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925.942.3420


Communications Specialist/Teacher of the Year/Media Relations
925.942.3429

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News and Press Releases

Education Headlines

December 8, 2016

As charter schools grow, they face challenge of hiring amid a teacher shortage
As California struggles with a teacher shortage, charter schools face distinct challenges recruiting teachers.

Antioch school board OK's Rocketship charter school
ANTIOCH — A long evening of testimonials from teachers, parents and others with opposing views of Antioch Unified schools culminated Wednesday in a divided board of trustees approving the opening of another charter school.

Martinez overcomes obstacles to make new school a reality
MARTINEZ — It looks like Martinez Unified School District has pulled a rabbit out of a hat. The new Vicente Martinez Alternative High School and Briones Independent Study School campus opens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 12, and a half-day student orientation is Dec. 22.

December 5, 2016

With Trump's Title IX stance unknown, video aims to educate about sexual harassment at school
National experts on sexual harassment in K-12 schools have teamed up to create a new educational video about gender equality, intended to inform students that they have a legal right to attend a school where nobody is harassed because of their gender.

California appeals to federal officials to administer one statewide science test, not two
With less than two months before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, California education officials this week have filed an appeal to the U.S Department of Education, seeking to administer one statewide standardized test in science this spring, a pilot test based on new standards known as the Next Generation Science Standards.

Danville teen wins congressional app challenge
DANVILLE — Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Steele has never tried to make a phone app before, but when she did this summer, she won Congressman Mark DeSaulnier's app challenge.

November 28, 2016

The push for positive school climate bumps up against Trump rhetoric
If President-elect Donald Trump were a high school student in California, he might find himself in a restorative justice circle making amends for his hurtful words and behavior.

Place of Learning makes a positive impact on students' lives
A Place of Learning has filled an important niche in Brentwood since 2007, offering free one-on-one tutoring to students from kindergarten through high school, mainly to those for whom English is their second language.

Loaves and Fishes trains slate of young chefs
MARTINEZ — Shelby Bolton, a 17-year-old student at Vicente Martinez High School in Martinez, wants to be a chef.

November 21, 2016

Trump school voucher plan comes against backdrop of opposition in California
While K-12 education issues were rarely mentioned in the 2016 presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trumps's proposal to give children taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend a range of schools, including private schools, could find fertile ground in his administration.

Budget analyst forecasts good year for California schools, but uncertain beyond that
With no signs of a recession on the immediate horizon, the Legislative Analyst's Office is projecting a comfortable increase of $2.6 billion for K-12 schools and community colleges for fiscal 2017-18, starting next July.

Marsh Creek inmates make and give out toys
CLAYTON — A festive display of charming wooden toys and refurbished bicycles hand-crafted by inmates at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility made it easier for nonprofit representatives to help fulfill the holiday wish lists of the children they serve.

November 17, 2016

Education leaders contemplate what Trump presidency means for California education
Education was not a major theme in the Trump for President campaign. Among his few specific proposals: eliminate the Common Core standards in English and math, and establish a $20 billion program to expand school choice for low-income children.

Henderson to be honored for gospel music work
PITTSBURG — Gospel music holds a revered place in the black church along with being a huge influence on rock 'n' roll. Music professor Silvester Henderson also sees the music as a way to encourage youths to get a college education.

El Cerrito gallery featuring exhibit of student photographs
An exhibit of images by students in the El Cerrito High School Photography Club will open with a reception with the artists from 3 to 4 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Gallery Space on the second floor of El Cerrito City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave.

November 11, 2016

Voters back all three education initiatives on California ballot
California voters have approved all three education-related initiatives on the Nov. 8 ballot, based on 100 percent of returns reported by the California Secretary of State.

Bay Area schools try to ease kids' fears spurred by Donald Trump's win
SAN PABLO – Having already faced a slew of fretful questions from her third-grade students months before the presidential election about what a Donald Trump win would mean, Alyssa Hoy found herself with much of America, dreading going to work the day after the election.

Mt. Diablo school board incumbent decides to serve on the board
CONCORD – In a week that’s been filled with plenty of post-election twists and turns, one local election cliffhanger that had voters wondering about the future of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District is finally getting the closure that many were seeking.

