Thursday, February 26, 2015

Read Across America's coming up!

Read Across America has become one of my favorite celebrations. Teachers all over the country open the doors to their classrooms and welcome community members who want to read to their students.

I love reading out loud. I love being read to out loud. I think that's how my love for reading was born. And if you have the time, energy and resources, maybe you can do the same for our local children?

Jenifer Alexander, a second grade teacher at Ord Terrace Elementary in Seaside, is still looking for volunteers to come and read to the students on March 3. Time slots are available from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Community members are provided with books to read with students and are scheduled to read in classrooms for 25 minute increments. They also encourage readers to bring their own favorite books from childhood and share their own experiences as readers.

If you're interested, contact Jenifer Alexander, at 392-3922 or

Many schools Read Across America takes part in this important event -- yes, it's so important to read to kids! So, if you can't come to Ord Terrace, maybe there's a school near you that's taking part of the event? Maybe I can list it in my blog? Shoot me an email and let me know.

Lighthouse Preschool to host fundraiser

Lighthouse PreSchool, a co-op preschool  on 17 Mile Drive, is  holding fundraising even on March 7.

The event will benefit the school's music program.  Teacher Kim Biggio is trying to raise the funds to buy musical instruments for the little ones at school. The fundraiser will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school. Suggested admission price is $5, and there will be food, music, a bouncy house, face painting, massages and more.

Contact  Kim Biggio at 831-236-7210 for more information or with s donation ideas!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Oasis Charter hosts open house

Oasis Charter Public School in Salinas will hold an open house and orientation on Thursday, Feb 26, March 26 and April 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Staff will answer questions regarding available programs such as GATE, AVID and all the classes based on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. Oasis Charter is a tuition-free public school, Kindergarten through sixth grade located behind Costco in Salinas. For more information, call the school at (831) 424-9003 or visit our their website here.

Oasis Chárter School celebra un evento de puertas abiertas y orientación el 26 de febrero, 26 de marzo y el 23 de abril a las 6:30 p.m.

 Esta es una oportunidad para hacer preguntas sobre los programas y cursos disponibles que ofrece la escuela en ciencia, tecnología, ingeniería, arte y matemáticas. Oasis charter es una escuela pública y gratuita, desde kínder hasta sexto de primaria. La escuela Oasis charter se encuentra detrás de Costco en Salinas. Para más informacion llame al 831-424-90-03 o pulse aquí.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Search for new Carmel superintendent moving along

Carmel Board President Rita Patel reports on the Carmel Unified website that Leadership Associates, the firm that's conducting the superintendent's search, received 40 requests for applications and 28 completed applications were submitted.

Eleven of the applicants are women, 17 are men, and three are from out of California.

Trustees are expected to meet with consultants to review applications and select finalists on March 4.

Finalists are expected to be interviewed on March 13 and 14, and a site visit to the finalist would be scheduled soon after. A contract for a new superintendent would have to be approved at a regularly scheduled board meeting. A new superintendent is expected to begin July 1.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Children born in the U.S. in Mexican schools

Caused no doubt by an increase in deportations from the United States, schools in Mexico have seen a surge of students born in "El Norte."

More than 300,000 children born abroad are now attending Mexican schools. The vast majority -- nearly 290,000 -- were born in the United States. 

In some cases, the increase is beyond dramatic. Guanajuato, historically one of the largest "exporters" of migrants, saw a return of more than 16,000 children in 2013.

Check out this cool info map and the numbers all broken down by state. The Mexican Institute for Women in Migration also put together this info story by the numbers, definitely worth checking out.

Stevenson's Emma Morgan a finalist in national competition

Stevenson Junior Emma Morgan was recently selected as one of six finalists in MIT's nationwide THINK scholarship competition. The MIT team reviewed papers submitted by over 100 top high school students from across the country. Of these entries, six including Emma’s were selected as finalists, and three will be awarded the opportunity to work with MIT faculty and students to develop the idea in the laboratory. Final selections will be announced late this week.

As one of the six finalists, Emma won an expenses-paid trip to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts to present her paper, Artificial Musculature: A New Approach to the Linear Solenoid, to the THINK team (a panel of MIT professors, alumni, and students) and was interviewed extensively by the selection team on Wednesday.

The competition consisted of three parts: a written 10-page paper with concept drawings describing the idea, a 25-minute personal presentation at MIT, and an extensive interview with the selection team.

Each paper proposed an innovative idea in science, engineering, or math that was in the early concept stage and had yet to be developed. Emma's inspiration for her paper came while she was trying to build an autonomous robot toy and discovered existing solutions were not very good at simulating the linear movement created by a natural muscle contraction.  (Submitted by Elena Mueller)

Congratulations, Emma! Pretty impressive! It will never cease to amaze me to see what young people are capable of achieving when given enough love, attention and resources!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cash for College workshops coming to Hartnell, MPC

Need help filling out your federal financial aid application -- the FAFSA? Or the Dream Act application?

Come to the student services building, room B-110, at Hartnell College from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 21.

