Each Friday, we post a roundup of local education headlines. Here are the big stories from this week:
Canyon High School in the Orange Unified School District has earned top honors in this year’s Orange County Academic Decathlon – but they’re not the only local school that will advance to California Academic Decathlon.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is considering a new permit system that would effectively extend the amount of time substitute teachers can fill in for regular teachers out on medical leave.
A state mediator has been appointed to help settle a negotiations impasse between the Fullerton Joint Union High School District and the association that represents that district’s teachers.
A Dana Hills High student whose photo was omitted from the yearbook on the grounds that the keffiyeh worn on his head could be perceived as offensive is challenging that decision.
Noted neuroscientist and musician Charles Limb, who has extensively researched how the brain creates and responds to music, will be the featured speaker at next month’s seventh annual Creative Edge Lecture, which will be held at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
The 90-minute presentation, which starts at 10 a.m. on March 14, is also set to include musicians from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA. If your work involves education, business or the arts, this would be a good lecture to check out, and we’ve got the ticket information below.
Dr. Limb, who has degrees from both Harvard and Yale, is a professor and chief of otology/neurotology and skull base surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. He’s also an expert in music whose studies on how the brain works during musical improvisation led him to put jazz musicians and rappers through a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, or fMRI.
By sharing his latest findings, Dr. Limb will offer invaluable insight on how humans generate new ideas, why creativity is a crucial part of who we are, and why creative pursuits are critical to the advancement of the human race. It’s pretty fascinating research, and as such Dr. Limb has been featured by a number of prominent outlets including the New York Times, CNN and TED.
Sponsors for this year’s Creative Edge Lecture include the Orange County Department of Education, Boeing, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Phil and Mary Lyons, Haskell & White LLP, UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Susan K. Hori, Carl Neisser, Judith Posnikoff, Janet and James “Walkie” Ray, Kay Mortenson and the Orange County Community Foundation.
The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall is located at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Tickets are $25 if purchased before the early-bird deadline of Feb. 29 and $35 if purchased in March. The cost for students to attend is just $10.
To order tickets, visit www.SCFTA.org, or call 714-556-2787. For more information, contact Steve Venz, OCDE’s visual and performing arts coordinator, at 714-966-4128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Union Bank has opened an actual working branch on the campus of Loara High School in Anaheim. By all accounts, this represents a highly unique partnership that’s dispensing both lessons on financial literacy as well as bankable job training for Loara students.
We could probably deposit a few more bank puns into this post, but we think you should just check out the video, courtesy of our top-notch Media Services team.
Is there something cool happening at your school that you’d like to see featured on the OCDE Newsroom? Drop us an email at email@example.com.
Kirstie Suarez’s family moved several times when she was in high school, bouncing between California, North Carolina and Florida before Suarez took her final classes at Saddleback High School in Santa Ana.
Somewhere along the way, she fell two classes short of graduating.
Five years later, Suarez has made up that ground, and rather quickly, thanks to the College and Career Preparatory Academy, a brand new charter school approved by the Orange County Board of Education to assist young adults in need of a diploma or a path to higher learning.
“I work fulltime, so I don’t have a lot of time to be taking extra classes,” said Suarez, 23. “I walked in that first day and they immediately gave me assignments.”
Administered by the Orange County Department of Education, the College and Career Preparatory Academy represents a first of its kind for the county. It’s designed to fill gaps in services currently available to young men and women who are 18 to 25 years old and have aged out of the school system but still need to complete their graduation requirements.
Data shows more than 100,000 match this profile in Orange County alone. Despite an 85.3 percent graduation rate, more than 4,000 local students leave high school each year without their diplomas.
The College and Career Preparatory Academy offers them a way back, providing much needed flexibility to pursue lost credits at no cost. But it isn’t just about finishing high school. The academy also prepares students for college and career success, says Director Byron Fairchild.
“This program supports re-engagement in learning and workforce preparation,” Fairchild says. “It’s about expanding options within our county and strengthening the bridge connecting K-12 education, adult education and higher education to prepare students for productive workforce and career opportunities.”
The College and Career Preparatory Academy began operations in the fall, welcoming its first students on Sept. 9 from a single storefront building in Santa Ana. Word of mouth has since swelled enrollment to about 100 with two additional sites — one in Anaheim and a second Santa Ana location — but school leaders have much bigger ambitions. Additional locations are planned for the west, central and south regions of the county, and Fairchild says the school is capable of serving up to 1,200 students.
Teacher Dinah Ismail has been with the academy from the beginning. She says what’s most unique about the program is that it’s highly customizable to fit the busy lives of its students.
“These are often full-time parents, students who work full time, students who work graveyard shifts, so the flexibility of this program is something they’re very grateful for,” she said.
Most who enroll study at home with the help of an online learning tool called GradPoint, a product offered by Pearson Education. They then visit the academy for an hour or more a week for additional support and tutelage. Those who don’t have a computer can work from textbooks, and some have the option of checking out a laptop. Ismail said mobile hotspots will soon be added to the menu of available technologies for students without reliable Internet connections.
Suarez, who works full time for a local public agency, said she was able to complete two courses in about a month.
“The flexibility, that was my main concern,” she said. “I was able to take classes online after work and during lunch. I was very focused.”
Ismail says it’s all about customizing instruction to meet the needs of each student. If that means talking over the phone or exchanging text messages to explain specific lessons, so be it.
“It’s amazing. I’ve been in education in one way or another for 20 years, teaching for 13, but this is my favorite assignment because my students are at such a pivotal and awesome age in their lives,” Ismail said. “They’re coming back and figuring out what they want to do with their careers and their lives and their educational paths. I feel very lucky to be a part of that process and to help navigate that path with them.”
Data would indicate students who go back to get their diplomas are making a very wise decision. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average high school dropout earns $20,241 dollars annually, or $10,386 less than a high school graduate. (That’s about $36,424 less than a college graduate per year.) Fairchild and his team are acutely aware of these numbers.
“This charter is unique to our county in specifically targeting this out-of-school youth population in an attempt to reduce the number of young adults without a high school diploma,” Fairchild said. “The pairing of education, job readiness and workforce preparation is the key combination to motivate and guide students through the process of earning a high school diploma and pursuing a college and career pathway.”
The doors are open. Now it’s just about getting the word out.
“A lot of the students are telling their friends, neighbors and family because they know other people who are in similar situations,” Ismail said. “There are probably a lot of other students in the county who could benefit from this but don’t know about it.”
For more information about the College and Career Preparatory Academy, including enrollment options, call Sandra Quintanilla at 714-245-6417.
As we’ve mentioned here before, education offers more than its share of buzzwords, acronyms and jargon, but some are definitely worth getting to know a little better.
MTSS is one.
The initials stand for Multi-Tiered System of Supports, and it’s essentially a comprehensive framework that a number of schools are using to address each student’s academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs.
Because MTSS is becoming so prevalent on campuses across Orange County, we enlisted our Media Services team and experts from OCDE to produce the brief explainer video above.
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.
The 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.