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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

November 20, 2014

Keen interest in vocational bachelor's degrees
Half of the community college districts in California have expressed interest in offering vocational bachelor's degrees allowed under a new law, offering up an expansive wish list of degree programs that run the gamut from mortuary science to electron microscopy.

Three Contra Costa County educators to receive $10,000 Eukel Teacher Trust Awards
DIABLO – Three teachers whose students can't wait to get into their classes will be honored Thursday with $10,000 each as this year's Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust Awards winners.

November 19, 2014

Students in high poverty schools lose learning time
Even though schools across California offer similar amounts of instructional time each week, and instructional days during the school year, students in high poverty schools get far less time for actual learning.

Soon to be former Dorris-Eaton School will be district's first K-8
WALNUT CREEK – The Walnut Creek School District will open its first kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school at the soon to be re-claimed Dorris-Eaton campus – one the district hasn't used since 1979.

School recycling in Central Costa Costa makes impact
When it comes to turning the tide, students and staff at Martinez Junior High School have seen rapid change.

November 18, 2014

State board approves school funding rules
After soliciting input for over a year from education groups, research and advocacy organizations, students and parents, the State Board of Education on Friday approved final regulations governing how districts spend funds they receive through the Local Control Funding Formula, the state's new school financing law.

Under half of students projected to test well
Between a third and 44 percent of students in California and 16 other states taking the same test next spring on the Common Core standards are expected to score at grade level in math and reading, according to projections released Monday by the creator of the states' tests.

November 13, 2014

School lunch programs ordered to spend more
At long last, some school food service departments in California are going shopping, under orders from the California Department of Education to spend millions of dollars in federal and state school lunch funds that districts have failed for years to use for student meals.

Steps to Success: East Bay District Job & Resource Fair
Jeffrey Evans was on a mission at the East Bay Parole Job and Resource Fair. Jeffrey had heard about a janitorial management opening and wanted to brush up on his presentation skills.

Oakley teens receive reality check on the cost of living
OAKLEY – Hundreds of high schoolers went shopping last week and discovered that sometimes reality bites.

November 12, 2014

Common Core unscathed in California elections
The Common Core State Standards, the principal reform now underway in California schools, emerged unscathed from the state's fall electoral battles, including one of the most combative races for state superintendent of public instruction in decades.

Bay Area teens debate world issues at mock U.N. conference
PLEASANT HILL – While a beautiful weekend morning beckoned teens elsewhere to enjoy carefree time outdoors, hundreds were cloistered in Pleasant Hill classrooms on Saturday debating weighty world issues.

Mock election gives students chance to 'vote' for governor, state props
Led by teachers Jennie Dunlap and Brett McNamar, almost 1,100 Antioch High students recently participated in California's MyVote Student Mock Election.

November 7, 2014

Torlakson victory ensures continuity in reforms
One immediate consequence of  State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s rebuff of challenger Marshall Tuck is to ensure the continuance of the cohesion in state education policy that has been forged since Gov. Jerry Brown returned to Sacramento four years ago.

County school board reauthorizes Clayton Valley Charter High School
PLEASANT HILL – The Contra Costa County Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously approved a petition to renew Clayton Valley Charter High School's charter through June 19, 2019.

Local High School Students Ready to Undertake Our World's Challenges
This Friday opens the 24th annual session of the Contra Costa County Model United Nations (UN) Conference at Diablo Valley College.

November 4, 2014

Second round of career pathway grants
The application period is now open for the second round of funding under the California Career Pathways Trust, which makes $250 million in grants available for career preparation programs.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Updated Resource to Help School Districts Get Families and Communities Involved in Students' Education
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today released updated guidance that assists districts in planning and implementing programs to increase parent participation in their child's education and meet the requirements of the Local Control Funding Formula, which requires family engagement.

Innovative program rethinks high school
No bells ring at this high school, and you won't find monitors roaming the halls or restless students asking fitfully for permission to use the restroom.

October 31, 2014

Ed-Data unveils new website
After nearly two decades of providing data on the state's K-12 public schools, the Education Data Partnership is overhauling its website with a new look and updated interface that make the data easier to understand, use and share.

Database maps college readiness policies
A new report and online database released Wednesday provide a national snapshot of how states are working to prepare students for college, showing how California's “college readiness” policies stack up against those in other states.

Pressure builds for community investment in new UC Richmond campus
RICHMOND – A new report from UC Berkeley's Haas Institute adds pressure on UC Berkeley's chancellor to commit to local goals for the development of the Richmond Bay Campus.

October 28, 2014

Studies expected to play part in Martinez Unified's Measure K spending priorities
MARTINEZ – The school board heard preliminary results of a districtwide demographic study, authorized three more studies and continued to postpone public discussion of Phase 2 Measure K spending priorities at the Oct. 13 meeting.

West Contra Costa school district receives full service schools award
RICHMOND – The West Contra Costa school district has earned a 2014 Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association in recognition of the full range of services it provides at its schools.

Glee's Derik Nelson to perform at Brentwood's Liberty High School
BRENTWOOD – Pop/rock guitarist and singer Derik Nelson, best known for his work on the hit series “Glee,” is coming to Liberty High School.

October 28, 2014

How Teacher Tenure Figures Into the November Election
Educators in California know well the debate over tenure, the job security given to teachers after about two years in the classroom.

State implements new kindergarten cutoff age
Of the panoply of reforms now being implemented in California schools, the one affecting the state's youngest public school students passed almost unnoticed this fall.

Apple education grants benefit two Bay Area schools
Two Bay Area elementary schools will be showered with iPads and Macs as part of Apple's push to bring its technology to low-income students across the country.

October 22, 2014

States asked to lead on universal preschool
President Obama's call for universal preschool appears to have stalled in Washington due to political gridlock, but administration officials are hoping that states like California will pick up the slack.

Knightsen school board denies Charthouse Charter School petition
KNIGHTSEN – The Knightsen Elementary School District board Wednesday night denied the petition for an independent study charter school.

October 21, 2014

State ranks first in after-school programs
In a national ranking, California is at the top in providing quality after-school programs based on the percentage of students involved, parent satisfaction and other factors, according to a survey released Thursday.

Acalanes school board approves $15 million in short-term loans
LAFAYETTE – Acalanes Union High School District board members have unanimously approved $15 million in bond anticipation notes – in effect, a loan to the district – to complete a number of projects throughout the district, while awaiting court permission to issue the last $15 million in bonds from the original 2008 Measure E.

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CCCOE Press Releases - 2014

November 2014

September 2014

August 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014


November 2014

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

Handcrafted toys and refurbished bikes by inmates
donated to county’s children-serving agencies

Marsh Creek toy donationCLAYTON, Calif., November 20, 2014—For the 24th straight year, representatives from a few dozen Contra Costa County children-serving agencies were on hand at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility's woodshop to choose toys handcrafted and bicycles refurbished by the inmates. The presents will be given to the children who are being served by these agencies during the upcoming holidays. The Marsh Creek Detention Facility inmates have participated in this project during the year, fixing up used bikes to look and ride like brand new and building beautiful wooden toys, such as, ball-and-cup games, sailboats, wooden puzzles, spinning carousels, cars, train sets, and more. 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 jail facility.

Many of the current inmates decorated the woodshop to look like Santa’s Workshop, with its festive decorations and Christmas trees, while showcasing the beautiful toys and bikes. Along with the non-profit-agency representatives picking out presents, numerous county members of law enforcement and education were on hand. The morning featured remarks made by Contra Costa County UnderSheriff Mike Casten and Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools-elect Karen Sakata. Both speakers thanked all those involved and reminded the attendees what a special partnership this program has been over the past 24 years.

CCCOE Principal of Student Program Angela Hatter reported that there were approximately 500 toys and bikes ready for the children. “We are in the process of hiring a new instructor and creating new computer-education and construction/carpentry-training programs, says Hatter. We also hope to expand the toy making and bicycle restoration program, as well. This is a wonderful way for the two agencies and the inmates to give back to our community.”

Non-profit organizations participating in this special event included: Bay Area Rescue Mission, Brighter Beginnings, Contra Costa County Early Start Program, Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program, Contra Costa County Public Works Dept., El Cerrito Fire Dept, Kids at Work, Lynn Center, Shelter Inc, STAND!, The Salvation Army-Antioch Corps, Ujima Family Recovery Services/La Casa, and VESTIA.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
During the 2013-14 school year, approximately 2,763 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, 37 student-inmates received their GED and 22 received a high school diploma, and 24 students passed the California High School Exit Exam. In addition, there were 670 students who demonstrated learning gains in reading or math, and 939 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, 1,839 students completed at least one of the three phases, and 357 students graduated from DEUCE. The Parenting Inside/Out class teaches vital parenting skills to women and men, with 37 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, 32 inmates are enrolled in the re-entry course.

These classes help to provide education and skills needed for successful transition back into the community.


Bay Area High School Students Ready to
Undertake Our World's Challenges

More than 350 Bay Area students will convene this coming Friday and Saturday (November 7–8) at Diablo Valley College for the 24th annual Contra Costa County Model United Nations Conference.

WHAT: This Friday opens the 24th 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 Chan, co-founder of Best Delegate, along with members of the Model United Nations Club at U.C. Davis. The two-day competition 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 Child Labor, Access to Water, Use of Drones, and Food Security. For a full list of committees and topics, visit the CCCOE’s Model UN webpage.

“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 Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D. “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 certainly be the very same ones they will use in college and/or in their future careers!”

This academic event also offers students an opportunity to gain substantive knowledge about the cultures, policies and 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 trophies are awarded to committee rapporteurs. Individual delegate winners are recognized for their debate, leadership skills, knowledge of the issues, and presentation of key resolutions. The activity closes with a ceremony that recognizes the outstanding delegates.

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), Liberty High (Brentwood), Lycée de Francais San Francisco (San Francisco), Miramonte High (Orinda), Northgate High (Walnut Creek), and Olive Children (Fremont).

WHERE: Diablo Valley College (DVC), 321 Golf Club Rd. Pleasant Hill, Calif. The event’s opening and keynote speech will be held in the Hospitality Services and Food Court. The awards and closing ceremony will all be held in the Performing Arts Center. Committee breakout sessions will be held in DVC’s Mathematics Building’s classrooms.

WHEN: Friday, November 7, 4:00 - 8:30 p.m. (Keynote speaker will begin at 4:00 p.m.)
Saturday, November 8, 8:45 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Closing and awards ceremony will begin at 3:00 p.m.)

MEDIA NOTES: Audio, video, and photos are welcomed. Great visuals of Model U.N. pageantry: more than 350 high school students (representing 61 countries) filling up the Diablo Valley College’s Student Services Center, each representative will be 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. To give students (delegates) a flavor of the UN’s real-world accomplishments, former United Nations Development Programme Senior Officer Herb Behrstock will be serving as the keynote speaker at the Opening Plenary ceremony. Behrstock is the current president of the UN Association, East Bay Chapter. This will be held in DVC’s Hospitality Services and Food Court.
  • 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 Preforming Arts Building.

