Eddy Awards Presentations
Tuesday May 3, 6:30 pm
The Santa Cruz Education Foundation’s Eddy Awards provide an opportunity for the community to recognize the outstanding commitment made daily by the dedicated educators, staff and volunteers of Santa Cruz City Schools.
- Outstanding Teacher
A teacher that inspires, challenges and supports students.
K-3: Sheila French, DeLaveaga Elementary School
4-5: Barbara Novelli, Bay View Elementary School
6-8: Erin Petersen-Lindberg, Branciforte Middle School
9-12: Lorrie Coonrad, Harbor High School
- 2010 Awards: Alice Cato, Alison Woolpert, Jenny Nixen, Ron Indra
- 2009 Awards: Judy Flora, Jeanette Leglu, Wendy Thompson, Stuart Kumaishi
- Unsung Hero
The unrecognized hardworking staff and parents, making a difference every day.
Staff member: Laura Hamby, Mission Hill Middle School
Volunteer: Mike Wehrman, Bay View Elementary School
- 2010 Awards: Fe Silva, Branciforte Middle School, Janet Edwards, parent, Soquel High
- 2009 Awards: Steve Arnold, Mission Hill Middle School, Eddie Ray Garcia, parent, Harbor High
- Green Award
Who educates and embodies our Green policies?
Sue Lisin, Bay View Elementary School parent, Green Schools Committee
- 2010 Award: Gault Elementary
- 2009 Award: Lynn Barry, SCCS Purchasing
- Wellness Award
Honoring those who promote good nutrition and physical fitness.
- 2010 Award: Jamie Smith, SCCS Food Service manager
- 2009 Award: SCCS Integrated Wellness Policy
- Innovation Award
Recognizing innovation in the service of students.
Soquel High School Green Mechanical, Engineering and Construction Academy (g-MEC)
- 2010 Award: AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) Program
- 2009 Award: Dan Cavanaugh, Bay View Elementary
- Community Supporter of the Year
Acknowledging the tremendous gift of community support for our schools.
Rotary Club of Santa Cruz Sunrise
- 2010 Award: Young Performers Showcase (Rick Linzer, Alan Heit, Steven Bignall, Colin Alder)
- 2009 Award: Steve & Michelle LeBerge, Santa Cruz High Mock Trial coaches
- Special Foundation Award
At the Foundation’s discretion, special recognition for achievement or community contribution
Hannah Golden, Harbor High School student, Fair Trade policy for Santa Cruz City Schools
- School of the Year
What makes your school outstanding?
Branciforte Small Schools Campus, Curt Coleman, Principal
- 2010 Award: Santa Cruz High School
- 2009 Award: Gault Elementary School
Sheila has been teaching for 21 years, beginning in Ravenswood City Schools in East Palo Alto; the past six years at DeLaveaga. Working as an aide in a special day class in high school convinced her that she would love teaching. Sheila finds the most rewarding aspect of teaching is seeing the growth in all students from the first day of school until the last day. Her students will remember her as a “work hard, play hard” teacher – which suits her just fine! The mother of 16 year-old twins, Addison & Garrett (who attend Harbor High), Sheila grew up in Palo Alto and enjoys yoga, hiking, reading, friends and family.
“My daughter looks forward to going to school everyday… that alone says a lot.” ~ “She has helped my daughter through a lot of different challenges and never has given up on her. For that I am very grateful. I love my daughter coming home daily and telling me all about all the great stuff they did that day.” ~ “Sheila French is an amazing teacher who focuses on her students, working collaboratively with colleagues to make sure their students learn. Every lesson I have observed has been interesting, engaging and supporting of the different learning styles in her class. She has a great relationship with her students based on mutual respect and is able to get their best work from them. Students feel capable and empowered to be learners, and take charge of their learning in her class.” ~ “Sheila bridges that home-school crevasse in a way that is natural and supportive of families. She seems to have the pulse of the families in her class and knows what challenges the students may face outside of school. She goes over and above to meet their needs, make accommodations and support their learning in every way possible.” ~ “Sheila educates the whole child. The social/well-being of each and every child is addressed to ensure complete success. She is “that” teacher who makes phone calls to parents, will make home visits, give that “extra” to each child in the way that they need it. Sheila is the ONLY teacher that my daughter has ever hugged. She knows that Ms. French loves her, and we love her, too!” ~ “She has high aspirations for the children’s academic learning, yet balances that with creative activities, field trips, and projects that the children enjoy; as they learn practical life skills.”~ “Sheila is 150% committed to her students and her job as a teacher. She is prepared with quality lessons and projects for her students, and she actively engages with parents to support what is happening in the classroom. She also requires parents to sign a daily “contract” that lists what students did at school that day and what they need to do at home. Sheila teaches her students to be responsible—for both their work and their actions. Though she’s firm with discipline and consistently emphasizes personal responsibility, Sheila also instills an infectious positive attitude in her students.”
