Lorna Sheridan: Education Roundup, Jan. 8

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Listening circles: There are four opportunities to attend the Sonoma Valley Unified School District’s upcoming Listening Circles: on Thursday, Jan. 10 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Altimira Middle School; on Monday, Jan. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sonoma Community Center; on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Boys and Girls Club; and on Tuesday, Jan. 29 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Sonoma Valley High School College and Career Center.

Preschool fair: The Sonoma Valley Mothers Club is hosting its annual free preschool fair from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at Altimira Middle School at 17805 Arnold Drive. Explore local preschools and family-oriented businesses.

Tree recycling: The Girl Scouts will come through your neighborhood for the last time on Saturday, Jan. 12. If you would like your tree picked up, put it out to the curb by 9 a.m. with your donation under your doormat. Reservations are not necessary unless you live in a rural area. Suggested donation is $10 per tree (checks payable to Girl Scouts). For more information, visit

Half-court fun: At each SVHS boys and girls basketball game, a student name is drawn at halftime and she or he attempts to take a half-court shot. If made, they receive $100. If missed, the money rolls over to the next game. After the season, if no one makes the shot, the money goes to the high school basketball program. Last year, one shot was made and the rest of the money was donated. It costs $100 to sponsor a game, and the person/company who is sponsoring the shot (and their SVHS graduating class if an alum) is announced at the game. Email Christine at to be a sponsor.

Boosters: Have you joined Sonoma Valley High School’s Boosters Club yet? The next Boosters meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14 in the SVHS library. The Boosters support all the athletic programs, art, music, drama and clubs at SVHS.

Old-time fun: Kids can try their hand at candle making at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12 at Sonoma Mission, 114 E. Spain St. Learn where wax for candles comes from and make a candle to take home. Candles were important in the mission era for light in dark buildings. Sessions are geared at ages 8 and up, they last 40 minutes and are held in the courtyard. Free with paid admission to the park.

Old-time fun part 2: Kids can also try a cattle-branding demo at 11 a.m, noon, 1 and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19. Brand a piece of leather with the mission brand and learn about cattle and how their hides and tallow benefited the missions. Sessions last 30 minutes and are held in the Sonoma Mission courtyard. This activity is geared for ages 8 and up. Free with paid admission to the park.

School tour: Woodland Star Charter School, a K-8 Waldorf inspired public charter school, is offering tours and information about its lottery and enrollment for the 2019-20 school year. The tours are from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13 and Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 17811 Arnold Drive. RSVP at 996-3849.

Preschool openings: Sonoma Farm Tots preschool is now enrolling for Tuesday through Friday spots from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The school is open to ages 2-5.

Make a Circle: Sonoma Valley Library invites families to sing, laugh and dance in a relaxed environment that encourages playfulness and improvisation with Maya Dorn, a children’s music artist. Participants will sing originals as well as childhood favorites, play percussive instruments, wave scarves to the beat of music, and laugh under the parachute. Ages 0-5 and families. From 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Recycle markers: Crayola has a program called ColorCycle. If you collect your dead markers, they will send you a free shipping label and you can ship them back to Crayola to be recycled.

Free books: You can donate or take books from the Sonoma County Free Bookmobile on Saturday, Jan. 12 at Kenwood Market from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.; at Glen Ellen Post Office from 11 a.m. to noon; and in Boyes Hot Springs at Fiesta Center from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Rankings: According to U.S. News and World Report’s broad range of measures, Massachusetts ranks as the No. 1 state in K-12 education; New Jersey is No. 2. Several other East Coast states stand out: New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland and Virginia. And some Midwestern and Western states also rank in the top 10: Nebraska, Iowa, Utah and Washington. California is ranked No. 44.

Snow in Santa Rosa: The Sonoma County Children’s Museum’s popular Snow Days are Jan. 19, 20 and 21. There will be tons of real snow, six toboggan hills, a toddler zone, art projects, snow slime and more. Tickets can be purchased online at

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