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BACK TO Contents 18 | Ease back-to-school transitions with advice from the experts 19 | Catch up on the news from San Lorenzo Valley schools 21 | Find out what to expect at Scotts Valley schools 22 | Start the day right with easy breakfast recipes 23 | Get up to date on the latest from other area schools


School’s soon to be in session I

t seems like yesterday that the middle of June rolled around and school was out for summer. But it’s been more than two months since then — and days of vacations, swimming pools, all-nighters, long walks, bike rides, waking up after noon and marathon video game sessions have slipped into the past. It’s time to go back to school. In this special section, readers will find out what’s new at local schools. The school systems in the San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley were hammered by budget cuts from the state, but once again, like clockwork, teachers and administrators are hard at work to make every student’s learning experience the best it can be. As I chatted with principals at various schools about what was happening on their campuses, the anticipation in their voices was clear as they prepared for students to arrive.

And we welcome two new principals, Stephanie Siddens at Bonny Doon Elementary and Jeff Calden at San Lorenzo Valley Middle School, to the lead position at their schools. But along with the good, there is difficult news. Longtime teachers retired from many schools, and their experience will be missed. Fees rose at Cabrillo College and funding was cut, so the Scotts Valley campus will lose some classes. In this special section, parents will find out how to help their children make the transition from preschool to kindergarten and from middle school to high school. There are also some delicious and easy breakfast recipes, and rundowns of what’s new and who’s new at all the area schools. Thanks for reading. — Peter Burke, editor

FRIDAY, AUG. 21, 2009


HEARD ON THE STREET “What are you looking forward to this school year?”

Claire Howell, a student at Gateway School, will be going into second grade this year. She is excited about having more classes in art, music and math, which are her favorite subjects.

Jaden Meulman, a student at Vine Hill Elementary, is excited to begin first grade and learn more about art and see his teachers again.

Gabby Giblin will be a fifth-grader at Baymonte Elementary. She can’t wait for school to make new friends and see her old friends.

Capella Yee will be a junior at Scotts Valley High School. She is happy to go back to school so she can get back to having a structured schedule for her day. She is also looking forward to the challenges of being a full International Baccalaureate student.


Robbie D’Amato is going into eighth grade at San Lorenzo Valley Middle School. He is looking forward to the end-of-the-year trip to the East Coast, meeting his new teachers and learning new things.


Rory McKee, a senior majoring in psychology at University of California, Santa Barbara, is excited to see all his friends again after a year abroad in Europe and to finish up his schooling.


FRIDAY, AUG. 21, 2009



Communication is key in move to new school By Margarita Baliyan Press-Banner

“Each child is different. ... You have to look at each individually to determine their readiness.”

This fall, hundreds of San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley students will step into a school new to them. No, they didn’t just move to the area — they are the incoming kindergartners and high school freshmen. The transitions from preschool to kindergarten and middle school to high school can be difficult without preparation. However, parents and teachers — and, later on, students themselves — can take a few steps to make the transition a lot more manageable.

— Jen Wilson Boulder Creek Elementary School kindergarten teacher

Starting kindergarten School teachers and counselors stress the importance of communication — between parents, children and teachers. “I think that one of the most important things to do is talking to your child’s preschool teacher,” said Jen Wilson, a kindergarten teacher who has worked at Boulder Creek Elementary School for more than 10 years. Wilson believes that the greatest thing any teacher can do is “instill and support a lifelong love of learning.” She says that children who

Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner

READY FOR CLASS: Scotts Valley High School students Galen Salguero (from left), Ali Bergman and Brooklynn Danels compare their schedules Tuesday, Aug. 18, during fall registration. While the juniors are old hands at the high school routine, freshmen just moving up from middle school can start off on the right foot by getting involved with extracurricular activities, sharpening time management skills and reading up on school policies.

are excited to be there, to be learning new things and making new friends, are ready for kindergarten. “Each child is different,” she

said, adding “you have to look at each individually to determine their readiness.” She recommends a visit to www.kindergartenreadiness.