Outstanding Teacher, 4-5: Barbara Novelli, Bay View Elementary School
Like most teachers, Barbara has always loved school, and enjoyed learning new things. After working as an Instructional Technician with mentors Anne Scott and Arlene Sande, she decided to pursue a teaching credential. Barbara credits master teachers and mentors who helped her along the way, including Beth Landry, Mary Fran Archer and Ellen Scott. For Barbara, the most rewarding thing about teaching is watching how a community of learners evolves over the 10 months they spend together – the children developing their own strengths and contributions to the classroom. She finds it deeply satisfying to watch students develop their own competence and take initiative for their learning. Her students will remember that their teacher was always learning new things, and was always excited and motivated to learn something new along with them.
Barbara is a third generation Santa Cruzan, the granddaughter of Italian immigrant farmworkers. She lives in her grandmother’s house with her partner Elaine and their happy dogs and cats – the same neighborhood as the students and families of Bay View, a true neighborhood school!
“Barbara Novelli is an incredible teacher in all aspects. Ms. Novelli demonstrates respect for students and individuals in manner of delivery of speaking and in structuring classroom and education activities. She collaborates with students around their areas of interest and inspires them in achieving goals. She is passionate about raising awareness of the importance of our watershed and our environment. She is certified in the Salmon Trout Education Project that brings wild-caught eggs to classrooms and then releases these fish into San Lorenzo River to propagate native fishes with watershed management plans in coastal streams. Ms. Novelli goes beyond what is required by striving to provide opportunities for students to learn important skills necessary for middle school. She comes early each day to open her class room for “study hall” where students can get extra help with homework to achieve their academic goals. Ms. Novelli’s teachings span across the classroom to the home environment where my child has independently applied changes to be more green and conscious of her own resource use. Ms. Novelli is an outstanding teacher, one who really knows my daughter’s dreams and strengths and goes out of her way to support her personal growth because she is connected and cares about her students.”
Outstanding Teacher, 6-8: Erin Petersen-Lindberg, Branciforte Middle School
Erin Petersen Lindberg is a true local. She attended Mountain Elementary School, Branciforte Jr. High and Soquel High. As a youth, she was active in tennis and horse vaulting. As a senior in high school, she was selected to be the U.S. vaulting team captain, and traveled to Bulle, Switzerland, for the first world championships.
Between years at UC Davis, she spent summers as a camp counselor at UC Berkeley’s Lair of the Bear. Erin finds the Sierras a welcome retreat, a place to enjoy spending time with family and friends. She still camp sat the Lair with her parents and family. Go Bears! Erin’s husband Mel, also a teacher, and their five year old Amelie, like to travel as well, getting away each summer for an adventure. When she is not teaching, Erin enjoys cycling, snowboarding, and when she can squeeze it in, surfing. With the recent addition of a piano to their home, she has rediscovered the joy of playing music, and has dusted off her flute – now playing duets with daughter Amelie. “I feel lucky to teach at Branciforte Middle School,” said Erin. “The staff is supportive and creative and provides and excellent learning environment for all.”
“Erin is an inspiration to everyone who knows her. Her positive outlook, easygoing manner, and her level of professionalism are traits that distinguish her as an outstanding teacher and co-worker. Erin has high expectations for her students, and yet is able to truly distinguish and differentiate for each student, so that they are able to be successful and engaged no matter who they are, or how they learn. She will give up her lunch break, her prep time, and her time after school to work with students and their families to build a support system that further proves her dedication to her students’ success.” ~ “As a professional, Erin is an exemplary example of someone who approaches everything with an open mind. She is open to ideas, and willing to share her own, as she knows that the success of the students relies on the collective mind and spirit she shares with her coworkers. To collaborate with Erin is professional development in and of itself.” ~ “Even when faced with challenges, Erin rises above and finds the superhuman means to make everyone find the humor and humanity of a situation. She is an inspiration to all who have the pleasure to know her, work with her, and be taught by her. Erin Petersen-Lindberg is, indeed, an outstanding teacher, deserving of the Eddy Award.”
Outstanding Teacher, 9-12: Lorrie Coonrad, Harbor High School
Lorrie Coonrad has been teaching math at Harbor for 15 years She started out as a pharmaceutical sales rep right out of college. While she was a very good sales person she was frustrated by the need to make money for a large corporation. When it came time to make a change after starting her family, she sought something that provided her with more intrinsic value. Having always worked with high school kids as a volunteer she knew she loved them. Since she was good at both math and at selling things, she figured, “if I could sell anything why not sell math to teenagers?”