November 9, 2016

Voters back all three education initiatives on California ballot
California voters have approved all three education-related initiatives on the November 8 ballot, based on 96 percent of returns reported by the California Secretary of State.

UC Davis Grad, Former Vice Chancellor Named Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor
CONTRA COSTA, COUNTY, CA – The Contra Costa Community College District's governing board announced at a special meeting Friday that they have unanimously decided to select Fred Wood, a Diablo Valley College alumnus, to be the district's next chancellor.

County Board of Education is Recognizing November as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month
At the October 19th Board Meeting, the board approved a resolution to recognize and raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness.

November 4, 2016

State Board approves science framework, first in nation
The State Board of Education on Thursday approved a new science framework that makes California the first state in the nation to produce a framework based on the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 grades.

County Board of Education is Recognizing November as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month
At the October 19th Board Meeting, the board approved a resolution to recognize and raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness.

School board enhances zero-tolerance policy
MARTINEZ — The Martinez Unified School District board unanimously approved districtwide changes to conduct requirements for students in extracurricular activities.

October 31, 2016

Enrollments in teacher prep programs rise for first time in 13 years
At a time when districts across California are reporting shortages of teachers in a number of subject areas, enrollments in teacher preparation programs in California have increased for the first time in 13 years.

Contra Costa to Expand Computer Science Education
The Contra Costa County Office of Education is proud to announce that it has been selected as a Code.org Professional Learning Partner, and will be the designated provider of Code.org Professional Learning Programs in Contra Costa County.

Excelsior Middle School's drama teacher Kathy Tickner honored
The Byron Union School District (BUSD) recently honored Kathy Tickner, the queen of drama at Excelsior Middle School (EMS), for her 30 years of work as a teacher of the arts.

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CCCOE Press Releases - 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

November

The holiday spirit of giving showcased at the
Marsh Creek Detention Facility

County's collaborative program celebrates its 25th year of bringing joy to local at-risk children

Marshcreek student repairing bicycleCLAYTON, Calif., November 17, 2016 – For the 25th straight year, a number of representatives from Contra Costa County non-profit agencies were on hand today for the annual Marsh Creek Detention Facility's Toy Show to fulfill their at-risk children's Christmas wish lists. The representatives were able to choose from numerous newly handcrafted toys and bicycles refurbished by the facility's inmates. These gifts will then be given to the children who are being served by these agencies during the upcoming holidays.

All of the attendees were absolutely awestruck when walking into the Detention Center's wood shop, which had been turned into an elaborate Santa’s Workshop. Coordinated by Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) teacher Paul Turner and with the help of some of his students, their beautiful bicycles and toys were on display among Holiday decorations. Joining the non-profit-agency representatives were Contra Costa County's Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata and Under-Sheriff Michael Casten, as well as numerous representatives from both agencies to celebrate this longtime agency partnership that benefits the community.

Both Superintendent Sakata and Under-Sheriff Casten spoke to the large gathering of attendees about the extremely successful partnership of the Contra Costa County Office of Education's (CCCOE) accredited shop classes being taught in a Contra Costa County Jail. “We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful agency collaboration that brings such value to our county,” said Superintendent Sakata. “With this project, these adult students will certainly bring a brighter Holiday Season to many children throughout our community.” She also mentioned how impressed she was with Turner and his students' notable number of toys and bicycles that were ready to be gifted, as well as some wonderful new toy creations built this year.

Contra Costa County non-profit organizations participating in this special event included: Bay Area Rescue Mission, Brighter Beginnings, Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program, CCCOE Early Start Program, El Cerrito Rotary, Friends of Oakley, Shelter Inc., The Salvation Army-Antioch Corps, Shepherd's Gate, Ujima Family Recovery Services/La Casa, and VESTIA, Inc.