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 at (925) 942-3420, or visit their website.

 

September 2014

Few years of experience, but plenty of teaching talent
was this year's winning combination:
2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year Announced

Elizabeth Lanfranki and Brian Wheeler TOY winnersPLEASANT HILL, Calif., September 12, 2014, This year's two newest Contra Costa County Teachers had many traits in common, loved by their students, very satisfied parents of their students, respect from their peers–and only a combined seven years of teaching experience between them. Last night, in an energy-filled and packed Concord Hilton banquet room, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., announced Elizabeth Lanfranki, of Pittsburg Unified School District and Brian Wheeler of Martinez Unified School District as the county’s 2014-2015 Teachers of the Year.

Elizabeth Lanfranki has been an English instructor for just three years. Currently, Lanfranki is entering her fourth year in education, and third year teaching six-grade English at Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High School, in Pittsburg. Lanfranki began teaching journalism, English support, and Newcomer ELD in the Chico Unified School District, right after earning her teaching credential and bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. As a Contra Costa County native, she wanted to come back home to teach, and took advantage of the job offer from her current school.

“Liz has the energy of three teachers,” says her principal, Angela Stevens-Stevenson. “I thoroughly enjoy watching Liz teach. Our scholars are happy learning in her class and she enjoys every moment that she is teaching. This is evident in the work produced. Her style is consistent and she uses best practices every day. Her enthusiasm and expertise has influenced other teachers to improve strategies and techniques to create the same successes in their classrooms. Liz is truly an integral part of our school’s academic and social success.”

Brian Wheeler is just a few weeks into his fifth year of teaching automotive technology to grades 9-12 at Alhambra High School, in Martinez. After working 30 years as a collision repair technician, repairing both the bodies and mechanical components of crashed cars, Wheelers wife, an elementary school principal in Fairfield, encouraged him to incorporate his excellent car repair experience and people skills into teaching. Soon after, he earned his BS degree in vocational education at Sacramento State University and obtained his teaching credential at U.C. San Diego and Touro University. Following his education and teacher training, Wheeler began working at Alambra High.

“Mr. Wheeler was without a doubt the single most influential and effective teacher I have had in my collective learning career,” says James Bailey White, a former Alhambra High student. “He is very aware of individual students’ needs and has always been able to convey his knowledge despite differing personality types and personal interests. He also has been able to intertwine core life lessons into his standard automotive curriculum, creating a very full, rich learning environment. He teaches students the benefits of being tidy, courteously communicating with adults, honesty, and holding themselves responsible for their actions. He sees no student as an enemy, and has always built excellent rapport with pupils, even with the most difficult ones.”

After both teachers being named Teacher of the Year by their school districts, last March, Lanfranki and Wheeler successfully proceeded with the other 16 eligible county candidates through a rigorous countywide selection process, which included an application screening, classroom evaluation, interview, and speech presentation. Their fellow finalists Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District (Freedom High) and Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified SD, (Coyote Elementary).

More than 400 attendees were on hand for an evening that will certainly not be forgotten. The audience was made up of the TOYs’ family members and friends, as well as numerous local educators, business partners, and officials. Kicking off the festivities was an incredible acoustic percussion performance by the John Swett High School music department, led by 2013-2014 John Swett Unified School Districts Teacher of the Year Vincent Pitzulo. Dr. Ovick introduced the TOY class of 2014-2015 by sharing with the audience his visits to each of the teachers’ classrooms, and the comments their students gave him about their teachers. This was followed by speeches of the four TOY finalists, their topic: “What I have learned from my students.” After the finalists’ speeches were given, Lanfranki and Wheeler’s announcement was made by Dr. Ovick.

Lanfranki and Wheeler will now compete with all the other county representatives in the California State TOY competition. The California State Teachers of the Year are expected to be announced in late October. The county TOY program is produced by the Contra Costa County Office of Education. (For additional TOY info, visit the CCCOE’s Teacher of the Year page).

 


2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year
will be announced this Thursday

WHAT: Contra Costa County's two 2014-2015 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 produced by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).

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 2014-2015 Teachers of the Year:

Michael Kleiman (Liberty Union High School District) teaches English to grades 9-12. The seven-year teacher has also taught theater arts, speech, and debate. Prior to coming to Liberty Union High School District's Freedom High (Brentwood), Kleiman began his teaching career at Fort Irwin Middle School, in Fort Irwin, Calif.

Elizabeth Lanfranki (Pittsburg Unified School District) has been an English instructor for three years. For the past two years, she has been a sixth- through eighth-grade teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High School (Pittsburg), which is part of the Pittsburg Unified School District. Lanfranki began teaching in the Chico Unified School District. Along with English, she has also taught journalism, English support, and Newcomer ELD.

Brian Wheeler (Martinez Unified School District) is completing his fourth year of teaching automotive technology to all grades at Alhambra High (Martinez). Before earning his teaching credential and then coming to Alhambra High, Wheeler spent the first 30 years of his career working in auto repair technology.

Karen Young San Ramon Valley Unified School District) is currently teaching transitional kindergarten at Coyote Creek Elementary School (San Ramon), which is part of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The eight-year teacher has also taught kindergarten and first grade. Before coming to Coyote Creek Elementary, Young served as a substitute teacher throughout the San Ramon Valley district. Prior to her teaching career, Young was an engineer.

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 18 TOY candidates will also be honored at this event (for complete list below).

WHEN: Thursday, September 11, 2014, 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 22 celebrated TOYs, plus numerous educators (K-college), business executives (sponsors), local government, and local political representatives. The evening's entertainment will be provided by students from John Swett High (Crocket), directed by Vincent Pitzulo. Dr. Joseph Ovick, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools, will serve as master of ceremonies Each of the four 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 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives

Nikki Alford, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Gehringer Elementary

Jason Davis, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Keith Johnson, West Contra Costa USD, El Cerrito High

Kevin Jones, Antioch Unified School District, Antioch High

Jane Kelson, Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo High

Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District, Freedom High

Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg Unified School District, Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High

Patrick Leong, Contra Costa County College District, Diablo Valley College

Dorinda Mas, Byron Union School District, Discovery Bay Elementary

Bruce McCormick, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Portola Middle

CiCi Migay, Brentwood Union School District, Brentwood Elementary

Tricia Newhart, Orinda Union School District, Del Rey Elementary

Catherine Patterson, John Swett Unified School District, Rodeo Hills Elementary

Ann Ralph, Moraga School District, Donald Rheem Elementary

Gail Robles, Walnut Creek School District, Parkmead Elementary

Joann Rossi, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Early Start Program Marchus School

Stephen Slater, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Wren Avenue Elementary

Kara Teach, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Charlotte Wood Middle

Olivia Vann, Lafayette School District, Springhill Elementary

Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Coyote Creek Elementary

Kathleen Young, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Highlands Elementary

Related news releases:

County's school districts announce their 2014-2015 Teachers of the Year (April 8, 2014)

2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Finalists Named (April 16, 2014)

#cocotoy

 


County Board of Education Proclaims September
Attendance Awareness Month

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., September 4, 2014 – In an enthusiastic and unanimous vote, on Wednesday, September 3, the Contra Costa County Board of Education proclaimed September Attendance Awareness Month for the county. Contra Costa is joining the state of California in the important effort, as explained in California Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson’s message. The program’s goal is to help our children succeed in school by building the habit of good attendance early, because school success goes hand-in-hand with good attendance.

“Chronic absence is a problem that can be solved when schools, parents, and communities come together to develop solutions,” says Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D. “This is why I am committed to partnering with school districts, educators, families, and law enforcement agencies to increase school attendance and improve academic achievement for all students.”

Students suffer academically if they miss 10% or more of school days, regardless of the reason. Research proves that students who are chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are far less likely to read proficiently by 3rd grade. By the 6th grade, if a student continues to be chronically absent, it is a leading indicator of whether he or she will drop out of high school. In the 9th grade, chronic absences are a better indicator than test scores of a student's likelihood of graduation from high school. And chronic absenteeism is the most powerful predictor of delinquent behavior.

Spearheading this project with the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) is Director Lindy Khan, Ed.D. Dr. Khan reports, “In meeting with district administrators and principals, I have been very impressed by their understanding of the importance of identifying students at-risk of developing poor attendance patterns early in the school year given that students' attendance in September is highly predictive of their attendance throughout the year.” 

The CCCOE has been actively involved in three countywide initiatives to promote awareness of the importance of consistent school attendance, and is promoting this message with the logo: Every School Day Counts: Attend today, achieve for a lifetime! The recent 2014 Attendance Awareness Poster and Essay Contest was an effort to raise awareness among middle and high school students, and the response was tremendous. 

Specifically the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s involvement with this campaign will:

  • Work with county school district administrators to raise awareness that chronic absence is a proven early warning indicator of academic trouble and dropping out of school.
  • Provide a Principal Attendance Toolkit and Attendance Posters to every principal in each of the 261 school sites in Contra Costa County.
  • Provide each of the 261 school sites in Contra Costa County a School Banner with our attendance slogan “Every School Day Counts, Attend today, achieve for a lifetime!”
  • Continue to partner with Attendance Works and facilitate the three district teams participating in the Attendance Learning Network, as they analyze their chronic absence data to develop incentives and strategies to reduce the number of students who are chronically absent.
  • Continue to participate in the countywide multi-agency attendance initiative “Keeping Our Kids in School,” facilitated by Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Rebecca Hardie.
  • Work with the principals in the CCCOE student programs to raise awareness regarding chronic absenteeism and to develop strategies to address this issue with school staff, parents and students.
  • Engage parents, schools, community partners, and the media to help spread the message that good attendance matters and help us come up with solutions to ensure that all children are in school as much as possible.

To learn more about this ambitious project, contact Dr. Khan at (925) 942-3343 or lkhan@cccoe.12.ca.us.

 

August 2014

Joann Rossi named CCCOE's Teacher of the Year Representative

Dr. Ovick and Joann Rossi2014 County Office Teacher of the Year JPLEASANT HILL, August 22, 2014—In recognition of her 25 years of outstanding work and results, Joann Rossi was selected as the 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Teacher of the Year. The numerous children and their parents whose lives have been empowered by Rossi’s teaching skills throughout the years will certainly concur with her choice for this honor.

As one of the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s (CCCOE) Early Start instructors, Rossi works with children, newborn to 3-years old, who qualify for special education services. These young children have vision, hearing, orthopedic challenges, or other developmental disabilities. Though Rossi works out of the CCCOE’s Marchus School, in Concord, her classrooms are primarily in her students’ homes.

“Being told that your baby has or may have a disability or delay is not something any parent wants to hear and it may very well be one of the most painful experiences in their lifetime,” says Joann. “Whether I’m providing direct services, helping a family navigate the confusing system of early intervention, or brainstorming ideas with them on the issue at hand, I am grateful and honored that I’m able to share this journey with them, even if it is for a short time.”

