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Chief Communications Officer
925.942.3420


Communications Specialist/Teacher of the Year/Media Relations
925.942.3429

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News and Press Releases

Education Headlines

April 18, 2014

California voters approve state paying for universal preschool, poll finds
Reflecting the growing national focus on preschool, a majority of California voters approve extending public schooling to 4-year-olds, even if it costs the state an additional $1.4 billion, a Field Poll released Friday shows.

Alhambra High Teacher Is Finalist for Contra Costa Teacher of Year
Brian Wheeler of the Martinez Unified School District is one of four teachers named as finalist for the 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY).

April 14, 2014

West Contra Costa school district student art reception Thursday
RICHMOND – The work of more than 300 middle and high school students in the West Contra Costa school district is on display through April 30 at the Richmond Art Center.

Swett board exploring bond to replace Carquinez Middle School in Crockett
RODEO – The John Swett School District took the first step in replacing its aging middle school April 9, when the board commissioned a poll that will test the community's receptiveness to placing a $50 million bond measure on the November ballot.

Teen substance abuse is the new 'normal,' school counselor says
PLEASANT HILL – Gone are the days when “stoners” could be picked out of a crowd on high school campuses, a counselor at College Park High warned parents this week.

April 11, 2014

Legislation to strengthen mandated reporting by California teachers makes gains
SACRAMENTO – Two bills – one to strengthen teachers' mandated reporting requirements and the other to provide additional funding for new state education standards – were approved by the Assembly Education Committee.

Contra Costa County announces district teachers of the year
PLEASANT HILL – Twenty-two teachers of the year have been named by 17 school districts, the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the Contra Costa Community College District.

April 9, 2014

Bay Area school districts earn poor grades for educating poor, black and Latino students
When it comes to educating Latino, African-American and poor students, Bay Area school districts do at best a mediocre job, according to a report published Tuesday by an Oakland-based education advocacy group.

'Nonpublic' school looks to bridge gap for Antioch special needs kids
ANTIOCH – Antioch Unified district officials and community leaders this week welcomed the expansion of a "nonpublic" school aimed at helping students with severe special needs transition into the public school system.

Assembly subcommittee pledges to fight for career technical education
Raising alarm about the future of programs that help prepare students for jobs after high school, a key Assembly budget subcommittee signaled Tuesday it intends to fight to restore dedicated funding for career technical education programs that give students work experience.

April 8, 2014

Dozier-Libbey High teachers seek injunction of Antioch Unified's charter petition
ANTIOCH – The deadline for students and teachers to decide if they want to be a part of the newly created Dozier-Libbey Medical High School dependent charter has been pushed back until later this month.

Affirmative action debate create rifts in California's ethnic communities
The backlash by Chinese-American activists against a measure aimed at restoring affirmative action in the admissions process at California's public universities has set off political fisticuffs between ethnic groups accustomed to battling side-by-side.

Contra Costa County Library Launches Database Full of Local History
Contra Costa County Library announces the launch of Remember & Go, a database of photographs, artifacts, newspaper clippings, documents, maps, and other important items related to the history of Contra Costa County.

March 31, 2014

California students' verdict on new tests: Tech is a breeze, content is tougher
The high-tech successor to California's annual STAR exam has been deployed, and the informal verdicts are in. Mastery of online graphing tools and directional arrows is no sweat, even for students who don't use computers at home. But the content is more challenging – and at times intriguing.

Danville teacher inspires students by opening up their imaginations
DANVILLE – When Kimberley Gilles teaches the classic Victorian novel “Great Expectations” to her students, it's hardly a prim and stuffy affair.

March 26, 2014

Brentwood police to hold another seminar on protecting kids online
BRENTWOOD – In the wake of a “sexting” case earlier this month involving a handful of middle schoolers, Brentwood police are offering another training seminar to help parents become savvier about what their child is up to online.

Campo Finishes on Top at California State Academic Decathlon
The Campolindo High School Red Team, after winning the 2014 East County Region Academic Decathlon for the fourth year in a row, represented Contra Costa County at the California State Academic Decathlon last weekend and placed in the top 10 overall, winning the title of medium-sized school state champions to represent California at the national competition.

March 25, 2014

California schools are rolling out new standardized tests
The exams are designed to demand more of students and give a clearer indication of how much they're learning. They'll be the first to be administered entirely on computers.

Teachers renewing California credential must sign abuse reporting form, bill proposes
Every five years when renewing their credentials, California school employees will be required to read and sign a document that lays out the requirements for them to report suspicions of child abuse, if newly crafted state legislation is approved.

Pleasant Hill education commission co-hosts Common Core night for parents
PLEASANT HILL – The Pleasant Hill Education Commission will co-host a free Common Core Night on Tuesday for parents of students in grades 6-12.

March 24, 2014

Mt. Diablo school board and Martinez City Council to meet
MARTINEZ – The Mt. Diablo school board and Martinez City Council will hold a joint meeting Monday at Hidden Valley Elementary School to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Spelling Bee champ wins right down to the letter on 'alexia'
WALNUT CREEK -- When Shirlyn Prabahar was asked to spell "alexia" at the Contra Costa County Spelling Bee on Saturday, she tried to hide her excitement.

March 20, 2014

Contra Costa County seeks applicants for education board vacancy
PLEASANT HILL – The Contra Costa County Board of Education is seeking applicants to fill a board vacancy due to the death of Trustee Ellen Elster.

