Thursday, January 22, 2015

Millennium Charter High School gets five year extension

Millennium Charter High School, one of the newest charters in Monterey County, was re-authorized for another five years by the Monterey County Board of Education.

Millennium opened in August 2013, and the following year was named by the California Department of Education a "model demonstration site" for Career Technical Education (CTE) in the Arts, Media and Entertainment pathway. Located in two sites -- the Monterey County Office of Education and Sherwood Hall -- the school offers traditional academic preparation with an emphasis on visual and performing arts, digital media technology. The school currently serves students in grades 9-11 and will add a 12 grade in 2015-2016.

Unlike most charters that have been denied in recent years, Millennium began as an effort by educators and performing arts professionals.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

CSUMB's Maria Villaseñor earns national honor

Maria Villaseñor, associate professor and coordinator of the First-Year Seminar program at Cal State Monterey Bay, has received national recognition as an outstanding champion for freshmen students.

Villaseñor is one of 10 recipients in the country chosen as “Outstanding First-Year Advocates” by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience at the University of South Carolina. She was selected from a group of 116 educators nominated by their colleges and universities.

She will be recognized for her commitment to student success at a conference next month in Dallas.

“Professor Villaseñor has distinguished herself as an effective and tireless advocate for first-year students, especially first-generation students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Provost Bonnie Irwin said in her letter of nomination.

“Students and instructors alike are effusive in their praise of Professor Villaseñor’s work in support of student success.”

In addition to her work with the First-Year Seminar program, Villaseñor teaches classes in the Division of Humanities and Communication in Chicano Studies and literature. She holds a Ph.D. in ethnic studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

She's also the mother of two lovely girls, twins. How do you do it all, Maria? Felicidades, mujer!

MPUSD to look at how money gets distributed

In light of the very harsh report issued last week into MPUSD internal workings, it'd be very interesting to see what happens Thursday, when trustees and the public hear from a very reputable organization and its analysis on how MPUSD allocates its resources.

WestEd, a nonprofit research and development agency which works to improve education, was invited by MPUSD to analyze how it splits up its money pie. Similarly to what the auditors did, WestEd analyzed data, interviewed people, and will give recommendations at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

"This study will help MPUSD identify opportunities to optimize how resources are aligned to improve student outcomes, and most importantly, to assist the district in determining whether and how to best implement the recommendations they provide," spokeswoman Marci McFadden wrote in an email.

The meeting will take place at the Instructional Materials Center, 540 Canyon del Rey, Del Rey Oaks. Anybody who's interested in seeing the district move forward in a positive way should be there.