Thursday, August 29, 2013

Of segregation and education

This is a map that's been making the rounds. It shows a dot per person in the United States, color coded to show race: orange for Latinos (don't ask about the color decision) red for Asian, blue for whites, green for African American. A comprehensive story about the map can be found here.

Scroll over to find Monterey County. No surprises there: the Salinas Valley is Latino, the Monterey Peninsula is white.

And this is relevant to my education beat because the schools with highest achievement also tend to be in the Monterey Peninsula, and schools where children are struggling in the Salinas Valley.

We all know this already -- that is, if you're not hiding under a rock. Still, to see from this perspective is eye-opening.

We're so segregated in this community. Unfortunately, the segregation translates into the type of education children get. I wonder if the new funding formula, which is supposed to give more money to low-income schools, will begin to change that. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Budding scientists present their findings at Hartnell Summer STEM Symposium

Come see what 111 Hartnell students have been up to this summer. Every years for the last seven, Hartnell students who get internships at nearby research facilities present their findings at an all-day symposium, and that day is tomorrow!

Hartnell College students are matched with university scientists and Ag industry experts to conduct research in prestigious laboratories throughout the Central Coast. This symposium is a special opportunity for students to formally present their results and celebrate their participation.

From 1 to 3 p.m. on Aug. 24, students will talk about their work. Those who don't get to speak will present their posters at separate sessions throughout the day. The event concludes at 6 p.m. at Hartnell College main campus.

The event is free and open to the public. Come and congratulate these young scientists!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author and teacher John Hunther coming to Stevenson School

Ever since his book "World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements" came out earlier this year, teacher and author John Hunter has been touring the country promoting it. Here's an interview he gave to CBS about the game, and here's his TED Talk also on the same subject.

You'll have a chance to see him Monday, when he comes to the Pebble Beach campus of Stevenson School. The event starts at 5:15 p.m. and it includes a screening of the documentary based on the World Peace Game.

The evening event is free and open to the public; space is limited and registration is required through Stevenson's website here.

CSUMB President Eduardo Ochoa to deliver state of the university address

In case you're terribly curious about what Prez Ochoa will say today, when he delivers his state of the university address, but can't really get away from your desk, here's the link to watch him live.

And if you want to watch him live, the event will take place at 3 p.m. at the World Theater at CSUMB.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hartnell hires VP of Academic Affairs

Lori Kildal has been named the new vice president of academic affairs at Hartnell College. Kildal takes on the role as the college strives to overcome its probationary status as determined by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges.

Kildal previously worked at Victor Valley College in Victorville, CA, where she started as dean of science, technology, engineering, and math in 2006, and most recently served as dean of instruction.

Incidentally, Hartnell President Willard Lewallen worked at Victor Valley College from 1999 to 2007, when he was named president of West Hills College.

Kildal has also worked as the executive director of the San Diego regional campus of Azusa Pacific University, and as associate dean and athletic director at Grossmont College.

Kildal has taught health and physical education, has advised students, and has coached at the high school, community college, and university levels.

We should expect Hartnell will soon become one of the healthiest colleges in the California Community College system, as Kildal is the second top administrator -- next to Lewallen -- with educational background in physical education. A gym nearby is waiting...

Friday, August 16, 2013

A week-long party wraps up at MCOE's, Millennium Charter begins classes next week

The Media Center for Arts, Education & Technology, housed at the Monterey County Office of Education, is celebrating this week the unveiling of its state-of-the-art facility that will also be home to the Millennium Charter School.

They place's been happening all week, with dancers, poetry readings, plays and all sorts of artistic presentations in a taste of what's to be expected from this new venture.

Tonight, yours truly and my amazing boss Dave Kellogg will be guest speakers to talk about journalism in the digital age.

The performances are free and open to the public. They may also be viewed on Charter Channel 17 and Comcast Channel 26.

