Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Do Mary Claypool and her daughter have anything against Mary White?

To my great relief, most of the speakers at Monday night's meeting of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District board sounded conciliatory. The majority thanked the board for listening to community concerns, and gave ideas about how to move forward.

Get to know your employees, they said. Listen to us. Read more about it here.

Many also reiterated what's become a familiar theme. Find someone local. There are great candidates in our midst, most of the speakers said.

My ears hear "Hire Mary White. Hire Dan Albert."

Except for two speakers. Mary Claypool, a local luminarie in the African American community, executive director of the Monterey County Business Council, trustee at the Monterey County Board of Education, etc, etc., urged the board to look further. Not just hire somebody local because they're already here, she said.

Her daughter, Natividad Medical Center top administrator  Janine Bouyea rang the same note. She expressed her dismay about the conditions at the district and said her son could have done better. She also urged the trustees to open the recruitment process again.

I was puzzled. I got curious, so I started to do some digging. Bouyea's son, Claypool's grandson;  a star athlete, is graduating from Seaside High this year. Mmmm. Is that where the discontent comes from?

I wonder, what could Dr. Mary White could have done to spark the displeasure of these two fine ladies? At at time when their star athlete is about to graduate and move on to a better and brighter future?

Scuttlebutt, I need answers! Get to work!!!!!

One more day to nominate your favorite Monterey County teacher!

Nominations have been pouring in for the lucky teacher who'll be profiled in The Herald in honor of Teacher's day!

But I'm greedy and I want more! Nominate your favorite teacher! I'll give her/him a huge hurrah in the paper!

You have until 5 p.m. May 1 -- that's tomorrow! Hurry!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Kelsey Hill and Jaime Virgen recognized as Salinas Rotary Club students of the month

The Salinas Rotary Club awarded Salinas High School seniors Jaime Virgen and Kelsey Hill the Rotary Students of the Month recognition for March and April, respectively. 

Kelsey Hill is the senior class president of SHS. She is a member of the varsity volleyball and swim teams and the Associated Student Body. She graduates in June and plans to study in Denmark for a year before pursuing further studies.

Jaime Virgen is also a senior and has excelled in theater technology and theater arts. Under the mentorship of teachers Nancy Bernhard and Devon Fisher, he has served as a stage manager or theater technician on over 16 plays and productions held at the Performing Arts Center at Salinas High School. He plans to attend college and continue to pursue his love of theatre, film and entertainment.

Teachers and counselors at Salinas High School nominate and select the Salinas High School Rotary Students of the Month based upon academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, school involvement, and other special talents. The Salinas Rotary Club awards the Salinas High School Rotary Students of the Month a plaque and financial contribution of $50 commending their achievements.

Pictured in the photo are, from left to right,  Brad Gebert, SHS Career Center Counselor; Kelsey Hill, Rotary April Student of the Month; Jaime Virgen, March Student of the Month; and Devon Fisher, SHS Theater Technology teacher.

Hartnell nursing program hosts alumni reception

The Hartnell College Nursing and Allied Health Program will host an alumni reception on Friday, May 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Board Room on the Main Campus, CALL Room 208. All graduates and guests from past RN and LVN programs are invited.

Current nursing students and faculty would like to network with graduates of the program, to talk about new program initiatives, and to offer tours of the new facility, including the simulation laboratory. Refreshments will be served.

RSVP before May 3 by calling 831-770-6146 or by e-mailing nursingandalliedhealth@hartnell.edu.

Masonic Lodges honor Monterey County Teachers!

In cooperation with the Monterey County Superintendent of Schools and several mayors in Monterey County, the Masonic Lodges are inviting teachers and educators to attend an informal reception near their school or home to celebrate “The Day of the Teacher” on Wednesday, May 8 between 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided.

Receptions will take place at:

Carmel Lodge On Lincoln, Between 7th and 8th Streets

Monterey Lodge, 525 Pacific Street

Salinas Lodge, 48 East Joaquin Street

Santa Lucia Lodge, 424 ½ Broadway Avenue, King City

Pacific Grove Lodge, 130 Congress Avenue

Teachers and educators are encouraged to RSVP with name, school and Masonic Lodge they plan to attend to Gene Bassett at genebassett@comcast.net.

