Summer internships matter, good teens, choosing a preschool, good grammar, Scripps Spelling Bee

Schools Education

Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune Education Editor


According to The Wall Street Journal, new research suggests that a summer internship helps a student’s career prospects more than perhaps anything else in their college years. In research conducted with potential employers, the study found that majors didn’t matter, a higher GPA didn’t matter much, all that really seemed to matter from the college years was whether students had a summer internship (work experience). Reporter Brett Arends said, “Candidates whose résumés could point to pre-graduation work experience in the industry they were applying for were 14 percent more likely to get an interview. An English major with an average GPA and a summer internship in a bank was more likely to get a job interview at a bank than an outstanding finance major who spent the summer touring Europe.”

The best idea I have heard in a while: A new online database is being developed by the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the nonprofit Linked Learning Alliance to match high school and community college students with employers willing to hire them as interns. The database, called LaunchPath, is the first of its kind in California. It is expected to come online in late August and will be piloted at high schools and community colleges in the Sacramento area. http://tiny.cc/rwm3gx

Ready for some good news? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a comprehensive report that shows that teens are behaving better today than any other time since the federal government began collecting data. Teen pregnancy is way down and high school seniors are drinking less, smoking less, barely using cocaine and they are exercising more. http://tiny.cc/d0m3gx

After several years of staff reductions, the California State University (the CSU system) is currently hiring 700 new full-time faculty members in an attempt to improve student graduation rates. The CSUs are under pressure to move undergraduates more quickly through the system. The 23 CSU colleges are also facing record demand – with 760,000 applications this year.

The changes we are seeing in demographics in Sonoma are echoed nationwide. Between the 2009-10 and 2022-23 school years, there will be a 16 percent decrease in white students, a 14 percent decrease in black students, and a 29 percent decrease in American Indian and Alaskan Native students who graduate public high school. However, there’s expected to be 23 percent increase in Asian and Pacific Islander students and a 64 percent increase in Hispanic students who graduate, according to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

 I attended a presentation recently on how to choose or judge a preschool program. The experts agreed that one major factor in your decision should be how much math you see taking place in the classroom. Not high math, just number skills. According to early childhood experts, how comfortable a child is with numeracy at the end of preschool is a major predictor of not only future math skills, but also future literacy skills. The consensus doesn’t point toward any particular curriculum, just everyday exposure to numeracy.

According to Ed Surge magazine, today’s college students arrive on campus with an average of seven devices AND 80 percent of these students will carry and use a mobile phone every waking hour of the day. While the device count includes phones, tablets, e-readers, TVs, printers, laptops, game consoles, video cameras, etc. I still found the number disturbing. http://tinyurl.com/l3hk2kv

If you aren’t already convinced that students in rigorous and meaningful art programs outperform their peers on virtually every measure, friends in the art community have sent me links to countless studies proving the point, most of which are available at americansforthearts.org. Here are a few to get you started. Involvement in the arts:

• Increases test scores and decreases drop-out rates;

• Increases student motivation to learn;

• Helps close to socio-economic achievement gap.

There was good news and bad news coming out of a recent federal government report on student achievement. The good news is that we have the highest graduation rates in the nation’s history and there is some growth in achievement in elementary and middle school. The bad news is that students seem to perform worse on tests as they advance through the public school system to higher grades. No one seems to know exactly why this is the case. http://ht.ly/wACzs

Two Sonoma County schools were recently designated Distinguished Schools by the U.S. Department of Education:

Cinnabar Charter School in Petaluma and Austin Creek Elementary School in Santa Rosa. Cinnabar is notable because 65 percent of its students are socio-economically disadvantaged and 40 percent are English-learning. The distinguished recognition is much sought after – schools must demonstrate innovative approaches to improving student academic achievement, academic rigor and progress narrowing the achievement gap.cde.ca.gov.

Have I mentioned how much I love the Scripps Spelling Bee? This year, for the first time in 50 years, the Bee ended in a tie. Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe correctly spelled so many words that Scipps had to declare them both winners. Hathwar, 14, is an eighth-grader from Painted Post, New York. Sujoe, 13, is a seventh-grader from Fort Worth, Texas. Both said that they got interested in the Bee by watching it on TV.

New research published in an academic journal about sleep has found that college students who are poor sleepers are more likely to earn worse grades than healthy sleeping peers. The study also found that sleep problems have about the same impact on a student’s GPA as binge drinking and marijuana use. http://tinyurl.com/m9tdewr

Quinnlan Cordero, a freshman at Sonoma Valley High School and Renee Serota, a freshman at Marin Academy are heading to England this July to take part in a Youth Leadership Conference at Oxford University. The girls are among only 23 nationally (and the only two from California) who were chosen to go with Girl Scouts on this trip. One week will be spent on campus and another traveling to Stonehenge and Paris. Both are from Troop 10063 with Troop Leader Jill Valavanis.

Silver Moon Theater is having a huge garage sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at 594 Studley St. All donations are tax-deductible. Drop off your items there anytime, or call 343-7071 for pick-ups. The theater company’s next production is ”Dracula” from Oct. 6 to Nov. 12 at the Sonoma Community Center.

If you still have questions about the new Common Core State Standards that is being implemented across all public schools in California, you should add the Core Talk app to your smart phone. The app is a comprehensive resource for teachers, administrators, and parents who are enthusiastic (or worried about) the current changes in standards-based education. You will find current news, resources and state updates. http://tiny.cc/den3gx

If you get annoyed by people who confuse their and there, you will love the free new website quill.org. Teachers can also sign up their class and monitor student progress. The site provides fun editing challenges and it covers all of the grammar concepts from the Common Core State Standards for grades 1 through 8.

End of the year news:

• Michele Lynn Schuhriemen of Sonoma has been named to the dean’s list at Clemson University in South Carolina.

• Matti Franks of Sonoma received the tech award at Lake Forest Academy in Chicago at her graduation last week. She will attend New York University in the fall.

• Manuel Heredia-Santoyo, a graduate of Sonoma Valley High School, graduated last week with a degree in art and art history from Colgate University in New York.

• Congratulations to senior Neeozzi Dickerson of Sonoma Valley High School who received a $6,000 scholarship from eQuality Scholarship Collaborative. Seventeen young leaders from California were honored for their service to the LGBTQ community.

The back to school schedule is as follows – 

• Friday, Aug. 8, is registration for freshman and seniors at SVHS “Rush.”

• Monday, Aug. 11, is registration for sophomores and juniors at “Rush.”

• Monday, Aug. 18, is first day of school at all district schools.

This is the last Our Schools page before we go on summer hiatus until the first week of school in August. I welcome your items and story ideas all summer long at ourschools@sonomanews.com. I will continue posting all summer on my blog at educationroundupnational.com.