Sonoma County Office of Education

News & Announcements

Press releases issued by the Sonoma County Office of Education and other news items related to Sonoma County schools are included here. Do you have questions about a story on this page or are you a member of the media seeking information for an article? Please contact Communications Director Eric Wittmershaus at communications@scoe.org or call 707-524-2620.

A Back-to-School Message from the Sonoma County Office of Education and Sonoma County Public Health

08/12/2022 -

We are excited to see students once again for the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. About half of our public school students returned to campus on Wednesday and Thursday, and most of the rest will return next week.

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Un mensaje de regreso a clases de la Oficina de Educación y Salud Pública del Condado de Sonoma

08/12/2022 -

Estamos emocionados de ver a los estudiantes una vez más para el comienzo del año escolar 2022-23. Aproximadamente la mitad de nuestros estudiantes de escuelas públicas regresaron al campus el miércoles y jueves, y la mayoría de los demás regresará la próxima semana.

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Community Reminder: These Vaccines are Required to Attend School

08/08/2022 -

California state law requires several vaccinations for students entering transitional kindergarten or kindergarten, or entering public or private schools for the first time, and students may have fallen behind on immunizations during the pandemic.

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Sonoma County Office of Education, County of Sonoma Public Health to hold Back-to-School Webinar

08/08/2022 -

The Sonoma County Office of Education and the Sonoma County Department of Health Services invite the public to join a live-streamed webinar Wednesday afternoon to address community questions about COVID-19 and other public health issues as students head back to school.

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Schools to Distribute COVID Test Kits to Every Student, Staff Member

08/01/2022 -

The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) plans to distribute this week enough COVID-19 antigen test kits to ensure every student and staff member at public, private, and charter schools can test before the first day of school.

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Information session for school board candidates

06/28/2022 -

Community members who are interested in running for school board are invited to an informative meeting on the roles and responsibilities featuring a panel of Sonoma County school board members. The information session will be held on Tuesday, July 12 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm in the Sonoma County Office of Education’s Teacher Learning Center, 5340 Skylane Blvd., Santa Rosa, 95403.

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Piner-Olivet District Recognized for Creativity During Distance Learning

06/15/2022 -

The Piner-Olivet Union School District recently was recognized as a recipient of the California Department of Education’s prestigious California Pivotal Practice Award Program for its approach to technology during the pandemic.

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Teacher of the Month: Vanessa Costello

06/14/2022 -

Vanessa Costello, a fourth grade teacher at McDowell Elementary School in Petaluma, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for May 2022.

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County Superintendent of Schools Race Likely Headed to Runoff

06/08/2022 -

Although thousands of mail-in votes have yet to be counted, the race for Sonoma County superintendent of schools is on track for a runoff election between top vote-getters Amie Carter, Ed. D., and Brad Coscarelli on Nov. 8.

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How to Help People Affected by the Uvalde, Texas, School Shooting

05/27/2022 - Following May 24’s deadly mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, the community is in need of financial aid for victims’ families and other support for school families, staff, and the wider community.

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Resources for School Families, Teachers and Administrators Following Uvalde, Texas, Shooting

05/25/2022 - In the aftermath of such a tragedy, children will inevitably have fears and questions that they look to adults to address. Parents, teachers, and school administrators may find these resources helpful.

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Statement from Superintendent Herrington on Elementary School Shooting in Uvalde, Texas

05/24/2022 - My heart goes out to the families and school employees whose lives have been upended by these latest chapters in our long national story of gun violence.

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2022 Spelling Bee Results: Two elementary school students named top spellers in county

05/23/2022 - Seventy-four students competed in the 2022 Sonoma County Elementary ‘Virtual’ Spelling Competition hosted by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE). This annual event brings the county’s best fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade spellers together in a competition designed to promote and acknowledge exemplary student achievement.

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Teacher of the Month: Mike Roan

05/20/2022 -

Mike Roan, the athletic director and leadership instructor at West County High School in Sebastopol, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for April 2022.

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New Director to Lead Sonoma County Special Education Agencies

05/10/2022 - The Sonoma County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) and the Sonoma County Charter SELPA are proud to announce the hiring of Elizabeth Engelken as the new Executive Director of the two agencies. Engelken will oversee the agencies’ efforts to provide targeted technical assistance, facilitate collaborative decision-making, and connect families with charter schools and districts to support students with disabilities, their families, and the staff who serve them.

