Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, Aug. 29

Sonoma Index-Tribune columnist Lorna Sheridan.


Homework help: Sonoma Valley Library is offering homework help on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. through December with a healthy snack, supplies and trained volunteers to help students in grades K-12. Students of all ages will be assisted individually and in small groups on a drop-in basis, no registration is required. The library is located at 755 W. Napa St., Sonoma.

Old is good: Researchers finally seem to agree that kids appear to benefit, all the way through college, from being older rather than younger for their class. New studies show children do better in school if they’re among the oldest in their class, and that the advantage persists. Kids born just after the enrollment cutoff had the equivalent of a 40-point bump on their SAT compared to kids born just before the cutoff. Older kids also are more likely to go to college and less likely to go to jail.

Hiring: Sonoma Valley Unified School District is now hiring full- and part-time bus drivers. No experience needed and the salary is $15 to $28/hour plus health and retirement benefits. Visit for more information.

Coding novels: Girls Who Code is creating a publishing franchise and plans to release 13 books over the next two years through a multibook deal with Penguin. The titles range from board books and picture books for babies and elementary school children, to nonfiction coding manuals, activity books and journals, and a series of novels featuring girl coders. The first two are available now: an illustrated nonfiction coding manual, and a novel called “The Friendship Code” which features a group of girls who become friends in an after-school coding club.

School produce: Next time you are at the Fruit Basket on Highway 12, take a look out for produce grown by Alitmira students. Culinary instructor and Farm to Table instructional assistant Kimberly Weber set it up. The proceeds benefit the school’s horticulture program, run by Dutch Van Herwynen.

Lobster fundraiser: Soroptimist International of Sonoma Valley is now taking orders for its annual lobster sale. Call 338-1874 or 953-3621.

Student jobs: The Boys and Girls Club is hiring student referees. They are also looking for student volunteers to help coach some of their teams. Applications are available in the College & Career Center.

Free concert: The Lincoln Theater in Napa is offering a free concert for the community at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Sept. 17. The title is Full Fusion and tickets are available at

Men as the minority: Young men are enrolling in higher education at alarmingly low rates, and some colleges are working hard to reverse the trend, according to a recent Atlantic article. Even worse, men who do enroll in college, at whatever age, are more likely than women to drop out, and they graduate at lower rates, according to the the Education Department reports. These trends hold true in Sonoma Valley as well. Read more

Hiring: Local businesses continue to seek high school students for various job openings around town, including the Lodge at Sonoma, Sonoma Market, La Salette, MacArthur Place, Sonoma Creamery, Cline Cellars and several more. Visit and click on College & Career Center.

College boost: North Bay’s 10,000 Degrees received a grant totaling $1 million from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to support its community college initiative. The San Rafael-based nonprofit group works with Sonoma Valley High School (among other North Bay high schools) to increase graduation and college-going rates for economically disadvantaged students. It’s partnering with the foundation in hopes of more than doubling its rate of scholarship students who start at local community colleges and eventually graduate with bachelor’s degrees within six years. This is great news for SVHS as it will likely enable the organization to increase the number of students it serves here each year.

Rowing: The North bay Rowing Club in Petaluma has close to a dozen young Sonoma Valley athletes training there. The Club’s junior team tryouts start Aug. 28. No experience is required. The club offers no cut teams. Learn more at

Ag boosters: The Sonoma Valley High School Agriculture Boosters Dinner & Auction is on September 9, at 5:30 p.m. at Hydeout Ranch, 20680 Hyde Road. Club president Pat Stornetta invites the community to come support students in the study of agriculture, leadership and citizenship. Visit

New baby classes: Sonoma Valley Hospital is offering a series of new baby classes. The first series will be held on four consecutive Mondays, Sept. 11, 18, 25, and Oct. 2. The second series is scheduled for Nov. 13, 20, 27, and Dec. 4. Classes are held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the hospital, and there is a fee of $100. To register, call 935-5084.

Gaming courses: Santa Rosa Junior College is now offering Game Development and Game Design courses for local high school students and current SRJC students. SRJC will offers a full associate’s degree in Digital Media: Game Programming. California currently has the greatest number of active game industry businesses in the United States. According to SRJC, a college degree is required for programmers, software engineers, game designers, or visual artists. The median yearly salary in this field is $50,000 to $70,000.

ID scanning: Both middle school and Sonoma Valley High now have in place a new visitor pass program. Raptor Visitor Management involves visitor ID scanning and pass printing with a photo. Allow a little extra time the first visit but after that, you get a printed pass quickly and easily.

Scholarships: The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Award program is accepting applications now. Are you, or someone you know, a Sonoma Valley woman with primary financial responsiblity for yourself and your dependents, attending an undergraduate degree program or vocational skills program, with a financial need? Deadline is Nov. 15.

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