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Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup Nov. 1

Free help for speech and reading learning disabilities: The Santa Rosa Scottish Rite Children's Speech Therapy Center is one of the 15 such centers in California established to help language- and learning-challenged children. The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry offers this service to children from age 3 to 18, regardless of race, religion, or financial status; Masonic affiliation is not required. It was founded and funded by the members of the Santa Rosa Scottish Rite Masonic Fraternity and their families as a philanthropy for the purpose of helping children and young people overcome language and learning difficulties and thereby become useful and productive citizens. childrens-speech-therapy.com/

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Venturing Crew: Adventuresome girls are wanted to join Sonoma Venturing Crew. There is a an open house for anyone who might be interested on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. at 441 York Court. Crew 16 is a new and not yet well known opportunity for girls ages 14 to 20 who seek outdoor high adventure and testing themselves outside of the box to foster self-awareness and leadership/team building skills. Parents are welcome too and refreshments and light snacks will be served. Call Sara Craig at 738-7330 for more information.

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Save the date: Featuring arts, crafts and kids (and their families), the fifth annual Holiday Make-in at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art takes place on Satuday, Nov. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Since 2011, the make-in has been a fun, family Sonoma tradition, and this year will be no exception. Multiple art stations hosted by local artists are loaded with materials and ideas to inspire creative hand-made decorations for your holidays. Admission to the make-in is included with museum admission. Pay at the door. svma.org/calendar/events/holiday-make-1.

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Coffee with the Principal: On Friday, Nov. 4, at 8:30 a.m. parents are invited to join Sonoma Valley High School principal Kathleen Hawing for an informal discussion on college and financial aid resources. Register to attend at sonomavalleyhigh.org.

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STDs: California's rate of sexually transmitted diseases is at a 20-year high. The state ranks first for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and congenital syphilis. 'And cases are going up in California at a concerning rate,' said Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health. State health officials cite less condom use, people having sex with more partners and barriers to care and testing as reasons for the rising STD rates. tinyurl.com/hkhprc5

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Film screening: From 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 there will be screening of 'Crescendo' at Sebastiani Theatre, followed by a short performance by Valley Vibes Orchestra. The film is an in-depth documentary about the transformation of three kids as they participate in El Sistema-inspired youth orchestra programs in the U.S. Tickets are $10 adult pre-sale ($15 at door). Students and kids are free. There is also the option to attend a reception prior to the film to meet Leonard Bernstein's daughter, Jamie, who will be introducing the film. From 4 to 6 p.m. at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Tickets are $50 in advance or $60 at the door. Valley of the Moon Music Festival will give a short performance of chamber music.

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Kindness: Altimira Middle School tried out a new program last week to foster compassion, empathy and inclusion. On 'mix it up day,' leadership students give a lollipop to each student before lunch. Each kid then finds another student who they don't normally talk with, who has the same flavor, and has lunch with them. The goal is to get to know them and find common interests.

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Special ed info: Training sessions on a variety of special education topics are available in the coming months at no cost to parents. All of the trainings will be held at Altimira Middle School from 6 to 7 p.m. There will be concurrent sessions in English and in Spanish. Childcare will be provided. The next session, on 'Understanding Your Rights,' is Wednesday, Nov. 9. Contact Nikarre Redcoff, director of student services, at 935-6004 with any questions.

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Chromebooks at SCS: Sonoma Charter School's PTO recently purchased 70 Chromebooks and three charging stations so every fourth to eighth grader at the school could have a designated computer at school.

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Basketball signups: The third- through eighth-grade basketball league at Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley starts in a few weeks and open gyms are taking place now. The league has no weekend commitments. Call 938-8544, ext. 106 to sign up or visit bgcsonoma.org.

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Community support fundraiser: The Next Generation Sons of Italy are hosting a party from 7 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building. The event aims to raise money for former teen club leader Marty Torzilli who is battling a rare form of bone cancer. There will be pizza and a no-host bar and live music. Tickets are $25. Call Paul Grant at 938-8011 to register.

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Open House: ArtQuest information night is Thursday, Nov. 3, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Santa Rosa High School. ArtQuest is a free magnet high school for the visual and performing arts offering eight specialty disciplines including dance, digital arts, instrumental music, photography, theatre, video, fine arts and voice. artquestonline.org.

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Peachjar: The Sonoma school district is getting ready to launch a new 'green initiative' communication tool called 'Peachjar.' To view school-approved eflyers, you click the Peachjar button on the school's website. Posting school flyers in this electronic backpack is expected to remove a significant administrative burden from teachers, office staff and volunteers. Parents will receive a username and password, but you don't need to login to receive or view school eflyers (thank goodness).

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Inspiring nonfiction reading: Students today are being asked to read more nonfiction. If your student is looking for something cool and inspiring to read, check out Time magazine's article on the most influential teens of 2016. From celebrities to entrepreneurs to first daughters, the article might get your teen to take their headphones off for a discussion. tinyurl.com/jmxcymf

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Real election issues: If you or your teens are upset that this particular election has focused less on issues and more on personalities, you will enjoy a new website where you answer questions about your stance on dozens of very specific issues and get information back about which candidate aligns with your beliefs and who holds counter positions. Check it out at isidewith.com/elections/2016-presidential-quiz.

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Ready to Work classes: Teen Services Sonoma is holding its next round of Ready to Work certification workshops after school at Sonoma Valley High School for students 13 to 24 beginning Thursday, Nov. 10 at 3:15 p.m. Youth can register by sending an email to emilia@teenservicessonoma.org or by calling 939-1452. Students who want to get their first job or want an edge over other applicants for a position, should take these terrific free classes.

Contact Lorna at ourschools@sonomanews.com.

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