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net for parents of soon-to-be kindergartners. Kahleen Edeal, the director of the Mount Hermon Play School, said that parents

should speak to their child’s preschool teacher and kindergarten teacher, as well as their child, to make sure he or she is ready for kindergarten. Edeal also emphasizes the importance of preschool. “The transition from preschool (to kindergarten) is much easier to handle if the child has been to preschool,” she said. Kindergartners now learn material that used to be taught in first grade. This is why making sure children can handle basic skills, such as sharing, talking to one another, sitting still and paying attention, is essential prior to a preschooler’s arrival in kindergarten. TRANSITIONS, CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

FRIDAY, AUG. 21, 2009





San Lorenzo Valley High School The high school welcomes a few new faces to campus this year after well-known teachers Dave Mercer, Dean Hamilton, John Harris and Joan Frey and instructional aide Rosie Vargas all retired over the summer. Tamara Smith will join the staff as ceramics teacher, and Alexis Callaway will instruct special education. Kerri Billings will split her time between activities director and dean of students The school is ready to launch its first Link Crew program, which draws on upperclassmen to help freshmen make the leap to high school. There was no new construction over the summer. The school is in the process of converting the old library to classrooms, while designs for the new library are going through the approval process.

NEVER SURRENDER: San Lorenzo Valley High School students Hailey Holm (left) and Hazel Chadwick thumb-wrestle for M&M’s, one of many team-building activities during the schools’ Associated Student Body training camp Aug. 12. SLV High will have its first Link Crew this year to help incoming freshmen adjust to high school. Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner

San Lorenzo Valley Middle School It was a merry-go-round in the SLV Middle School office this summer after administrative assistant Bonnie Morrison retired and former Principal Chris Schiermeyer left for Southern California. Jeff Calden was promoted to principal from vice principal, and former registrar Phyllis Shreve moved into Morrison’s spot. That started a chain reaction as Debbie Ladd was promoted to registrar from projects coordinator and Claire Hackett stepped up to split her time between dean of students and sixthgrade teacher. The school added four new math sections, two new language sections and a new language arts teacher, Matt McMillan. Rebecca Cress moved from Boulder Creek Elementary to teach math and science, and Nancy Swan will teach the special-education day class. Carly Wiencek, a language arts teacher, and Tamara Smith, who teaches ceramics, will both split time between the middle school and high school. SLV SCHOOLS, CONTINUED ON PAGE 21








FRIDAY, AUG. 21, 2009

FRIDAY, AUG. 21, 2009

SLV SCHOOLS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School The valley’s elementary school is celebrating its 60th year in 2009, and the office staff is collecting pictures and stories from early graduates to build a commemorative calendar. Longtime teacher Dorothy Herceg retired this summer. However, the school welcomes fourth-grade teacher Danielle Winters from Vine Hill Elementary in Scotts Valley and music teacher Paul Dias, who will split his time between San Lorenzo Valley and Boulder Creek Elementary.



The school is also constructing a two new classrooms and a science room, which Principal Michelle McKinney hopes will be completed by December. Enrollment is reported to be up by 20 students this year.

Boulder Creek Elementary School The 2009-10 enrollment is up at Boulder Creek Elementary, too, and the school welcomes three new teachers this year. Music teacher Paul Dias will spend time between Boulder Creek and San Lorenzo Valley Elementary, Meghan Muirhead will join the faculty roster as a fifth-grade teacher and Loni Egbert

SCOTTS VALLEY SCHOOLS Brook Knoll Elementary Brook Knoll underwent a host of changes this summer, including the removal of five portable buildings; creation of more playground space; repainting of the four-square and wall ball courts; and installation of a new life lab bench that is handicapped accessible. Longtime Brook Knoll teachers Helene Tick and Brita Holgers have retired, and Sarah Hannaleck is now part of the school’s staff. Enrollment has remained steady, with slightly fewer students than in previous years, giving Brook Knoll a good outlook for the coming year.

Vine Hill Elementary Students attending Vine Hill will see the results of plenty of work on campus, thanks to categorical funding set aside specifically for fixups at the school. Roofs were redone, eaves painted and new carpets installed in many staff areas, and the front of the school has been newly landscaped by a group of teachers, led by third-grade teacher Michele Sanguietti. Five portables were also removed from Vine Hill’s campus, leaving more open space that will be filled with blacktop and sand. Vine Hill gained a new speech teacher, Emily Somerville, along with three teachers from other schools. The number of incoming students is consistent with the previous year’s enrollment, leaving the school full at almost every grade level.

