Know any budding geniuses that would benefit from having a computer of their own? Someone that has a talent for graphic design, or coding, or manufacturing, or making movies or music? We might be able to help.
Rolling Hills Casino has arranged with Computers for Classrooms to give away 14 computers to the most deserving future geniuses in Tehama County. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2017. Students must currently attend a Tehama County school and be endorsed by a teacher. Click here to download the application.
“In September, our school applauds the achievements of our students at a STAR celebration. Since I am an eighth grade teacher, several of my former students will return from high school to attend this special event. One year, a freshman high school student who had been challenged by my classes at Lassen View School sat down next to me. I could tell that he wanted to say something so I asked him about his high school classes. He looked at me and said, “You know, Ms. Orange, in seventh grade we all thought you were the meanest teacher ever! Then in eighth grade, we began to realize that you were not mean; you really cared about our education. Now when I sit in my high school classes, I look around and see some of my classmates struggling. You taught me that if I did my homework and tried my hardest, I could learn anything. Now, I appreciate you.”
Debbie Orange has a lot of confidence in the abilities of her students. She expects great things from them, so that they can in turn expect great things from themselves. It is this dedication and belief that all students can learn and thrive that earned her the honor of being feature teacher for the month of January 2012. “As a teacher, you must accept that at any given moment, you will have a student who does not like you, one that accepts your challenges and others who appreciate your efforts…” These are the words of wisdom that Debbie Orange offers fellow teachers. School Superintendent, Mancill Tiss, recommended her for the award, saying, “Debbie is an excellent teacher who has taught at Lassen View for 17 years.”
Orange’s students’ test scores have gone up every year in both science and algebra, which is a significant factor in determining who will receive the feature teacher award each month. “While we are pleased with the scores and know that Debbie is always improving, we know that Debbie is also very concerned about the well-being of each of her students and wants them to succeed in high school and beyond. We feel fortunate to have Debbie and feel that she is very deserving of this award,” added Tiss.
The feature teacher award is presented monthly by Tehama County Superintendent of Schools Larry Champion and Edward Jones Financial Advisor Tyler Smail, with the purpose of recognizing highly successful and talented teachers in Tehama County.
Every day, teachers make choices and decisions that affect their students – both directly and indirectly. “When you become a teacher, you have accepted the responsibility for teaching every child. School should always be about what is best for the students, period.”
Connie Holland, Teacher at Bidwell School lives by those words each and every day; it’s that dedication that helps her students thrive and also what has earned her the honor of the Feature Teacher award.
Holland has been teaching for 15 years now and says that she does it because she wants to have a direct impact on shaping future generations. She runs the Learning Center at Bidwell School, which serves about 300 students daily in what she calls “targeted, small groups.”
“Mrs. Connie Holland is one of the most impassioned teachers I have experienced in the eighteen years I have been in education,” said school Principal Isaac Scharaga. “She works tirelessly to better the lives of all of the children who attend Bidwell Elementary School, and volunteers for many different functions and projects that are student centered in our community. She understands that through support to children and families, very high levels of expectations can be met, and the results of the children she works with speak for themselves.”
Holland credits her successes to the dedication of the entire Bidwell team, saying “Everyone here contributes to the great work of the Learning Center in some way.”
“Connie Holland is a resourceful, intelligent, creative, and caring individual who believes and lives her life in benefit to others. The example she sets is one that all of us should live by,” added Scharaga.
The feature teacher award is presented monthly by County Superintendent of Schools Larry Champion and Edward Jones Financial Advisor Tyler Smail, with the purpose of recognizing highly successful and talented teachers in Tehama County.
Scott Chandler has an eye for design. As a marketing manager at Rolling Hills Casino, he’s always thinking of the best way to attract people to his employer.
Through his work at Rolling Hills, Scott has been part of Expect More Tehama since the beginning. “Being involved with Expect More, I started looking for ways to interact with students,” he says.
