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UC apps up, college fair, crab feed, Mandarin at Justin, inov8, mentors needed, EV town hall

Schools Education

Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune Education Editor

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The numbers just keep going up … The UC system received 6.2 percent more freshman applications this year than last. Most of that increase came from out-of-state (up 19 percent) and international students (up 20 percent) thanks to heavy recruiting for those students. Right now, non-residents make up about 11 percent of the undergraduate student body across nine campuses, but that number is much higher at UCLA and UC Berkeley. UCLA was again the most popular choice in the system, followed by Berkeley, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Davis, Santa Cruz, Riverside, and Merced. Around 60 percent of freshmen who applied were offered a spot somewhere in the system, but the admit rate was down around 20 percent at UCLA and Berkeley. tinyurl.com/lh6cq6k

High school sophomores and juniors who are interested in private California colleges or colleges out of state should try to attend Cardinal Newman High School’s (free) college fair from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29. As of right now, there are no college fairs in Sonoma so this is one of the most convenient options available to learn about (and meet with representatives from) dozens of colleges in one place at one time.

Parents spend their time wondering if their sons are geniuses and if their daughters are fat, according to some depressing research conducted by a reporter at the New York Times. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz analyzed Google searches and found that parents are two-and-a-half times more likely to Google “is my son gifted?” than “is my daughter gifted?” (despite the fact that girls are surpassing boys in classrooms across the country). And parents are twice as likely to Google “is my daughter fat?” than “is my son fat?” tinyurl.com/pt3hcmw

Did you join the Sonoma Valley High School Boosters Club? The 2013-14 Boosters donor list is up in Pfeiffer gym. Check it out next time you are on campus, as well as some updated player plaques. In other Booster news, tickets for the Feb. 1 crab feed are selling fast. You can buy your ticket online at sonomavalleyhigh.org.

El Verano Elementary School is hosting a Town Hall meeting for school families and the community at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6, in the school’s multi-purpose room. Childcare will be provided and there will be Spanish translation available. The purpose is to engage the community in dialogue about the neighborhood and its strengths and needs. For example, What programs or supports do students of El Verano need to be successful?; what do you like about the school and would you like to see changed?; and What support or services does the neighborhood need to thrive?

Justin-Siena High School in Napa announced several new curriculum changes for the upcoming school year. The 2014-15 academic year marks the third year of the school partnering with Project Lead the Way, which brought a new engineering program to Justin-Siena. Next year, the school will add civil engineering and architecture. Over the next several years, Justin-Siena will also implement a four-year Mandarin language program, starting with Mandarin I in 2014-15. justin-siena.org

Sonoma Charter School invites the community to its CREATE event, which will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb 8, in the Hanna Boy’s Center Auditorium.  The night features live and displayed art, food, music and dancing. There will be an art sale and a fund-a-need benefiting Sonoma Charter art and music programs. Tickets are $35 a person and can be bought at eventbrite.com/e/create-tickets-10055144207.

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corp.) has a great Spanish-language game website for elementary students. Students choose an aspect of the language to explore, and are presented with a list games and learning tools to help with mastery. BBC.Co.UK/Schools/PrimaryLanguages/Spanish

From 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30, Santa Rosa Junior College will host the second annual free inov8 speaker series of TED-inspired talks from local innovators in sustainable agriculture in Newman Auditorium on the Santa Rosa campus.  Speakers include the founders/owners of CropMobster, Redwood Hill Farms & Creamery, Benziger Family Winery and Inman Family Wines. The panel hopes to answer the questions of: where do great ideas start, what funnels creativity and how does innovation happen?

Hispanic teenagers are more likely to succeed in school and feel better about themselves and their future if they learn English well enough to engage in friendships and mainstream U.S. culture, according to a study published last week. “We also found that Hispanic youth feel less alienated and more satisfied living in the U.S. as their English competence and connection with non-Hispanics grow,” said the study’s lead author, Kelly McKay-Semmler, Ph.D. “This was true whether the Hispanic students represented a small or large portion of the population of their school.” http://tinyurl.com/kruua3k

Sonoma Mentoring Alliance is having a mentor recruitment event from 5:30 to 7 p.m on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at MacArthur Place, 29 E. MacArthur St. The Mentoring Alliance has 458 kids matched with mentors but 172 are on a wait list. No need to rsvp.

Lots of parents are very casual about pot use but a new study has found that exposing adolescent rats to the primary ingredient in marijuana can lead to molecular and behavioral alterations in the next generation of offspring, even though progeny were not directly exposed to the drug (according to researchers at Mount Sinai). “Our study emphasizes that cannabis [marijuana] affects not just those exposed, but has adverse affects on future generations,” said Yasmin Hurd, Ph.D. “Finding increased vulnerability to drug addiction and compulsive behavior in generations not directly exposed is an important consideration for legislators considering legalizing marijuana.” http://tinyurl.com/mp4phb4

I just learned that nearly a quarter of American adults did not read a single book last year (and this counts audiobooks, Kindle books, everything).  Furthermore, the number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978. The good news? The typical American did read five books last year. http://tinyurl.com/lzhzmzq

The new school analysis site Niche.com surveyed 909 public and private high schools between 2012 and 2014, and ranked schools by students’ average SAT/ACT scores (close to 80,000 score results over two years). The chart is interesting just to see which public and private schools across the country and in California come out on top by this measure. In California, the schools that landed in the top 25 nationwide were: The Harker School in San Jose (2), Marlborough School In Los Angeles (6), Lynbrook High in San Jose (7), Lick-Wilmerding High in San Francisco (8), Henry Gunn High in Palo Alto (12), Monta Vista High in Cupertino (15), Mission San Jose High in Fremont (18) and Leland High in San Jose (20). While a lot of people hate to lend weight to SAT scores, a recent study by Case Western Reserve University found standardized test scores to be a valid measure of general cognitive ability and these scores still do play a huge role in college admissions.

Republic of Thrift has had a busy winter. The store is celebrating its second anniversary, it finally had its 501(c) 3 nonprofit status granted by the IRS (in September) and it just distributed another $6,000 to Sonoma’s public schools. The store accepts gently used clothing, shoes, furniture, housewares on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. 17496 Sonoma Hwy.

Friday, Jan. 31 is the ArtQuest priority admissions deadline for fall 2014. Now in its 20th year, ArtQuest is a specialized magnet program for the visual and performing arts at Santa Rosa High School, offering dance, digital arts, instrumental music, photography, theatre arts, video arts, visual fine arts and vocal music. artquestonline.org

The United States Naval Academy is now accepting applications for its 2014 summer science, technology, engineering and math program. Students will be exposed to world-class lab facilities and have the opportunity to learn from some of the best college professors in the country. In addition, they will get to visit Annapolis, and experience the Naval Academy first-hand. The sessions are five-to-six days throughout June and students must get themselves to Annapolis. The cost is only $200 but the program is highly selective.  usna.edu/Admissions/Programs

Sonoma Academy of Dance’s winter-spring session starts Jan. 27 and runs until May 16 in Burlingame Hall at 252 W. Spain St. Classes include breakdancing, hiphop, tap dance and ballet, for ages 3-11. sonoma-dance.com

Broadway Bound Kids is still taking registrations for its spring production of “The Sound of Music.” Rehearsals (for ages 4-18) just began on Monday nights at 109 Patten St. Email bbkinfor@aol.com for more information.