Scotts Valley Middle An academy program will launch at the middle school this year, as teachers share a group of students and increase the amount of smallgroup and one-on-one instruction. The middle school welcomes Regina Bowyer, a new part-time special education and exploratory teacher. Student enrollment is roughly the same, or perhaps a little higher, than last year, with many new incoming students.

Scotts Valley High The high school welcomes three new teachers, John Postovit, Bill Lovejoy and Shirley Hennig. Postovit will teach physics and higher math classes, while Lovejoy will teach a new Regional Occupation Program digital photography class and Hennig will assist with the school’s ROP criminal justice class. Enrollment remains about the same as last year. Students will see mild changes on campus, including a completed shade pavilion in the quad and walkways that are compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.  For more information about schools in the Scotts Valley Unified School District, visit www.svusd.santa

will teach fourth grade. Science teacher Tammy Osharow will step in as intervention coordinator.

San Lorenzo Valley Charter Schools SLV Charter Schools launched a new Web site, charter, and added a series of free online classes aimed at the homeschool population to enhance their online presence. Longtime teacher Penny Burton retired last summer, and White Oak High School added English teacher Becca Bing from SLV Middle School and math teacher Dennis Cavaille from the high school.

PRESS-BANNER. | 21 Kristen Manyrivers added a classroom-based home-school class, the Trillium Learning Collective, at the Fall Creek Homeschool Ludlow facility and will continue to teach a variety of other programs, as well. The charter school has partnered with Mountain Independent Studies in Aptos and is hosting a class in Aptos led by Maria Fahrner. Enrollment remains steady, and Principal Jay Dunlap expects to add students as they enroll in online courses.  For more information about schools in the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District, visit


FRIDAY, AUG. 21, 2009



Ease breakfast crunch with simple meals Press-Banner

School is almost here, and it’s time to start preparing for that daily morning rush. We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so to make your morning routine go a little more smoothly, we’ve compiled a few healthy and easy-to-make breakfast recipes. Enjoy!

‘Found’ omelet

“Students should know their school, know where things are and know the rules — spoken and unspoken.” — Barbara Cushing Scotts Valley High School counselor


Omelets are the perfect breakfast — they take little time to make and contain essential food groups, like proteins and veggies. For our “found” omelet, you can use the ingredients you already have in your fridge.  2 eggs  2 tablespoons butter  1 cup of washed and chopped assorted vegetables

(onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, or whatever)  Salt, pepper and paprika, to taste

French toast strips A hot, buttery treat is just the thing for a cool day.  1 egg  ¾ cup milk  1 teaspoon

vanilla extract  1 tablespoon

ground cinnamon

Directions: Butter a nonstick skillet and set on medium-high heat. Combine the vegetables and place them in the skillet, covering the skillet with a lid. Then, using a fork, beat the eggs in a small bowl. Next, add the salt, pepper and paprika and mix well. Pour the mixture into the skillet, covering the vegetables. Once the egg is set, flip to cook the other side. Cook two to four minutes or until the egg is completely firm and slightly browned. (Serves one; prep time 10 minutes.) Variations: To save time on rushed weekday mornings, consider pre-chopping vegetables on the weekend or at the beginning of the week. For a lower-calorie option, use only egg whites (but remember that you will need more egg whites than whole eggs to make a full omelet).

 1 pinch salt  2 to 3 tablespoons butter  2 slices bread

Directions: In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and beat lightly with a whisk. Cut the bread into thin strips and soak in the egg-andmilk mixture. Meanwhile, butter a skillet and place over medium-low heat. Place the bread slices in skillet and cook each side until slightly browned. You can sprinkle the toast with extra cinnamon and serve with sliced fruit, like strawberries and bananas.

Banana sandwich split A children’s favorite in less than five minutes — perfect for school days.  1 hot dog bun  3 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite

peanut butter  1 medium banana

Directions: Spread the peanut butter on the bun and insert the peeled banana. It’s that easy. Serve with a glass of milk. (Serves one; prep time five minutes or less.) Variations: Replace the bun with a slice of your favorite whole-grain bread folded in half around the banana. Or, for a nutty twist, try a different nut butter, such as almond or cashew.

