By Jeanne Huybrechts, Chief Academic Officer & Allison Wilson, Senior Director of Curriculum and Innovation Preschool-Grade 2, Stratford School
We are excited to welcome students back for the upcoming school year with safety in mind and plans for a flexible learning environment.
To date, we have established priorities aligned with our school’s mission and goals for students, created a return-to-school plan, and are building out support systems for several potential contingency plans. Here’s a preview of our plans:
Our commitment to the health and safety of our school community is paramount. We will abide by all state and local statues, heed the advice of health organizations, notably the CDC, and maintain a clean and healthy environment within our schools. Additionally, we will implement several strategies to encourage behaviors known to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Quality Academic Programs
Depending on the final state and local statues for this school year wherein shelter-in-place or reduced-occupancy mandates are imposed, we will be ready to transition to one of several teaching and learning models, among them (1) a period of distance learning or (2) a hybrid of distance and on-campus learning (necessary, for example, if classroom capacity limits are imposed). Again, an uninterrupted traditional school year is our fervent hope however, every imaginable alternative scenario is being explored.
Commitment to Improvement
The school has committed to investing in computer hardware and software upgrades to aid in any hybrid accommodation we may face, and also at the request of our teachers, who, during the distance-learning period, learned and developed creative uses for instructional technology and learning programs, which they hope to continue using.
School year 2020-21 teacher training will focus almost entirely on blended learning techniques – how to develop curriculum and programing with clear through-lines that seamlessly integrate traditional and modern teaching pedagogies, synchronous and asynchronous learning, in-person and digital experiences.
A Caring Atmosphere
In all of our distance-learning interactions with students, we tried to bridge the digital gap with some playfulness, some fun, and other manifestations of care and connection. In advisory meetings and in academic classes, we incorporated elements that supported social-emotional health. During our months apart, social-emotional learning was more relevant than ever.
Onward with Optimism!
As communities begin to open back up, it is important to be mindful of potential messages around COVID-19 that may be confusing to children. Introducing proactive, age-appropriate discussions about how school might look different when they start the new school year are important topics in which to engage and develop as information evolves. This continued focus around what we do know about the virus and sharing the things that are within our control can help build confidence, and a level of comfort, in our children.
And, as we begin to plan for this upcoming school year, we are still driven by the mission and vision that attracted us to teaching in the first place, and we are reinvigorated by the creativity and inventiveness unleashed in response to extraordinarily challenging circumstances. We will begin the school year grateful for the opportunity to teach and to learn as we move onward to an excellent future!
To learn more about Stratford School or to schedule a personalized virtual tour go to stratfordschools.com!
The landscape of education evolved once again on July 17, when the governor issued a directive concerning when Orange County schools would be able to reopen with students on campus. While many schools struggle to keep up with the rapid changes brought about by COVID-19, leaders of Fairmont Schools feel their five campuses -- including the new preschool through grade 12 location in San Juan Capistrano -- are uniquely positioned to pivot and thrive in this challenging time.
Experience Plus Innovation
Voted Orange County’s Best Private School for five consecutive years, Fairmont has been a leader in private school education since its founding in 1953. Nearly 70 years’ experience equates to many lessons learned. So when the winds of education shift, as they are right now, no school is better-equipped to respond than Fairmont. As Orange County’s largest and oldest private school group, Fairmont is poised to provide its innovative individualized learning experience to students, regardless of the method of delivery.
Ready for Remote
Building upon an already-strong remote program, the school invested heavily in technology and training to elevate the level of instruction it can provide to students who will be learning from home this fall. Small classes, differentiated learning, and rigorous curriculum are part of Fairmont’s “tried and true” formula for producing successful students of all ability levels. It’s a formula that has served students well for decades, and it’s one that has been integrated into the school’s remote learning program.
Another thing that sets Fairmont apart is the lengths its teachers and staff go to in caring for the overall well-being of students. “This has always been important, but perhaps never more so than it is right now,” said Chad Jackson, Fairmont’s president. “Supporting our students’ social and emotional needs is key to our remote instruction.”
Prepared to Reopen
When Orange County schools are cleared to have students return, Fairmont will open the doors of its new San Juan Capistrano campus with a plan that ensures safety is paramount and students come first. At that time, Fairmont will be offering in-person instruction -- five days a week and full days with experienced teachers, further differentiating itself from almost every other school in south Orange County.
Fairmont’s teachers and administrators have been hard at work researching best practices for reopening, from sanitation and logistics to teacher training and technology. The school’s Reopening Task Force continues to consult extensively with medical and education experts, while monitoring local, state and federal guidelines to ensure its campuses can open safely. That plan includes everything from “the basics” (such as the use of social distancing, face coverings, and rigorous sanitation) to incorporating physical enhancements (such as the installation of touchless restroom fixtures).
“We are living through very challenging times, but Fairmont’s focus hasn’t shifted,” said David Jackson, Fairmont’s chairman. “Our students come first, and our teachers and staff have been working tirelessly to ensure everyone’s return to school exceeds expectations -- regardless of whether a child learns from home or in the classroom.”
Fairmont is now enrolling P-12th grade students for the 2020-21 school year across its family of schools in Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, North Tustin and San Juan Capistrano. To learn more visit fairmontschools.com or call 714-234-2771 to schedule a tour.
By Ryan Burris, Chief Communications Officer, Capistrano Unified School District
Capistrano Unified has spent the last three months building a reopening plan for the fall with the priority of providing an excellent education while ensuring the health and safety of our students and school employees.
On July 17, Governor Newsom announced that all schools within Orange County will be required to open the 2020-21 school year using online learning ONLY. Governor Newsom made this a requirement for all counties on the state’s coronavirus monitoring list. CUSD will reopen classrooms and campuses when the updated guidelines allow for school’s to safely do so.
The centerpiece of CUSD’s Trustee-approved reopening plan is a robust, consistent, and engaging curriculum that aligns with the District’s core values and can be successfully delivered both in a traditional school setting and online. In preparation for returning to school in August, our Board of Trustees approved a comprehensive online curriculum that has been vetted, used consistently with success, and delivers the District core values of rigor, engagement, consistency, and flexibility.
Our hybrid reopening plan includes:
K–5 Options when Orange County is removed from the monitoring list:
Students can spend 100 percent of their school time engaging in online learning or attending class on campus. Or they can split their time between home and school.
Secondary Options –– 6–12 when Orange County is removed from the monitoring list:
Students can choose 100 percent online learning or spend half their time on campus with a flipped classroom format utilizing independent study. CUSD will ensure juniors and seniors continue to have access to the resources they need to increase their options for post-secondary life after high school.
This plan provides an enriched learning curriculum compared to the distance learning initiative that was implemented quickly in response to the pandemic this past spring. CUSD continues its commitment to excellence in curriculum and instruction.
The 2020-21 CUSD school year will include an integration of mental health, emotional support, and social emotional learning. Administrator training was held in July and teacher trainings will be held in August. Monthly parent webinars will be held during the school year.
CUSD will also continue to foster cultural diversity in partnership with the district’s Cultural Proficiency Task Force, established last fall, and with our students, families, and staff. A workshop is planned in the fall to update the school board and the CUSD community on planned strategic actions and initiatives we are undertaking in this regard.
Although we are navigating unprecedented times, CUSD remains committed to academic rigor, consistency, and providing an engaging and flexible online and classroom educational experience for all students, while protecting the safety and security of families and employees.
For more information on CUSD’s reopening plans, visit capousd.org.
I wanted to share my latest family photo to remind us all of what is important, our family and health. I hope all of you are staying strong physically and mentally during this time.
The recent economic challenges and governmental changes remind me why I have a practice that is centered on taxation, investments and financial well-being.
Access to information is easily available…however, it takes a professional with experience to interpret, direct and provide perspective on these changes to provide clarity, calmness and a path to success.
Hopefully, you find my articles of benefit. Here are some current thoughts on a variety of topics.
CALL NOW OR GO ONLINE TO SCHEDULE YOUR TAX Preparation or Planning APPOINTMENT AT (949) 248-9815, Ext. 1.
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For general informational purposes only. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualize tax advice. Please note that individual situations can vary.
Summer is upon us! Like many parents, you may be wondering if this time off from school should be spent on family vacations, planned activities at home, or summer camp. While family time spent together is extremely valuable, summer camp also offers many benefits that kids don’t necessarily get at school. The summer camp experience gives kids the opportunity to improve their “soft skills” and hard skills, meet and befriend new peers, and develop new interests. If you’re on the fence about sending your child to summer camp, here are a few things you need to know.
Kids tend to get branded with labels in school: nerdy, athletic, popular, loud and funny, quiet and shy. By going to camp with different peers, your child has a chance to break out of their supposed categorization. They might feel less pressure to conform to their school label. And they’ll remember that who they are at school isn’t necessarily who they have to be all the time. It’s refreshing.
One of the best things about summer camps is that there are so many of them that offer unique activities. There are over 14,000 day and resident camps in the United States, and they continuously adapt to the evolving interests of campers. Most camps offer traditional outdoors activities like recreational swimming and camping skills. New programs that have been introduced recently include adventure camps or programs, college planning, health and wellness, and more. If your child is interested in STEM hobbies like coding or robotics, going to a camp that specializes in these activities allows them to pursue their interests in a new setting. They’ll also encounter new ones at camp that they may not have considered before, like horseback riding or rock climbing.
Summer learning loss, “summer brain drain,” or “the summer slide” is real: many students lose two to three months of reading and math skills during summer break. There are a few ways to prevent summer learning loss, and one of them is attending summer camp. Summer camp pulls double duty, not only keeping kids mentally stimulated, but physically active as well. There’s a myth that campers attending STEM camps or tech camps stay indoors and on a computer all day, but that’s an old stereotype. A good summer camp will provide kids with a well-balanced variety of activities, both mental and physical.
Kids encounter the ultimate test of independence when going to camp: being away from their parents. They make small decisions for themselves: what to eat, what activities to do in their free time, who to talk to if they have a question or problem, and so on. These new experiences can be hard, but they’re ultimately worth it because of the boost in self-esteem and confidence.
In addition, camp can teach kids many other essential life skills: teamwork from working on projects, respect, and openness when meeting new peers, and resilience from navigating something new on their own.
In a study by the American Camp Association, an overwhelming number of campers said positive things about their camp experiences with other kids. A whopping 96% of campers said camp helped them make new friends, and 93% said camp helped them get to know kids who were different from themselves. Kids can bond over living together at resident camps or participating in the same hobbies at day camps. Kids who go to the same school may become friends out of proximity, but kids who become friends at camp have deeper connections rooted in similar interests.
Sending your child to summer camp clearly benefits them, and it benefits parents, too. Giving kids time away from their home, family, and belongings can help them appreciate what they have when they return. In addition, spending time away from each other can be revitalizing for both kids and parents. If you are looking for a STEM/STEAM summer camp that offers an enriching experience, take a look at Summer@Stratford. Stratford School’s summer camps tailor activities to each age group, providing campers with hands-on learning projects and real-world problems to tackle in a fun way.
By Anthony Cupo
In recent years, there has been an increase in awareness on the need to expose children to camping activities. Exposing children to camps increases their sense of self-reliance, ambition, adventure, optimism, and self-esteem. Camps offer unique opportunities that enable children with varying abilities to distance themselves from daily stressors.
Such a favorable environment enables children to explore their individuality. Gaining in-depth insights about themselves increases their sense of autonomy and responsibility. Children often spend most of their formative years in the same neighborhoods, reducing the diversity of their daily interactions. Camps provide children with a suitable platform for forming bonds and interacting with new peers. Due to the intricate nature of children, parents should prepare for their camp in a systematic manner.
When preparing their children for camp, parents need to know about a number of preparations. These include the need to involve the children during formulation of decisions, safety measures, sharing rules, as well as talking about the formation of new friendships.
To enhance the efficacy of the camping experience, parents should involve their children in essential decisions. Parents should inform their children about camp. Parents should gather in-depth insights of various types of camps in order to determine their children’s eligibility. Parent have discussions about camp assessments with your children. Adoption of this strategy helps in calming fears about camp. Parents should seek their children’s opinion in relation to the camping activities. Establish an interactive environment that allows children to raise pertinent questions in relation to camp activities. Children may experience high levels of anxiety when it comes to camp. Addressing these fears and anxieties beforehand will enable children to assume active roles during camp. Parents should role play various camp activities with their children. Role-playing is essential because it familiarizes the child with the anticipated conditions and activities of camp. During discussions, parents should encourage their children to form goals that will boost the relevance of their stay at camp.
Before enrolling their children to camps, parents need to know about the available safety measures and dietary accommodations. Parents should gather in-depth insights on whether the camps have safety features and measures that align with their children’s unique needs. The camp should have a license of practice from the relevant authorities. Parents have a key role of ensuring that their children undergo through physical examinations to determine their ability to participate in diverse activities during camp. Parents should ensure that camps have appropriate safety measures that protect children from engaging in negative activities such as drug use, violence, and bullying. Parents should coordinate with the camp organizers to discuss they ways they protect the children. Parents should speak with their children on the importance of protecting themselves. Such healthy discussions between parents, children, and camp organizers increase the efficacy of the camping activities. In addition to gathering insights of the available safety measures at camps, parents should also consider the dietary accommodations. Some children may require well-prepared and nutritious diets in order to enhance their wellbeing. Parents should ensure that the diet at camp does not increase their children’s susceptibility to contracting lifestyle ailments such as diabetes and obesity.
Parents should enlighten their children on sharing best practices. With so many new people around many infectious ailments are likely to spread within camp due to sharing of personal items. Sharing personal items such as handkerchiefs, clothes, and towels is likely to enhance the spread of lice and skin diseases. Children should avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, combs, and earrings. Sharing of make-up brushes and wipes is likely to cause eye infections. It is important to enlighten children on the adverse effects of sharing manicure tools and nail polish. These tools are likely to spread germs that may cause toe and finger infections. Children should, however, be encouraged to share other items such as toys, books, and painting brushes.
Forming friendships is a vital part of children’s emotional and social development. Friends increase a child’s ability to develop high self-esteem, altruism, self-confidence, and social competence. Friendships among children helps develop their own identity as well as learn about themselves. Friends help to reduce camp stress and help navigate developmental experiences. Parents should also consider the camp’s ability to enable the children to form new friendships. It is important to consider the child’s social skills. Parent should inform the camp organizers of any existing challenges in their children’s communication abilities and social skills. In order to prepare children for the camping experience, parents should help them understand the importance of sharing, respecting the feelings of others, and autonomy. In addition, parents should increase their children’s awareness on how friendships work. During preparation for the camping exercise, parents should teach their children about conversation breakers and role play conversations they will engage in at camp. Boosting the children’s confidence will calm their fears and increase their ability to relate with others in a suitable manner.
Camps offer unique opportunities that enable children to form collaborative relationships with their peers from diverse backgrounds. Camps equip children with skills that enable them to cope with daily stressors. In order to enhance their children’s camping activities, parents should involve children in the derivation of essential decisions that relate to camping for the best outcome.
Anthony Cupo is a trained mindfulness facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC and has been meditating for over 30 years.
By Mark Freedkin, Southern California Regional Director, theCoderSchool
With technology moving faster than any time in human history, it’s becoming increasingly important to expose and encourage our next generation to learn the fundamentals of coding.
Coding for kids is becoming a standard offering at many public schools, with more advanced teachings available at an increasing number of private after-school businesses.
Most offerings for learning to code can be divided into three categories:
Curriculum Driven – by far the most common style, refers to the traditional pre-defined or static curriculum teaching model, typically in a many-to-one ratio.
Software Driven – uses a software system to teach kids, where students are exposed to concepts via online guidance and quizzes.
Coach Driven – revolves around a direct mentor-mentee relationship, where students are taught in a more custom, immersion style.
While Curriculum and Software Driven styles have an advantage of scalability and repeatability, Coach Driven instead focuses on a more custom and enhanced experience for the student.
In a Coach Driven format, learning concepts in a curriculum course isn’t the focus. Rather, the focus is simply to create custom apps, demo the apps, and repeat (at a slightly higher difficulty level). By doing so, students learn the concepts required to create apps by the act of coding them, and are given time goals by setting demo-day deadlines.
Because this format requires a very small student-to-teacher ratio (typically 2:1 or better), it allows Code Coaches® to individualize the teaching by creating apps that interest and engage the student, at the appropriate difficulty level.
theCoderSchool uses Code Coaches® to guide each student to progress and grow their own unique Coder Tree®. With roots as fundamental concepts, the trunk as base coding, and the branches as advanced technologies, students create apps in an immersion style while learning concepts that grow their own tree. Like real trees, each student is unique and grows in a unique way. Like real trees, more practice in roots is required to grow a larger trunk, and more practice in the trunk is required to grow bigger branches.
Today, kids and parents alike have many choices for learning to code. Remember that whether Curriculum, Software, or Coach Driven, most important of all is that our next generation of kids is prepared for the coming onslaught of technology. Register online for a FREE 30-minute sample lesson.
The Coder School - Irvine
14200 Culver Drive, Suite 200
Irvine, CA 926204
The Coder School - Mission Viejo
27660 Marguerite Parkway, Suite G
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
Orange County Tradition for 27 years and located near the scenic Back Bay at Newport Dunes in Newport Beach. Awarded “Best Day Camp” for 2013 by ParentingOC Magazine. Offering ages 4-17 adventures & happy memories: archery, Stand-up-paddleboards, STEM, watersports, zip line, drama, climbing wall, inflatable water park, mini-golf, laser-tag, dance, karate, fishing, crafts. Children love our caring award winning staff, theme weeks, variety of activities, and crazy special events. Parents love our flexible scheduling, outstanding reputation, extended hours, & that we are ACA Accredited. Camp Starts June 23 and ends August 29, 2014. Go to www.campjames.com or call (949)729-1098 for more info. Open House Dates: March 23(11 a.m.–2 p.m.), April 8 (4-6:30p.m.), April 26 (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
In Capistrano Acting Academy Summer Theatre Camp, experience the fun of playing pretend...but in a real play. Each Monday is a new theme so every week you become a new character! A combination of theatre games, rehearsals, costume fittings and Improv activities has you performing in a real theatre with music, stage lights and your friends and family in the audience by 2 PM Friday afternoon! The director of our youth division, Ryan Fredericks, is an Accredited Teacher. 7 weeks – limited enrollment. Hours 9AM – 2PM (Optional Preshow hour 8AM) + Encore Camp from 2 PM - 5 PM. Camino Real Playhouse is located at 31776 El Camino Real in San Juan Capistrano. Register: www.CapistranoActingAcademy.org. For info, call (949) 489-8082.
The Teen Entrepreneur Academy (TEA) is a hands-on, learn-by-doing, one-week residential business entrepreneurship start-up summer camp for high school students. It is held annually in July at Concordia University Irvine. TEA teaches high school students real-world entrepreneurship, best business practices, principles of free enterprise and how to start and launch their own business. Teenagers (TeenPreneurs), working in groups of 3-to-4, work as entrepreneurs by preparing start-up business plans for their own real businesses. The team with the best start-up business plan wins $1,500 in the entrepreneurship business plan competition held the last day of the summer camp academy. For info: www.cui.edu/tea
Evolution Sports Academy includes daily exposure to archery, soccer, volleyball, basketball, arts & crafts, and fun pool activities including introductory swimming, water polo, and fun relay races. We have full & half-day options as well as drop-in rates for 2-days per week or more. We offer lunch for purchase and a set lunch menu for each day as well as extended camp hours for families needing to drop-off before 8:30 am and pick up after 4:30 pm. Info: evolution swim.com
JP's Surf Camp offers children through adult the opportunity to learn how to surf or better their surfing ability in a small group environment. Small group instruction provides students with more individual attention and a safer environment in which to learn surfing. Emphasis is on ocean awareness, surfing instruction and technique, surfing etiquette, wave selection and judgment, proper surfing equipment and overall physical fitness. Soft surfboards are used for instruction. Rash guards are provided. Requirements: Classes are offered for those ages 6 years to adult. Each surfer needs to be able to swim the length of a swimming pool with confidence. Intermediate and Advanced Surfing: For those intermediate to advanced surfers, we provide hard surfboards and instruction to meet their level and improve their surfing experience. Info: jpsurfcamp.com
At the Julie Foudy Soccer Camp we aim to expose as many players as possible to our great role models and coaches. We have chosen a curriculum that integrates a mixed-ability teaching approach. Even though we have some staff members that have played at the very highest level in women's soccer, we have broken down their training regimen into workable modules for all ages and abilities. Summer 2020 dates: July 13 - 16, 9am - 12pm. Location: The “Potocki Center” 27301 La Paz in Mission Viejo. Info: juliefoudysoccercamps.com
(Ages 8 -11)
This camp is held in our state-of-the-art tumbling room with trampolines, silks, aerial hoops, tumbling mats and other equipment to help students focus on tumbling and aerial skills. Students will work on handstands, cartwheels, backbends, splits, silks, rope climbing and other basic tumbling fundamentals. T-shirts and crafts included. SCC Laguna Niguel Studio is located at 27652 Camino Capistrano. June 8 - 12; July 6 - 10; August 3 - 7. For info, call (949) 367-0099.
Storymakery’s Young Author Spring and Summer Camps are the first creative writing camps that not only teaches the foundation of plot development, but also allows kids to publish their own book series. Our program extends children’s creativity, writing, self-expression & cognitive thinking with a unique approach. Camps are 5 days long. www.storymakery.com
Stratford School offers an innovative and enriching summer camp experience for students from Preschool through 8th Grade (2.5 –14 years old). Younger campers - Preschool – Kindergarten - learn, explore, and engage in a combination of hands-on learning projects and interactive play. For the Elementary age group, each two-week camp session is built around a project-based learning theme, where students collaborate to tackle a real-world problem by utilizing cross-disciplinary academic principles and new concepts in a fun and engaging way. At the Middle School level, individual subject-based enrichment classes are offered and tailored for each grade level. For more information go to stratfordschools.com/summer-camp.
Summer Social Skills Camp
Children diagnosed with ADHD, ASD or experiencing related challenges and their siblings. Campers ages 8 - 11 years old. Social Skills • Sports • Literature to Life • Drama • Art • Science Projects • Nature Trail Walks • Boomers and More! A summer enrichment program supported by licensed clinical professionals, including behavior specialists, licensed clinical social workers and clinical psychologists. Session 1: July 6 - July 24, 9 am - 1 pm. Session 2: July 27 - August 14, 9 am - 1 pm. Drop off between 8:15 am - 9 am. For info: (949) 812-6222 or www.thechildrensschool.net
In addition to our regular year-round after-school coding lessons, theCoderSchool also offers a variety of Summer Camps covering different subjects and programming languages. Each of our week-long summer camps are Monday-Friday. Students can bring their own sack lunches and water bottles and we'll take care of the rest! Students code throughout the week then demonstrate their creations to parents and families at the end of the last day. With school locations in Irvine, Mission Viejo, Yorba Linda, Cerritos/La Palma, and soon in Huntington Beach, there’s no better way to keep your kids' brains active this summer. And we're offering an "Early-Bird" discount of $100 off if you register early. These camps fill-up quickly, so be sure to sign up now! For info: Mission Viejo: mv.thecoderschool.com; Irvine: irvine.thecoderschool.com.
Ranked as the #1 Volleyball Club in Orange County Tstreet is centrally located in Irvine Spectrum Area Tstreet offers a full range of position specific, general skills, sand camps and clinics throughout the summer. Training is open to boys and girls and our program caters to experienced as well as introductory level athletes. Last summer, the improvement of our inexperienced 'Day Campers' was phenomenal. Participants went from no volleyball experience to making school teams and earning roster spots on high-level club teams. Owned by two-time Olympic Gold Medalist coach and player, Troy Tanner brings his philosophy of "achieving one's highest potential" to the club. Proper movement patterns & mechanics, repetitions, feedback and fun are emphasized in our state of the art gym. Sign up online: TstreetVolleyball.com.
By Ryan Burris, Chief Communications Officer, Capistrano Unified School District
There were tables with all manner of gears and sprockets, Rubik’s cubes and other dimensional puzzles. Imaginative submissions for the OC Maker Challenge were on display from our elementary students.
Sphero robots and electronic devices scurried around on the floor. There was a simulated airplane cockpit and “Kracken,” an award-winning competitive robot, showed off its skills.
As a banner at the entrance to Triton Center read, “Innovators, come in.”
This was all part of the third annual Innovation Showcase, held Monday, February 10, 2020, at San Clemente High School.
With a theme of “Moving Full-Steam Ahead,” the open house overflowed with hands-on activities, innovative learning labs and displays, and demonstrations intended to showcase local STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education and the district’s commitment to and successes in implementing programs across all grades on more than 50 campuses across the district.
