BOARD OF EDUCATION
Ms. Mary Bryant
Santa Cruz County Office of Education
Mr. Jack Dilles
Mr. Arnold Levine
Mrs. Kathy Mann
Mr. James M. Maxwell
Michael C. Watkins, Superintendent Mr. Dana M. Sales
Mr. Brian Sanford
Summer 2008 • Vol. 2 Issue 1
Citi Funds Raising a Reader in
North County Preschools
A $20,000 grAnt from Citi And the Citigroup foundAtion hAs enAbled
the SCCOE Child Development Resource Center (CDRC) to offer the Raising a
Reader early literacy program to 90 families served by
the Davenport Resource Service Center, the Santa Cruz
Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, and San Lorenzo
Valley Redwood Preschool.
Gabriela Mello accepts children’s thank you card for the Raising a Reader is a national program that provides low-
Raising a Reader book program from Dee O’Brien. income families with high quality children’s literature
through a book bag exchange program that takes place
at participating preschool sites. Every two weeks, children receive bicultural,
bilingual books reflecting their home language and culture. Raising a Reader staff
trains parents and care givers to read aloud, discuss books with children, and make
reading a daily habit. Children from low-income families often arrive at school
without the extensive exposure to books and vocabulary development that more
advantaged students enjoy. This grant is bringing the gift of high quality literature
to 90 families in north Santa Cruz County, building on an existing program
Raising a Reader....... 1 funded by First 5 and operated by Pajaro Valley Unified School District. Raising a Reader book bag
Preschool For All ...... 1 In May, Gabriela Mello, Citibank Community
Relations Officer visited Santa Cruz to see the Packard Grant Paves
From the program in action. Walnut Avenue Women’s Center
Superintendent ....... 2 Director Dee O’Brien and Raising a Reader staff the Way for Expanded
member Jennifer Robinson joined Gabriela to watch
preschool staff members pass out book bags to Preschool Access
eager students. The room was filled with excitement
Schools Award .........2 as children opened their bags and began to look at
the dAvid And luCile pACkArd foundAtion
has awarded the SCCOE a $150,000 one-year
the books they would be taking home to share with
New Teacher Thrives 3 their families.
grant to partner with First 5 and the Santa Cruz
County Child Care Planning Council to produce
My Life as a Kid.........4 a comprehensive blueprint for voluntary pre-
school. California educational leaders at all
2008 Math levels have expressed support for providing
Competition .............. 5 universal access to high quality preschool in the
last two years before kindergarten. Santa Cruz
Lost Boy of Sudan County has a long commitment to providing
Inspires SCCOE Staff. 6 quality early care. This grant enables the child
care community to explore increasing preschool
DUI Court in Schools 6 access with current resources and to prepare to
expand preschool programs as additional public
2008 Science Fair .... 7 and private resources become available.
ROP Portfolio For further information: Contact Carole Mulford,
Contest......................8 Walnut Avenue preschoolers are delighted with the
SCCOE Child Development Programs Manage,
books they will take home to share with families.
Santa Cruz County Office of Education • 400 Encinal Street • Santa Cruz, CA 95060 • (831) 466-5600 • www.santacruz.k12.ca.us
SCCOE SPOTLIGHT Summer 2008
From the Desk of the Superintendent
Welcome to the third issue of the SCCOE August, the office will be moving to Encinal
Spotlight. In this Summer edition, we highlight Street in the Harvey West area of Santa
some of the many successes of this past school Cruz. This is a watershed moment in our long
year. California’s county offices of education history— for the first time, the community will
are in the unique position of providing direct own a building to house the County Office of
services to students and their families as Education, a long-term investment that is far
Michael C. Watkins well as supporting the needs of local school more cost effective than continuing to lease.
Superintendent districts. This role puts the Santa Cruz County I have worked in the Capitola office for the
Santa Cruz County Office of Education in a position to positively past 28 years and have very fond memories
Office of Education influence the educational experience of each of people, events, and the development of
of the county’s 38,000 students. We could not successful programs at this location. However,
have created the outstanding opportunities you the acquisition of a valuable public asset is
see in this edition without the support of the in the best interest of the community and I
community and school districts. I am heartened look forward to providing quality educational
by the respect, cooperation, and determination programs and services in our new facility. Our
to put students first that these partnerships, the commitment to customer service will continue
backbone of our organization, exemplify. to be foremost at our new location.
