A Press Democrat Blog

Extra Credit

Daily education news and conversation

Mendocino County teacher wins top teaching honor at state science fair

An Anderson Valley High School teacher took a top honor at the state science fair this week. Math and music teacher James Snyder was been named California State Science Fair Teacher of the Year during ceremonies that took place in Los Angeles at the California State Science Fair. One of his students participating in the fair nominated him for the award. He was chosen for his ability to motivate students, encourage science fair participation, commitment to science education and guide… Read More »

Kenilworth teacher Laura Bradley gets national honor for innovation

Kenilworth Junior High teacher Laura Bradley, who brought National Novel Writing Month to the classroom and rebooted the school’s morning news program, was just named the winner of a national innovation award. Bradley was one of ten teachers around the country to win a first place Innovation Nation Teacher Innovator Award from The Henry Ford and Litton Entertainment, meant to recognize educators who are “using the classroom to inspire innovation, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking among their students.” The Henry… Read More »

Workshops to provide Sonoma County students FAFSA, Dream Act help

Students planning to attend college during the 2015-16 school year can get free, professional help completing their FAFSAs, or applications for federal student aid, at a series of workshops to be held in January. Professionals will also be on hand to help students apply for the California Dream Act, which  allows undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain provisions to apply for and receive private scholarships funded through public universities, state financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants.​… Read More »

Windsor ensemble plays holiday jazz to support school music program

The Windsor Jazz Ensemble will be performing a holiday concert at Biella Elementary in Santa Rosa Thursday night in an effort to raise money for the school’s music program. The school has struggled to keep its music program alive through years of lean funding, said fourth-grade teacher and Jazz Ensemble member David Brandt. Currently, they have a music teacher at the school twice a week. The 14-piece big band will be performing “a jazzy mix of holiday songs” Thursday starting… Read More »

Time for Kindergarten registration in Cotati-Rohnert Park

It’s almost time for Kindergarten registration in the Cotati-Rohnert Park  Unified School District. Registration for the 2015-16 school year will begin  Jan. 7.  There will be a Kindergarten Fair Jan. 14 where parents can get more information. It will take place at Technology Middle School from 6 to 7 p.m. Parents can pick up registration packets from the school of their choice. The deadline for submitting completed packets is March 27. At the time of enrollment, parents must provide a… Read More »

Interview with an 8th-grade novelist for NaNoWriMo

   ” He stumbled around, trying and failing to find Brooke. Trapped in a prison of grey, he tripped on a rock jutting out from the sidewalk and crashed to the concrete. Brooke flicked her hand, and the fog solidified into a blanket of ice, sealing the hired muscle inside.” Intrigued? So was I. Want to know what happens next? You’ll have to wait until the end of November, when the novel from which this paragraph was excerpted is complete.… Read More »

Healdsburg High School career program wins state award

Healdsburg High School is receiving the prestigious Golden Bell award from the California School Boards Association in recognition of its Academic Internship Program. The program, in its fourth year, connects students about 150 students with 80 local businesses, were they work witha  mentor for six days on a project using the students’ skills and interests. Projects have included designing a website and  creating a social media presence for a local restaurant, creating a Healdsburg bicycle guide and building a computer… Read More »

John Jordan Foundation awards $29,000 in grants to local schools

Eighty-one schools throughout the county received grants of up to $300 this month from the John Jordan Foundation’s Teacher’s Wishes program. In total, the foundation handed out about $29,000 to fund projects ranging the creation of a rainwater catchment system at a Sebastopol school to a family game night at Santa Rosa’s James Monroe Elementary. The grants will impact about 10,000 students across 28 districts, estimated Lisa Wittke Schaffner, executive director of the foundation.  They’ll help fund  in-classroom libraries, supplemental reading… Read More »

St. Vincent students team up to thank veterans

First- and eighth-grade students at St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School in Petaluma teamed up this Veterans Day to make thank you cards for local vets. They crafted the cards, decorated with American flags, through a partnership called People Engaged in Acts of Kindness, or PALS. Each first-grade student gets an eighth-grade PAL for the school year, and classes meet monthly to do an activity together. This month, they made cards that focused on veterans’ service and dedication to the… Read More »

Seeking college t-shirts to inspire elementary students

Helen Lehman Elementary School Principal Alisa Haley has a mission: Collect a college t-shirt for each of her 530 students to wear. The idea is to help kids believe they can go to college, she said. Most students at Helen Lehman would be the first in their family to go to a university, she added. She was inspired by The College Tee Project, started by Santa Rosa City Schools Board Member Jenni Klose. “We should start talking to students in elementary school… Read More »