Survey, FFA, performing arts, pathways, EXCEL
If you are a parent of grown children, of pre-school aged children, are a private school parent or an adult with no children, the Sonoma Valley Unified School District and the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation want to hear from you. They have developed a quick survey, available in English or Spanish. I strongly urge everyone to take it. Go to: zoomerang.com/survey/WEB22EUMZWFP4N. They are very interested in community perception of our public schools.
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As I mentioned last week, Sonoma Valley High School has selected engineering, design technology as its first Linked Learning Pathway, which will be open to next year’s tenth graders. This Pathway, the first of several, is the next step in the high school redesign process – which began with the formation of ninth-grade teams last fall. Sophomores will have the option to enroll in an integrated series of courses centered on the broad concepts of engineering, design and technology. Last week, I attended the information session with about 40 to 50 parents to hear more. The parents seemed very positive about the freshman team experience and both curious about and intrigued by this new option. The complete presentation, which covered the rationale, research and details on the Pathway rollout, is available on the Sonoma Valley High website. Students are asked to decide by Friday.
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Congratulations to Sonoma Valley High School senior Suzanne Amaral and junior Alexandra Kasper who qualified to compete in the Future Farmer’s of America’s Extemporaneous and Prepared Public Speaking Contest State Finals at the FFA convention in April. Both won first place in the North Coast Regional FFA Contest and Amaral placed second in extemporaneous public speaking. In that contest, she randomly selected an agriculturally-related topic and had 30 minutes to prepare a short speech on the topic. Kasper placed third at the regional level with her speech on phosphorus depletion. Both will be compete in April against the top 24 public speakers in the State of California.
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This summer, a group of current and past Sonoma Valley High students hope to stage “A Chorus Line” in conjunction with the Sonoma Theater Alliance. They created a great meet-the-cast promo video to raise excitement and funds. You can view it at youtube.com/watch?v=6-aZA4phJQ0. The video was made by Sonoma Valley High grad Mike Lee, who was the first Sonoma High student to have his film shown in the regular Sonoma Film Festival line-up. A portion of proceeds from the production will go to the Sonoma Education Foundation for arts education.
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Speaking of performing arts, congratulations to the Sonoma Valley High students who have been accepted at colleges in the areas of visual/performing arts. While they are still waiting to hear from other schools, congrats to Sarah Summers (dance, UCLA); Ky Newman (film, UCLA); John Wittbrodt (drama, Boston University); and Olivia Donald (musical theatre, Chico State).
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I have written before about how young women are going to and graduating from college in greater numbers than young men, and I was interested in how that is playing out in Sonoma. I looked at the new, recently announced, Sonoma Valley High School Honor Roll and found that of the 550 students (out of 1,300) names, 60 percent were girls, 40 percent were boys. And on the superintendent’s list of those with the highest grade point average, there are 27 percent more girls than boys. That’s a topic for discussion.
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Campusgrotto.com had an interesting list of top 10 ways to ensure success in college, that are largely relevant for all students.
1. Make new friends in class – Step outside your comfort zone and get to know new people. They will open your mind and help you become a more well-rounded student who is able to understand a variety of perspectives.
2. Sit in the front row of every class – The professor will notice you, it will be much more difficult to zone out and you will be more engaged.
3. Visit the career center often – Having direction will give new life to your college experience. Take all the career tests they have. Read books about career discovery. Ask for input on your resume.
4. Get a professorial mentor – Get to know all of your professors and ask them for help in class; then, meet more often with and ask advice of the one you feel you connect with the most.
5. Be a leader in a club – Being a part of clubs is crucial to expand your social network and your professional skills. However, being a leader is where the real magic happens.
6. Do something you never thought you could do – Study abroad. Join a club that scares you. Start a small business. Go on a service trip. Speak publicly. Be the president of a large club. Whatever it is that you don’t actually think you could do – just do it.
7. Get a professional mentor – You’d be amazed at who will talk to you, how valuable their advice is, and where it will lead.
8. Get a fascinating internship – Internships can open doors and help you learn about a career more than anything else.
9. Write down your goals – There can be incredible results from being focused on specific goals.
10. Develop a morning routine – Developing a morning routine helps you focus. When you start the day rushed, you will have a hurried, seemingly unproductive day.
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After a cheating scandal that involved dozens of teenagers in New York using fake IDs to take tests for others, the SAT and ACT will soon require test takers to upload photos that will be checked against the student’s photo ID at the testing site. Students will also have to list their high school so that schools can keep better tabs on test takers. The new rules apply nationwide and will go into effect this fall.
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The St. Francis Solano School sixth-grade class just returned from almost a week at the CYO camp at Caritas Creek. Their week of outdoor education included individual and group activities including: canoeing, archery, night hikes, solo hikes and learning to make fire with flint.
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Sonoma State University EXCEL Youth Summer Enrichment Program (which is a great program for high-achieving students in grades 4 to 8) is looking for volunteer teaching assistants. EXCEL offers three summer sessions of classes in art, science, drama and computers for gifted students. Visit sonoma.edu/exud/excel to apply.
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Santa Rosa Junior College is offering a free Sustainable Agriculture Summer Academy (SASA), for two weeks starting July 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Selected students will learn from demonstrations, presentations and hands-on projects with livestock, soils, compost, greenhouse plants and vineyards, as well as field trips, overnights and more. Selected students (must be current sophomores and juniors) will earn three college credits or 10 high school credits. Stop by the College & Career Center for the application, which is due Monday, April 16.
Sonoma Special Olympics is seeking volunteers for its tennis practices on Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hanna Boys Center starting in April and running through May. Teens and adults interested in helping out can contact Barbara Hall at email@example.com.
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On Wednesday, April 11 at 7 p.m., Dan Peters, Ph.D., will be presenting Taming the Worry Monster: Helping Advanced Learners Cope with Stress and Anxiety. This event is free and open to parents, teachers, school counselors and high school students. It will be held at Maria Carrillo High School at 6975 Montecito Blvd., in Santa Rosa.
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