Parent group to host Common Core forum

With the Common Core initiative generating questions and controversy, a group of parents are holding a forum to present balanced views both for and against the Common Core Standards.

Moderated by the Pacific Justice Institute, the forum will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, in the Perera Pavilion Room at the Pleasant Hill Community Center, 320 Civic Drive in Pleasant Hill.

By the summer of 2010, 46 states agreed to adopt the Common Core Standards Initiative. Fewer than four years later, the initiative is generating a great deal of controversy; at least 30 states now have legislation pending to repeal compliance. California school districts are currently tasked by the California Department of Education to fully implement the standards within the next school year, a move that promises extensive educational changes to the state's six million public schools, elementary through high school students. Register for seating at www.tinyurl.com/mvcs94z.

Mount Diablo photo contest for students

The second annual Scholastic Photo Contest invites students in grades K-12 in Contra Costa and Alameda counties to submit their original pictures of Mount Diablo.

Photos can be of one of the Diablo parks, listed on the contest website at www.SaveMountDiabloContest.com, that showcases why the student enjoys Mount Diablo's lands and think they should be protected.

Students will be eligible for prizes, including a $1,000 Apple gift card, publishing in Diablo Magazine and inclusion in a traveling photo exhibit.

All photographs must be submitted by April 30. Winners will be announced May 12.

The contest raises awareness about Save Mount Diablo's work and encourages students to visit their local natural parks, explained public relations manager Beryl Anderson.

"This contest is a great way for us to connect with students and for students to connect with the Diablo wilderness. After all, students are the future generations we are saving these lands for and who we hope will continue to save Mount Diablo."

Martinez school district issues Measure K bonds

The Martinez Unified School District has issued the remainder of its Measure K bonds.

The $20 million bond issuance has an overall borrowing rate of less than 3.4 percent. In addition, the payback ratio over the term of the bond is less than 1.5 to 1, below the state-sanctioned rate of 4 to 1, according to Superintendent Rami Muth.

The district secured the low interest rate, in part, due to an upgrade in the its credit rating to "AA," she noted. The proceeds of Measure K allow the district to:

  • Modernize classrooms and science labs.

  • Provide safety and security improvements at all school sites

  • Modernize career technical classrooms

  • Provide energy efficiency improvements, including photovoltaic systems and other school improvements.

    "The board of trustees and District Staff are mindful of the strong support that our community has given its schools," said Muth, "and we take very seriously our obligations as stewards of taxpayer funds."

    Host families needed for global students

    The International Education Center at Diablo Valley College is seeking families to host international students on a temporary basis. Long- or short- term placements are available and host families are paid a monthly stipend.

    All types of families are welcome including single adults with or without children. Families may also host multiple students, as long as they can provide appropriate accommodations.

    For information on becoming a host family, contact Fia Parker, housing director, at 925-876-0080 or fparker@dvc.edu.

    Items included on a space-available basis; not all submissions published. Email schoolscene@bayareanewsgroup.com or fax 925-943-8362.