Contra Costa County receives about $1.1 million for tobacco-use prevention
PLEASANT HILL – The Contra Costa County Office of Education will receive about $1.1 million through a California Tobacco Use Prevention Education Program grant to continue its services through June 30, 2017.

Film screenings shine a spotlight on teenage prescription drug abuse
Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mt. Diablo district student hosts concert to benefit music programs
WALNUT CREEK – To help raise money to bring back instrumental music to fourth- and fifth-graders in the Mt. Diablo school district, a Northgate High student is hosting a Friday benefit concert.

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COE Press Releases - 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014


April 2014

2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Finalists Named

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 16, 2014 – The following four teachers have been named the 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Finalists: Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District; Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg Unified School District; Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School District; and Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Two of these four finalists will be chosen in late September, and will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program.

Michael Kleiman teaches English to grades 9-12. The seven-year teacher has also taught theater arts, speech, and debate. Prior to coming to Liberty Union High School District's Freedom High (Brentwood), Kleiman began his teaching career at Fort Irwin Middle School, in Fort Irwin, Calif.

Elizabeth Lanfranki has been an English instructor for three years. For the past two years, she has been a sixth- through eighth-grade teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High School (Pittsburg), which is part of the Pittsburg Unified School District. Lanfranki began teaching in the Chico Unified School District. Along with English, she has also taught journalism, English support, and Newcomer ELD.

Brian Wheeler is completing his fourth year of teaching automotive technology to all grades at Alhambra High (Martinez). Before earning his teaching credential and then coming to Alhambra High, Wheeler spent the first 30 years of his career working in auto repair technology.

Karen Young is currently teaching transitional kindergarten at Coyote Creek Elementary School (San Ramon), which is part of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The eight-year teacher has also taught kindergarten and first grade. Before coming to Coyote Creek Elementary, Young served as a substitute teacher throughout the San Ramon Valley district.

The county's TOY program is directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education. With such high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from (this year there were 20 eligible teachers), the CCCOE's TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidate as follows:

I Application Screening:
On April 4, a committee of 14, representing the county's education, business, and public-sector partners meticulously reviewed the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rated each application. After the application screening and scoring was completed, these four teachers were selected to advance to the next two phases as TOY finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:
During the weeks of late April and early May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the four finalists interacting with their students during class, followed by interviews with the TOYs. The committee and finalists will discuss topics such as their teaching philosophies and techniques.

III Speech Presentation:
This coming August, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 11, 2014, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of more than 400) will be honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces all the TOYs to the audience. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given at the Speech Presentation) to the filled banquet room. The always-exciting evening will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

Currently, there are more than 8,126 teachers educating approximately 171,418 students in Contra Costa County's public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives. (See entire list of TOYs on our earlier news release.) This year's 22 TOYs represent 17 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Twenty of these representatives, those who teach grades pre-K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two winners of the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.


County's school districts announce their
2014-2015 Teachers of the Year

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 8, 2014 – Currently, there are more than 7,900 teachers educating approximately 169,000 students in Contra Costa County's public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives. (See list below.) The upcoming school year's 22 TOYs represent 17 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Twenty of these twenty-two representatives, those who teach grades K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two top teachers in the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

“Once again, we have a tremendous group of teachers who have earned their school district's highest accolades, due to their talents, work ethic, and dedication they provide for their students. These honored educators not only represent their individual schools and school districts, but also embody all of the exceptional teachers we are so fortunate to have in our county,” reports Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph A. Ovick.

The county's TOY program is directed by the CCCOE. With such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from, the CCCOE's TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates as follows:

I Application Screening:
On April 4, a committee of 14 judges, representing the county's education, business, and public-sector partners carefully reviewed the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rates each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers will be selected to advance to the next two phases as finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:
During the weeks of late April and mid May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.

III Speech Presentation:
On August 11, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 11, 2014, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of more than 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Dr. Ovick, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects his classroom visits of each teacher during the current spring and summer months. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in August) to the filled banquet room. Finally, the night will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2014-2015 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives

Nikki Alford, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Gehringer Elementary

Jason Davis, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Keith Johnson, West Contra Costa USD, El Cerrito High

Kevin Jones, Antioch Unified School District, Antioch High

Jane Kelson, Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo High

Michael Kleiman, Liberty Union High School District, Freedom High

Elizabeth Lanfranki, Pittsburg Unified School District, Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High

Patrick Leong, Contra Costa County College District, Diablo Valley College

Dorinda Mas, Byron Union School District, Discovery Bay Elementary

Bruce McCormick, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Portola Middle

CiCi Migay, Brentwood Union School District, Brentwood Elementary

Tricia Newhart, Orinda Union School District, Del Ray Elementary

Catherine Patterson, John Swett Unified School District, Rodeo Hills Elementary

Ann Ralph, Moraga School District, Donald Rheem Elementary

Gail Robles, Walnut Creek School District, Parkmead Elementary

Joann Rossi, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Early Start Program (Marchus Schoo)

Stephen Slater, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Wren Avenue Elementary

Kara Teach, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Charlotte Wood Middle

Olivia Vann, Lafayette School District, Springhill Elementary

Brian Wheeler, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High

Karen Young, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Coyote Creek Elementary

Kathleen Young, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Highlands Elementary

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Seventeen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, plus the CCCOE are participating in this year's TOY program. (Because this year's CCCOE candidate teaches pre-K, she is not eligible in the California State TOY competition.)
  • Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.)
  • Due to the larger number of students in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates

#CoCoTOY

 

March 2014

Campolindo High School has an impressive showing at the
California State Academic Decathlon Championship

Campolindo High School State Academic DecathlonMORAGA, Calif., March 26, 2014 —The recently crowned East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon Champions, Campolindo High School (see story), had a very impressive past weekend representing Contra Costa County at the 2014 California Academic Decathlon, held in Sacramento.