Lorrie feels it is a privilege to watch a student realize something about the math or about themselves. She finds the most rewarding thing about teaching is having a job that gives her an opportunity to be significant in another person’s life. “It is not about money, fame or recognition but about being available to teach something I know to someone who needs to know it,” said Lorrie. The most challenging aspect is the student who has so many personal struggles that school is not even on their radar and they have given up. Lorrie hopes that her students know that she cares about them more than the math and that they remember her as someone who could teach math successfully and with humor and fun.
Lorrie has been married for 30 years. Her two children, now 25 and 22 are both Harbor High grads. She has a deep faith, loves to garden, walk on the beach, try any new recipe, or just have a party for no reason. Lorrie also teaches at UCSC in a program called Cal Teach. Her course accompanies an internship designed for math under grads to investigate teaching math in public schools.
“Lorrie Coonrad is a Harbor High math teacher who always teaches her classes with abundant energy and humor. Her students think her math classes are fun! She really enjoys teaching, is a very dedicated teacher, and really likes her students as well. She encourages students to call her at home when they need help with their homework and is often available to help students both at lunch and after school. She is the go-to teacher for help, even for students who are not in her math class. At the request of her Algebra II students, she got permission from the principal to use the Harbor High kitchen on a Sunday and met some of her students there to make pies for class on Pi Day (3/14)!” ~ “Mrs. Coonrad is an awesome math teacher who deserves all kinds of awards, but we’ll settle for an Eddy Award!” (Accompanied by student petition)
This year will mark Laura Hamby’s 33rd year at Mission Hill Middle School. She began as a Bilingual Instructional Tech to provide support for EL students in Title 1 classes, eventually incorporating the roles of Title 1 School Community Coordinator and Bilingual Program Coordinator. Her efforts to maintain the level of program support for staff and materials needed to assure student success have yielded over $500,000 in grants for technology, steel drums and the Arts Selective Program (today’s Art’s Academy), Club Live, drug/alcohol education and more. Laura now serves as Mission Hill’s Site Program Coordinator, a position that encompasses expanding responsibilities and interweaves data, technology, categorical and ELL programs.
Laura grew up in Soquel and attended Soquel Elementary, Capitola Intermediate and Soquel High; she lives Corralitos in a log home she built with her brothers. When she’s not at Mission Hill, she serves as Chairperson for Taste of Soquel, benefit for Second Harvest Food Bank and is a member of the boards of the Instituto Pan Americano Secundaria Technia in Tijuana, Mexico and the Community Advisory Board for the Santa Cruz Salvation Army. She recently retired from as a director of Christian Education and Youth for 25 years at the Congregational Church of Soquel. Spend five minutes with Laura and you’ll know that she is an avid Giants and local baseball fan.
When asked what she enjoys most about her work at Mission Hill, Laura responded, “Hands down, the MOST rewarding thing is helping students. Sometimes you see it in a smile. Sometimes it is returning to their work with renewed confidence. And sometimes you hear it in a ‘Thank you, Ms. Hamby.’” She adds that she has been incredibly fortunate to work with and learn from many gifted teachers and administrators over the years. “From tips and tricks of the trade to some pretty lofty thinking and timeless wisdom, I owe a great deal to them.”
Laura’s caring work supports students who have to deal with difficult circumstances beyond their control and who need all the support we can give them and so much more beyond our reach. Her efforts have helped Mission Hill weather the ongoing struggle to provide the very best education possible for each student with the ever dwindling resources available.
Beginning with the promise of each new school year with its fresh, clean campus, bright-eyed students and an energetic staff to the 8th Grade Completion Ceremony, Laura is reminded of the memories of each student’s middle school years as they walk across the stage and their smile becomes emblazoned on her heart.
Every child and everyone that has worked with her knows that she cared; that she was faithful to support (with gusto!) the teachers, students, and the greater MH community – and that they all had fun along the way!