Stephanie Avera, the district’s director of education technology, said in these times of technical upheaval and revolution, teachers face the challenge of preparing students for “careers that have not been invented yet.”
STEM and STEAM education have been popular models since the early 2000s. They were developed in part as a way to address a perceived decline in the sciences in the classroom as well as to spur technological innovation.
CUSD offers 28 career pathways and has over 500 college and career partnerships offered through College and Career Advantage. EMT students were on site at the event showing off their skills by taking vital signs.
Through STEAM programs, students have access to technology labs, Chromebooks, 3D printers, robotics programs, and gardens.
Avera said Capistrano Unified dove into STEM in a big way six years ago, when it distributed 35,000 Chromebooks to students. Since then, the district has continued to up its game, adopting new science and math curricula. “We want students to be prepared for a career right away, or the next step of their education,” said Avera.
All CUSD elementary schools have innovation labs. There are 12 Career Technical Education labs in the middle schools for career exploration and hands-on learning.
At the high school level, students have a wide array of specialty areas, with each school having concentrations in areas ranging from robotics, to programming and coding, to fashion design, to culinary arts.
Anthony Russomanno, coordinator of Futureology, the CUSD college and career counseling program, said the effects of STEM on his program have been profound.
“About 40 percent of the kids who come to us want to go into engineering,” he said. Advising students and parents about STEM-based opportunities is “a large part of what we do."
The district has partnered with local groups such as the Discovery Cube, Inside the Outdoors, and Crystal Cove Conservancy to provide additional opportunities for students to learn and grow outside of the traditional classroom model.
Families evaluated the morphological characteristics of different species of plans in the Crystal Cove Conservancy plant morphology experience. Students had the opportunity to vote for which plants they think should be planted in a particular area of Crystal Cove State Park.
In a classroom near Triton Center, Kelly Ellis of Inside the Outdoors and her companion, a bearded dragon named Lucy, greeted students.
Inside, the Outdoors is on a mission to introduce students to a world of science outside the classroom. Ellis said there are plenty of instances where wildlife and science intersect. “Science has its place in our world,” she said, noting that it takes science to understand clean air, water and balanced ecosystems. “There are a lot of opportunities to help with wildlife by using science and technology.”
For more information on CUSD’s schools and programs, visit capousd.org.
We’re all pretty familiar with our favorite apps on the Internet or on our mobile devices - but someone has to write the code that makes them work.
More kids are getting exposure to coding earlier, and that’s the idea behind an exciting new after-school enrichment program from theCoderSchool. We teach young students (ages 7 through 18) how to write computer software -- including video games, mobile apps and websites. theCoderSchool started about five years ago in the Bay Area of Northern California.
Today, we are part of a nationwide franchise with nearly 50 locations around the country, and we have over 4,000 students attending our schools for one or more hours each week throughout the year.
There is great benefit to learning how to code - students learn logical thinking skills and problem-solving skills which will transfer into all other academic areas. In fact, many parents report that after a few months of attending theCoderSchool, their kids are demonstrating improvement in their overall academics. They also learn that they have the power to investigate and solve problems on their own, and they develop the self-confidence to help them overcome any obstacles.
Unlike many other after-school coding programs, we maintain an extremely low ratio of only two students with one instructor. This allows us to fully customize a unique curriculum for each and every student, based on their own experience, how they learn, and what they are most interested in learning.
Because each individual is unique, we don’t have a fixed curriculum that we force every student through - some are visual learners, some are conceptual learners and some like to practice, experiment, explore and digest the knowledge, while others are eager to make as much progress as quickly as possible. This distinctive approach has helped to make theCoderSchool the #1 after-school coding program in Silicon Valley -- it’s where all the software engineers from Apple, Google and Netflix send THEIR kids to learn how to code.
Coding is the basic literacy of technology, and we are surrounded by technology everyday. theCoder- School can help your kids learn to use that technology with skill to accomplish whatever they are interested in doing.
Here in Orange County, we have locations in Irvine and a newly-opened location in Mission Viejo. We also have other locations in Yorba Linda and Cerritos/La Palma.
You can register for an absolutely FREE 30-minute sample lesson at any of our locations. That will allow you to see our facility, meet our staff, and see if your student likes our teaching methods.