Gateway kindergartners study bats
Kindergartners at Gateway School recently are wrapping up their studies on bats.
This week, they met three different species of bats thanks to a visiting representative from the Bat Conservancy of Coastal California.
In recent weeks, they've done drawings of owls and coyotes on loan from the SC Museum of Natural History, dissected owl pellets, learned about bats and studied the physical properties of light.
Come Thursday, their parents will join them for the annual Starlight Sing celebration, at which they will take a night walk in Lighthouse Field State Park and perhaps catch a glimpse of the creatures they've been studying.
Soquel High teacher honored
Fourteen teachers from Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties were honored Wednesday by the The California League of High Schools, Region 5, during a program that highlighted the nominees for Educator of the Year.
While he didn't win the coveted title, Lief "Hal" Rovick, a cabinetry/construction teacher and Lead teacher for the gMEC Academy at Soquel High School, was recognized by the league, along with a legislative proclamation from Sam Farr noting his accomplishment.
Semester of community activism projects ends at Monarch
Monarch Community School students recently developed and gave a presentation of their semester of community activism projects.
Their projects included, collecting socks and winter coats for the homeless, organizing neighborhood and beach cleanups, a food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank, and a bake sale to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Also, while one student made catnip mice for the animal shelter, others wrote persuasive letters to elected officials about things such as weighing in with the Santa Cruz City Council about the design of a new playground, as well as urging the United States Fish and Wildlife service to do more to protect sea otters.
Monarch is an alternative, public elementary school within Santa Cruz City Schools.
Foundation names new executive director
The Santa Cruz Education Foundation has a new executive director in Suz Howells.
The foundation is a community organization that promotes excellence in Santa Cruz City Schools through fundraising and by developing, enhancing and advocating for programs that provide opportunities for all students to realize their full potential.
Prior to her new post, Howells served as president of the organization's board since June 2009.
Before joining the foundation, Howells led product management and marketing teams at E-mu Systems, Digidesign and Universal Audio. The graduate of UCSC lives with her husband in Santa Cruz. The pair are parents of two products of Santa Cruz City Schools.
Bill Maxfield, the foundation board's former vice president, is now board president.
As executive director, Howells is committed to helping strengthen the foundation's investment in education, she said.
Learn more about the foundation and its programs at www.sceducation.org.
Students pay visit to San Jose State
About 70 San Lorenzo Valley High School sophomores recently toured San Jose State University.
The field trip included a presentation from most of the San Jose State journalism department and a tour of its television broadcasting studio and newspaper room. The trip provided students with an idea of the experiences and opportunities available to them in the near future.
The presentation was organized by John Delacruz, an SLVHS parent and journalism professor at SJSU.
Students learn about robotics
Middle school students spent a Saturday learning about robotics and engineering during a workshop taught at Learn to Discover, a local nonprofit educational organization.
Students also learned about programming skills and related vocabulary while using LEGO NXT robotics kits to build a tribot in teams of two.
After the tribots were built, the machines were put to the test in sumo wrestling style matchups of trying to push opponents out of the ring.
The workshop also helped students explore related robotic careers and ways robots are used in the real world, such as medical, manufacturing, research, education, space and the military.
For information about the organization, go to http://learntodiscover.org/.
Twin Lakes bicycle drive a success
Third-graders at Twin Lakes Christian School spent five weeks doing chores at home and in their neighborhoods to raise money to buy a bicycle for the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program.
When all was said and done, they raised $500, enough to buy six bikes.
Recently, they spent an afternoon with volunteer "bike experts" assembling the bikes. They were so proud as they placed the Angel Tree Salvation Army tags on the handlebars and rolled them under the Christmas Trees.
Students raise money for baby bobcat
Students at Rolling Hills Middle School, at 130 Herman Ave., recently donated more than $380 to the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center, which is caring for two bobcats that are suffering from life threatening injuries.
The school, whose mascot is a bobcat, held a coin drive to raise the money specifically to care for Chips, the bobcat found injured in the Chips Fire that burned in Northern California earlier this year.
Learn more about free Early Head Start program
Low income families are invited to learn more about the Early Head Start program, a free family-focused, preschool program for qualifying families.
The program serves children from birth to five years of age, including children with special needs.
Its free educational services prepare children for kindergarten, as well as offer child and family literacy, health and nutrition services, parent involvement, and social services for children and families.
For information, call 688-3802.
'Open School' nights coming
Cypress High School's "Open School" nights will be Jan. 23 and Feb. 20.
The events allow potential students to tour campus, meet staff, and become better informed on the 10-year-old school, at 2039 Merrill St.
The events are open to the public. For information, call 477-0302.
Application, assessment vouchers available
A limited number of assessment vouchers are available to students submitting an application for enrollment.
The vouchers, for grades K-8, are good through Feb. 15, 2013.
The average fee for an assessment is $75.
For information, contact Diane McCarthy, director of admissions, at 427-2641 or email@example.com.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Host families sought for exchange students
Two Italian high school students coming to the Santa Cruz area for the 2013 Spring semester are excited to become part of an American family and experience high school life. International Student Services Santa Cruz is seeking homes for them.
Both boys are 17 years old and have younger siblings. One of the boys plays soccer, is a youth soccer trainer, skis, studies four languages and wants to be a journalist. The other likes basketball, volleyball, music, math and swimming in the ocean.
For information, call 335-3088, 419-9633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To submit an item for Education Digest, email email@example.com. The deadline for Sunday's paper is noon Wednesday. If you would like to attach a photo for consideration, please include a caption and a photo credit. Questions, call education team leader Donald Fukui at 706-3252.