When Joann was a high school student in Brooklyn, New York, she served as a volunteer at an event called One-to-One Festivals. The daylong festivals were held in Central Park, they provided music, activities, food, and fun for people with disabilities, who would have a volunteer assigned to them. Joann was one of those volunteers, and that began her long and esteemed career in the field of special education. Soon after her volunteer experience and graduating high school, she earned her bachelor's degree in special education from City University in New York, at Brooklyn, followed by obtaining a master’s degree in special education from St. Mary's College, in Moraga, California.

“Ms. Rossi’s greatest strength is her ability to easily communicate and connect with both the infant/toddler she is working with and their parents,” says CCCOE's Early Start Speech Language Pathologist Lexie Gittings. “Over the years, many parents have told me what a great job she is doing and how much their child looks forward to Miss Joann's visit each week. She has a wonderful way of engaging her students and teaching them how to improve their language skills, play skills, motor skills, and cognitive abilities.”

Joann, along with her 21 fellow distinguished Contra Costa County TOY district representatives, will be honored at the upcoming Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration on September 11, at the Concord Hilton.

Because only K-12 teachers are eligible to participate in the California state and national Teacher of the Year Program, Rossi is not eligible to advance any further than the Contra Costa County program.


Substitute Teachers Needed

Substitute Teachers, with the support of Instructional Assistants, implement a comprehensive learning plan, including a highly structured behavior management system, while assisting the students with self-help, vocational, and academic skills, as necessary, when regular Teachers are absent.

Substitute Teacher Requirements:

A valid California credential or Bachelor Degree CBEST

Information regarding the Emergency 30 Day Substitute permit can be found on the CCTC web site at www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/CREDS/substitute.html

Information regarding the CBEST examination can be found at CBEST California Basic Education Skills Test

June 2014

The 14th Annual Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Graduation

WHAT: The Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Youth Development Services (YDS) will be honoring recent high school gradates who are also enrolled in the In-School Youth Program, at their 14th annual Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Graduation Celebration, this coming Thursday. The Class of 2014 is made up of 68 students throughout Contra Costa County who have recently graduated from their high school and completed the In-School Youth Program.

Youth Development Services implements the in-school component of the Workforce Investment Act Program, and is funded by the Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board. YDS coordinators help students prepare for careers and/or post-secondary school, conventional training opportunities, and provide financial aid guidance. The program targets: 16-21 year-old youth, who meet the federal income eligibility guidelines, foster youth pupils, and students who are eligible for special education services. Participating students receive job internships, job shadowing opportunities, career assessments, and subsidized employment.

“Each year, we recognize an extraordinary group of young people who have overcome significant obstacles to obtain their high school diplomas”, says Youth Development Services Manager Catherine Giacalone. “We celebrate the success of their past and the promise of their future. Every one of these honored students has a post-secondary plan to enter a college, an apprenticeship program, or employment that pays a living wage.”

ACTION: Approximately 40 of the 68 graduates will be on hand to receive their certificate of completion of the program and a $100 gift card. Assemblyman Jim Frazier will attend and address the students and their families, as well as assist in passing out the certificates of completion. A number of family members of the honored students, Youth Development Services counselors, and members of participating organizations will also be on hand. Some of the students will give short statements about the program they just completed, as well as their higher education and career plans.

Still and video cameras are welcome, as well as audio recording equipment. The board room will be filled with honored students and attendees.

WHERE: Contra Costa County Office of Education (Board room), 1970 Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasanton, Calif., 94523

WHEN: Thursday, June 19, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

WHY: All parents and students in Contra Costa County should know that such resources are available to help kids finish high school and be prepared for college and/or a career.

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Honored students and their family members
  • YDS student counselors
  • Jim Frazier, Assemblyman, 11th District
  • Catherine Giacalone, CCCOE’s Youth Development Services Manager
  • Deborah Estrada, Branch Manager, Bank of America, SF, and former WIA participant (who will present)

Student winners of county Attendance Awareness contests named

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., June 9, 2014 – Twelve local students were recently rewarded for their skills and creativity with the inaugural Contra Costa County Attendance Awareness Poster and Essay Contest. This contest is part of the Every School Day Counts campaign. Dozier-Libbey High School (Antioch) senior Marc Castillo was the grand prize winner for the Poster Contest, and De Anza High School sophomore Sanilie Foster took top honors in the Essay Contest. The two winners will each receive a $200 Target gift card.

There were more than 200 submissions (174 posters and 56 essays), and the first 100 students each received a $10 Target gift card. Along with the two grand prize winners, the top five winners in each category received $100 Target gift cards. These generous prizes were sponsored by a donation from the United Way of the East Bay and Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 6. The contest winners will also be honored at a County Board of Education meeting in September, and their posters and essays will be used extensively to promote Attendance Awareness Month, held in September.

Every School Day Counts: Attend today, Achieve for a Lifetime! is an awareness campaign advocated by Contra Costa County's Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., and District Attorney Mark Peterson. This campaign is designed to provide communication resources to schools, engage school communities, and boost student attendance as soon as children enter school.

Students suffer academically if they miss 10% or more school days, regardless of the reason. Research proves that students who are chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are far less likely to read proficiently by 3rd grade. By the 6th grade, if a student continues to be chronically absent, it is a leading indicator of whether he or she will drop out of high school. In the 9th grade, chronic absences are a better indicator than test scores of a student's likelihood to graduate from high school. And chronic absenteeism is the most powerful predictor of delinquent behavior.

The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) has been actively involved in three county wide initiatives to promote awareness of the importance of consistent school attendance, and is promoting this message with the slogan: Every School Day Counts: Attend today, achieve for a lifetime! The 2014 Attendance Awareness Poster and Essay Contest was a recent effort to raise awareness among middle and high school students, and the response was tremendous.

“The most important part of this contest was the excitement and enthusiasm of the students involved,” said CCCOE Director, Innovation & Support, Lindy Khan, Ed.D. “It was also quite moving for the judges to read the poignant essays of how students overcame some significant life challenges to reverse their poor attendance/achievement patterns in order to now become successful students.”

POSTER CONTEST:

Winner: Marc Castillo, grade 12, Dozier-Libbey High, Antioch
Top 5: Elizabeth Huezo, grade 11, Dozier-Libbey High, Antioch
Top 5: Serena Neal, grade 9, Dozier-Libbey High, Antioch
Top 5: Kenneth La, grade 9, Dozier-Libbey High, Antioch
Top 5: Jewelanne Giu, grade 9, Deer Valley High, Antioch
Top 5: Edwin Vilches, grade 9, Dozier-Libbey High, Antioch

ESSAY CONTEST:

Winner: Sanilie Foster, grade 10, DeAnza High, Richmond
Top 5: Abigail Rickli, grade 6, Adams Middle, Brentwood
Top 5: Alexandria Rickli, grade 6, Adams Middle, Brentwood
Top 5: Avery Rickli, grade 6, Adams Middle, Brentwood
Top 5: Andres Gobea, grade 8, Carquinez Middle, Crockett
Top 5: Tara Adkisson, grade 12, Briones Independent Study, Martinez


The Diablo Gateways to Innovation Consortium earns a
large grant from the CDE: East and North Bay students,
communities, and business to benefit

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., June 4, 2014 - On Friday, May 30th, the California Department of Education (CDE) announced the grant recipients of their $250 million Career Pathways Trust program. Serving as the lead fiscal agency for Diablo Gateways to Innovation Consortium, the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) was notified on Friday that they would receive $8,000,000 in grant funds requested. (See the entire list of members of the Diablo Gateways to Innovation Consortium below.)

The State's Career Pathways Trust program is designed to keep students in school and moving them toward these three college and high-demand fields: advanced manufacturing and engineering, information communication technology, and health science. Grants from the Trust will go toward innovative programs and partnerships linking rigorous academics to career pathways in high-need and high-growth sectors of the economy. Through curriculum that's relevant to career interests, students are engaged, less likely to drop out of school, and more prepared for life after graduation. There will also be a significant boost to local, regional, and state economies by providing business and industry with skilled workers.

CCCOE's Director of Student Programs Janet Haun said that along with the $8,000,000 in grant funds, nearly $27,000,000 in matching funds has been pledged by the Diablo Gateways to Innovation Consortium's education partners. In addition, close to $9,000,000 in matching funds were also pledged by the Consortium's business and community partners.

“The economy is growing in our area, as well as statewide,” said Haun. “But there are not enough educated and trained workers to be able to fill those job opportunities. With this grant, we will be able to strengthen existing programs and create new career and college readiness programs that will lead to high-skilled and high-earning careers.”

The Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., received a phone call of congratulations from California State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson, thanking him for participating in this unprecedented grant program. Dr. Ovick said, “We are delighted for all members of our Diablo Gateways to Innovation Consortium to receive this opportunity, and we will work diligently to create a positive impact on our youth and their future.”

The Trust opened up grant proposals in mid-January of this year. Officials reported that they received more than 100 eligible applications requesting some $709 million in funding. This one-time, three-year-funded grant selected recipients through a rigorous process that included detailed and thoroughly reviewed applications and panel interviews.

During the upcoming weeks, the CCCOE will receive information from the California Department of Education regarding the official grant award notification, payment schedule, and reporting requirements. Grant recipients will receive 50 percent of their award this year, 35 percent in year two, and 15 percent in year three.

Diablo Gateways to Innovation Consortium for the California Career Pathways Trust grant:

Education Partners:

  • Contra Costa County Office of Education (Lead Fiscal Agency)
  • Cal State East Bay Gateways STEM Initiative
  • Contra Costa Community College District
  • Diablo Valley College
  • Los Medanos College
  • Las Positas College
  • Solano Community College
  • Antioch Unified School District
  • Benicia Unified School District
  • Dublin Unified School District
  • John Swett Unified School District
  • Liberty Union High School District
  • Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District
  • Martinez Unified School District
  • Mt. Diablo Unified School District
  • Pittsburg Unified School District
  • Pleasanton Unified School District
  • San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Contra Costa County ROP
  • Tri-Valley ROP

Community and Business Partners:

  • Alameda Workforce Investment Board
  • Workforce Investment Board of Contra Costa County
  • Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  • Dow Chemical
  • East Bay Economic Development Alliance
  • Contra Costa Economic Partnership
  • East Bay Leadership Council
  • Phillips 66
  • Health Workforce Initiative
  • PG&E
  • Bayer
  • Delta Diablo Sanitation District
  • Hattich Contracting
  • Antioch Chamber of Commerce
  • Career Ladders Network
  • Linked Learning
  • College and Career Academy Support Network

 

May 2014

Class of 2014-2015 comes together for the first time:
The annual Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year Reception

Dr. Ovick and Joann Rossi2014 County Office Teacher of the Year JPLEASANT HILL, Calif., May 30, 2014 – Representing all corners and in between Contra Costa County, the 22 Class of 2014-2015 Teachers of the Year (TOY) were able to meet each other for the first time at the annual Teacher of the Year Reception. This special program was held at the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), held on the afternoon of May 27.

