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925.942.3429

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COE Press Releases - 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

May 2013

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February 2013

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November 2013

The holiday spirit of giving was showcased at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility Handcrafted toys and refurbished bikes by inmates donated to county's children-serving agencies

Students holding hand-crafted toysCLAYTON, Calif., November 21, 2013—For the 22nd straight year, representatives from more than 28 Contra Costa County children-serving agencies were on hand at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility's woodshop to choose toys handcrafted and bicycles refurbished by the inmates. The items will be given to the children who are being served by these agencies during the upcoming holidays. The Marsh Creek Detention Facility inmates have participated in this project during the year, fixing up used bikes to look and ride like brand new and building beautiful wooden toys, such as, pull toys, doll houses, doll cradles, fire houses, fire engines, yo-yos, cars, rocking horses, rocking motorcycles, skill games, and many more. All of the toy makers and/or bike mechanics are students in the Contra Costa Adult School, an accredited school directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), which is located within the jail facility.

This morning, the Detention Facility's woodshop certainly looked like Santa's Workshop, with its festive decorations and showcasing the beautiful toys and bikes. Along with the non-profit-agency representatives picking out presents, numerous county members of law enforcement and education were on hand. The morning featured remarks made by Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston and Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Ovick. Both speakers thanked all those involved and reminded the attendees what a special partnership this program has been over the past 22 years. Sheriff Livingston introduced Khaia McGill, who is the new woodshop teacher at Marsh Creek. Along with her teaching duties, she will oversee the production of the toys and bikes for next year. Dr. Ovick finished by personally addressing five inmates who were on hand for the event: “Gentlemen, numerous at-risk children in our county will certainly have a brighter holiday season due to your craftsmanship with these bikes and toys.”

Non-profit organizations participating in this special event include: the Bay Area Rescue Mission, Contra Costa County Department of Social Services, Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program, El Cerrito Fire Department, George Miller Center-East, International Orphan Relief Foundation, La Casa Ujima, Lynn Center, Monument Crisis Center, Salvation Army, Shelter Inc., Sheriff Station Bay, and Solomon Temple M.B.C

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
During the 2012-13 school year, approximately 2,895 inmates (throughout the three Contra Costa detention facilities) were enrolled in classes ranging from academic programs, including basic literacy and GED preparation, to vocational programs, including woodshop and state-of-the-art computer training. By the end of the school year, 50 student-inmates received their GED and 36 received a high school diploma, and 13 students passed the California High School Exit Exam. In addition, there were 471 students who demonstrated learning gains in reading or math, and 786 students earned a certificate of completion in computer applications. Another course directed by the CCCOE is the DEUCE Program (Deciding, Educating, Understanding, Counseling, and Evaluation). These three-part classes (90 days) focus on substance abuse prevention. Last year, 1,436 students completed at least one of the three phases, and 311 students graduated from DEUCE. The Parenting Inside/Out class teaches vital parenting skills to women and men, with 58 certificates issued last school year. The CCCOE just opened a new re-entry class in November at West County Detention Facility. The re-entry class offers workforce readiness, career exploration, soft skills workshops and a nine-week cognitive-behavior-change program called Transitions. Currently, 54 inmates are already enrolled in the reentry course.

These classes help to provide education and skills needed for successful transition back into the community.


Santa's Workshop Found at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility

Handcrafted toys and refurbished bikes to be donated to county's children-serving agencies

WHAT: For the 22nd straight year, representatives from more than 28 Contra Costa County children-serving agencies will go to the Marsh Creek Detention Facility this coming Thursday to choose toys handcrafted and bicycles refurbished by inmates in the facility. These toys and bikes are being donated to children who are served by these organizations for the upcoming holidays. The Marsh Creek Detention Facility inmates have participated in this project during the year, fixing up used bikes to look and ride like brand new and building beautiful wooden toys, such as, pull toys, doll houses, doll cradles, fire houses, fire engines, yo-yos, cars, rocking horses, rocking motorcycles, skill games, and many more. All of the toy makers and/or bike mechanics are students in the Contra Costa Adult School, an accredited school directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), which is located within the jail facility. The woodshop was closed during the summer and early fall, so the inventory is smaller this year than in years past, but there are still a good number of toys and bikes available for donation.

WHO: The workshop is co-sponsored by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office and the CCCOE. Representatives from both, the Sheriff's Office, Sheriff David Livingston, and the CCCOE, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Ovick, as well as other representatives will be on hand during the morning's toy and bicycle distribution. Organizations participating in this special event include: the Bay Area Rescue Mission, Contra Costa County Department of Social Services, Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program, El Cerrito Fire Department, George Miller Center-East, International Orphan Relief Foundation, La Casa Ujima, Lynn Center, Monument Crisis Center, Salvation Army, Shelter Inc., Sheriff Station Bay, and Solomon Temple M.B.C.

WHEN: Thursday, November 21, 2013, 9:30 – 11:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Contra Costa Adult School / Woodshop Class is located at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility, 12000 Marsh Creek Road. (Approximately six miles east of downtown Clayton, Clayton Road narrows and becomes Marsh Creek Road). -more please- Marsh Creek Toy Distribution – page 2 of 2

MEDIA NOTES: All media must check in at the facility's gate. The contact phone number at Marsh Creek Detention Facility is (925) 646-5706. Audio equipment and video and still-cameras are welcomed into the workshop. There will be great visuals of the impressive workshop, the shiny-good-as-new-refurbished bicycles and their beautifully handcrafted wooden toys—all on display. The vocational and academic classrooms will be open to the media, with opportunities to interview inmates, teachers, and administration.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: During the 2012-13 school year, approximately 2,895 inmates (throughout the three Contra Costa detention facilities) were enrolled in classes ranging from academic programs, including basic literacy and GED preparation, to vocational programs, including woodshop and state-of-the-art computer training. By the end of the school year, 50 student-inmates received their GED and 36 received a high school diploma, and 13 students passed the California High School Exit Exam. In addition, there were 471 students who demonstrated learning gains in reading or math, and 786 students earned a certificate of completion in computer applications. Another course directed by the CCCOE is the DEUCE Program (Deciding, Educating, Understanding, Counseling, and Evaluation). These three-part classes (90 days) focus on substance abuse prevention. Last year, 1,436 students completed at least one of the three phases, and 311 students graduated from DEUCE. The Parenting Inside/Out class teaches vital parenting skills to women and men, with 58 certificates issued last school year. The CCCOE just opened a new re-entry class in November at West County Detention Facility. The re-entry class offers workforce readiness, career exploration, soft skills workshops and a nine-week cognitive-behavior-change program called Transitions. Currently, 54 inmates are already enrolled in the reentry course.

These classes help to provide education and skills needed for successful transition back into the community.


Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year named state semifinalist

Cindy Eagan, Teacher of the Year state semifinalistSACRAMENTO, Calif., November 13, 2013 – Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Cindy Egan was recently named a California State TOY Semifinalist. Egan teaches biology and AP environmental sciences at San Ramon Valley High School, in Danville. Earlier, on September 26, Egan and Beth Levine, of Montalvin Manor Elementary, in San Pablo, were named the 2013-2014 Contra Costa County TOYs.

