For the past 10 years, Readers' Books has held a holiday book drive asking their customers to buy new children's books and donate them back to children in the community. This year, Sonoma Valley elementary school students will be a recipient of your book donations.
This is a terrific opportunity to support not only local students, but also one of our beloved local businesses during the pandemic.
Through your donations, teachers at our five elementary schools, serving students in TK through 5th grade, will receive read-aloud books to share with their students during distance learning. The teachers have created a great book list, including both English and Spanish-language books, focusing on diverse populations. You can see the book list below.
It’s easy to participate! Shop in person or online at Readers' Books (on the Sonoma Plaza) (www.readersbooks.com) and tell them you’d like to donate a brand new book to your local elementary school. Or you can donate funds directly through the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation website (www.svgreatschools.org) and we will apply 100% of your donation to purchasing these read-aloud books for our students.
As always, thank you for your incredible support of our Sonoma Valley students!
TEACHERS' BOOK LIST
Our hard-working PTO parent volunteers want you to know that PTOs are still active during this pandemic, working behind the scenes and looking for your support. Sonoma Valley Education Foundation is proud to support our PTOs this year with $500 matching grant opportunities to aid their fundraising efforts!
Last week, PTO volunteer representatives (pictured below) from every school in Sonoma Valley came together to share their challenges, their projects, their ideas, to collaborate and support each other.
Vote - Vote - Vote! Check out the SVUSD Board candidate forum hosted by SVHS juniors, as well as interviews held by Prestwood and Sassarini students!
The forum provides a comparison to the four candidates running for the SVUSD board. Local activist Anne Ching and Incumbent Britta Johnson are running for Trustee Area 5; Troy Knox and Adam Lobsinger, both new candidates, are vying for Trustee Area 4. And, Prestwood students interviewed their area candidates Anne Ching and Britta Johnson. Gio and Evelyn, students at Sassarini, interviewed their area candidates Troy Knox and Adam Lobsinger.
SVHS Juniors Caroline Studdert and Jimena Echeverria, the hosts of the forum, are the founders of Sonoma Valley Youth Rising, a new SVHS club whose mission is to reach out to a diverse student population and encourage all students, especially those of marginalized groups, in decisions that affect the student body.
Based on the positive response to these interviews and with the support of Principal Stefanie Jordan, Sassarini is piloting a Student Voices series featuring a COVID Q&A session with Chris Kutza, PharmD at Sonoma Valley Hospital. Stefani and her students will also interview a senior Google executive next week.
Distance Learning won't prevent SVHS engineering students from experiencing hands-on learning. The engineering department recently purchased Arduino kits for each of the students in the program to use at home. Nearly $12,000 in Distance Learning grants were provided to SVHS career technical education teachers in September and October by the Sonoma County CTE Foundation. The Arduino kits were purchased with this funding.
"These small but powerful kits actually have many of the components they would have access to in our engineering lab," said Engineering Teacher Drue Jacobs. "They're obviously to a smaller scale, but it still allows students a hands-on experience."
These kits allow students to effectively demonstrate certain types of circuits, why they need capacitors, and what they accomplish. They also give students a working knowledge of Ohm's law and how to wire LED lighting in series versus parallel. Adding in the Arduino portion allows them to explore some object based coding.
The TinkerCad website has a virtual Arduino kit, allowing the students to digitally build and debug before physically building their projects.
"I love the virtual space and what it allows us to accomplish," says Mr. Jacobs, "but I strongly believe understanding how things fit, function, and interact is better understood by holding it directly in one's hand."
There's some exciting news coming out of the SVHS Video Arts Department!
Funding from the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation via the Manitou Fund has allowed Peter Hansen, who's been teaching Video Arts at SVHS for 18 years, to set up sophisticated Distance Learning for 140 students in four beginning video classes and one advanced video class.
Former SVHS media students helped build what is essentially a mini TV studio that allows an engaging, interactive instructional atmosphere. SVUSD purchased a district license for WeVideo, editing software that is specific and a game changer for Chromebook use.
Distance Learning technology allows full screen, one-to-one, multi-camera tutorials of advanced level software and other presentations similar to a Ted Talk presentation.
Kids videos can be seen on www.svhsvideo.com. Video projects are short and cover pertinent themes like voting rights, wearing masks, isolation, friendships and family etc.
An update from Lisa Conner, SVHS College & Career Center Coordinator::
We are still supporting our fabulous seniors, but a bit differently this year. Colleges are visiting us from all over the US as college representatives can visit us via Zoom. We had a great turnout for our virtual 4-year College Night for Seniors, presented in English and Spanish simultaneously last week. Next week we are looking forward to pairing up with 10,000 Degrees and SRJC to host Financial Aid night on Thursday, October 22nd from 6-8 pm. Finally, instead of our fall college application work sessions in the CCC, we are meeting virtually. These work sessions will ramp up as deadlines approach. We've also had to be creative with dispersing information - please take a peek at our College & Career Center newsletters in English and Spanish. As always, keep an eye on the school bulletin for all the latest and greatest CCC news!
SOAR Sonoma (Student Outside Academic Resource Sonoma) is a new non-profit co-founded by Gavin Blanusa, a SVHS senior.
SOAR is dedicated to helping Sonoma's high school students leverage opportunities to take community college courses while in high school. In addition to receiving guidance on how to apply and courses to consider, all student fees and textbooks will be covered by SOAR.
Students who explore or enhance their interests, skills and knowledge in this way reap proven benefits of improved confidence and higher rates of success in both high school and college.
The number of courses and the potential interest areas are vast. Students can pursue courses in computer programming languages, graphic design, law enforcement, business, ethnic studies, and foreign languages, among many other choices. Students in grades 9 – 12 are eligible to take courses and receive help from SOAR; all students are encouraged to learn more and take advantage of this opportunity for growth and support.
Application and registration deadlines are coming up quick: watch for courses posted no later than November 9, complete SOAR and SVHS paperwork by November 20 and register December 11.
There is still one more introduction webinar to be hosted by Gavin and fellow board members, Selma Blanusa and Gail Diserens. They will share important information about the program, how to get started, critical timelines, and courses to explore.
Join the webinar to learn more: