Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Oasis Charter officials to decide fate of middle grades Thursday

Families at Oasis Charter School are awaiting anxiously a decision by the trustees whether to continue with the middle grade programs.

In case you've missed the saga, here's a story I wrote about it last month. A quick summary: Principal Juanita Perea says she informed parents she wanted to eliminate 6, 7, and 8 grades starting next year to make room for a lab and transform the school into a Science, Technology, Math and Engineering program. Parent said they just learned of this plan in December, giving them no time to explore other options for the schooling of their children.

Trustees are expected to decide what to do with the higher grades at a meeting starting at 6 p.m. at the school.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The National Steinbeck Center still needs coaches for Young Authors Day

The Steinbeck Young Authors Day of Writing is upon the National Steinbeck Center, and they still need about 100 people to volunteer.

The program serves about 2,500 Monterey County students. Volunteers are needed from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 3. Writing coaches will attend a volunteer writing training and luncheon, meet one on one with their assigned student, and complete an evaluation form that will help with ongoing development of the Steinbeck Young Authors Program.

The Day of Writing is an occasion to celebrate student writing and introduce students to the works of John Steinbeck and the resources of the National Steinbeck Center. It’s a chance to emphasize the importance of good writing skills and also show the students that their community cares about them and their writing.

To receive a volunteer information form, email sandra@steinbeck.org or call (831) 775-4729.

California Department of Education warns of potential scam SAT calls

The California Department of Education (CDE) has received information about a possible telemarketing scam and is warning the public not to share any personal information on the telephone with unsolicited callers.

Concerned citizens have reported they've received calls from people claiming to be from the CDE about the Preliminary SAT. The PSAT  gives students firsthand practice for the college entrance examination. The caller asks for personal information, credit card numbers, and more. The caller ID seems to show the call is coming from the State of California or the main telephone line of the CDE.

These calls do not come from the CDE, officials at the agency say.

The CDE has contacted the proper law enforcement agencies to look into this potential scam. If you receive such a call, do not answer any questions and hang up immediately. You may also file a complaint online directly with the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant, also in Spanish.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Nancy Kotowski receives nod from Monterey business community

Nancy Kotowski has been named the 2013 Ruth Vreeland Memorial Public Official of the Year Award by the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

The Ruth Vreeland Memorial Public Official Award will be presented at MPCC’s 106th Annual Awards Dinner on March 15 at the Monterey Marriott. The award honors the legacy of public service exemplified by Ruth Marianne Vreeland, a devoted and admired teacher in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District for over 40 years, who was also an enthusiastic civic leader – serving on the Monterey City Council for 21 years and as a volunteer on countless community and professional organizations throughout her adult life.

For more information on how to attend the party, call 648-5350 or click here.

Local Control Accountability Plan meeting in Salinas

The Salinas City Elementary School District is holding a meeting from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hartnell College to discuss its "Local Control Accountability Plan."

The purpose is to ensure parent and community participation in deciding how resources will be allocated to meet student needs and achievement goals. Eight essential areas must be addressed in the creation and development of the district’s plan.

As I've previously reported, California has changed the way it funds education. Now, schools get a "base grant" for the student population, and extra monies based on the percentage of special populations the district educates.

The special populations are English learners, low-income students, and children in foster care. The more students are in each category, the more money the district will get. 

Local Control Accountability Plan establishes achievement goals, specific actions and strategies that the district will use to meet the goals of all students and each subgroup.

The Local Control Funding Formula has eight priority areas that every district will be required to address, expanding beyond test scores to include areas such as pupil achievement, student engagement, positive learning environments, academic content, performance standards, and parent involvement.

LCFF gives school leaders and parents more control over spending. LCFF will offer stakeholder, parents, and community members the opportunity to share their thoughts on how to best improve academic achievement and prepare students for college and careers. Under the new law, they will work together to create achievement plans and budgets to meet the unique needs of students in their communities.

Saturday's even is a way for Salinas City to reach out to the larger community before drafting their big plan. It'll be great to see a lot of participation.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Alisal Board seeks to muzzle Meredith Ibarra

Alisal Union Trustee Meredith Ibarra did not take well to a proposal that would limit the amount of time a board member can drone on about agenda items during board meetings.