Pictured at right; Contra Costa County Office of Education TOY Joann Rossi, Early Start Program at Marchus School, and County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D. Photo credit: Jonathan Lance

The relaxed and festive event is for the TOYs to meet each other, learn more about the TOY Program, receive details about the upcoming TOY Dinner Celebration, and to have their portraits taken. The portraits will be used for their award plaques and in the Dinner Celebration program. Many of the TOYs were accompanied by their school principals and school district superintendents.

The program kicked-off with Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., welcoming and congratulating the honored TOYs. "We are so proud of you all; you are tremendous representatives of the educators in Contra Costa County," Dr. Ovick said. "Currently there are a little more than 8,100 K-12 public school educators, teaching approximately 173,020 students in our county. There are nine states in our nation that have less students attending public schools than Contra Costa County."

Following Dr. Ovick, the TOYs each individually introduced themselves, as their brethren and the rest of the audience listened intently. In addition, the four TOY Finalists were introduced. This year's finalists are Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District, Freedom High; Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg Unified School District, Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High; Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High; and Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Coyote Creek Elementary.

The two current Teachers of the Year, Cindy Egan of San Ramon Valley Unified School District and Beth Levine of West Contra Costa County Unified School District, spoke to the TOYs about their experience representing the county with numerous appearances and speaking opportunities.

The joyous occasion concluded with the traditional toast to the incoming TOYs (sparkling apple juice in plastic champagne glasses), followed by plenty of networking.

On the evening of September 11, 2014, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of more than 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. The evening will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

Nikki Alford, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Gehringer Elementary

Jason Davis, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Keith Johnson, West Contra Costa USD, El Cerrito High

Kevin Jones, Antioch Unified School District, Antioch High

Jane Kelson, Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo High

Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District, Freedom High

Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg Unified School District, Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High

Patrick Leong, Contra Costa County College District, Diablo Valley College

Dorinda Mas, Byron Union School District, Discovery Bay Elementary

Bruce McCormick, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Portola Middle

CiCi Migay, Brentwood Union School District, Brentwood Elementary

Tricia Newhart, Orinda Union School District, Del Rey Elementary

Catherine Patterson, John Swett Unified School District, Rodeo Hills Elementary

Ann Ralph, Moraga School District, Donald Rheem Elementary

Gail Robles, Walnut Creek School District, Parkmead Elementary

Joann Rossi, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Early Start Program @ Marchus School

Stephen Slater, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Wren Avenue Elementary

Kara Teach, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Charlotte Wood Middle

Olivia Vann, Lafayette School District, Springhill Elementary

Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Coyote Creek Elementary

Kathleen Young, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Highlands Elementary

For more info about the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Program, please
visit our Web page.

#CoCoTOY


Alhambra High School duo to represent California in prestigious national automotive tech competition

Alfredo Gutierrez, Sanveer Garcha and Brian WheelerMARTINEZ, Calif., May 15, 2014 – Best in state! A two-student team from Alhambra High School CTE/ROP, of Martinez, overcame some stiff competition to take first place in the Northern California AAA/Ford Auto Skills Competition finals, held last Friday, May 9, at the Blackhawk Auto Museum. In receiving the highest score statewide, the Alhambra team also beat the Southern California students competing in a separate state contest.

From left to right, Alfredo Gutierrez, Sanveer Garcha, Brian Wheeler. Photo credit: Jonathan Lance.

The Alhambra team of Sanveer Garcha and Alfredo Gutierrez, taught by instructor Brian Wheeler, will now represent California in the national contest at the Ford Motor Company Headquarters, in Dearborn, MI, held June 8-10. Along with their all-expenses-paid trip to the National Finals, the top teams will also receive a total of $133,000 in scholarship opportunities from some of the nation's top technical schools, new tools from SnapOn, and a variety of other prizes from AAA. There will be a competing team from each state in the nation. This was Alhambra's third Northern California victory in as many years, but their first statewide win.

"This is the first time in 10 years that a team from Northern California has won the state competition," says Wheeler — whom is also a finalist in this year's Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year program. "At this year's state competition there were 10, or so, faults placed in identical cars [the state vehicle this year was a 2014 Ford Fiesta] and the students, without the help of their instructor, have 90 minutes to repair the vehicle. A 'perfect' car is the goal. A 'perfect' car is one with no workmanship errors or flaws and all problems having been repaired," he adds. Alhambra had the only perfect car in the state this year and finished 15 minutes ahead of the closest competitor.

At the National Finals, competitors take a 100-question-written exam before facing off in a timed competition during which they must diagnose and repair a different set of bugs in a different Ford vehicle. The National Title goes to the team with the best-combined written test and hands-on competition scores.

Regarding the two students' excellent automotive talents, CTE/ROP Principal Sally Savage says, "Alfredo and Sanvere are auto technology interns at Walnut Creek Honda and Concord BMW. The combination of their classroom instruction at Alhambra and their dealership experiences help to reinforce their skills."

"Brain Wheeler does an outstanding job of helping students graduate ready for a career after high school," says Alhambra High School Principal Tom Doppe. "Largely through his own initiative, Brian has brought in equipment to give his students the experience of a professional auto shop. He also promotes his program and gives his students real world experiences by bringing them to competitions and helping them earn scholarships to technical schools. Brian is also an active part of the larger school community and strives to integrate technology and Common Core strategies with the same fidelity as his peers."

Las Lomas High School (Walnut Creek) CTE/ROP students Miles Millan and Sam Thomas-Saindon, taught by instructor Steve Boone, took second place at the Northern California competition. Students Cody Crafts and Erricson Stevens, taught by instructor Mitch Crowden, of Casa Robles High School in Orangevale, came in third. Other Contra Costa County high school CTE/ROP participants included Acalanes (Lafayette) and Deer Valley (Antioch).

The Contra Costa County Office of Education's (CCCOE) CTE/ROP department serves nearly 11,000 students annually with classes in 34 high schools (such as Alhambra) throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Currently, there are 368 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. The courses provide students with the newest equipment, rigorous academic standards, and classes in emerging technologies. All of these classes and programs are directed by and funded through the CCCOE. For more information about CTE/ROP classes, visit their website.


Campolindo High School returns as champions
in the National Academic Decathlon

Campolindo High School Acadeca teamMORAGA, Calif., May 14, 2014—For the second year in a row, Campolindo High School's Academic Decathlon team, representing the entire state of California, recently earned National Champion status for medium-sized schools. Medium schools in this completion are high schools whose student population is between 650 and 1,300. Campolindo (California) was followed by New Jersey, 2nd place and Wisconsin, third place.

Team Photo (left to right)
Uma Gaffney, Vikram Bhaduri, Christoph Steefel, Sarada Symonds, Graham Wade, Zach Scherer, Tristan Caro, Samuel MacAdam, Marina Han, and Coach Paul Verbanszky
.

"When I found out we won Nationals for the 2nd year in a row, I was incredibly excited," says Campolindo's Academic Decathlon coach Paul Verbanszky. "The team has worked very hard to accomplish this. An opportunity like this does not come often in a lifetime. These are some of the finest students I have ever worked with in my 13 years of education!"

Although Campolindo is a medium sized school, it placed 10th overall at the 2014 State Competition, held in Sacramento this past March, competing against schools several times its size. See story about Campolindo's State Academic Decathlon results for details. "The overall winner, regardless of school size, physically goes to Nationals", Verbanszy continues. "The small and medium-sized school champions –since a large school wins every year—get to compete online." (The second-highest performing large school in each state also gets to compete online.) Here are the team and individual final results in the medium-school division on this Web page. Campolindo was well represented in the individual results, as well.

Although Campolindo competed in the National Academic Decathlon virtual competition, winning schools are still awarded trophies and medals for their efforts, as well as scholarship money. In addition, U.S. Congressman George Miller came to the Campolindo campus this week to present the team with Congressional Recognition.

"I am really proud of how far our school's Academic Decathlon has come in the three years I have been in it, and how successful it has become," says Campolindo Academic Decathlon member Christoph Steefel. Team member Graham Wade added, "I did not believe it at first, but I was really excited and happy that all of our hard work had paid off."

Verbanszky teaches AP psychology and government/economics, and has been Campolindo's Academic Decathlon coach since 2005. His Academic Decathlon team is an after-school club with funding coming from generous donations and fundraising. It is a tremendous accomplishment to compete in the Nationals. He continues, "I am very proud of my students. And, our team gives a big thank you to the Contra Costa County Office of Education for all of their support and hard work with Academic Decathlon, so that the students can have such a positive experience."

Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the East Bay Regional 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 curriculum includes art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science, essay, interview, speech (prepared and impromptu), and the Super Quiz™. Approximately, 170 high school students from 10 schools participated in the regional event. This year's Academic Decathlon theme was World War I, and the Super Quiz™ focused on the areas the participating students had been preparing for with the comprehension portion of Academic Decathlon, e.g., science, art, economics, and literature.

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.


County Board of Education fills board vacancy

Chrisine DeanePLEASANT HILL, May 8, 2014–Christine Deane was appointed as
a board trustee by the Contra Costa County Board of Education, on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Deane was one of five candidates who were interviewed by the Board that evening. She replaces the former Area 2 Trustee Ellen Elster, who unexpectedly passed away this past March.

Deane brings a very impressive resume of experience, knowledge, and education to the board. She is a 34-year teacher, now retired, who taught primarily in public schools in Contra Costa County. During her years of teaching, she also served in many other capacities in education: advisor, mentor, committee member and chair, presenter, and representative.

"I welcome the opportunity to serve the community by working for its students as a trustee on the Contra Costa County Board of Education," reports Deane. "I am confident that I am a good fit for the Board because I have spent my entire career developing skills, which are needed to do the job well."

As the Contra Costa County board trustee of Area 2, Deane represents Crockett, Hercules, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Port Costa, Rodeo, and parts of Alamo, Concord, Martinez, Pacheco, Pinole, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, and Walnut Creek. Her term as a board trustee will conclude in November 2014, when she will have the option to run in the 2014 election for a four-year term.

Deane obtained her bachelor of science degree in family relations and child development from Syracuse University and earned her masters of science in correctional counseling from Chapman University. In addition, she has earned a number of credentials and certifications.

Deane resides in Lafayette, Calif.


Annual CTE/ROP Students of Excellence
Awards Ceremony Honors 45 Students

WHAT: The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) will be honoring 45 high school seniors, representing 28 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. Honored students will each be awarded a certificate of merit and a $200.00 scholarship award. EVENT PROGRAM

WHO: The Contra Costa County CTE/ROP serves nearly 11,000 students annually with classes in 34 high schools throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Currently, there are 384 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.

