• August 2021

    Grade Bump

    Need a Grade Bump? California Law Allows Students to Improve Grades after Disrupted Learning Last Year By Susan Tatsui-D’Arcy Finally, we’re facing the fact that students fell behind with all of the disruptions caused by the pandemic last year. In California, K-12 students have several ways to make up for the lost learning. 1. Repeat the Grade For students who didn’t pass at least half of their classes. 2. Replace Bad Grades with Pass/Fail For high school students only. California State Universities will accept these Pass/Fail grades. The University of California and private schools are encouraged to do the same. 3. Take a 5th Year For 11th and 12th grade…

  • June 2021

    Behind the Scenes

    Behind the Scenes: Santa Cruz County Office of Education Inside Education, May 2021 By Suki Wessling The final Inside Education meeting of the year featured three organizations that help kids and young adults get out and about in our community. The Department of Rehabilitation Student Services aims to help students with all types of disabilities transition from their education toward independence, employment, and a successful life. The DOR helps train students to be successful on the job and to have the tools and resources to live independently. Students 16-21 who have an IEP, 504 plan, or a disability can take part in their program, which matches students with a counselor…

  • May 2021

    Inside Ed April

    Inside Education April 2021 Moving Forward into Santa Cruz’s Educational Future BY suki wessling This month’s Inside Education took place days after the verdict from the Derek Chauvin trial was announced, and County Superintendent of Schools Faris Sabbah highlighted how that event mirrors the change that is taking place in our local schools. “The idea that we can claim that schools are apolitical is getting smaller and smaller,” Sabbah explained. “There is a great opportunity for us to reimagine our schools. It ties into our ability to uplift student voice and address inequity.” Santa Cruz County has received $100 million in one-time pandemic-related funding, and Sabbah says that the COE…

  • April 2021

    Inside Ed April 2021

    Cooking and Racial Justice Are you a community member who would be interested in getting an in-depth look at our local education system? Contact Les Forster at [email protected] to join Inside Education’s next round. Every year, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education welcomes a diverse group of locals—businesspeople, educators, government employees—to come together monthly and learn about education in Santa Cruz County. The program serves as a bridge between public education and the wider community, promoting understanding and connections to benefit both sides. This month’s Inside Education started with an important subject for parents to hear: the hot topic of “learning loss.” Debi Bodenheimer, Associate Superintendent of the County…

  • February 2021

    School Safety During Covid

    Face to Face: The Follow Up School Safety During Covid-19 by Jeanette Prather Demonstrating an admirable resilience in the face of a pandemic, students have adapted and adjusted to the times, and teachers have shown that their valiant efforts and unwavering passion can and will educate children across many platforms and over a variety of wavelengths. As local schools make a slow crawl aAs local schools make a slow crawl away from what was undoubtedly the strangest school year in modern history, they’re looking onward while trying to keep it together, safe, and “normal” for the kids.“Based on our experience with distance learning in the spring, there was little question…

  • November 2020

    Distance Learning

    Distance Learning What Students are Saying by nick morris Schools remain nearly empty as class continues virtually. Let us not waste the experiences from last spring and instead use them to learn how to improve the quality of distance learning this year. As part of a project to record this moment in history I have had the privilege of interviewing graduates of Santa Cruz High’s class of 2020 and listening to what they have to say about distance learning. Three themes that ran through every conversation include communication, structure, and flexibility. Communication Communication provides the foundation for learning both academically and in the social-emotional sense. Teachers’ communication with students should…

  • November 2020

    Fighting an Invisible Invader

    How the Office of Education Fights an Invisible Invader By Suki Wessling Jennifer Buesing is a mom who really hopes that her two kids can go back to school soon. She’s also one of the people in charge of deciding when that will happen. “Things always seem easier on paper,” admits Buesing, Director of School Safety for Santa Cruz County Office of Education (COE). “You think you have a great plan, but until you actually go to the school and you walk through your day, then we realize that we have some pieces to work out.” Until March of this year, Buesing had a very different job. “All of the…

  • November 2020

    Inside Ed November

    Inside Education Monthly This month two teachers of young children presented about the joys and challenges of teaching online courses for our youngest TK-12 students. Alicia Romero teaches in Live Oak’s dual immersion Spanish/English program, which is a new program this year. It’s quite a challenge, she says, not only to teach the youngest children but to try to develop a new program at the same time. Her students are online for 180 minutes a day, and she is focused on trying to make second language acquisition fun and interactive. Kelly Liebenthal teaches transitional kindergarten for the youngest set at Santa Cruz Gardens. She points out that the adults are…

  • October 2020

    Inside Education Monthly

    Inside Education Monthly BY suki wessling Every year, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education welcomes a diverse group of locals—businesspeople, educators, government employees—to come together monthly and learn about education in Santa Cruz County. The program serves as a bridge between public education and the wider community, promoting understanding and connections to benefit both sides. Like our local schools, this year Inside Education has gone virtual. This year’s participants represent a wide variety of business and public sectors, including the public library, for-profit family-focused businesses (including two representatives from Growing Up), local museums, Cabrillo College, and social services. Inside Education explores the whole child from an educational perspective, with…