Currently there's no limit on how many questions a board member can ask, or how much he or she can comment on an item. The always eloquent Ibarra has been told twice in recent meetings to stop being disruptive. Newly elected Board President Maricela Cruz has had Ibarra's microphone shut off to prevent her from talking, to no avail.

A newly introduced board policy would limit the amount of time a board member can comment on agenda items to five minutes, or longer if authorized by the board president.

The policy would also have disruptive board members removed from the board room and placed in a separate location to allow for their participation remotely. But the board president could stop the disruptive board member from participating remotely if the behavior persists.

Ibarra clearly felt she was being the target -- mmmmm -- and made it clear she's going to file a complaint.

"You don’t have a right to revise and approve this policy," Ibarra told her fellow trustees. "Just for you to know, this is a violation and I’m going to be acting on this issue."

To which, Cruz responded:

"People need to have control of themselves, and if they don’t, somebody else will. As a new board we have the right to revise policies."

Wednesday's was the policy's first reading. It will be enacted at the next scheduled meeting. 



Oasis Charter to hold a donation drive

Oasis Charter School will be holding a three day weekend donation drive in their parking lot this weekend February 22end-23erd. The focus of the drive is to collect clothing, shoes, small housewares ect. No furniture will be accepted.

Goodwill industries will park a trailer with a donation attendant from 10-4pm each day of the drive Friday, Saturday and Sunday. At the end of the drive Goodwill will pay the school based on the amount of donations received.

The fundraising idea was introduced a year ago, and many non-profit, charitable organization benefited, earning hundreds of dollars from the program last year.

The students and faculty of Oasis Charter School are asking everyone in our community to clean out closets, garages, and attics, and plan to bring the items to Oasis Charter School located at 1135 Westridge parkway on Friday Saturday and Sunday February 22end – 23erd. This will benefit Oasis Charter School.

CSUMB names "Cradle-to-Career" director

No long after arriving in Monterey, CSUMB President Eduardo Ochoa began talking about a model called "Cradle-to-Career", which creates partnerships among different agencies to make sure all services that children are in contact with -- from the moment they're born to the moment they enter the job market -- are in communication with each other with the goal to improve student achievement. 

Enter Cynthia Nelson Holmsky, a Monterey resident who has just been hired as director of the Monterey County Cradle to Career Partnership.

The Monterey County Cradle to Career partnership will be based on a model adopted by more than 100 communities across the country that share practices through the Cradle to Career Network.

Cradle to Career Network communities promote a broad commitment among social service, education, business and philanthropic agencies to work together to achieve agreed-upon goals for student success.

Since the first Cradle to Career partnership began in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky in 2006, communities in 37 states and the District of Columbia have established programs.

I'll be talking to Holmsky in the next upcoming weeks about the partnership, so if you have a burning question for her, ask away and I'll pass it along.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CSUMB financial aid counselors reach out to Alisal students.

Financial Aid Counselors from Cal State Monterey Bay will be available to assist students with completing their California Dream Act and Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications at the United Farm Workers Foundation Salinas office on February 19, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Deadline for students who plan to apply for the FAFSA and California Dream Act for college is March 2, 2014.

Often times, students forget or put off filling out their financial aid application because the process can be overwhelming especially for first-time students.

Students who are planning to attend must bring:

*Social Security Number or ITN number
*W-2s for 2013 or a copy of 2013 filed taxes for parents and students
*Parent names
*Date of birth

Space is limited. RSVP with UFW Foundation at 831-758-2611
WHERE: UFW Foundation Offices, 427 Pajaro St., Suite 3 Salinas, CA 93901

Friday, February 14, 2014

The N word, explored at CSUMB

In celebration of Black History Month, the CSUMB chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Black Students United and other organizations have kept really busy.

On Wednesday, the group held a workshop about the "N-Word", to examine whether it's OK to use it or not. About 50 people attended, NAACP President Shiyla Goodie said.

"We had an open discussion where we talked about the history of the word, how it’s used today," she said.

There's a lot more to come. Award-winning author, Keenan Norris is coming to campus on Feb. 19.

Norris "gives perspective on what’s like to be African American in a white institution," Goodie said. "We’re really excited for him to come."