Campolindo's Academic Decathlon coach Paul Verbanszky reported that the team repeated its success from last year: “We came in 10th in the State and won the medium-sized school title, which means we will return to compete in the online National Academic Decathlon in April.” Verbanszky also reported that fellow Lamorinda team, Acalanes High (Lafayette) ranked 22nd, and that Alameda County representative, Dublin High, came in 54th. An impressive 65 teams competed in the 35th annual state competition.

This year's state winner, El Camino Real Charter High School (Los Angeles Unified School District), will represent California at the National Academic Decathlon, which will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 24 – 26. All of the other division winners, such as Campolindo, will compete online during the same time period.

At the state competition, Campolindo team members also earned a number of individual awards:

  • Uma Gaffney: Gold in Art (with a perfect score of 1000 points)
  • Sarada Symonds: Silver in Art and Gold in Language/Literature
  • Marina Han: Silver in Language/Literature and Silver in Essay
  • Tristan Caro and Christoph Steefel: tied for a Bronze in Science
  • Vikram Bhaduri: Bronze in Interview

Christoph Steefel: Received a perfect score on the Super Quiz and is now part of what is called the “900 SQ Club” at State

Verbanszky teaches AP psychology and government/economics, and has been Campolindo’s Academic Decathlon coach since 2005. His Academic Decathlon is an after-school club with funding coming from generous donations and fundraising. It is a tremendous accomplishment to compete in the Nationals. He continues, “I am very proud of my students. They have put in countless hours after school preparing for competition. And, our team gives a big thank you to the Contra Costa County Office of Education for all of their hard work with Academic Decathlon, so that the students can have such a positive experience.”

Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon provides an opportunity for high school students to compete as individuals and teams in a series of ten academic tests and demonstrations. The curriculum includes art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science,essay, interview, speech (prepared and impromptu), and the Super Quiz™. Approximately, 170 high school students from 10 schools participated in the regional event. This year's Academic Decathlon theme was World War I, and the Super Quiz™ focused on the areas the participating students had been preparing for with the comprehension portion of Academic Decathlon, e.g., science, art, economics, and literature.

California has won the last 11 national titles and has won 15 national titles in the past 18 years of national competition. In 32 years of national competition, California has placed first or second every year but one.

The Academic Decathlon was first created by Dr. Robert Peterson, former Superintendent of Schools in Orange County, California. Firmly believing that everyone's learning potential can be maximized through competitive challenge, Dr. Peterson set in motion the contest that has since come to be recognized as the most prestigious high school academic team competition in the United States. The program spread rapidly throughout the states due to the success and excitement it engendered. USAD was founded in 1981.


County Board of Education Seeks Applicants to Fill Board Vacancy

The Contra Costa County Board of Education voted at its March 19, 2014 meeting to fill the Board vacancy in Trustee Area Two created by the unexpected death of Ellen Elster through an appointment rather than an election. Trustee Area Two consists of Crockett, Hercules, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Port Costa, Rodeo, and parts of Alamo, Concord, Martinez, Pinole, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, and Walnut Creek.

The California State Education Code states that within 60 days of a vacancy, the County Board shall either fill the vacancy by provisional appointment or order an election. In the event that the Board fails to make a new appointment or order an election, the County Superintendent shall call for the election.

Persons interested in applying for the appointment should contact Karen Sakata, Deputy Superintendent at (925) 942-3407 for an application packet. (Employees of the Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools or by a school district are not eligible to apply.)

Provisional Appointment

The period for submitting an application is from March 20, 2014 through 5:00 p.m. on April 28, 2014. Each applicant's residency in Trustee Area Two will be verified. Public session interviews by the County Board will be scheduled for May 7, 2014.

The County Board plans to make its provisional appointment on May 7, 2014.

The person appointed as Trustee will serve until November 2014.


Alhambra students looking for community support
as they move on to SkillsUSA State Competition

Alhambra studentsMarch 17, 2014, Martinez, Calif. – Recently, eight Alhambra High School students enjoyed a very successful outing at the SkillsUSA, District 2, competition in Salinas, Calif. The students did so well that they will now advance to the SkillsUSA California State Championship, held in San Diego. Along with all of their fundraising efforts, with their friends and families, to compete in San Diego, the students are requesting donations from our community.

Shown in photo (left to right): students, Nick Rezentes, Ian de Vries, Jeff Smith (instructor) Evan Rubio and Megan Lau

cabinet makers: Jordan Morofsky, John Hise, Jay Heeb (instructor) and Ryan DeMelloJeff Smith, who is Alhambra High’s Career Technical Education (CTE)/ROP chair said, “These students are so excited about their success in using the skills they have learned in their CTE/ROP classes. And, we have all been working hard to raise funds for them to compete in the state championship, but they can use some additional assistance from those who can help us cover the costs of the trip and the competition.” The California State SkillsUSA will be held April 24-27, in San Diego.

Shown in photo (left to right): students, Jordan Morofsky, John Hise, Jay Neeb (instructor) and Ryan DeMello.

Smith says that those interested in making a donation to support the students can do so by sending a check to Alhambra High. Checks can be made out to Alhambra High, please make a notation that the money goes directly to school’s CTE/ROP Department. Contributions can also be donated via Alhambra High School’s website.