Gathering ideas to boost literacy in Monterey County

The Literacy Service Providers Network of Monterey County will host Symia Stigler of Sacramento at its monthly meeting Tuesday, April 30.

Stigler will discuss the process Sacramento is using to develop and implement its 10-year plan to have all their third graders at grade-level reading.

Stigler will outline how Sacramento READS! and the stakeholders in Sacramento were able to draft, organize and implement a Third Grade Literacy Campaign as a ten year initiative with a vision of making Sacramento the first city in the country to have every third grader reading on grade level by the end of third grade.

It promises to be an interesting presentation, particularly as Monterey County gears up its literacy campaign. With the recent hiring of Ron Eastwood to lead the organization, there are already several major events planned for this year. Like the Sacramento campaign, the main goal of the Literacy Campaign for Monterey County is to have all children achieve literacy by the third grade. (Fully disclosure: I'm on the board of directors of the campaign, and very excited about how we're moving forward).

The monthly meeting will take place from 11:30 a.m to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at the conference room, of the Salinas City Elementary District Office, 840 South Main Street, Salinas. RSVP to Crystal Macias Diaz at cmacias@literacycampaignmc.org or 595-2665. Lunch will be provided and sitting is limited. RSVP needed to plan lunches.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Alain Guevara withdraws his candidacy for MPUSD's top job

After facing an unprecedented amount of scrutiny over his involvement in a sexual harassment lawsuit, Alain Guevara of Lake Elsinore Unified has withdrawn his application for the superintendent job at MPUSD.

Board President Jon Hill tells me the board received a letter announcing his decision late Saturday.

I'll write more about it for tomorrow's paper. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Free local showing of "Maestra" -- for teachers!

As part of the May Day Labor Film Festival, Prof. Linday Turner Bynoe of CSUMB will talk about how literacy helped transform Cuba. Her speech will follow the showing of Maestra, a film that depicts how literacy in Cuba was transformed when young women were sent to the countryside in 1961 to work with families. A view of what service to the community can mean for young people and a reminder how much literacy is needed and how it can transform communities.

Bynoe received her Ed. D. in Multicultural Education. She has lectured throughout the United States and at the Cuban Association for the Analysis of Contemporary Education in Cuba.

The event will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27, a the Museum of Monterey.

MAESTRA (Catherine Murphy, 2012, 33 min). Teenage women made up majority of 1961 Cuban literacy brigade.

Other films will be shown as part of Reel Work. For more information, click here.

A modest proposal for MPUSD

The distrust that I hear coming from MPUSD's rank and file is not something that was created overnight. It's something that, deducting from what speakers said Monday during public comments, dates back at least three superintendents.

It's a shame, really. The little I know about the trustees -- most of them former teachers themselves --  tells me they have their heart and minds in the right places. They're working really hard in a seemingly thankless job. Nobody ever seems to be satisfied with what the district does.

I can see why too. After the most exciting portion of the program was over on Monday, two teachers decried the outrageous insurance premiums they have to pay. Class sizes have skyrocketed. Salaries remain stagnant.  Cost of living has gone up. We're working more with a lot less, and our bosses keep demanding more and more. Nothing we do is ever enough, right? I feel your pain, brothers and sisters. We're all on the same boat here.

But quite honestly, I don't think it's productive to blame the superintendent, or the trustees. We're facing a much bigger boogeyman: a changing economy that continues to be transformed and is not assuring us the same benefits we used to have 20 or 30 years ago. Changing mentalities that no longer support everyone should have decent healthcare and guaranteed income for everyone. (See more on that here).

So how does MPUSD move forward in that atmosphere? How does one regain trust? What's the first step?

Here's my modest proposal: trustees name three finalists for the superintendent job, three people the community gets to fully vet. Sort of what community colleges do: the candidates hold public forums, they meet with union leaders and community members and the trustees. Everyone has a chance to dig in their pasts, no surprises anywhere.

If college candidates do it, I don't see why superintendents can't. I'm told by a representative of the Association for California School Administrators nobody would want to have that type of public scrutiny, but these are people paid with public money. If they have nothing to hide, candidates should be willing to submit themselves to this test.