“Mission Hill could not function without Laura Hamby. Besides having seen her way through countless principals (fourteen!) and many other staff, she has provided the rudder for Mission Hill in program management and categorical programs. Her contributions are so varied, from flyers for open house to record keeping and LRT coordination for English Language students – just writing a job description for her replacement would be impossible. She can never retire. She reminds us all of the history of Mission Hill, and is the unofficial parliamentarian for new administrators and staff. We would be lost without her!”. ~ “Laura Hamby has been an unsung hero in Santa Cruz City Schools for decades. To the Mission Hill staff and families she brings leadership, innovation, and a legacy of dedication, knowledge, and school pride. Over the past two decades with multiple changes in administration, the one person who has kept the vision and focus has been Laura. She brought technology and a focus on using student data to monitor progress years before other sites had even begun. She keeps the needs of students, families, and teachers foremost in her mind and advocates for meeting those needs through positive and compelling communication.” ~ “Laura Hamby is the essence of Mission Hill. She goes over and beyond in everything that she does. If you need the history of Mission Hill, ask Laura. If you want a report or some new information, ask Laura. This year she produced the AVID information for Open House. She took AVID student designs and created t-shirts. Laura taught an Advisory class this year, and helped with the planning and production of the curriculum materials. Laura also supports the Student of the Grading Period events. Every day Laura manages the lunch detentions and if needed, the rainy day movies. The MHMS Talent Show was an amazing community event where students share their talents, parents displayed their pride, the MHMS staff presented their spirit, and the community saw MHMS. This event was planned, practiced, and produced by Laura. If a board report or staff report is needed, who do you go to? Laura. She is the past, present, and future of Mission Hill. If there was ever a person who was proud and exuberant, it is Laura Hamby for Mission Hill.” ~ “Beyond serving Mission Hill, Laura is a hero to the district as well. She has served on every technology committee we’ve had and last year wrote the district-wide plan almost single-handedly. She has been an active member of the Title 1 program and understands the need to balance compliance with common sense. She has been an advocate for English learners since coming into our district. One small anecdote demonstrates Laura’s commitment to SCCS: When the district celebrated its 150th anniversary, it was Laura that provided over half of the photos; she is a keeper of the district’s collective history as well. Clearly, her heart and soul have been in service to Santa Cruz City Schools for a very long time.”
Unsung Hero, Volunteer: Mike Wehrman, Bay View Elementary School
Mike spent his career as the school’s day custodian. He has taken care of everything and everyone. His work ethic and commitment to Bay View have been evident in everything he’s done. However, it has been Mike’s time on the playground that has left its lasting mark on so many students, parents and staff. Mike has been working his playground magic for over 30 years. He has devoted his time and energy at recess and lunch breaks running daily kickball games for as long as anyone can remember. Since his retirement in 2003 he has continued to come nearly every day to both recesses and all three lunch times to lead kickball games.
Ask any student, past or present what they like best about Bay View School, or what they remember most fondly about their time at Bay View and you can bet that within their first few words they will get a big smile on their face and say “MIKE!”
Generations of kids have learned to play by “Mike’s Rules.” That means that participation, effort, teamwork and sportsmanship are more important than final score and individual accomplishment. While the kids think they’re playing kickball they are really getting daily doses of life skills.
Mike provides a safe, fun, consistent and organized place for kids to be on the yard. It makes no difference what language you speak, whether you are a veteran student or brand new, boy or girl, first grader or sixth grader, good athlete or beginner, you can be a part of one of Mike’s games. No matter who is on what side of the score when the bell rings, everyone high fives on their way back to class and everyone flocks back at the next chance forming a line, calling out Mike’s name, waiting to see who will be named captain, and to be counted off into teams. The captains assign the positions and the kicking order, each team chooses a scorekeeper and the game begins. Mike pitches, coaches, yells out encouragement and umpires. Before school and after school when Mike is not there, disputes are always decided by two words: ”Mike’s Rules!”
Mike’s kickball games transcend time. They move seamlessly from recess to lunch, day-to-day, year-to-year, and student-to-student. Each game passes on a long-lasting tradition and a true sense of belonging. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just live by “Mike’s Rules?”
“Even while ill he comes daily to play kick ball with the kids at snack and lunch. He knows so many of the kids by name, and really makes our school community a better place to be. He is thoughtful; he leads the kids to sing happy birthday to students at the lunch tables. He always has a smile even through tough times. I admire how caring he is and what a positive role model he is for BV kids” ~“I first heard of Mike through my eight year old son, who raved about Mike when he retired from being a janitor at Bayview after many years. Mike comes every day at recess to play kick ball with the kids. Mike is teaching them a lot: good sportsmanship, fair play, taking turns, resolving disputes and being kind to each other. Even while facing health issues, Mike continues to come each day to enrich our children’s lives from his lifetime of knowledge.” ~ ” He is very generous with his patience, instruction and time” ~ “I know kids in their twenties who remember Mike vividly. He is a kind, gentle, caring man and I feel blessed to see him everyday!” ~ “Mike has transformed the playground attitude at Bay View by tirelessly encouraging to play fair, play hard. He is a positive force and volunteers to come and play every day. As a custodian, he was hard working, always available and conscientious.” ~ “Mike has been an absolute life-saver for many of the kids. Kids who don’t have friends, kids who get overwhelmed by the big playground, kids who get in trouble, kids with special needs, and kids who just like to play kickball, all have found a home in Mike’s kickball game. He is all-inclusive; anyone can play. He teaches the rules and sportsmanship. He loves them, and encourages kids to want to be a part of the team. For many children, this is their first successful team experience. When the bell rings, they are there, ready to play. Mike is a teacher in the full sense of the word. He knows everyone’s name and always has a twinkle in his eye when he talks about the kids.” ~ “Students for several generations have had the pleasure of playing an organized game at recess and lunch, and then receiving a hug or a high 5 when the bell rings! They feel part of the special Mike’s rules club, and are using their time productively at recess.
