November 22, 2013
Education Roundup for Week Ending November 22, 2013
SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Education (CDE) today issued this week's Education Roundup of education-related announcements of public interest.
STEM Symposium Concludes
The CDE's California Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Symposium came to a successful conclusion this week in Sacramento as 2,100 attendees shared best practices, ideas, and strategies on how to bring high-quality STEM education to life in the classroom.
Teachers, administrators, STEM program providers, and philanthropic and business leaders from around the state attended the two-day event. Speakers included State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson; NBA legend and California's After-School STEM Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls; education scientist and 2013 TED Prize winner luminary Dr. Sugata Mitra; National Vice President of SkillsUSA Laura Gouillon; teen programmer and entrepreneur Thomas Suarez; neuroscientist Dr. Kenneth Wesson; and former astronaut and Reaching for the Stars! Foundation founder José Hernández.
All STEM sectors were presented at the Symposium, including computer science, robot technology, manufacturing, health science, and more across all grades from preschool through post-secondary. Attendees participated in hands-on workshops, students and teachers demonstrated their STEM projects and initiatives, and the vendor marketplace displayed 64 businesses supporting STEM education.
Five California Schools Receive National Grants
The CDE congratulated five school districts for receiving U.S. Department of Agriculture 2014 Farm to School Grants [http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/FY_2014_Grant_Award_Summaries.pdf] (PDF) designed to improve access to local foods in eligible schools.
Modesto City High School District received $90,751 to improve processing capabilities to bring in more local food on the school menu, hold promotional activities, develop new menus, and expand its school garden program at four sites to help students understand where their food originates.
Oakland Unified School District received $100,000 to purchase more locally produced food and develop a "California Thursdays" program featuring this food to help students understand more about agriculture.
Pasadena Unified School District received $44,486 to introduce more locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables to its students and reach out to their families to encourage them to cook more with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Pittsburg Unified School District received $100,000 to start a program to increase the awareness among students and their families about nutrition and healthy eating options, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
Sweetwater Union High School District received $44,935 to introduce more locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables to its students and to incorporate local food products in their menus to help students understand more about the origins of their food.
Four Food Directors Honored at Nutrition Event
The CDE also congratulated four child nutrition directors who received awards for their leadership, being innovative, and an inspiration to others in the field of child nutrition services during the "A Celebration of California Food and Cultures [http://ecoliteracy.org/events/celebration-california-food-and-cultures] " event in Palm Springs.
The event's sponsor, the Center for Ecoliteracy [http://ecoliteracy.org/] , honored Rodney Taylor of Riverside Unified School District, Sandy Curwood of Conejo Valley Unified School District, Pilar Gray of Fort Bragg Unified School District, and Scott Soiseth of Turlock Unified School District.
The CDE selected the four honorees to serve as ambassadors to provide inspiration and technical assistance at leadership conferences throughout the state where other child nutrition directors can receive training. There are currently 14 ambassadors who provided 10 training sessions last month and are expected to provide another 15 training sessions next year.