On Feb. 26, the students will honor Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who got killed returning home from the store and galvanized the community after Florida authorities refused to prosecute his killer. Goodie said the event also aims to remember other victims of racial profiling around the US, come march with the NAACP in solidarity for justice.

There will also be events organized by the administration. Most notably, CSUMB President Eduardo Ochoa will address the congregation at the Seaside Community Seventh-Day Adventist church at 10:50 a.m. on Saturday.

On Sunday, Ochoa will visit Greater Victory Temple at 11 a.m.; Ronnie Higgs, CSUMB’s vice president of student affairs and enrollment services, will address the congregation at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at 12:30 p.m.; and Julio Blanco, provost and VP for academic affairs, will visit New Hope Baptist Church at 10:45 a.m. All four churches are located in Seaside.

They will discuss the importance of getting a college degree for today’s competitive job market, when to start planning for college, programs offered at CSUMB, financial aid and parent involvement.

Following the services, staff members from CSUMB and church education advisers will provide information on the application and admission process, including virtual tours through CSUmentor, the website that helps students apply for college.

Although I believe African Americans deserve more than a month to celebrate their history, I'm glad there's these many events to highlight their contributions to our country.  Take advantage of the celebrations and participate.

To see more events for Black History Month, click here.

York School surpasses $3 million fundraising goal.

York School exceeded the $3 million goal of a fundraising campaign to boost endowments for financial aid for students and for the professional development of its faculty, officials announced Thursday.

"Financial contributions are vital to the life of a non-profit institution like York," said Head of School Chuck Harmon. "The contributors to The Campaign for York have made an investment in the present and future of this great School, and we are grateful for their continuing generosity."

Top donors to the campaign were Peggy Downes Baskin and Jack Baskin of Carmel and Santa Cruz, whose total giving to York rose to more than $1 million. The Baskins were honored for their financial support at an event at York on Thursday.

Other major donors to the Campaign for York include: Corie and Fane Opperman of Santa Cruz, The David and Lucille Packard Foundation, Beverly and Lyman Hamilton of Carmel, Betty and Jim Kasson of Carmel Valley, and Susan Aqeel and son Omar Aqeel (York Class of 2007).

In total, 214 donors contributed to the Campaign for York.

The Campaign for York will provide funds for student financial aid. Approximately 40 percent of the students at the independent school receive need-based financial aid. York School has 225 students in grades 8-12.

The fundraising campaign also will provide funds for professional development opportunities for York teachers, such as stipends for professional growth conferences, workshops, and supplemental coursework, funding for special projects and the development of innovative courses, grants to research best practices, teacher exchange opportunities, and artist, economist, and writer-in-residence programs.

Monterey County schools information at your fingertips

Hot off the press! The Monterey County Office of Education has just published the 2014 edition of the Directory of Monterey County Public & Private Schools.

The directory, published annually, is available online here, and includes contact information about Monterey County Office of Education departments and programs, Monterey County public school districts and the schools within each district, as well as information and listings on the private schools, charter schools, academies and military programs available in Monterey County.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Is this what MPUSD critics mean when they say "dysfunctional"?

Ever since I began covering the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, I've heard claims that the district's dysfunctional. As proof, people would offer the number of principals that have paraded through the district in the last few years. The teacher turnover. Students fleeing to nearby districts.

The problem is, teacher turnover and student flight it's not just a matter of "push," it can also be of 'pull." Teachers and students are 'pulled' because of better pay, better academic environments nearby.

Dig deeper, I would hear. So I would ask around and get nowhere. I'd ask for proof. If you have evidence of the district's dysfunctionality, send me evidence. Records. Proof.

My prayers were finally answered when I got the high school transcripts of three students in the fall. The records showed the students had the course title for one of their classes, 'Algebra I,' changed for "Algebra Readiness', a class that has not been taught at the district since it was approved in 2009.

The changed had been made to the records of 93 students. And teachers were furious.

For more on the story, you can find my previous reports here and here.

Trustees asked Superintendent of Public Schools Nancy Kotowski to investigate. Tuesday night, she delivered a report that lays the blame squarely on the district's policies and procedures. You can find the complete report here.

Finally, this is what dysfunctionality looks like. Like the board says one thing in its policies, but means another on the high school catalog. Like there's no manual on who gets to change student records. Like students in the 12th grade can get changes done to their records when they were in the 9th grade.

