OCDE in 30 Seconds: A brief look at the ‘Move More Eat Healthy’ program

Once again, we’re challenging staff members to explain Orange County Department of Education programs or services in under half a minute.

For our latest installment of “OCDE in 30 Seconds,” we caught up with Program Coordinator Chris Corliss to talk about the “Move More Eat Healthy” initiative. Take a look.

If you want to learn more about the program, check out this story from the OCDE Newsroom or visit this webpage.

Is there an OCDE program or service you’d like to see explained in 30 seconds? Send us a request at communications@ocde.us.

Youth from OCDE’s Friday Night Live program host town hall meeting on underage drinking

Student leaders from the Santiago de Compostela Church Youth Ministry’s Friday Night Live chapter are getting ready to host a special town hall meeting on Saturday, Feb. 6 to discuss the dangers of underage drinking, as well as potential preventative measures.

OC FNLWorking in collaboration with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the state Office of Traffic Safety and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the FNL members have taken the lead on planning and preparing for the meeting, which will feature prevention professionals and youth panelists speaking to an audience of parents and students.

The event is set to take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Santiago de Compostela Catholic Church, located at 21682 Lake Forest Drive in Lake Forest.

Friday Night Live is a high school youth development program that’s part of OCDE’s Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership. Students who participate focus on alcohol and drug prevention with the goal of promoting lasting change in their schools and communities.

Underage drinking remains a pressing public health concern that continues to take a toll on young people, as well as their families and communities. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, alcohol annually is responsible for the deaths of more than 4,300 underage youth.

Saturday’s town hall meeting aligns with a national SAMHSA-supported initiative called “Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking.” For more information, visit http://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/townhallmeet or contact OCDE Program Specialist Elke Petras at epetras@ocde.us.

In the news: Career pathway programs on the rise, a bankable opportunity in Anaheim and more

It’s that time again. Here’s a week’s worth of local education stories you might have missed.

  • California’s teacher shortage is likely to worsen, according to a new report that calls for “purposeful steps” to reverse the trend.
  • In the NewsThe integration of hands-on career technical training with standards-based academics is becoming increasingly prevalent in California’s high schools thanks to a sizable investment by the state in programs like Orange County’s own OC Pathways.
  • The Orange Unified School District has conducted a feasibility study to determine whether a bond measure to replace aging facilities can win voter approval.

In the news: Project Zero Waste honored, kindergarten vaccination rates rise and more

We’ve made it to another Friday, and that means it’s time for our weekly recap of recent education stories.

OCDE teams with community partners to open a new Fit Kid Center in Santa Ana

This week, Lydia Romero-Cruz Elementary School in Santa Ana became the latest Orange County campus to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its brand new Fit Kid Center.

FitKidAs we’ve previously reported here, Fit Kid Centers transform empty classrooms into engaging health and fitness rooms that can be used similar to computer labs. Each offers 30 minutes of fun, DVD-based exercise sessions, rotating small groups of students through a half-dozen self-directed stations that hone motor skills and promote overall fitness.

The center at Romero-Cruz was made possible by OCDE’s Move More Eat Healthy At School initiative with funding from the multi-agency Orange County Partnership to Improve Community Health, which in turn secured a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Santa Ana Unified Superintendent Rick Miller took part in the opening ceremony, which also featured Principal Erica Graves and dozens of students. You can check out some of the action in the video below, courtesy of the Santa Ana Unified School District’s Media Production team.

OCDE has now helped install approximately 20 Fit Kid Centers throughout the county and distributed more than 1,500 classroom Fit Kits, which can be used by elementary school teachers to facilitate quality P.E. lessons with little to no prep time.

Here’s a look at California’s new education laws for 2016

capitol.jpegA new year is upon us, and that means a raft of new state laws has gone into effect. Here at the OCDE Newsroom, we’ve been specifically tracking a handful of educational bills expected to have an impact on Orange County students and schools. Here’s a quick roundup of what’s changed as we enter 2016.


Over the summer, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 277, which states that parents of students who attend public or private schools can no longer refuse to vaccinate their children based on a personal belief exemption. Though the law technically took effect Jan. 1, the 2015-16 year isn’t affected, so the real impact will be seen in the fall.

High School Exit Exam

Another new law officially suspends the California High School Exit Exam and calls for school districts to grant diplomas to students who didn’t pass the test but met all other graduation requirements, dating all the way back to the 2003-04 school year. Eligible students are advised to contact the school districts, county offices or charter schools where they completed grade 12.


Good news for cheerleading enthusiasts. Assembly Bill 949, signed by the governor in October, reclassified cheerleading as a competitive CIF sport, starting in 2017-18. In the meantime, CIF officials are tasked with creating new rules, guidelines and safety protocols.

Health education

Assembly Bill 329 makes comprehensive sexual health education mandatory in middle or high school unless parents specifically opt out. It also updates the curriculum to include HIV and AIDS prevention information.

A separate law, Senate Bill 695, makes it a graduation requirement for students to complete a course in health education that includes instruction in sexual harassment and violence.

Two Orange County schools win National Red Ribbon Photo Contest

The National Family Partnership has announced the winners of the 2015 National Red Ribbon Photo Contest, and two schools are from Orange County — Brea Country Hills Elementary School in the Brea-Olinda Unified School District and Charles G. Emery Elementary School in the Buena Park School District.

The contest encouraged students to decorate their homes and schools using this year’s theme, “Respect Yourself. Be Drug Free.” The winning schools will receive $1,000 to be used toward drug prevention education.

image1When a flyer came home from her children’s school announcing the Red Ribbon competition, Dr. Josie Nuno-Oliva decided her family would enter the contest on behalf of the school.

“I felt it was one small thing we could do as a family to make a difference,” said Dr. Nuno-Oliva.

A photo of a large red ribbon hung from the second story balcony of their house helped Brea Country Hills Elementary School win in the home decoration category.

“We are thrilled to have won the $1,000 Red Ribbon prize,” said Brea Country Hills Elementary School Principal Trish Walsh. “I am extremely excited and proud of our school and community. It reiterated how much people care about our school and our kids.”

RRW PhotoIt was the photo of sixth-grade students from teacher Jennifer Ferrara’s class lying on the grass to spell “RESPECT” that led to a win in the school category for Emery Elementary School.

“I loved to see our students’ excitement and enthusiasm about getting involved in something so positive,” said Ferrara, a 2011 Buena Park School District Teacher of the Year. “I think it’s important to get the word out to the kids at a young age so they can understand the consequences and lifelong effects using drugs can have.”

Nuno-OIiva and Ferrara will each receive an iPad for entering the contest on behalf of their schools.

Neither school is sure how the $1,000 will be used yet, but Principal Walsh said they are looking into assemblies and materials that will help aid in the quest to empower students to make healthy choices in their lives, and Ferrara hopes to purchase something that will remind the students of their efforts and supplies for next year’s Red Ribbon Week activities.