Dateline Masthead
Contra Costa County Office of EducationDecember 2012
In this issue
3rd Annual CCCOE STEAM Colloquium
Digital Citizenship Webinar Series
A Road Map to Kindergarten
The Distinguished Speaker Series
Cool Tools IX
Assessment and the Common Core State Standards
Text Complexity and its Role in the Common Core State Standards
The Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society
High School Mock Trials (Law Professional volunteers needed)
Academic Decathlon (volunteers needed)
Bay Area Education Resource Fair
The 10th Annual Get Real Academy
Emergency Shelter-in-Place Preparedness Grants
The Captain Planet Foundation
Contra Costa County Science & Engineering Fair
Annual LegiSchool Projects Essay Contest
Dr. Martin Luther King Poster and Essay Contests
Choose Civility: Speak Kindly
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
Welcome to Dateline!


Welcome to the December 2012 issue of Dateline. This informative newsletter is for all those in Contra Costa County who work in education. Please tell your fellow teachers and administrators, as well as your friends who would be interested in joining our mailing list (click here, or the link button at the left column).  

Professional Development / Opportunities

3rd Annual CCCOE STEAM Colloquium
Full STEAM Ahead: Pathways to the Future is the title of the 3rd Annual CCCOE STEAM Colloquium, which is a forum to discuss and share best practices in STEAM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education. Participants will include STEAM educators, business leaders, and community organizations. The colloquium will feature outstanding breakout sessions and keynote speakers.   

Date and location: February 8, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., San Ramon Valley Conference Center, San Ramon  

For info, sponsorship opportunities, and presentation proposals: Contact Hilary Dito at (925) 942-3396, and be sure to follow STEAM Colloquium updates on its Web page and Twitter hashtag #steamcolloq

Fee: $40 per person (early bird price ends January 11); $30 per person (teams of three, pre-registered at same time)

Digital Citizenship Webinar Series
A webinar series, produced in partnership by the CCCOE, AT&T, and Region IV CTAP, will be covering the issues surrounding digital citizenship. These presentations are directed to school-district or school-site administrators, teacher leaders, and technology managers. The one-hour sessions are presented by nationally recognized guest speakers, representing such services as NetSmartz and Common Sense Media. Each webinar will leave time for questions from the participants.

Dates: Multiple sessions, December-February

For info: Visit their website

Fee: Free

A Road Map to Kindergarten´┐Ż Seminar

A Road Map to Kindergarten´┐Ż is designed to promote meaningful conversations between parents, educators, and community members about the importance of planning for and facilitating children's smooth transitions into kindergarten. This seminar will introduce participants to the attractive and easy-to-follow guide, as they learn about the 16 important steps for parents to follow as they prepare their children for a successful start in school. 

Date and location: January 5, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.; Contra Costa Child Care Council, Concord
Fee: $40.00, participants can register on Eventbrite
For info: Contact Ruth Fernandez at (925) 942-3413
The Distinguished Speaker Series

This Saturday seminar series provides a broad range of opportunities for professional educators to learn research-based techniques and strategies from local and national professionals. Keynote and breakout sessions cover a variety of topics and grade levels, and provide practical and purposeful tools for both general and special educators to improve teaching practice. Networking opportunities with educators from other schools and districts are another key benefit. The program meets BTSA Induction professional development requirement. Graduate academic credit or continuing education units may also be earned. 

Dates and location: January 26, February 23, April 6, and May 11, all seminars are held 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.; Saint Mary's College, Moraga

For info: Contact Patrice Young at 925-631-4936, or visit their website

Fee: $65 for individual sessions; Graduate academic semester units are available for a special rate of $165/unit (maximum of six units per year).

Cool Tools IX
CCCOE Common Core State Standards Speakers Series:
Assessment and the Common Core State Standards

Magda Y. Chia, Ph.D. director, SMARTER Balanced, Support for Under-represented Students will discuss assessment and the Common Core State Standards. Dr. Chia leads the consortium's efforts to ensure the assessment system is designed to effectively serve the needs of all students, including students with disabilities and English language learners. She will provide support to SMARTER Balanced work groups and advisory committees, and facilitate input from outside experts and stakeholders on assessment development and teacher supports. 