Brian Wheeler and Will AndersonAt the recent District 2 SkillsUSA competition in Salinas, the students took part in competitions that were specifically geared towards the CTE/ROP class they are currently enrolled in – as they will in San Diego. For example, Alhambra's auto technician teacher, Brian Wheeler, said that student, Will Anderson, a junior, had a very rigorous outing in Salinas. “Will had to successfully accomplish numerous automotive-technology-testing components, such as diagnosing several automobile electrical and mechanical problems and identify more than 50 car parts.”

Shown in photo (left to right): Will Anderson and instructor Brian Wheeler.

The SkillsUSA Championships is the showcase for the best career and technical students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. In 2013, there were nearly 6,000 contestants in 98 separate events. Nearly 1,500 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event possible. The philosophy of the Championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers' needs.


10th Annual Young Children's Issues Forum

Pleasant Hill, Calif., March 13, 2014 – The public is invited to The Tenth Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, to be held on Saturday, March 29, 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the Pleasant Hill Community Center at 320 Civic Center, Pleasant Hill. This year's theme is Speak Out for Children: Educate and Advocate. This free annual community event is sponsored and organized by the Contra Costa Local Planning Council for Child Care and Development (LPC), and is coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).

The purpose of the program is to provide a forum for discussion among legislators, local elected officials, public agency representatives, business leaders, and the community regarding current children's issues. Annually, this award-winning special presentation is a favorite for numerous local elected officials to take part in, as presenters and/or in question-and-answer sessions. Confirmed guest legislators include: Congressman George Miller, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, and Assemblymember Jim Frazier.

In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, comedian and child advocate Michael Pritchard, will deliver a special keynote presentation. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., will present an overview of the importance of early childhood education. Additionally, the topic of focus for this year's forum is the national movement towards Universal Quality Early Care and Education, current legislation, and the potential impact on California's early care and education programs. The Forum agenda features an impressive list of invited guest presenters, including: Ted Lempert, executive director, Children Now; Camille Maben, executive director, First 5 California; Sean Casey, executive director, First 5 Contra Costa; Pamela Comfort, Ed.D, associate superintendent, Educational Services, CCCOE; Karen Mitchoff, supervisor, Contra Costa County; Ruth Fernández, manager, Educational Services, CCCOE; and Cathy Roof, vice-chair, Contra Costa Local Planning Council for Child Care and Development (LPC).

Also, special recognitions will be presented to Congressman Miller, County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ovick, Assemblymember Buchanan, and Assemblymember Skinner for their outstanding commitment to children's education and multiple years of public service.

In 2012, the California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA) awarded the Young Children's Issues Forum with the California Gold Award, their highest accolade of annual Excellence in Communications.

For more information about the Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, please contact Ruth Fernández at (925) 942-3413 or +visit: www.plan4kids.org. This is a free event, but attendance registration is required.


February 2014

California High named Contra Costa County's
High School Mock Trial Championship Team

2014 Mock Trial Winners California High SchoolPLEASANT HILL, Calif., February 27, 2014 — After a number of speeches made by the coaches and individual awards given out to participating students, the exciting 33rd Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial's Awards Ceremony concluded with the naming of this year's championship team: California High School (San Ramon). California beat their chief Mock Trial rival Miramonte High, this past Tuesday night in a Martinez courtroom. The match's final scores were not revealed until tonight. Miramonte had beaten California in the finals during the past two years.

Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Hon. Barry Goode was on hand to address the large crowd, congratulate all the participants, and hand out the Mock Trial awards. Judge Goode said how impressed he was with all the students, and that it was obvious that they put a lot of time and effort into preparing for their trials. “It is a treat to see how well you all perform,” added Judge Goode. “We look forward in seeing you all come back in about seven years – I know you can do this for real!”

Most of the schools begin their Mock Trial training when they begin the new school year – which certainly makes Mock Trials the longest season of all the participating schools' sports activities and academic events.

For the past four weeks (seven evenings), the California High School and seventeen other Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams have been battling it out with each other inside the superior courthouse courtrooms of Martinez. California High School will now represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in San Jose, Calif., March 21-23.

The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Madison, Wis., May 8-10.

Teams from the following 18 Contra Costa County high schools will be competed in this year's Mock Trial:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch (Antioch), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Northgate (Walnut Creek), and Richmond (Richmond).

The top four teams finished in this order:

  1. California
  2. Miramonte
  3. Northgate
  4. Dougherty Valley

For all the team and individual results, visit the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Mock Trial Web page – complete results should be posted by 2/28.

Mock Trial is an academic event for high school students coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, and sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. The purpose of this program is to teach students about the law and the workings of the legal system. To prepare, the students conducted legal research and received guidance on courtroom procedures from their school teachers and volunteer attorneys and judges, to acquire a working knowledge of the judicial system.

This year, an impressive 110 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys, senior law students, and sworn judges volunteered their time to serve as Mock Trial Attorney Scorers and Judges. These volunteers represented judges from Bay Area Superior Courts, the California Bankruptcy Court, and the California Appellate Court. Attorney Scorers included Bay Area attorneys from county District Attorney and Public Defender offices, the State Attorney General’s Office; and the California Department of Justice. Also assisting were non-profit, public, private, and corporate attorneys. In addition, senior students from five Bay Area law schools lent a hand.


Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Championship
Team to be awarded: Will it be California or Miramonte?

