

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 26—Each year, the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), in partnership with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), participates in the California State Classified School Employee of the Year (CSEY) program, coordinated by the California Department of Education. Recently, the CCCOE and ACSA announced this year’s honored employees.

Contra Costa County Classified School Employee of the Year Honorees

Steve Waters, Campus Resource Assistant, Pittsburg Unified School District, Campus Resource Category
Norma Arreguin, Instructional Aide, Brentwood Union School District, Para-Educator and Instructional Assistant Category
Mark Mortenson, Maintenance Craftsman, Orinda Union School District, Maintenance Operations and Facilities Category
Vickey Corker, Secretary, Student Services, Byron Union School District, Office and Technical Category
Jeri Sutherland, Library Media Coordinator, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Support Services and Security Category
Maxine Williford, Business Office Technician, John Swett Unified School District, Transportation Category

Contra Costa County Classified School Employee of the Year Nominees

Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities Category:

Donald Howard, Welder, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Jeanette Navarro, Custodian I, Pittsburg Unified School District
Greg Wiggs, Lead Custodian, Contra Costa County Office of Education

Office and Technical Category:

Ellena Ashley, Maintenance & Operations Technician, Pittsburg Unified School District
Martha Collins, Human Resources Assistant II, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Jenny Goodspeed, District Advisor, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Lina Gramatikova, District Payroll Audit Specialist, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Lisa Gruen, Human Resources Technician, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Brenda Kozak, School Administrative Secretary, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Sylvia McClaflin, Special Education Administrative Technician, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Janice Rodriguez, Senior Accounting Assistant, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Debra Shelby, Administrative Assistant II, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Michelle Snyder, College & Career Coordinator, Liberty Union School District
June Stephens, Electronic Communications Specialist, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Jennifer Wall, Administrative Assistant III, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Heidi Wise, Office Manager, Martinez Unified School District

Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance Category:

Stone Chandler, Special Education Assistant, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Raquel Enriquez, Instructional Aide, Pittsburg Unified School District

The CSEY program, sponsored by the CCCOE/ACSA, highlights the contributions of exemplary classified school employees that support and play a key role in promoting student achievement, safety, and health in California public schools, from preschool through 12th grade.
“We are proud to participate in the Classified School Employee of the Year Program,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “These amazing individuals are instrumental in promoting student learning and ensuring that our schools, districts and county offices operate smoothly and efficiently.”

All nominees will be recognized at a reception sponsored by the CCCOE, on April 28. The California state’s awardees will be honored at a luncheon in Sacramento, during Classified School Employee Week, May 15-19, 2016.


2016-2017 Contra Costa County
Teachers of the Year Finalists Named

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 14, 2016 – The following four teachers have been named as the 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Finalists: Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District; Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District; Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District; and Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Two of these four finalists will be chosen in late September, and will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program.

Shauna Hawes teaches computer applications/technology to grades 6-8 at Valley View Middle School, in Pleasant Hill. The 18-year teacher has been with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District during her entire teaching career. Prior to her current position, Hawes taught 6th grade core (English, history, and reading) at Valley View. Before coming to Valley View, she taught 5th grade (all subjects) at Hidden Valley Elementary, in Martinez, from 1998-2007.

Gina Minder-Maldonado will soon be finishing her 25th year of teaching. For the past 17 years, Minder-Maldonado has taught 2nd grade at Oakley Elementary School, in Oakley. Her former teaching experience includes preschool and transitional kindergarten grades, as well as elementary after school and summer school instruction.

Summer Rodriguez has been an educator for 16 years at Liberty High School, in Brentwood. Rodriguez has taught all levels of high school English, AP English language and composition, and AP English literature and composition. In addition to her education duties, she has served as director of the school’s student activities.

Joyce Rooks began her career in teaching after serving as a senior programmer analyst/senior systems analyst for Mervyns, as well as an independent computer-training consultant. She is currently in her 13th year teaching for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, where she has served as an instructor for Dougherty Valley High, California High, and Coyote Creek Elementary. She has been teaching first and second grades for the past five years at Creekside Elementary, in Danville.