Like any administrator can decide to change the transcripts of 93 students and there are no systems in place to prevent it. 

It's nobody's fault, really. We have four relatively new trustees who are probably as surprised to hear this as I am. I suspect these are issues that have been dragging for years but nobody had paid any attention to them.

So how do you get some attention to be paid? Well, I don't know. Maybe by sending records to your local, friendly reporter?

The MCOE report made a lot of noise about the fact that the Herald -- yours truly -- first reported on the issue and publicized the fact that students records were sent to the public. For the record, we never published the names of those students, so no privacy was violated here.

But what I believe is the most important development to surface after we reported on the records was that something ACTUALLY got done. An external, unbiased, knowledgeable party came and looked at the district's internal procedures and was able to pinpoint its flaws. Kotowski and her team gave MPUSD administrators several recommendations on how to improve things at the districts. The trustees, now on a path to make things pretty, seemed ready to comply.

Isn't this grand? Not only did we get a full report on the district's dysfunctionality, but a roadmap on how to fix it.

And all because somebody had the courage to send some transcripts out to the public.

Yay to the whistleblowers. You deserve a medal, not punishment. I hope you weather the storm -- it was for a good cause, really.

And please, keep my contact information at your fingertips.



Of children, families, and the future of MAOS

Once upon a time I had a friend who happened to be blind. She was intelligent, funny, and wise beyond her years. When she was around 10 she contracted some sort of infection that destroyed her optic nerve, and could never see again.

I'll call her Linda. Linda had a younger sister that I'll call Rosa. By the time I met them both, Linda and Rosa had a pretty nasty relationship. Linda needed her mother for practically everything, and Rosa resented all the time their mother spent with Linda: taking her and picking her up from school, to after-school events, what not. 

Linda in turn resented Rosa for the monetary support she was getting from their mother. Rosa was entering adulthood and she wanted to go out to dances, wear make up and high heels. Mom was caught in the middle: she gave Linda all the attention she could, and Rosa all the money she could afford, but neither one was happy. Everyone seemed resentful of everyone else.

I began thinking about Linda and her family recently, during one of those long and sometimes strained conversation officials at Monterey Peninsula Unified School District are having about MAOS.

For those of you who don't know the Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science is a very successful program at Monterey High School. Only accomplished, top performing students get in, and the program graduates the cream of the crop in Monterey High. MAOS students are top athletes, top scholars, participate in the student body, you name it. They're the school's super stars.

And for some reason, some people in the district -- including some trustees -- appear to be resentful of the program. They resent the fact that the program seems to have a dearth of minorities participating, they resent the resources they appear to be receiving or demanding to receive.

What's fascinating is that there appears to be resentment too from MAOS students and other supporters as well. Why should only poor-performing students get resources? Why should they be forced to sit along students who are not there to study but just to kill time?

Yep, that's the gist of what's been discussed in some of those sessions. It gets hurtful at times.

Like the times when I would watch Linda rebel against her mother for giving Rosa money for an eyeliner. Like watching Rosa fuming against her mother for not having dinner ready on time.

Bottom line is, at MPUSD there are not many resources, and they have to be stretched thin for all the students, not just for the ones who're struggling academically, but the top performers.

So what gives? And how do you handle it? Do you tell the top performers 'Sorry, we have no more to give you'? Or do you try to find a way to accommodate them?

One way or another, MPUSD has accommodated MAOS for the past 19 years. It hasn't been easy, it seems, but the relationship is there. And it appears that trustees are trying to find a way to keep MAOS a part of Monterey High.

Tuesday night, trustees gave direction to administrators on hammering out some sort of agreement that will spell out how the district will help MAOS. The areas to be included are facilities, master scheduling and staff. A completed document it's supposed to be approved by trustees in the next few weeks.

I do hope everyone finds a way to work together, for the sake of all the students. I'm sure MAOS students would get the benefit of greater focus if they managed to be completely on their own, but I'm afraid the school at large would lose a lot: it would lose a segment of the population that's inspiring and can serve as a catalyst for change. MAOS students would also lose by not being in touch with the "real world."

