Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, Dec. 15

Santa news, art news, book news and more in the Sonoma Valley.|

Meals ending: Sonoma Valley school district’s food-service curbside meal pick-up and home delivery will not operate during the winter break. The last day of meal service will be Thursday, Dec. 17, and the district will begin normal service again Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

Board meeting: You don’t have to read the 1,200-page agenda packet but you might want to tune in to watch the Dec. 15 meeting of the SVUSD board of trustees, the first with new trustees Anne Ching and Troy Knox. On the agenda is a discussion of an interim superintendent and much more. The meeting is at 6 p.m. on Zoom. Details at

Santa: Santa and Mrs. Claus will be live on the air with KSVY Sonoma (91.3 FM) from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 15. He will take calls from your little ones, hear their holiday wishes, share some stories and enjoy some on-the-air hot cocoa.

Enrollment: Napa's public school system may have to close another school campus due to falling enrollment. Harvest Middle School on Old Sonoma Road is targeted to be closed starting in the 2022-23 academic year, saving the district more than $1 million a year.

Reading practice: Just Right Reader solves the problem of finding and adapting to the right reading level for your child. The company was started in the Bay Area and it sends children’s and young adult books to kids, who read them, then the books can be sent back over and over for progressively harder books again and again.

Med schools: While college and university enrollment overall has dropped this fall, there has been an all-time record number of applicants to medical school — up 18 percent this year over last, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Contest: The VFW Auxiliary Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest is open to high school students. Watercolor, pencil, pastel, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen, ink, oil marker or other media may be used. The deadline to enter is March 31 at

Free coding classes: The website Udemy offers some free coding for kids courses at The courses are created by professional trainers and have been taught to more than 5 million students.

Local children’s book: There is a sweet children’s book set in Sonoma, “My Little Sonoma Valley Book,” written and illustrated by Manette Fairmont for sale at the Fairmont Gallery on the Plaza. 447 First St. W. Learn more at

Free showing of “Nutcracker”: Ballet fans or anyone looking to get in the holiday spirit can watch a free performance of the “Nutcracker Ballet” performed by dancers from the New York City Ballet, from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1 at

Book recommendation: “How to Be a Happier Parent” is an encouraging guide to helping parents find more happiness in their day-to-day family life. The book, written by the New York Times’ Motherlode blogger KJ Dell’Antonia, is a solution-packed look at how to change family life so that it is more full of joy.

Justin-Siena: Early applications are due Dec. 15 for the 2021-2022 school year at Justin-Siena High School in Napa. Learn more at

CASA: CASA of Sonoma County volunteers – Court Appointed Special Advocates – make sure foster kids don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service systems or languish in unsupportive foster homes. CASA volunteers stay with children until their court case is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. Juvenile court officials have identified an additional 65 youth who need advocates and CASA is appealing to Sonoma County residents to volunteer. If you care and have about 10 hours a month to spend, being an advocate can be very gratifying work. The Spring Volunteer Training will take place online starting Thursday, March 18, from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., then runs from Tuesday, March 23 through Thursday, March 25, from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. For more information, contact Millie Gilson at 565-6375 or

Free hotposts: Do you know someone who lacks access to the internet? The Sonoma Valley library has a number of “SonomaFI“ Wi-Fi hotspots available for two-week check out, and a smaller number of Chromebook laptop kits with hotspots included. Come to the library and request a device by phone (996-5217) when you arrive, or call from home and the device will be held until the end of day only.

New career program: Santa Rosa Junior College’s Wine Studies program has launched a new degree for wine cellar workers. The degree teaches students, through hands-on experience, the theory and practices used in the production of wine, including basic grape-growing practices and vineyard decisions, steps in the wine-making process from harvest to bottling, basic wine lab analyses, and the use of winery production equipment. The Wine Cellar Worker program offers a certificate or an associate degree.

Lower the drinking age? One in five California parents believe the drinking age should be lowered from 21, according to a recent survey. A survey of 3,090 parents by found that the average parent said they would allow their child to have their first alcoholic drink at the age of 19 – two years below the legal drinking age. According to the National Institute of Health, young people between the ages of 12 and 20 consume one-tenth (10 percent) of all alcohol consumed across the U.S.

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