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Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, Sept. 5

The biggest bounce house in the world.

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Big Bounce America: The world’s biggest bounce house – which includes obstacle courses, foam pits, giant slides, inflatable gorillas taller than apartment blocks, all contained within the walls of a candy-colored castle – is coming to Santa Rosa. The event is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept 22 to 24, at the Sonoma County Event Center. Learn more at thebigbounceamerica.com.

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Older dads: Men are waiting longer to have kids, according to research reported in Time magazine. The average age of an American dad is now 30. Dads are older now regardless of their income, their ethnicity or where they live. Japanese and Vietnamese-American dads are the oldest overall, and the more education dads had, the more likely they were to have children later, with college-educated new dads averaging 33.3 years old. tinyurl.com/yczjwczx

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Essay contest: Students in school across the Valley can soon begin to work on the local Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions. The Voice of Democracy audio essay competition is open to students in grades 9 through 12. This year’s theme is, “American History: Our Hope for the Future.” The Patriot’s Pen essay competition is open to students in grades 6 through 8. This year’s theme is, “America’s Gift to My Generation.” Entry deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 31. To learn more request a flyer from your school site.

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Equity and inclusion: If you have not yet taken this survey, the school district wants your input. The district Equity and Inclusion task force survey is available at surveymonkey.com/r/SVUSD-TF-Survey

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School board meetings: You’ve likely read about some school board drama, but have you ever been to a meeting yourself? Save the dates for the following meetings in 2017: Tuesday, Sept. 11, Tuesday, Oct. 2, and Tuesday Nov. 6. You can attend in person at the Community Meeting Room at the police station on First Street West, or you can watch them live on channel 27.

Save the Date: Flowery Elementary School is having its fall fiesta fundraiser from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa.

Community Center: The Sonoma Community Center is hosting an all-ages, family-friendly open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9. There will be art demonstrations, studio tours, food and more. The ribbon cutting for the Center’s kiln opening will kick off the festivities at 10 a.m.

Parenting talk: If you’d love to stop yelling, but aren’t sure what to replace it with, consider attending a discussion hosted by the Sonoma Valley Mother’s Club on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Sharon Silver is a mom, parent educator and coach, an author, speaker and blogger. Light refreshments and wine will be provided. Babes in arms only, please. The talk is from 7 to 9 p.m. at the General’s Daughter at 400 West Spain St. Google “Proactive Parenting” at eventbrite.com for tickets.

Writing classes: Kate Williams of Studio 451 offers a middle school writing workshop on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and a high school workshop on Wednesdays, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuition: $140. Email williamsofsonoma@comcast.net.

Low debt levels: California students have very little student debt compared to other states, according to a Wallet Hub analysis at tinyurl.com/y8ar7j8g. One is most and 25 is average, and California’s rankings are as follows:

48th – Average amount of student debt

42nd – Proportion of students with debt

43rd – Student debt as percentage of income

27th – Percentage of student loans past due or in default.

Congratulations: Isabella Yazzolino, a second grader at Presentation School, won the recent Chasing Grace T-shirt design art contest. Her winning design tee is entitled, “Cross of Joy.” The tee will be available for purchase at Half Pint children’s clothing store on the Plaza starting this week.

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Science fun: Save the date of Saturday, Oct. 28, for the North Bay Science Discovery Day at Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

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Art classes: Art Escape has announced its September art classes and they include free sessions for grade 1 to 6 on Sept. 1, 8, 15 and 22 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., as well as free ArtSprout classes for parents and children ages 1 to 5 in the mornings on Sept. 7, 14, 21 and 28. Other classes available for small fee include introduction to face painting, encaustic open studio, gourd art, screenprinting and more. artescapesonoma.com.

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Scholarships: Soroptimist International of Sonoma Valley is now accepting applications for its $2,500 Live Your Dream award program. The funds are available to a Sonoma Valley woman with primary financial responsibility for themselves and their dependents, who is attending an undergraduate degree program or vocational skills program. The deadline for submitting applications is Wednesday, Nov. 15. Email Maddy Leader maddy@maddyleader.com for more information or visit liveyourdream.org.

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District openings: Sonoma Valley Unified School District is looking to hire several instructional assistants at Sonoma Valley High School for six hours a day, 196 days a year. The salary rate ranges from $11.97 to $13.22 per hour. With supervision, these staffers assist teachers in classroom and reinforce instruction of students individually and in small groups, and provide clerical support to classrooms and the resource room. Being bilingual is a plus. Call Kyra Sherman at 935-4251 or visitsvusdca.org for more information.

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Great sports for difficult kids: Brain Balance Achievement Centers specialize in a holistic, drug-free approach to addressing behavioral, social, or learning difficulties in kids. They recommend five alternative physical activities for children with difficulties:

1. Rock climbing

2. Disc golf

3. Irish dancing

4. Roller skating

5. Horseback riding.

Learn why at brainbalancecenters.com/blog/2017/02/sports-child-social-issues/.

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College fair: One of the area’s largest college fairs will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at Windsor High School. More than 50 JC, public and private universities will be in attendance. Juniors, seniors and parents are encouraged to attend.

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New daycare: Siena Logan is opening a new in-home daycare in Sonoma. The newly licensed facility will have limited spots available. Logan is hosting an open house on September 9, 10 and 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children are welcome to come along. Private walk-throughs are also available at 18054 Myrtle Ave., Sonoma.

Send story ideas, tips and comments to ourschools@sonomanews.com.