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Changes to Amazon.com, the SAT, school donations, teens, education documentaries, becoming a vet, photo contest, volunteers needed, Snipz

<b>There were two big announcements last week concerning SAT testing for college.</b> First, there will be sweeping changes to the SAT, taking effect in two years (2016). Scoring will go back to 1600 from 2400, the writing section will no longer be required and the content of the questions will be different, and more aligned to the new Common Core State Standards. Also, the College Board, which administers the SAT, announced a major partnership with Khan Academy to offer completely free SAT prep to all students to level the playing field for low-income students who can’t afford prep classes. http://tinyurl.com/mwkr7hv

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<b>Did you know that Amazon.com will give a percentage (.05 percent) of every purchase you make to the nonprofit of your choice? </b>I signed on the moment I heard about it. The program is called Amazon Smiles, most purchases qualify, and you can sign up quickly and easily at smile.amazon.com. After you sign up, the donations are automatic.

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<b>California is one of five states deciding right now whether computer science classes should count toward high school graduation.</b> It seems like a no-brainer to me. Am I missing something? Only nine states currently count these courses as a science or math, which has slowed CS course enrollment. Visit code.org/action/make-cs-count to sign a petition showing your support.  Not convinced? There are 77,309 open computing jobs in California right now (growing at 4.3 times the state average). There are only 4,324 computer science graduates (from college) and only 311 high schools teach computer science. Hooray to SVHS for being one of them.

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<b>I played a crazy new video game on my phone recently that teens might just enjoy.</b> The free app, developed by an ex-con who went on to graduate from the University of Texas, is called SaulPaul’s Dream in 3D. A young guy runs through the halls of his high school dodging babies (who symbolize teen pregnancy), liquor bottles and pill bottles. The babies cling to your legs and slow down your progress (my favorite part) and the liquor makes you weave so you can’t move as accurately and the pills kill you if you don’t avoid them. There isn’t a lot more to it than that but that didn’t stop Flappy Bird from being a hit. http://wedreamin3d.com/

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<b>I am a big fan of high school students taking online courses or community college courses as a means of enrichment and/or exploring areas of interest.</b>  It is very complicated for a high school, however, to accept credit for these courses, and that is a topic that the Sonoma Valley school board and the school district will tackle in tonight’s meeting. If this is a hot button topic for you, there will be public comment sometime after 6:30 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room at the police station.

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