The JavaScript support is disabled on your browser. JavaScript is required to view this page correctly.
Please enable JavaScript and refresh this page.



Chief Communications Officer

Communications Specialist/Teacher of the Year/Media Relations

Communications FAX

Main Content

News and Press Releases

CCCOE Press Releases - 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

March 2018

CCCOE's Strawberry Corner provides an excellent
training ground for future restaurant workers

student waiters at Strawberry Corner CafeCONCORD, Calif., March 8, 2018—Recently, on a chilly, cloudy winter's day, there was better place to warm up and fill up than the long-standing Strawberry Corner café, located on the Contra Costa County Office of Education's (CCCOE) Marchus School (special education) campus, in Concord. On this day, the bustling little eatery was in the middle of its annual Dine-In Service at Strawberry Corner program.

The CCCOE's Strawberry Corner is a restaurant occupation class training program (CTE/ROP), opened for students with special needs, ages 18-22, who are learning community transitional skills to better assimilate in the general public. Instructor Laurel Patterson reports, “Our program is open to students who need a little extra help, and come from nine school districts in Contra Costa County. The students are with us for a half of the day, and usually spend the second half of the day with independent-living skills programs. Here at Strawberry Corner, we teach basic restaurant skill, including cooking, serving, busing, cashiering, and dishwashing. In addition, we teach job skills, including how to find employment and how to fill out a job application.”

During the first two weeks of March, it is tradition for the students test some of the skills they have been learning, by coming out behind the kitchen and counter and provided full table service. The waiters and waitresses were professionally dressed in black slacks, white shirts with ties, and aprons. On this particular day, there were table reservations for parties two to four customers. The luncheon guests were primarily administration employees of the CCCOE.

The wait staff would each greet a dining party, seat them, and take their beverage and lunch orders. On this particular day, the hamburger and meatloaf daily special were especially popular. The waiters and waitresses would then serve the lunches, take away the empty plates, followed by successfully tempting their guests with a delicious chocolate cake and ice cream dessert. Each server would complete their table service by clearing all the table’s plates, adding and presenting each diner with their check, and then running the checks and payments through a cash register.

Marchus School Principal Dave Fendel said, “The Dine-In Service program is an excellent opportunity for our students to obtain real-life experience, dress for success, and receive an excellent simulation of what it would be like to work in a real restaurant setting. Their instructor, Laurel Patterson, does an excellent job of preparing the students to be professional restaurant workers.”

Though the skies were still clouded over, every customer walked out of Strawberry Corner filled with a delicious lunch and very impressed with their service. While at the same time, their servers were proud of the job they did with this excellent life-skills opportunity. And, the non-required tips they earned were pretty cool, as well.

February 2018

California High School's Mock Trial Team
Named Champions of County

2018 Mock Trial winning team California High SchoolPLEASANT HILL, Calif., February 22, 2018 — The 37th Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials' Awards Ceremony was held tonight at the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), in Pleasant Hill. After remarks given by Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Mary Ann O'Malley, the Mock Trial coaches presented individual awards to their exceptional-performing students. The joyous event concluded with naming of this year's championship team: California High School (San Ramon).

The California High team beat Alhambra High (Martinez), this past Tuesday night in the final round of Mock Trials, inside the Bray Courthouse, in Martinez. The final match was judged and scored by First District Court of Appeal, Division Five, Justice Terence Bruiniers, along with seven Bay Area attorneys, serving as Mock Trial scorers.

Also noteworthy, Acalanes High (Lafayette) defeated Monte Vista High (Danville) during the same evening's consolation match.

This year's top four teams were ranked: 1) California, 2) Alhambra, 3) Acalanes, 4) Monte Vista. California High last took county top team honors during the 2015 and 2014 seasons.

Honored guest Judge O'Malley was on hand to address the large crowd with accounts of this year's Mock Trials. “You proved that nothing substitutes for hard work! During the past month, many of my fellow judges who participated with your Mock Trials, said over, and over, and over again, how you guys were so much more better than the professional attorneys they saw earlier in the day!” Judge O’Malley continued, “I've always been with impressed the participants of Mock Trials... but this year, it was really something extra special with your outstanding preparation and delivery.”

For numerous Mock Trial seasons, Judge O'Malley has always been known for providing a very positive learning environment in her courtroom, taking and passing along useful notes, and giving motivational comments to every participant, after the trial concludes.

 For the past four weeks (seven evenings), California High School and 14 other Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams have been battling it out with each other inside the superior courthouse courtrooms of Martinez. Each school alternate, providing a providing a prosecution or defense teams. As like their fellow Mock Trial Teams throughout the nation, the teams presented People v. Davidson, a criminal case involving first-degree murder and a pretrial argument on the Fourth Amendment.