This year, these organizations were able to choose from more than 1,115 beautifully handcrafted wooden toys, such as doll houses, spinning carousels, fire trucks, cars, baby cradles, toy tractors, train sets, and many more. In addition, there were also 95 beautifully refurbished bicycles, ready to ride. All of the toy makers and/or bike mechanics are students in the Contra Costa Adult School, an accredited school directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), located within the detention facility.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

During the 2015-16 school year, approximately 2,018 adult inmates (throughout the three Contra Costa detention facilities) were enrolled in classes ranging from academic programs, including basic literacy and GED preparation, to vocational programs, including woodshop, construction, and state-of-the-art computer training. By the end of the school year, 1 student-inmate received their GED, 39 passed the HiSET exam and 52 received a high school diploma. In addition, there were 172 students who demonstrated learning gains in reading or math, and 205 students earned a certificate of completion in computer applications. Another course directed by the CCCOE is the DEUCE Program (Deciding, Educating, Understanding, Counseling, and Evaluation). These three-part classes (90 days) focus on substance abuse prevention. Last year, 581 students completed at least one of the three phases, and 124 students graduated from DEUCE. The Parenting Inside/Out class teaches vital parenting skills to women and men, with 45 certificates issued last school year. Last year, the CCCOE opened a new re-entry class at the West County Detention Facility. The re-entry class offers workforce readiness, career exploration, soft skills workshops, and a nine-week cognitive-behavior-change program called Transitions. Currently, 48 inmates are enrolled in the re-entry course.


Bay Area high school students accepted the challenge
of the world's obstacles at the 26th annual
Contra Costa County Model UN

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., November 7, 2016 – Instead taking part in their schools' football games, dances, and other fun weekend activities, 225 Bay Area high school students buckled down this past Friday afternoon and evening, as well as all day Saturday to discuss and provide workable solutions to many of our world’s biggest challenges, at the 26th annual Contra Costa County Model United Nations (UN) Conference, held at Diablo Valley College.

This academic event is produced and directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and coordinated by Kevin Felix Chan, of Best Delegate, along with members of the Model United Nations Club at U.C. Davis. The two-day event enhances high school students' understanding of the United Nations and its role in global issues. Participating students (delegates) each represent a nation and negotiate on that country's behalf.

During the conference, delegates debated international issues in 10 committees, including Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), Security Council (UNSC), United Nations Women (UN Women), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Topics discussed included Eradicating Child Labor, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Cybersecurity, The Political Participation of Women, and Reducing Global Food Waste.

Bay Area high school teams participating in this year’s Contra Costa County Model UN were Acalanes High (Lafayette), Athenian High (Danville), California High (San Ramon), Campolindo High (Moraga), Carondelet High (Concord), De La Salle High (Concord), Deer Valley High (Antioch), Dougherty Valley High (San Ramon), Foothill High (Pleasanton), Lycée de Francais San Francisco (San Francisco), Northgate High (Walnut Creek), Pittsburg High (Pittsburg) and Tilden High (Walnut Creek).

This year, Foothill High earned the Best Delegation Award, and Dougherty High was presented with the Outstanding Delegation Award. Numerous individual awards were earned, and will be listed on the Model UN Web page in the very near future.

“We are pleased to see so many high school students throughout our county and the Bay Area take advantage of our Model UN program,” says Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata. “Model UN is an excellent opportunity for students to display all the hard work and preparation they have put in, as they successfully discuss, persuade, and work with fellow committee members on real-world problems and complex international relations. The skills they are currently refining with this program will be the same ones they’ll use in college and/or in their future careers.”

This academic event also offers students an opportunity to gain substantive knowledge about the cultures and policies of the countries they represent. They can learn the mechanisms for peaceful resolution of disputes, while at the same time honing their interpersonal skills. They must practice writing and speaking skills in order to persuade delegates from other attending schools.

Kevin Chan reported that the 34 U.C. Davis Model UN Club volunteers who presided over the Committee Meetings were extremely impressed with their younger brothers and sisters who share a tremendous interest in international affairs, especially since many of the high school students were first-year Model UN participants.

Model UN differs from the CCCOE's Academic Decathlon and Mock Trial academic-event programs, in that it is not so much a competition as it is an event. Participants are commended for outstanding committee work and certificates are awarded to committee rapporteurs. Individual delegate winners are recognized for their debate skills, leadership skills, knowledge of the issues, and presentation of key resolutions. The event concluded Saturday afternoon with a ceremony that recognized the outstanding delegates.

#COCOMUN


Contra Costa County Office of Education Proclaims November as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month

The Contra Costa County Board of Education is recognizing November as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month.