WHAT:
For the past four weeks (seven evenings), the Miramonte High School and California High School Mock Trial teams have battled it out with each other and 16 other schools inside the superior courthouse courtrooms in Martinez, in the Contra Costa County Office of Education's 33rd Annual High School Mock Trial Competition. Tomorrow night, one of these two teams will be awarded the county's Mock Trial Championship Team Trophy. (The same two finalist teams for the past two years.) The final-two matches, Miramonte vs. California High (Championship Round) and Northgate High vs. Dougherty Valley High (Consolation Round), were held this past Tuesday night (2/25).

The Championship team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in San Jose, Calif., March 21-23. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Madison, Wis., May 8-10.

WHEN:
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

WHERE:
Contra Costa County Office of Education (Boardroom), 77 Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasant Hill, Calif.

ACTION:
Approximately 150 Mock Trial students, along with their coaches and parents, will be on hand to receive individual and team awards – concluding with the naming of this year's Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Championship Team There will be plenty of video and photo opportunities, of top teams and individual winners.

WHO:
Mock Trial is an academic event for high school students coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, and sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.  The purpose of this program is to teach students about the law and the workings of the legal system. To prepare, the students conducted legal research and received guidance on courtroom procedures from their school teachers and volunteer attorneys and judges, to acquire a working knowledge of the judicial system. This year, more than 100 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys, senior law students, and sworn judges volunteered their time to serve as Mock Trial Attorney Scorers and Judges.

Teams from the following 18 Contra Costa County high schools competed:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch (Antioch), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Northgate (Walnut Creek), and Richmond (Richmond).  


2014 Contra Costa County Teacher/Certificated Staff Recruitment Fair

PITTSBURG, Calif., February 26, 2014 – The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) will present their annual Contra Costa County Teacher/Certificated Staff Recruitment Fair, on Saturday, March 1, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the Pittsburg High School gymnasium, 1750 Harbor St., in Pittsburg.

Attendees will discover a number of teaching positions in a variety of fields, including all levels of K-12 education, specialty, and substitute teaching positions that will be available in the next school year. Along with the CCCOE, representatives from 10 Contra Costa County school districts: Antioch USD, Brentwood USD, John Swett USD, Liberty UHSD, Martinez USD, Mt. Diablo USD, Oakley USD, Pittsburg USD, San Ramon Valley USD, and West Contra Costa USD, as well as Making Waves Academy and Clayton Valley High Charter Schools will be recruiting for open positions. In addition, members of Fortune School of Education, St. Mary's College of California, University of Phoenix, Brandman University, and National University will be on hand to talk about earning teaching credentials and their teaching programs.

For additional information about this free event, call (925) 942-3387 or visit the Recruitment Fair's website.


County Office of Education director earns distinguished awards

Katie GainesPleasant Hill, Calif. February 11, 2014 – Due to her recognized exceptional leadership and measurable results, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region VI (Contra Costa & Alameda Counties) and Diablo Valley Charter organizations recently awarded Contra Costa County Office of Education Director III, Student Programs and Special Education Katie Gaines as the Special Education Administrator of the Year. After earning these two accolades (Region VI and Diablo Valley Charter), Gaines will advance on as a state nominee for the ACSA State honors. The state-award recipients will be announced next month, in Sacramento.

Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) Director of Innovation and Support Lindy Khan, Ed.D., reports about Gaines, “From the moment Katie arrived, it was very clear that she had a powerful and positive vision to promote the success of all students. During her four years here, she has worked very collaboratively with the special education principals to develop programs that reflect high levels of student, teacher, and family engagement by ensuring the provision of meaningful learning activities that promote student independence and self advocacy.”

Under the direction of Associate Superintendent Pamela Comfort, Gaines’ responsibilities with the CCCOE include planning and directing activities, sites, and services for all Special Education students in County Office programs, as well as in CCCOE Court and Community Schools and Career Tech/ROP courses, and Special Projects for the County Office. Furthermore, she coordinates and directs communications, information, personnel, resources, curriculum, and budgets to enhance these students’ learning and achievement, and assure smooth and efficient program activities. In addition, she supervises and evaluates the performance of assigned personnel.

Before joining the CCCOE in 2010, Gaines advanced through a number of positions with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, beginning in 1976, including speech-language pathologist, special education program specialist, special education administrator, and alternative education director. In addition, she has been an active member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, California Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Association for the Supervision, and Curriculum Development, and ACSA Diablo Managers Association, where she served as president from 2008-2009.

Gaines earned a masters’ degree in speech and hearing from Washington University, St. Louis, Mo, and a bachelor’s degree in communications disorders from St. Louis University, Saint Louis, Mo. In addition, she has earned a number of education-related certifications, credentials, and licenses.

The Association of California School Administrators was established in 1971. ACSA is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the nation, serving more than 14,500 school leaders.

The mission of the Association of California School Administrators, the driving force of education in California and beyond, is to ensure the creation of communities of learning and teaching that serve both the aspirations of individual students and the greater good of society, through this unique and indispensable coalition distinguished by: 

  • bold and authoritative advocacy;
  • dedication to the highest personal and professional ethics;
  • inspirational networks of discovery and sharing of knowledge;
  • mutual commitment to excellence;
  • universal accessibility to learning.

Campolindo High School named East County Regional
2014 Academic Decathlon Champion

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., February 6, 2014 – At last night's exciting Academic Decathlon Awards Reception, Campolindo High School (Moraga) Red Team won the 2014 East County Regional Academic Decathlon. Along with being the Regional winner, the Campolindo Red Team will also represent Contra Costa County in the California State Academic Decathlon competition. This is the third year in a row that the Campolindo Red team has won Academic Decathlon. Following in the Regional and Contra Costa County divisions were Acalanes High School (Lafayette), (a very close) second, and the Campolindo Blue team, third.