The county's TOY program is directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). With such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from, the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates as follows:

I Application Screening:
On April 8, a committee of 14 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners meticulously reviewed the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rated each application. After the application screening and scoring was completed, these four teachers were selected to advance to the next two phases as TOY finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:
During the months of April and early May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the four finalists interacting with their students during class, followed by interviews with the TOYs. The committee and finalists will discuss topics such as their teaching philosophies and student-progress techniques.

III Speech Presentation:
On August 15, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 22, 2016, all 21 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of close to 500) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects her classroom visits of each teacher during the current spring and summer months. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in August) to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

Currently, there are approximately 8,400 teachers educating more than 174,800 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives. (See entire list of the county’s TOYs on our earlier news release.) This year's 21 TOYs represent 16 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Twenty of these representatives, those who teach grades pre-K thru adult education, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two winners of the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.


37 Contra Costa County Schools Named “Gold Ribbon Schools”
– Most in Northern California

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Contact: Terry Koehne, Chief Communications Officer
Phone: 925-942-3420 / Email: tkoehne@cccoe.k12.ca.us

Pleasant Hill – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that 758 elementary schools in California have been selected as 2016 California Gold Ribbon Schools, an awards program which is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program. The program recognizes some of the state's most exemplary public schools. Contra Costa County is home to 37 of the elementary schools selected, most of any county in northern California. The Gold Ribbon Schools in Contra Costa County are:

  • Discovery Bay Elementary, Byron Union School District
  • John Muir Elementary, Martinez Unified School District
  • John Swett Elementary, Martinez Unified School District
  • Las Juntas Elementary, Martinez Unified School District
  • Del Rey Elementary, Orinda Union School District
  • Wagner Ranch Elementary, Orinda Union School District
  • Alamo Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Bollinger Canyon Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Country Club Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Creekside Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Golden View Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Green Valley Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Greenbrook Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Hidden Hills Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • John Baldwin Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Live Oak Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Montevideo Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Neil Armstrong Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Quail Run Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Rancho Romero Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Sycamore Valley Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Tassajara Hills Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Twin Creeks Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Vista Grande Elementary, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Coronado Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Fairmont Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Hanna Ranch Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Harding Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Kensington Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Madera Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Montalvin Manor Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Olinda Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Peres Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Riverside Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Sheldon Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Valley View Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District
  • Washington Elementary, West Contra Costa Unified School District

“The elementary schools in our county being recognized as Gold Ribbon Schools have some truly amazing programs that can serve as models for other schools around the state and country,” said Karen Sakata, County Superintendent of Schools. “The Contra Costa County Office of Education continues to coordinate verification visits to all schools that qualified for the award, and our site visit teams were very impressed with the programs they observed at each of these schools.”

Schools applied for the award based on a model program their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The award is recognizing elementary schools this year and middle and high schools in 2017.

“These schools shine as bright beacons for others, putting forth an exemplary effort to ensure that every student is ready for 21st century college and careers,” Torlakson said of the 758 schools. “California teachers are developing an education model for the nation, training the students of today to be the problem-solvers, inventors, and pioneers of tomorrow.”

The Gold Ribbon Schools will be recognized later this month during regional ceremonies held in Santa Clara, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Visalia, and Sacramento.

For more information, please go to the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program Web page.


Contra Costa County's school districts announce their
2016-2017 Teachers of the Year

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 6, 2016 – Currently, there are approximately 8,401 teachers educating more than 174,800 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives. (See list below.) The upcoming school year's 21 TOYs represent 16 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Most of these representatives, those who teach grades K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two top teachers in the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

“We are immensely proud of these amazing educators,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “They were thoughtfully chosen to represent their schools and districts, and truly represent what is best about public education.”

The county's TOY program is directed by the CCCOE. With such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from, the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates as follows:

I Application Screening:
On April 8, a committee of 15 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners will carefully review the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rates each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers will be selected to advance to the next two phases as finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:
In April and May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners observe the four finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.