What do trustees get in return? The promise from the community that they're going to respect their final selection, and that they'll make a superhuman effort to support him/her in the new position.

We need to move forward here, folks. A "truth and reconciliation" commission of sorts. Nobody can work in this type of atmosphere, it benefits no one. And it damages those everyone says they're trying to protect: the children.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Don't forget to nominate your favorite teacher!

Deadline to nominate your favorite teacher to be profiled by yours truly in the Herald is coming up!

OK. Still a week away, but hurry! I'll be taking nominations until May 1, then in a completely undemocratic manner, I'll pick my favorite nomination and profile the teacher for the newspaper.

So, celebrate your favorite teacher! Let me know how wonderful s/he is! Send me a note telling me why you think the teacher is great and deserves to be recognized in the paper!

Email me at cmelendez@montereyherald.com, or post it on the blog! Deadline's still May 1.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Six Monterey County Students Take Honors at California State Science Fair

Rohan Bushan and Paul Kunz, 7th graders at the International School of Monterey; Ailis Dooner, a sophomore at Carmel High School; siblings Aradhana and Kapil Sinha, a senior and freshman at Salinas High School respectively; and Montana Sprague, an 8th grader at York School; shone with their projects at the 62nd annual California State Science Fair last week in Los Angeles. Over 1000 participants from 413 schools throughout California competed for top honors.

Bushan and Kunz took third place in the junior division, general microbiology, for their project “Nitrate: A Threat to Plankton.” Their lab research was conducted at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and they examined how nitrate in water sources affect aquatic microorganisms such as plankton.

 Dooner received honorable mention in the senior division, pharmacology/toxicology for her project “Targeting Lung Mutagenesis.” Ailis used laboratory equipment under supervision at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

The Super Sinha Siblings took third place in the senior division, plant biology for their project “Evaluating Peronospora Presence in Salinas Valley & Analyzing DNA Similarity in Downy Mildew Pathogens Affecting Spinach." They discovered downy mildew is infecting Salinas Valley spinach and spreading by contaminated seed. They developed a way to identify the lethal pathogen, and proposed more effective seed screening methods to prevent further spread of Peronospora.

Sprague took second place in the junior division, zoology, for her project, “Can Fish Get Jet-Lagged?” She investigated the effects of circadian rhythm disruptions on the training and memory of common goldfish.

These students earned the opportunity to participate in the California State Science Fair by finishing first in their division and category at the Monterey County Science & Engineering Fair, sponsored by the Monterey County Office of Education, CSUMB, the Naval Postgraduate School, and many community partners, March 8-10, 2013. A total of 23 projects from Monterey County participated at the State Science Fair.

Dooner, and the Super Sinha Siblings will represent Monterey County at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona, May 12-17.

Of test scores, credit card charges, and where the truth really lies...

It's not just the sexual harassment lawsuit that has MPUSD's pants in a tizzy. Opponents to naming Alain Guevara as the new superintendent for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District are citing issues with how Lake Elsinore Unified, the district where Guevara comes from, failed to count migrant students scores in years past and how that inflated their schools and district  Academic Performance Index.

Here's a story about it, courtesy of the Press-Enterprise.

I talked to my personal test scores guru, Doug McRae, to ask his take on it. First of all, he says, a change in rules for API calculations is very different than a cheating scandal, what happened in Atlanta and Washington D.C.  And second he said that "virtually all school administrators in the state pay a lot of attention to API calculation rules, and if those rules permit a district to include or exclude certain students from their calculations and those inclusion/exclusion decisions positively affect their API's, they are likely to use the rules to their own advantage."

"It's not unlike deductions on your tax returns . . . . if you can legitimately claim a deduction, most folks claim it and reduce their taxes regardless whether they think the deduction is "fair" or not, regardless whether others are claiming the deduction or not. A lot of the inclusion/exclustion rules for API calculations are pretty arbitrary [just like rules for tax deductions]."

"But, it appears that Lake Elsinore was the beneficiary of previous rules for inclusion/exclusion of migrant students, at least in terms of absolute API scores, and when the rules changed they were no longer the beneficiary. It makes Lake Elsinore look bad when folks look at absolute API scores before the rules change and after the rules change. But, since the API system is based on changes not from year to year, but rather from base to growth where the rules are the same from base to growth, Lake Elsinore's API gain scores did not benefit from the change in rules."

