Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tutors Needed for AmeriCorps Monterey County literacy project

AmeriCorps Monterey County United for Literacy is seeking tutors to read with students at schools in Salinas, Soledad, King City and Greenfield. The program’s mission is to enable Monterey County children to read well and independently by the end of the third grade so they can read to learn in the fourth grade and beyond.

Tutors serve at least 40 hours a week, providing one-on-one or small group reading instruction to students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Tutoring sessions take place during and after school.

The program begins September 1, 2015 and runs for 11 months, ending July 31, 2016.

AmeriCorps members receive a monthly stipend of $1,210 for 11 months, a Segal Education Award of $5,550 upon successful completion of 1,700 tutoring hours, and student loan forbearance while serving.

Applicants must have graduated from high school or received a GED certificate. A Bachelor’s or Associate's Degree is preferred. Experience working with children or in education is helpful, although tutors will receive training and orientation.

AmeriCorps Monterey County United for Literacy is a program operated by the Monterey County Office of Education.

Candidates may submit an application by visiting the program website here and or here. Email eortiz@monterey.k12.ca.us for further information.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Apply for reduced-price meals, enter a raffle for a bike at MPUSD

In an effort to reach more families, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District will host a "Food and Fuel Round-Up" to help them apply for their student's bus pass and to submit an application for free or reduced-price meals, in advance of school starting. Families who apply during the Round Up will be entered to win one of several Huffy bikes.

Parents and/or guardians may complete applications for a bus pass and/or free/reduced-price meals on the following dates, times and locations:

July 23, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Seaside Middle School, 999 Coe Avenue, Seaside
July 28,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Instructional Materials Center, 540 Canyon Del Rey, Del Rey Oaks
July 29, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.,  Instructional Materials Center, 540 Canyon Del Rey, Del Rey Oaks
July 30,  9 a.m. to 1 p.m., District Office,  700 Pacific Street, Monterey

Families applying for bus passes applications need to  bring proof of income (e.g., pay stub) and proof of residency (e.g., property tax bill, rental agreement, utility bill, etc.)

Participation in the "Food & Fuel Round-Up" allows the district to process applications sooner which in turn will help students receive meal benefits in the most timely manner.

The third annual summer teacher recruitment fair is taking place Friday

The third Annual Summer Teacher Recruitment Fair will take plade from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, July 24, at the Monterey County Office of Education, 901 Blanco Circle, Salinas.

School districts throughout Monterey County have reported a shortage of qualified teachers in the last couple of years, and there appears there are still many openings to be filled.

"We are offering this recruitment fair in hopes of finding qualified teacher candidates for these remaining open positions,” said Dr. Rosa E. Coronado, assistant superintendent of human resources for MCOE.

Salinas High teacher takes part in White House Summit on school discipline

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice are hosting teams of educators from across the country today for “Rethink Discipline,” a day-long conference at the White House on improving school climates and implementing discipline practices. The conference is part of a nationawide effort aimed at reducing the number of youth of color who get suspended and expelled from school.

Expulsions and suspensions are a great concern of education, not only because schools lose funding, but also because absenteeism begins to create a path for truancy. Some locals districts are already making inroads in this area, that's the reason why Juan Govea, who served as Teacher Ambassador Fellow for the U.S. Department of Education in 2012 was invited to take part in the gathering.

"This invitation stems from the good work being done in the Salinas Union High School District surrounding positive based interventions and supports in an effort to reduce suspensions," Govea wrote in an email. "My hope to be able to speak honestly from the teacher perspective on our triumphs and challenges. I think it’s a tremendous honor for our schools and acknowledgement of what teachers are doing here in Salinas."

We can't wait to hear your report, Mr. Govea. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Salinas Valley Dream Academy premieres on the big screen

A documentary about the Dream Academy, a leadership program for Salinas Valley high school students, will be screened on Wednesday, July 22 at 6:45 at the Maya Cinema. Admission is free. The students and community will be reliving and celebrating the growth and journey the Dream Academy students experienced last year.

About 100 youth make up the Salinas Valley Dream Academy, most of whom live in east Salinas. The central mission of the Dream Academy is to inspire, engage, and empower high school students to become leaders. This is done through numerous community service activities, community impact projects, a speaker's series and the fundraising that students do to take a year-end educational trip to the east coast. Throughout the last several years, the Dream Academy students have been able to witness both of President Barack Obama's inaugurations, visit with United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta inside the Pentagon, experience a first-class tour of Columbia University and NYU (New York University), and at the end of this past school year, students were able to experience a briefing at the White House and another briefing at the United Nations.