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Poster Campaign Recognizes Sonoma County Educators

05/06/2022 -

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6, Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) is in the midst of a communitywide campaign to showcase some of the exemplary educators helping public school students navigate a third school year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign is sponsored by a number of community partners, including Community First Credit Union, Community Foundation Sonoma County, Exchange Bank, Redwood Empire School Insurance Group, Redwood Credit Union, Santa Rosa Junior College, and School & College Legal Services.

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Candidates for County Superintendent of Schools Outline Priorities at SCOE Forum

04/29/2022 -

The candidates for Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools staked out their priorities and philosophies for an audience of Sonoma County Office of Education employees and partner agencies at a recent candidates forum. Click here for links to video of the forum, as well as four other April campaign events.

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Teacher of the Month: Cassandra McMillen

04/26/2022 -

Cassandra “Cassie” McMillen, a physical education teacher at Technology High in Rohnert Park, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for March 2022.

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Student Robotics Challenge Returns as In-Person Event on April 30

04/22/2022 -

Students from fourth through eighth grades will be able to test their creations at SCOE's first in-person robotics challenge since 2019.

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Celebrating Classified School Employees

04/22/2022 - Classified school employee award finalist Jose Tlatilpa, second from right, poses for a pictureThe Sonoma County finalists for the statewide Classified School Employee of the Year (CSEY) program were announced April 21 at a celebration held at the Sonoma County Office of Education. These dedicated school employees were nominated by their districts for the important roles they play in creating and maintaining positive school environments for the students of Sonoma County.

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A message about COVID-19 vaccines for the 2022-23 school year

04/15/2022 -

A message for school families about COVID-19 vaccines for the 2022-23 school year from Dr. Steven D. Herrington, Sonoma County superintendent of schools

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Teacher of the Month: Travis Robbins

03/30/2022 -

Travis Robbins, middle school teacher at Village Charter School in Santa Rosa, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for February 2022.

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Superintendent Herrington to Testify in Support of Assembly Bills on Disasters, Mental Health

03/22/2022 -

Dr. Steven D. Herrington will testify, Wednesday, March 23, in support of bills that would fund school disaster preparedness and require county offices of education to develop mental health crisis plans for responding to traumatic events.

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Unprecedented community survey response highlights needs of schools, students

03/08/2022 - Sonoma County educational leaders and partners in the nonprofit world are digging into an unprecedented amount of feedback on how our schools are meeting the needs of students, staff, and parents and guardians.

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CA mask mandate for schools expires end of the day on March 11

02/28/2022 - Governor Newsom today announced the lifting of the state’s mask mandate for public and private schools, as well as childcare centers, to take effect at the end of day on Friday, March 11. Children and school staff, regardless of vaccination status, will no longer be required to wear masks at school starting Monday, March 14.

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Record participation in YouthTruth surveys of students, staff, parents and guardians

02/25/2022 - Overall, nearly 61,000 people took the surveys, which covered a broad array of topics including engagement, relationships, culture, belonging, college and career readiness and mental health.

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Transition Fair on March 2 will aid students with disabilities

02/24/2022 - The 14th annual Transition Fair on March 2 will provide resources to students with disabilities in middle school, high school and post-secondary programs and their families.

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Teacher of the Month: Sarah Peterson

02/22/2022 -

Sarah Peterson, a fifth-grade teacher at Sequoia Elementary School in Rincon Valley Union School District, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for January 2022.

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Clarification allows up to 50 spectators at indoor school events

01/27/2022 - Beginning Thursday, January 27, indoor school events, including sports and artistic performances, can have up to 50 spectators. Masking requirements, including that spectators, staff, media and participants who are not actively exerting themselves or using their mouth to play an instrument, must remain in effect.

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Large COVID-19 vaccination clinics planned for weekends Jan. 29-Feb. 20

01/25/2022 - Sonoma County is planning a series of four two-day vaccine clinics on weekends at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Here's how you can get your shot or booster.

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Un mensaje para los padres/tutores y la comunidad sobre las pautas y medidas de COVID

01/12/2022 -

La Oficina de Educación del Condado de Sonoma ha venido recibiendo preguntas acerca de las órdenes de salud pública y otras medidas que están siendo tomadas para ayudar a limitar la propagación del COVID-19. He aquí algunas preguntas para explicar lo que se está haciendo y por qué.

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A message to parents/guardians and community about COVID guidelines, measures

01/11/2022 -

The Sonoma County Office of Education has been fielding questions about recent public health orders and other measures being taken to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Here are some answers to explain what is being done and why.

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Teacher of the Month: Hannah Ammerman

12/16/2021 - Hannah Ammerman, a third- and fourth-grade teacher at Steele Lane Elementary School in Santa Rosa City Schools District, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for November 2021.