At the October 19th Board Meeting, the board approved a resolution to recognize and raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness. The goal of the resolution is to highlight the issue of youth homelessness within the county and our schools. Currently, Contra Costa County has over 3,000 children and youth living in homeless situations, as reported by the county school districts, charter schools and the Contra Costa Council on Homelessness. This includes children ages 0–5 and students in grades Kindergarten through 12.

In California, more than 298,000 youth up to the age of 18 experience homelessness each year. During November all students, schools and community members are encouraged to engage in discussions on this topic to raise awareness.

Below are some suggested activities for school sites:

  • Send a flyer home with students or create a display to inform students and families of homeless education rights and resources available at your school and in Contra Costa County.
  • Make a presentation to school teachers, staff and board members to raise awareness of homelessness in your community or school district.
  • Organize a food drive and donate to the local food bank or pantry.
  • Make a donation or volunteer at a local shelter.
  • Participate in Contra Costa Community Donation Day on November 19th.

The Contra Costa County Office of Education (Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program) coordinates the following:

  • Provides technical assistance regarding the proper identification, enrollment, and service needs of homeless students and their families.
  • Conducts professional development trainings for school personnel and community agencies regarding the rights and responsibilities of homeless students.
  • Educates students, parents and guardians on their educational rights, and promotes their participation in school-related activities.
  • Facilitates the school enrollment process to ensure equal access to educational services, free-or-reduced price meals, tutoring or other programs.
  • Assists unaccompanied youth with enrollment procedures, school placement options, and retrieval of records.
  • Provides assistance with transportation, backpacks, school supplies and clothing.
  • Provides medical, dental, and mental health referrals, in addition to other school/community services.
  • Provides assistance to specialized populations of homeless students, including pre-schoolers, homeless teen parents, children with special needs, and unaccompanied youth.

For more information, contact CCCOE's Education for Homeless Children and Youth program at (925) 942-3300.


Bay Area high school students will take on
the challenges of the world's challenges

Approximately 225 Bay Area high school students will convene this coming Friday and Saturday at Diablo Valley College for the 26th annual Contra Costa County Model United Nations Conference.

WHAT: This Friday opens the 26th annual session of the Contra Costa County Model United Nations (UN) Conference. This academic event is produced and directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and coordinated by Kevin Felix Chan, of Best Delegate, along with members of the Model United Nations Club at U.C. Davis. The two-day event enhances high school students' understanding of the United Nations and its role in global issues. Participating students (delegates) each represent a nation and negotiate on that country’s behalf. During the conference, delegates will debate international issues in 10 committees, including Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), Security Council (UNSC), United Nations Women (UN Women), and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Topics discussed will include Eradicating Child Labor, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Cybersecurity, The Political Participation of Women, and Reducing Global Food Waste.

“We are pleased to see so many high school students throughout our county and the Bay Area take advantage of our Model UN program,” says Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata. “Model UN is an excellent opportunity for students to display all the hard work and preparation they have put in, as they successfully discuss, persuade, and work with fellow committee members on real-world problems and complex international relations. The skills they are currently refining with this program will be the same ones they’ll use in college and/or in their future careers.”

This academic event also offers students an opportunity to gain substantive knowledge about the cultures and policies of the countries they represent. They can learn the mechanisms for peaceful resolution of disputes, while at the same time honing their interpersonal skills. They must practice writing and speaking skills in order to persuade delegates from other attending schools.

Model UN differs from the CCCOE's Academic Decathlon and Mock Trial academic-event programs, in that it is not so much a competition as it is an event. Participants are commended for outstanding committee work and certificates are awarded to committee rapporteurs. Individual delegate winners are recognized for their debate skills, leadership skills, knowledge of the issues, and presentation of key resolutions. The event closes with a ceremony that recognizes the outstanding delegates.

WHEN: Friday, November 4, 4:00 – 8:30 p.m. (Welcome, remarks, introductions and keynote speaker will begin at 4:00 p.m.). Model UN committee meetings to follow.
Saturday, November 5, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Committee meetings will run through most of the day, with the closing and awards ceremony following at 3:00 p.m.)