Mike is truly a Bay View hero!” ~ “Mike is an amazing hero in the Bay View Community. Everyday he connects with students on their level by playing/supervising the kickball game at recess. All of the students and adults at Bay View School respect Mike and are Mike’s friends. For over 40 years he has been a selfless, positive role model that represents the best of the Bay View Community.” ~ “The students love him now as they did before when he worked at Bay View. They benefit greatly from his kickball games, his fairness, and especially, his friendship. Mike deserves to be commended and honored for all his time at Bay View, when he was a custodian and on the kickball court always with students who adore him!” ~ “Every single student who has attended Bay View in the last 30 years has been touched by Mike.” ~ “Kids love his kind and fair approach. He inspires kids to play fair, to get exercise, to learn a new game, and to be the best they can be. His game includes kids who do not necessarily shine in the classroom, but who can be great players. He instills self-esteem and confidence in every child.” ~ “Mike Wehrman deserves the Unsung Hero Eddy Award for his true dedication and love of children, for his overflowing sportsmanship, and his strong sense of community toward Bay View School. There is no one like Mike, and the children ask for him every day. I can hear his wonderful voice, cheering the kids on in the yard, teaching them the rules of the game, and giving them a place where all belong. Where else but on the kickball field? For this he is our Unsung Hero, humble and quiet at times, but always smiling and happy to be here.” ~ “He’s a hard working man, he’s a really nice man, he calls kids really nice names.” (Vince, 2nd grade)
Green Award: Sue Lisin, Bay View Elementary School parent, Green Schools Committee
Sue Lisin first got involved in schools when her daughter started Kindergarten at Bay View in 2005. Her interest in greening our schools is in her nature— she’s a marine biologist and strives to lighten her environmental footprint in her life. Her passion led her to extend her ideals to our schools and the future of her daughter’s generation.
Sue is a founding member of the District’s Green Schools Committee, which brings together people from throughout the community to work together on greening our schools. Because there are more than school-affiliated people involved, their impact goes beyond the schools themselves.
Sue has worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for 25 years and chairs the Conservation Committee there. She finds it satisfying to see many of the green business practices observed at the Aquarium transferred to the schools.
“Sue has dedicated herself to making our schools think green. She also spearheaded the effort to have a greenhouse at Bay View. She makes us all rethink how we approach the green movement.” ~ “Green Schools Committee, recycled paper, green purchasing policies, greenhouse at Bay View: Sue is an outstanding individual applying green messages to school policies and to school communities.”
Wellness Award: Food What?!
FoodWhat?! was started in 2007. This year marks their 5th season with youth on the farm. In 2007 they had five youth in their Spring Internship; today there are 54. This year’s Eddy Award for Wellness honors FoodWhat organizers Doron Comerchero and Abby Bell.
“We believe in the power of youth – that young people have a voice and that food is the perfect vehicle to begin that journey. There are a few givens: there isn’t enough meaningful youth programming in Santa Cruz County for teens. Healthy food, healthy self-image, healthy decision making, healthy activity aren’t a strong part of youth culture. Food is foundational to not only functioning, but thriving…so we chose to start there.”
Through growing, harvesting, cooking, eating and distributing healthy, sustainably raised foods, young people in the program are not just learning about health, they are living it. They are changing their behaviors. They are taking risks in a safe space – on the farm and in the community – to find their own fire and be in their power. They are building positive community and a positive sense of self.
The most rewarding thing about FoodWhat is the transformation in the youth; seeing the transformations lead to all kinds of empowering outcomes in their lives. “Might be they find their voice and feel more confident in their skin…might be they eat a rainbow now and know how to cook some amazingly tasty healthy food…might be that they find the strength to go to rehab or communicate with an estranged parent…might be that they experience some healing and find tools to move forward from a traumatic experience…might be that they have learned to channel their anger into hard physical labor and they smile more…every youth has a magical story that unfolds on the farm and in our kitchen.”
The biggest challenge FoodWhat faces is that they can’t serve as many youth as apply. Hundreds of low-income youth each year are turned away; youth who are looking for something positive to do and to bring home money to their families. Additionally, many of the youth who are in the program would like to do a second year. Without additional capacity to work students for a second year, the focus for now remains on serving new youth in the program.
When asked how they want their students to remember their FoodWhat experience, Doron and Abby shared, “That they are brilliant, powerful, super heros who can do anything, and be healthy and successful in their lives. I want them to remember the feeling of confidence and strength in who they are.”