It could have been, McRae conceded in a conversation, that Lake Elsinore officials were taking advantage of existing rules to make their API scores look better. To find out truly what the intentions were, we probably need a time machine to be sitting at the room where the decision was made.

We likely will never know.

Just like we probably won't know if John Ramirez, superintendent for the Alisal Union School District, really used his credit card in legitimate district business to stay at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco the first weekend in December.

Of lawsuits, trustees, and starting with a clean slate

I was once named as a witness in a racial discrimination lawsuit. From my vantage point, the lawsuit had absolutely no merit at all: yes, the person who filed it was receiving a miserably salary, but it had nothing to do with skin color. It had to do with seniority, budgeting, and a series of other unfortunate events that make corporate America the fun place it is.

I've never seen lawsuits the same way since then. Add to that the fact that I've done my fair share of courts coverage, and the end result is my belief that hardly ever what lands in court is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

This bring us to Alain Guevara, the man who was picked as the new superintendent of MPUSD in spite of being named in a sexual harassment lawsuit. I can see why trustees would believe in his arguments. He hasn't been convicted, he's only been accused. And why destroy an entire, 20-plus-year career with a few lapses of judgement?

Here's what I don't get. Why, in the name of Jolly, would the trustees put themselves in this position?

After the bruising battles they had to fight to defend former Superintendent Marilyn Shepherd -- with salaries, with her departure, with the closure of Bay View, etc -- why would they put themselves in that position again? With someone who's not even in the district yet? Was there nobody more palatable and suit-free than Guevara? Is he that AWE-SOME (using my teenager voice here) that there can't possibly be anyone like him? Are the trustees that courageous that they're willing to defy the outcry that was sure to follow?

Or are they just naive?

Or do they just know that, no matter who they pick, the community is never going to be happy?

Board President Curt Parker told me he wants to bring in Guevara because he's the type of man who would bring in people who have not been felt a part of MPUSD. I get that too. The district's already more than 50 percent Latino, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the people who attend board meetings. Maybe if you have a Latino in charge, the common folk would feel more welcome? Who knows?

And there's another thing that I don't get. The lawsuit talks about not just one incident, but what appeared to be a pattern of behavior. Can the sense of humor that apparently so many people found acceptable at Lake Elsinore -- a place where Guevara worked for about 20 years -- be replicated here?

Like teacher April McMillan wrote to Parker " if you have to be defending Mr. Guevara's decision to wear a clown hat with two noses dangling from it at an administrators retreat, you should not be offering him a job."

Scuttlebutt tells me plenty of people will be showing up to tonight's board meeting to express their dissatisfaction. Given past history, it's unlikely that will change anything.

But it will make for good theater. See you tonight.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Teacher appreciation week is coming! Who should I profile?

We all know one -- or many: the great teachers that change our lives. Or are helping shape the lives of our kids right now.

To honor the time and dedication of these teachers, National PTA celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week on May 6-10, 2013.

“Much like a parent, a teacher’s work is never done. We know that teachers go above and beyond the call of duty today, and we want to recognize that by sharing simple, yet thoughtful ways to thank a teacher in your child’s life during PTA Teacher Appreciation Week,” said Betsy Landers, National PTA President. “We also encourage parents and families to look for ways to remain involved in their child’s education throughout the school year by working with teachers to create a positive learning environment for both students and staff.”

So the National PTA is suggesting a few ways we could honor a teacher:

Host a breakfast – gather other parents and staff to join you in showing appreciation for teachers.

Dedicate a book – have a copy of your teacher’s favorite book donated to the library in his/her name. Say thank you – sometimes a simple, but personal notecard or email is all it takes to make a teacher’s week. Or have students and parents create a giant thank you card together for display in the school lobby. Make sure teachers hear the value of their work from the students themselves by sharing thank you messages through art work, videos or poems.

Help stock a classroom – contribute classroom materials such as paper, stickers, chalk, ink pads or any other little extras.

