Quantcast

Free programs overseas, Dear Teen Me, algebra, homecoming, owls and bats

Schools Education

Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune Education Editor

By

If you have, or know of, a student ages 15 to 18 who’s interested in other cultures, I strongly recommend they check out the State Department’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. While you might think that it is impossible to be selected, regular readers of this column know that Sonoma has had three high school students, two college students and one teacher selected to take part in NSLI programs (all expenses paid) over the past four years. Students spend either the summer or a full year in Morocco, China, India, Korea, Tajikistan, Turkey or Russia. The merit-based full scholarships cover all travel, accommodations, daily language classes and cultural activities. The goal of NSLI-Y is to increase the number of young Americans with the language skills necessary to advance international dialogue and increase understanding between cultures. The deadline is soon – Tuesday, Nov. 5. nsliforyouth.org.

•••

The Republic of Thrift on Highway 12 has been awaiting nonprofit status for months now and finally got the good news of its approval this summer. The bad news? The government shutdown has placed its Federal Tax ID number in limbo. As soon as possible, the store will be providing donors with donation receipts. Since opening in 2012, the store has donated more than $65,000 to Sonoma’s public schools.

•••

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the percentage of students choosing colleges close to home is increasing slightly every year (though nationally still only 20 percent of this year’s full-time, four-year freshmen said that being close to home was a very important factor in their college choice). The figure was 16 percent in 1983.

•••

The website “Dear Teen Me” made me laugh and cry. Famous authors and other notables submit letters to their teen self’s. They are all beautifully written and many are sure to strike a chord. dearteenme.com.

•••

Every fall, Sonoma students take the California Healthy Kids survey. This year’s survey will have a new section on mental health. The massive survey is an important resource for schools and the change reflects greater concern among educators about school climate, a broad term that includes whether students and teachers feel supported and engaged, both socially and academically.

•••

Sonoma Valley Library is offering ragtime musical performances appropriate for teens and adults on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is part of the Wine Country Ragtime Festival. Six nationally-known ragtime musicians/bands will perform and talk about this uniquely American type of music.

•••

There is a controversial article in the new Harper’s magazine that contends algebra cannot be learned by everyone. That it just can’t … and that U.S., schools should stop jamming algebra II, in particular, down every student’s throat. The author interviews experts, many of whom are math teachers, who say forcing all teens to take algebra and algebra 2 is disastrous and unfair to students, most of whom, the author contends, will never need that particular math in their lives. (tinyurl.com/lf7cg9o)

•••

The Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers’ Market recently presented scholarship/grants for 2013 to four Sonoma organizations involved in education related to farming and the culinary arts. Sonoma Valley High School’s Culinary Arts Department and Future Farmers of America each received $1,200.

•••

It’s Homecoming Week at the high school. There are themed dress-up days every day; the Homecoming Carnival is Tuesday on the blacktop at lunch; the Float Fest is Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.; and the Homecoming Dance is in Pfeiffer Gym from 7 to 10:45 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19. The senior Homecoming candidates are – girls: Brittany Daly, Brenna Hamilton, Maria Hawing, Erica Larson and Kayten Mak; boys: Dan Deely, Jimmy Flatt, Owen Ljung, John Murphy and Aaron Pino.

•••

On Monday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m., Sonoma Country Day School in Santa Rosa will host psychologist, school consultant and author Catherine Steiner-Adair. The event is free, but you need to reserve a seat at scdsevents.org. Steiner-Adair will offer K-8 parents ways to nourish healthy relationships in the age of technology and strengthen their child’s social and emotional resilience from unhealthy cultural values. Her newest book is “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.” catherinesteineradair.com/.

•••

At the recent Education Nation conference, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said if he could achieve only one goal, it would be to provide every child ages up to age 5 with access to a high quality pre-school experience.

•••

ArtEscape Sonoma’s free Sunday Art Play Day is this weekend. No registration is required. All ages are invited to drop in to make a Halloween mask from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 17474-A Sonoma Highway.

•••

Sonoma Community Center and Silver Moon Theatre are offering “Improvisation: Acting Without a Script” for ages 10 to 18. The class is Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. starting Wednesday, Oct. 16 through Nov. 20. The class is at SCC and costs $150 (members $135). sonomacommunitycenter.org.

•••

The Wine County Optics Fair has nothing to do with eyeglasses. Sonoma Birding’s free Nature and Optics Festival will feature live owls, hawks and bats, art and music. Admission is free and it sounds like fun for all ages. The event is Sunday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cornerstone Sonoma on Arnold Drive.

•••

The 27th Wine Country Film Festival ran Sept 25 through 29 in venues across Sonoma Valley including two days at Dunbar School in Glen Ellen. Dedicated to bringing attention to growing healthy food, the Film Festival launched a $1,000 matching challenge grant for Dunbar’s garden thanks to an anonymous donor. Through Saturday, Jan. 4, WCFF will collect donations (to provide gardening tools, organic compost, an irrigation system, hand washing stations and wheel barrels). Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Dunbar School Garden c/o WCFF, P.O. Box 303, Glen Ellen CA 95442 or donate by credit card by calling 935-3456.

•••

A private middle/high school in Boston, Beaver Country Day, this year began teaching computer coding to every single student. Instead of making it a stand-alone class, the school is incorporating coding into all subjects, from math and science to English and art. Coding is the common term for the different languages that programmers use to make computers perform the functions we now rely on. School officials said that they want to get more girls in math and science careers, and to break the stigma that kids who study computer science are geeks, by getting everyone coding.

•••

Many schools are starting their touring, open house and shadowing calendars. Please send me that information so that I can share it.

•••

I love it that Sonoma Charter School has created a “Classroom to Community” committee to help share the good news of the school. While I try to get onto every school campus at least once a month, the best way to ensure that your school is featured on these pages is to send me lots of ideas at ourschools@sonomanews.com.