III Speech Presentation:
On August 15, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 22, 2016, all 21 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of close to 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Ms. Sakata, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects her classroom visits of each teacher during the current spring and summer months. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in August) to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

Jamie Cackler Bennetts, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Cynthia Boyko, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High

Rachael Byron, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High

Krystal Figaroa, Pittsburg Unified School District, Stoneman Elementary

Erin Flanigan, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Daniel Yoshio Haley, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, El Dorado Middle

Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Valley View Middle

Judy Jernigan, Lafayette School District, Lafayette SD Schools

Kristyn Loy, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Stewart Elementary

Judy Mazur, Walnut Creek School District, Buena Vista Elementary

Vicki McGuire, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter Elementary

Aminta Mickles, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College

Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary

Dayle Okamitsu, Orinda Union School District, Wagner Ranch Elementary

Lawrence Pang, West Contra Costa Unified School District, El Cerrito High

Deborah Guillén Rocchild, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High

Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High

Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Creekside Elementary

Juliet Simens, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elementary

Angela Taylor, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Parole Education Program Oakland Computerized Literacy Learning Center

Sarah Vieira, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Sixteen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, and the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.
  • Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Contra Costa College's turn.
  • Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates

Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter: #CoCoTOY


County School Boards Association recognizes
21 district trustees with service awards

Organization encourages local communities to be engaged in Districts' Local Control Accountability Plans

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 3, 2016—The Contra Costa County School Boards Association (CCCSBA) recently recognized more than 20 individuals in the county for outstanding service as trustees for their respective school districts and education agencies. The following governing board members were recognized by the organization for years of service:

  • Susie Epstein (5 years) and Cathy Coppersmith (15 years)
    Acalanes Union High School District
  • Karen Pickett (5 years), Jefe Bernard (10 years), and Jim Smith (20 years)
    Canyon School District
  • Art Kapoor (5 years), David Gerson (5 years) and Teresa Gerringer (15 years)
    Lafayette School District
  • Matt Moran (5 years) and Julie Rossiter (5 years)
    Orinda School District
  • Denise Jennison (5 years), Greg Marvel (15 years), and Ken Mintz (10 years)
    San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Catherine Pena (15 years)
    Walnut Creek School District
  • Bobbi Horack (5 years), Denise Elsken (15 years) and Kathi McLaughlin (15 years)
    Martinez Unified School District
  • John Marquez (5 years) and John T. Nejedly, Jr. (20 years)
    Contra Costa Community College Board
  • Pamela Mirabella (25 years) and Daniel Gomes (15 years)
    Contra County County Board of Education

“School Board Members are at the heart of every community,” said Christine Deane, President of the Contra Costa County Board of Education. “School programs in Contra Costa County are outstanding, largely because our communities elect well-informed, dedicated, and student-focused trustees who oversee budgets, programs, and policies. These are oftentimes thankless jobs, but they need to be recognized for the great work they do.”

The Contra Costa County School Boards Association is also encouraging parents and community members to become engaged in their local school district’s Local Control Accountability Plan process (LCAP). The Local Control Accountability Plan is a critical part of the new Local Control Funding Formula, which defines how public schools are funded in California. Each school district and county office of education must engage parents, educators, employees, and the community to establish these plans. The plans describe each district’s overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions the district will take to achieve the vision and goals.

“We encourage all parents and community members to become actively engaged in their local LCAP process and affirm the job their local board members are doing to help shape the future of education in their communities,” said Deane.

March

12th Annual Young Children's Issues Forum

Pleasant Hill, Calif., March 9, 2016 – The public is invited to The Twelfth Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, to be held on Saturday, March 12, 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the Pleasant Hill Community Center, at 320 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill. This year’s theme is Speak Out for Children: Educate and Advocate. The annual community event is sponsored and organized by the Contra Costa Local Planning & Advisory Council for Early Care and Education (LPC), and is coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).

