Education Roundup: News of next year, kid fun, free money and more

Preschool: The three preschools that the Sonoma Valley Unified School District runs have been doing remote learning all year, as they are located on school campuses and thus are required to follow the same reopening guidelines as the rest of K-5. To support distance learning, the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation provided all preschool students and teachers with touch-screen Chromebooks as well as packets of at-home supplies. Preschool students are expected to return to campus on April 6 in a hybrid format.

St. Francis news: Principal Debbie Picard told St. Francis parents in her newsletter last week that for the 2021-2022 school year, “the only schedule being worked on for next school year is a schedule in which every student is on campus full time.” She also noted that all school staff there will have been vaccinated by April 1.

Theme parks: Six Flags is preparing to reopen its theme parks and water parks. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo is currently open on weekends with a walk-through event but no rides. The park is preparing to reopen more fully but has not yet announced a date. In more local theme park news, no word yet on when Sonoma’s Train Town expects to reopen.

Diplomas 2 Degrees (College readiness): On April 1, a new college readiness program will help students make connections between their interests and their future career paths, plan and prepare to enter post-secondary education, and develop social emotional skills to be successful in their future endeavors. The nine-week bilingual course is free and open to all high school students. Prior to attending, students need to sign up at

Outdoor spring break fun: Students in grades 7 to 12 can get outside and build wilderness skills with experienced hikers and backpackers at LandPaths. Registration is now open for EcoTeens Spring Break at

CSUs: The CSU schools have announced that the fall semester is expected to be as close to "normal" as possible, with the vast majority of classes meeting face to face (with normal to slightly adjusted physical spacing) and campus housing at close to normal capacity.

College student free money: If you have a college student or young adult, they may be able to claim up to an additional $1,800 from the two prior stimulus programs. Among the eligible: those who graduated last year and are now in the workforce (or not) and filing their own tax returns, or those who turned 24 last year, can retroactively claim the two prior stimulus payments ($1,200 and $600) when they file their taxes this year. There is a very helpful article online at

Remote learning/work space: Sugarloaf's White Barn Picnic Area is available for outdoor, spaced meetings and small classes. Ten picnic tables and 11 log rounds, all more than six feet from each other in the fresh air and sun, with WiFi. Patio umbrellas available. Open to the public, unless reserved, by calling 833-5712.

Martial arts classes and camp: The Sonoma School of Martial Arts/Hwa Rang Kwan Sonoma is offering monthly camps for a variety of ages on Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays at Yoga Community. Sign up or learn more at 577 Fifth St. W.

Petaluma gets a new superintendent: Petaluma City Schools trustees have tapped former Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Matthew Harris as the district’s next superintendent. Harris will take over for Superintendent Gary Callahan on July 1. The decision came just one day after Callahan announced his retirement. Sonoma’s search for a new superintendent continues.

Football games: Sonoma TV (Comcast Channel 27),, and Sonoma TV on YouTube will be televising the three SVHS home field games for the Dragons on March 12, 19, and 26. This will be the only way parents and fans can see the games as no spectators will be allowed.

Contact Lorna at

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