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Teacher of the Month: Noelle Huberty

12/09/2021 - Noelle Huberty, a first-grade teacher at Forestville Elementary School in Forestville Union School District, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for October 2021.

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COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccines webinars scheduled for Nov. 16 and Nov. 17

11/15/2021 - COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccines: Answering Your Questions scheduled for Nov. 16 and Nov. 17

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After School Pediatric Vaccination Clinics to start Nov. 9

11/04/2021 - After School Pediatric Vaccination Clinics to start Nov. 9

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Dr. Herrington's message to parents/guardians and community about Gov. Newsom's vaccine mandate

10/15/2021 -

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Dr. Steve Herrington, Sonoma County superintendent of schools, announces retirement

10/13/2021 - Dr. Steve Herrington, Sonoma County superintendent of schools, announces retirement

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SCOE Statement on Gov. Newsom’s Announcement of Vaccine Mandate for Students

10/01/2021 - County superintendent has issued the following statement in response to Gov. Newsom’s announcement of future vaccine mandates for kids:

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Close to Home: A Call for Civility

09/28/2021 - The following article by County Superintendent Steve Herrington was published as a commentary in the Press Democrat on Sept. 26, 2021.

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Hazard Mitigation Plan - Invitation to Comment

09/03/2021 - The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) is in the process of creating a Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (Plan). The Plan identifies a range of natural hazards with the potential to significantly impact SCOE facilities as well as all of the facilities within each of the SCOE districts. The Plan provides a list of mitigation action items that will be used in the future to reduce impacts from the identified hazards.

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National Disaster Preparedness Month 2021

09/02/2021 -

Welcome to National Preparedness Month, version 2021. We take time each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. The 2021 theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.” This is never more important than it is today. A lot has happened in the last year and a half: pandemic, civil unrest, record-breaking wildfires, earthquakes, extreme heat events, public safety power shut offs, and now a drought. It is crucial now more than ever to ensure that our families and communities are prepared for whatever comes our way.

So, to protect your loved ones, here are 5 easy steps to be disaster ready:

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Spotlight on Sonoma County Schools 2021: Building Equitable Schools

08/25/2021 - This year's Spotlight on Sonoma County Schools: Building Equitable Schools serves as a call to action for schools in Sonoma County to listen to the voices and perspectives of their diverse students to ensure that their programs and curriculum are helping all students to feel safe and thrive.

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Join us 8/25 and 8/26 for a Back to School Update

08/25/2021 -

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County and SCOE Announce Local Recommendations to Mitigate COVID-19 on Campus

08/23/2021 - County of Sonoma and Sonoma County Office of Education Announce Local Recommendations to Mitigate COVID-19 on Campus

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Important Announcement Regarding SCOE Staff Vaccination

08/12/2021 -

As you may have heard, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on August 11 that California will require public schools to verify that workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested regularly. Unvaccinated workers will be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing and will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including face coverings.

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SCOE Responds to New State Vaccination Requirement for School Staff

08/11/2021 - On Wednesday, Aug. 11, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California will require California schools to verify that workers are fully vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 at least once a week. This order applies to all public and private schools serving students in transitional kindergarten through grade 12. Dr. Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, responded by committing to working closely with the Sonoma County Health Officer to support schools around Sonoma County in understanding and implementing this new guidance, which is intended to add an additional layer of protection for students and staff as classes reopen.

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County, SCOE to Host Virtual Community Webinars on the Return to School

08/09/2021 - English and Spanish-language webinars to address questions about COVID-19 vaccinations for youth and feature local pediatricians.

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SCOE Responds to California Department of Public Health 2021 Back to School Guidance

07/13/2021 - On Monday afternoon, July 12, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released its COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-22 school year. These rules are meant to safely open schools for full-time in-person instruction this fall, and are expected to be reassessed by the state by Nov. 1, based on vaccination rates, virus case rates, and testing rates.

All California schools—public, charter, and private—are required to follow this state guidance as they plan for their fall reopenings.

“This guidance from the state will help schools plan for a safe and effective start to the school year,” said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools at the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE). “At the same time, some questions remain about important operational practices, such as how schools should address students who do not wear masks, and testing and quarantine policies. We hope for additional state guidance and clarification in these areas.”

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Sonoma County Teachers of the Year Named

06/28/2021 - Three Sonoma County teachers are being honored through the Sonoma County Teacher of the Year program (part of the California Teacher of the Year program) for their exemplary, creative, and effective work serving students and supporting families through the unprecedented challenges presented during the 2020-21 school year by the pandemic, the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) announced Monday.

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