WHEN: Thursday, May 8, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

WHERE: Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord, Calif.

MEDIA NOTES: *JPEG photos of each of the awarded students, as well as a PDF copy of the Students of the Excellence Awards program are available upon request.

*More than 200 attendees will be on hand for this event. Along with the honored students and their families, also on hand will be the students' teachers and ROP business-partnership representatives. In addition, welcoming remarks will be made by Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D. and Assembly Member Jim Frazier. Awards will be presented by Dr. Ovick: Heather Kenward, John Muir Health; and Nicole Rigg, Chevron.

*Flash photography and video and audio recording are allowed.

*For more information about this special event, contact CCCOE Director, Student Programs Janet Haun at (925) 942-3368.

The following outstanding students will receive certificates of merit plus $200.00 in scholarship awards (also listed their instructors and title of classes):

(See below list, alphabetical by city)

ANTIOCH
Antioch High School
Marquis Brown, Art & Animation, Instructor Erin Susoev

Deer Valley High School
David Cobiseno, Advanced Auto Technology, Instructor Phillip Torres
Rebecca Guidi, Play Production, Instructor Jackie MacKusick

Dozier-Libbey High School
Brandon Lee, Sports Medicine, Instructor Kim O'Leary

Prospects High School
Andrea Hendrix, Administrative Medical Assistant, Instructor Norma Phillips
Matthew Woodrow, Clinical Medical Assistant, Instructor Jennifer Martinez

BERKELEY
Berkeley High School
Noah Hardy, Advanced Video, Instructor Dharini Rasiah
Kyle Hayden, Advanced Digital Photography, Instructor Gabriel Berent
Gal Paz-Guhanish, Accelerated Biotechnology, Instructor Evy Kavaler
Collette Quach, Art of Video Production, Instructor Dharini Rasiah

BRENTWOOD
Heritage High School
Calvin Cramer, Robotics Engineering Technology, Instructor Robert Pardi
Madisun Marquez, Video Broadcasting, Instructor Gustavo Guardado
Brandon Osborne, Law Enforcement Careers, Instructor Matt Carr
Colton Selin, Computer Aided Design, Instructor Barbara Worden

Liberty High School
Joshua Korsten, Automotive Technology, Instructor John Dorr

CONCORD
Concord High School
Justin Furtado, Computer Applications, Instructor Laurie Harris

Mt. Diablo High School
Daniel Hernandez, Commercial Food Service, Instructor Cindy Gershen

Marchus School
Omar Arciniega, Hotel Occupations, Instructor Jack Grossman

Paris Beauty College
Chloe Jimenez, Cosmetology, Instructor Lyn Ferreira

Yagnacio Valley High School
Edward Maldonado, Careers in Teaching, Instructors Thatcher Palmer & Laura Hallberg
Malena Martinez, Sports Medicine, Instructor Kelly Cooper

DANVILLE
Monte Vista High School
Paige McNeil, Culinary Arts, Instructor Kellie Joe
Cameron Susa, Advanced Sports Medicine, Instructor Julie Mello

San Ramon Valley High School
Jaclyn Capie, Advanced Sports Medicine, Instructor Bonnie Schar
Logan Silliman, Introduction to Engineering, Instructor Cindy Egan

EL CERRITO
El Cerrito High School
Thomas Lipscomb, Radio Broadcasting, Instructor Corey Mason
Karina Araceli Martin, Digital Arts, Instructor Melody Shah

EMERYVILLE
Emery Secondary School
Michaela Holiday, Webpage Design, Instructor Alvin Burns

LAFAYETTE
Acalanes High School
Colin Watson, Sports Medicine, Instructor Chris Clark

MARTINEZ
Alhambra High School
Megan Lau, Marketing, Instructor Michael Doigny
Alhambra, Jordan Morofsky, Cabinet Making, Instructor Jay Heeb

MORAGA
Campolindo High School
Candace Del Valle, Sports Medicine, Instructor Ray Albiento

OAKLEY
Freedom High School
Austin Gardner, Careers with Children, Instructor Elizabeth Rodriguez

PINOLE
Pinole Valley High School
Carlos Contreras, Play Production, Instructor Janeal Lee

PITTSBURG
Pittsburg High School
Hennry Garcia, Architectural Design Instructor, Andreas Kaiser

PLEASANT HILL
College Park High School
Natalie Pegano , Advanced Media Communications, Instructor Paul Renaud

RICHMOND
Kennedy High School
Samuel Aristondo, Digital Arts/Designs for the Web, Instructor Krys Simon

Richmond High School
Josephine Huynh, Sports Medicine, Instructor Stan Nakahara
Francisco Rojas, Advanced Photography, Instructor John Ohlmann

SAN RAMON
California High School
Emily Curley, Play Production, Instructor Laura Woods
Saamia Haqiq, Analytical Forensic Science, Instructor Andrew White
Justin Raizes, AP Computer Science, Instructor Anh Nguyen
Mohammed Syed, Journalism Productions, Instructor Brian Barr

WALNUT CREEK
Las Lomas High School
Angel Chat, Hospital Health Careers, Instructor Kathleen Mooney

Northgate High School
Jessica Bautista, Journalism Productions, Instructor Karen Jenkins

 


Twenty-four Contra Costa County Elementary Schools
Named California Distinguished Schools

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 1, 2014—Yesterday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson named 24 Contra Costa County elementary schools as California Distinguished Schools for 2014, "for their strong commitment and innovative approaches to improving student academic achievement." For the complete list of California Distinguished Schools, visit the 2014 Distinguished Elementary Schools Web page.

"I applaud these strong, thriving schools that are making such impressive strides in preparing their students for continued success," Torlakson adds. "This award is well-deserved by these school communities for their enduring dedication to high standards, hard work, and unwavering support."

The following Contra Costa schools are designated California Distinguished Schools 2014:

  • Lafayette Elementary: Lafayette School District
  • Mt. Diablo Elementary: Mt. Diablo Unified School District
  • Sequoia Elementary: Mt. Diablo Unified School District
  • Silverwood Elementary: Mt. Diablo Unified School District
  • Strandwood Elementary: Mt. Diablo Unified School District
  • Valle Verde Elementary: Mt. Diablo Unified School District
  • Walnut Acres Elementary: Mt. Diablo Unified School District
  • Del Rey Elementary: Orinda Union School District
  • Glorietta Elementary: Orinda Union School District
  • Sleepy Hollow Elementary: Orinda Union School District
  • Wagner Ranch Elementary: Orinda Union School District
  • Bollinger Canyon Elementary: San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Coyote Creek Elementary: San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Golden View 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: Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Live Oak Elementary: San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Neil A. Armstrong 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
  • Vista Grande Elementary: San Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Walnut Heights Elementary: Walnut Creek School District

The program recognizes elementary and secondary schools in alternating years. Distinguished Schools must meet a variety of eligibility criteria, including designated federal and state accountability measures, and they must provide an in-depth description of two Signature Practices that their staff members believe have contributed to the success of their students. Following the acceptance  of their application, each school receives a site visit by a team of local educators to validate the full implementation of the Signature Practices described in the application.

In Contra Costa County, those school visits were conducted in March and early April by a team of 19 educators from the Contra Costa County Office of Education, augmented by 18 school district administrators, and 4 retired district administrators. The County Distinguished Schools program is coordinated by Terry Koehne, chief communications officer, Contra Costa County Office of Education.

Distinguished Schools are honored at regional award ceremonies, where the state superintendent of California Public Instruction presents each school with a 2014 Distinguished School plaque and flag. The events and awards are funded by donations from many California corporations and statewide-educational organizations.

For more information about the Distinguished School program, visit their website.

April 2014

Dozier-Libby High School charter conversion
public hearing has been set

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 29, 2014 – The locations and times have been set for the upcoming Contra Costa County Board of Education meeting. The meeting will include the public hearing on the Dozier-Libbey High School (Antioch) charter conversion.

On Wednesday, May 7, the Board meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m., with a closed session, held at Pleasant Hill Middle School, 1 Santa Barbara Road, Pleasant Hill. The public hearing will follow at 6:00 p.m., in the school's multi-purpose room. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Board will reconvene at the Contra Costa County Office of Education boardroom, at 77 Santa Barbara Road, Pleasant Hill for the remaining items on the board agenda, beginning at approximately at 7:30 p.m.

Contact: Loreen Joseph, executive assistant to the board and superintendent
Phone: 925-942-3380
Email: ljoseph@cccoe.k12.ca.us


2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Finalists Named

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 16, 2014 – The following four teachers have been named the 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Finalists: Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District; Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg Unified School District; Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School District; and Karen Young, 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.

Michael Kleiman teaches English to grades 9-12. The seven-year teacher has also taught theater arts, speech, and debate. Prior to coming to Liberty Union High School District's Freedom High (Brentwood), Kleiman began his teaching career at Fort Irwin Middle School, in Fort Irwin, Calif.

Elizabeth Lanfranki has been an English instructor for three years. For the past two years, she has been a sixth- through eighth-grade teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High School (Pittsburg), which is part of the Pittsburg Unified School District. Lanfranki began teaching in the Chico Unified School District. Along with English, she has also taught journalism, English support, and Newcomer ELD.

Brian Wheeler is completing his fourth year of teaching automotive technology to all grades at Alhambra High (Martinez). Before earning his teaching credential and then coming to Alhambra High, Wheeler spent the first 30 years of his career working in auto repair technology.

Karen Young is currently teaching transitional kindergarten at Coyote Creek Elementary School (San Ramon), which is part of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The eight-year teacher has also taught kindergarten and first grade. Before coming to Coyote Creek Elementary, Young served as a substitute teacher throughout the San Ramon Valley district.

The county's TOY program is directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education. With such high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from (this year there were 20 eligible teachers), the CCCOE's TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidate as follows:

I Application Screening:
On April 4, a committee of 14, 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 weeks of late 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 techniques.

III Speech Presentation:
This coming August, 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 11, 2014, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of more than 400) will be honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces all the TOYs to the audience. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given at the Speech Presentation) to the filled banquet room. The always-exciting evening will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

Currently, there are more than 8,126 teachers educating approximately 171,418 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 TOYs on our earlier news release.) This year's 22 TOYs represent 17 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 12, 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.


County's school districts announce their
2014-2015 Teachers of the Year

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 8, 2014 – Currently, there are more than 7,900 teachers educating approximately 169,000 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 22 TOYs represent 17 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Twenty of these twenty-two 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.

"Once again, we have a tremendous group of teachers who have earned their school district's highest accolades, due to their talents, work ethic, and dedication they provide for their students. These honored educators not only represent their individual schools and school districts, but also embody all of the exceptional teachers we are so fortunate to have in our county," reports Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph A. Ovick.