The purpose of the program is to provide a forum for discussion among legislators, local elected officials, public agency representatives, business leaders, and the community regarding current children's issues. Annually, this award-winning special presentation is a favorite for numerous local elected officials to take part in, as presenters and/or in question-and-answer sessions. Confirmed guest legislators and elected officials include: Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblymembers Susan Bonilla and Tony Thurmond, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools, Karen Sakata, and Contra Costa Supervisor, Candace Andersen. Superintendent Sakata, will present opening remarks overview of the importance of early childhood education. Additionally, the topic of focus for this year’s forum is the national movement towards Quality Early Care and Education, legislation, and the essential role of the teacher in high quality early childhood education. The Forum agenda features an impressive list of guest presenters, including: Dr. Julie Nicholson, associate professor of practice, chair of early childhood education, and director of the center for play research in the school of education at Mills College; Ted Lempert, executive director, Children Now; Sean Casey, executive director, First 5 Contra Costa, Benu Chhabra, care provider, Central County Family Child; Gabriela Rowland, Concord Child Care Center; John Moon, teacher, Transitional Kindergarten; Maria Rios, Community Services Bureau/Contra Costa Head Start; Stacie Roundtree, care provider, East County Family Child Care; Ruth Fernández, manager, Educational Services, CCCOE; and Cathy Roof, chair, Advocacy Committee of the Contra Costa Local Planning & Advisory Council for Early Care and Education (LPC).

In 2014, the Annual Young Children’s Issues Forum received Assembly and Senate recognitions for ongoing quality civic engagement opportunities offered to the public through this annual event. In 2012, California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA) awarded the Young Children’s Issues Forum with the California Gold Award, their highest accolade of annual Excellence in Communications.

For more information about the Annual Young Children’s Issues Forum, please contact Ruth Fernández at (925) 942-3413 or visit: www.plan4kids.org. Tickets for this program are $15 per person, and can be purchased via this Eventbrite link. Tickets also include continental breakfast, lunch and resource fair.

February

Miramonte High named Contra Costa County's
High School Mock Trial Champion

2016 Mock Trial winners Miramonte High School

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., February 25, 2016 — After a number of speeches made by the coaches and individual awards presented to exceptional-performing students, the exciting 35th Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial’s Awards Ceremony concluded with the naming of this year’s championship team: Miramonte High (Orinda). Miramonte beat Acalanes High, this past Tuesday night in the final round, inside the Bray Courthouse, in Martinez.

Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Hon. Steven Austin was on hand to address the large crowd, congratulate all the participants, and hand out the Mock Trial awards. “I’ve been involved with Mock Trials for 16 years, and it’s still so much fun to watch your hard work and talent come together in our courtrooms. At work, I often hear my fellow judges, who volunteer with Mock Trials, speak so highly of how well you all did the night before, during your matches. We are all so impressed! The skills you honed for Mock Trials will certainly be an asset to you, and you'll carry them for the rest of your lives!”

Most of the teams begin their Mock Trial training when they commence the new school year – which makes Mock Trials one of the longest seasons of all the participating schools’ sports and academic activities.

For the past four weeks (seven evenings), the Miramonte High School and 14 other Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams have been battling it out with each other inside the superior courthouse courtrooms of Martinez. Miramonte High School will now represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in Sacramento, March 18-20. California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Boise, Idaho, May 12-14.

Teams from the following 15 Contra Costa County high schools competed:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), Deer Valley (Antioch), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Northgate (Walnut Creek), Pinole Valley (Pinole), and Richmond (Richmond). The top four teams finished in this order:

  1. Miramonte
  2. Acalanes
  3. Heritage
  4. California

(For all the team and individual results, visit the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Mock Trial Web page – complete team and individual results will be posted by 2/26/16.)

GJEL Accident Attorneys underwrote this year’s Mock Trial program. The law firm also funded The CCCOE Mock Trial Scholarship Program. The recipients of the three $1000 scholarships were Lucy Portnoff, Miramonte High; Izabel Rodriguez, Kennedy High; and Kelly Wong, Richmond High. These funds can be applied to their college tuition, books, room and board, travel to and from school, or other expenses related to higher education.

Mock Trial is an academic event for high school students coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, and sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.  The purpose of this program is to teach students about the law and the workings of the legal system. To prepare, the students conducted legal research and received guidance on courtroom procedures from their schoolteachers and volunteer attorneys and judges, to acquire a working knowledge of the judicial system.