This will be the last edition of the Spotlight
printed from our Capitola location. This
Rio Del Mar Elementary School Receives
2008 California Distinguished Schools Award
rio del mAr is the only sChool in the County to be AwArded A 2008
California Distinguished School Award by the State Department of Education,
the second time it has been selected. All schools are eligible to compete through
a rigorous selection process that includes a lengthy written application and
a site visit. This year, 343 exemplary public elementary schools were selected
from a pool of 839 applicants representing 189 school districts in 39 counties.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell commended the
selected schools for creating a “school-wide vision of excellence where every
student can succeed and achieve at the very highest levels of performance.”
Pajaro Valley Unified School District’s newly-appointed superintendent,
Dorma Baker, was on hand on June 3rd to congratulate Rio del Mar Principal
Deborah Dorney, teachers, staff, students,
and parents at a school site ceremony to
celebrate the award. Principal Dorney
expressed her appreciation to her staff
and students for all the hard work that
culminated in the award. Students clapped
and cheered as community leaders,
Rio Del Mar Principal Deborah Dorney, PVUSD
including SCCOE Superintendent Michael
Superintendent Dorma Baker, 2nd District Supervisor
Ellen Pirie, and County School Board Members Watkins and County Office of Education
James M. Maxwell and Arnold Levine board members Arnold Levine and James
M. Maxwell, praised their achievement.
A Girl Scout honor guard concluded the
SPOTLIGHT EDITOR ceremony by raising the new California
Judy Walsh, Director
Distinguished Schools Flag, a tribute to the
Educational Planning & Communications
success of the entire school community. Rio Del Mar students raise
(831) 466-5903 • firstname.lastname@example.org
For a complete list of California California Distinguished
DESIGN – Suzan Mark • email@example.com Schools flag.
Distinguished Schools, visit
2 Santa Cruz County Office of Education
SCCOE SPOTLIGHT Summer 2008
A New Teacher Thrives at Gault School with the
Help of Her New Teacher Project Mentor
like her 20 students who grAduAted from first
to second grade this spring, Gault Elementary School
teacher Charlene Oatey also reached a milestone.
Having successfully completed a state approved
Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA)
induction program with the help of her Santa Cruz/
Silicon Valley New Teacher Project (SC/SV NTP) mentor,
Karyn Adams, she has “cleared” her preliminary
teaching credential from the California Commission
on Teacher Credentialing. A gifted, imaginative, and
hard working teacher, she has prepared her students
to become motivated and accomplished learners.
Prior to teaching at Gault, Charlene worked for two
years as an outdoor school instructor for groups of
fifth and sixth grade students from several school
districts participating in a weeklong residential
environmental science program. Teaching first grade
required a different skill set—expertise across the
curriculum, the ability to manage a classroom, and
the need to interact with administrators, teaching
colleagues, and parents. Karyn’s job as an NTP mentor
was to accelerate Charlene’s professional growth and
to help her emerge as a confident, capable teacher.
“ Charlene showed tremendous aptitude for working
with first graders. I know she will continue to grow and
excel as a teacher.”
— Karyn Adams, New Teacher Project Mentor
Charlene and Karyn met prior to the opening of school to plan for the first
weeks of class and to set an overarching instructional goal for the year.
Charlene decided to focus on incorporating mathematics into literacy
instruction, since improving mathematics instruction is a school-wide
goal. Karyn, who had a caseload of 16 first and second-year teachers, met
with Charlene for 90 minutes each week to observe her classroom, model
lessons, participate in lesson design, and provide a sounding board for
classroom management and instructional issues. Karyn helped Charlene to
develop instructional math games, provide students with extra help using the
language of mathematics, and to differentiate instruction. They made frequent
Karyn Adams observes a literacy lesson.
adjustments to classroom practices as the year progressed. Karyn also checked
in with Gault Principal Mary Anne James every six weeks.
As the year came to an end, Charlene’s classroom was a joy to visit. The student
work displayed on the walls, hanging from the ceiling, and covering every
possible counter space reflected a curriculum that integrates science, art,
mathematics, and literacy. Her students were lively, inquisitive, and able to work
independently and in groups. They were well organized and well behaved.
They liked their school, their teacher, and each other. In Karyn’s opinion,
Charlene had become a stellar teacher with a bright future in education.
For more information about the New Teacher Project,
contact Alison Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org
Examples of student work integrating art and academics.