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

Lead by teacher coach Brian Barr and attorney coaches Larry Lowe, and Ken Mifsud, California High School’s Mock Trial team will now represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, March 16-18, 2018, in Orange County. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held May 10-13, Reno, Nevada.

Teams from the following 15 Contra Costa County high schools competed:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza High (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Pinole Valley (Pinole), Richmond (Richmond).

** For all the team and individual results, visit the Contra Costa County Office of Education's Mock Trial results Web page.

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

This year, an impressive 91 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys, senior law students, and sworn judges volunteered their time to serve as Mock Trial Attorney Scorers and Judges. These volunteers represented judges from Bay Area Superior Courts, the California Bankruptcy Court, the California Supreme Court, and the California Appellate Court. Attorney Scorers included Bay Area attorneys from county District Attorney and Public Defender offices, the State Attorney General’s Office, and the California Department of Justice. Also assisting, were non-profit, public, private, and corporate attorneys. In addition, senior students from five Bay Area law schools lent a hand in scoring.

jpeg photos of the top teams are available upon request


The 14th Annual Young Children's Issues Forum
to be held on March 17

Pleasant Hill, Calif., February 22, 2018 — The public is invited to The 14th Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, to be held on Saturday, March 17, at the Pleasant Hill Community Center, 320 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill. The day's program will be divided in two parts: The Forum will run 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., with the Community Stakeholder Focus Group following 12:00-2:00 p.m.

This year's theme is Speak Out for All Children: Educate and Advocate. The annual community event is sponsored and organized by the Contra Costa Local Planning & Advisory Council for Early Care and Education (LPC), and is coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).

The purpose of the program is to provide a forum for discussion among legislators, local-elected officials, public-agency representatives, business leaders, and the community regarding current children's issues. Annually, this award-winning special presentation is a favorite for numerous local-elected officials to take part in, as presenters and/or in question-and-answer sessions.

The Forum: Join state legislators, local elected officials, business leaders, early childhood teachers, families, and community advocates in a dialogue about proposed statewide initiatives, public policy trends and their impact on investments in early education and workforce pathways for teachers. Certificates showing three hours of professional growth will be given to attendees at the end of The Forum.

Community Stakeholder Focus Group: Connect with teachers, providers, and community advocates in a table discussion focusing on possible new professional development opportunities for early care and education teachers in Contra Costa County. Certificates showing five hours of professional growth will be given to participants who have attended the Forum and the Focus Group.

For more information about the 14th Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, please contact Melody Yee at (925) 942-5313 or visit: Tickets for this program are $15 per person, and can be purchased via this Eventbrite link. Tickets also include continental breakfast, lunch and resource fair.

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

2018 Contra Costa County Teacher/Certificated
Staff Recruitment Fair

MARTINEZ, Calif., February 15, 2018 – The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) will present its annual Contra Costa County Teacher/Certificated Staff Recruitment Fair, on Saturday, February 24, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m., at Alhambra High School's gymnasium, located at 150 East St., in Martinez.

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

Along with the CCCOE, representatives from 16 Contra Costa County school districts will be on hand, as well as a number of the county’s charter schools. In addition, representatives from local universities will also be attending to talk to those interested about their teaching programs and earning teaching credentials.

For additional information about this free event, contact Kandi Gravenmier at (925) 942-3387 or visit the CCCOE's human resources website.

January 2018

County Board of Education Selects First
African American Board President

Superintendent Karen Sakata with County Board President Fatima AlleynePleasant Hill, Calif.,– The Contra Costa County Board of Education recently selected Fatima Alleyne, Ph.D. as the Board's new president for 2018. Dr. Alleyne, who was elected in November, 2016 as the Area 1 Board member representing West Contra Costa County, was selected by the five-member Board. Area 4 Board member, Jeff Belle was selected as vice-president.

Dr. Alleyne, who succeeds Mike Maxwell, becomes the first-ever African American to be selected as the County Board president.

“I am thrilled and honored to assume this role and to assist our Board in carrying out its mission of serving the education community of Contra Costa County,” said Alleyne. “I ran for County Board of Education because I believe all students deserve access to a quality public education, and this Board plays an important role in making that happen.”

As the first African American Board president for Contra Costa County, Dr. Alleyne follows in the footsteps of Karen Sakata, who in 2014 was elected as the first-ever female superintendent in the county and first-ever Asian American superintendent in California.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Alleyne in her new role and I am confident that she will continue to lead the Board with integrity,” said Sakata. “The success of our agency depends largely on a collaborative relationship between the Board president and the County superintendent.”

Dr. Alleyne holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Hunter College, M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from UC Berkeley. Prior to running for the County Board of Education, she was employed as a research general engineer for the federal government and a researcher and instructor at UC Berkeley. She has been highly involved in her community and the West Contra Costa Unified School District including her service on the Community Budget Advisory Committee, School Site Council, Parent Teacher Association and Healthy Richmond Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Video Committee. She currently works as an education consultant for FA Consulting and the Center for Restorative Justice, and has been a west county resident for more than 10 years.

