Dateline Masthead
Contra Costa County Office of EducationDecember 2013
In this issue
Big Idea Fest 2013
Cool Tools X
3rd Annual Distinguished Speaker Series
Leading Edge Certification for the Administrator
Leading Edge Certification for Online and Blended Teacher
4th Annual San Francisco Bay Area STEAM Colloquium
Travel Back in Time with AP Images
Argument Writing in the Common Core
Common Core Research and Writing on the iPad
Connecting Math and Literacy
Instructional Tools to Increase Lesson Engagement and Academic Language Proficiency for Common Core
Constructing and Sustaining Long Term Concept Memory and Executive Functions
The 11th Annual Get Real Academy
High School Mock Trials
The 2014 Youth Garden Grants
Emergency Shelter-in-Place Preparedness Grants
The Captain Planet Foundation
Coastal Art & Poetry Contest.
Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair
18th Annual LegiSchool Projects Essay Contest
Choose Civility - "Accept and Give Praise"
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
Welcome to Dateline!


Welcome to the December 2013 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

Big Idea Fest 2013

The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education is hosting the 4th Annual Big Ideas Fest. This three-day gathering of the nation's most creative makers and doers in education brings together champions across K-12, higher education, and informal learning, to participate in a truly unique interactive experience. You'll hear from inspiring speakers and take part in action collaboratives designed to incubate solutions to address education's most pressing challenges.

Date and location: December 4-7; Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

For info: Visit their website

Fee: $730 covers registration and meals (only)

Cool Tools X

East Bay CUE's Cool Tools, now in its tenth year, is a professional development and networking event for educators, with morning interactive concurrent sessions and afternoon intensive, hands-on workshops. Topics focus on integrating technology in teaching and learning. Bring your laptop, tablet, or smart device for a day of exploration and learning. 

Date and location: February 2, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Head-Royce School, Oakland

For info: Contact Eileen C. Walters or register here

Fee: $75 pre-registration, $90 on-site registration, includes breakfast, lunch, entry into the prize drawings, and CUE membership (new or one-year renewal)

3rd Annual 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 25, February 22, March 29, and May 3, all seminars are held 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Saint Mary's College, Moraga

For info: Contact Adrienne Lipman at 925-631-4831, or visit their

Fee: $65 for individual sessions (academic credit available)

Leading Edge Certification for the Administrator

Do you want to enhance your digital leadership skills? Are you interested in supporting students and staff in developing 21st Century college and career readiness? Are you ready to be a transformative leader? Leading Edge Certification for the Administrator focuses on site, district, and regional leaders and is based upon the National Education Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS). Participants will learn how to effectively unitize technology tools, resources, and innovative solutions to advance student achievement, foster educator productivity, and extend learning opportunities for all. Upon successful completion, the certification will give schools, districts, and other prospective employers assurance that Leading Edge Certified administrators have the skills to effectively lead schools through the 21st Century and provide visionary leadership among all stakeholders of their organization. 

Dates and location: Four complete programs will be offered between September 27, 2013-August 24, 2014 (includes one face-to-face meeting on the first day and 45-60 hours online training); the meetings will be held at the CCCOE

For info: Contact Eileen C. Walters at (925) 942-3435, or visit the program's website

Fee: $750, includes course, as well as portfolio review and certification

Leading Edge Certification for Online and Blended Teacher

Are you interested in teaching online, but unsure where to start, or are you already teaching online and want to enhance your skills? The Leading Edge Alliance and a group of county offices of education, nonprofits, universities, and governmental bodies have developed a certification program for K-12 teachers. The certification is a national program to prepare instructional leaders for online learning. Content includes building community, moderating discussions, supporting diverse learners, and implementing frequent formative assessments.

Dates: Three complete programs will be held October 7, 2013-August 10, 2014 (includes 45-60 hours online training)

For info: Contact Eileen C. Walters at (925) 942-3435, or visit the program's website

Fee: $450, includes course, as well as portfolio review and certification

4th Annual San Francisco Bay Area STEAM Colloquium 

Full STEAM Ahead: At the Corner of Common Core and STEAM 
is the title of the fourth annual CCCOE STEAM Colloquium. This very
successful forum provides discussion and shares best practices in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) education. This STEAM Colloquium brings together numerous K-12 educators, administrators, professionals, legislative policy makers, college and university educators, community organizations, and businesses to present and discuss how to advance STEAM education into our classrooms.
Date and location: February 7, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; San Ramon Conference Center, San Ramon 
For info: Stay tuned to the STEAM Colloquium Web page, and watch updates on Twitter: #STEAMCOLLOQ

CCCOE Common Core Professional Development Courses

Travel Back in Time with AP Images

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this workshop, become an historical detective and learn through images and captions about life in the 20's, 30's, and later. Learn how to answer essential questions about images and defend your responses. This workshop will address the following writing and literacy standards: 

W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

LHSSSTS.RH.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

LHSSSTS RH.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Audience: Grades 6-12 teachers and principals and instructional coaches

Date and location: January 22, 12:00-3:00 p.m.; CCCOE, Pleasant Hill

For info: Contact Marsha Tokuyoshi, ELA/Common Core coordinator, at (925) 942-3385 or visit CCCOE's Common Core website

Registration Deadline: January 15 

Fee: $25, register via Eventbrite 

Argument Writing in the Common Core (three-part series)

Young writers need to be able to form opinions based on thoughtfully researched evidence now more than ever before. We will look at how to teach students to read with an analytical eye, noticing the slants of different authors in an effort to form an opinion. We will also discuss ways to guide students to write like a researcher and an essayist.