Dublin High School (Dublin), who came in fifth overall in the Regional competition, won the Alameda County contest for the second year in a row.

Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the county's Academic Decathlon provides an opportunity for high school students to compete as individuals and teams in a series of ten academic tests and demonstrations. The curriculum includes art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, essay, interview, speech (prepared and impromptu), and the Super Quiz™. Test was held during the past two Saturdays.

Approximately, 170 participating high school students have been studying and preparing for this event with their coaches since September. This year's Academic Decathlon theme was World War I, and the Super Quiz™ focused on the areas the participating students had been preparing for with the comprehension portion of Academic Decathlon, e.g., science, art, economics, and literature.

This year's teams represent the following high schools: Acalanes (Lafayette), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Concord (Concord), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), and Pittsburg (Pittsburg).

East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon participating schools from Alameda County were Irvington (Fremont) and Dublin (Dublin).

High school teams are made up of nine students, grades 9-12, with a maximum of three students in each of the following divisions: Honors (3.75-4.00 GPA), Scholastic (3.00-3.74 GPA) and Varsity (2.99 GPA and below).

High schools that have more than nine students who want to participate in Academic Decathlon, can field more than one team, e.g., Campolindo's Red and Blue Teams and Pittsburg's Black and Orange Teams. The teams can also bring guests or alternate participants from their school.

The Campolindo High School Red Team and Dublin High School will now represent Contra Costa and Alameda Counties at the California State Academic Decathlon, to be held in Sacramento, March 20-23.

The 2014 East Bay Region Academic Decathlon overall school rankings:

Campolindo Red (Contra Costa County)
Acalanes (Contra Costa County)
Campolindo Blue (Contra Costa County)
Freedom (Contra Costa County)
Dublin (Alameda County)
California (Contra Costa County)
Pittsburg Black (Contra Costa County)
Concord (Contra Costa County)
Irvington (Alameda County)
Miramonte (Contra Costa County)
Pittsburg Orange (Contra Costa County)
Las Lomas (Contra Costa County)

Compolindo High School – Red Team also won this year's East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon SuperQuiz™, held last Saturday.

Individual Awards

East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon
Top Scoring Individual – Honor Marina Han
Campolindo Red

East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon
Top Scoring Individual – Scholastic Daylon Srinivasan
Acalanes

East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon
Top Scoring Individual – Varsity Vikram Bhaduri
Campolindo Red

The Academic Decathlon was first created by Dr. Robert Peterson, former Superintendent of Schools in Orange County, California. Firmly believing that everyone's learning potential can be maximized through competitive challenge, Dr. Peterson set in motion the contest that has since come to be recognized as the most prestigious high school academic team competition in the United States. The program spread rapidly throughout the states due to the success and excitement it engendered. USAD was founded in 1981.

This year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 24 – 26.

Note: jpeg team photo of the Campolindo Red Team, with their medals, as well as photos of all participating teams, with their team banners, are available upon request.


More than 300 educators are expected at the
4th Annual San Francisco Bay Area STEAM Colloquium

WHAT:
More than 300 educators from around the Bay Area and across the state have registered for the 4th Annual San Francisco Bay Area STEAM Colloquium, titled “Full STEAM Ahead: at the Corner of Common Core and STEAM”. This event is sold out. Presented by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), the STEAM Colloquium is a forum to discuss and share best practices in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) education. This event continues to bring together numerous K-12 educators, administrators, professionals, legislative policy makers, college and university educators, community organizations, and businesses to present and discuss how to best to continue to advance STEAM education into our classrooms.

Here is the STEAM Colloquium’s program of events.

The STEAM Colloquium’s Coordinator Hilary Dito reports that the daylong program will address significant issues in implementing STEAM education with Common Core Standards into our schools by showcasing current successful examples. The Colloquium’s agenda will feature a number of outstanding breakout sessions, as well as featured plenary presentations.

ACTION:
More than 300 STEAM educators, plus numerous presenters, from the San Francisco Bay Area and across California will be in attendance. Video and still photos, as well as audio recording are welcome.

WHEN:
Friday, February 7, 2013, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE:
The San Ramon Valley Conference Center, 3301 Crow Canyon Rd, San Ramon, CA.

WHO:
For additional info, contact Hilary Dito, at (925) 942-3396.
Follow the STEAM Colloquium on Twitter: #steamcolloq


January 2014

County Office of Education deputy superintendent recognized

deputy superintendent Karen SakataPleasant Hill, Calif. January 31, 2014 – Earlier this week, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region VI (Contra Costa & Alameda Counties) and Diablo Valley Charter organizations awarded Contra Costa County Office of Education Deputy Superintendent Karen Sakata with the Central Office Administrator of the Year. After earning these two honors (Region VI and Diablo Valley Charter), Sakata will now move on as a state nominee for the ACSA State honors. These awardees will be announced this coming March.

Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D, comment on Sakata, “Karen is much deserving of this award. She has tremendous knowledge in all aspects of school leadership, including personnel, student programs and services, budget and finance, curriculum and instruction, and facilities. She is hard working, dedicated, and an inspirational educational leader. Karen has a special gift to hold people accountable, but at the same time is supportive and treats them with the utmost respect.”

The criteria for a candidate just to be nominated for this accolade are quite impressive and extensive. “Karen demonstrates exemplary performance in all the award’s benchmarks,” continues Dr. Ovick. Sakata brings more than 38 years of experience as an education administrator and teacher. Last year, she was named the CCCOE’s second-in-command, when she became the deputy superintendent.