“What a tremendous and well-deserved honor Cindy Egan has received from the California Department of Education,” says Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D. “When you visit Cindy’s biology or environmental sciences classes, you observe a perfect balance of her professional background in civil engineering, education experience, and passion for teaching that enthuses her students to learn. She has certainly earned this special recognition! We in Contra Costa County are very proud of her, and our other newest Teacher of Year, Beth Levine, of West Contra Costa USD, as well as the additional 20 teachers representing our county’s school districts during the 2013-2014 school year. They are outstanding ambassadors of all our public school teachers.”

Egan is beginning her ninth year of teaching, all at San Ramon Valley High. Prior to entering into education, she earned her bachelors and masters degrees in civil engineering from the University of California, at Berkeley. Following college, she had a very successful 25-year career as a civil engineer, where she worked all over the world – but at the same time, she often thought about teaching. During her last 10 years of her career, Egan was a managing principal-in-charge of an environmental engineering office with more than 120 professional engineers and scientists. After this time period, she left her job, obtained her teaching credential, and began her new career as an educator at San Ramon High.

Egan will be joining the five 2014 California Teachers of the Year, the six finalists, and her fellow seven semi-finalists, as they are honored by California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson at a gala in Sacramento, to be held February 3, 2014. For more information on the award program, please visit the California Department of Education’s California Teachers of the Year Web page


A Very Successful Shelter-in-Place Drill Held at Marchus School

Shelter-in-Place Drill at Marchus SchoolCONCORD, Calif., November 7, 2013—On November 6, it was a very pleasant and quiet autumn Wednesday morning at Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Marchus School, in Concord, when all of sudden, the County Warning System siren went off! Immediately following, a campus PA system directed all students and personnel into their classrooms and offices, and to close the doors behind them. The Marchus School was participating with nearly 200 other Contra Costa County schools and day-care centers in the 12th Annual Countywide Shelter-in-Place Drill to practice safety procedures in the event of a nearby hazardous material release or other incident requiring them to shelter-in-place.

This countywide drill is directed by the Contra Costa County Community Awareness and Emergency Response (CAER). CAER’s Executive Director, Tony Semenza, who was on the Marchus campus during the drill, said, “Each year we are encouraged with the increased number of participating schools CAER works with. CAER will continue to work with all the schools and childcare centers in our county to be sure that they know how and when to shelter-in-place. Teachers and students should all know shelter-in-place procedures just as they are trained about what to do in case of a fire or earthquake. I encourage everyone to join us in preparing for the worst so that we may do our best during an emergency.”

This annual safety event gives children and their caregivers an important opportunity to practice responding to the Community Warning System (CWS) alerts, which includes a series of sirens along the waterfront from Richmond to Antioch. The CWS sounds a siren when there has been a dangerous chemical release or other disaster that requires a shelter-in-place. These alerts are also sent via radio, TV, and Social Media postings.

Hazardous material releases can result from many sources in Contra Costa County, including accidents at chemical treatment plants, wastewater treatment facilities, facilities that store and/or manufacture hazardous materials, refineries, but also from collisions involving trucks or trains that transport chemicals. The possibility of accidents, make it important for the county’s youngest members to recognize and respond correctly to shelter-in-place alerts.

Tony Semenza and Jack GrossmanLong-time Marchus School teacher and campus emergency coordinator Jack Grossman (pictured on right) said, “The kids are always so cooperative when we hold our drills.” No argument from the members of CAER who were on hand to monitor the drill. As soon as school Administrative Assistant Michelle Kiernan gave the announcement over the PA, doors began closing up tight, and the few students and staff that were outside quickly followed into their classroom. At the same time, the school’s HVAC system went immediately into shutdown (so no dangerous air would pump into the campus buildings). During the ten-minute shelter-in-place drill, the CAER people were able to check the entire campus to make sure all specific emergency measures were taken. After everything was checked, it was then back to business.

Semenza (pictured on left) also reported, “This was a very successful drill, and I am so impressed with the different emergency plans that Grossman has generated for all types of emergencies this school could encounter: fire, bomb threat, earthquake, chemical spill or air quality, and intruder. Jack has each emergency readied with a campus-wide warning signal and specific procedures.” Grossman says that the school practices one of these drills a month.

Thanks to Grossman, Marchus School was able to secure an emergency grant from CAER earlier this year. He used the money to purchase portable toilets, emergency supplies, and canopy tents. “We are equipped to safely stay on campus for three days, if needed,” says Grossman.

It was a very impressive drill, and quite notable how Grossman and other Marchus employees work so hard to keep their students and fellow employees safe.


October 2013

Bay Area High School Students Ready to Undertake
Our World's Challenges

2013 Model United Nations conferenceMore than 350 Bay Area students will convene at Diablo Valley College for the 22nd annual Contra Costa County Model United Nations Conference.

WHAT: This Friday opens the 22nd annual session of the Contra Costa County Model United Nations (UN) Conference. This academic event is produced and directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and coordinated by Kevin Chan, co-founder of Best Delegate, along with members of the Model United Nations Club at U.C. Davis. The two-day competition enhances high school students' understanding of the United Nations and its role in global issues. Participating students (delegates) each represent a nation and negotiate on that country's behalf. During the conference, delegates will debate international issues in 10 committees, including Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), Security Council (UNSC), United Nations Women (UN Women), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Topics discussed will include Refugee Children, Freedom of Religion, Climate Change, and Elections Monitoring. For a full list of committees and topics, visit the CCCOE’s Model UN webpage.

“We are pleased to see so many high school students throughout the Bay Area take advantage of our Model UN program,” says Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D. “Model UN is an excellent opportunity for students to display all the hard work and preparation they have put in, as they successfully discuss, persuade, and work with fellow committee members on real-world problems and complex international relations. The skills they are currently refining will certainly be the very same ones they will use in college and/or in their future careers!”

This academic event also offers students an opportunity to gain substantive knowledge about the cultures, policies and countries they represent. They can learn the mechanisms for peaceful resolution of disputes, while at the same time honing their interpersonal skills. They must practice writing and speaking skills in order to persuade delegates from other attending schools.
Model UN differs from the CCCOE’s Academic Decathlon and Mock Trial academic-event programs, in that it is not so much a competition as it is an event. Participants are commended for outstanding committee work and trophies are awarded to committee rapporteurs. Individual delegate winners are recognized for their debate, leadership skills, knowledge of the issues, and presentation of key resolutions. The activity closes with a ceremony that recognizes the outstanding delegates.

WHO: These are the Bay Area high school teams participating in this year’s Contra Costa County Model UN: Acalanes High (Lafayette), Athenian High (Danville), California High (San Ramon), Campolindo High (Moraga), Carondelet High (Concord), Deer Valley High (Antioch), De La Salle High (Concord), Dougherty Valley High (San Ramon), Foothill High (Pleasanton), Heritage High (Brentwood), Leland High (San Jose), Livermore Valley Charter High (Livermore), Lycée de Francais San Francisco (San Francisco), Miramonte High (Orinda), and Olive Children (Fremont).

WHERE: Diablo Valley College (DVC), 321 Golf Club Rd. Pleasant Hill, CA. The event's opening, keynote speech, awards and closing will all be held in the Performing Arts Center. Committee breakout sessions will be held in nearby DVC classrooms.

WHEN: Friday, November 1, 4:00 – 8:30 p.m. (Keynote speaker will begin at 4:00 p.m.)
Saturday, November 2, 8:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Closing and awards ceremony will begin at 3:00 p.m.)