Doron arrived in Santa Cruz in 2004 to join the UCSC Farm and Garden Apprenticeship. He traded in his tiny apartment in the lower east side (NYC) for a tiny tent on a beautiful piece of land. He has found it a pleasure to call Santa Cruz his home and is constantly impressed by the amazing community we have in our city. Abby has spent the past eight years weaving together the worlds of sustainable agriculture and social justice. FoodWhat is the culmination of her work in education, agriculture and political organizing. Abby finds it is a privilege to come to work everyday and work with the inspiring young people in our community.
The gMEC Academy is now in its fourth year. Conan Gasparotti and Principal Ken Lawrence-Emanuel began working on the project six years ago, in collaboration with Cabrillo College and the County ROP program. “We want all our students to walk away with solid academic skills, advanced technical skills and demonstrated ‘soft skills’ like self-awareness, motivation, attitude, responsibility, time management, and the ability to work in teams,” said Principal Lawrence-Emanuel.
This program is the direct result of instructors seeing a need for this program to prepare their students to be college- and career-ready. Industry leaders in these fields confirmed the need, stating that starting earlier in preparing students was critical for our community. Through funding from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, seed money was used to take an idea and move it into reality. Teachers from across the curriculum have designed a program where academic integration takes place, where students incorporate hands-on educational techniques to develop core competencies in math, English, social science and more. Using these fields as the backdrop to their education gives these students a step up in their preparing for college.
High school and Cabrillo College instructors worked collaboratively on curricula and programs that would give students a way to see their future careers in the work they were doing in the classroom. Soquel High School leadership partnered with others, such as Santa Cruz County Office of Education’s Regional Occupation Program (ROP), the Career Technical Education Community Collaborative and industry leaders from around the county. The school’s leadership continues to ensure the program remains of the highest caliber for the students.
This program can lead graduates to further study at Cabrillo (which will be opening a Green Tech Center in 2012), or at a 4-year school, depending on the field of interest. Either way, students will be prepared for middle and high-skill careers. Students who meet the criteria can receive college credit now for coursework that can lead them to the next course in a designated career program at Cabrillo. Last year, a California Partnership Academy grant was secured to refocus the Academy on green careers.
In a time when students need to know what it takes to be successful in the classroom and in the workplace, this program can be applauded for the way it is preparing students to be college- and career-ready today; where they can learn how to operate in the real world of work and can find passion and purpose in their education that keeps them engaged in school. SHS recognizes that learning occurs throughout one’s lifetime, and that there will be students who choose to pursue other interests in college and as a career. However, the training they will receive through the g-MEC Academy will serve them well whatever direction they choose
It has been a challenge to find time to schedule all the great things the school wants to offer their gMEC students –field trips, career panels, construction projects, competitions, integrated units. The renovation of the shops this year is part of the move forward. Next year they will incorporate mentorships with business partners for 11th grade students, and the following year, they will place seniors in internships.
“The gMEC academy prepares students for the an eco-friendly future and gives them the tools they need to succeed.” ~ “The gMEC biology class is designing green roofs and building them in their construction classes. Students are learning about water conservation and grey water in several of their classes. They learn how to utilize green building materials and strategies, like using hay bales for insulation.” ~ “The Soquel High School Green Mechanical, Engineering and Construction (g-MEC) Academy links students’ educational pursuits to career interests and preparation. Working across the curriculum, students of g-MEC are learning about alternative energy, sustainability and how to use green practices through hands-on application. The school’s recent renovation of its shop classrooms provides students with state-of-the-art facilities so they can develop critical skills they will need to be successful as they continue in college and beyond, in their careers.” ~ “The Soquel High School Mechanics Engineering & Construction Academy is an innovative approach to hands-on learning that incorporates shop classes into the academic curriculum and teaches the importance of the trades.
In a time of declining public funds and dwindling donation dollars, the contributions of the individual Rotarians and the Rotary collectively has had a tremendous positive impact on our schools. In the past 12 months, The Rotary Club of Santa Cruz Sunrise has undertaken the following projects related to Santa Cruz City schools:
1. The Santa Cruz High School Track & Field. The completion of the track and field at Santa Cruz High was the culmination of 13 years of fundraising by the club during which time they raised more than $500,000, primarily through the 3-day, 200 mile bike ride that came to be known as “Jon and Ken’s Excellent Adventure.” The primary individuals behind this effort were Ken Whiting (Owner, Whitings Foods) and Jon Sisk (VP, Lighthouse Bank), although nearly every member of Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary has been involved in one capacity or another. Not only did they raise the funds, but Jon and Ken were instrumental in working with SCHS administration and the District’s Board of Trustees to define and bring the project to fruition.
