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Coding, cooking, collaborating

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Petaluma Junior High School teacher Preston Bailey and the PJHS leadership class members attended the first ever California WeDay event. According to the event website (weday.com), We Day is tied to the year-long We Act program which offers educational resources, campaigns and support materials to help schools earn their way into We Day through local and global actions. The day was organized for more than 16,000 youth, educators, and supporters on March 26, at Oracle Arena in Oakland. The students were invited to attend the event as a result of their efforts in doing community projects both locally and globally. The PJHS leadership class hosted a canned-food drive, raising funds for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, a clothing drive for needy families in Nicaragua, and a fundraiser for those suffering from the devastation of the typhoon in the Philippines.

The music teacher team of Cliff Eveland, Preston Bailey, Diane Baines, Sandra Kruse, Kevin Klemenok and others has been busily preparing local students for the seventh annual Westside Band Festival. The event takes place April 17, in the Petaluma High School gym starting at 7 p.m. It will be a fun evening of band music, with grade levels fourth through 12th participating in the grande finale.

What a great collaboration between schools last Friday with Valley Vista Elementary School's fifth-grade classes took a field trip to Lee Boyes' chemistry class at Petaluma High School. The high school students presented chemistry demonstrations, and then led teaching groups for the young students. This was followed by a break-out session where the groups conducted team experiments. "It was a very exciting day to bring these age groups together and spark some interest in science," observed Valley Vista parent Deb Smith.

Over at Meadow School, students are participating in the campus Maker Lab program. According to principal Melissa Becker, it is about challenging yourself with projects like "Who can make this marble go the furthest? You have 15 minutes to work with a team, and you must use four materials in the classroom. Think outside of the box." The Maker Lab at Meadow School encourages students to "think-pair-share" while exploring science-based materials. "Failure is a good thing in the Maker Lab", states Becker. "It signals that you are trying to do something that is just out of your reach." If at first you don't succeed, try, try again and learn something in the meantime.

Sam Baeza, Dakota Bartozch and Luke Aust are students in Laura Bradley's Digital Media class at Kenilworth Junior High School. These creative minds have been working all year teaching themselves how to write computer code because they want to design and sell an app game. They are using online tutorials to do this, and are very serious about it according to Bradley. They have each taken on a different role in the development of the app, and know just what they need to do to make it happen. What an amazing opportunity to take class lessons and develop the skill set to achieve your dreams. I can't wait to see what app these young students introduce to the world.

(Maureen Highland is a Petaluma mother and development manager for the Petaluma Educational Foundation. She can be reached at schools@arguscourier.com)

Petaluma Junior High School teacher Preston Bailey and the PJHS leadership class members attended the first ever California WeDay event. According to the event website (weday.com), We Day is tied to the year-long We Act program which offers educational resources, campaigns and support materials to help schools earn their way into We Day through local and global actions. The day was organized for more than 16,000 youth, educators, and supporters on March 26, at Oracle Arena in Oakland. The students were invited to attend the event as a result of their efforts in doing community projects both locally and globally. The PJHS leadership class hosted a canned-food drive, raising funds for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, a clothing drive for needy families in Nicaragua, and a fundraiser for those suffering from the devastation of the typhoon in the Philippines.

The music teacher team of Cliff Eveland, Preston Bailey, Diane Baines, Sandra Kruse, Kevin Klemenok and others has been busily preparing local students for the seventh annual Westside Band Festival. The event takes place April 17, in the Petaluma High School gym starting at 7 p.m. It will be a fun evening of band music, with grade levels fourth through 12th participating in the grande finale.

What a great collaboration between schools last Friday with Valley Vista Elementary School's fifth-grade classes took a field trip to Lee Boyes' chemistry class at Petaluma High School. The high school students presented chemistry demonstrations, and then led teaching groups for the young students. This was followed by a break-out session where the groups conducted team experiments. "It was a very exciting day to bring these age groups together and spark some interest in science," observed Valley Vista parent Deb Smith.

Over at Meadow School, students are participating in the campus Maker Lab program. According to principal Melissa Becker, it is about challenging yourself with projects like "Who can make this marble go the furthest? You have 15 minutes to work with a team, and you must use four materials in the classroom. Think outside of the box." The Maker Lab at Meadow School encourages students to "think-pair-share" while exploring science-based materials. "Failure is a good thing in the Maker Lab", states Becker. "It signals that you are trying to do something that is just out of your reach." If at first you don't succeed, try, try again and learn something in the meantime.

Sam Baeza, Dakota Bartozch and Luke Aust are students in Laura Bradley's Digital Media class at Kenilworth Junior High School. These creative minds have been working all year teaching themselves how to write computer code because they want to design and sell an app game. They are using online tutorials to do this, and are very serious about it according to Bradley. They have each taken on a different role in the development of the app, and know just what they need to do to make it happen. What an amazing opportunity to take class lessons and develop the skill set to achieve your dreams. I can't wait to see what app these young students introduce to the world.

(Maureen Highland is a Petaluma mother and development manager for the Petaluma Educational Foundation. She can be reached at schools@arguscourier.com)

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