Santa Cruz County Office of Education 3
SCCOE SPOTLIGHT Summer 2008
Eugenia Cheung Brailles her
Autobiography: My Life as a Kid
sCCoe’s speCiAl eduCAtion teACher
for the Visually Impaired, Jill Tardif,
and Alternative Media Specialist Jan
Patterson, worked for many months
with blind student Eugenia Cheung
on a project designed to improve her
Braille skills. Eugenia was intrigued
when presented with the possibility of
authoring and designing a book about
her life. Since Eugenia would have to
design the book’s layout without being Eugenia using the Braille Note.
able to see the pages, learn to Braille
the book herself, and navigate the print
shop to print and bind it, Jill and Jan
used creative approaches in teaching
both writing and illustration.
Jill took lots of pictures of Eugenia
working and playing at school and
her mother did the same at home.
Jill provided Eugenia with detailed
descriptions of the photos. If Eugenia
wanted to include one, she then David Syberg assists with spiral binding. Alternative Media Specialist, Jan Patterson, and
described it in her own words. Jan Eugenia celebrate the first copy of her book.
instructed Eugenia in the use of
the Braille Note, the equivalent of a
Braille laptop computer, to convert “ Eugenia’s book project was one of our most successful efforts in
the descriptions Jill had recorded into teaching Braille. This project also engaged her extended family
Braille. After Eugenia had a rough draft, and SCCOE staff in her education.”
Jan helped her to locate and correct
— Jill Tardif, Teacher for the Visually Impaired
her errors so that she eventually had a
perfect Braille book, which she called
My Life as a Kid. experience in printing and he was enthusiastic about making the print shop accessible
for Eugenia. He realized he had to provide a tactile tour of the machinery, learn how to
David Syberg, who manages the describe paper options without reference to color, and
COE print shop, volunteered to understand how Eugenia might visualize her book.
help Eugenia emboss and bind With David’s help, Eugenia succeeded in learning to
five copies of her book. David operate the binding machine. She was thrilled when
has provided other special David looked through her book and asked questions
education students with work about her daily activities.
Eugenia used her books for Mother’s Day and Father’s
Day presents. When Jill took Eugenia to visit Brook
Knoll School in Scotts Valley, where she will be a
student next fall, she took a copy of her book with her.
She proudly sat at a table and read from her book to
introduce herself to her future classmates. Jill and Jan
rank the book project as one of their most successful
project-based learning activities.
My Life as a Kid includes a Eugenia reads her Braille book. For more information, contact Jill Tardif at
photograph of rock climing. email@example.com
4 Santa Cruz County Office of Education
SCCOE SPOTLIGHT Summer 2008
400 Aspiring Mathematicians Test their Skills at
the 41st Annual County Mathematics Competition
“Santa Cruz County math educators should be proud
they have kept the Mathematics Competition alive
and growing for forty-one years.”
—Frances Basich Whitney, Mathematics Project Director
most students look forwArd to sleeping lAte on sAturdAy
morning, but not the more than 400 students representing
29 schools who converged on Aptos High School at 8:30 a.m. last May
to participate in the 41st Annual County Mathematics Competition.
These young mathematicians were eager to test their problem solving Left: Frances Whitney congratulates students and teachers
skills against those of their peers, both as members of school teams at the 2008 Math Awards Ceremony.
and as individuals. Each year county teachers encourage all students Right: Aptos High School hosts the Competition.
who enjoy math to participate in the contest, not just those who excel
in math classes. Since students participate in multi-grade teams the team test, students have the option to continue with an
comprised of fifth/sixth graders and seventh/eighth graders, younger individual test consisting of 25 fill-in-the-blanks responses.
students benefit from working with more advanced students. This Students intending to take part only in the team contest usually
year, 110 adults, many of them math teachers, volunteered as proctors get caught up in the excitement and successfully complete
and scorers. the individual test as well. Proctors meet to score exams and
determine tentative first, second, and third place winners
and honorable mention awardees. The event concludes by
early afternoon, although winners are not notified until Math
Competition Director Frances Basich Whitney has checked the
grading one more time to ensure the results are error free.
This year’s winners, along with families, teachers, and
volunteers, gathered in the SCCOE Tech Center on May 22 for
the 41st Annual Mathematics Competition Awards Ceremony.