Encourage your child to interview his/her teacher and write a short story. Publish stories throughout the year in the school’s paper.

Decorate the teacher’s lounge – place flowers, notecards or snacks to make the lounge a teacher’s retreat.

Coordinate a car wash and invite school staff and teachers to get their vehicles washed for free.

Organize student contests that will help them get to know their teacher better such as a “guess the baby picture” game.

Encourage participation – make sure students serve on the planning committee for your Teacher Appreciation Week pep rally, assembly or other events.

Enter your teacher in Promethean’s Thank A Teacher Contest – grand prize winners will be awarded a trip to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in San Antonio, TX, June 23rd-26th, 2013. The contest will kick-off May 1.

To enter, click here.  For more ideas and other resources to help celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, click here  or the PTA's new Pinterest page here

Do you know a fabulous teacher in Monterey County? Nominate her for a profile in the Herald! Send me a note telling me why you think the teacher is great and deserves to be recognized in the paper! Email me at cmelendez@montereyherald.com, or post it on the blog! I'll give you a deadline. May 1. How's that?  

Alain Guevara coming to MPUSD

Barring any unforseen circusmtance, Alain Guevara is coming to MPUSD.

My blog is off the charts. My phone's ringing off the hook. Scuttlebutt is mad as hell.

I need more than Scuttlebutt. I need real people, real names.

Please, if you have anything to say about this -- and are willing to see your name in print -- call me. 753-6755. Email me: cmelendez@montereyherald.com. Post something on my blog (with your name on it).

Let's give Scuttlebutt a rest for now.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

MPC bonds refinanced -- with savings attached

It took a few months for the paperwork to go through, but Monterey Peninsula College district administrators finally re-financed a $28 million bond in a deal that will save taxpayers nearly $1.4 million.

The bond is part of Measure I, the $145 million in bonds approved in 2002 to build MPC 's Marina center and rebuild the Monterey campus. 

MPC administrators began the process earlier this year, and were able to reduce the interest rate of the bond from 4.9 percent to 1.69 percent a year.

The bond refinanced is not a "capital appreciation bond," which became infamous last year after media reports publicized that Poway Unified School District in San Diego County will end up paying $1 billion in interest on $105 million in capital appreciation bonds that will mature in 22 to 40 years.

Two weeks ago, the California State Assembly approved a bill that would limit the duration of capital-appreciation bonds to 25 years, prohibit debt payments of more than four times the principal and mandate the option of early repayment on deals that mature in more than 10 years. 

MPC will not receive any part of the savings. However, taxpayers living in the MPC district boundaries will see their tax rates reduced as a result of this transaction.

MPUSD trustees meet behind closed doors

to receive a report on the "field trip" three of them took to review the creds of certain administrator.

I showed up early, hoping Scuttlebutt would show up and give trustees a piece of his mind.

No such luck.

Now I have to wait for the trustees to return to open session. Maybe they'll say something illuminating. Or maybe they won't.

Stay tuned. 

A Riverside County administrator coming to MPUSD?

Well, so far, my trusted friend Scuttlebut has not been able to confirm it, but he has it on good sources that MPUSD trustees have settled on a Riverside administrator to become the next superintendent.

Scuttlebutt is terribly upset too, because he believes said administrator was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit. Of course, people can be named in lawsuits all the time and mean nothing, but media reports about said incidents are not flattering at all.

And Scuttlebutt knows how terribly upset MPUSD peeps get when they find something questionable about their superintendent. That, of course, is making him furious.

Ah, Scuttlebutt. When will you get sources who'll talk to me on the record??????

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hartnell to decide fate of child care center

Hartnell trustees are scheduled again to vote on the fate of the Alisal Child Development Center at a special meeting Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, the board was scheduled to vote on a set of recommendations for dealing with their child care center -- located in the most populous part of Salinas -- that administrators say is losing $200,000 a year. California has sharply reduced its subsidies for child care services, and many places throughout the state are feeling the pinch.

At a meeting earlier this month, the board failed to meet the number of votes required to outsource the services of the child care center to another operator. With the return of Trustee Erica Padilla-Chavez, administrators are going to take another bite at the apple.

Stay tuned.

Health care for young adults, topic of conversation at CSUMB

How young adults will be affected by the federal Affordable Care Act is the focus of a forum this week at CSU Monterey Bay. The public is invited to this free event.

The conversation is part of Tyller Williamson's capstone project. Williamson, a human communications major, wants to educate the community about the importance of health insurance as well as to provide opportunities to learn more about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare. He also would like to inspire other students to volunteer in his outreach efforts.

“Healthcare Town Hall for Young Adults” will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, in the University Center living room at 5:30 p.m. The University Center is located on Sixth Avenue at B Street.

A panel of local specialists in the health care field and insurance industry as well as policymakers will discuss what college students and other young people need to know about upcoming changes. Panelists include Supervisor Jane Parker; Elliott Robinson, director of Monterey County's Department of Employment and Social Services; and Caroline Haskell, director of health and wellness services at CSUMB.

Driving directions and a campus map can be downloaded at csumb.edu/map. While the event is free, a parking permit must be purchased from a nearby dispenser.

For more information contact Tyller Williamson at 619-886-6012.

Top superintendent candidate emerges for MPUSD

And for those Mary White or Dan Albert fans, it's not an internal candidate.

After two days of interviews over the weekend, trustees with the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District have honed in one administrator they believe may be a good fit for the district. They're not releasing the name yet because three trustees will visit the candidate's district on Wednesday -- that's how I know it's not an internal candidate.

On Thursday, a report will be given to the entire board, and if the report is satisfactory, the board will offer a contract, Board President Curt Parker said late Sunday. After the candidate accepts the contract, trustees will vote on April 22 in open session whether to award it. That's when the name will finally become public.

Or maybe I'll find out before then... Stay tuned...

Friday, April 12, 2013

MPUSD officials change dates to interview superintendent candidates

Candidate interviews for the next superintendent of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District will take place Saturday and Sunday, rather than Friday and Saturday, as originally scheduled.

The reason: the agenda was not posted 24 hours in advance, as required by the Brown Act.

And why the meeting was not posted on time: human error, as Board President Curt Parker describes it.

"It was our fault," he said.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Do you attend a California Distinguished School? How is it like?

Monterey Peninsula parents and students: do you attend Carmel High, Carmel Middle, San Benancio Middle, or Monterey High? Are you happy about the recognition? What are your thoughts about it?

Shoot me an email cmelendez@montereyherald.com, tweet me @melendezsalinas, or post on my blog. I'm interested to hear what your thoughts are.

Four Monterey County Schools make "California Distinguished Schools" list

Monterey High, Carmel Middle, Carmel High and San Benancio Middle School were named today among 218 public schools California Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson named among the most distinguished.

Schools earn this distinction when they demonstrate "strong commitment and innovative approaches to improving student academic achievement."

Schools that want to apply for Distinguished School honors must meet a variety of eligibility criteria, including accountability measures. Once schools are deemed eligible, the California Department of Education (CDE) invites them to apply to be recognized as a California Distinguished School.

Schools earning the Distinguished School title agree to share their signature practices with other schools and become a mentor to those seeking to replicate their work.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

MPUSD to interview 8 candidates Friday and Saturday for superintendent's job

From a pile of 27 candidates, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District trustees decided they want to interview 8 people come this weekend.

Board President Curt Parker said Wednesday he was pleased with the semi-finalists, who represent a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds.

“They are all highly qualified, it was amazing. They also represent a lot of ethnic diversity. We’re very pleased with the quality” of applicants, he said.

Once a candidate is selected, the next step will be to negotiate his or her salary, Parker said. With Shepherd, trustees included health care and other compensation in her salary, compensation that’s typically calculated separately, which inflated her pay and made the community angry.

“People didn’t want to hear about it,” he said. “But it’s still early, right now we don’t know who’s going to be.”

So far, trustees are following pretty faithfully a timeline set out for them by the consultant, which means the district could have a new superintendent by the end of April.

Enrollment at Alisal Child Care Center on hold

The Child Development Center at Hartnell College is accepting pre-school applications for the 2013-14 school year that begins in August.

But enrollment at the Alisal Child Development center will be on hold until after trustees decide its fate.