2. Arts in the Afternoon. Three years ago, Rotarians Peggy Alberti (Alberti Designs) and Bruce McGuire (Owner, Western Appraisal and Santa Cruz County Probate Referee) created Arts in the Afternoon. AitA is a partnership between Rotarians, Santa Cruz City Schools and community volunteers bring arts and music programs to middle schools in Santa Cruz. To date, more than 10 after-school classes have been taught at Mission Hill and Branciforte middle schools. Classes include ukulele construction and playing, bamboo flute construction and playing, Celtic dance, fabric arts and soon to be added, piano. More subjects and classes are being added each year. The program has been so successful and eagerly adopted that could turn into a model to be implemented by other Rotary clubs throughout the world.
3. Scholarships. Sunrise Rotary gives out more than $15,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors each year. Through a competitive application process anywhere from 4-10 seniors bound for 2- or 4- year colleges are selected to receive $500 or $1000 per year for each of their college years. Since 1999 more that $120,000 has been provided to over 50 seniors graduating from Santa Cruz City Schools. The long-standing chairman of the Scholarship Committee is John Caldwell.
4. Interact. Rotary Clubs around the world sponsor high school service clubs under the program called Interact. Sunrise Rotary is proud to have an ongoing and active relationship supporting the Santa Cruz High School Interact Club. This year, through the leadership of SCHS Junior Holly Borg and Sunrise Rotarian advisor Rod Caborn, the Interact Club has swelled to more than 30 members and has raised several thousand dollars for local charities such as Second Harvest Food Bank and Jacob’s Heart as well as international relief organizations such as ShelterBox.
5. Charities and Grants. Sunrise Rotary has responded, in the form of monetary grants, to more than a dozen calls for support from our schools this year. Recipients include: SCHS theater arts, boys and girls water polo teams, wrestling team, girl’s golf team and Link Crew. Roger Swenson (Granite Rock Construction) has been the able committee chair guiding Charities and Grants for many years.
The mission of Rotary International, and its 1.2 million Rotarians in 33,000 Rotary Clubs around the world, is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. The Rotary Club of Santa Cruz Sunrise was chartered in 1985 and has grown to about 100 members consisting of very energetic community and business leaders with the shared ambition to use our skills, talents and resources to make our local community and the world a better place.
“As leaders in our community and our fields, we recognize the paramount importance of an excellent and well rounded education. We feel very strongly that an investment in our schools is an investment in our community and its future leaders,” said Jon Winston, Club President. “At every turn, we have found the collaboration with the students, staff and administration at our schools to be extremely positive, appreciated and most of all productive in adding additional value where needed to our children’s educational experience.”
- Ken Whiting and Jon Sisk – Track and Field Project
- Peggy Alberti and Bruce McGuire – Arts in the Afternoon
- John Caldwell – Scholarships
- Rod Caborn, SCHS student Holly Borg – Interact
- Roger Swenson – Charities and Grants
The Santa Cruz Education Foundation recognizes Harbor High School student Hannah Golden with a Special Award for her initiative and social impact in developing the Fair Trade Policy adopted by the Santa Cruz City Schools Board of Trustees.
Hannah shares that “the impetus to create the policy was born out of realizing a need for awareness and action in our community. As a fairly attentive student in Santa Cruz, I hadn’t ever been aware of the dark side of the manufacturing industry, and there’s the first problem. How many more people around me have no clue what happens in developing countries? The policy was designed to grab the attention of Santa Cruz residents while taking action simultaneously.
“Other projects the Fair Trade Club is preparing to tackle include connecting with Cal Poly, UC Berkeley, UCSC and Cabrillo College about what we’re doing in fair trade. There is power in numbers and our main goal is to raise awareness among the younger generation. The most rewarding aspect to this work is the knowledge that all my effort is not going toward a grade on a test or a paycheck; it’s going towards helping others. It’s no easy thing to pursue change.”
Hannah’s plans beyond high school are to attend (most likely) a UC school and major in some form of activism, or law, or political science. She would love to see all schools in California adopt Fair Trade, and become as progressive and conscious as those in Santa Cruz.
“Hannah, with the Fair Trade Club at Harbor High School, has led the charge to insure that Santa Cruz City Schools apparel purchases are done in a socially responsible manner. Her work resulted in board adoption of a policy on fair trade purchasing. There is also a “green” component to this measure as the policy requires that the district do business with apparel companies that engage in sound environmental and personnel practices. It is unusual and commendable that students would take an initiative resulting in the adoption of a board policy, creating a significant change in district practices.”
The Branciforte Small Schools Campus was created in 2004, largely in response to a budget crisis that threatened the viability of the four small schools: AFE home School, Monarch Community Elementary School, the Ark (day program and independent study) High School and Costanoa High School. By coming together they were able to save money through sharing custodians, counselors, administrators, tech support, office staff and eventually, a shared library. They have creatively built a community of schools on a single beautiful campus with excellent facilities for their students.