Somehow in society we have to find a way to serve everyone's needs, and finding a way to serve MAOS and non-MAOS kids is a way to start. And if we can do that without resentments, much better. There are too many Lindas and Rosas in the world already.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Read Across America is coming up

Are you planning any events at your school/classroom? I know teachers at Ord Terrace in Seaside will have community members come and read to the students, and if your looking for more people to come read to your students, let me know and I"ll reach out to my readers.

For those of you who don't know, Read Across America celebrates the birthday of Dr. Seuss and encourages community members to rally around reading on March 3. You can find more information here

Read Across America is one of my favorite school-related events. It's an opportunity for the community to come see what our classrooms are doing, and it's also an opportunity for students to see people in the community care about them.

So let me know! Let's inspire our kids to read!



Monday, February 10, 2014

Nancy Kotowski to present audit results to MPUSD

Monterey County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Kotowski was asked to review procedures at the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District in the wake of changes made to the transcripts of 93 high school students.

She's scheduled to present her findings tomorrow during the regular meeting of the board of trustees.

The big question is: will there be fireworks?

I suspect there's somebody out there who wants to make one administrator in particular the scapegoat. I wonder if the effort will be successful.

An invite went out to all media outlets to attend the report Tuesday night. If you want to be part of the fun, come join us! At 7 p.m. at the Instructional Materials Center, 540 Canyon del Rey, Del Rey Oaks.

And there's lots of other fascinating stuff on the agenda. Like the denial of yet another charter school. Or another conversation on the future of MAOS.

So much fun for just one night. You really shouldn't miss it. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

CSUMB to host open house for masters in Instructional Science and Technology

Learn more about the master’s degree program in Instructional Science and Technology at an open house at Cal State Monterey Bay on Feb. 13.

The event will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Alumni and Visitors Center on Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard. Several current students and graduates of the program will share their experience and how they're applying the skills they acquired to their current work.

The 16-month program will start in the fall of 2014. Application deadline is March 15.

The Master’s in Instructional Science and Technology program prepares students for positions in the fields of modern education and training. It enables graduates to advance in their current careers and will position them to assume leadership roles in education and training.

Two program tracks are available:

• A blended course of study with five weekends on campus with online classes.

• A fully online course of study

More information about the MIST program is available  here, by calling 582-3790, or by e-mailing mist@csumb.edu.

Driving directions and a campus map are available at csumb.edu/maps.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Alisal High studuents dream of the Big Apple

In 2008, Alisal High teacher Ruben Pizarro took 30 students to see President Barack Obama's inauguration.

For his second inauguration, Pizarro took 60 students.

This year, 90 students have joined "Dreams of New York City" and are raising funds to go to the Big Apple in the spring.

They've raised $90,000. They need $150,000 for all the club members to go.



Yeah, time's running short, so they held a press conference/pep talk on Thursday at the school's auditorium. They received words of encouragement from Salinas City Mayor Joe Gunter, Salinas Union High School District board members Eva Marie Martinez and Phillip Tabera, and Salinas Councilman Tony Barrera.







The students looked happy. Cristian Salcedo, 17, told me he joined the club because he wanted to start developing his business skills. He was elected to be co-treasurer, and it's been an experience to keep tabs of 90 student accounts and the account for the whole group.

It's difficult for their working parents to take them on vacations, Cristian told me. So this is an opportunity they're all eagerly awaiting.

Good luck, guys! You're almost there!

If you want to contribute to these young men and women's efforts, send a check to Alisal High School with "NYC trip" on the memo line. 777 Williams Road, Salinas, CA 93905. 

Here's Ruben Gonzalez, co-president of the Dreams of NYC club, talking about the significance of this trip for everyone. Enjoy!


Monterey County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Kotowski will seek re-election

And by now, the only person who was heavily rumored to be considering making a run against her, has largely fizzled.

I won't say the name, because you never know. Hedging my bets here.

If nobody challenges Kotowski, it will definitely be no fun.

Even if anybody decides to take her on, she has so much name recognition by now it'll be difficult to defeat her. Which would make for a dull race. Unless it's made spicy for other reasons.

But if anybody's interested, last day to file's March 7.

Keep me posted. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

MPUSD holds a special meeting on bonds

Monterey Peninsula Unified officials will have a "study session" to receive reports on how the bond money's been spent, how much has been accomplished, and what's left to be done.