MEDIA NOTES: Audio, video, and photos are welcomed. Great visuals of Model U.N. pageantry: more than 350 high school students (representing 71 countries) filling up the Diablo Valley College's Performing Arts Center, each representative will be carrying a bright-colored sign signifying their country, and an elaborate decorated stage with numerous flags representing countries from around the world. Best action time slots will be:

  • Friday, 4:00 p.m., all students will be in attendance for the general assembly keynote speaker Kevin Chan, co-founder of Best Delegate and Shannon Thomas is the President of The Olive Tree Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Saturday, 3:00 p.m., entire Model U.N. will gather once more for the general assembly awards and closing ceremony.

The Media is also welcome to cover the smaller committee sessions, as well. They will be held in nearby DVC classrooms.

For additional information about the CCCOE’s Model UN and other academic events, please contact Terry Koehne at (925) 942-3420.

#COCOMUN

September 2013

2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year
will be announced tomorrow

WHAT: Contra Costa County's 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year (TOY) will be announced at the annual TOY Dinner Celebration. Two of the four finalists will go on to represent Contra Costa County in the California State Teacher of the Year Program. The county TOY program is produced by the Contra Costa County Office of Education.

WHO: After being named Teacher of the Year (TOY) by their respective Contra Costa County school districts, then passing a rigorous application screening, followed by a panel classroom observation and interview, and a speech presentation, two of these four finalists will be selected to represent Contra Costa County as its 2013-2014 Teachers of the Year:

 

Cindy EganCindy Egan teaches biology and AP environmental science to grades 11 and 12. Egan, a former career engineer, has worked her entire eight-year-teaching career at San Ramon Valley USD's, San Ramon Valley High (Danville).


Beth LevineBeth Levine, another former engineer, has been an instructor for 14 years. For the past eight years, she has been a fourth- through fifth-grade teacher at West Contra Costa USD's Montalvin Manor Elementary (San Pablo).


Carissa SugdenCarissa Sugden is completing her first year of teaching fifth grade. She has been teaching other grade levels at Mt. Diablo USD's El Monte Elementary (Concord) since 2006.


Nicholas ZefeldNicholas Zefeldt has six years of teaching experience, all at San Ramon Valley USD's, Live Oak Elementary (San Ramon). This is Zefeldt's third year teaching fifth grade.


This year's two Contra Costa County TOYs will join the long list of other finalists, beginning in the 1972-1973 school year. Along with the four finalists, this year's other 18 TOY candidates will also be honored at this event (for complete list below).

WHEN: Thursday, September 26, 2013, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. (the announcement will be made approximately at 9:00 p.m.)

WHERE: Hilton Concord Hotel, 1970 Diamond Blvd., Concord, CA, Golden Gate Ballroom

ACTION:

More than 400 attendees will be on hand. The assembly will include the 22 celebrated TOYs, plus numerous educators (K-college), business executives (sponsors), local government, and local political representatives. The evening's entertainment will be provided by Excelsior Middle School (Byron), directed by the county's 2007-2008 Teacher of the Year Kathy Tickner. Dr. Joseph Ovick, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools, will serve as master of ceremonies. Each of the four finalists, who will be introduced by a former student, will give an inspiring five-minute speech. (The same speech as they gave at the TOY Speech Presentation in late August.) The evening will conclude in excitement and anticipation, with the announcement of the two 2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

2013-14 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives

  • Sandy Ball, Walnut Creek School District, Parkmead Elementary
  • Erin Clark, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter Elementary
  • Lloyd Cornwell, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High
  • Sherry Diestler, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College
  • Cindy Egan, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, San Ramon Valley High
  • Cooper Howard, Lafayette School District, Stanley Middle
  • Lois Laza, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary
  • Beth Levine, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Montalvin Manor Elementary
  • Kim Lockett, Moraga School District, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate
  • Melanie Long, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Delta Vista Middle
  • Therese Long, Orinda Union School District, Sleepy Hollow Elementary
  • Nita Madra, Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo High
  • Steve Mainini, West Contra Costa USD, Kennedy High
  • Jennifer Martinez, Contra Costa County Office of Education, CTE/ROP Clinical Medical Assistant Program
  • Shannon Morton, Brentwood Union School District, Brentwood Elementary
  • Vincent Pitzulo, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High
  • Shannon Prichard, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Monte Gardens Elementary
  • Carissa Sugden, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, El Monte Elementary
  • Jeanne Turner, Byron Union School District, Excelsior Middle
  • Miranda Viechec-Lingbaoan, Pittsburg Unified School District, Heights Elementary
  • Kitty West, Martinez Unified School District, Las Juntas Elementary
  • Nicholas Zefeldt, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Live Oak Elementary

#cocotoy


August 2013

Environmental Media Workshop

Environmental Media Workshop studentsDuring the month of July, 19 current Contra Costa County high school students and recent graduates had been honing their job and life skills to prepare them for additional education and upcoming employment through participation in the Environmental Media Workshop. Headquartered at Vicente Martinez High School, in Martinez, this impressive workshop was true community partnership to assist our next leaders in East Bay’s high-growth job sectors.

With funding provided by the Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board, the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Youth Development Services (YDS), the workshop’s fiscal agent, was able to bring their students together with a number of professional practitioners in the fields of manufacturing and digital media. The four-week program was created and managed by another partner, Lunchbox International.

YDS Specialist Denise Clarke reports, “Along with all of the useful information these students learned, they also earned $800 after completing the 100-hour program.” Clarke and co-worker Oscar Blackwell case-manage the students who are enrolled in a federally funded WIA program (Workforce Investment Act). “In addition with their classroom and hands-on education, these students learned life-skills that will certainly help them in school and on the job. These skills included employment interviewing, resume writing, and on-the-job proficiencies.”

The students studied about rainwater harvesting, and how to build efficient systems for homes and buildings by incorporating piping and specialized rain-collection barrels. Incoming Concord High School senior, Michael Camilleri-Betz, said, “I really enjoy working with the math formulas as we created water-harvesting systems for different types of buildings. We would design specific systems and calculate the best way to collect water coming off a roof and into a rain barrel.”

The entire class impressed the instructors on how well they absorbed the learning materials and then passed the Green Building LEED Certification testing. One of the instructors noted that he’d never seen such a group do so well. After finishing up their certification, the students went right into digital media training. This was another hands-on instruction where the students created a video public service announcement on rainwater harvesting, while learning about lighting, sound, video production and editing, and working with on-air talent.

YDS Manager Catherine Giacalone said, “Our first order is to make sure these students earn their high school diploma, and then prepare them for post secondary education and careers. We are offering such trainings this summer where local employment research forecasts the need to fill manufacturing, digital media and well as health care jobs. East Bay employers continue to look for trained and skilled employees in these areas. This is an expensive area for people to live in, and these work experiences will prepare youth for employment in high-wage, high-growth industry sectors. ”


May 2013

2013-2014 Contra Costa County
Teacher of the Year Finalists Named

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., May 28, 2013 – The following teachers have been named the 2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Finalists: Cindy Egan, San Ramon Valley Unified School District; Beth Levine, West Contra Costa Unified School District; Carissa Sugden, Mt. Diablo Unified School District; Nicholas Zefeldt, 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.