WHERE: Diablo Valley College (DVC), 321 Golf Club Rd. Pleasant Hill, Calif. The event's opening and keynote speech will be held at the DVC Main Street Bistro. The awards and closing ceremony will be held inside the Performing Arts Center. Committee breakout sessions will be held in DVC’s Mathematics Building’s classrooms.

WHO: These are the Bay Area high school teams participating in this year's Contra Costa County Model UN: Acalanes High (Lafayette), Athenian High (Danville), California High (San Ramon), Campolindo High (Moraga), Carondelet High (Concord), De La Salle High (Concord), Deer Valley High (Antioch), Dougherty Valley High (San Ramon), Foothill High (Pleasanton), Lycée de Francais San Francisco (San Francisco), Northgate High (Walnut Creek), Pittsburg High (Pittsburg) and Tilden High (Walnut Creek).

MEDIA NOTES: Audio, video, and photos are welcomed. Great visuals of Model U.N. pageantry, including: approximately 225 high school students (representing 40 countries) filling up the Diablo Valley College’s Main Street Bistro, each representative carrying a bright-colored sign signifying their country, and an elaborate decorated stage with numerous flags representing countries from around the world. Best action time slots will be:

  • Friday, 4:00 p.m., all students will be in attendance for the general assembly keynote address. UC Berkeley Institute for Data Science Project Program Analyst Anthony Suen will serve as the keynote speaker at the Opening Plenary ceremony. The Plenary will be held inside DVC’s Main Street Bistro.
  • Saturday, 3:00 p.m., entire Model U.N. will gather once more for the general assembly awards and closing ceremony. This will be held in DVC's Performing Arts Center.

The Media is also welcome to cover the smaller committee sessions, as well. They will be held in nearby DVC classrooms, located in the Mathematics Building.

For additional information about the CCCOE’s Model UN and other academic events, please contact Terry Koehne at (925) 942-3420, or visit their website.

#COCOMUN

October

Special education teacher strives to bring
“Safety Town” to her students and campus

ANTIOCH, Calif., October 4, 2016–Along with so many national politicians these days, special education teacher (and non-politician) Jordan Rice is looking for many votes. But as all political parties will agree, Rice’s campaign is certainly worthy of everyone’s votes, because her “platform” will empower the special-needs students at her Turner Elementary Special Education School, in Antioch.

Due to her creative vision and impressive application, Rice is now a finalist of the 2016 Farmer Insurance’s Dream Big Challenge, under the $100,000 grant category. Out of hundreds of applicants, her Safety Town project is now a finalist, along with 14 other nation-wide submissions. When all of the national votes are tabulated at the end of this month, six of the fifteen $100,000 projects will be funded.

About Safety Town:

“Safety Town is a different and creative way to motivate and engage students who have significant learning needs,” says Rice. Housed on the school's campus, Safety Town will be a miniature town that will feature about eight small playhouses that the students and adults can enter inside. Each playhouse will be designed as a miniature bank, police station, fire station, school, grocery store, etc. Safety Town reinforces concepts that begin in the classroom, by bringing them to life in a new relatable environment. This setting closely resembles one that they will encounter in the real word and allows for easier generalization, or transition, of the skills learned in class. “For example, the grocery store will include learning objectives such as money concepts, answering wh- questions, sorting, colors, matching, and collaborative learning.”

For additional information about Rice’s project, please view this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn7ppxWNYDc

About the Election:
As of October 1, 2016, those who would like to vote for Safety Town coming to Turner School can now do so. Everyone who is 18-years or older can cast their vote once a day, from the same email address. The online votes can be made, through October 31, at https://www.farmers.com/thank-americas-teachers/vote-for-a-teacher/vote-100k-proposal. Remember, there are no district precincts in this national vote!


Contra Costa County Office of Education announces plans
to expand K-12 computer science instruction through
partnership with Code.org and participation in
White House Computer Science event

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Contact:   Hilary Dito, STEAM Coordinator, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Phone: 925-942-3396 / Email: hdito@cccoe.k12.ca.us

The Contra Costa County Office of Education is proud to announce that it has been selected as a Code.org Professional Learning Partner, and will be the designated provider of Code.org Professional Learning Programs in Contra Costa County. CCCOE will provide quality professional development to educators through local district partnerships with Code.org and act as a regional hub of the global computer science education movement.

CCCOE also participated in a regional partner convening for computer science education hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on September 26, 2016. CCCOE staff gathered at the White House with more than 40 other regional organizations from around the country dedicated to preparing computer science teachers for K-12 classrooms and promoting the adoption of high-quality computer science courses. The event was planned to coincide with the start of the academic year in the US.

Discussion topics at the event included: the current state of computer science K-12 education, the importance of establishing regional partners around the nation dedicated to building computer science communities, and why many organizations are dedicated to supporting, advocating for and funding work in this area.

As a Professional Learning Partner, CCCOE will expand on current computer science initiatives. CCCOE has facilitated workshops for over 100 elementary and middle school educators from local districts. In partnership with Code.org, CCCOE will offer additional workshops, develop educator networks, and increase students’ access to computer science.

Districts include:
Benicia Unified School District
Brentwood Union School District
John Swett Unified School District
Liberty Union High School District
Martinez Unified School District
Moraga School District
Mount Diablo Unified School District
Pittsburg Unified School District

To learn more about the Code.org Professional Learning Partner program, visit: https://code.org/educate/professional-learning-partner

September

2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year Announced

Contra Costa County 2016-17 Teachers of the Year, Shawna Hawes and Gina Minder-MaldonadoCONCORD, Calif., September 23, 2016, Last night, in an energy-filled and packed Concord Hilton banquet room, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, announced Shauna Hawes, of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and Gina Minder-Maldonado of the Oakley Union Elementary School District as the 2016–2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

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.

“I have worked closely with Shauna Hawes for the past several years,” says Foothill Middle School teacher Margaret Elliott. “Shauna does not work for awards or accolades, but simply to inspire and impact all those she comes in contact with each day. She believes that all students should have the same opportunities that her students have. Shauna is what you could call ‘open-source.’”

Gina Minder-Maldonado has recently begun her 26th year of teaching. For the past 18 years, Minder-Maldonado has taught at Oakley Elementary School, in Oakley. Currently teaching 2nd grade, Minder-Maldonado’s former teaching experience includes preschool through 5th, as well as adult education.

“For the last 25 years, Gina Minder-Maldonado has challenged the students in Oakley to dream big, do the best they can each and every day, and treat one another with kindness and respect,” said Oakley Union Elementary School District Assistant Anne Allen. “Her classroom is a magical place – a place where children and adults to go to breathe in an environment that makes learning anything possible, celebrating mistakes normal, and creating independent thinkers a goal.

Their pathways to becoming this year’s Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year:

After both teachers were named Teacher of the Year by their school districts, last March, Hawes and Minder-Maldonado successfully proceeded, with the other 17 eligible county candidates, through a rigorous countywide selection process, including an application screening, classroom evaluation and interview, and speech presentation. Their fellow finalists were Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District (Liberty High) and Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, (Creekside Elementary).

The impressively large audience was made up of the TOYs' family members and friends, as well as numerous local educators, business partners, and elected official representatives. Kicking off the festivities were three songs performed by the tremendous Hillview Junior High Jazz Band. The Pittsburg school’s 23-piece band was led by their teacher Diane Klaczynski. Klaczynski is a former Pittsburg Unified School District Teacher of the year.

The evening also featured Sakata introducing the TOY class of 2016-2017, individually on stage, as she shared with the audience her visits to each of the teachers’ classrooms and the comments their students gave her about their teachers. In addition, each honored teacher told the audience about which teacher inspired them to follow a career in education. This was followed by speeches of the four TOY finalists on the topic: “What I have learned from my students.” After the finalists’ speeches were given, Sakata announced the two Teachers of the Year.

Hawes and Minder-Maldonado will now compete with all the other California county representatives in the California State TOY competition. The California State Teachers of the Year are expected to be announced in early October. The county TOY program is coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education.

For additional info and a complete list of this year’s TOYS, visit the CCCOE's Teacher of the Year Web page.


2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year
to be announced this Thursday

WHAT: Contra Costa County’s two 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year (TOY) will be announced at the annual TOY Dinner Celebration, held this Thursday evening. Two of the four finalists will go on to represent Contra Costa County in the California State Teacher of the Year Program. The county TOY program is presented by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).