In the first of the three sessions, teachers will be guided to examine the standards and instructional shifts required to meet the writing rigor of the Common Core. In the second session, participants will observe a model lesson and have the opportunity to debrief the experience and then align writing instruction for their own practice. The third session will focus on a deeper understanding of how argument writing is addressed in the Common Core classroom.

Audience: Grades K-5 teachers and principals and instructional coaches

Dates and location: January 23, and February 6, 8:00-11:30 a.m.; CCCOE, Pleasant Hill - January 28, 8:00-11:30 a.m.; John Baldwin Elementary, Danville

For info: Contact Marsha Tokuyoshi, ELA/Common Core coordinator at (925) 942-3385 or visit CCCOE's Common Core website

Registration Deadline: January 16 

Fee: $100, register via Eventbrite  

Common Core Research and Writing on the iPad

Participants will be introduced to several FREE iPad apps (including Storykit, Popplet, Kidblog, Fotobabble, Educreations, and more) to address Common Core writing standards. Be ready to, learn, share, and create meaningful writing assignments for students. Participants will walk away from the session ready to use iPad apps to develop a writing project to address Common Core Standards in their classroom.T he following Common Core Standards will be addressed: 

W.2 Write informative/explanatory text to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately. through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

W.7 Conduct short research projects based on focused questions demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Audience: Grades K-8 teachers and instructional coaches

Date and location: January 23, 12:00-3:00 p.m.; CCCOE, Pleasant Hill

For info: Contact Marsha Tokuyoshi, ELA/Common Core coordinator at (925) 942-3385 or visit CCCOE's Common Core website

Registration Deadline: January 16 

Fee: $25, register via Eventbrite  

Connecting Math and Literacy 

Join California Teacher of the Year, Alex Kajitani, in a full-day math professional development experience, in which teachers will explore, discuss, practice, and reflect upon high-leverage strategies that are easy to implement, and will get students on the path toward achieving the Common Core Math Standards.

Specific topics to be covered include:
  • Getting students to talk about math in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their lives
  • Getting students writing about math, and using math language to argue, communicate, and justify their thinking
  • Teaching students to persevere in attempting, evaluating and solving "word problems"
  • Addressing the negative stereotypes about math that exist in society, and how to "Make Math Cool"
  • Strategies, activities, and games that can be used to engage students while teaching the Common Core

Audience: Grades K-12 math teachers, district and site administrators, and instructional coaches Date and location: February 6, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; CCCOE, Pleasant Hill

For info: Contact Marsha Tokuyoshi, ELA/Common Core coordinator at (925) 942-3385 or visit CCCOE's Common Core website

Registration Deadline: January 31 

Fee: $100, register via Eventbrite  

Instructional Tools to Increase Lesson Engagement and Academic Language Proficiency for Common Core Readiness

Using expert modeling and illustrative classroom video footage, Dr. Kate Kinsella details the research-based features of planned, explicit, advanced language instruction and structured interaction necessary for students in mixed-ability classrooms to develop a confident command of academic discourse, appropriate spoken and written classroom language. She distributes a detailed training booklet including instructional routine guidelines, reproducible templates, sample lessons, and practical lesson-planning tools to facilitate school-wide implementation.

Participants will learn effective ways to:

  • Establish school-wide academic discourse norms and practices
  • Engage learners at every proficiency level in academic discussions
  • Set up and monitor productive collaborative tasks with academic language targets
  • Design academic response frames that scaffold competent communication
  • Guide students in constructing routine brief written responses using academic register
  • Address critical language functions for career and college readiness
  • Integrate academic language targets while guiding analysis of complex informational text
  • Explicitly teach high-utility academic vocabulary for text comprehension and response
  • Guide competent analysis of text context to determine word meanings and usage

Audience: English language arts teachers in grades 6-12, instructional coaches, and teacher educators. Dates and location: March 12-13, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.;  Pleasant Hill Community Center, Pleasant Hill

For info: Contact Marsha Tokuyoshi, ELA/Common Core coordinator at (925) 942-3385 or visit CCCOE's Common Core website

Registration Deadline: March 7 

Fee: $300, register via Eventbrite  

Constructing and Sustaining Long Term Concept Memory and Executive Functions - Cornerstone of the Common Core State Standards

The application of the neuroscience research to teaching offers keys to access the brain's most powerful information processing networks and to increase executive function and the construction of long-term concept memories. Judy Willis, author of Learning to Love Math, will show participants what research reveals about how the brain constructs physical links between new information and prior knowledge to successfully capture and retain learning. Topics including the latest research on neuroplasticity, dopamine-reward memory, and the power of patterning will be linked to ready-to-use relevant classroom strategies. 