 

Cindy EganCindy Egan teaches biology and AP environmental science to grades 11 and 12. Egan, a former career engineer, has worked her entire eight-year-teaching career at San Ramon Valley USD's, San Ramon Valley High (Danville).


Beth LevineBeth Levine, another former engineer, has been an instructor for 14 years. For the past eight years, she has been a fourth- through fifth-grade teacher at West Contra Costa USD's Montalvin Manor Elementary (San Pablo).


Carissa SugdenCarissa Sugden is completing her first year of teaching fifth grade. She has been teaching other grade levels at Mt. Diablo USD's El Monte Elementary (Concord) since 2006.


Nicholas ZefeldNicholas Zefeldt has six years of teaching experience, all at San Ramon Valley USD's, Live Oak Elementary (San Ramon). This is Zefeldt's third year teaching fifth grade.


The county's TOY program is directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education. With such a 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:

l Application Screening:

On April 19, 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, five teachers were selected to advance to the next phase as semi-finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:

During the weeks of late April and early May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners observed the five semi-finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviewed the candidates, discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques. The results of the two screening processes were then combined to determine the four finalists

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 26, 2013, 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 excitement-filled evening will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

Currently, there is estimated to be 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 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 winner of the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

**From 1976 to 1987, the CCCOE sent two county TOYs, annually, to the California TOY Program. Since 1988, only one TOY had represented Contra Costa County in the state-wide program. This year, the CCCOE will return to naming and entering two county TOYs.

 

Annual ROP Students of Excellence Awards Ceremony
Honors 40 Students

WHAT: The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) will be honoring 40 high school seniors, representing 25 schools in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, with the Students of Excellence Awards for their outstanding achievement in their ROP (Regional Occupational Program) classes. Honored students will each be awarded a certificate of merit and a $200.00 scholarship award.  EVENT PROGRAM

WHO: The Contra Costa County ROP serves nearly 11,000 students annually with classes in 34 high schools throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Currently, there are 368 state-of-the-art career development classes in this program. ROP focuses on career preparation and exploration, hands-on experience, and academic excellence to prepare students for success in college and future careers. ROP provides students with the newest equipment, rigorous academic standards, and classes in emerging technologies. All of the ROP classes and programs are directed by and funded through the CCCOE. For more information about ROP classes, visit their website.

WHEN: Thursday, May 9, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

WHERE: Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord, Calif.

MEDIA NOTES:

  • JPEG photos of each of the awarded students, as well as a PDF copy of the Students of the Excellence Awards program are available upon request.
  • More than 200 attendees will be on hand for this event. Along with the honored students and their families, also on hand will be the students' teachers and ROP business-partnership representatives. In addition, welcoming remarks will be made Contra Costa County Board of Education President Richard Asadoorian, CCCOE Deputy Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, and Contra Costa County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff. The awards will be presented by Sakata; Amy Anderson, John Muir Health; and Karla McCormick, Chevron.
  • Flash photography and video and audio recording are allowed.
  • For more information about this special event, contact CCCOE Director, Student Programs Janet Haun at (925) 942-3368.

The following outstanding students will receive certificates of merit plus $200.00 in scholarship awards (also listed their instructors and title of classes):
(See below list, alphabetical by city)

ALBANY
Albany High School
Cateleya Supawit, Advanced Communications Media, Instructor Jeff Castle

ANTIOCH
Antioch High School
Christopher Febus, Computer Art & Animation, Instructor Erin Susoev
David Chapman, Advanced Automotive Technology, Instructor Bobby Sturgeon
Marrie Fontanilla, ROP Game Art Design, Instructor, Erin Susoev
Robert Tadena, Computer Graphics, Instructor Erin Susoev

Deer Valley High School
Javier Guzman, Advanced Culinary Arts, Instructor Marsha Sias

Dozier-Libbey High School
Rachel Centeno, Sports Medicine, Instructor Kim O'Leary

BERKELEY
Berkeley High School
Colleen Sparks, Advanced Digital Photography, Instructor Gabriel Berent
Keelan Williams, Advanced Video Productions, Instructor Dharini Rasiah
Lily Rockholt, Accelerated Biotechnology, Instructor Evy Kavaler
Michael Grey, AP Environmental Science, Instructor Kate Trimlett

BRENTWOOD
Heritage High School
Dallas Rose-Gebrosky, Fire Science, Instructor Les Putnam
Emily Brennan, Journalism and Publications, Instructor Ken Silman
Jacob Olsen, Robotics Engineering Technology, Instructor, Robert Pardi
Lindsey DePaola, Law Enforcement Careers, Instructor Matt Carr
Stephanie Sanchez, Video Broadcasting, Instructor Gus Guardado

Liberty High School
Anastasiya DeWolf, Dekstop Publishing, Instructor Sharon Johnson
Maeghan McBee, Analytic Forensic Science, Instructor Julie Hubbard

CONCORD
Concord High School
Alison Schmidt, Advanced Photography, Instructor Loralie Gohler
Aryanna Morris, Construction Technology, Instructor Tom Trowbridge
Sydney Rush, Computerized Accounting, Instructor Laurie Harris

Mt. Diablo High School
Sean Malloy, Biological Sciences Lab Research, Instructor, Colin Jones

Yagnacio Valley High School
Cesar Barrera, Careers in Teaching Internships, Instructor Laura Hallberg

DANVILLE
Monte Vista High School
Claire Chow, Computer Graphic Arts, Instructor Diana Govnik

San Ramon Valley High School
Dennis Riley, AP Environmental Science, Instructor Cindy Egan
Zachary Hanze, Intro to Engineering, Instructor Cindy Egan

EL CERRITO
El Cerrito High School
Joshua Ko, Radio Broadcasting, Instructor Corey Mason

HERCULES
Hercules High School
Camille Winfield, Careers in Teaching, Instructor Janet Headington

MARTINEZ
Alhambra High School
Jeremy Aires, CAD, Instructor Jeff Smith

MORAGA
Campolindo High School
Shelby Watts, Advanced Sports Medicine, Instructor Ray Albiento

OAKLEY
Freedom High School
Mickayla Elsberry, Careers with Children, Instructor Elizabeth Rodriguez

PIEDMONT
Piedmont High School
Dina Zangwill, Biotechnology, Instructor Tom Huffaker

PINOLE
Pinole Valley High School
Bryan Vuong, Sports Medicine, Instructor Dan O'Shea

PITTSBURG
Pittsburg High School
Daniel Garcia, Architectural Design, Instructor Andy Kaiser

RICHMOND
DeAnza High School
Jocelyn Rivera, Hospital Health Services, Instructor Kenyetta Haynes

SAN RAMON
California High School
Allison Winter, Play Production, Instructor Laura Woods
Jenna McNaughton. Advanced Sports Medicine, Instructor Shane Borchert

WALNUT CREEK
Las Lomas High School
Yesica Fernandez, Hospital Health Services, Instructor Kathi Mooney

Northgate High School
Kevin Lara, Advanced Photography, Instructor Erin Parsons


April

County's current Teacher of the Year asked to work as a National Geographic Grosvenor Teaching Fellow this summer

Dr. Rona ZollingerMartinez, Calif., April 22, 2013—Current Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year, Rona Zollinger, Ph.D., is one of Fourteen highly respected national educators that has been selected as this year's Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellows, and will spend part of her summer in the Arctic aboard the Lindblad expedition ship National Geographic Explorer. The Fellows program recognizes teachers who best demonstrate excellence in geographic education, and provides an opportunity for them to experience geography through once-in-a-lifetime experiences and to use those experiences in their classrooms.

