Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, Dec. 12

Finding 'Dory' is playing in town as a Toys for Tots benefit.


Preschool fair: Sonoma Valley Mothers Club will be hosting a free preschool fair from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18, at El Verano Elementary School in the auditorium. If you run a local business that directly serves young children and families (i.e. preschool, children’s music, yoga, health and wellness, etc.), they will have booths available. Message the club on Facebook.

Get involved: The next meeting of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District board of trustees begins at 6 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 12. If you have concerns about the district budget and want your voice heard on cuts and priorities, there is public comment at around 6:30 p.m. On the agenda tonight is the budget, the district’s “financial recovery plan,” new data in the school “dashboard” (see below), and more.

Dashboard: The 2017 California School Dashboard (, a website that provides valuable information on multiple topics regarding school and student performance, is now live. The six state indicators are:

- Academic, which includes results on standardized tests

- Career/college readiness

- English learner progress

- Graduation rates

- Suspension rates

- Chronic absenteeism

You can look at the Sonoma school district as a whole or at school-by-school results.

Learn more at

Free lacrosse clinics: A series of free lacrosse clinics for boys and girls ages 6 to 12 is being held on Sundays at Presentation School on Broadway. Visit for more information.

Holiday spirit: The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art continues to host free art fun for students every Wednesday afternoon. Last week, teens from SVHS made holiday ornaments to donate to those who have lost homes in the recent fires. Stop by from 1 to 5 p.m.

Posada Festival: Prestwood Elementary School invites the community to its second annual Posada Festival from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15. There will be homemade Mexican food, salsa music, carnival games and prizes and a performance by Ballet Folklorico.

Magic fun: Magician Mike Della Penna will perform a free show for all ages at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16, at Sonoma Valley Regional Library

Toy drive: The Toys for Tots toy drive ends at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16, when kids of all ages and their families are invited to attend a matinee screening of the animated feature “Finding Dory.” The screening of this sequel to the 2003 classic “Finding Nemo” will take place at the Sebastiani Theatre. The only admission price will be a new, unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots toy drive in the Sonoma Valley. Marines in dress blues will collect the toys at the door. Santa Claus is scheduled to make a guest appearance following the movie.

Kinder info: There is a kindergarten information night at Altimira Middle School from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Kinder registration is on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at both Adele and Altimira middle schools from 5 to 7:30 p.m. There is also an online registration process that is new this year.

Boating license: If your child is 20 or younger and they want to drive a boat next year, they will be required to take a boater safety education course and get a boater card, as of Jan. 1. All the details can be found at The student can take the course online at

Equine therapy: JayCee Dugard’s foundation and Rebecca Bailey’s Glen Ellen-based equine therapy practice, Transitioning Families, are teaming up to offer a series of free therapy session for local families who have been impacted by the fires. The sessions will be held in December, January and February. To participate, email Bailey was Dugard’s therapist after Dugard was freed from 18 years in captivity. Bailey lives in Glen Ellen and her house and business were destroyed in the fires.

New messaging app for kids: Facebook has introduced a messaging app called Messenger Kids, aimed at children under the age of 13. Users can send texts, videos and photos; they can draw on the pictures they send and add stickers. The company claims its data collection will be limited, and the children will need their parents’ permission to use the app. If two children want to be “friends” with each other, each will have to get parental approval for contact. Similarly, Google has introduced “Family Link,” which allows parents to set up kid-friendly Google accounts. Amazon has also added kid-focused “skills” to its Echo smart speakers, which require a parent’s permission to activate.

Coding push: Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom says, “California is the tech capital of the country and home to Silicon Valley, but we don’t teach our students the foundational skills and knowledge to access the jobs of the future. Right now most schools in California don’t offer any computer science classes and, sadly, that disparity is punctuated by striking gender and racial gaps,” he says. Continues Newsom: “Recent data indicates that less than five percent of California’s two million high school students are enrolled in any computing courses.” A new statewide “Computer Science for CA” campaign will drive computer science access in California in the following ways:

1. Increasing public understanding about the importance of equitable computer science and increasing demand for computer science education across the state;

2. Informing computer science education policy development at the state level; and

3. Building capacity among school and district leaders to implement computer science.

Enrichment classes: El Verano Elementary School is looking for any community members with special talents, skills or hobbies, who are interested in teaching after-school enrichment classes on Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m., starting in February. Contact El Verano PTO at by early January

Soccer: Registration is going on now for indoor soccer co-sponsored by Sonoma Valley Soccer and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley. You can register in person at the Maxwell Clubhouse on Saturday, Dec. 9 and Sunday, Dec. 17 from 9 to 11 a.m. or at

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