Starting high shool Middle schoolers going into high school can have a more active role in preparing for and coping with the transition. “The first thing kids should do is get involved — join clubs, sports (teams), participate in school activities,” said Barbara Cushing, a counselor at Scotts Valley High School. Participating in extracurricular activities will broaden students’ circle of friends, which will nurture them and give them the support they need, Cushing said. She also emphasizes the importance of positive thinking. “If you do your very best and tell yourself, ‘I’m doing my best,’ that will be good enough,” Cushing said. Cushing wants students to set realistic goals but avoid perfectionism, as that leads to disappointment. She advises students to learn to manage their stress by managing and appropriating their time. “Study skills are essential (in high school),” Cushing said. “Learn about your teachers, (ask yourself) ‘what do they want most?’ and deliver.” She said students and their parents should also familiarize themselves with new regulations and policies, such as eligibility for extracurricular activities and truancy. “Students should know their school, know where things are and know the rules — spoken and unspoken,” Cushing said. She also emphasizes the importance of communication and encourages parents to talk to their children and teachers.  To comment, e-mail, call 438-2500 or post a comment at

FRIDAY, AUG. 21, 2009




Bonny Doon Elementary School New Superintendent-Principal Stephanie Siddens had a hectic start this year, as Tuesday, Aug. 18, marked the first day back in the office after the Lockheed Fire evacuations. Even in the wake of the blaze — 18 out of 25 staff members live in the evacuation area — the coming school year will start as planned, she said. “We held meetings outside of school last week to make sure everything was on track,” Siddens said. “The staff has been really great and welcoming during all of this.” Siddens steps in for Gail Levine, who retired this year amid health concerns. Budget cuts at Bonny Doon took the form of a trimmed music program and a 50 percent cut in special-education staff. Siddens said the cuts to special education are due to a decrease in special-education students. Total enrollment remains the same as last year, at 120 students.

Baymonte Christian School Baymonte has nearly its full staff returning for the new school year, along with some new after-school programs organized by science teacher Rachel Hofmann. The new science offerings include after-school classes ranging from a Lego robot team, a math club for fifththrough eighth-graders, science fair workshops and a rocketry team for seventh- and eighth-graders. The first teacher hired by Baymonte, Linda Cantrall, retired this summer. No major renovations took place this summer, but the preschool will get a new roof this year.

Cabrillo College The attempt to close California’s massive budget gap is hitting campuses all over the state with increased fees, dropped courses, reduced faculty, burgeoning class sizes and slashed enrollments — and Cabrillo College’s Scotts Valley branch is no exception. While no programs have been officially dropped, some of the generaleducation classes students need to transfer to a four-year university will not be offered this year due to the budget cuts. However, students will be able to finish general-education requirements for associate degrees, both A.A. and A.S., in two years, said Rachel Mayo, dean of education centers.

Tutoring is still available thanks to special funding, she added. Course enrollments are down more than 50 percent this year compared to last year, according to Cabrillo College’s enrollment tracker. Mayo said that because of the budget cuts, fewer classes are being offered, especially in the evening, and many classes that were previously offered every semester have been scaled back to every other semester or less often. Student fees were raised by the state Legislature from $20 per unit to $26. Mayo also said many of the most popular courses, such as dance, yoga, aerobics and other very full physical education classes, have been eliminated because they are not part of the general-education requirement. That decision is also a factor in the school’s lower overall enrollment numbers. Cabrillo’s Scotts Valley office is feeling the heat as well and will be staffed less consistently — so students will need to do most of their college business online or at the Aptos campus. Also, there is no longer an admissions and records position at the Scotts Valley location.

Bethany University In the wake of the June fire that destroyed Bethany’s food service structure, facilities have been relocated, with plans for a new building to be built in the near future. Students have experienced little interruption so far, said Debbie Murphy, executive assistant to the university’s president. “Bethany University is functioning normally — classes, sports and student life will be business as usual,” she said. This year, Bethany welcomes Joy Varnell as a new professor in the teacher education program. Varnell was the assistant professor of education at Chapman University College in Ontario before coming to Bethany, and she has spent more than 25 years in the classroom as a kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade teacher. The inauguration of Bethany’s new president, the Rev. Lewis Shelton, will begin at 11 a.m. Oct. 9 in the Redwood Auditorium on Bethany’s campus. Shelton became full-time president in January after serving as interim leader. Enrollment numbers will be similar to last year’s, according to Murphy. “Bethany is thankful that, despite the economy, many students will still be able to attend this year,” she said.


Back To School 2009  

A special Press-Banner section with news about local schools and stories and advertising to help readers get back into the school year.

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