Dr. Zollinger, who was named the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year last September, said, “It is not often as educators that we get to share in joy and excitement of true wilderness adventure with other educators. As the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year, I am thrilled to work with National Geographic as a Grosvenor Teaching Fellow this summer with other 13 educators in an expedition to learn about climate change and the wonders of the Arctic. I hope to find ways to share the expedition with my students and school district in ways that promote geographic literacy and environmental awareness.”

The 15-year teacher has been teaching her environmental studies academy, New Leaf: A Sustainable Living Collaborative, (core subjects) course at Vicente Martinez High, in Martinez, for the past 12 years. New Leaf is organized around the ecological principles of sustainable education. The curriculum utilizes transdiciplinary strategies and practices of project and place based learning, ecological service learning, and a rites of passage curriculum all done through participation in a small learning community.

Regarding the Program
This professional development opportunity is named in honor of Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Chairman Emeritus National Geographic Society and Education Foundation. The program is designed to give current K-12 classroom teachers and informal educators from the 50 U.S. states, Canada, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico the opportunity to extend Grosvenor's legacy of excellence in geographic education. Selected educators will travel aboard the ship National Geographic Explorer in June, July, or August 2013 to Norway, Arctic Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland or the Canadian High Arctic. While aboard, Fellows will share the importance of geo-literacy with fellow travelers, develop activities to bring back to their classrooms, and have an adventure of a lifetime. Prior to the expedition, all 2013 Grosvenor Teacher Fellows will travel to Washington, D.C. on April 25-28th with all expenses covered to participate in a pre-trip workshop sponsored by Google, National Geographic, and Lindblad Expeditions. 

Through this program, exemplary educators are recognized for their commitment to geo-literacy and are given a professional development opportunity to be actively engaged in finding new ways to bring geographic awareness and ocean stewardship to their classrooms or informal learning environments through a field-based experience.

 

Thirteen Contra Costa Middle and High Schools Named
CA Distinguished Schools

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 12, 2013—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today named 13 Contra Costa County middle and high schools as California Distinguished Schools for 2013 because of their “strong commitment and innovative approaches to improving student-academic achievement.”

The following Contra Costa schools are designated California Distinguished Schools 2013:

Campolindo High (Moraga) and Miramonte High (Orinda) from the Acalanes Union High School District; M.H. Stanley Middle (Lafayette), Lafayette School District; Heritage High (Brentwood), Liberty Union High School District; College Park High (Pleasant Hill), Diablo View Middle (Clayton), and Foothill Middle (Walnut Creek), Mt. Diablo Unified School District; Orinda Intermediate (Orinda), Orinda Union School District; Charlotte Wood Middle (Danville), Diablo Vista Middle (Danville), Gale Ranch Middle (San Ramon), Iron Horse Middle (San Ramon), and Windemere Ranch Middle (San Ramon), San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

The program recognizes elementary and secondary schools in alternating years. Distinguished Schools must meet a variety of eligibility criteria, including designated federal and state accountability measures, and they must provide an in-depth description of two Signature Practices that their staff members believe have contributed to the success of their students. For applications that are accepted, each school receives a site visit by a team of local educators to validate the full implementation of the Signature Practices described in the application.

In Contra Costa County, those school visits were conducted in March by a team of 20 educators from the Contra Costa County Office of Education, augmented by two retired administrators and three district principals. The local Distinguished Schools program is coordinated by Peggy Marshburn, chief communications officer, Contra Costa County Office of Education.

Distinguished Schools are honored at regional award ceremonies, where the state superintendent of California Public Instruction presents each school with a 2013 Distinguished School plaque and flag. The events and awards are funded by donations from many California corporations and statewide-educational organizations.

For more information about the Distinguished School program, visit their website.


Contra Costa County School Districts announce their
2013-2014 Teachers of the Year

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., April 11, 2013 – 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-twenty-two representatives, those who teach grades pre-K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The winner of 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 candidate as follows:

I Application Screening:
On April 19, a committee of 14, representing the county's education, business, and public sector partners carefully review the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rates each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, five teachers will be selected to advance to the next phase as semi-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 semi-finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques. The results of the two screening processes are then combined to determine the three finalists. (The three finalists will be announced in late May.)

III Speech Presentation:
This coming August, the three 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 26, 2013, 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 three 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 2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year.

2013-2014 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

Sandy Ball, Walnut Creek School District, Parkmead Elementary

Erin Clark, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter Elementary

Lloyd Cornwell, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High

Sherry Diestler, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College

Cindy Egan, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, San Ramon Valley High

Cooper Howard, Lafayette School District, Stanley Middle

Lois Laza, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary

Beth Levine, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Montalvin Manor Elementary

Kim Lockett, Moraga School District, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate

Melanie Long, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Delta Vista Middle

Therese Long, Orinda Union School District, Sleepy Hollow Elementary

Nita Madra, Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo High

Steve Mainini, West Contra Costa USD, Kennedy High

Jennifer Martinez, Contra Costa Count Office of Education, CTE/ROP Clinical Medical Assistant Program

Shannon Morton, Brentwood Union School District, Brentwood Elementary

Vincent Pitzulo, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High
Shannon Prichard, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Monte Gardens Elementary

Carissa Sugden, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, El Monte Elementary

Jeanne Turner, Byron Union School District, Excelsior Middle

Miranda Viechec-Lingbaoan, Pittsburg Unified School District, Heights Elementary

Kitty West, Martinez Unified School District, Las Juntas Elementary

Nicholas Zefeldt, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Live Oak 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 adults, 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

 

Contra Costa County Single Subject and Specialty* Teacher Job Fair

PITTSBURG, Calif., April 4, 2013 – The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) will present their Contra Costa County Single Subject and Specialty* Teacher Job Fair, on Saturday, April 13, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the Pittsburg High School gymnasium, 1750 Harbor St., in Pittsburg. (*Specialty teachers: special education, math, science, and bilingual.)

Attendees will discover a number of Contra Costa County teaching positions that will be available in the next school year.  Along with the CCCOE, representatives from seven Contra Costa County school districts: Antioch, Liberty Union High, Martinez, Mt. Diablo, Pittsburg, San Ramon Valley, and West Contra Costa, will be recruiting for open positions. Some interviews will be held on site.

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


March

Numerous Local Representatives will Present at
The Eighth Annual Young Children's Issues Forum

WHAT: The Ninth Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, will be held this coming Saturday morning, in Concord. This free annual community event is sponsored and organized by the 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 event is to provide a forum for discussion among legislators, local officials, and the community regarding current children's issues. Historically, the majority of the event attendees are early childhood educators, preschool teachers, program administrators, community college faculty, and representatives from community agencies. This year's theme is: Speak Out for Children: Educate and Advocate.

The program will feature three separate panel presentations: (1) State and Congressional Legislators, (2) Local Elected Officials and Public Agency Officers, (3) Business Leaders.

WHO: Ted Lempert, president of Children Now will be a guest moderator and will lead discussions with the first two panels (State and Congressional Legislators and Local Elected Officials and Public Agency Officers). David Pontecorvo, senior program officer of the East Bay Community Foundation, will follow as moderator of the Business Leaders' panel. All three panels will focus on the current status of young children's health, education, social and child care services.

