Dateline Masthead
Contra Costa County Office of Educationsummer  2014
In this issue
California Academy of Sciences Summer Workshops
San Francisco Bay Area Project ASTRO
Empowering Educators
Alternative High School Exams
Leading Edge Certification for the Administrator
Leading Edge Certification for Online and Blended Teacher
STEM Summer Education Camps
10th Annual Shelter-in-Place Day
30th Annua California Coastal Cleanup Day
Toshiba America Foundation
Fire Safety Programs
Driver Safety Education Class
Attendance Awareness Poster and Essay Contest
Google Science Fair
Contra Costa County Youth Health Coalition
Basic Legal Research Skills
Contra Costa County Canal Safety
Choose Civility - "Accept and Give Constructive Criticism"
Quick Links
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Welcome to Dateline!


Welcome to the summer 2014 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). 

Dateline will be on a short break until September.

Professional Development / Opportunities

California Academy of Sciences Summer Workshops 

San Francisco Bay Area Project ASTRO Introductory Workshop 

Project ASTRO is a program that matches teachers with astronomers in Bay Area schools and community organizations. Project ASTRO is looking for 3rd-9th grade teachers to work with volunteer astronomers who have a keen interest in sharing the wonders of astronomy with students. Together, teachers and their astronomer partners attend a free two-day summer workshop to learn hands-on, inquiry-based astronomy activities designed to involve students in the excitement of scientific discovery. 

Dates and location: July 25 and July 26, 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; at the College of San Mateo

For info: To apply for this free program, go to the teacher information page

Fee: Free

Empowering Educators

Empowering Educators is a teacher-training program designed for educators who work with at-risk students who fall within the gaps of our schools and our communities. Join a cohort or attend public workshops focused on supporting educators in creating classroom cultures that help everyone to thrive!

For info: Visit their website

Fee: Free

Alternative High School Exams   

Dates and location: CTB McGraw Hill - TASK, May 8, 3:30-5:00 p.m. and ETS-HiSET, June 10, 3:30-5:00 p.m.; CCCOE

For info: Contact Brenna Fleck at (925) 942-3368

Fee: Free

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

Upcoming Events / Field Trips

STEM Summer Education Camps 

The CCCOE and the Contra Costa Economic Partnership (along with numerous professional partners) will once again be producing outstanding hands-on education career camps. Incoming high school juniors and seniors can now register. The week-long camps are looking for teachers to support student learning. Instructors will earn professional development hours and a small stipend for each camp, while also being exposed to a full range of industry experts.  

Dates and locations: Engineering, June 16-20, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill; Biotechnology, July 7-11, CSUEB, Concord; Environmental Sciences, July 21-25; CSUEB, Concord.  

For info: Contact Liz Ritchie at (925) 684-4995 or visit the programs' website

Fee: Each camp has a different price point, see website; scholarships are available

10th Annual Shelter-in-Place Day

Put this date on your calendar today! Community Awareness Emergency Response (CAER) invites all schools to practice and improve their site emergency procedures for shelter-in-place by taking part in this 10th annual county-wide exercise. Guidelines for this program will be sent out to all districts and school principals later this summer (reminder post cards have recently been mailed out). Schools can use the time for training, running brief drills, or conducting more detailed emergency exercises.

Date: November 5, 11:00 a.m.

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

30th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day

California Coastal Cleanup Day, an annual beach and inland waterway cleanup, is the state's largest volunteer event. In 2012, over 65,544 volunteers removed more than 769,607 pounds of trash and recyclables from our beaches, lakes, and waterways. When combined with the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by Ocean Conservancy and taking place on the same day, California Coastal Cleanup Day becomes part of one of the largest volunteer events in the world.  

Date and locations: September 20, 9:00 a.m.-noon; various water sites

For info: Contact The California Coastal Commission at (800) COAST-4U or visit the event's Web page 

Grants / Scholarships
Toshiba America Foundation

The Toshiba America Foundation is currently accepting applications from teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students.  Do you teach grades 6-12 science or math?  Do you have a wish list of instructional equipment that will make learning more exciting for your students?  If the answer is yes to these questions, Toshiba America Foundation would like to hear from you. Grades 6-12 applications for $5,000 or less are accepted on a rolling basis, throughout the calendar year. Grant requests of more than $5,000 are reviewed twice a year. 

For info: Contact (212) 596-0620 or email, or visit their website

Deadlines: Applications for grants of more than $5,000 are due August 1st and February 1st each year.

Resources / Contests

Fire Safety Programs

The Contra Costa Fire Protection District is offering a number of in-class or auditorium  programs for schools in Antioch, Pittsburg, Bay Point, Concord, Clayton, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, San Pablo, El Sobrante, and North Richmond.  There are presentations for pre-school to high school students, as well as PTA meetings.