First, second, and third place winners proudly displayed
their competition medals, engraved with an image of Albert
Einstein and their names and school information, as they
posed for pictures. Honorable mention awardees got ribbons,
and all students who participated received a certificate.
The Mathematics Competition begins with teams of 3-5 students For a complete list of 2008 Math Awards, see
talking their way through a challenging math problem and submitting www.santacruz.k12.ca.us/ed_services/mathematics.html.
a single group response. There are no multiple choice answers— For more information contact Frances Whitney,
problems require a written explanation of how the students have Project Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org
approached the problem and the rationale for their answers. Following
Class of 2008
Santa Cruz County Office of Education 5
SCCOE SPOTLIGHT Summer 2008
Lost Boy of Sudan, Benjamin Ajak, Inspires SCCOE Staff
when he wAs five yeArs old, benjAmin AjAk beCAme A CAsuAlty of AfriCA’s longest-running Civil wAr, A ConfliCt in sudAn
that began in 1983 and has since led to the death of two million people. Government troops from the North entered his village and began
shooting people and burning homes. After the fighting subsided, Benjamin, unable to find his family, joined an army of abandoned
children that came to be called the Lost Boys of Sudan. The boys eventually marched across hundreds of miles of African desert seeking
refuge in Ethiopia. When the political situation there deteriorated, they fled on foot again, this time to Kenya.
After surviving war, starvation, and neglect throughout the journey education. He now travels throughout the U.S. to talk about
to Kenya, Benjamin lived nine years in a Kenyan refugee camp his remarkable journey from Sudan and advocate for an end
awaiting a resolution to his situation. Realizing education was the to genocide in Darfur. This spring, he attended an SCCOE staff
key to a brighter future, he attended a United Nations school to build meeting to share his experiences. Asked to comment on what
the skills necessary to secure a job. With the help of the International surprised him most about the
Rescue Committee, Benjamin and several cousins and friends were U.S., he replied that he did
relocated to Los Angeles, where they worked and furthered their not understand students who
were indifferent to education.
In Kenya, he and his friends
asked anyone who visited the
camp to take the time to teach
them whatever they might
know. They built their own
schoolrooms and sacrificed
to buy books and materials.
Many worked two and three
jobs to afford to attend college
in the U.S. When not traveling,
Benjamin now works as a
youth counselor for troubled
For more information about the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” read
They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, by Benjamin Ajak,
Alephonsion Deng, and Bensen Deng (with Judy A.
Live DUI Court in Schools
superior Court judge pAul mArigondA looked out At the AudienCe
of hundreds of teenagers gathered in the Santa Cruz High School auditorium at
lunchtime on spring prom night and announced, “Court is in session.” Students
were voluntarily participating in DUI Court in Schools, a joint project of the
SCCOE’s Student Services Division and the Administrative Office of the Courts,
hosted by Santa Cruz High School Principal Karen Edmonds. The program allows
students to observe actual court sentencing proceedings for people convicted of
At Santa Cruz High, a defendant with a second conviction for driving under the
influence was assessed a $3,000 fine and sentenced to serve 55 days in
County Jail and five years probation. After the sentencing, the judge, prosecutor,
defense attorney, and the DUI offender answered students’ questions about
DUI convictions, which include unsafe driving due to legal and illegal drugs.
Following the sentencing, twenty-two year old Tommy Doyle spoke movingly Superior Court Judge Paul Marigonda
about how a decision to get behind the wheel of his car while drunk just after holds DUI Court at Santa Cruz High School.
high school graduation led to the death of his best friend when he lost control of his car and drove into a tree on a country road in Sacra-
mento. A typical sentence for his offense would have been ten years in prison. Only the intervention of the parents of the boy he killed
led the judge to sentence him instead to tell his story to other teens. Doyle’s address was followed by a peer video presentation advocat-
ing for safe behavior behind the wheel. A second session of DUI Court in Schools was held for alternative and charter school students at
the Cabrillo College Horticulture Center.
For more information, contact Martine Watkins, email@example.com
6 Santa Cruz County Office of Education
SCCOE SPOTLIGHT Summer 2008
2008 Santa Cruz County Science Fair
for 22 yeArs, the sAntA Cruz County sCienCe fAir has
offered county teachers and their students opportunities
to engage in scientific research with the support of the local
research community. Thanks to generous funding from Seagate
Technologies, Santa Cruz
County Office of Education
leadership, and the efforts
of scientists, researchers,
students, and teachers,
Science Fair 2008 broke
all previous records for
participation and awards.