Panel participants will include Mark DeSaulnier, senator, 7th District; Nancy Skinner, assemblymember, 15th District; Joan Buchanan, assemblymember, 16th District; Dr. Joseph Ovick, superintendent, Contra Costa County; and Karen Mitchoff, supervisor, District IV. For a complete list of participants and program, visit this Web page.

WHEN: Saturday, March 23, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Willow Pass Community Center, is located at 2748 East Olivera Rd., in Concord.

MEDIA NOTES: Approximately 250 attendees are expected. Video recording and still photography are allowed.

ADDITONAL INFORMATION: For more event information about the Ninth Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, please contact the Contra Costa Local Planning Council for Child Care and Development Coordinator Ruth Fernandez at (925) 942-3413.


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

Campolindo High School State ACADECA teamMORAGA, Calif., March 20, 2013—The recently crowned Contra Costa County High School Academic Decathlon Champions, Campolindo High School, (see story) had a very impressive past weekend at the 2013 California Academic Decathlon, held in Sacramento.

Campolindo’s coach Paul Verbanszky reported that the team represented Contra Costa County very well at the state competition. The team received the Most Improved School Award in state ranking for schools of all sizes—increasing from 40th to 24th place and they are the state champions for medium-sized schools. The team also earned 12 individual achievement awards. Verbanszky said “The team is incredibly excited to represent Contra Costa County and Northern California schools in the Online Academic Decathlon National in April”

The main winner overall (Los Angeles Unified School District's Granada Hills Charter High School) will represent California at this year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Minneapolis, Minn., April 25 – 27. All the other division winners, such as Camplindo, will compete online during the same time. 

Campolindo’s highest scorer, Marina Han, said, “I felt pretty confident at State and really enjoyed the competition. I felt like I was in my element. I am slightly nervous, but looking forward to compete at the national level.”

Tristan Caro, who collected three individual medals in Sacramento, said, “I thought it was great that in just a few years we went from barely reaching 2nd place in county to making national competition. It really says something to the effort of everyone on the team and the dedication of the team members.”

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.”

 

Numerous community members come together for a heartfelt event created for East County special education students

WHAT:

Excitement has been certainly mounting as a number of special education students from Contra Costa County Office of Education's East County Student Programs at Turner Elementary are preparing for the upcoming Special Olympics Basketball Skills Clinic and Panda Express catered lunch (provided by their Panda Cares program). This tremendous event was created by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), in partnership with Special Olympics of Northern California.

WHO:

Approximately 75 participating special educations students from five Contra Costa CCCOE Turner Elementary (Antioch) classrooms, two CCCOE classes at Park Middle (Antioch), one CCCOE class from Deer Valley High School (Antioch), Kimball Elementary (Antioch), and Foothill Middle (Pittsburg) schools. The students will be aided by their teachers, members of Special Olympics of Northern California, and volunteers.

There will also be ten non-disabled peers from Walnut Creek Intermediate School supporting their fellow students with the basketball skill drills. These generous volunteers work with Special Olympics students through Project UNIFY. It is not only the special education student-athletes who benefit from the School Partnership Program. The lives of the non-disabled students are also impacted. Through their interaction with the student-athletes, the non-disabled students learn respect and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities and to dispel negative attitudes and stereotypes. There is no question that the life lessons gained for both the special education student-athletes and the non-disabled students goes far beyond the playing field of sport

WHERE:

Contra Costa County Office of Education's East County Student Programs, at Turner Elementary School, 4207B Delta Fair Blvd., Antioch, Calif. (The basketball drills will take place behind the main building, while the Panda Express lunch will be served in the multi-purpose room.)

WHEN:

March 8, (Special Olympics will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Classes will rotate through for lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)

MEDIA NOTES:

Members of the media are welcomed to cover this event. Be sure to check-in with the school's front desk. There will be a number of disabled and non-disable students that have signed photo/video releases. The students' teachers will be able to help you with identifying the students with signed releases.

 

Ninth Annual Young Children's Issues Forum

CONCORD, Calif., March 5, 2013 – The public is invited to The Ninth Annual Young Children's Issues Forum, to be held on Saturday, March 23, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the Willow Pass Community Center, 2748 East Olivera Rd., Concord. 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. Invited legislators include: Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner.

Ted Lempert, executive director of Children Now, will be the guest moderator and will lead discussions of state legislators and local officials who will speak about the current status of young children's health, education, social services, and child-care services. This year's Forum will present a new panel featuring business leaders who will share their views about the importance of investing in early care and education. David Pontecorvo, senior program officer of the East Bay Community Foundation will be guest moderator for the business panel.

Historically, the majority of the event attendees are early childhood educators, preschool teachers, program administrators, community college faculty, and representatives from community agencies. Resources and other information related to child care and education, a benefit to parents, will be available at the event. The LPC hopes to encourage and foster parent participation, as well as participation of all early care and education professionals in the county, including private and state-funded child development centers and family care providers.

For more information about the annual Young Children's Issues Forum, please contact the Contra Costa Local Planning Council for Child Care and Development Coordinator Ruth Fernandez at (925) 942-3413. This is a free event, but attendance registration is required. Please visit the website to register and for more details.

**Recently, the California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA) awarded the Young Children's Issues Forum with their highest accolade in their annual Excellence in Communications Awards, by earning the California Gold Award. The 2012 annual forum was also presented with a joint Resolution from the State Assembly authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and co-authored by Assemblymembers Buchanan, Skinner, Frazier and Senators De Saulnier and Hancock.


February

Miramonte returns as Contra Costa County's High School
Mock Trial Championship Team

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., March 1, 2013 — After a number of speeches made by the coaches and individual awards given out to participating students, the exciting 32nd Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial's Awards Ceremony concluded with the naming of this year's championship team: Miramonte High School (Orinda). This is Miramonte's second win in a row; they have dominated the county's Mock Trial program since 2000, winning 10 championships.

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 to preparing for their trials.

For the past four weeks (seven evenings), the Miramonte High School and sixteen other Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams have been battling it out with each other inside the superior courthouse courtrooms in Martinez, in the Contra Costa County Office of Education's 32th Annual High School Mock Trial Competition. Miramonte High School will now represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in Riverside, Calif., March 23-25. (The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Indianapolis, Ind., May 9-11.)

Teams from the following 17 Contra Costa County high schools competed:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch (Antioch), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), 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. Miramonte
  2. California
  3. Acalanes
  4. Monte Vista

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, close to 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. These volunteers represented judges from Contra Costa County's Superior Court, California Bankruptcy Court, and California Appellate Court. Attorney Scorers included district attorneys, public defenders, and state attorney general deputies; public, private, and corporate attorneys; and senior Bay Area laws students, from Contra Costa County, as well as nearby counties.

 

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 17 other schools inside the superior courthouse courtrooms in Martinez, in the Contra Costa County Office of Education's 32nd Annual High School Mock Trial Competition. Tonight, one of these two teams will be awarded the county's Mock Trial Championship Team Trophy. (Same two teams as last year.) The final-two matches, Miramonte vs. California High (Championship Round) and Acalanes High vs. Monte Vista High (Consolation Round), were held this past Tuesday night (2/26).