Prior to her serving in her current position, Sakata had been the CCCOE’S associate superintendent, human resources, a position she transferred to after working as the agency’s associate superintendent, student programs and services, from July 2008 to July 2010. Before joining the CCCOE, she was the principal of Ayers Elementary School, in Concord (Mt. Diablo Unified School District). Previous to her principal position, Sakata worked primarily as a special education program specialist, special education teacher, and administrator in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Her teaching positions included serving as a special education teacher, speech and language pathologist, resource specialist, and an early childhood specialist.

Sakata holds an M.A. in speech pathology from San Jose State University and a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, at Berkeley. In addition, she has earned a number of education-related certifications, credentials, and licenses.

The Association of California School Administrators was established in 1971. ACSA is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the nation, serving more than 14,500 school leaders.

The mission of the Association of California School Administrators, the driving force of education in California and beyond, is to ensure the creation of communities of learning and teaching that serve both the aspirations of individual students and the greater good of society, through this unique and indispensable coalition distinguished by:

  • bold and authoritative advocacy;
  • dedication to the highest personal and professional ethics;
  • inspirational networks of discovery and sharing of knowledge;
  • mutual commitment to excellence; and
  • universal accessibility to learning.

East Bay Regional 2014 Academic Decathlon concludes with the always electrifying SuperQuiz™

WHAT:
This year's East Bay Regional 2014 High School Academic Decathlon, which takes place over two consecutive Saturdays, will conclude this coming Saturday, (part one, was held the morning of January 25). Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the county's Academic Decathlon provides an opportunity for high school students to compete as individuals and teams in a series of ten academic tests and demonstrations. The curriculum includes art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, essay, interview, speech (prepared and impromptu), and the SuperQuiz™.

Approximately, 170 participating high school students have been studying and preparing for this event with their coaches since September. This year's Academic Decathlon theme is World War I, and the Super Quiz™ will focus on the areas the participating students have been preparing for with the comprehension portion of Academic Decathlon, e.g., science, art, economics, literature, and music.

ACTION:
Providing outstanding audio, video, and photo opportunities, the approximately 60-minute SuperQuiz™ portion of the Athletic Decathlon (a team-relay event) always produces the excitement and electrifying mixture of the remaining minute of a tied county-wide basketball championship game and the final winning question on a TV game show. The gym's bleachers are populated with families, friends, and teachers, cheering on their teams.

WHO:
This year's teams represent the following high schools: Acalanes (Lafayette), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Concord (Concord), Dublin (Dublin), Freedom (Oakley), Irvington (Fremont), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), and Pittsburg (Pittsburg). Campolindo High School has been Contra Costa County's champion for the past two years. Dublin High was last year's Alameda County winner.

High school teams are made up of nine students, grades 9-12, with a maximum of three students in each of the following divisions: Honors (3.75-4.00 GPA), Scholastic (3.00-3.74 GPA) and Varsity (2.99 GPA and below). The winning team will represent Contra Costa County at the California State Academic Decathlon, to be held in Sacramento, March 20-23. This year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 24 – 26.
(The winning Contra Costa and Alameda County teams will represent their county in the California State Academic Decathlon.)

DATES / LOCATIONS:
Saturday, February 1, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.;
Los Medanos College
(gymnasium), 2700 E. Leland Rd., Pittsburg
** SuperQuiz™ begins at 2:30 p.m., finishing around 3:30 p.m.

Best time for photo, video, and audio opportunities:
**Saturday, February 2, 2:30 3:30 p.m. at Los Medanos College (gymnasium)—The SuperQuiz™ Relay.

Monday, February 5, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.; Sequoya Middle School, 265 Boyd Rd.,
Pleasant Hill—Academic Decathlon Awards Ceremony.

For more information about the San Francisco East Bay Academic Decathlon,
contact Peggy Marshburn, CCCOE, at 925-942-3420.

HISTORY:
The Academic Decathlon was first created by Dr. Robert Peterson, former Superintendent of Schools in Orange County, California. Firmly believing that everyone's learning potential can be maximized through competitive challenge, Dr. Peterson set in motion the contest that has since come to be recognized as the most prestigious high school academic team competition in the United States. The program spread rapidly throughout the states due to the success and excitement it engendered. USAD was founded in 1981.


Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial is looking for legal professionals to volunteer a few hours of their expertise

MARTINEZ, Calif., January 15, 2014—Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professionals are needed to provide assistance to their future brethren at the upcoming 33rd Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Program, held in the early evenings throughout the month of February, at the Martinez Court Houses. Last year, 100 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys, law students, and sworn judges volunteered their time with the Mock Trials.

Coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), Mock Trial is an academic event provided for high school students. The hands-on educational program was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. This year's trial is a murder case: People v. Concha.

“I encourage all law professionals to join us in serving as volunteer judges and attorney scorers,” says Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Barry Goode. “Not only is it a real service to the students, but it will make you feel good. You will be impressed with the skill these young men and women demonstrate in our courtrooms. Every time I volunteer, I leave with a great sense of optimism about the next generation. It is such a treat to watch them at work.” Judge Goode has been a long-time Mock Trial volunteer.

Teams of high school students work with teachers and volunteer coaches to prepare their version of the criminal case, from both the prosecution and defense perspectives. Students assume the roles of trial attorneys, pre-trial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, bailiffs, artists, and court journalists. Mock Trial judges and attorneys score their performance and provide immediate feedback. Winning teams advance through seven rounds of competition. The county's champion advances to the State finals. This year, there will be 18 Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams competing.

