A Press Democrat Blog

Extra Credit

Daily education news and conversation

Willowside for Middletown

(Click on the photo to enlarge!) Willowside Middle School sixth through eighth graders are coming through in a big way for Middletown students whose lives were upturned by the devastating Valley wildfire. Since the September fire, the Willowside students have been selling t-shirts emblazoned with what became the post-fire Middletown rallying cry: “Together We can Make a Difference,” and “Adversity Makes You Stronger.” The students — who are in the Oak Grove Union School District just west of Santa Rosa… Read More »

Making students cry

A Washington Post education writer’s column about a teacher who resigned because she was tired of “making students cry” due to the emphasis on testing. Thoughts?

Santa Rosa schools to pursue charter high school

The Santa Rosa City Schools board agreed a few hours ago to pursue the acquisition of a 7.5-acre West College Avenue property with the goal of locating a charter high school for career and technical education there. Although the board’s vote was only to do with the acquisition of the land — which was once home to the Sonoma County Water Agency — the directors and the language of the resolution made clear that the school is the ultimate goal.… Read More »

The Village School’s world

The Village School sixth-graders were clustered in a semi-circle in front of a large world map, deciding how they would cover the school’s upcoming Multicultural Festival, as reporters or photographers. Pins in the map showed where students and staff at the elementary school were from or could trace their roots to. There were a lot of pins: they were stuck in France, Germany, Mexico, Syria, Nepal, Ireland, Nigeria, Hungary, England, Ethiopia, Australia, Puerto Rico, Panama, Norway, Fiji — that was… Read More »

Accountability for 5th and 6th graders

Here’s the story I mentioned in the live chat earlier today about the restorative justice program that is just getting underway in 28 Sonoma County elementary schools. The program is called Somos Circles and is intended to intervene with 5th and 6th graders who are exhibiting behaviors that could lead them into further trouble and the juvenile justice system.

Stand up straight!


Here’s a fun and interesting story from CBS about a San Rafael school adopting standing desks for students. They’re all the rage in workplaces, what with sitting being the new smoking. And a few weeks ago I wrote a story about Healdsburg Junior High which as part of its total makeover changed nearly all its seating to chairs on wheels or that swivel or both. The idea is to allow kids a range of natural movement instead of forcing them… Read More »

Live chat Tuesday Oct 13 about student achievement gap

Really enjoyed the live chat (transcript below) about education, schools and the achievement gap this morning. Thank you for dropping in and taking part. We had about 40 people watching or participating. The subject will obviously continue to unfold and remain a hot one — and I’ll continue to focus on it this year. Please keep sending or calling me with your suggestions and input. We’ll have another chat in probably a couple of weeks. jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com and 707-521-5212 Feedback about… Read More »

Piner and SSU collaboration continues

Piner High School’s collaboration with Sonoma State University in STEM education continues apace, with several programs underway that join students from both institutions in mentoring and learning projects. The high school and university kicked off this year’s partnership Sept. 30 with a showcase of student projects and research held Piner’s SPARQ center. SPARQ is the school’s showcase Science Position Astronomy Research Query center. Lynn Stauffer, dean of SSU’s School of Science and Technology, singled out seven Piner students who are… Read More »

How proficient are SR students?

For the sake of conversation, I mapped Santa Rosa schools to look at their proficiency levels in English and math by location. The proficiency scores were recorded in the Smarter Balanced tests that replaced the old STAR tests. The results were released in September. While test scores are by no means the only means to judge student achievement — and many would argue they aren’t the best method either — they are an important indicator, and can forecast opportunity in… Read More »

Second graders hit the pads

The Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs football team was out at Proctor Terrace Elementary School today, running Ms. Leslie Gude-Dunbar’s second grade class through drills. It was part of an effort to get involved in the community that coaches are encouraging. And it was quite a sight.