The Championship team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in Riverside, Calif., March 23-25. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Indianapolis, Ind., May 9-11.

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. 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 80 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 17 Contra Costa County high schools participated:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch (Antioch), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), 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).

WHEN:

Thursday, February 28, 2013, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

WHERE:

Contra Costa County Office of Education (Board Room), 77 Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasant Hill, CA

 

County Office of Education promotes new Deputy Superintendent

Karen Sakata CCCOE Deputy SuperintendentPLEASANT HILL, Calif. February 25, 2013 – Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., recently promoted Karen Sakata as the new Deputy Superintendent for the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Sakata brings more than 38 years of experience as an education administrator and teacher to her new position as the CCCOE's second-in-command.

Recently, Sakata had been serving as the CCCOE'S Associate Superintendent, human resources, a position she transferred to after working as the agency's Associate Superintendent, student and program 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). Prior 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.

"With her wealth of experience in education and numerous successful accomplishments in the classroom and in administration here in Contra Costa County, we are quite excited about Karen taking on this new position," reports Dr. Ovick. “Karen is a dynamic leader who is passionate about life-long learning. Our students, educators, and administrators will certainly benefit from her guidance.”

Under the direction of Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ovick, Sakata will be directing day-to-day activities of the CCCOE; analyze County Office issues and provide recommendations to the superintendent concerning appropriate course of action; serve as the superintendent in the absence of the administrator; and review, analyze, and sign documents and contracts on behalf of the superintendent. In addition, Sakata will continue her role in directing the CCCOE's human resources department.

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.

 

Contra Costa County's 3rd Annual STEAM Colloquium
Scheduled for February 8

SAN RAMON, Calif., January 30, 2013 – The 3RD Annual San Francisco Bay Area STEAM Colloquium's program of events is now posted. The Bay Area's premier STEAM education conference will be held on Thursday, February 8, from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center, in San Ramon. Full STEAM Ahead: Pathways to the Future, is the title of this year's event.

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.

The STEAM Colloquium's Coordinator Hilary Dito reports that the day-long program will address critical issues in implementing STEAM education into our schools by showcasing current successful examples. The day's agenda will feature a number of outstanding breakout sessions, as well as featured plenary presentations.

Currently, tickets are still available. Registration fee is $40 per person, and includes continental breakfast and lunch. For those who would like to register or learn more about this exciting program, visit the STEAM Colloquium registration page, or contact Hilary Dito, at (925) 942-3396.
#steamcolloq


January

More than 300 educators are expected at the 3rd 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 3RD Annual San Francisco Bay Area STEAM Colloquium, titled Full STEAM Ahead: Pathways to the Future. 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 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 day-long program will address critical issues in implementing STEAM education into our schools by showcasing current successful examples. The day's agenda will feature a number of outstanding breakout sessions, as well as featured plenary presentations.

Currently, tickets are still available. Registration fee is $40 per person, and includes continental breakfast and lunch. For those who would like to register or learn more about this exciting program, visit the STEAM Colloquium registration page.

WHEN: Friday, February 8, 2013, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

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

WHO: For additional information email: Hilary Dito, or at (925) 942-3396.

Follow the STEAM Colloquium on Twitter: #steamcolloq


Campolindo High School is Contra Costa County's
2013 Academic Decathlon Champion

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., February 4, 2013 – History truly repeated itself when the top three 2013 Contra Costa County High School Academic Decathlon finishing teams were a carbon copy of last year's results. At tonight's exciting Academic Decathlon Awards Reception, Campolindo High School (Moraga) Red Team once again finished in first place, and will go on to represent Contra Costa County in the California State Academic Decathlon competition. Also in repeating rolls, Campolindo's Blue Team, took 2nd place, and Acalanes (Lafayette) High School finished in 3rd.

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 Russia, 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), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), and Pittsburg (Pittsburg). 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. The teams can also bring guests or alternate participants from their school.

The Campolindo Red Team will now represent Contra Costa County at the California State Academic Decathlon, to be held in Sacramento, March 14-17

During the awards ceremony, many individual awards were also given out. This year's Top Overall Academic Decathlon Individual Award went to Zach Scherer, of Campolindo High School. All Academic Decathlon statistics should be posted on the CCCOE's website by next week.

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 Minneapolis, Minn., April 25 – 27.

Note: Quality 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.


Contra Costa County 2013 Academic Decathlon concludes
with the always electrifying Super Quiz™

WHAT:

This year's Contra Costa County 2013 High School Academic Decathlon, which takes place over two consecutive Saturdays, will conclude this coming Saturday, (part one, was held the morning of January 26). 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™.

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 Russia, 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, and literature.

ACTION:

Providing outstanding audio, video, and photo opportunities, the approximately 60-minute Super Quiz™ 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), **Dublin (Dublin), Freedom (Oakley), **Irvington (Fremont), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), and Pittsburg (Pittsburg). Campolindo High School was last year's county champion. 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 14-17. This year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Minneapolis, Minn., April 25 – 27.

(**The winning Alameda County team will represent their county in the California State Academic Decathlon.)

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

MARTINEZ, Calif., January 11, 2013—Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professionals are needed to provide assistance to their future brethren at the upcoming 32nd 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, 120 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 case is a hit-and-run trial (with a texting-while-driving element mixed in): People vs. Vega.

“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.”

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 17 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 17 Contra Costa County high schools will be competing:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), Antioch (Antioch), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), 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 2013 Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials:

Preliminaries: February 5, 7, 12, 14, 5:00-7:30 p.m. (Nine competitions each night)
Quarterfinals: February 19, 5:00-7:30 p.m. (Four competitions)
Semifinals: February 21, 5:00-7:30 p.m. (Two competitions)
Final and Consolation: February 26, 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 by contacting Jonathan Lance at (925) 942-3429.

The two highest-scoring teams will advance to the finals on Tuesday, February 26. The winning team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in Riverside, Calif., March 23-25. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Indianapolis, Ind., May 9-11.

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


Domestic Violence Awareness Month

On October 15th the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will acknowledge the critical issue of domestic violence in a proclamation declaring October 2013 “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”. The county's Domestic Violence Death Review Team will also present a report to the Board of Supervisors on October 15th. Please join us at 9:30 am on Tuesday the 15th in the Board's chambers at 651 Pine Street in Martinez.

Throughout the month of October, STAND! For Families Free of Violence is hosting a series of programs promoting domestic violence awareness in our community.

Join us Thursday October 24th at 6pm for the 8th Annual Men of Merit celebration at the Richmond Auditorium to honor men who make a positive difference in our community. The program's message is that violence does not equal strength. Men of Merit celebrates dynamic men who take a stand to promote a positive image in young men's lives. Contact Wil Broom for more information at 925-603-0103.

Learn More

You can find training opportunities and upcoming events and meetings on our calendar.

View a presentation on Domestic Violence Defined and learn more About Domestic Violence at www.familiesthrive.org.

The NO MORE Campaign recently produced a series of PSAs featuring celebrities to generate awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault and encourage bystanders to help.


September 2013

Contra Costa Public Health Provider Health Advisory
Shortage of TB Skin Test Antigens

SUMMARY:
There is currently a shortage of Tubersol and limited availability of Aplisol, the two purified protein derivative (PPD) solutions used for TB skin tests (TST). Other tests for detecting TB infection such as Interferon Gamma Release Assays (IGRA) (e.g. QuantiFERON and T-SPOT) continue to be available. If you experience difficulty obtaining PPD solution, Contra Costa Public Health recommends testing only those patients at high risk for TB exposure and for progression to active TB disease.