The perfect situation presented itself when he noticed a framed print of last year’s winning poster for the Corning Wine, Food and Art Festival while walking the hall at his office. It was a remarkable student effort and was indeed a winner. He wondered if a few lessons in the elements of effective design would help the high school students who enter the poster design contest develop even better work.
He called Corning High School and found teacher Christine Lee, who was delighted to weave Scott into the lesson plans of her design class. “With a simple phone call we started this process that ended up a huge wave of satisfaction for all of us,” he says.
Scott and Christine developed a schedule that allowed Scott to visit the classroom and teach from his experiences in the world of design and marketing.
He started with the basics. “They got a good look at what good and bad design really look like,” he said. “The goal of good design is to sell something– a service or a product or an idea. The goal is not art.”
With this in mind, he worked with Christine to guide the students through development of 2012 Corning Wine, Food and Art show posters. Making multiple return visits to the classroom, he offered critiques and small presentations to help the students relate to this real-world opportunity. When the projects were finalized, he taught students how to present them professionally for judging.
The Corning Rotarians who sponsor the show and judged the entries were impressed by the quality of the student work. There was a tie for first place. The team effort of students Oscar Avila and Jorge Bobadilla was chosen as the ultimate winner. Their design will be reproduced and used on all marketing materials for the event.
“This whole thing started because of Expect More Tehama. I saw all these people doing things and I wanted to get involved. This particular project makes it personal for me,” says Scott.
While the 2012 poster project has come to an end, the collaboration with the classroom has not. Rolling Hills has purchased a year’s subscription to Communication Arts magazine, an industry standard, to keep the students updated on the field. Cooperation between Corning High and Rolling Hills is also helping the classroom upgrade their design software to Illustrator. Christine Lee plans to take design courses over the summer to refresh her own skills.
“I hope to expand my involvement,” says Scott. “I am so grateful to find something that applies my experience to the next generation. It feels good.”
Expect More Tehama encourages more people to take Scott’s lead by finding meaningful ways to extend their personal experiences and passions to the educational experience of young people.
uPLANit is a video-based web site that allows students to learn about hundreds of careers. The web site offers help in applying for college financial aid. It also hosts many colleges. Make time to check out uPLANit with your children at www.uplanit.org.
Do you know if your child is reading at grade level? A study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation entitled “Early Warning! Why Reading by the end of Third Grade Matters” found that a child who can’t read on grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate from high school by age 19 than a child who is reading on grade level.
Donald J. Hernandez, author of the study explains, “We teach reading for the first three grades and then after that children are not so much learning to read but using their reading skills to learn other topics. In that sense, if you haven’t succeeded by third grade, it’s more difficult to catch up than it would have been if you started before then.” So in other words, first you learn to read, and then you need to read to learn.
According to the report, several factors contribute to low reading proficiency. Children must be ready to succeed when they get to school (cognitively, socially, emotionally and physically) before they can learn there. They need to be present at school because they can’t learn if they aren’t there. They need to have high quality learning opportunities, beginning at birth and continuing in school and during out-of-school time, including summers, in order to sustain learning gains and not lose ground.
If you’re not sure if your child is reading at grade level, make an appointment to visit your child’s teacher. There is a lot that can be done to catch up and parents can play a critical role. Read with your child every day. This can mean having your child read to you AND you reading aloud to your child (at any age). Show interest in what they’re reading by asking questions along the way. “What’s happened so far?” “Who’s your favorite character?” “How did the book end?” To improve their ability to read smoothly and easily, read books more than once until words become familiar. And find books that relate to their favorite topics like animals, sports, hobbies and places.
Expect More Tehama is excited to be a part of a new initiative called Tehama Reads which will work to encourage everyone to do what they can to help all of our students become proficient readers. Look for more on Tehama Reads in the New Year.
(Kathy Garcia is the Business Services and Marketing Manager at the Job Training Center and a member of the Expect More Tehama Leadership Team)