Tag archive

Education

Sonoma County educators: Internet connectivity is crucial for equity

in News

When the coronavirus forced approximately 70,000 Sonoma County schoolchildren off school campuses and into virtual classrooms in March, the stresses were immediately apparent.

Teachers used to standing in front of a classroom of kids struggled to convey concepts via video conferences. Parents struggled to balance work and home-teaching duties. And students struggled to figure out a new way of learning, removed from their friends and classmates and far from their teachers.

Underlying all of those issues was the need for every student to have access to a steady and consistent internet connection. And not every student has it.

“It is shameful that in a county as prosperous as ours that we have families that struggle to get internet access,” Sonoma Valley Unified School District Superintendent Socorro Shiels said.

Shiels, along with superintendents Diann Kitamura and Amy Jones-Kerr from Santa Rosa City Schools and Roseland, respectively, were panelists Thursday night in a virtual community discussion on equity issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and the move to distance learning. The forum was hosted by Los Cien, a nonprofit Latino leadership group.

Santa Rosa City Schools, the county’s largest district with approximately 15,500 students, has offered Chromebooks to every student in the district, Kitamura said. In addition to 2,500 internet hot spots doled out last spring and this fall, the district gave out an additional 250 in a different network “because of the size of the district, some don’t work in different areas,” she said.

Continue Reading on Sonoma Index-Tribune

Santa Rosa Junior College offers new solar technology studies

in News/Schools
Daisy Meyer, SRJC Solar PV program teacher (SRJC photo)
Daisy Meyer, SRJC Solar PV program teacher (SRJC photo)

The Engineering and Applied Technology department at Santa Rosa Junior College has introduced its first program focused on renewable energy beginning fall 2020.

The solar photovoltaic program will train students for careers in the growing field. The first course, Renewable Energy Careers, is an introduction to the renewable energy industry including solar, wind and geothermal energy, and applies to four certificate options. It is being taught by Daisy Meyer, a training and service-learning program manager for the nation’s largest non-profit solar organization, GRID Alternatives.

The Solar PV program will allow students to learn about green technology from experts in the trade. Discussions will include careers within the industry, employment working conditions, social aspects of the industry, and educational and experience requirements.

Continue Reading on Petaluma360.com

Families of special education students feeling particular pain of distance learning in pandemic

in News
Alvin A.H. Jornada / The Press Democrat
Alvin A.H. Jornada / The Press Democrat

Rebekah Rocha is at her Windsor home doing two — or three — things at once. She’s on the phone and answering the door, all while talking to her daughter, Gigi, who is in the bathroom.

Gigi is nearly 12, the middle of Rocha and her husband Jose’s three children. Gigi was born with 5p- Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes delays in cognition and gross and fine motor skills, as well as in speech and language.

She had been learning to use the toilet but regressed since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools in March. Gigi is nonverbal and Rocha describes her as “severely handicapped,” and yet she thrived in her fifth grade class at Brooks Elementary School last year. There, she received special education support but was also integrated into a general education classroom.

Without school — without the routine, regular therapy sessions and daily socialization with peers — Gigi has struggled. And that has meant Rocha has struggled, too. A painstakingly crafted schedule for two working parents with three kids — one with special needs — started to show cracks early in the shelter in place last spring when all three kids could no longer attend school and Rocha was forced to work from home.

On this day, Rocha, principal at Cesar Chavez Language Academy in Santa Rosa, pulls the phone away from her face to give the just-arrived babysitter an update on Gigi’s progress in potty training. Rocha tells the sitter that she has been rewarding her daughter’s success on that front with small bathtub toys. She returns to the phone.

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

Go to Top