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Students Set Sights to the Future Building Imaginary Cities Ever wonder what the future will look like? Ask middle school students from Modesto Girl Scout Troop #2225, who put a lot of thought into that question as they designed a futuristic city they call “Varuna.” For the second year running, their imaginary city landed them first place in the county-wide “Mock Future City Competition” held in January. They then went on to take first place at the Northern California Regional State Finals and are representing the region at the national competition in Washington D.C., February 16-22. Eighth grader Kiana Engel said their Girl Scout Troop decided to participate again this year because it’s fun and it gives them an opportunity to learn new things. “We did it last year and we went to the national competition,” she said. “It was a great experience, and it showed us that if you work hard it pays off.” Sponsored by SCOE and supported by the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County and Mercer Foods, the Future City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades imagine, design, and build cities of the future. Students work as a team under the guidance of an educator/coach and a volunteer engineer mentor to design and build a city of tomorrow. This year’s Future City topic was “Tomorrow’s Transit: Design a way to move people in and around your city.” Girl Scout Troop Leader Kristi Engel says that participating in the Future City competition is an excellent learning experience for students. “I cannot think of any other opportunity for the girls to learn about so many different aspects of Engineering, Science, and Math, while

I cannot think of any other opportunity for the girls to learn about so many different aspects of Engineering, Science, and Math, while also getting to use their creative and artistic talents.” – Kristi Engel, Girl Scout Troop Leader

Pictured (l to r): Katrina Fitzpatrick (Student Mentor), Kiana Engel, Madison Whisenand, Kristyn Dexter, Kenna Vandemark (seated). Below: A few of the girls with their futuristic city “Varuna.”

also getting to use their creative and artistic talents,” she said. “They have spent time in a shop learning to cut, solder, work with expansion foam, be creative and most importantly learned that many times the first attempt fails.” Mentor Engineer Evangelina Paoluccio from Nolte Vertical Five (NV5) said working with the young students is terrific. “It’s important to teach and nurture young minds and help teach them how to present in front of people and talk about Engineering, which is definitely not easy to do,” she said. “I want to share Engineering with them and also show them that women should always push the envelope to better themselves.”

Students say that participating in the competition helps them become more self-assured. “It has made me more confident and given me a chance to work and practice on my public speaking,” said seventh grade student Madison Whisenand. “I tend to be shy and I am more comfortable now in front of a group.” “I have been very impressed with SCOE’s commitment to this program,” said Troop Leader Engel. “At the mock competition, the atmosphere is unlike anything the girls could experience any place else,” she said.  “VIP’s from the community serve as judges and the atmosphere gives them a very positive, yet comfortable experience. They are praised but also learn how to take constructive feedback in a positive fashion.” This was the third year of the local competition, and the turnout more than tripled from last year, with 10 Stanislaus County schools and two local organizations competing. In addition to Girl Scouts Troop #2225, the following schools and clubs participated: Cardozo, Dutcher, Glick, HiMAP, La Loma, Mae Hensley, Orville Wright, Ross, Turlock, Valley Home, and Walnut.

Stanislaus County Teams Place First and Second at the Northern California Regional State Finals Future City Competition 1st Place - Modesto Girl Scout Troop #2225 2nd Place - Walnut Elementary School, Turlock

Stanislaus County Board of Education Mary Ann Sanders, Chair Kimberly Spina, Vice-Chair Alice Pollard Kim Rose Bob Vizzolini

Visit SCOE’s Website

Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon This report was prepared by SCOE’s Communications Office (209) 238-1704


Report to the Community

First Students Graduate from Come Back Kids Program Former high school dropouts headed back to school last fall, and 33 students received their high school diplomas at a special graduation ceremony held December 19 at Stanislaus County Office of Education’s Petersen Event Center. These students were enrolled in SCOE’s Come Back Kids (CBK) program, which launched this year in connection with SCOE’s new Destination Graduation initiative. The goal of the multi-year initiative is to increase the percentage of students in Stanislaus County who graduate with a high school diploma. CBK reaches out to former dropouts, ages 16-24, who are ready to work toward a high school diploma.  “We were expecting 25 students to start this year, but the program has been extremely popular and we currently have over 140 students enrolled,” said Scott Kuykendall, Division Director of Educational Options at SCOE. “We’re providing opportunities for students who realize that they made a mistake and are looking for a second chance to get a high school diploma.” Graduate 19-year-old Darnay Hairston said the CBK program came at just the right time for him. “I didn’t get my diploma because I got distracted when my mom became ill and I stopped going to class,” he said. “That was a mistake; I ended up nine classes short of receiving my diploma.” Hairston worked hard to receive his diploma this past fall. “This program provided a great opportunity for me,” he said. “The teachers were patient and respectful and I got to work at my own pace. I’m now looking forward to college and to a bright future,” he said. Twenty-one year old Taylor Plumb is also thankful for the program. She finished high school with her classmates but didn’t pass the math portion of the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam) so she didn’t receive her high school diploma. Plumb

said she struggled with math and got behind when she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 15 and had to miss a lot of school. “Come Back Kids meant a lot to me,” she said. “The teachers there were extremely encouraging and helped me brush up on my math. The day I found out I had passed the CAHSEE and would be receiving my diploma, I cried. That same day I also enrolled at the Institute of Technology and I’m now studying to become a

medical assistant. I feel very positive about my future now,” she said. Teacher Lori Figueroa said she’s inspired by how motivated the students are to succeed. “Every student’s story is different, but they all have the same goal – to graduate and get their high school diploma,” she said. “It’s refreshing to work with such motivated young adults. Their excitement is contagious and makes every day at work so uplifting and enjoyable. CBK is making a real difference in lives and contributing to the successful futures of former dropouts.”

Initiative Focuses on Graduation Rates The Stanislaus County Office of Education launched a county-wide initiative at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year focused on increasing graduation rates in Stanislaus County. Called Destination Graduation, the goal of this collaborative, multi-year effort is to increase the percentage of students who graduate from high school. The focus of the initiative is on four pillars, including: • Mentoring programs • Summer camps for at-risk students • Sharing best practices • Parental involvement campaign

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Recognition Program Shines Spotlight on Classified Education Employees For the seventh year running, the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Stanislaus Charter honored outstanding classified education employees in Stanislaus County through a program called “Employees Making a Difference.” School districts throughout the county selected their own honorees and forwarded nominations to SCOE. Twenty-six outstanding classified staff were honored at a special reception on Tuesday, January 21 at SCOE. Employees were nominated from the following service areas: Child Nutrition, Maintenance/Operations, Office/Technical, Para Educator/Instructional Assistance, and Support Services/Security. Of the 26 nominees honored at the reception, five were selected to represent Stanislaus County in the California School Employee of the Year program, coordinated by the California Department of Education. This year’s state nominees are: Janet Hay, Oakdale Joint Unified School District, Child Nutrition category; Kathy Cook, Chatom Union School District, Para-Educator/ Instructional Assistance category; Jasiel Anaya, Ceres Unified School District, Maintenance/Operations category; Michelle “Shelley” Suchman, Sylvan Union School District, Support/Security Services category; Mary Venema, Turlock Unified School District, Office/Technical category. According to Stanislaus Charter ACSA President Christine Facella, the local organization was pleased to partner with the county in this effort. “Our classified employees have a vital role in educating students,” said Facella. “They provide healthy, supportive, and well maintained educational institutions which allow teachers to teach students in an optimal environment.” For the second year, the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County presented a Civility Award named in honor of former SCOE Assistant Superintendent Jane Johnston, who helped launch the county-wide Choose Civility initiative in 2010 and passed away unexpectedly in April 2012. Johnston advocated for and co-chaired the Employees Making a Difference Program (2008 – 2012), and was active with the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County.  The “Jane Johnston Civility Award” was presented to Shelley Suchman, an employee with the Sylvan Union School District and one of the 26 nominees, for exemplifying the principles of civility at her school site.

Long Time SCOE Educator Retires After more than 40 years in education, Bob Gausman, Division Director of Technology and Learning Resources (TLR), retired in December. Gausman began his educational career in 1968 in Libya, Bob Gausman where he was a teacher in the Peace Corps. Over the years he taught in Chicago and San Francisco before moving to the Ceres Unified School District. He joined SCOE in 1989 as a Coordinator, Educational Services. Through the years his duties changed when he became a member of the Curriculum and Instruction team and then Director of the California Technology Assistance Project (CTAP) before being promoted to

Division Director of TLR in 1999. “SCOE has such dedicated staff, and it’s all of the people working here that I will miss the most,” said Gausman. Sally Savona will now oversee the TLR Division. Savona has worked for SCOE as Director of Information Technology since January 4, 2011. She brings over 30 years of experience in the technology field to her new position. Prior to joining SCOE she served as Director of Information Technology for the Sacramento City Unified School District. “I am so excited to have this opportunity to work on the current initiatives and TLR is prepared to fully support our students and staff with technology, including supporting Common Core testing,” said Savona. “I have a great team and look forward to providing the best technological services and support to those we serve.”