This year, an impressive 102 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys, senior law students, and sworn judges volunteered their time to serve as Mock Trial Attorney Scorers and Judges. These volunteers represented judges from Bay Area Superior Courts, the California Bankruptcy Court, the California Supreme Court, and the California Appellate Court. Attorney Scorers included Bay Area attorneys from county District Attorney and Public Defender offices, the State Attorney General’s Office; and the California Department of Justice. Also assisting were non-profit, public, private, and corporate attorneys. In addition, senior students from five Bay Area law schools lent a hand in scoring.


2016 Contra Costa County Teacher/Certificated
Staff Recruitment Fair

MARTINEZ, Calif., February 23, 2016 – The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) will present its annual Contra Costa County Teacher/Certificated Staff Recruitment Fair, on Saturday, February 27, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m., at Alhambra High School's gymnasium, located at 150 E St., in Martinez.

Attendees will discover a number of teaching positions in a variety of fields, including all levels of K-12 education, specialty, and substitute teaching positions. Representatives of some of these open positions will be offering interviews on site.

Along with the CCCOE, representatives from 11 Contra Costa County school districts will be on hand: Antioch USD, Brentwood USD, John Swett USD, Knightsen Elementary USD, Liberty UHSD, Martinez USD, Mt. Diablo USD, Oakley UESD, Pittsburg USD, San Ramon Valley USD, and West Contra Costa USD. In addition, local charter school members from Amethod Public Schools, Caliber Schools, and Clayton Valley Charter High School will be present. Representatives from Brandman University and U.C. Berkeley Extension will also be on hand to talk to those interested in earning teaching credentials and their teaching programs.

For additional information about this free event, call (925) 942-3387 or visit the Recruitment Fair's website: http://www.cocoschools.org/jobfair.


Campolindo High School named 2016 East County Regional Academic Decathlon Champion

2016 ACADECA Cahmpions Campolindo High School

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., February 10, 2016 – At tonight's energy-filled Academic Decathlon Awards Reception, it was announced that Campolindo High School (Moraga) won the 2016 East County Regional Academic Decathlon for the sixth straight year. Along with being the East Bay Regional winner, the team will also represent Contra Costa County in the California State Academic Decathlon competition. Following Campolindo, were Las Lomas High School (Walnut Creek), second place; and Dublin High School, third place.

Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the Academic Decathlon provides an opportunity for high school students to compete as individuals and teams in a series of ten academic tests and demonstrations. The subjects in the competition include art, economics, literature, mathematics, music, science, social science, essay, interview, and speech (prepared and impromptu)–plus the popular SuperQuiz™.

Approximately, 120 participating high school students have been studying and preparing for this event with their coaches since September. This year’s Academic Decathlon theme was India.
This year's teams represent the following high schools: Acalanes (Lafayette), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), Dublin (Dublin), Freedom (Oakley), Irvington (Fremont), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), and Pittsburg (Pittsburg).

Along with earning their sixth consecutive year as Contra Costa County’s Academic Decathlon champion, Campolindo was also last year’s national Academic Decathlon winner in the Medium School Category. Visit this Web page to see Contra Costa County winning schools over the years. High school teams are made up of nine students, grades 9-12, with a maximum of three students in each of the following divisions: Honors (3.75-4.00 GPA), Scholastic (3.00-3.74 GPA) and Varsity (2.99 GPA and below).

The Campolindo team will represent Contra Costa County at the California State Academic Decathlon, to be held in Sacramento, March 17-20. Alameda County will be represented by Dublin’s team in the state Academic Decathlon competition.

The 2016 East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon overall school rankings:

  1. Campolindo
  2. Las Lomas
  3. Dublin
  4. Freedom
  5. Pittsburg
  6. Irvington

Compolindo High School also won this year’s East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon SuperQuiz™, held last Saturday.