The Contra Costa County Board of Education is the elected Board of Education for the County of Contra Costa. The Board of Education consists of five members elected by trustee districts to staggered four-year terms. Each Board member represents a different area of the county and must be a registered voter in that area. The County Board of Education serves as the governing board for the juvenile court schools operated by the County Office of Education. The Board also reviews and approves the County Office of Education budget, hears appeals on charter school petitions, interdistrict transfers and student expulsion cases, and acts as the County Committee on School District Organization which reviews changes in school district boundaries. The other four Board members include Vikki Chavez (Area 2), Christine Deane (Area 3), Jeff Belle (Area 4) and Mike Maxwell (Area 5).

Local educators spend their day off learning and sharing

Teachers gathered at a breakout session at the 2018 EdCamp Concord, Calif., January 29, 2018 – On a rare beautiful winter’s day, approximately 125 K-12 teachers, instructional coaches, and education administrators from all around Contra Costa County, and beyond, exchanged their Saturday day off for a full day of learning and sharing about the professional careers they had chosen, at the Second Annual Edcamp Contra Costa, held at the CSU East Bay, Concord Campus. Once again, the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) produced the free and very successful conference this past Saturday, January 27.

“This education conference is not your typical 'sit and get' affair – it is participant-driven, professionally developed, and created by educators for educators,” reports the conference's manager, Nicholas Zefeldt, CCCOE's Instructional Technology Coordinator. “Teaching is a deeply personal craft,” continues Zefeldt. “And, there’s is no better time than January for educators to take a step back from their classrooms and reflect on why and how they teach.” Following the conference's theme, “Reflecting on our Educational Traditions,” Edcamp Contra Costa assisted participants in recharging their teaching batteries and left the event inspired to tackle the second half of the school year.

Edcamp began the morning with a keynote address by Abby Van Muijen entitled, “Visual Notetaking for Educators,” and concluding the day with Sarah Landis’ plenary entitled, “Traditions: The Good, The Bad, The Innovative.” Sandwiched between, were more than 15 teacher-designed and teacher-led Edcamp breakout sessions, with topics including: Google apps for training, teaching computer science using, and funding classroom projects. During the lunch hour, it was fun to watch all the participants sharing in fellowship and collaborative discussions about the latest educational techniques and experienced teaching knowledge.

“I loved all the ideas, the hands on, and the wonderful take away ideas!,” said one Brentwood Union School District teacher. “It was great to come and share my experience in running a STEAM program with others, and to gather ideas for incorporating more Art into STEAM,” reported a West Contra Costa Unified School District teacher. “Hands down, Abby Van Muijen 's keynote was great! Her message came at just the right time for me,” said a Benicia Unified School District administrator.

At the end of the conference, it was evident that all of the attendees left with new knowledge, inspiration, and friends.

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

MARTINEZ, Calif., January 5, 2018 - Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professionals are needed to provide assistanc to their future brethren at the upcoming 37th Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Program, held on seven early weekday evenings during February and January, at the Martinez Court Rooms. Last year, close to 100 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys and sworn judges, as well as third-year law students volunteered their time with the Mock Trials.

Coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), Mock Trial is an academic event provided for high school students. The hands-on educational program was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. This year's case, People v. Davidson, is a criminal case involving 1st degree murder and a pre-trial argument on the Fourth Amendment.

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

Teams of high school students work with teachers and volunteer coaches to prepare their version of the criminal case, from both the prosecution and defense perspectives. Students assume the roles of trial attorneys, pre-trial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, bailiffs, artists, and court journalists. Mock Trial judges and attorneys score their performance and provide immediate feedback. Winning teams advance through seven rounds of competition. The county's champion advances to the State finals. This year, there will be 15 Mock Trial teams competing, representing high schools throughout all of Contra Costa County.

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

Teams from the following 15 Contra Costa County high schools will be competing:

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

Schedule for 2018 Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials: Preliminaries: January 30; February 1, 6, 8, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Eight competitions each night)

Quarterfinals: February 13, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Four competitions)

Semifinals: February 15, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Two competitions)

Final and Consolation: February 20, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Two competitions) Mock Trial will be headquartered at the A.F. Bray Courthouse, 1020 Ward Street, in Martinez.

Interested volunteers can learn more by visiting the CCCOE's Mock Trial Web page, or contacting Jonathan Lance at (925) 942-3429.

The two highest-scoring teams will advance to the finals on Tuesday, February 20. The winning team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in Santa Ana, Calif., March 16-18. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held May 10-12, Reno, Nevada.

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.

return to top of page

Page updated on: March 15, 2018

Rev: 0.4-010514-BETA4