This is an important experience for the students and they need your support. Hope you can join them!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The November election is upon us...

So I will be sharing interesting tidbits from time to time about who's running and what not.

For starters, if you're considering to run for a seat in the Monterey Peninsula College governing board, President Walter Tribley will be conducting an orientation at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 20, in Room 106 of the humanities building of the college.

At the orientation, Tribley will provide information about the college district, the state community college system, and the role of the governing board. For additional information, call Vicki Nakamura, at 646-4114.

The seats up for re-election are Trustee Area 3 (Monterey/Del Rey Oaks), Trustee Area 4 (Pacific Grove/Pebble Beach), and Trustee Area 5 (Carmel/Carmel Valley/Big Sur).

Any registered voter interested in running for office in the November 3 election can file the required paperwork by the August 7 deadline . Candidates for schools or special district offices file with the Monterey County Elections Office. Find more information about this election, including available seats here or call (831) 796-1499 toll-free at (866) 887-9274.

Deadline coming up to comment on pesticide use near California schools

Last year, the Department of Public Health published a report on the use of pesticides near California schools. The report documented 144 different hazardous pesticides being used near schools — chemicals that can cause cancer and derail the development of a child’s brain and nervous system.

Last month, about a hundred teachers from the Central Coast packed a hearing of the California Department of Pesticide Regulations, demanding that stricter guidelines are established to prevent children from inhaling toxic chemical fumes. If you missed it, here's a story I wrote about it.

If you wanted to voice your opinion and couldn't make the meeting, you still have a chance. July 31 is the deadline for public comments on pesticides use near schools. You can write to Brian Leahy, director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation, and let him know your thoughts. He can be reached at (916) 445-4000 or Brian.Leahy@cdpr.ca.gov

You can send a letter to: 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 4015, Sacramento, CA 95812-4015

Or you can join the action organized by the United Farm Workers. Here's their link.

Many teachers had been asking the Department of Pesticide Regulations to impose a mile-wide buffer zone between schools and areas where pesticides are applied. A supporter with the Californians for Pesticide Reform has started a petition online for this cause. You can access it here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Got four minutes to support a CSUMB's college-preparedness program?

Educational Talent Search, a federally funded program that helps first-generation, low-income students prepare for college, is turning 50 this year.

To celebrate the occasion, ETS programs across the nation created videos to highlight the impact they've had on students, families, communities and schools. The video created by CSUMB, where the local Educational Talent Search is based, was selected as a finalist.

“Please take the time to watch our students’ stories,” said Clementina Macias, ETS program coordinator at CSUMB. “We will have until Friday, July 24, to get as many people as possible to LIKE our video on YouTube.”

Here's the video.

Talent Search gives first-generation, low-income students and their families information about college admissions and resources, provides students with academic advising, helps them explore careers, exposes them to cultural events and helps students become college-ready.
The federally funded program was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Higher Education Act of 1965, established with the goal of seeing that “no American talent is wasted.”

Nearly 1,200 high school students start down the path to college each year through the Educational Talent Search program based at CSUMB. The students come from seven high schools in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

The winning video will be announced Aug. 5 and highlighted at the Council for Opportunity in Education’s annual conference Sept. 16-19 in Atlanta.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Standing room only at Kennedy Center for Monterey County High School All-Star Band

The talented musicians of the Monterey County High School All-Star Band had a standing room only performance on the Fourth of July at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, reports mom extraordinaire Katherine Wenglikowski.

And she sent a photo to prove it. Here it is.

You may remember I wrote a brief story previewing the trip, you can find it here. I watched a portion of the program on Saturday, so I can attest to these kids abilities. So good! But you can check it out yourself in the Kennedy Center's archived performances here

And they sent a photo holding the story! How awesome's that?

Keep rocking, Monterey cats!

Stuff the Bus and help Monterey County homeless children with school supplies

There are more than 7,000 students considered homeless in Monterey County, and the yearly "Stuff the Bus" campaign helps collect school supplies to make sure they are ready for classes come August.

The campaign is spearheaded by the Monterey County Office of Education and United Way Monterey County, and it asks community members to donate school supplies or money to buy those supplies for needy children.

Donations of paper, pens, pencils, notebooks and backpacks will be received at any of the school collection "buses" placed in banks, credit unions and other local businesses during the month of July. There's also collection "buses" in most libraries. For a complete list of drop-off sites, click here.

All the collected school supplies will be sorted, and stuffed into backpacks on Aug. 1 at MCOE for distribution during the first week of school.

For the first time, people may make donations via text. Text STB15 to 71777.

And for more information, click here.  You can also volunteer to help stuff the backpacks.