Or the Marina Education Center of Monterey Peninsula College from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 28. The Marina Education Center is at 289 12th Street, Marina. Attending this workshop will give students the opportunity to win a $1,000 scholarship.

Students from Monterey Bay Charter school conquer MATHCOUNTS

Monterey Bay Charter School won first place at the MATHCOUNTS regional competition held Saturday at San Benancio Middle School. Monterey Bay Charter officials are delighted in the win, as it's the first time the school achieves this feat.

"We got the team award, and one of our team members got third place award," said Kristi Heath, the school's administrative coordinator. "It's pretty exciting. This was really a big win, specially as a small school."

In the past, the school has won individual trophies and a third place team award but it’s the first time the school will go on to the state competition, Heath said.

Members of the winning team -- coached by Sandra Boyd -- are: Pavel Hickman, Tomas Hickman, Eugene Pastor, and Andrew Simpson. The team will now advance to the state competition, to be held at Stanford University on March 21.

San Carlos School came in second place, followed by Santa Catalina School.

MATHCOUNTS is a national math enrichment, coaching and competition program designed to improve math skills among U.S. students. More than 6 million students across the U.S. have participated in MATHCOUNTS programs. Leadership at the local levels of the MATHCOUNTS Competition Series is provided by members of the California Society of Professional Engineers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

All Saints' Day School celebrates diversity

As part of the International Week Festival at All Saints' Day School, the middle school hosted a panel discussion last week about the cultural similarities and differences immigrants experience when they come to the United States.

The panel was composed of nine All Saints' Parents and teachers from Ecuador, England, Japan, Trinidad, Uganda, Tunisia, Czech Republic, Germany, and Colombia. The students had great questions about cultural differences, how the moving to the USA affected family life, what people  missed most and more.

This is just one of many events that took place at the Episcopalian, private school in Carmel during the biennial celebration of international diversity.

Parents of students helped celebrate this event and presented their ancestors’ home countries through music, dance, slideshows, artifacts and food, reports Kristin Templeman, the school's communications director.

And it was great fun, she said. Next time we won't miss it!

MPUSD begins drafting its Local Control Accountability Plan

It's the new way to plan how to spend money allotted for education. And districts are required to get as much input from the community as possible.

The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District will soon holding meetings to begin drafting its Local Control Accountability Plan -- a plan that will spell out how the district will spend money to reach achievement goals. The district is receiving new money to educate low income and English learners, and state officials want all the districts to involve as many parents, teachers, and community members as possible in the drafting of these new plans.

MPUSD official have  scheduled six meetings:

Wed., Feb. 18, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Board Study Session
540 Canyon del Rey, Del Rey Oaks

Wed., Feb. 25, 6 to 8 p.m.
Los Arboles Middle School
294 Hillcrest Ave., Marina

Tues., March 3, 6 to 8 p.m.
Cabrillo Family Resource Center
1295 La Salle Ave., Seaside

Thurs., March 12, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Monterey High School
101 Hermann Dr., Monterey

Tues, March 17, 12 to 2 p.m.
Instructional Materials Center
540 Canyon del Rey, Del Rey Oaks

Tues, April 7, 12 to 2 p.m.
MPUSD District Office
700 Pacific Street., Monterey

Given the new atmosphere of optimism at the district, it'll be interesting to see how many people show up for these meetings. I'll try to show up to as many as possible.

It's open enrollment season for Salinas High School District

Parents and students within the Salinas Union High School District can apply to enroll at any of the district's comprehensive high schools (Alisal, Everett Alvarez, North Salinas and Salinas). The so-called "school choice" begins February 2 and ends at 4 p.m. on February 27. By then, all applications must be completed and return to the main office of the requested school.

Transfer requests from another district for 2015-16 will be accepted during this open enrollment. Transfers from another school district to a school in the SUHSD attendance area must be initiated in the student's district of residence using that district's request for Interdistrict transfer form.

SUSHD’s Interdistrict Attendance Agreement forms are available at 20 Sherwood Place, Salinas, CA 93906 (Pupil Personnel Services) or download it here. For questions call the Pupil Personnel Services office at (831) 796-6964. 

Greenfield's Jocelyn Sosa wants to compete in Australia

Greenfield's cross country star Jocelyn Sosa has been invited to compete in Australia with the Down Under Sports Organization. In the wake of a great season, Jocelyn and her parents believe this is a good opportunity for the studious athlete to polish her running skills.

"I was doing very well since the beginning, I was getting first place a lot," said Jocelyn, a junior at Greenfield High School. She finished the season in 18th place out of 200 runners, and overall, she had a great year which she wants to cap with a trip in the summer.

 Jocelyn needs $5,000 for her trip, and she's hoping community members will help her cover her costs. She'll be having car washes, bake sales, everything that low-income students do these days to raise money. Her mother Alba Sosa asked me if I could do a write up for her in hopes that people donate to her cause. Sure, I said. So here it is.

One of these days, Jocelyn may open up a GoFund me or another social media donation campaign. In the meantime, you can send your donations addressed to Jocelyn Sosa, PO Box 1592, Greenfield CA 93927. Or you can donate directly to the Down Under Sports here. It's not tax deductible, unfortunately.