Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, Aug. 22

Top the Cops at Sonoma Raceway (File photo)


Late summer camp: Extended by popular demand.. the Pets Lifeline Summer Camps for Sonoma’s littlest students (ages 4, 5 and 6) will run from Aug. 21 to Sept. 1. Call the shelter asap to sign up. Each of these two added sessions will meet Monday through Friday, 9 noon. The camp will include creative art and theater games, as well as learning to care for kittens, cats, puppies and dogs.

Sleeping in: California SB 328, which is still working its way through the Legislature, would require secondary schools to begin their day no earlier than 8:30 a.m. What do you think? The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the bill, citing research that has shown teens don’t get enough sleep, either because they’re up late studying or their “internal clock” won’t allow them to fall asleep as early as younger children. The state Senate approved SB 328 in May and the education committee passed it in July. Its next stop is in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Interns wanted: Sonoma Ecology Center’s paid EnviroLeader internship program for fall 2017 is ramping up, with deadline to apply approaching on Sunday, Aug. 27. Details are available at

SVHS communications: On Friday, Sept. 1, Sonoma Valley High School will be having its first Coffee With the Principal, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the high school library. The topic has yet to be announced. Also, have you visited yet? The site aims to help improve communication between SVHS and parents and the community. You can sign on to receive updates. Save the date of Thursday, Sept. 14 for a Senior Project Parent Meeting at 6 p.m. and Senior College Night @ 6:30 p.m. in the Pavilion. Have you joined SVHS Boosters? The next Boosters meeting is Monday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. in the library.

Tutors needed: Student tutors are needed at Altimira Middle School. Stop by the College & Career Center at SVHS to sign up for these paid after-school positions.

Less educated?: Around 18 million students enrolled in higher education nationally last semester, down 2.4 million compared with the fall of 2011, according to a study by the National Student Clearinghouse.

Art classes: Art Escape Sonoma has announced its fall classes and options include facepainting, hand-painted napkins, intro to gourd art, screenprinting, marbling magic, and more. Visit Registration is necessary as seating is limited.

Lazy teens: A significant majority of teenagers don’t get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day, a new study has found. Data gathered at Johns Hopkins found that “activity levels at the end of adolescence were alarmingly low, and by age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds,” said researcher Vadim Zipunnikov.

New app: LingoKids offers a library of digital activities to help kids learn English. The app download is free but unlocking most content and lessons has a fee. The site lets you track your kids’ progress and there is even unlimited live tutoring with native English speakers available through video conferencing. The app is meant to teach English to non-English speakers, but much of the content simply focuses on early literacy skills, so the program could work for native English speakers as well.

Save the date: A Barn Talk organized by the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation with Kori Schake will be held on Thursday, Sept. 7. SVHS graduate Schake (‘80) will be leading a discussion on the national security challenges of the Trump Administration. Tickets are on sale at

SRJC news: U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) has just announced a $2,371,715 High School Equivalency Program grant for Santa Rosa Junior College. The funding will provide children of migratory and seasonal farmworkers the opportunity to complete high school equivalency and continue on to higher education.

Larson Park news: If you live near Larson Park and would like it improved for your children, consider attending the Larson Park Master Plan - Community Workshop #3 on from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, in the Flowery School multipurpose room. Attendees will review and provide feedback on the draft master plan for the park.

Top the Cop: High school students can square off against Bay Area law enforcement officers on Sonoma Raceway’s quarter-mile drag strip in the Top the Cops program as part of the raceway’s weekly Wednesday Night Drags program. The program offers an alternative to illegal street racing and gives teens the chance to race against law enforcement officers, who compete in full uniform in their official vehicles. The program also provides a unique environment for the officers to talk with teens about safe driving and the rules of the road. The last one is Wednesday, Aug. 30. Cost: $15/students and $10/spectators. Call 800-870-RACE (7223) for details.

Irish dance: Keenan’s Irish Dance School offers classes in Sonoma on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. From the age of 4 to the teen years, dancers of all levels of interest and experience have a place. To find out more or to try a first class for free, call 542-1367.

Networking: The next Professional Networking Breakfast at Hanna Boys Center features USDC Judge Troy L. Nunley who will talk about equity, criminal justice and overcoming adversity on Sept. 14. Nunley is a staunch advocate for children, especially the most vulnerable. Registration is required. Call Nick Dalton at 933-2555 for more information.

SCOE post: The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) seeks to fill the volunteer position of personnel commissioner. The Personnel Commission is a non-partisan public body responsible for the administration of the “Merit System” for the selection, retention, and promotion of classified employees in public school districts. The deadline to apply is Thursday, Aug. 31. A complete detailed description of duties and the application for appointment is available or by calling 524-2724. Stipend and mileage are included for this position. Send completed applications to

SRJC reputation: A new ranking of the best and worst community colleges in the country has been released. Santa Rosa JC did pretty well, coming in at No. 186. Solano Community College in Fairfield came in No. 131. The rankings are based on educational and career outcomes and cost. State by state, California ranked 16th in the country. Read and search all results at

Childbirth classes: Sonoma Valley Hospital is offering a series of childbirth preparation classes in September, and will repeat the classes in November. Each series of four classes is designed to provide expecting mothers and their partners with information on labor and birth, relaxation techniques and pain relief options. Other topics include pregnancy wellness, lactation and breast feeding, and how partners can help. The class is led by an experienced perinatal nurse from the Hospital’s birthing center, The Birthplace, and is intended for women in their second or third trimester. The first series will be held on four consecutive Mondays, September 11, 18, 25 and October 2. The second series is scheduled for November 13, 20, 27 and December 4. Classes are held from 6 to 8 pm at Sonoma Valley Hospital, and there is a fee of $100. To register, call 935-5084.

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