Date and location: January 8, 1:00-3:00 p.m. or 4:30-6:30 p.m.; CCCOE

For info: Contact Marsha Tokuyoshi at (925) 942-3385, or visit the CCCOE Common Core State Standards' Web page

Fee: $15, participants can register via Eventbrite

CCCOE Common Core State Standards Speakers Series:
Text Complexity and its Role in the Common Core State Standards

Timothy Shanahan, Ph.D., professor and author of Teaching with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, will present on text complexity and its role in the Common Core State Standards. Dr. Shanahan is a distinguished professor of urban education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is director of the Center for Literacy and chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. He is a principal investigator on the National Title I Study of Implementation and Outcomes: Early Childhood Language Development. He was the director of reading for the Chicago Public Schools. His research emphasizes reading-writing relationships, reading assessment, and improving reading achievement. 

About: This Speaker Series will focus on the key instructional components of the Common Core State Standards by utilizing the expertise of practitioners to support teachers with their instructional alignment. Participants will also learn strategies for increasing rigor and raising the level of student engagement in their classrooms.

Date and location: January 24, 1:00-3:00 p.m. or 4:30-6:30 p.m.; CCCOE

For info: Contact Marsha Tokuyoshi at (925) 942-3385, or visit the CCCOE Common Core State Standards' Web page

Fee: $15, participants can register via Eventbrite

Upcoming Events / Field Trips

The Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society
High School Mock Trials (Law Professional volunteers needed)

The CCCOE is looking for additional members of the California Bar Association and second- and third-year law students to serve as scorers and judges at the upcoming 32nd Annual Contra Costa County Mock Trial Program. New volunteers will be joining more than 100 practicing and retired Bay Area lawyers, district attorneys, public defenders, and judges, as well as Bay Area college law students, who will be returning as Mock Trial scorers and judges.

Dates and locations: February 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, and 26, 5:00-8:00 p.m.; Martinez courthouses  

For info: Contact Jonathan Lance, CCCOE, at (925) 942-3429 or visit the Mock Trial website 
Academic Decathlon (volunteers needed)
Bay Area Environmental Education Resource Fair

For 36 years, educators, parents, and students concerned about the environment we share, have been coming to the Bay Area Environmental Education Resource (BAEER) Fair for the latest in classroom materials, environmental education programs, and information about field trip sites.  More than 70 exhibitioners will be on hand to provide a variety of events, demonstrations, interactive opportunities, and workshops.

Date and location: January 19, 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Marin Civic Center Exhibit Hall, San Rafael

Fee: Sliding scale

For info: Visit the BAEER website

The 10th Annual Get Real Academy

The 10th Annual Get Real Academy, presented by Soroptimist International, is a life-skills conference for high school senior girls focusing on life after high school. Seminars throughout the day will include such topics as money management, women's health, domestic and workplace violence issues, insurance, career success, and job search tips. Sign-ups are now being taken.  

Date and location: March 1, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.; Embassy Suites, Walnut Creek
For info: Contact Bert Vigil at (510) 517-1314
Deadline: February 13
Fee: Free 
Grants / Scholarships
Emergency Shelter-in-Place Preparedness Grants

The Contra Costa County Community Awareness and Emergency Response (CAER) provides up to $2,000 grants to improve the preparedness of Contra Costa County schools and agencies in responding effectively to shelter-in-place emergencies. The proposed drills and exercises must have a stated list of objectives and goals that must be addressed. 

For info: Contact Lori McDonald at (925) 313-9296 or visit CAER's 


Deadline: February 1 

The 2013 Youth Garden Grants

The National Gardeners Association is delighted to announce that The Home Depot Garden Club continues to sponsor Youth Garden Grants. In the past six years, The Home Depot Garden Club has contributed over $400,000 to support school garden programs. In its 30-year history, Youth Garden Grants have supported more than 1.3 million youngsters through gardening programs. Thanks to the generosity of The Home Depot Garden Club, five winners will receive gift cards valued at $1,000, and 95 winners will receive $500 gift cards, to purchase gardening materials and supplies from their local Home Depot store specific to the needs of their program

Deadline: December 3

For info: Visit their website 

The Captain Planet Foundation

The Captain Planet Foundation funds grants to promote understanding of environmental issues for school-age children. Grant amounts range from $250-$2500, with applications reviewed three times a year.