For info: Contact the CCFPD at (925) 941-3327 or review the programs on their website

Fee: Free

Driver Safety Education Class

The California Highway Patrol, Contra Costa Office conducts a two-hour driver safety education class called Start Smart, which targets new and future licensed teenage drivers 15 through 20 years of age and their parents or legal guardians. 

For info: Contact the California Highway Patrol, Contra Costa Office at 925-646-4980 or visit their office in person at 5001 Blum Road, Martinez. You can also follow this program on Facebook and Twitter.    

Fee: Free

Attendance Awareness Poster and Essay Contest
Attention students grades 6-12! Here is an opportunity to use your creativity, while telling us why Every School Day Counts: Attend Today, Achieve for a Lifetime! Students are encouraged to enter an essay or poster on the theme of the importance of every-day-school attendance. The Grand Prizes includes a $200 Target gift card for the best essay and poster, as well as five $100 Target gift cards for the top five entries in each category. And, a $10 Target gift card will go out to the first 100 entrants.

For info: Contact Lindy Khan or Emily Justice, or review the contest's flyer


May 9
Google Science Fair
This online science competition, in partnership with CERN, LEGO, National Geographic, and Scientific American, is open to young people aged 13 to 18 from around the world - working as an individual or in a team of up to 3. It offers students the chance to explore an area of science that they're passionate about - and be in with a chance of winning life-changing prizes! 

For info: To sign up for fun and free resource kits for your classroom or school, visit their website

Deadline: May 12

Fee: Free

Contra Costa County Youth Health Coalition (CCCYHC)
The CCCYHC is now accepting applications for 2014-2015 youth members! Contra Costa County students in grades 8 - 12 are eligible to apply.Youth members serve a two-year term with the option to serve additional years. The CCCYHC is a youth-centered and directed group that plays a leadership role in addressing health-related issues. Young people develop skills that empower them to create healthy environments through awareness and advocacy projects.

For info: Contact Emily Justice at (925) 942-5328 website

Deadline: May 16


YouSTEM is a free web resource for K-12 students to find out about local STEM Programs. From lectures to internships, the site lists opportunities for students to explore different areas of interest. 

Basic Legal Research Skills

Law librarians from the Contra Costa Law Library continue to offer a Power Point presentation in county high schools' computer labs about the Law Library and its online legal resources. After the presentation, students will be able to log on to do legal research assignments, e.g., how to find legal information on curfews, driving laws, emancipation, and others. The research section of the program will conclude with a class discussion about their search results.  

For info: Contact: Contra Costa County Public Law Library Director

Carey Rowan at (925) 646-2783 

Fee: Free

Contra Costa County Canal Safety

Educators in the central and eastern portions of the county can help keep their students safe this summer by reminding them that the Contra Costa Canal is a dangerous waterway and off-limits for swimming. It is surrounded by a chain-link fence to keep people out. Unfortunately, children sometimes climb the fence and attempt to swim in the canal, often with tragic results. Schools can increase awareness among students and their families by including canal safety messages in your school's morning announcements and communications with parents. The Contra Costa Water District's Canal Patrol also offers 30-minute Canal Safety Assemblies for school sites. 

For information: Contact Gina Oltman or visit their website

Choose Civility
Accept and Give Constructive Criticism 


The Choose Civility Principle for the summer

"Our critics are the unpaid guardians of our souls." 


Corrie ten Boom


One should give constructive criticism whenever circumstances suggest that it's the right thing to do. But one should also welcome opportunity to learn - mostly about oneself, one's critics and about life, when on the receiving end of criticism.

To criticize is a serious business and a responsibility. Before you speak make sure your intention is to help with a problem and not humiliate, manipulate, or exact revenge.

To make your criticism constructive and effective:

  • Identify an issue, rather than launching an attack on the person.
  • Describe what you have observed rather than uttering accusations or engaging in name-calling.
  • Show that you understand how the other person may feel.
  • Suggest a solution if you feel this is the right time to do so.
  • Remain calm, kind, and empathic throughout the exchange. End on a positive note.

Receiving Criticism

  • Not all criticism is good, but in most criticism there is something good enough to take to heart.
  • The first important step is to listen as though your critic were not speaking about you but rather about someone else. Ask yourself: Is it valid? Then simply agree with it, and start thinking about changes you want to make.
  • Or, reply "thank you for your honest opinion. I will need time to think about that."
  • Or, should the criticism appear totally unwarranted, say with firmness, "I'm afraid I can't agree with that."
  • Be assertive, not abusive, even if you feel your critic is being unfair or hostile.

It is criticism that makes us learn what we are unable or unwilling to learn by ourselves.


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
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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