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 4, a committee of 14 judges, representing the county's education, business, and public-sector partners carefully reviewed 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:
During the weeks of late April and mid May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the 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 11, 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 11, 2014, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of more than 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Dr. Ovick, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects his 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 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives

Nikki Alford, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Gehringer Elementary

Jason Davis, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Keith Johnson, West Contra Costa USD, El Cerrito High

Kevin Jones, Antioch Unified School District, Antioch High

Jane Kelson, Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo High

Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District, Freedom High

Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg Unified School District, Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High

Patrick Leong, Contra Costa County College District, Diablo Valley College

Dorinda Mas, Byron Union School District, Discovery Bay Elementary

Bruce McCormick, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Portola Middle

CiCi Migay, Brentwood Union School District, Brentwood Elementary

Tricia Newhart, Orinda Union School District, Del Rey Elementary

Catherine Patterson, John Swett Unified School District, Rodeo Hills Elementary

Ann Ralph, Moraga School District, Donald Rheem Elementary

Gail Robles, Walnut Creek School District, Parkmead Elementary

Joann Rossi, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Early Start Program (Marchus Schoo)

Stephen Slater, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Wren Avenue Elementary

Kara Teach, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Charlotte Wood Middle

Olivia Vann, Lafayette School District, Springhill Elementary

Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Coyote Creek Elementary

Kathleen Young, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Highlands Elementary

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Seventeen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, plus the CCCOE are participating in this year's TOY program. (Because this year's CCCOE candidate teaches pre-K, she is not eligible in the California State TOY competition.)
  • 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.)
  • Due to the larger number of students in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates

#CoCoTOY

March 2014

Campolindo High School has an impressive showing at the
California State Academic Decathlon Championship

Campolindo High School State Academic DecathlonMORAGA, Calif., March 26, 2014 —The recently crowned East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon Champions, Campolindo High School (see story), had a very impressive past weekend representing Contra Costa County at the 2014 California Academic Decathlon, held in Sacramento.

Campolindo's Academic Decathlon coach Paul Verbanszky reported that the team repeated its success from last year: "We came in 10th in the State and won the medium-sized school title, which means we will return to compete in the online National Academic Decathlon in April." Verbanszky also reported that fellow Lamorinda team, Acalanes High (Lafayette) ranked 22nd, and that Alameda County representative, Dublin High, came in 54th. An impressive 65 teams competed in the 35th annual state competition.

This year's state winner, El Camino Real Charter High School (Los Angeles Unified School District), will represent California at the National Academic Decathlon, which will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 24 – 26. All of the other division winners, such as Campolindo, will compete online during the same time period.

At the state competition, Campolindo team members also earned a number of individual awards:

  • Uma Gaffney: Gold in Art (with a perfect score of 1000 points)
  • Sarada Symonds: Silver in Art and Gold in Language/Literature
  • Marina Han: Silver in Language/Literature and Silver in Essay
  • Tristan Caro and Christoph Steefel: tied for a Bronze in Science
  • Vikram Bhaduri: Bronze in Interview

Christoph Steefel: Received a perfect score on the Super Quiz and is now part of what is called the "900 SQ Club" at State

Verbanszky teaches AP psychology and government/economics, and has been Campolindo's Academic Decathlon coach since 2005. His Academic Decathlon is an after-school club with funding coming from generous donations and fundraising. It is a tremendous accomplishment to compete in the Nationals. He continues, "I am very proud of my students. They have put in countless hours after school preparing for competition. And, our team gives a big thank you to the Contra Costa County Office of Education for all of their hard work with Academic Decathlon, so that the students can have such a positive experience."

Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the East Bay Regional 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 curriculum includes art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science,essay, interview, speech (prepared and impromptu), and the Super Quiz™. Approximately, 170 high school students from 10 schools participated in the regional event. This year's Academic Decathlon theme was World War I, and the Super Quiz™ focused on the areas the participating students had been preparing for with the comprehension portion of Academic Decathlon, e.g., science, art, economics, and literature.

California has won the last 11 national titles and has won 15 national titles in the past 18 years of national competition. In 32 years of national competition, California has placed first or second every year but one.

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.


County Board of Education Seeks Applicants to Fill Board Vacancy

The Contra Costa County Board of Education voted at its March 19, 2014 meeting to fill the Board vacancy in Trustee Area Two created by the unexpected death of Ellen Elster through an appointment rather than an election. Trustee Area Two consists of Crockett, Hercules, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Port Costa, Rodeo, and parts of Alamo, Concord, Martinez, Pacheco, Pinole, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, and Walnut Creek.

The California State Education Code states that within 60 days of a vacancy, the County Board shall either fill the vacancy by provisional appointment or order an election. In the event that the Board fails to make a new appointment or order an election, the County Superintendent shall call for the election.

Persons interested in applying for the appointment should contact Karen Sakata, Deputy Superintendent at (925) 942-3407 for an application packet. (Employees of the Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools or by a school district are not eligible to apply.)

Provisional Appointment

The period for submitting an application is from March 20, 2014 through 5:00 p.m. on April 28, 2014. Each applicant's residency in Trustee Area Two will be verified. Public session interviews by the County Board will be scheduled for May 7, 2014.

The County Board plans to make its provisional appointment on May 7, 2014.

The person appointed as Trustee will serve until November 2014.


Alhambra students looking for community support
as they move on to SkillsUSA State Competition

Alhambra studentsMarch 17, 2014, Martinez, Calif. – Recently, eight Alhambra High School students enjoyed a very successful outing at the SkillsUSA, District 2, competition in Salinas, Calif. The students did so well that they will now advance to the SkillsUSA California State Championship, held in San Diego. Along with all of their fundraising efforts, with their friends and families, to compete in San Diego, the students are requesting donations from our community.

Shown in photo (left to right): students, Nick Rezentes, Ian de Vries, Jeff Smith (instructor) Evan Rubio and Megan Lau

cabinet makers: Jordan Morofsky, John Hise, Jay Heeb (instructor) and Ryan DeMelloJeff Smith, who is Alhambra High's Career Technical Education (CTE)/ROP chair said, "These students are so excited about their success in using the skills they have learned in their CTE/ROP classes. And, we have all been working hard to raise funds for them to compete in the state championship, but they can use some additional assistance from those who can help us cover the costs of the trip and the competition." The California State SkillsUSA will be held April 24-27, in San Diego.

Shown in photo (left to right): students, Jordan Morofsky, John Hise, Jay Neeb (instructor) and Ryan DeMello.

Smith says that those interested in making a donation to support the students can do so by sending a check to Alhambra High. Checks can be made out to Alhambra High, please make a notation that the money goes directly to school's CTE/ROP Department. Contributions can also be donated via Alhambra High School's website.

Brian Wheeler and Will AndersonAt the recent District 2 SkillsUSA competition in Salinas, the students took part in competitions that were specifically geared towards the CTE/ROP class they are currently enrolled in – as they will in San Diego. For example, Alhambra's auto technician teacher, Brian Wheeler, said that student, Will Anderson, a junior, had a very rigorous outing in Salinas. "Will had to successfully accomplish numerous automotive-technology-testing components, such as diagnosing several automobile electrical and mechanical problems and identify more than 50 car parts."

Shown in photo (left to right): Will Anderson and instructor Brian Wheeler.

The SkillsUSA Championships is the showcase for the best career and technical students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. In 2013, there were nearly 6,000 contestants in 98 separate events. Nearly 1,500 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event possible. The philosophy of the Championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers' needs.


10th Annual Young Children's Issues Forum

Pleasant Hill, Calif., March 13, 2014 – The public is invited to The Tenth Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, to be held on Saturday, March 29, 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the Pleasant Hill Community Center at 320 Civic Center, Pleasant Hill. This year's theme is Speak Out for Children: Educate and Advocate. This free annual community event is sponsored and organized by the Contra Costa Local Planning Council for Child Care and Development (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 include: Congressman George Miller, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, and Assemblymember Jim Frazier.

In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, comedian and child advocate Michael Pritchard, will deliver a special keynote presentation. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., will present an overview of the importance of early childhood education. Additionally, the topic of focus for this year's forum is the national movement towards Universal Quality Early Care and Education, current legislation, and the potential impact on California's early care and education programs. The Forum agenda features an impressive list of invited guest presenters, including: Ted Lempert, executive director, Children Now; Camille Maben, executive director, First 5 California; Sean Casey, executive director, First 5 Contra Costa; Pamela Comfort, Ed.D, associate superintendent, Educational Services, CCCOE; Karen Mitchoff, supervisor, Contra Costa County; Ruth Fernández, manager, Educational Services, CCCOE; and Cathy Roof, vice-chair, Contra Costa Local Planning Council for Child Care and Development (LPC).

Also, special recognitions will be presented to Congressman Miller, County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ovick, Assemblymember Buchanan, and Assemblymember Skinner for their outstanding commitment to children's education and multiple years of public service.

In 2012, the 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. This is a free event, but attendance registration is required.


February 2014

California High named Contra Costa County's
High School Mock Trial Championship Team

2014 Mock Trial Winners California High SchoolPLEASANT HILL, Calif., February 27, 2014 — After a number of speeches made by the coaches and individual awards given out to participating students, the exciting 33rd Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial's Awards Ceremony concluded with the naming of this year's championship team: California High School (San Ramon). California beat their chief Mock Trial rival Miramonte High, this past Tuesday night in a Martinez courtroom. The match's final scores were not revealed until tonight. Miramonte had beaten California in the finals during the past two years.

Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Hon. Barry Goode was on hand to address the large crowd, congratulate all the participants, and hand out the Mock Trial awards. Judge Goode said how impressed he was with all the students, and that it was obvious that they put a lot of time and effort into preparing for their trials. "It is a treat to see how well you all perform," added Judge Goode. "We look forward in seeing you all come back in about seven years – I know you can do this for real!"

Most of the schools begin their Mock Trial training when they begin the new school year – which certainly makes Mock Trials the longest season of all the participating schools' sports activities and academic events.

For the past four weeks (seven evenings), the California High School and seventeen other Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams have been battling it out with each other inside the superior courthouse courtrooms of Martinez. California High School will now represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in San Jose, Calif., March 21-23.

The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Madison, Wis., May 8-10.

Teams from the following 18 Contra Costa County high schools will be competed in this year's Mock Trial:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch (Antioch), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Northgate (Walnut Creek), and Richmond (Richmond).

The top four teams finished in this order:

  1. California
  2. Miramonte
  3. Northgate
  4. Dougherty Valley

For all the team and individual results, visit the Contra Costa County Office of Education's Mock Trial Web page – complete results should be posted by 2/28.

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 school teachers and volunteer attorneys and judges, to acquire a working knowledge of the judicial system.

This year, an impressive 110 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, 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.


Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Championship
Team to be awarded: Will it be California or Miramonte?