Asked about the rewards of forming Branciforte Small Schools, Principal Curt Coleman shared that “the benefit of coming together on one campus is that we’ve created a diverse community of schools that not only share staff, but, more importantly, share resources, expertise, professional development, and camaraderie. The goose-bumpy moments are when students from among the four very different schools work together. For example, the AFE-Costanoa basketball team, Costanoa students tutoring Monarch students, and this spring’s first ever AFE-Ark-Costanoa Prom. But the ultimate reward is the reluctant or passive or rebellious student who becomes a successful learner in one of our alternative settings.”
The Branciforte Small Schools Campus has overcome many challenges along the way. A challenge of being an alternative school is that the educational world is built for comprehensive schools. Education code, legislative mandates, regulations, policy, accountability are all seen through the lens of a large comprehensive school. As a result, the BSSC community is constantly adapting to and coping with external influences that don’t always fit its values, vision, and mission. Adds Principal Coleman, “We serve students and families who desire and deserve choices in education. We are proud that alternative education in Santa Cruz City Schools is thriving and strong thanks to a supportive superintendent, school board, and community.”
“The Branciforte Small Schools Campus (BSSC) and Principal Curt Coleman deserve recognition for their tremendous work in creating a campus that serves students K-12 in programs that offer students and families something different than traditional schools currently can.
Curt faced the challenge of starting a new campus for the District’s alternative programs when schools were closing in our district. The decision was made for the four alternative schools to combine and share a campus. In the process of bringing these schools together it was decided that the Ark day program and Loma needed to combine and form Costanoa Continuation High School. This was one of the of many times where Curt’s counseling back ground, patience and dedication to doing what is best for students really came in to play as he supported the staffs of two different school cultures coming together to form one school. He drew on these same skills again to bring together AFE, Ark IS, Monarch and Costanoa to become one community sharing not just space but resources. Over time these four schools have developed their own, shared culture while maintaining their individual programs and personalities. Facilitating the growth and development of this unique multi school campus could not have happened with out Curt’s nuanced leadership.
Curt knows how to listen and trust the staff and teachers he works with. He supported and created opportunities for teachers to collaborate. Our schools teachers’ have been given ownership of their adult learning through site based professional development that was teacher driven. Experience and decisions are honored, while at the same time new ideas and questions are embraced to push everyone further in their practice. The four schools communities and cultures traditions are honored, while still encouraging them to grow. Through shared leadership Curt worked with the office staff to implement procedures and processes that could work for all schools. We have a lot of meetings at BSSC. Everyone has a chance to have his or her voice heard. It is not only okay to have a different opinion or idea it is valued.”
“It is unusual to have four schools share a campus. It is unusual to have more than one program on a site, each with its own identity, while also having a shared identity. As in a healthy family the schools of BSSC are recognized and cherished as individuals and as significant important members of a group. The development of this family of schools owes much to Curt Coleman and his willingness to innovate.”
“In 2004-2005, Curt Coleman worked to facilitate a collaboration among the district’s four alternative school programs to bring them together to create the Branciforte Small Schools campus. At a time of significant change and turmoil in the district with two elementary schools closing and the small schools consolidating, Curt orchestrated a smooth, student-centered transition for the small schools. Working to understand the needs of each school, Curt honored old traditions while creating new ones that linked and connected five very diverse school programs. Eliciting the support of Michael Kaufman, an organization and change consultant in the community, Curt allowed each school – students, families and staff – to share their stories, their vision and their dreams to bring about a new small schools campus. Through his exceptional relationships, vision, communication and resourcefulness, Curt was able to create an interdependent, collaborative multi-age school community.
“The Branciforte Small Schools Campus is truly unique. Each individual school maintains its own identity and programs, while supporting one another and embracing some collective agreements and tenets outlined by the Coalition of Essential Schools that include:
- Learning to use one’s mind well (developing habits of mind)
- Less is more; depth over coverage
- Goals apply to all students
- Teaching and learning should be personalized
- Student as worker – teacher as coach
- Demonstration of Mastery
- A tone of decency and trust
- Commitment to the entire school
- Resources dedicated to teaching and learning
- Democracy and equity
The Branciforte Small Schools Campus, under Curt Coleman’s leadership has been focused on continuous improvement. Under his direction, the small schools collaborate effectively, learn together and change their practices and programs to best meet the needs of students.”
Sponsors of the 2011 Eddy Awards
Bonny Hawley • Cindy & Paul Geise – Ristorante Avanti
2011 Eddy Awards Donors
Soif ~ La Posta • Surfrider Cafe • Penny Ice Creamery • Driscoll’s • Timerie Gordon Designs • Kelly’s French Bakery • GoodEye Photography