WHEN: Thursday, September 22, 2016, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The reception will begin at 6:00 p.m., followed by the dinner/program at 7:00 p.m. The TOY announcement will be made approximately at 9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Hilton Concord Hotel, 1970 Diamond Blvd., Concord, Calif., Golden Gate Ballroom.

ACTION: More than 400 attendees will be on hand. The assembly will include the 21 celebrated TOYs, plus numerous educators (K-college), business executives (sponsors), local government, and local political representatives. The evening’s entertainment will be provided by the Hillview Junior High (Antioch) Jazz Band, directed by Diane Klaczynski. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata will serve as master of ceremonies. Each of the three finalists, who will be introduced by a former student, will give an inspiring five-minute speech.  (The same speech as they gave at the TOY Speech Presentation in late August.) The evening will conclude in excitement and anticipation, with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

WHO: After being named TOY, by their respective Contra Costa County school districts, then passing a rigorous application screening, followed by a panel classroom observation and interview, and concluding with a speech presentation, two of these four finalists will be selected to represent Contra Costa County as its 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year:

This year's two Contra Costa County TOYs will join the long list of other finalists, dating back to the 1972-1973 school year. Along with the four finalists, this year’s other 17 TOY candidates will also be honored at this event (for complete list below).

Finalists:
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 has recently begun her 26th year of teaching. For the past 18 years, Minder-Maldonado has taught at Oakley Elementary School, in Oakley. Currently teaching 2nd grade, Minder-Maldonado’s former teaching experience includes preschool through 5th, as well as adult education.

Summer Rodriguez has commenced her 17th year as an educator for 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 through its Student Leadership Program.

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. This year, Rooks has begunher 14th 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.

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,

Erin Dinday, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High,

Krystal Figaroa, Pittsburg Unified School District, Stoneman Elementary,

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, as well as 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

Related news releases:
Contra Costa County's school districts announce their 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year (April 6, 2016)

2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year Finalists Named (April 14, 2016)
Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year finalists complete their final phase (August 15, 2016)
#cocotoy

 

August

State Test Scores Improve for Contra Costa Students

2016 CAASPP scoresState standardized test results for students in Contra Costa County show increases in both math and English Language Arts, according to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) results released by the California Department of Education. This year marks the second administration of the statewide assessment, replacing the previous Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) system with a more rigorous, college-ready focus. In an effort to reach modern learning goals, CAASPP replaces traditional pencil-and-paper testing with computer-based assessments, which provide a broader picture of students’ theoretical knowledge and critical thinking skills.

The number of students in Contra Costa County public schools who met or exceeded state standards increased by 2 percent in Mathematics, up from 43 percent, and 3 percent in ELA, up from 52 percent. In each grade level tested, 3rd – 8th and 11th, scores improved by at least one percent in both subject areas. These results placed Contra Costa students above statewide averages in overall math and ELA (statewide averages at 37 percent and 49 percent respectively) as well as in each of the seven sub-categories.

“We are excited to see that our students continue to improve on the new CAASPP assessment,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “Teachers and administrators in our schools work hard every day to help their students meet and exceed these new standards.”

The CAASPP system is based on a model of growth that allows the California Department of Education to track student progress through grade levels. Individual student reports, which are being mailed to families, detail student performance in Math and English Language Arts (ELA), both of which are further broken down into sub-categories for specific performance analysis – an invaluable resource for both teachers and parents. Results are grouped into four categories based on achievement – Standard Not Met, Standard Nearly Met, Standard Met and Standard Exceeded – which can then be compared to school, district, county and state averages.

For more information on the new assessment system and understanding scores, visit: http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/ )


Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year finalists
complete their final phase

2016-17 TOY finalists

Teacher of the Year Finalists (l-r) Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District; Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District; Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District; Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., August 15, 2016 – After a rigorous selection process, the four current Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) finalists concluded their progression this morning at the annual Teacher of the Year Speech Presentation. The four finalists were each asked to give a prepared three- to five-minute speech, titled: “What have I learned from my students.” It was clear that the 12-person judging panel and audience were very impressed with the four speeches.

(For more information about the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Program, and the three-stage judging process, please review this Web page.)

This year’s Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year finalists are:

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 has recently begun her 26th year of teaching. For the past 18 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.

