Special accreditation for Carpe Diem and Sonoma Mountain high schools

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The poets at Mary Collins School at Cherry Valley are getting ready for the Friday Poetry Jam event. Students in kindergarten through eighth grades will read their original poems along with special guest, award winning author/poet Chris Harris. Harris is the author of “I’m Just No Good At Rhyming and Other Nonsense For Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups.” In preparation for this presentation, two optional workshops were offered this week so students could work on their poems, practice speaking aloud, and master their stage presence. It’s sure to be an exciting evening for all. This creative school event follows the Sept. 4 Celebrate Reading Day with activities held in the campus quad.

Congratulations Carpe Diem and Sonoma Mountain high schools on their special accreditation from Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Gregory Stevenson, principal of Carpe Diem and Sonoma Mountain high schools, is proud to announce that, after a year-long process and a 112-page self-study report, Carpe Diem and Sonoma Mountain High Schools hosted a three-member team from WASC for three days, and recently received notification of a rare accreditation. The team was charged with verifying the quality of the educational system of the two sites. Typically, high schools will receive a six-year accreditation with a mid-cycle visit to check on the progress of goals left by the previous team, according to Stevenson. “The process for evaluating and assuring the quality of educational institutions and programs is an important one,” Stevenson stated. He is delighted to report that the two alternative education schools received a rare, six-year accreditation with no mid-cycle visitation. “They will only need to prepare a self-reflective report in the third year of the cycle,” Stevenson explained.

STEAM for the staff at Cinnabar. With the new STEAM program/lab underway at Cinnabar School, the director, Mark Ribeiro, took time at a recent staff meeting to engage the teachers in a hands-on STEM activity. “We want to teach the staff how to use, operate, and create projects using the tools and lab,” reports Cinnabar superintendent/principal Sandy Doyle. Doyle notes the staff created a “Spiro Graph” type machine as part of the activity to experience how STEM will provide instruction for students at all grade levels. “It made our staff think as students do, reflecting on what we know and what we observe. The activity finished with a share-out with everyone expressing having a great time participating,” said Doyle. Students will learn to problem solve beyond immediate gratification, and find resolve in those solutions.

The St. Vincent de Paul Elementary student council had its first meeting of the year. Danielle Rynning, admissions coordinator, reports student council is a representative organization with members who are elected by the faculty, administration and the St. Vincent student body to develop the students’ leadership skills, the responsibility of citizenship, charity, fundraising, community and the betterment of the school. The council consists of a President Mercer Stipp, Vice President Gwen Brockett, Secretary/Treasurer Hudson Stipp, Spirit/Ecology Commissioner Madelyn Rynning and Sports Commissioner Jayne Phillips. These students will be joined in their monthly meeting with class representatives from fourth through eighth grades. The seventh and eighth-grade students in the Young Entrepreneurs and Scholars program had a round table discussion with Vic Trione, vice president of Trione Vineyards and Winery. The special guest shared what it takes to be an entrepreneur. The students had the opportunity to ask questions during the discussion.

Parent Education Night: Caring For Our Kids will take place at McKinley Elementary School on Sept. 17 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The focus of night’s discussion is talking about how we can care for children. With a goal to raise awareness and better serve all students, PCSD is looking forward to reviewing the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences with those in attendance. “Whether you’re volunteering in a classroom, facilitating a play date, or have experienced personal or family trauma, you are invited to attend,” said Penngrove Principal Amy Fadeji. Co-presenters for the evening are Shelley Santander, PCSD behavior specialist, and Lara Wilson, LMFT, PCSD guidance coordinator. Spanish translation will be available, childcare provided, and refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Petaluma City School District office.

(Maureen Highland is a Petaluma mother and executive director for the Petaluma Educational Foundation. She can be contacted at schools@arguscourier.com)

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