Administrators say the center is operating at a $200,000 annual deficit, and have recommended its operations be outsourced. There were not enough votes at their last meeting to approve the recommended changes, so officials will consider the center's fate again at its next board meeting.

The Child Development Center is a laboratory for child study that offers free preschool for income-eligible families in three-hour sessions, Mondays through Fridays. Children must be at least three years old on or before September 1 to enroll.

At least one parent must be a registered student at the college for both the fall and spring semesters in the 2013-14 academic year. Priority registration runs from April 8 through May 3.

The CDC Lab is located on the main campus at 411 Central Avenue, and accommodates 120 children. Call 755-6945 for more information or to arrange to visit the Center and meet the staff. Enrollment materials can be found here.

Monterey County professionals: be a role model for Career Day at Los Padres Elementary School

Los Padres Elementary School is organizing a Career Day for the school, and organizers are looking for volunteer professionals who would want to inspire young people to follow on their footsteps!

The second annual Career Day will take place on Thursday, May 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The objective of this event is to expose students to positive role models in the community and to explore opportunities for the future.

Guest speakers have the opportunity to present their background and childhood experiences, particular field of study, challenges overcome to succeed, and the qualifications and training needed to obtain such a position.

Career day is a lot of fun. Students are always receptive and grateful. And it's always interesting to hear what's on their minds, what types of issues they're facing. And the children benefit greatly from the presentations.

For more information, contact Eva Silva at esilva@csumb.edu. They'd love to have your response by May 17.

Journalism boot camp for high school students

Mosaic Journalism Workshop is a FREE two week summer camp program for high school students who have a desire to become a media professional in print, television, radio, digital media or communications. Held at San Jose State University in San Jose, California, where students work in the campus newsroom and stay overnight in a supervised dormitory.

I've participated in Mosaic over the years, and it's truly impressive how much students learn over these two weeks. The stories and photos they produce are truly outstanding.

San Jose is a bit far, but not that much, so any Monterey County youth should definitely apply!

The program runs from Monday, June 17 through Sunday, June 30. At San Jose State University

Deadline to submit applications is Monday, April 15th. For more information or to apply, click here

Monday, April 8, 2013

MPUSD officials get closer to picking a new superintendent

Trustees with the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District will meet tonight to select the candidates they want to interview as part of the process to select a new superintendent.

They're not expected to announce who their pre-finalists are, district officials tell me.

The final selection may take about two to three weeks -- in their original timeline, trustees were hoping to have a new superintendent in place by the end of April.

Scuttlebutt, my most reliable source, tells me a certain, very well regarded principal is in the running. This rumor has been confirmed by my personal observations during board meetings: a couple of trustees have made casual mentions about internal candidates, people who already know the community, etc.

The question is: does Dr. Mary White want the job?

This should not surprise anyone who observes MPUSD. No doubt Dr. White is respected, liked, admired. She's done wonders in Seaside and I have a feeling some believe she would do the same for the entire district.

We'll find out in a few weeks. In the meantime, I have no doubt Scuttlebutt will be reaaally busy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

You probably won't want to miss the EdSource Symposium

The folks at EdSource have a jam-packed agenda for their symposium coming up on May 4. Speakers include Jennifer Kuhn of the California Legislative Analyst's Office who will address the "state of the budget," outlook on the economy, and implications for public education.

Also, a panel discussion about proposed changes to California's school funding formula, with Michael W. Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education.

Sounds very informative. I may just have to check it out. Here's more information, if you're interested.

Little Bellas camp, for the budding cyclists

The Sea Otter Classic is not just for adults. Girls ages 8 through 14 can participate in a one, two or three day cycling camp, with some scholarships available.

Girls will hone their mountain biking skills, whether they are brand new or ready for a new challenge. The focus will be having fun and improving skills, and girls will be grouped by age and ability.

An additional focus will be feeling right at home at the Sea Otter Classic, mountain biking’s biggest festival and one of the world’s largest bike festivals. Girls will have a full-access pass for Sea Otter festival activities, and they’ll have the chance to meet and learn from mentors who are among the world biking community’s favorite pros.

The Little Bellas Day Camp takes place April 19. Day camp scholarships are available.

For a scholarship application, send an email to: sabe@littlebellas.com

To register for camp, click here to go to the Sea Otter Classic website.

