Watch out for students on the move

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Wednesdays are for walking … and rolling! Students at Loma Vista Immersion Academy use the weekly Walk and Roll to School program to walk, ride bikes, skate or carpool to school as part of the movement. Be alert and watch for these students in all neighborhoods near local schools who are participating in this program.

Cinnabar School is keeping students moving with the campus TK-K ballet instruction. “Students love going to this class. Some of the students will dress specifically for this day,” shares superintendent/principal Sandy Doyle. “We are so lucky to have Sharon Hess teaching our young dancers.”

All these physical activities noted above must be creating some big appetites, so the timing is perfect for a new program launched at McKinley Elementary School in partnership with Conscience Kitchen and Clover Sonoma. McKinley is the first school site in Sonoma County to participate in the collaborative effort to educate and empower future generations to learn about the value of healthy, organic food; make organic food options accessible to all children starting at the school level; and inspire nutritional eating through a hands-on cooking competition. McKinley fifth-graders headed out on Tuesday this week on their Conscious Kitchen field trips. During these excursions, students had the opportunity to visit the kitchens of the local professional chefs who will mentor them in this program. Students met with their assigned chef and discussed options for their Cooking Challenge recipe. Then they headed to the kitchen to practice knife skills and start cooking. One stop was at the new Stockholm Restaurant in downtown. After the kids ate the meal they prepared, Chef Roberth rewarded them with bags of Swedish candy.

Grant Elementary School students in Mrs. Cratty’s class welcomed some special guests this week — a couple of humans and a school of gill-bearing aquatic friends. Two students from the Casa Grande High School United Anglers program visited the youngsters to talk about raising steel head trout. Grant’s Shamrocks are starting their own classroom aquatic sciences project, and will be raising eggs provided by the Angler’s program. These high school students explained how they hatched into alevin this weekend. Alevin are newly hatched salmon still attached to the yolk sac. The students were fascinated seeing the eggs and hearing how fish go through various stages of development between birth and adulthood. The students teaching students model is inspiring and exciting to see in our local classrooms.

Carrying on the aquatic theme: On Tuesday, the third-graders of Harvest Christian School spent the day in Bodega visiting the University of California Davis Marine Laboratory. The facility is located on the bay, and staff offered students a tour of two of the Coast Guard’s ships at Doran Beach. The young adventure seekers learned about the research and protection of the sea life in our area, and most of the students were able to see or touch the tidal animals they researched and presented to the class earlier in their science unit. Bonus to the field trip was each student taking home a tiny abalone shell. Thanks to a school Coast Guard parent, students were also able to learn the duties of the Coast Guard in our immediate area, and toured two ships that serve to protect and rescue people along the Marin and Sonoma coasts. This follows up on the Sonoma Water and Energy Education program hosted on campus for third- and fourth-grade students that provided a fun, informative one-hour presentation. The representative from the water agency taught the students about where their water comes from and the process used to deliver fresh, clean water to all homes in Sonoma County. The presenter brought the lesson to life through a hands-on experience to instruct students on how important it is to be water smart by keeping garbage and toxins out of the storm drains, how to save water and how to personally make a difference. “The presentation aligned perfectly with the current science units being taught in both third- and fourth-grade,” said fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Priest.

St. Vincent Elementary is excited to share that the campus STEAM program is creating new opportunities for students to learn and collaborate with classmates on graphic arts projects. The SVES third-grade class has a future in the field of marketing after creating SVES trifold brochures. Students practiced lining up text boxes and images perfectly to create a template for this project. They selected images that represented the school to insert and included information in the form of text to describe their favorite things about SVES. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to express their creative vision, the second graders learned to insert pictures into text boxes to make personalized bookmarks. In fourth grade, students wrote articles about SVES for a class newspaper, “Going Fourth.” Articles about their favorite subject at school, their favorite teacher, PEAK Family activities and recess fun are included in these student publications.

(Maureen Highland is a Petaluma mother and executive director for the Petaluma Educational Foundation. She can be reached at

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