The grand opening ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, with music by Red Beans and Rice and tours of the studios. Then on Monday Aug. 26 there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the bell rings for the inaugural class of the Millennium Charter High School.

Come check out the studios, or watch Dave and me on TV. It's going to be fun!

The Media Center is at 901 Blanco Circle, Salinas, at the office of the Monterey County Office of Education.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

José Castañeda responds to Salinas lawsuit

If you are a typical reader -- like most media assumes you are -- you're probably no doubt enamored of the José Castañeda debacle; breathlessly waiting for our next installment in the drama of his apparently illegal claim to hold on to two seats, and the media's desperate attempt to dislodge him from such comfortable accomodations.

Well, if that describes you, here's the latest: the document Castañeda filed last night to challenge the city's claims. A story will follow later today and tomorrow's print edition. Stay tuned.

Just sharing: a cornucopia on the Common Core Standards

The Common Core Standards are upon us, and I came across this website with a plethora of information about the new teaching method (I'm still trying to come up with the best, simplest way to describe the CCS. Any suggestions).

The site contains courses developed by teachers on how to teach the Common Core. The concept looks interesting, and I'll try to explore it more in depth one of these days. In the meantime, have at it and tell me what you think!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges in the hot seat

Oh oh. It looks like the tables have turned for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the group in charge of reviewing whether schools and colleges have good practices in place to make sure students have a fruitful educational experience. Now it turns out the U.S. Department of Education notified the commission on Wednesday that it is out of compliance in several areas related to its sanctioning of City College of San Francisco.

The accreditation commission voted recently to strip City College of San Francisco of its accreditation. It also decided to put Hartnell College on probation, the second time in six years to do so.

According to a letter from the U.S. Department of Education, the commission must take “immediate steps” to avert the suspension or termination of its federal recognition as an accrediting body, according to a report in Inside Higher Ed.

It is unclear what this letter means for City College of San Francisco, and even muddier what it means for Hartnell. We should find out...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Governor Jerry Brown Signs Transgender Students Bill into Law

Today, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the "School Success and Opportunity Act" into law, aimed at allowing transgender youth have the opportunity to fully participate and in schools across the state.

Assembly Bill 1266—which goes into effect on January 1, 2014—was authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano and passed the California State Senate and Assembly earlier this summer. The law is the first of its kind in the country, and requires that California public schools respect students’ gender identity and makes sure that students can fully participate in all school activities, sports teams, programs, and facilities that match their gender identity.

Co-authored by Senators Mark Leno and Ricardo Lara and Assemblymember Toni Atkins, the bill is backed by a coalition of civil rights organizations, including Transgender Law Center, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Gender Spectrum, Equality California, ACLU of California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, statewide teacher and parent organizations, and dozens of other organizations.

Story submitted by Mark Snyder, Transgender Law Center

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hartnell's summer math academy wraps up with barbeque

Hartnell College feted about 200 students Friday as they wrapped up their Summer Math Academy. Students receive no college credit but participate simply to refine their math skills -- many of them to overcome their fears. Like Gloria Gutierrez, who's planning on studying kinesiology at San Jose State, and needs to get her math courses before transferring.

"It helped," she said. "But I'm not completely over it."

This is the ninth session of Hartnell's biannual Math Academy under the direction of Hartnell Math Professor Ken Rand. But it's the first time they have a barbeque!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

CSUMB honored for civic engagement

California State University, Monterey Bay has earned the Higher Education Civic Engagement Award presented by The Washington Center and the New York Life Foundation.

CSUMB was one of five colleges and universities selected for the honor among more than 100 nominees. Recipients were chosen based on their leadership and innovation in civic engagement. The award will be presented in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 7.

As part of the award, CSUMB will receive $20,000 in scholarship funding to help students participate in The Washington Center's Academic Internship Program in Washington, D.C., in 2014

“It’s wonderful to see our program being recognized nationally,” said Seth Pollack, director of Service Learning at CSUMB. “No other university in the country has made as significant a commitment to integrating learning about social justice and civic engagement into the core of the curriculum. Our focus on developing students’ capacity for service and social responsibility truly distinguishes our degree programs at CSUMB.