WHAT:
For the past four weeks (seven evenings), the Miramonte High School and California High School Mock Trial teams have battled it out with each other and 16 other schools inside the superior courthouse courtrooms in Martinez, in the Contra Costa County Office of Education's 33rd Annual High School Mock Trial Competition. Tomorrow night, one of these two teams will be awarded the county's Mock Trial Championship Team Trophy. (The same two finalist teams for the past two years.) The final-two matches, Miramonte vs. California High (Championship Round) and Northgate High vs. Dougherty Valley High (Consolation Round), were held this past Tuesday night (2/25).

The Championship team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in San Jose, Calif., March 21-23. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Madison, Wis., May 8-10.

WHEN:
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

WHERE:
Contra Costa County Office of Education (Boardroom), 77 Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasant Hill, Calif.

ACTION:
Approximately 150 Mock Trial students, along with their coaches and parents, will be on hand to receive individual and team awards – concluding with the naming of this year's Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Championship Team There will be plenty of video and photo opportunities, of top teams and individual winners.

WHO:
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 school teachers and volunteer attorneys and judges, to acquire a working knowledge of the judicial system. This year, more than 100 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys, senior law students, and sworn judges volunteered their time to serve as Mock Trial Attorney Scorers and Judges.

Teams from the following 18 Contra Costa County high schools competed:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch (Antioch), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Northgate (Walnut Creek), and Richmond (Richmond).  


2014 Contra Costa County Teacher/Certificated Staff Recruitment Fair

PITTSBURG, Calif., February 26, 2014 – The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) will present their annual Contra Costa County Teacher/Certificated Staff Recruitment Fair, on Saturday, March 1, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the Pittsburg High School gymnasium, 1750 Harbor St., in Pittsburg.

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 that will be available in the next school year. Along with the CCCOE, representatives from 10 Contra Costa County school districts: Antioch USD, Brentwood USD, John Swett USD, Liberty UHSD, Martinez USD, Mt. Diablo USD, Oakley USD, Pittsburg USD, San Ramon Valley USD, and West Contra Costa USD, as well as Making Waves Academy and Clayton Valley High Charter Schools will be recruiting for open positions. In addition, members of Fortune School of Education, St. Mary's College of California, University of Phoenix, Brandman University, and National University will be on hand to talk about 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.


County Office of Education director earns distinguished awards

Katie GainesPleasant Hill, Calif. February 11, 2014 – Due to her recognized exceptional leadership and measurable results, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region VI (Contra Costa & Alameda Counties) and Diablo Valley Charter organizations recently awarded Contra Costa County Office of Education Director III, Student Programs and Special Education Katie Gaines as the Special Education Administrator of the Year. After earning these two accolades (Region VI and Diablo Valley Charter), Gaines will advance on as a state nominee for the ACSA State honors. The state-award recipients will be announced next month, in Sacramento.

Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) Director of Innovation and Support Lindy Khan, Ed.D., reports about Gaines, "From the moment Katie arrived, it was very clear that she had a powerful and positive vision to promote the success of all students. During her four years here, she has worked very collaboratively with the special education principals to develop programs that reflect high levels of student, teacher, and family engagement by ensuring the provision of meaningful learning activities that promote student independence and self advocacy."

Under the direction of Associate Superintendent Pamela Comfort, Gaines' responsibilities with the CCCOE include planning and directing activities, sites, and services for all Special Education students in County Office programs, as well as in CCCOE Court and Community Schools and Career Tech/ROP courses, and Special Projects for the County Office. Furthermore, she coordinates and directs communications, information, personnel, resources, curriculum, and budgets to enhance these students' learning and achievement, and assure smooth and efficient program activities. In addition, she supervises and evaluates the performance of assigned personnel.

Before joining the CCCOE in 2010, Gaines advanced through a number of positions with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, beginning in 1976, including speech-language pathologist, special education program specialist, special education administrator, and alternative education director. In addition, she has been an active member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, California Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Association for the Supervision, and Curriculum Development, and ACSA Diablo Managers Association, where she served as president from 2008-2009.

Gaines earned a masters' degree in speech and hearing from Washington University, St. Louis, Mo, and a bachelor's degree in communications disorders from St. Louis University, Saint Louis, Mo. In addition, she has earned a number of education-related certifications, credentials, and licenses.

The Association of California School Administrators was established in 1971. ACSA is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the nation, serving more than 14,500 school leaders.

The mission of the Association of California School Administrators, the driving force of education in California and beyond, is to ensure the creation of communities of learning and teaching that serve both the aspirations of individual students and the greater good of society, through this unique and indispensable coalition distinguished by: 

  • bold and authoritative advocacy;
  • dedication to the highest personal and professional ethics;
  • inspirational networks of discovery and sharing of knowledge;
  • mutual commitment to excellence;
  • universal accessibility to learning.

Campolindo High School named East County Regional
2014 Academic Decathlon Champion

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., February 6, 2014 – At last night's exciting Academic Decathlon Awards Reception, Campolindo High School (Moraga) Red Team won the 2014 East County Regional Academic Decathlon. Along with being the Regional winner, the Campolindo Red Team will also represent Contra Costa County in the California State Academic Decathlon competition. This is the third year in a row that the Campolindo Red team has won Academic Decathlon. Following in the Regional and Contra Costa County divisions were Acalanes High School (Lafayette), (a very close) second, and the Campolindo Blue team, third.

Dublin High School (Dublin), who came in fifth overall in the Regional competition, won the Alameda County contest for the second year in a row.

Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the county's 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 curriculum includes art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, essay, interview, speech (prepared and impromptu), and the Super Quiz™. Test was held during the past two Saturdays.

Approximately, 170 participating high school students have been studying and preparing for this event with their coaches since September. This year's Academic Decathlon theme was World War I, and the Super Quiz™ focused on the areas the participating students had been preparing for with the comprehension portion of Academic Decathlon, e.g., science, art, economics, and literature.

This year's teams represent the following high schools: Acalanes (Lafayette), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Concord (Concord), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), and Pittsburg (Pittsburg).

East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon participating schools from Alameda County were Irvington (Fremont) and Dublin (Dublin).

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).

High schools that have more than nine students who want to participate in Academic Decathlon, can field more than one team, e.g., Campolindo's Red and Blue Teams and Pittsburg's Black and Orange Teams. The teams can also bring guests or alternate participants from their school.

The Campolindo High School Red Team and Dublin High School will now represent Contra Costa and Alameda Counties at the California State Academic Decathlon, to be held in Sacramento, March 20-23.

The 2014 East Bay Region Academic Decathlon overall school rankings:

Campolindo Red (Contra Costa County)
Acalanes (Contra Costa County)
Campolindo Blue (Contra Costa County)
Freedom (Contra Costa County)
Dublin (Alameda County)
California (Contra Costa County)
Pittsburg Black (Contra Costa County)
Concord (Contra Costa County)
Irvington (Alameda County)
Miramonte (Contra Costa County)
Pittsburg Orange (Contra Costa County)
Las Lomas (Contra Costa County)

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

Individual Awards

East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon
Top Scoring Individual – Honor Marina Han
Campolindo Red

East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon
Top Scoring Individual – Scholastic Daylon Srinivasan
Acalanes

East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon
Top Scoring Individual – Varsity Vikram Bhaduri
Campolindo Red

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 Honolulu, Hawaii, April 24 – 26.

Note: jpeg team photo of the Campolindo Red Team, with their medals, as well as photos of all participating teams, with their team banners, are available upon request.


More than 300 educators are expected at the
4th Annual San Francisco Bay Area STEAM Colloquium

WHAT:
More than 300 educators from around the Bay Area and across the state have registered for the 4th Annual San Francisco Bay Area STEAM Colloquium, titled "Full STEAM Ahead: at the Corner of Common Core and STEAM". This event is sold out. Presented by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), the STEAM Colloquium is a forum to discuss and share best practices in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) education. This event continues to bring together numerous K-12 educators, administrators, professionals, legislative policy makers, college and university educators, community organizations, and businesses to present and discuss how to best to continue to advance STEAM education into our classrooms.

Here is the STEAM Colloquium's program of events.

The STEAM Colloquium's Coordinator Hilary Dito reports that the daylong program will address significant issues in implementing STEAM education with Common Core Standards into our schools by showcasing current successful examples. The Colloquium's agenda will feature a number of outstanding breakout sessions, as well as featured plenary presentations.

ACTION:
More than 300 STEAM educators, plus numerous presenters, from the San Francisco Bay Area and across California will be in attendance. Video and still photos, as well as audio recording are welcome.

WHEN:
Friday, February 7, 2013, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE:
The San Ramon Valley Conference Center, 3301 Crow Canyon Rd, San Ramon, CA.

WHO:
For additional info, contact Hilary Dito, at (925) 942-3396.
Follow the STEAM Colloquium on Twitter: #steamcolloq


January 2014

County Office of Education deputy superintendent recognized

deputy superintendent Karen SakataPleasant Hill, Calif. January 31, 2014 – Earlier this week, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region VI (Contra Costa & Alameda Counties) and Diablo Valley Charter organizations awarded Contra Costa County Office of Education Deputy Superintendent Karen Sakata with the Central Office Administrator of the Year. After earning these two honors (Region VI and Diablo Valley Charter), Sakata will now move on as a state nominee for the ACSA State honors. These awardees will be announced this coming March.

Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D, comment on Sakata, "Karen is much deserving of this award. She has tremendous knowledge in all aspects of school leadership, including personnel, student programs and services, budget and finance, curriculum and instruction, and facilities. She is hard working, dedicated, and an inspirational educational leader. Karen has a special gift to hold people accountable, but at the same time is supportive and treats them with the utmost respect."

The criteria for a candidate just to be nominated for this accolade are quite impressive and extensive. "Karen demonstrates exemplary performance in all the award's benchmarks," continues Dr. Ovick. Sakata brings more than 38 years of experience as an education administrator and teacher. Last year, she was named the CCCOE's second-in-command, when she became the deputy superintendent.

Prior to her serving in her current position, Sakata had been the CCCOE'S associate superintendent, human resources, a position she transferred to after working as the agency's associate superintendent, student programs and services, from July 2008 to July 2010. Before joining the CCCOE, she was the principal of Ayers Elementary School, in Concord (Mt. Diablo Unified School District). Previous to her principal position, Sakata worked primarily as a special education program specialist, special education teacher, and administrator in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Her teaching positions included serving as a special education teacher, speech and language pathologist, resource specialist, and an early childhood specialist.

Sakata holds an M.A. in speech pathology from San Jose State University and a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, at Berkeley. In addition, she has earned a number of education-related certifications, credentials, and licenses.

The Association of California School Administrators was established in 1971. ACSA is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the nation, serving more than 14,500 school leaders.

The mission of the Association of California School Administrators, the driving force of education in California and beyond, is to ensure the creation of communities of learning and teaching that serve both the aspirations of individual students and the greater good of society, through this unique and indispensable coalition distinguished by:

  • bold and authoritative advocacy;
  • dedication to the highest personal and professional ethics;
  • inspirational networks of discovery and sharing of knowledge;
  • mutual commitment to excellence; and
  • universal accessibility to learning.

East Bay Regional 2014 Academic Decathlon concludes with the always electrifying SuperQuiz™

WHAT:
This year's East Bay Regional 2014 High School Academic Decathlon, which takes place over two consecutive Saturdays, will conclude this coming Saturday, (part one, was held the morning of January 25). Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the county's 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 curriculum includes art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, essay, interview, speech (prepared and impromptu), and the SuperQuiz™.

Approximately, 170 participating high school students have been studying and preparing for this event with their coaches since September. This year's Academic Decathlon theme is World War I, and the Super Quiz™ will focus on the areas the participating students have been preparing for with the comprehension portion of Academic Decathlon, e.g., science, art, economics, literature, and music.

ACTION:
Providing outstanding audio, video, and photo opportunities, the approximately 60-minute SuperQuiz™ portion of the Athletic Decathlon (a team-relay event) always produces the excitement and electrifying mixture of the remaining minute of a tied county-wide 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.

WHO:
This year's teams represent the following high schools: Acalanes (Lafayette), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Concord (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 two years. Dublin High was last year's Alameda County winner.

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 20-23. This year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 24 – 26.
(The winning Contra Costa and Alameda County teams will represent their county in the California State Academic Decathlon.)

DATES / LOCATIONS:
Saturday, February 1, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.;
Los Medanos College
(gymnasium), 2700 E. Leland Rd., Pittsburg
** SuperQuiz™ begins at 2:30 p.m., finishing around 3:30 p.m.

Best time for photo, video, and audio opportunities:
**Saturday, February 2, 2:30 3:30 p.m. at Los Medanos College (gymnasium)—The SuperQuiz™ Relay.

Monday, February 5, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.; Sequoia Middle School, 265 Boyd Rd.,
Pleasant Hill—Academic Decathlon Awards Ceremony.

For more information about the San Francisco East Bay Academic Decathlon,
contact Terry Koehne, CCCOE, at 925-942-3420.

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.


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

MARTINEZ, Calif., January 15, 2014—Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professionals are needed to provide assistance to their future brethren at the upcoming 33rd Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Program, held in the early evenings throughout the month of February, at the Martinez Court Houses. Last year, 100 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys, law students, and sworn judges volunteered their time with the Mock Trials.

Coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), Mock Trial is an academic event provided for high school students. The hands-on educational program was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. This year's trial is a murder case: People v. Concha.

"I encourage all law professionals to join us in serving as volunteer judges and attorney scorers," says Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Barry Goode. "Not only is it a real service to the students, but it will make you feel good. You will be impressed with the skill these young men and women demonstrate in our courtrooms. Every time I volunteer, I leave with a great sense of optimism about the next generation. It is such a treat to watch them at work." Judge Goode has been a long-time Mock Trial volunteer.

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

Volunteers will score two competing schools that argue the cases in their assigned court. Each night, will begin with a 15-minute rules and regulations session, 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 18 Contra Costa County high schools will be competing:

Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch (Antioch), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza High (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Northgate (Walnut Creek), and Richmond (Richmond).  

Schedule for 2014 Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials:

Preliminaries: February 4, 6, 11, 13, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Nine competitions each night)
Quarterfinals: February 18, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Four competitions)
Semifinals: February 20, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Two competitions)
Final and Consolation: February 25, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Two competitions)

Mock Trial will be headquartered at the A.F. Bray Courthouse, 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 25. The winning team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in San Jose, Calif., March 21–23. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Madison, Wisconsin, May 8-12.

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

October 2014

Ebola Facts and Information From Contra Costa Health

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

To Parents, Students, School Employees and Volunteers: With the news of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and of the recent arrival of the disease in the United States, many of you may have questions and concerns. At this time there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in Contra Costa County, or any reported cases in California, and the risk of someone becoming infected in our community remains very low.

As your county public health department, we at Contra Costa Health Services wanted to share the facts about Ebola, and let you know about the proactive steps being taken to keep the community as safe as possible from Ebola and other serious diseases.

Many people are understandably concerned about the possibility of becoming exposed to Ebola through travel, particularly air travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some information regarding this on its website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/ebola.

It is important to understand that Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of a sick person. Infected people become contagious when they begin experiencing symptoms, which include fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Ebola does not spread through the air. The only people who are likely to become infected with Ebola are those who are in direct contact with a person who is or was sick at the time of contact. In this case, “direct contact” means that the body fluids of an Ebola patient would need to touch your eyes nose, mouth, or through broken skin.

Though the risk of an Ebola case appearing in Contra Costa County is low, we must still be prepared and are taking steps to protect our community. All of the county's hospitals and other parts of the healthcare system are working together to ensure that our plans are up to date for safely detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients to protect the public and contain the disease, should the need arise.

We are in regular communication with the school districts to ensure your schools are informed about the latest developments on this disease.

To learn more about Ebola, or to keep up with local information about the disease, visit www.cchealth.org/ebola. The CDC also maintains current information about Ebola at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola. If you have any questions about Ebola, contact your healthcare provider or call the Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease Program at 925-313-6740.

William B. Walker, M.D.
Director and Health Officer
Contra Costa Health Services


 

Prevention Tips for Enteroviruses

The following is a letter to School Administrators, Teachers, and Daycare Providers from Contra Costa Health Services.

As your school prepares for cold and flu season, please remember that the Contra Costa Public Health is available to answer questions, provide information and support your efforts to protect students and staff from getting ill.

One of the most important ways that you can help is to encourage staff, students and families to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible. Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

We also hope you will promote frequent hand washing with soap and water at your school, and teach younger children how to do a good job. We have included links to hand-washing signage that you can post in hallways, bathrooms, classrooms and the lunch room.

We are counting on you to let us know when an unusual number of students in a class get sick with a respiratory illness OR have vomiting or diarrhea. We can provide advice about when to send notifications to families, how long children should stay home from class and how to help people who were potentially exposed to a disease.

Many of you have questions and concerns about Enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68), the respiratory illness affecting children across the country. We do anticipate EV-D68 cases in Contra Costa County, and are working with local hospitals and providers to test people hospitalized with serious respiratory infections. EV-D68 is concerning because it can be serious for certain people, particularly children with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses, and they are very common in children. This enterovirus, EV-D68, is not new – it was first identified in 1962 – and it mostly causes symptoms that are similar to those of a cold or flu, such as cough, sneezing, runny nose, body aches, or fever. Many children infected this year by EV-D68, however, do NOT have a fever.

EV-D68 can spread from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or contaminates a surface with respiratory secretions. It can also spread through contact with stool (poop). Measures we can all take to stay healthy include:

  • Avoid touching the face (nose, mouth and eyes) with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Encourage everyone to cover their coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash frequently with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand cleaners do not kill enteroviruses.

Clean often-touched surfaces, such as toys and door handles, especially if someone is sick. Disinfect them with a diluted bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon water) or another EPA-approved disinfecting product that indicates use for non-enveloped viruses (such as norovirus).

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS AND RESOURCES:
The Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease Programs can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 925-313-6740 (phone) or 925-313-6465 (fax).
More information may be found at cchealth.org/enterovirus/ or cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/ev-d68.html

October 2013

Bats Can Carry Rabies—Don't Bring Them to School

Has anyone ever brought a bat to your school or classroom? It happens more than you might think.

Three times in the past year, the Public Health Division of the county health department has received reports of elementary school students bringing bats to classrooms for show-and-tell. In two of those cases, parents gave their children the bats to take to school with them. These parents didn't realize bats are often carriers of rabies and they were putting their kids and others at risk. Please make sure parents, students and teachers know that bats should never, ever be brought to school.

Of the 252 animals that tested positive for rabies in California last year, 227 of them were bats. Handling a rabid bat can result in exposure to the virus through unnoticed scratches or bites (bats have very small teeth and sometimes people don't realize they've been bitten). Even coming into contact with a dead bat can be dangerous.

Though rabies infections in people are rare in the U.S., once symptoms begin rabies is almost always fatal, making it crucial that an exposed person receive treatment to prevent rabies. Fortunately, none of the children who brought the bats to their schools got sick, although one child did need shots because the bat she showed her teacher later tested positive for rabies.

These episodes at Contra Costa schools reinforce the need to educate people about the risks of handling wildlife, especially bats.

For more information about rabies, including what to do if you do have contact with a bat, please visit cchealth.org/rabies


January 2012

Controlling the Spread of Norovirus in Schools
and Child Care Settings

Outbreaks of norovirus infection are more likely to occur during winter months within institutions such as residential facilities, hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, and child care settings. The virus is easily spread from person-to-person through direct contact, contact with contaminated surfaces, and ingestion of contaminated food. This information is provided by Contra Costa County Communicable Disease Control to assist with the recognition and control of norovirus infections in schools and child care facilities.

Norovirus Characteristics
The typical symptoms of norovirus are nausea, vomiting, low-grade fever, abdominal cramps, and watery, non-bloody diarrhea. Vomiting is more common in children. Symptoms usually develop within 24 to 48 hours after exposure, but can appear as early as 12 hours. Illness typically lasts 12 to 60 hours and usually will resolve on its own.
Norovirus is spread very easily from person to person, and people can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus.
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then eating or placing their hand in their mouth.
  • Having direct contact with another person who has norovirus. Examples include, caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill.

The virus can persist on surfaces in the environment for weeks and is not destroyed by many disinfecting products. When an individual with norovirus handles or prepares food and drinks improperly, they can contaminate those items and can cause infections in people who consume those products; therefore, food workers with diarrhea or vomiting should not work until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped.

Re-infection can occur multiple times during a lifetime. An outbreak of norovirus infection is suspected when more than two students and/or staff in a facility or classroom have symptoms of this virus, starting within a 48 hour period. Report any suspected outbreaks to Communicable Disease Programs at 925-313-6740.

Diagnosis and Treatment
Individuals with diarrhea and vomiting should drink plenty of fluids and follow the control measures on the next page to prevent spread in their households. There is no vaccine or specific therapy for norovirus infection; treatment is supportive and focuses on preventing dehydration. If symptoms do not improve, individuals should contact their primary care physician. Confirmatory laboratory testing for norovirus during an outbreak can be arranged through the Contra Costa Public Health Laboratory by contacting the Communicable Disease Program. During community-wide outbreaks or periods of high norovirus transmission, laboratory diagnosis may not be necessary.

Control Measures
Strict infection control practices are necessary to control norovirus spread. Hands should be washed vigorously with soap and warm water for> 20 seconds:

Wash Hands AFTER:

  • Toilet visits
  • Cleaning up vomit or diarrhea
  • Changing diapers
  • Handling soiled clothing or linens
  • Contact with a symptomatic person
  • Sneezing, coughing

Wash Hands BEFORE:

  • Eating or feeding children
  • Food preparation
  • Serving food
  • Providing healthcare services

Read Complete Article Here
Contra Costa Health Services Link

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Page updated on: November 20, 2014

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