If you're interested to see where half of the $110 million has gone, this is your chance to hear it directly from school administrators. The meeting starts at 5:30 pm. at the district's office, 700 Pacific St., Monterey. 

Take pictures and tweet for me, please.

California approves MPUSD dependent charter Dual Language Academy

California education officials approved the Dual Language Academy of the Monterey Peninsula Charter School, MPUSD administrators announced Wednesday.

The charter proposal had major support from parents, backing from administrators, so it was bound to get support from the state.

As a dependent charter, the student population of the school will still count towards the total count for the district, and its finances and most of its operations will also be overseen by the district. The principal will be Tom Vanheukelem, now principal of Marshall West. The Dual Language Academy has been operating as a school program for seven years at Marshall West in Seaside. Administrators want to recruit a student population that's 50 percent native Spanish speaking, 50 percent native English speaker so the program can work. Students in the program spend half of each day studying in English and half of each day studying in Spanish, resulting in students who are fully bilingual and biliterate.

Interested parents should plan to attend Dual Language Academy recruitment meetings at the Cabrillo Family Center on February 24, at Marshall West Elementary on February 26, and at Marina Vista Elementary on February 28. All community meetings will start at 6:00pm. For more information please contact the school at (831) 899-1100.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nifty web page tells you how much districts will get with new funding formula

Fresh off the press: the folks at EdSource have just published a nifty page that explains everything you need to know about the Local Control Funding Formula. The LCFF is designed to give more money to schools that educate low income, English learners, and children in foster care.

(As an aside, I know editors hate acronyms, and I don't really like them either. But school wonks live by them, so I feel an obligation to repeat them so at least the common folk know what's being talked about. I feel for you, parents out there)

This page also has a tool for you to find out how much your district will get under the LFCC. What's best, you can put districts side by side so you can compare them.

Since we locals like to compare MPUSD with Carmel, I decided to try them first.

MPUSD is supposed to be getting $7,028 this year per student. Under LCFF, funding is supposed to increase every year, until the new formula is completed. By then, MPUSD will get $11,412. MPUSD's percent population of needy children is 77 percent.

Carmel's needy population is pegged at 17 percent, and is receiving $17,196 per child under current rules. Since its needy population is not significant, the funding will not change.

Check it out and tell me what you think.

Monterey High to host information night for prospective students

Attention Monterey area parents. If you're interested in your middle school child attending Monterey High, here's your chance to hear more about what's happening there.

The incoming 9th grade parent information night will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 19 at the Monterey Cafe at Monterey High.

(I hear the food there's pretty yummy. I'm going to have to check it out)

Monterey High Principal Marcie Plummer says she's been receiving many phone calls from Monterey residents whose children are now attending private schools wanting to find out about Monterey High programs. She wants publicity, so here it is, Ms. Plummer.

I'll be by to collect my veggie burger next week. ;)

MPUSD parents: learn more about the Common Core

The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District is presenting the last of three parent engagement nights designed to teach parents how to help their children with the Common Core Standards.

The Common Core Standards are a new set of academic goals aimed at preparing students to be ready for college and career by the time they finish high school.

The parent engagement night will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Walter Colton Middle School, 100 Toda Vista Way, Monterey. For more information call Kathieryn Medina at 645-1212 or kmedina@mpusd.k12.ca.us

Attention talented teens of Salinas and beyond: show your stuff

Two events are coming up this month designed to showcase the talents of Monterey County's youth. Check them out! Take part!

The Media Center for Art, Education and Technology seeks artists from Monterey County and beyond to present their talents in front of a live audience and broadcast on television.

Talent performances will be recorded on Thursday, February 13. Musicians, singers, bands, poets, comedians, actors and dancers are all invited to perform during the second "Live from the Millennium." The taping will be held at 901 Blanco Circle in Salinas. Appointments required, call Emily Morales at 831-297-2656.

Not interested in the broadcast part? Come to the Teen Talent Extravaganza organized by the Salinas Youth Commission. Thespians, poets, vocalist musicians, come demonstrate what you're capable off. Sign up by calling 758-7217 by February 24. Dress Rehearsal is Wednesday, February 26. Show is 7 p.m. Friday, February 28.

Admission is free -but but a can or item of nonperishable food is appreciated.