2,800 students participated
in 40 school-site science
fairs. Schools sent 432
students — from kinder-
garten to high school
Congratulations to all
—to compete in fourteen 432 Santa Cruz County students
scientific categories at the
who participated in the 2008
At the 2008 Science Fair Awards ceremony, students received
county, state and international
over $14,000 in monetary awards from Seagate Technologies. science fairs.
Seagate donated $100 to each of the 48 students who qualified to
attend the 2008 California State Science Fair in Los Angeles and
fully funded the four finalists who attended the International
Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), held this year in Atlanta,
Georgia. Students also received awards from Plantronics, The
Armed Services, the Society of Women Geoscientists, Intel for
Excellence in Computer Science, and the National Oceanic and
Because of the high participation rate and award winning
status over the years, Santa Cruz County is allowed to enter 40
projects at the California State Science Fair. This year, eleven
Santa Cruz County projects received awards.
ISEF provided a forum for more than 1500 students from
53 nations to compete for high stakes scholarships and
international recognition. Santa Cruz County students entered
three student projects. Santa Cruz High School student Shamik
Mascharak’s entry, which received a grand prize and a patent
award, explored a new opportunity to fingerprint without
the use of toxins. Emily Dolson and Sanaya Forbes of San
Lorenzo Valley High School, who also received a grand prize,
investigated the influence of human behavior on the sea otter
population. Pacific Collegiate School student Marie Nielsen’s
computer science project predicted the ability of brute force
password decrypters to decode passwords and then compared
the predicted decoding times with experimental results.
This year, welcomed six first-time schools to the fair.
We continue to work with school districts to expand the
number of students who take part in this exceptional
opportunity to experience science first-hand. We congratulate
the students, teachers, researchers, and community volunteers
For more information, contact Nancy Serigstad at
who are laying the groundwork for new solutions to the
scientific challenges of the 21st century.
Santa Cruz County Office of Education 7
SCCOE SPOTLIGHT Summer 2008
ROP 10th Annual Career Portfolio Showcase—
Career & College Ready!
high sChool students’ eduCAtionAl opportunities And work experienCes lAy the groundwork for CAreer ChoiCes thAt will
shape the rest of their lives. Most students must look for jobs as soon as they graduate whether they enter the labor force full time or
work to fund college and technical training. SCCOE’s Regional Occupational Program starts as early as middle school to engage students
in thinking seriously about the career paths that can open for them if they study hard and make strategic plans for their futures. It offers
hundreds of courses throughout the county that prepare students for careers and motivate them to excel in high school and in higher
On May 20th, ROP Director R. Rieber presided over the 10th Annual ROP
Career Portfolio Showcase at Harbor High School. The event concludes
the ROP Portfolio Contest, a competition that allows students to vie for
scholarships and prizes by entering portfolios that display the results of their
career technical education classes. Portfolios must include a resume, a sample
job application letter, professional and personal references, and evidence of
a job search. Winning portfolios demonstrate that students have excelled at
classroom projects, developed successful entrepreneurial enterprises, or been
outstanding interns. Students personalize their portfolios with original cover
designs, unique formats, and inclusion of CDs and DVDs illustrating class
projects and job activities.
This year, more than 800
students competed for
ROP student celebrates a job well done! $1,400 in donated prize
money, with awards going
to Adrianna Serratos,
Skylar Merritt, Rodrigo
Molina, Laurel Ebert,
Alexandra Sherrill, Rosie
Lebow, and Michelle
McCallum. Winners were
selected based on the
quality of their portfolios
and results of a rigorous job ROP’s Sharon Clapman reviews Career Portfolios
at Harbor High School.
interview. Special thanks
to Scholarship Donors John Dierolf Insurance Agency, Lloyd’s Tires, Palace
Art & Office Supply, Alice Talnack, Dell Williams, and an anonymous former
ROP Administration of Justice student.
Congratulations to outgoing ROP Director, R. Reiber
upon his retirement after 40 years in public education. For more information, contact www.rop.santacruz.k12.ca.us/
In August 2008, SCCOE is moving to 400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz
Our new phone number 831.466.5600.
Visit our website: www.santacruz.k12.ca.us
Santa Cruz County
Office of Education
Michael C. Watkins, Superintendent
400 Encinal Street • Santa Cruz, CA 95060