Next Deadline: February 28

For info: Visit their website 

Resources / Contests

Contra Costa County Science & Engineering Fair 
Contra Costa County businesses will once again join our county's educators to produce the 8th Annual Intel-Affiliated Contra Costa County Science & Engineering Fair, this coming spring. The program is for grades 7-12 students.

Dates and location: March 21-23; Los Medanos College, Science Building

For info: Contact Liz Ritchie at (925) 684-4995 or visit the Science & Engineering Fair's website

Deadlines: Pre-approval project deadline was October 30, (post-marked); Final project approval deadline is January 18, 2013 (postmarked) 

Fee: $20 per student 

Annual LegiSchool Projects Essay Contest
The LegiSchool Project's Center for California Studies is seeking entries for their annual essay contest.  This year, students are asked to share their views on The DREAM ActThe contest is open to 11th- and 12th-grade students attending California high schools. Ten winning essayists will be selected and will receive round-trip travel to the Sacramento State Capitol to participate in the 17th annual Student Legislative Summit on April 10. LegiSchool Project is a civic education collaboration between California State University, Sacramento and the California State Legislator, and is administrated by the Center for California Studies. 

For info: Contact Megan Thorall at (916) 278-7563 or visit their website

Deadline: January 18 

Dr. Martin Luther King Poster and Essay Contests
As part of their annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday, Dow Company is offering two special contests (essay writing and poster making) for students in grades 9-12, attending high schools in Pittsburg, Antioch, Bay Point, Brentwood, and Oakley. Dr. King states: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Participants are asked communicate what the statement means to them. The top competitors in each contest will receive cash prizes and will be asked to present their projects at Dow's MLK celebration, on January 17.  

For info: Contact Patty Deutsche at (925) 432-5576 or visit the contests' Web page

Deadlines: The essays and posters shall be postmarked no later than December 17

Choose Civility

Speak Kindly - The Choose Civility Principle for December

"A kind word is like a spring day." -- Russian Proverb


The Choose Civility principle Speak Kindly is at the heart of civil behavior. If a person isn't able to speak with consideration and kindness then it is almost impossible to incorporate the other nine principles of the Choose Civility campaign.


P.M. Forni writes in his book, Choosing Civility, that to speak kindly you need to be aware constantly that you are speaking to living, breathing, vulnerable human beings. Forni writes, "When you speak kindly to others, you manage to keep them in mind as you speak - which means keeping at bay, at least for a while, the pressing demands of your needs. 


Showing kindness is as much a matter of tone as it is one of words. Forni goes on to say, "Look the other person in the eye, smile when you speak, and keep a moderate volume. Even if trying to resolve a conflict do so in a fair fashion. Never yell at anybody. Keep in mind that people always respond to the tone of your voice and your body language."  Civil conversation has no place for profanities. Never embarrass or mortify. Always think before speaking. Smile. Make sure you need to speak (sometimes silence can be kinder and more considerate than words).


The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation recommends practicing kind speech in everyday conversation. For one day, keep every negative thought, frustration or complaint to yourself and only share your positive comments with others. See the silver lining in the cloud in every situation.



Don't stop at one day! Try speaking kindly for a whole week, and then for another, until it is second nature. Share your new secret to positive thought with your friends, family and work colleagues and encourage them to try it out too. You will have less negative thoughts in general, and you will become a positive influence to all those around you.


Excerpt from P.M. Forni's book, Choosing Civility


About CCCOE's Monthly Focus

Choosing Civility, by Dr. P.M. Forni, lists twenty-five rules of considerate conduct. Over this school year, the CCCOE will consider ten of these principles. For additional information about our Choose Civility initiative, please visit our website.


Published by the Contra Costa County Office of Education Communications Office
77 Santa Barbara Road, Pleasant Hill, California 94523
Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools
Editor: Peggy Marshburn; Writer/Layout: Jonathan Lance, (925) 942-3429;
Diane Morrell, Designer; June Stephens, Web Developer 
Dateline is distributed during the school year to all public schools in the county by the Communications Office. Information must be received by the first of the preceding month. Publication does not signify the Contra Costa County Office of Education endorses the event or program mentioned.


Jonathan Lance