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Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, Sept. 26

Dawn McIntyre leaves the Republic of Thrift thrift shop in Boyes Hot Springs with her ceramic pheasants and a smile. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

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Oktoberfest: Schug Winery and Sonoma Charter School are partnering to host a harvest party Oktoberfest event on Saturday, Sept. 30. There will be cork crafts, a photo booth, raffles, prizes, German lessons and a polka band at the kid-friendly event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Buy tickets at schugwinery.com. Children 12 and under are free, admission is $10 for children 12 and up.

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Military nominations: Congressman Mike Thompson’s office is now accepting applications for military academy nominations through Oct. 15. If you’re interested in the U.S. Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, West Point or the Naval Academy, contact his office at CA05ServiceAcademy@mail.house.gov. The fifth service academy, the Coast Guard Academy, doesn’t require a nomination. Eligible candidates must be 17 to 23 years old, unmarried, a U.S. citizen and live in the fifth Congressional District. Did you know: Former Mayor Joanne Sanders’ son Matt Sanders has just begun his freshman year at West Point.

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Board member wanted: The Sonoma Charter School seeks a community representative to its governing board. The rep provides an outside perspective to the board that is also comprised of teachers and parents. If interested, contact Jason McCabe at jay.aaron.mccabe@gmail.com

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Community card: Don’t forget that Sonoma Market offers a Community Card. It’s Sonoma Market’s rewards system and they will give money to your school PTO for shopping there. It’s free and easy to sign up. At check out, you will show them your community card or provide your registered phone number. Sign up in the store.

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ROT donations: The Republic of Thrift has just handed out $11,000 in donations to local public schools. ROT distributes its profits in September, January and May, and has donated more than $172,000 since 2012. Halloween is one of its big seasons so now is a great time to stop by. And, as always, school staff get a 30 percent discount on anything purchased for classroom/school use.

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Contest: The New York Times Learning Network hosts a series of student contests throughout the year. An editorial cartoon contest closes on Oct. 17. See details and a list of the other contests at tinyurl.com/y6ug6ju4.

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Hiring: Adele Harrison is looking to hire a part-time instructional assistant. Salary range is $12.93 to $14.27 per hour, depending on experience. The staffer will assist teachers in classroom and resource room operations to reinforce instruction of students individually and in small groups. sonomaschools.org.

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Free art: Thanks to a grant from Wine Country Weekend, there is a new preschool child-adult program on Thursday mornings being offered by Art Escape in collaboration with Nuestra Voz. In the four-week bilingual program, children will learn about different artworks, play games, make art and display it. The last session includes a field trip to the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. The program begins Oct. 5. artescapesonoma.com.

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Spanish classes: Adele Harrison and Altimira middle schools no longer offer Spanish as an elective class – so some local parents are seeking ways to fill the gap with lessons. They are working with Art Escape to offer beginning Spanish and conversational Spanish, starting in October. The class is being taught by a high school student. Limited spots available, open to ages 12 to adult. Contact artescapesonoma.com to learn more.

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Meet popular author: “Captain Underpants” author Dav Pilkey will talk about his work, draw and sign books at the Charles Schulz Museum on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 pm. Free tickets will be available starting at 10 a.m. that day. Seating is limited. 2301 Hardies Lane in Santa Rosa.

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No bells: Justin-Siena High School in Napa joined the “no bells” movement this year and principal John Bordelon was recently interviewed about the decision by Ed Source. He said tardiness has dropped 30 percent since the school dropped bells last year. “We’re a college prep school. Well, there’s no bells in college,” he explained. “So just like in college, the teacher dismisses the class, not the bell. It took students about three days to get used to it. Now we’d never go back.” The school has also shifted its start time to 9 a.m. and made other changes to create a “more relaxed, less stressful atmosphere,” he said. “So much of our educational world is based on an industrial model. But students aren’t cattle,” he said. “We think students should be trusted and given responsibility for their own learning.” Chris Calderwood of Rancho Mirage High School added, “The only places that have bells any more are prisons and schools. The bottom line is, every kid has a cell phone in their pocket. They know what time it is. Why not trust the kids to manage their own time?”

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Free concert: The first Sonoma County Philharmonic concerts of the season are at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1 at 2 pm. at the Santa Rosa High School at 1235 Mendocino Ave. Students 18 and under are free. General admission is $15. socophil.org

Contact Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.