Volunteers will score two competing schools that argue the cases in their assigned court. Each night, will begin with a 15-minute rules and regulations session, then the volunteers will go into their scheduled courtrooms to serve as Mock Trial judge and scorers. The Mock Trials' scorers are made up of Bay Area deputy district attorneys and deputy public defenders, as well as public-sector, private-practice, and corporate lawyers. In addition, seasoned law students are also welcome to participate. A practicing or retired judge or commissioner will preside over each trial, and also serves as one of the trial's scorers.

Teams from the following 18 Contra Costa County high schools will be competing:

Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch (Antioch), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza High (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Northgate (Walnut Creek), and Richmond (Richmond).  

Schedule for 2014 Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials:

Preliminaries: February 4, 6, 11, 13, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Nine competitions each night)
Quarterfinals: February 18, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Four competitions)
Semifinals: February 20, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Two competitions)
Final and Consolation: February 25, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Two competitions)

Mock Trial will be headquartered at the A.F. Bray Courthouse, in Martinez.

Interested volunteers can learn more by visiting the CCCOE's Mock Trial Web page, or contacting Jonathan Lance at (925) 942-3429.

The two highest-scoring teams will advance to the finals on Tuesday, February 25. The winning team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in San Jose, Calif., March 21–23. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Madison, Wisconsin, May 8-12.

In 1977, the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) introduced the concept of mock trials to the Los Angeles schools. In 1980, the program expanded to the state level. The California Mock Trial Program currently involves more than 36 counties and over 8,000 student participants from more than 400 teams. Approximately 1,500 attorney volunteers serve as team coaches and scorers, and 500 Municipal, Superior, and Appellate Court judges preside over the trials.

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Advisories

October 2013

Bats Can Carry Rabies—Don't Bring Them to School

Has anyone ever brought a bat to your school or classroom? It happens more than you might think.

Three times in the past year, the Public Health Division of the county health department has received reports of elementary school students bringing bats to classrooms for show-and-tell. In two of those cases, parents gave their children the bats to take to school with them. These parents didn't realize bats are often carriers of rabies and they were putting their kids and others at risk. Please make sure parents, students and teachers know that bats should never, ever be brought to school.

Of the 252 animals that tested positive for rabies in California last year, 227 of them were bats. Handling a rabid bat can result in exposure to the virus through unnoticed scratches or bites (bats have very small teeth and sometimes people don't realize they've been bitten). Even coming into contact with a dead bat can be dangerous.

Though rabies infections in people are rare in the U.S., once symptoms begin rabies is almost always fatal, making it crucial that an exposed person receive treatment to prevent rabies. Fortunately, none of the children who brought the bats to their schools got sick, although one child did need shots because the bat she showed her teacher later tested positive for rabies.

These episodes at Contra Costa schools reinforce the need to educate people about the risks of handling wildlife, especially bats.

For more information about rabies, including what to do if you do have contact with a bat, please visit cchealth.org/rabies


January 2012

Controlling the Spread of Norovirus in Schools
and Child Care Settings

Outbreaks of norovirus infection are more likely to occur during winter months within institutions such as residential facilities, hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, and child care settings. The virus is easily spread from person-to-person through direct contact, contact with contaminated surfaces, and ingestion of contaminated food. This information is provided by Contra Costa County Communicable Disease Control to assist with the recognition and control of norovirus infections in schools and child care facilities.

Norovirus Characteristics
The typical symptoms of norovirus are nausea, vomiting, low-grade fever, abdominal cramps, and watery, non-bloody diarrhea. Vomiting is more common in children. Symptoms usually develop within 24 to 48 hours after exposure, but can appear as early as 12 hours. Illness typically lasts 12 to 60 hours and usually will resolve on its own.
Norovirus is spread very easily from person to person, and people can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus.
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then eating or placing their hand in their mouth.
  • Having direct contact with another person who has norovirus. Examples include, caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill.

The virus can persist on surfaces in the environment for weeks and is not destroyed by many disinfecting products. When an individual with norovirus handles or prepares food and drinks improperly, they can contaminate those items and can cause infections in people who consume those products; therefore, food workers with diarrhea or vomiting should not work until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped.

Re-infection can occur multiple times during a lifetime. An outbreak of norovirus infection is suspected when more than two students and/or staff in a facility or classroom have symptoms of this virus, starting within a 48 hour period. Report any suspected outbreaks to Communicable Disease Programs at 925-313-6740.

Diagnosis and Treatment
Individuals with diarrhea and vomiting should drink plenty of fluids and follow the control measures on the next page to prevent spread in their households. There is no vaccine or specific therapy for norovirus infection; treatment is supportive and focuses on preventing dehydration. If symptoms do not improve, individuals should contact their primary care physician. Confirmatory laboratory testing for norovirus during an outbreak can be arranged through the Contra Costa Public Health Laboratory by contacting the Communicable Disease Program. During community-wide outbreaks or periods of high norovirus transmission, laboratory diagnosis may not be necessary.

Control Measures
Strict infection control practices are necessary to control norovirus spread. Hands should be washed vigorously with soap and warm water for> 20 seconds:

Wash Hands AFTER:

  • Toilet visits
  • Cleaning up vomit or diarrhea
  • Changing diapers
  • Handling soiled clothing or linens
  • Contact with a symptomatic person
  • Sneezing, coughing

Wash Hands BEFORE:

  • Eating or feeding children
  • Food preparation
  • Serving food
  • Providing healthcare services

Read Complete Article Here
Contra Costa Health Services Link

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