Quantcast

RISK, good computer games, book sale, digital citizenship, choosing a preschool, SSAT

Schools Education

Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune Education Editor

By

Sonoma parent Leslie Nicholson has launched RISK (Resources, Information, Support and Knowledge) – a support group for parents of teens and children in Sonoma. The first meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at EA Crossfit 19698 Eighth Street East. The first speaker, among many planned, is Jennifer Blackwood, a Sonoma parent and local Kidpower instructor, who will be talking about cyber-bullying. There are many parents, educators, professionals and grandparents who are concerned about our children and what is influencing their lives. This group’s purpose is to empower parents in dealing with issues and to bring the community together to keep kids safe. If you are interested in attending or learning more, email risk95476@yahoo.com.

• • •

If you are frustrated by your middle schooler’s obsession with computer games, here are five games that a panel of educational experts think have the most potential to educate, engage and empower students: DragonBox, Scribblenauts, Portal 2, Gamestar Mechanic, Minecraft. You can read about these games and others at the great nonprofit Institute of Play website at instituteofplay.org.

• • •

The next Sonoma Valley Library book sale is shaping up to be enormous. Save the dates of Nov. 13 to 16 to shop the sale and while you are there, consider becoming a “friend” of the library. You will be the first to hear about library events. While the donated books are a bargain (with no items over $2), the library still manages to make more than $10,000 at each sale to help support the great programs they provide free of charge to area residents of all ages. Don’t forget that all students can choose one free book every sale.

• • •

In honor of Digital Citizenship Week, here is a helpful visual for students to keep in mind regarding their digital profile (on Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc.). Think …

T – is it true

H – is it helpful

I – is it inspiring

N – is it necessary

K – is it kind.

Hmm, not bad tips for grown-ups, too. My least favorite of the new social media site might just be ask.fm. This digital question-and-answer site is a haven for bullies who can post anonymously. Ask your teen about it.

• • •

The skeleton art pieces created by El Verano students last spring will be on display as part of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s Dia de los Muertos exhibit Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. A public reception, great for all ages and free, will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1.

• • •

Because it is that time of year, I’m putting forth yet another college ranking – this one focused on affordability, future earnings, diversity and student activities. Kudos to California for snagging five spots in the top 15. There are a few names that will surprise you. From number 1 to 15: Yale University, MIT, Stanford University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Princeton University, UC Berkeley, Williams College, U of Virginia, U of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University, Rice University, Cal Tech, Pomona College and UCLA. The list goes to 200 here: tinyurl.com/mgdkvzc.

• • •

What should parents be looking for in a preschool? Tips from Ed Source and the Stanford Children’s Center suggest:

• Look for signs of purposeful teaching – ask what the teacher is doing and why.

• Inquire whether teachers have a bachelor’s degree or higher, though only a Child Development Associate Permit is required in California.

• Gravitate toward well-organized, clean, childproofed classrooms with clear sight lines. Low shelves should be well-stocked with creative play items.

• Ask teachers how they track and communicate child development and screen for potential problems. Ask for the school’s curriculum.

• Look for engaged teachers and children who show signs of trust and cooperation. tinyurl.com/pqpgck8.

• • •

Watching movies and educational videos with the captions switched on improves student comprehension, recall and class discussion according to researchers at SF State. Captions are frequently used for English language learners and students with learning disabilities, but this study found captions beneficial to all students. tinyurl.com/k5ddgdk.

• • •

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley is hosting “Learn a Trade – Earn Big $$$” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Maxwell Clubhouse. The program will include training programs for electricians, heating and cooling, welding and plumbing. All teens are invited to attend.

• • •

Justin-Siena High School’s inaugural Generations Golf Tournament is at Napa Valley Country Club on Monday, Nov. 11. The event includes a round of golf, lunch, drinks, prizes and an opportunity to network within the Justin-Siena community. While billed as an alumni event, the tournament is open to all. Register at Justin-siena.org.

• • •

A study of Mississippi school children found that when teachers reinforce academic concepts with the arts, students learn more and score higher on standardized tests. The program found that the incorporation of composing, painting, drawing, sculpting; singing/playing/listening to music; and dancing and dramatic performance into academics fostered retention and learning. The results indicate that arts integration can significantly reduce or eliminate the educational achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students. tinyurl.com/mbqatt5.

• • •

A number of our schools are boasting newly designed parent newsletters this year (El Verano Elementary, Prestwood Elementary and Sonoma Charter School, to name a few). I am guessing that parents really appreciate the enhanced school-to-home communication.

• • •

ArtEscape Sonoma is having a fundraiser for Sonoma’s Egyptian sister city Aswan from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10. The afternoon is open to adults and children and will feature a silent auction, art sale, food, wine and crafts.

• • •

If you have a seventh- or eighth-grader who plans on taking the SSAT (Secondary School Admissions Test), there is a one-day intensive prep session at the Presentation School from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2. The cost is $149. Email test prep tutor Brian Mooney at tdachi@yahoo.com to sign up.

• • •

A new report called “What’s the Value of an Associate’s Degree” found that California students get a higher rate of return on their associate’s degree than all states except two. Our community college students take home an average of $352,111 more over 40 years than someone with just a high school diploma. tinyurl.com/kd6dadp.

• • •

Santa Rosa Junior College will discuss vocational and certificate programs (including culinary, auto, health) in a visit to Sonoma Valley High School at 11:35 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29.

• • •

In other Santa Rosa Junior College news, ratemyprofessor.com’s community college teaching ratings came out and SRJC’s professors had an average rating of 3.85 out of 5, landing the SRJC’s professors in the top five nationwide. Amazingly, 1,233 professors at the college have a rating. Included in the site are a teacher’s overall quality, easiness and hotness.

• • •

The Common Application website is riddled with glitches this year, causing frustration to four-year college-bound seniors everywhere. More than 20 colleges are extending the early decision and early action deadlines as a result.

• • •

The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) is offering a free Parent Leadership Institute from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15. This annual workshop for parents of English learners will include presentations on personal empowerment, the DREAM Act, and supporting children at home and in school. Continental breakfast, lunch and handouts provided. RSVP to Jill McIntyre at 524-2816, jmcintyre@scoe.org. The location will be 5340 Skylane Blvd., in Santa Rosa.

• • •

By the time you read this, I will be in Washington, D.C., at the Education Writer’s Association seminar on the Common Core. I received a grant from EWA to attend and look forward to better understanding what our students can look forward to in the classroom.