Individual Gold Awards (highest individual score)

Top Scoring Individual – Varsity Category
Abraham Anderson (10th grade), Las Lomas

Top Scoring Individual – Varsity Category
Justice Krugman (11th grade), Pittsburg

Top Scoring Individual – Varsity Category
Holden Kolner (12th grade), Campolindo

Top Scoring Individual – Scholastic Category
Janely Oseguera (9th grade), Freedom

Top Scoring Individual – Scholastic Category
Ellen Si (10th grade), Campolindo

Top Scoring Individual Overall Awards – Scholastic Category
Bennett Coates (11th grade), Campolindo

Top Scoring Individual Overall Awards – Scholastic Category 
Prathamesh Nagnoor (12th grade), Las Lomas

Top Scoring Individual Overall Awards – Honor Category
Jennifer Liu (9th grade), Dublin

Top Scoring Individual Overall Awards – Honor Category
Ashley Zhang (10th grade), Campolindo

Top Scoring Individual Overall Awards – Honor Category
Zoe Portnoff (11th grade), Campolindo

Top Scoring Individual Overall Awards – Honor Category
Uma Gaffney (10th grade), Campolindo

HISTORY

The Academic Decathlon was first created by Dr. Robert Peterson, former Superintendent of Schools in Orange County, California. Firmly believing that everyone's learning potential can be maximized through competitive challenge, Dr. Peterson set in motion the contest that has since come to be recognized as the most prestigious high school academic team competition in the United States.  The program spread rapidly throughout the states due to the success and excitement it engendered.  USAD was founded in 1981.

This year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, April 28-30.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING
CONFIDENTIAL STUDENT DATA

In April 2012, two organizations, the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association and the Concerned Parent Association, filed a lawsuit against the CDE alleging widespread, systemic non-compliance by local education agencies with special education laws. The suit also alleges the CDE fails to monitor, investigate and correct such non-compliance in accordance with the law. The CDE denies these allegations and is actively defending the litigation.

Districts in our county were not involved in the lawsuit and are not the subject of any of the suit’s allegations.

Nonetheless, as a part of this lawsuit, CDE has been ordered by the court to release all data it has collected on general and special education students since Jan. 1, 2008.

For more information regarding the release of this data and how you can file an objection with the court to consider not releasing your data, visit: http://www.cde.ca.gov/morganhillcase. You may also contact the California Department of Education at 916-319-0800.

Click here for a copy of the letter sent to parents of students in CCCOE programs.


2016 East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon concludes
with the always-thrilling SuperQuiz™

WHAT: This year's East Bay Regional (Contra Costa and Alameda Counties) High School Academic Decathlon will conclude this coming Saturday, with objective testing and SuperQuiz™. Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the Academic Decathlon provides an opportunity for high school students to compete as individuals and teams in a series of ten academic tests and demonstrations. The subjects in the competition include art, economics, literature, mathematics, music, science, social science, essay, interview, and speech (prepared and impromptu)–plus the popular SuperQuiz™.

Approximately125 participating high school students have been studying and preparing for this event with their coaches since September. This year’s Academic Decathlon theme is India, and the Super Quiz™, a TV's Jeopardy style team competition, will bring the program to a close.

DATES / LOCATIONS: Saturday, February 6, 8:00 a.m.–3:50 p.m.; Los Medanos College (gymnasium), 2700 E. Leland Rd., Pittsburg
** SuperQuiz™ begins at 2:35 p.m., finishing around 3:50 p.m.

Best time for photo, video, and audio opportunities:
**Saturday, February 6, 2:35-3:50 p.m. at Los Medanos College (gymnasium)—The SuperQuiz™ Relay.

Wednesday, February 10, 6:00-7:30 p.m.; Contra Costa County Office of Education, 77 Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasant Hill—Academic Decathlon Awards Ceremony.

ACTION: Providing outstanding audio, video, and photo opportunities, the approximately 60-minute SuperQuiz™ portion of the Academic Decathlon (a team-relay event) always produces the excitement and electrifying mixture of the remaining minute of a tied basketball championship game and the final winning question on a TV game show. The gym’s bleachers are populated with families, friends, and teachers, cheering on their teams. The SuperQuiz™ will open up with the traditional procession of the teams into the gym, while brandishing their schools' banner.

WHO: This year's teams represent the following high schools: Acalanes (Lafayette), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), Dublin (Dublin), Freedom (Oakley), Irvington (Fremont), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), and Pittsburg (Pittsburg). Campolindo High School has been Contra Costa County’s champion for the past five years, and was last year’s national winner in the Medium School Category. Visit this Web page to see Contra Costa County winning schools over the years.

