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Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup Feb. 21

Free community college: Starting next fall, San Francisco students will receive free tuition at the city’s community colleges, regardless of income, the city announced last week. The program will apply to all city residents who have lived in San Francisco for one year and one day at the time of their enrollment. The city will fund the $5.4 million program with a new tax on sales of real estate valued at more than $5 million. Some 300,000 full- and part-time students are expected to take advantage of the free tuition. The program is expected to take effect in the fall. http://tinyurl.com/hxddeuw

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Family concert: Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra is presenting its first-ever family concert, featuring Camille Saint–Saens’ Carnival of the Animals from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26. This hour-long concert is aimed at young children who may have limited experience attending classical concerts and will include performances by Fratello Marionettes. The concert will be followed by an instrument petting zoo, a chance for children to try out the instruments of the orchestra under the supervision of Sonoma State University music education students. Tickets are $8 (free to SSU students). tickets.sonoma.edu

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TED star: The keynote speaker of the upcoming ieSonoma event is Ken Robinson, best known for delivering the most watched TED Talk of all time on creativity in today’s schools. Register at iesonoma.org. Early bird pricing for the June 12 event is available until Feb. 28. IeSonoma is a partnership between public and private educational institutions devoted to exploring the research, theory, and practice of 21st Century teaching and learning for the purpose of transforming the way we prepare our youth for success in this rapidly changing world.

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Clean foods: Did you know that the stickers that can be found on most fruits and veggies in grocery stores tell how the produce was grown. By correctly reading this code, you can tell if the fruit was genetically modified, organically grown or produced with chemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides. If the number starts with an 8, the produce has been genetically modified. Produce that starts with “9” was grown organically and is not genetically modified. This site will tell you everything you need to know ewg.org/foodnews/

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Teen animators: Submissions to the Walt Disney Teen Animation Festival International contest for budding artists (ages 13 through 18) are due on March 17. It is open to all Bay Area youth. http://tinyurl.com/gllu2ja.

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Resources galore: I can’t resist a great list and I just came across 50 Insanely Useful Websites College Students Need To Know. Some examples…. #11 Bibme - autogenerate bibliographies and citations. #12. TalkTyper - just speak the words into the microphone and watch as they appear on the screen. #19. Habitica – a virtual game that helps you to improve “good” habits? http://tinyurl.com/jbzln4n

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Donor for the arts: The late Rose Marie Piper developed a foundation that provided $105,000 in grants to local youth programs in 2016 year. Since 2008 the Rose Marie Piper Foundation has awarded more than $800,000 to youth programs. Each year the Board of Directors reads the grant requests from Sonoma Valley youth programs and awards programs deemed most in need. In 2016, the grantees were: ArtEscape, Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley, Ceres, Pets Lifeline (for its youth education program), Sonoma Valley Girls Softball, Teen Services and Valley of the Moon Aquatics. The volunteer board is made up of Larry Adams, Vince Albano, Jodi Anderson, Rich Caselli and Heidi Stovall.

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Free first aid classes: Santa Rosa JC is offering free first aid, CPR and AED training. Classes are open to the community and are available in English and Spanish. The upcoming dates are all day on Friday, Feb. 24, (Spanish), evenings on Thursday and Friday March 2 and 3, (Spanish), all day on Friday, March 31 or all day on Friday, April 28. Visit 123contactform.com/form-2189229/Registration-First-Aid-CPR-AED-Training to register.

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TV star: Congratulations to Dunbar Elementary School second/third grade teacher Renea Magnani who was named KRON4’s “Teacher of the Week” last week. Her (anonymous) nominator said that Magnani understands how “everyone learns differently, everyone is special and unique and that being special and unique is a beautiful thing. She emphasizes each child’s special talents and qualities and makes sure that every child who comes through her classroom knows they are wonderful.” http://tinyurl.com/zohgnrq

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Lobster sale: The Soropotimists Spring Lobster Sale is on Saturday, April 1, but the nonprofit is taking orders right now. For $26, you get a 1.5 pound live or cooked lobster. To order, call Juliette Andrews at 338-1874. Proceeds from the sale go to scholarships for women and girls in Sonoma Valley.

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Fundraiser dinner: The Valley of the Moon Lodge is celebrating its 70th year in Sonoma. Its upcoming “Sons of Italy” event is a fundraiser for its scholarship fund. Last year, four scholarships were given. Tommy Thomsen, SVHS ’66, will perform. The event is at 6 p.m. on March 4 at the Veteran’s Building. Tickets are $40. Call Karen Carroll at 938-1295 to reserve a spot.

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Book drive: Senior Lena Mallett will be holding a book drive on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in front of Pfeiffer Gym at Sonoma Valley High. She is collecting English books and notable American classics that are either new or gently used. For her senior project, Mallett is working with the Morocco Library Project, a nonprofit that works hand in hand with teachers and students, developing English libraries and learning centers in under-resourced communities of Morocco.

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Positive parenting: The Family Resource Center at El Verano School is hosting a three-week English Positive Parenting Series from 6 to 8 p.m. from Feb. 23 to March 9. The objective of the series: Understanding behaviors and what influences behaviors; increasing confidence in managing common behaviors problems and developmental issues; reducing use of coercive and punitive methods of disciplining children; improving communication about parenting issues and reducing parenting stress associated with raising children. There are free snacks and childcare for ages 2 to 12. The class is presented by Child Parent Institute of Santa Rosa. Reserve a spot by calling 935-6025.

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Sensory friendly theater: Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Story Explorers is a sensory-friendly theater experience created specifically for children with autism and other special needs. Performances run Feb. 18 to March 5 at the Osher Studio in downtown Berkeley. The show is intended for audiences age 3 to 12, as well as their parents, caretakers and siblings. bactheatre.org.

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Tinker fun: On Wednesday, March 1, the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County will present “Tinker Thinkers: Ooey Gooey Matter” for children and their families at the Sonoma Valley Library at 4 p.m. This STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) event will introduce young scientists to basic principles of matter. Students will play with gases, solids and liquids and make inferences about matter. Hands-on exploration will make for an afternoon of fun and discovery. The event is free and open to children ages 6 and up and their caregivers.

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Classical concert: Students are invited to see “The Magic Flute” from Feb. 23 to March 5, at the Evert B. Person Theatre at Sonoma State. Tickets are $10 to $17 but on March 2, all students can attend for $5 and there will be a post-show discussion.

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Story Pirates: Story Pirates celebrates creative writing by students from coast to coast in a sketch comedy musical performed by professional improvisers and musicians. The show is at 3 p.m. on Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. at Napa Valley Performing Arts Center in Yountville. The show is based entirely on stories written by elementary school students, and part of the show is made up on the spot by the kids in the audience.

Send story ideas and comments to Lorna Sheridan at ourschools@sonomanews.com.