Last month, Summer Rodriguez had commenced her 17th year as an educator for 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 through its Student Leadership Program.

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. In about an hour, Joyce will begin her 14th 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.

(For additional information about the four finalists, please visit this Web page.)

“Along with the tremendous speeches, we were very fortunate to have quite the distinguished judging panel,” reports CCCOE TOY Coordinator Jonathan Lance. “As the judges exited, they each said how impressed they were with the morning’s offerings!” (For a list of this year’s judging panel, please see below.)

Coming up, 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 TOY finalists giving their speeches to the filled banquet room (same speeches that were presented today). Finally, the night will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

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.

2016-17 Teacher of the Year speech judges

Judging Panel: (back row l-r): G.J.E.L. Accident Attorneys Law Partner Luke Ellis; Chevron USA, Inc., Global Social Investment Manager Steve Woodhead; Chevron USA, Inc., Education & Corporate Programs Advisor Melissa Stone; Contra Costa County Public Defender Robin Lipetzky; Contra Costa County Superior Court Presiding Judge Hon. Steve Austin; retired Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge and current Law Partner of O'Connor, Runckel, O'Malley Hon. Dan O'Malley; Contra Costa County Assistant Sheriff Matthew Schuler; (seated): Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Hon. Jill Fannin; Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor Dr. Helen Benjamin; 2017 Contra Costa Community College Teacher of the Year Professor Aminta Mickles; 2013 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dr. Rona Zollinger; Contra Costa County Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox; Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Chief Jeff Carman.


Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year
featured at education summit

Kate Perry and Maria McClainHAYWARD, Calif., August 2, 2016 – On Friday, July 29, Contra Costa County educators were well represented as presenters at CSU East Bay, for the second annual Better Together: California Teachers Summit. Opening the program was Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Deputy Superintendent Pamela Comfort, Ed.D. and the county’s current Teachers of the Year Kate Perry (Liberty Union High School District) and Maria McClain (Antioch Unified School District).

The California Teachers Summit is a free statewide day of learning and networking that is open to all California PreK-12 teachers, teacher candidates, school administrators, and other educators. One of 38 locations across the state, CSU East Bay welcomed hundreds of Bay Area teachers to share ideas, join a teacher network, and learn effective strategies for implementing the new California Standards in their classrooms. The Summit featured keynote addresses by education leaders, TED-style EdTalks presented by local teachers, and Edcamp discussions on timely topics such as the California Standards in English/Language Arts and Math, and the Next Generation Science Standards.

In the early afternoon, Perry and McClain, together, presented a stimulating EdTalk session to all the attending educators. The audience was in full attention as the two gave real-life stories on how they learned to reach some of their most challenging students through the years.

McClain finished: “As we celebrate this day of learning, we want to emphasize the essential lessons that our students can teach us, if we take the time to listen and learn. Lisa and Lisbeth [student examples] made Kate and I better teachers. They taught us that we must meet students where they are, not where we expect them to be, and then work to support and guide them. We must broaden our focus beyond content acquisition and understand that achievement for all students can only occur once their primary needs are met. California’s new standards represent significant changes in educational content and practice. Successful implementation requires both students and teachers to stretch outside their comfort zones, take risks, and embrace new ideas. As we work to adjust our course content and teaching practices, we must also focus on building classroom environments that are safe, welcoming, and truly value all students.”

Perry followed: “Now we know how complicated teaching is, and the many daily pressures that face us all.  And in the face of these we have both learned that the key to staying in the profession is our connection to our students and colleagues. So, if you take nothing else away from us, today, please remember, listen to your students, listen to your fellow teachers, and find mentors like Maria - people who will listen, support, and challenge you. We all - teachers, students, parents, and administrators – have so much to learn and share with one another and that only happens when we open ourselves to the people around us and really hear what they have to say.”

In addition to, CSU East Bay, Summit locations in the Bay Area include:

  • Brandman University, Walnut Creek
  • CSU Monterey Bay
  • San Francisco State University
  • Sonoma State University
  • St. Mary's College of California

More information, a list of event locations, and online registration is available at CATeachersSummit.com. Follow #CATeachersSummit for up-to-date information.

 

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: December 08, 2016

Rev: 0.4-010514-BETA4