Audience: District and site administrators and grades K-12 instructional coaches and teachers 

Dates and location: April 29, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.;  CCCOE, Pleasant Hill

For info: Contact Marsha Tokuyoshi, ELA/Common Core coordinator at (925) 942-3385 or visit CCCOE's Common Core website

Registration Deadline: April 22 

Fee: $300, register via Eventbrite  

Upcoming Events / Field Trips

The 11th Annual Get Real Academy

The 11th 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 7, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.; Concord Hilton, Walnut Creek

For info: Contact Terry Comiskey at (925) 323-1797

Deadline: January 24

Fee: Free 

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 33rd 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 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, and 25, 5:00-8:00 p.m.; Martinez courthouses  

For info: Contact Jonathan Lance, CCCOE, at (925) 942-3429 or visit the Mock Trial website 

Grants / Scholarships

The 2014 Youth Garden Grants

Since 1982, National Gardening Association has provided the Youth Garden Grant to over 5,000 schools, nonprofits, and youth programs across the United States. Youth Garden Grant has contributed over 2.8 million dollars in funding to youth gardening initiatives and serves as National Gardening Association's longest standing grant program. This year we will present awards to 20 schools or youth programs. Twenty programs will receive a $500 gift certificate to the Gardening with Kids online store. Winners will also receive a tool package, plant starts, a raised bed, and a generous seed donation. 

For info: Visit their website 

Deadline: December 6

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 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: January 31

For info: Visit their website 

Resources / Contests


Coastal Art & Poetry Contest

To encourage youth to reflect on the beauty and spirit of our state's beaches and ocean, this special contest challenges California students to create artwork or poetry using a California coastal or marine theme. Prizes, awarded to five separate grade-level categories, include $100 gift certificates to an art-supply or book store. Winners and honorable mentions will receive tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific.  Each winner's teacher will receive a $50 gift certificate for education materials,

For info: Contact The California Coastal Commission at (800) COAST4U, or visit their website 

Deadline: Jan 31 

Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair

Contra Costa County businesses will once again join our county's educators to produce the 2014 Intel-Affiliated Contra Costa County Science & Engineering Fair, this coming spring. The program is for grades 7-12 students.

Dates and location: March 19-21; 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 17, 2014, (postmarked) 

Fee: $20 per student 

18th Annual LegiSchool Projects Essay Contest 

The LegiSchool Project's Center for California Studies is seeking entries for their 18th Annual Essay Contest.  his year, students are asked to share their views on Gun Control vs Gun Rights. The 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 9. 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 Terra Townsend at (916) 278-7563 or visit their website

Deadline: January 17 

Choose Civility

Accept and Give Praise

The Choose Civility Principle for the month of December

"I can live for two months on a good compliment." 

-Mark Twain


Accepting and giving praise has many benefits and can be a powerful relationship builder with family, friends and co-workers. Many people however, are uncomfortable with praise and compliments. We can learn to embrace positive feedback and accept compliments graciously by giving thoughtful and sincere compliments to others. According to P.M. Forni, a compliment is a gift, one we are expected to acknowledge with the simple courtesy of a firm and heartfelt, "Thank you." Forni goes on to write that the inclination to express sincere praise continues to be a most captivating character trait of civility. *


Following are helpful guidelines for delivering praise.**

  1. Be genuinely appreciative. Every person on your team is doing part of your job for you. While it is important to recognize the true home runs of performance, don't forget those who plug along solidly everyday who are committed to doing a good job.
  2. Deliver praise from your heart. Your appreciation of their efforts must be evident in your facial expression, your tone of voice, and how you phrase your praise. You want your employees to know that the job they perform well is important to you, to your team, to your department, your organization.
  3. Deliver praise as soon as possible. Don't wait until the quarterly (or annual) formal performance management discussion to mention something an employee did months ago. By continually observing performance, you can offer timely expressions of acknowledgement and appreciation. Genuine praise helps people feel good about themselves and even more committed to doing a good job.
  4. Make praise specific by describing the exact behavior or skill along with your expression of appreciation. "Nice work, Jim" is much less motivating than describing specific examples of what was done. Specific praise assures employees that you are truly paying close attention to what they do and how they do it.
  5. Praise people publicly. Acknowledging people in public accomplishes two important things. The employees feel even better as they are recognized in front of their peers. In addition, public praise is one way of reminding other employees of what you want from them.

It can take only seconds to deliver; yet the impact of consistent genuine, appropriate praise can be immediate and long term.


Action Step:
One of the best ways to become comfortable giving and receiving praise is to practice. Today, select five people to acknowledge with sincere praise.


*Excerpt from P.M. Forni's book, Choosing Civility.
**Source: Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness

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
Follow us on Twitter: @cocoschools 
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