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Memorial/donation details regarding Las Lomas students who died in rafting accident


Acalanes school district Superintendent John Stockton has issued the following news release regarding memorial services and donations following the deaths of Las Lomas students Matt Miller and Gavin Powell:

“Friday, February 25, 2011

The entire Acalanes Union High School District community is mourning the loss of Matthew Miller and Gavin Powell, two Las Lomas juniors. Our heartfelt condolences go out to their families.

Below is information on services and charitable donations for both:

Memorial Service
Sunday, February 27 at 3:00 p.m.
St. Matthew Lutheran Church
399 Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek

Donations may given to Amigos De Las Americas

1-800-231-7796 x142
Amigos De Las Americas
Development Dept.
5618 Star Lane
Houston, TX 77057

Memorial Service
Saturday, February 26 at 2:00 p.m.
Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church
55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek

Donations may be given to the Powell Memorial Fund
Checks can be made out to the “Powell Memorial Fund” (There is a drop box in the main office at Las Lomas High School). Please include on the check the account # 05970-70974. Please contact Ms. Steele, Las Lomas Associate Principal or Bank of America for electronic transfer or PayPal information.”

Posted on Friday, February 25th, 2011
Under: Acalanes school district, Education | No Comments »

Dublin district says dropout rate inaccurate

By Theresa Harrington

A report released by the state Department of Education today erroneously showed the Dublin school district’s dropout rate was 99.9 percent, Dublin Superintendent Stephen Hanke told me late this afternoon.

Unfortunately, Hanke contacted me after my deadline (and hours after I had left a message for him with his secretary), so I was unable to add his comments to my print story.

“This is obviously a gross error,” he said. “If you look at the actual rate and how that is reported, they add in some lost transfers.”

According to the state report , the district had 21 grade 9-12 dropouts in 2008-09 out of 1,556 students, reflecting an estimated four-year drop-out rate of 5.3 percent. Eight students re-enrolled, but the district shows 1,015 as “lost transfers,” meaning they left the district and cannot be accounted for.

This is the number that appears to be in error, and which pushed the district’s estimated dropout total to 1,028 students or 99.9 percent.

“We’re actually down less than 1 percent,” Hanke said. “I would say that the issue is likely that this is CALPADS (California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System) and this is the first year and there are some errors in sending or receiving data. We are in the process of calling the state Department of Education.”

Hanke said he conceptually agrees that CALPADS is a good way to track students. However, there is a learning curve with any new system, he said.

In addition, the district got a new student tracking system in the fall, which has further added to the learning curve, Hanke added. Still, he said he suspected the error occurred at the state level, rather than at the district level.

Posted on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Under: Alameda County, Dublin school district, Education, Theresa Harrington | No Comments »

Five East Bay school districts get technology grants

By Theresa Harrington

Congratulations to five East Bay school districts that have been selected to receive $1.5 million in federal Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) competitive grants!

In Alameda County, the Livermore Valley Joint Unified district and San Lorenzo Unified district willl each receive $250,000.

Contra Costa County districts receiving the grants are: Pittsburg Unified, which will get $50,000; West Contra Costa Unified, which will receive $500,000; and San Ramon Valley Unified, which has been awarded $450,00.

State Schools Chief Jack O’Connell said 151 local educational agencies will share in more than $36 million in grant money. The complete list of grant recipients is at

“These grants will help schools use data effectively to improve student achievement and close the achievement gap,” said O’Connell, in a news release. “With the state budget crisis continuing, our cash-strapped schools desperately need these funds as soon as possible so they can use education data and technology to better prepare students for college or careers.”

Funding for the grants was provided through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. They range between $10,000 and $3 million, based on the number of 7-12th grade students enrolled in each district.

To be eligible to receive the funding, district were required to have state-approved technology plans and receive federal Title I funding designed to help socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

More information about the grant program is at

Posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Under: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Theresa Harrington | No Comments »

Congrats to Chevron Classroom challenge winners

By Theresa Harrington
Ten East Bay schools have received $25,000 each to bolster Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs through the “Chevron Classroom Challenge” contest.
Five Contra Costa County and five Alameda County winners were selected from more than 300 projects submitted.
Contra Costa County winners are: Debra Arthur, Ygnacio Valley High School, in the Mt. Diablo district; Martha Kessler, Indian Valley Elementary in the Walnut Creek School Distric; Catherine Vanier, Lovonya De Jean Middle School, in the West Contra Costa district; and Liz Ritchie of Deer Valley High School and Michelle Flowers of Park Middle School — both in the Antioch school district.
Alameda County winners are: Christie Carnahan, of Valley View Elementary School in the Pleasanton school district; and Oakland district teachers Devon McCrory of the Ascend School, Emily Greene of Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Christine Tenorio of the E. C. Reems Academy of Technology & Art, and Aaron Vanderwerff of the Lighthouse Community Charter School.
I’ll be writing more about the winners soon.
If you’re an educator, how do you teach about science, technology, engineering and math?

Posted on Friday, November 19th, 2010
Under: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Education, Theresa Harrington | No Comments »