Pictured Back (l to r): Janet Hay, Jasiel Anaya, Kathy Cook Front (l to r): Mary Venema, Michelle “Shelley” Suchman

2014 District Nominees Juan Alberto Turlock Unified

Robin Kerntke Modesto City Schools

Shawn Amador Modesto City Schools

Eric Klose Modesto City Schools

Jasiel Anaya Ceres Unified

Dave Larsen Newman-Crows Landing Unified

Johnny Cipriani Oakdale Joint Unified Kathy Cook Chatom Union Dolores Damian-Cooper Stanislaus County Office of Education

William Lee Patterson Joint Unified Esther Merwin Ceres Unified Nichole Pinedo Patterson Joint Unified

Rick Gomez Stanislaus Union

Kathy Rocha Waterford Unified

Janet Hay Oakdale Joint Unified

Stephanie Rodriguez Keyes Union

Alfredo Hernandez Riverbank Unified

Daisy Salinas Ceres Unified

Susan Hinkelman Hickman Community Charter

Rene Soares Hughson Unified

Gina Indelicato Sylvan Union Maria Jackson Empire Union Susan Gay Kelleher Turlock Unified

Michelle Suchman Sylvan Union Judy Valverde Modesto City Schools Mary Venema Turlock Unified

Sponsors: Mocse Credit Union, CSEA River Delta Field Office, Atkinson Andelson Loya Ruud & Romo, Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard, Lifetouch.

Early Intervention Staff Show Off Remodeled Site at Grand Opening Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) employees and community members toured the newly renovated Margaret L. Annear Early Intervention campus at its grand opening in November. Staff conducted tours in the morning, followed by a short program and the regular meeting of the Stanislaus County Board of Education. Operated by SCOE, the Margaret L. Annear Early Intervention Program serves children with special needs from birth through five years of age. SCOE began the three-year project to renovate and replace the patchwork of special education facilities located at Stonum Road in Modesto in the spring of 2011. Funding came from the State Allocation Board for construction and modernization purposes from bonds passed years ago, including Propositions 1A, 1D, 47 and 55. The bond money could only be used for construction and modernization projects as outlined in the original measures. In addition to the newly renovated Margaret L. Annear Early Intervention School, the new John F. Kennedy School (located next to Annear) opened last year.

Scholarship Program Focuses on Affirmative Action in College Admission Process Should publicly-funded colleges and universities use affirmative action in their admissions programs? This was the question 109 high school juniors and seniors from throughout the county addressed in the American Heritage Scholarship essay contest. Taking first place and a $2,000 scholarship award was Dylan Hawksworth-Lutzow from Oakdale High School. Hawksworth-Lutzow said working on the essay forced him to dig deeply for evidence and logical argument. “You have to learn how to support your view, not only with historical precedent, but what you feel is right,” he said. He ended up arguing in favor of affirmative action, stating, “It stands to reason that people from different backgrounds will have differing viewpoints and perspectives. These perspectives are invaluable in diversifying the exposure students receive to some of the many cultures and traditions in the world.” The two $1,000 scholarship winners wrote essays arguing against affirmative action. Teaching students and adults to think critically Pictured (l to r): Adam Jensen, Dylan Hawksworth-Lutzow, Eliana Montalvo about issues affecting the United States, and increasing their awareness of what it means to be an American, are the goals of the American Heritage Scholarship Scholarship Winners Program. After attending a presentation by William Broderick$2,000.... Dylan Hawksworth-Lutzow......Oakdale High Villa, Esq. from the Curtis Legal Group, students wrote essays $1,000.... Adam Jensen.........................Oakdale High using information from the presentation and their knowledge of $1,000.... Eliana Montalvo......................Whitmore Charter U.S. History and government. A group of local educators, editors, $500....... Bret Potter..............................Turlock High community leaders, Superior Court Judges and representatives $500....... Alexander Keyser..................Oakdale High from the legal community judged the essays. $250....... Lauren Stanislaw...................Beyer High Sponsored by The Modesto Bee in partnership with the $250....... Nicolas Lopez.........................Turlock High Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and Modesto City $250....... Mattie Krop.............................Johansen High Schools, nine students were honored for their essays at an awards $250....... Hayley Hutchings...................Johansen High ceremony held at SCOE in November.

Student Events Draw Thousands Each Year SCOE sponsors a variety of student events throughout the school year, and the winners of local academic contests often have the opportunity to compete in state competitions, opening a whole new world of exciting possibilities for them.

SCOE Early Intervention Programs are provided to children (Infant through age 5) in the following areas: Program Number of students

Early Start InfantToddler Program: ........................ 82 Preschool Special Day Classes:................................ 42 Autism Preschool Special Day Classes:................................ 42 Early Intervention Resource:..................................... 23 Readiness Program: .................. 30 Deaf & Hard of Hearing Special Day Class: ....................... 5

Modesto High School took first place in the Stanislaus County 2014 Mock Trials Competition held in January at SCOE. They now head to the state competition scheduled for March 21-23 in San Jose.

Academic Decathlon.............................. 200 students Academic Pentathlon............................. 150 students Elementary Spelling Championship......... 86 students Elementary Science Olympiad.............. 300 students Future City Competition........................... 42 students Harold Pope Junior Relays.................... 800 students Junior High Spelling Championship......... 45 students Junior High & High School Music Festival........................................ 650 students Mock Trials............................................ 180 students Occupational Olympics and Career Exposition.................................. 800 students Regional Science Olympiad.................. 550 students