Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, Dec. 5

A classroom at Woodland Star Charter School on Arnold Drive.


Train show: The Depot Museum’s annual Christmas Train Show runs from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday through Sunday, Dec. 8 to 10 and Dec. 15 to 17.

Tours: Woodland Star will be holding a school tour for perspective families for 2018-2019 school year from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Parents can meet administrators, visit classrooms, ask questions to learn more about the curriculum, community, and student life at Woodland Star Charter School. Adults only, please. 17811 Arnold Drive. RSVPs appreciated at 996-3849 but people can just show up.

Open house: Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa is hosting a shadow day on Wednesday, Dec. 6, and an admissions Open House on Wednesday, Dec. 13. Register at

Futsal: Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Valley Soccer have partnered to offer a unified indoor soccer program for boys and girls from grades 1 to 8. Registration is now open. For info and to sign-up visit

No licorice: Pregnant women may want to avoid licorice, as a sweetener in the candy may affect the cognitive abilities of their children, a study suggests. Glycyrrhizin, a sweetener derived from the root of the licorice plant, and is used to flavor candies, soft drinks, herbal teas and other products. A study, in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that mothers who consumed more than 8.8 ounces of pure licorice per week had children who averaged seven points lower on I.Q. tests and had triple the risk for attention deficit disorder problems. Girls in the high-consumption group also tended to reach puberty earlier and have a higher body mass index.

Drama queens and kings: Libby Oberlin’s Theater School is offering new classes/productions that include “The Adventures of Harlequin” for ages 7 to 12 and “Peter and the Starcatcher” for ages 13 to 19. Signups/auditions are taking place in December and early January. Classes meet afternoons for younger students and evenings for older students, from early January through late March. The school is also staging “Dear Edwina, Jr!” on Dec. 15, 16 and 17. For details, email In other news, Oberlin is also now teaching theater for grades 4 to 8 at Sonoma Charter School.

New tutoring option: Spark Whole Student Learning, at 556 Broadway in downtown Sonoma, offers tutoring and learning support for elementary, middle and high school students, as well as ACT, SAT and SSAT test prep. Run by Lauren Papadin and Elizabeth Wade, the center offers one-to-one and small group tutoring sessions, test prep and workshops for students in grades K-12.

Autism support: Santa Rosa’s Anova, the only specialized school in our area for students on the autism spectrum, burned to the ground in the recent fires. Last week, Naked Wines donated $500,000 to help the school rebuild.

St. Vincent’s update: St. Vincent’s Catholic School in Petaluma currently has only 230 students. The school recently named a new athletic director, Stan Switala, who hopes to use athletics to both help boost enrollment prosperity. New principal Pat Daly has said that an enrollment of 400 would be ideal for the school.

DiRosa art: Art Spark Family Workshop is Sunday, Jan. 7, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Children 3 and under, free; children 4 to 12, $5; adults, $15 ($10 members). Additional details and updates can be found at

Social media issues: Save the date… On April 12, the Presentation School speaker series is with Ana Homayoun, whose recent book is “Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World.” Presentation also plans to host a February screening of “Angst,” from the director of “Screenagers.”

Christmas at the Mission: From 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, State Parks will be hosting a “mini” Victorian Christmas Crafts Workshop since the regular event at the Gen. Vallejo Home was cancelled. There will be refreshments, a campfire, a crafts workshop, live music, photos with Santa and more. The crafts will take place in the Barracks A/V room and in the Blue Wing Adobe. This is a free event for the community still recovering from the wildfires. The Christmas at the Mission programs require a ticket and will take place from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Delayed adulthood: A new study in the journal Child Development shows that teens are delaying certain rites of passage — like driving and holding a job — and as a result are slower to become independent from their parents. This delay is occurring across all economic groups and in every part of the country. Author Jean Twenge, has a new book with a depressing title. “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — And What That Means for the Rest of Us.”

Choir: A handful of local students participate in the Voena children’s choir. This multi-cultural, world music experience describes itself as redefining choir the way Cirque du Soleil redefines circus. More than 130 area children from ages 6-18 participate. Singing in over 25 languages, Voena has performed around the globe. Come see them in action at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Napa Opera House. Buy tickets at

New campus: Students at Roseland University Prep charter high school in Santa Rosa moved to a new $17 million campus last week. The two-story, 30,800-square-foot building, has vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the elementary and middle school campuses next door. The new space comes with 17 classrooms, a library, art room, science classroom, science lab, large multipurpose room, offices and a courtyard. Funding for the new campus arrived in pieces, including a $1 million grant from the Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation on top of a $7 million state grant and a matching $7 million loan the Roseland School District took out from the California School Finance Authority.

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