“We have a very special program, and it feels great to again be recognized as a national leader.”

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, in partnership with the New York Life Foundation, established the award to celebrate institutions in the higher education community that are reaching beyond their own campuses to achieve sustainable civic impacts. The award aims to highlight, in particular, innovation and leadership in forging partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level.

On such example is CSUMB's role as the anchor of a broad coalition to revitalize the long-neglected Chinatown neighborhood in Salinas. Since 2006, more than 1,200 students and 20 faculty members have participated in this community-based effort, while CSUMB has collaborated to bring over $2 million in federal, state and private grants to the effort.

As part of the Chinatown Renewal Project, students created a 30,000-square feet community garden, designed cultural history exhibits and done other work that will be part of the permanent exhibitions at the future Chinatown Cultural Center and Museum, and opened the Soledad Street Community Learning Center.

The other schools receiving the 2013 Civic Engagement Award include The Citadel, Portland State University, Southern University at New Orleans and Syracuse University.

Submitted by Joan Weiner, CSUMB

Attention teachers: Do you want more ideas on how to teach Steinbeck?

This chat is for you then!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Alisal's "Dreams of NYC" take to the fields

More than 50 students from Alisal High's Dream Academy ventured into the fields in Soledad last week so they could experience what many of their family members and their community members have to go through on a daily basis.

The mission of the Alisal Dream Academy is to expose the students to enriching experiences to empower them. Though their work in the fields, Social Sciences Teacher Ruben Pizarro was hoping the students would better understand and empathize with their families and neighbors.

"We hope to ultimately change the way they see the world around them," Pizarro said.

This particular group of students is raising money to go to New York next year. The Alisal students are turning into such a traveling bunch! 

For more information about the club, click here

Hartnell's Dustin Lance Black honored by California Community College System

Dustin Lance Black, who attended Hartnell College before transferring to UCLA, was recently selected by the Community College League of California as a distinguished alumnus of the California Community College System. He will be honored at the League’s annual convention in November 2013.

Black credits his experience at Hartnell College and with The Western Stage as helping him to find his voice and his passion, according to Hartnell's Spokeswoman Terri Pyer. After Hartnell, Black attended UCLA and graduated with honors from the School of Theater, Film, and Television, and he has gone on to write influential plays and screenplays.

Black received an Academy Award for best original screenplay in 2009 for “Milk,” about the late civil rights activist Harvey Milk. Black also wrote the screenplay for the film “J. Edgar.” In July of 2012, he was the guest of honor at Hartnell College for the showing of "8," his play about the federal court case that successfully challenged the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, an amendment that had curtailed the rights of same-sex couples to marry. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case cleared the way for marriage equality in the state.

Monterey's Justine Ophanon returns home as a science teaching fellow

Justine Ophanon, a 2007 graduate of Monterey High, was recently named as a member of the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation's 2013 cohort of Teaching Fellows.

The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation is dedicated to improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. Designed specifically to develop beginning teachers into teacher leaders, the five-year Teaching Fellowships offer support and guidance as fellows embark on the credentialing process and their teaching careers.

After graduating from Monterey High, Justine earned a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology and a master's degree in education, both from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Justine remembers days spent at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as inspiration for her chosen career. In the fall, she will begin teaching Earth Science at Seaside High School. For more information about Justine or the fellowship, click here.

Welcome back, Justine! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Marina's Terry Tran brings home the silver

Seventeen year old Terry Tran, black belt competition member at Marina Cho’s Taekwondo Academy brought home the silver medal for his division at the USA Taekwondo (USAT) National Championships held in Chicago July 3–8, 2013.

