| New Year, New Beginnings|
Each new year brings hope for better and more exciting opportunities. For SCOE, 2015 is a year that will move our organization forward as we expand our use of web-based tools and take new steps to support 21st century teaching and learning.
The SCOE website provides a public face for our forward movement. If you didn’t visit the site last week, I encourage you to do so now. Our redesigned website was launched on January 24 and it gives our online presence a fresh, clean look. The home page provides instant access to our growing use of social media for communication, blog posts from some of our Educational Support Services staff, and the opportunity to subscribe to The Learning Link, a new electronic newsletter for teachers.
Our Human Resources and Business Services departments are working to expand the availability of electronic forms. They have piloted a web-based “timesheet” for supplemental pay and plan to roll this out for all staff in the coming months. In the future, all the forms and documents that new employees are required to read and sign will also be web-based.
The North Coast Beginning Teacher Program is also expanding its use of electronic resources by introducing virtual induction seminars this fall. These sessions will reach out to beginning teachers in remote rural areas and allow them to participate in live, interactive training sessions via the Internet.
Our emphasis on these kinds of resources is one way we are providing leadership and encouraging local public schools to take advantage of 21st century tools. We are also in the process of turning a small section of our office building into a SCOE Design Lab, which we envision as a 21st century classroom for making, innovating, collaborating, and creating. This new facility will serve as a model for schools that are transforming dated classrooms and computer labs into dynamic learning environments. We will also use the space for hands-on Maker workshops for teachers and students.
Although there will be challenges ahead, I believe that these are exciting times for SCOE. This work demonstrates our commitment to be a leader in 21st century education.
Steven D. Herrington, Ph.D.
Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools
| Business Services: Improving facilities |
Over the past few years, employees have seen many repair and maintenance projects completed at our Skylane office site. These projects are coordinated by staff in our Business Services office and are undertaken to fulfill our ongoing obligation to keep this public building in good repair for professional use.
Although much work has been completed to date, there are a few additional facility projects calendared for this spring and summer. As mentioned in Dr. Herrington’s article, SCOE plans to open a demonstration lab to provide teachers, administrators, and other interested parties the opportunity to see how classroom spaces can be modified to accommodate the unique needs of Maker programs. The lab will be located in the open area between the Madrone and Gravenstein rooms, next to the CalSTRS office. SCOE facility staff are now working with architects to develop plan documents and preparing to solicit project bids from contractors. Construction will begin in the spring and be completed by June.
The final phase of our multi-year Skylane office remodel project includes the carpeting, painting, and reconfiguring of the SELPA office. Business Services and SELPA staff have begun holding design meetings to plan this work and expect to have a design finalized this spring. Construction is scheduled for summer, with a projected completion date in August, before the start of school.
Future projects still on the drawing board include modernizing the conference rooms and addressing storage needs. We also hope to construct an electric vehicle fueling station in the parking lot and are discussing funding opportunities with Sonoma County officials. If successful, the fueling station could be operative within two years.
Pictured: Accounting Technician Jennifer Duckhorn assists John Silverstrini, our Director of Operations, as he reviews the plans for the SCOE Design Lab.
Transition Fair is Feb 25 at SCOE
The Transition Fair is a free event for students with special needs and their families. It provides an important opportunity for them to learn about the services that are available in our community for individuals with special needs who are transitioning from school-based programs to adulthood.
If you are a special education teacher or assistant, please distribute this Transition Fair flier (pdf) to the parents of your middle school, high school, and post-secondary students and encourage them to attend. The event takes place from 3:00 to 6:00pm on Wednesday, February 25, at SCOE. If you have questions, contact Dana Zapanta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 522-3208.
Career Pathway Alliance
launches its website
The Northern California Career Pathway Alliance (NCCPA) is a new grant-funded initiative that is housed at SCOE and works closely with our Career Technical Education department. The purpose of this initiative is to help create educational pathways to career success for high school and community college students, while also supporting economic and workforce development in the six-county region it serves. Take a look at the website that the staff launched in January to provide news, information, and resources for its many regional partners. Classified School Employee of the Year nominations due Feb 20
SCOE is coordinating the collection of nomination forms for our county’s finalists for the California Classified School Employee of the Year program. All Sonoma County districts are encouraged to nominate classified employees who provide the highest quality of service to students and the educational community—but it’s not only district employees who are eligible for this award. If you know a stellar classified employee here at SCOE, please nominate him or her for recognition. Additional details and the required nomination forms are posted on the SCOE website.
Commuter Benefits Program offers more rewards
SCOE began participating in the Commuter Benefits Program last fall, offering all employees the opportunity to earn financial incentives for decreasing single-occupant commute trips. In addition to qualifying for cash incentives from SCOE for carpooling or biking to work, employees are eligible for special reward promotions that are available to all 511.org participants in the Bay Area. This month, 511.org participants could win tickets to the Walt Disney Family Museum or a weekend stay in San Francisco by meeting certain commute criteria. Additional details about this promotion are available on our website.
Welcome new employees, hired in January
Annabel Bentley, EBD Teacher, Special Education
Janelle Davies, School Office Coordinator, Special Education
Jenny March, Teaching Assistant, Special Education
Lee Ann Reeder, Accounting Technician, Business Services
Feb 9 | Lincoln’s Day The SCOE Skylane office is closed on Feb 9 for Lincoln’s Day, but employees assigned to student programs may observe this holiday on a different date. Please check with your supervisor if you are uncertain about your work schedule.
Feb 16 | Presidents’ DaySCOE offices and schools are closed for the Presidents’ Day holiday.
Feb 17 | SCOE volunteer night at the Food BankContact Terri Walker at email@example.com to sign up, then join your SCOE colleagues at the Redwood Empire Food Bank, 5:00-7:00pm.
Feb 20 | Classified School Employee of the Year deadline
If you are submitting a nomination for this recognition program, the required forms must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the work day.
Feb 25 | Transition Fair
The Sonoma County Transition Fair begins at 3:00pm at SCOE. Contact Dana Zapanta at email@example.com for information.