CURRENT SITUATION

  • Over the last few weeks, there have been reports from multiple states of difficulty obtaining both Tubersol and Aplisol.
  • Shortages are expected to continue until sometime in the fall.

BACKGROUND:
In April 2013, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a notification regarding shortages of Tubersol and Aplisol. It was expected that the shortages would be over by June when normal Tubersol production was expected to resume. However, over the last few weeks, there have been reports from multiple states of difficulty obtaining both Tubersol and Aplisol. Production of Tubersol continues to be delayed: the 50-test preparation may not be available and the 10-test preparation may only be available in limited quantities. This has led to an increase in demand for Aplisol resulting in a shortage of both PPD solutions.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
Existing supplies of PPD antigens should be prioritized for persons at increased risk of TB. Specific recommendations include:

  1. Persons who have had a BCG vaccination should not have a TST; if at increased risk of TB, they should be tested with an IGRA.
  2. If possible, programs and providers using TSTs should continue to use the same brand of PPD antigen, as discrepancies have been reported between results of testing from different antigens; the significance of such discrepancies has not been determined. If only one PPD antigen is available, it is acceptable either to switch from the other brand or to an IGRA.
  3. Contacts to an infectious case of TB are the highest priority for TB testing; with the exceptions noted above, TB contacts may be tested with an IGRA or a TST; if neither PPD antigen is available, an IGRA should be used regardless of age. Children under 5 years of age with a positive test should be reported to Contra Costa Public Health on a Confidential Morbidity Report form (http://cchealth.org/cd/pdf/cmr_110b.pdf).
  4. Persons at increased risk of TB disease are the next highest priority for TB testing; in most cases, an IGRA may be used instead of a TST.
  5. Occupational testing for TB may be performed with either an IGRA or a TST. However, problems may arise when switching from one method to the other due to discrepant results. Occupational TB testing utilizing TSTs should be deferred at this time until supplies are once again readily available. Such programs may choose to convert to IGRA testing. Programs already utilizing IGRAs may continue testing without interruption.
  6. TB testing of low risk patients is not recommended, due to the relative likelihood of false positive results.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS:
The Contra Costa Public Health, Communicable Disease Programs can be reached 8AM-5PM M-F at: 925-313-6740 (phone) or 925-313-6465 (fax).

More information may be found at www.cchealth.org or www.cdc.gov


June 2013

Contra Costa hepatitis A case may be linked to
Townsend Farms frozen berries

A case of hepatitis A in Contra Costa County may be linked to a multistate outbreak being investigated in connection with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries sold at Costco stores. Local health officials warn residents not to eat the berries and urge anyone who has eaten the product in the last 14 days to contact their health care provider about getting vaccinated to help prevent the illness.

About 880 bags of frozen berries were sold at Costco stores throughout Contra Costa County since February. A 62-year-old woman from East Contra Costa County was hospitalized after becoming ill with hepatitis last month and has since recovered. She purchased the frozen berry blend from a Costco in Contra Costa and her illness is likely connected to the berries.

According to state and federal health officials, which issued a warning on Friday, about 30 people in 5 states, including California, have gotten sick with hepatitis A after eating Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries “a mixture of cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries” purchased from Costco stores. Costco has taken the product off its store shelves, and is alerting consumers who purchased the product since late February 2013 not to eat it. The product may also be sold at other stores, and the investigation is ongoing. Contra Costa Public Health will continue to work with the California Department of Public Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the outbreak.

Hepatitis A illness can start between two and six weeks after exposure. Common symptoms are dark yellow or brown urine, yellowing of skin and white parts of eyes (called jaundice), diarrhea or light-colored stool, fever/chills, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, upset stomach, stomach pain in the upper right side of the belly, and fatigue. Hepatitis A disease can be mild, especially in children, or it can be severe, with symptoms lasting several months and requiring hospitalization. People who get sick, even with mild symptoms, after eating the berries should contact their health care provider right away.

People who have had hepatitis A before or have been vaccinated are likely immune. People who may have been exposed to hepatitis A can be vaccinated within 14 days of exposure. More information about hepatitis A is available on the Contra Costa Health Services website at http://cchealth.org/hepatitis-a/


April 2013

Do not touch bats - reminder to schools and students

This message is to remind school officials that the handling of live or dead bats presents a serious disease risk to Contra Costa residents. During this school year, children on two separate occasions have brought bats to their schools. We are asking school officials to remind students, parents, teachers, staff, and principals that they should never, ever touch a bat.

Throughout California and the world, bats play an important ecological role—but bats also test positive for rabies more than any other type of animal in Contra Costa County. Rabies infection of humans can occur through bites and other types of direct contact with rabid bats or other wildlife. Rabies in humans can usually be prevented with treatment given right after a bite, but once symptoms appear, the infection is nearly always fatal.

If a bat has been found in a school or in the possession of a student, immediately contact Contra Costa Animal Services at (925) 335-8300 for collection and rabies testing of the bat. If there has been any human contact with a bat, seek medical attention and call Contra Costa Public Health at (925) 313-6740.

Last summer, a Contra Costa man died from rabies he'd acquired months earlier while handling a bat in Contra Costa County. This tragedy serves as an important reminder that Contra Costa residents should avoid contact with wildlife, particularly bats, and should alert Animal Services at (925) 335-8300 whenever they find a bat.

There is more information about rabies on the Contra Costa Public Health website: http://cchealth.org/rabies/

Please feel free to contact Contra Costa Public Health at (925) 313-6740 with any questions.


County to test students at Antioch school for
tuberculosis after case confirmed

Contra Costa County health officials are investigating a case of tuberculosis involving a student at a high school in Antioch. The student was confirmed to have active tuberculosis on March 25th and is no longer infectious. Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease Chief Erika Jenssen said staff from the health department's Tuberculosis Control Program is working with school officials at Deer Valley High School to inform parents. Letters have been sent to parents and guardians of students who may have been exposed. “We know parents may be concerned and we are working closely with the school officials to ensure all appropriate measures are taken to protect students. Tuberculosis generally does not spread easily, and infection usually requires at least six to eight hours of close contact,” Jenssen said. “As a protective measure, we will test those who shared classrooms or were in a club with the student.”

Tuberculosis is caused by a germ that usually infects the lungs and can be spread from person to person through coughing. It is treatable with an extended course of medications. Symptoms of active tuberculosis include a prolonged cough, fever, night sweats and unexpected weight loss of at least 10 pounds. There were 55 reported cases of tuberculosis in Contra Costa County in 2012. Most people who are exposed to tuberculosis will not become infected. Most people who are infected with the germ will not develop active tuberculosis, will not have symptoms and cannot spread the germ to others. According to Jenssen, tuberculosis infection can be identified in its early stages with a simple blood or skin test. If a test is positive, a chest X-ray is usually necessary to determine if the infection is active tuberculosis.

Jenssen said concerned students and parents could also contact their health care provider for further testing. To learn more about tuberculosis visit www.cchealth.org/tb or call 211.

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Page updated on: April 14, 2017

Rev: 0.4-010514-BETA4