High school teams are made up of nine students, grades 9-12, with a maximum of three students in each of the following divisions: Honors (3.75-4.00 GPA), Scholastic (3.00-3.74 GPA) and Varsity (2.99 GPA and below). The winning team will represent Contra Costa County at the California State Academic Decathlon, to be held in Sacramento, March 17-20. This year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, April 28-30.

(The winning Contra Costa and Alameda County teams will represent their county in the California State Academic Decathlon.)

HISTORY: The Academic Decathlon was first created by Dr. Robert Peterson, former Superintendent of Schools in Orange County, California. Firmly believing that everyone's learning potential can be maximized through competitive challenge, Dr. Peterson set in motion the contest that has since come to be recognized as the most prestigious high school academic team competition in the United States. The program spread rapidly throughout the states due to the success and excitement it engendered. USAD was founded in 1981.

January

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

MARTINEZ, Calif., January 7, 2016—Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professionals are needed to provide assistance to their future brethren at the upcoming 35th 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, 150 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys and sworn judges, as well as third-year law students volunteered their time with the Mock Trials.

winning Mock Trial artist drawingCoordinated 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 trial: People v. Hayes – a murder case, and features a pretrial argument on the Fifth Amendment.

“I encourage all my fellow law professionals to join us in serving as volunteer Mock Trial judges and attorney scorers,” says Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Steve Austin. “Not only is it a wonderful service to our county's high school students, but you will really enjoy watching them in action. You will be impressed with the skill these young men and women demonstrate in our courtrooms. Every year I volunteer, I am continually amazed at the obvious time each student has invested to participate in this challenging academic event.”

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 16 Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams competing.

Volunteers will score two competing schools that argue the cases 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 16 Contra Costa County high schools will be competing:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza High (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Northgate (Walnut Creek), Pinole Valley (Pinole), and Richmond (Richmond).  

Schedule for 2016 Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials:

Preliminaries: February 2, 4, 9, 11, 5:00-7:30 p.m. (Eight competitions each night)
Quarterfinals: February 16, 5:00-7:30 p.m. (Four competitions)
Semifinals: February 18, 5:00-7:30 p.m. (Two competitions)
Final and Consolation: February 23, 5:00-7:30 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 Sacramento, Calif., March 18-20. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Boise, Idaho, May 12-14.

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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Advisories

January 2015

Measles Update From Contra Costa Health

The following is a letter to Parents, Students, School Employees, and Volunteers from Contra Costa Health Services.

Versión en Español (pdf)

We are writing to update you on the measles situation in California and Contra Costa County. At this time there are no measles cases reported in Contra Costa County, but other counties in the Bay Area have reported cases. It is possible that there will be more measles cases. As of January 27, 73 people in California have been confirmed with measles since late December 2014.

We want to reassure parents that although measles is very contagious, it is highly preventable through vaccinations. If your children have been fully vaccinated, they are well protected from catching measles. However, California's measles outbreak serves as an important reminder that everyone needs to be vaccinated if they have not had the disease in the past.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and pediatricians recommend that children get two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. The first dose is given at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose usually at 4 to 6 years of age. Two doses of MMR vaccine are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles.

Not only is the MMR a doctor-recommended vaccine, it is also required for school. School immunization requirements make schools and our community safer and healthier. Unless they have an exemption, most children who attend public and private schools in California have received MMR vaccine.

However, in settings where large numbers of unvaccinated people gather, such as international tourist attractions or schools with high exemption levels, vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles can spread quickly and sicken many, including babies too young to be vaccinated and those who cannot be vaccinated because of a health condition.

Adults also need to be up to date on vaccinations. We recommend that everyone, including parents, teachers and volunteers, review their vaccination records.

People born before 1957 are considered immune as they likely had measles as children and developed immunity from the disease. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about your vaccination status.

For more information about measles and measles vaccine, please visit: www.cchealth.org/measles

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Page updated on: June 13, 2016

Rev: 0.4-010514-BETA4