Future cardiologist Mirel Mejia tells it like it is

There's an unkind stigma about alternative education programs. That they're only for "lazy" students or those who are otherwise failing.

The fact is that many students at alternative education programs receive the one-on-one attention they need and may not get at comprehensive high schools. Students at alternative education programs, like independent studies, often do better than they used to in their huge high schools. They thrive, succeed, and move on to better and bigger things.

Mirel Mejia, who graduated in 2010 from an independent studies program offered by the Monterey County Office of Education offers one such example. She'll be graduating from Hartnell this June, will begin attending CSUMB in the fall. She's planning to become a cardiologist.

And in spite of her nervousness, she tells her story much better than anyone else could, so please check it out.

Monterey College of Law President gets another five years

Monterey College of Law President and Dean Mitchel L. Winick has received a five-year contract renewal to continue at the helm of the school. Winick, 57, has served as dean of the law school since 2005 and was named president and dean in 2010. With the contract renewal, Winick becomes the longest serving dean in the law school's 40 year history.

Winick currently serves as co-chair of the Monterey County Business Council Higher Education Cluster along with Sunder Ramaswamy, president of MIIS. He also serves as vice chair of the City of Monterey Redevelopment Successor Agency.

During his tenure at the law school, Winick has been instrumental in a number of successful initiatives, including improving bar pass rates to rank MCL among the highest of the California-accredited law schools, opening a first-year law program in Santa Cruz, and addition of a two-year master of legal studies degree program. In recent years, the law school was recognized by the Monterey County Business Council with the 2009 Public-Private Partnership Award for its small slaims mediation program and the 2010 Top Green Business Award for construction of the law school's LEED Platinum Community Justice Center.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Science work paying off at CSUMB

Three members of this year’s graduating class at Cal State Monterey Bay and an alumna have won prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Michael Diaz of Upland, Liz Lopez of Sacramento, Emily Roncase of Ridgecrest and Stacy Mauzey of Salinas, were awarded the fellowships, which provide $90,000 to support three years of graduate education.

Diaz, mentored by Aparna Sreenivasan, researched potentially toxic cynaobacteria from local freshwater environments. He also investigated stomach bacteria pathogensis at UC Santa Cruz. A biology major, he will begin work on his Ph.D. in the cellular and molecular biosciences program at UC Irvine in the fall.

Mentored James Lindholm, Lopez worked on a project to monitor Marine Protected Areas along the Southern California coast and also conducted research at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. She is considering graduate programs at the University of San Diego, Western Washington University and Oregon State.

Roncase, a biology major, worked with Henrik Kibak and Aparna Sreenivasan to investigate cyanotoxin levels in a freshwater lake in Watsonville. She also worked at the University of Illinois at Chicago, researching antibotic resistance at the molecular level. She is considering offers from a number of doctoral programs, including Scripps Research Institute and Brown University.

Stacy Mauzey, an alumna of Hartnell College and CSUMB, is now a graduate student in plant pathology at Washington State University. While at CSUMB, she worked with Carolee Bull in the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service facility in Salinas.

The NSF graduate research fellowships went to 2,000 students – from more than 13,000 applicants – across the country; 595 of them were awarded to undergraduates. CSUMB was the largest recipient of undergraduate awards in the California State University’s 23-campus system.

“Nine CSUMB undergraduates and one alumna have received NSF fellowships in the last four years,” said Bill Head, director of the university’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center. “This is a clear indication of the world-class education students receive at CSUMB and a reminder of how well public institutions serve the students of California.”

submitted by Joan Weiner, CSUMB

Seaside High honors its students.

It was a big party at Seaside High Monday afternoon, as nearly 400 students were recognized for their academic achievements. Among the honorees were the top 10 seniors with highest grade point average, and students who ranked in the honor roll. School and officials with the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District also honored six special education students. The school also honored its athletes and turn-around students, selected for their dramatic improvement in their overall GPA and for being in track to graduate.
Here's the top 10 seniors:


Here's the top student athletes:


And here's everybody else who got recognized Monday. Congratulations, scholars! Hard work pays off, and being recognized is just a small bit of the reward.