The July 2013 competition was the largest taekwondo event in the world, attended by 4,190 athletes, more than 830 coaches, and 140 referees. Terry Tran and 13 year old black belt Vinayagan Odegard (also of Marina and Cho’s Taekwondo Academy) were among the competitors who qualified at the California State Championship and competed at the national level.

For Terry Tran and taekwondo athletes with Olympic 2016 goals, the USAT National Championships is a path to compete for a spot in the next USA Taekwondo Olympic team. The next summer Olympic Games will be hosted by the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Our Team CTA goal is to be in the USA Taekwondo National Team and to be taekwondo world champions. We saw many fighters from other states and learned a lot” said Master Jae Seong Lee, Cho’s Taekwondo owner and Team CTA coach. “I’m proud of Terry’s performance. Terry had to fight three times, and in the final few seconds of the match he lost by just 1 point” added Master Lee.

Because Terry will turn 18 at the end of this year, USAT rules had him competing in the 18 to 32 year old seniors’ division.

“It was my first time in the senior nationals, and I was not really expecting too much… everyone else seemed more experienced and competitors were a lot older than me, and competing at national levels for many years. I pushed hard and felt really good about making it to the finals,” Terry said.

Members of Team CTA of Cho’s Taekwondo Academy  are training in preparation for the 2014 USA National Championships next summer, which will take place in San Jose.

Terry and  Vinayagan, you make us proud!

-- story submitted by Cho's Taekwondo Academy

Of the Alisal, after-school programs, and journalists taking sides

Journalists are not supposed to take sides. I'm in luck, because regarding this issue, I'm truly torn up, so I won't even have to.

The issue I'm referring to is the brouhaha du jour at the Alisal. Namely, the administrator's decision to drop Yosal, the classical music program based on El Sistema, to replace it with more culturally sensitive ballet folklórico. Read about it here.

Superintendent John Ramirez says the decision is based on economics. The $95,000 now in place for Yosal could be used to fund ballet folklórico, and serve four times as many children as the Yosal program.

I can see where Ramirez and the board are coming from. When you live in a poor community, where resources are scarce, you want to maximize them. From that perspective, the decision to ditch Yosal in favor of something more economical and more inclusive seems reasonable.

But the classical music buff in me sees it differently. El Sistema has a proven track record of creating greatness, as seen in L.A. Symphony Conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Bolivarian Orchestra. Just this week, the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela and the Coral Nacional Juvenil Simón Bolívar de Venezuela took Salzburg by storm during its prominent cultural festival. Read all about it here.

Dilemmas, dilemmas. Do you fund a world class program for a few of your children, in the hopes that they'll have a shot of reaching unimaginable heights? Or do you fund grass-roots programs just to keep them entertained?

If you had five children, would you sacrifice four of them to send one to the best university in the world? Or would you treat them all equally and send them to affordable community colleges? (Which are perfectly fine, by the way).

It's a tough one for me. I would absolutely love to see the next Dudamel come out of the Alisal. Imagine the glory.

But I'd also love to see gang violence eradicated. I'd love to see fewer deaths, fewer children in jail.

Somebody with deep pockets out there, please, step up and fund Yosal for the Alisal!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Former Monterey Peninsula College trustees spoke, and Marina listened

If you missed the controversy of the week, three former Monterey Peninsula College trustees (namely Charley Page, Jim Tunney and Lynne Davis) urged current Marina trustee Margaret-Anne Coppernoll to either not run or for Marina residents to step up and find someone to run against her.

You can find the Herald's story here, an editorial on the topic here, and a rebuttal from current Marina City Councilman Dave Brown here.

Well, it looks like at least one Marina resident will heed the Peninsula folks' advice. Former Marina Mayor Gary Wilmot has taken out papers to run for the MPC seat. His paperwork is not complete, but neither is Coppernoll's, so anything can happen between now and August 9. Maybe another candidate will throw his/her hat in the ring?

Stay tuned.