Teen Driver Safety PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 April 2015 15:31

042315sch1Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for those between the ages of 16 and 24. Motor vehicle crashes are also the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in all age groups. Being aware of the risk factors and improving driving skills may help reduce this risk — especially for young drivers.

Tips for Safe Driving:

• Give driving your full attention. Driving is a privilege.

• Always wear a seat belt.

• If transporting younger passengers, properly restrain children under age 12 in the backseat, and place children in age-, height- and weight-appropriate safety or booster seats.

• Avoid distractions unrelated to driving. Distractions include texting or reading, talking on the phone — including using a headset, earpiece or speakerphone — eating, fatigue, arguing, an animal that is loose in the car, disruptive passengers, alcohol or other drugs, and loud music.

• Always have a safety zone or safety hole: a space to your left or right to drive into during an emergency.


Get Prepared for the New SAT PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 April 2015 15:35

The SAT — widely considered to be one of the most important exams a student will take in his or her academic life — is changing drastically.

When students sit down for the test in March 2016, they’ll encounter a completely redesigned format that places significant emphasis on college and career readiness and skills such as reasoning, data analysis and critical thinking.

The SAT, which impacts high school students’ college admissions success, scholarship dollars and futures, will affect nearly 2 million students. In order to tackle the test with the right amount of knowledge and confidence, students (and their parents) must approach how they prepare for the exam in an entirely different way.

To prepare properly for the exam and achieve the desired result, here are tips for both parents and students:

1. Understand the changes: The exam has been overhauled with changes to both format and content. Test length, timing and score components for the redesigned SAT will be different than its predecessor.

For example, students will no longer be penalized for answering a question incorrectly. With regard to content, students will be expected to master concepts that address college and career readiness, and key skills such as analysis and reasoning. For instance, all reading content will be passage-based and will place strong emphasis on students’ ability to understand vocabulary in context, focusing on more commonly used words, rather than simply demonstrating reading comprehension.

2. Know the dates: The first administration of the redesigned SAT is scheduled for March 2016. The class of 2017 and 2018 are most affected by the change, but the class of 2016 still has an opportunity to take the current SAT in January 2016, which is likely the safest bet.

Regardless of the format, it is never too early to start preparing for these exams, as it is the best way to ensure success and avoid last-minute, ineffective cramming. Some students begin preparing a few months in advance; for others, it’s several months or longer.

3. Be aware that tips and tricks won’t work: The redesigned SAT requires a mastery of core academic concepts and an ability to apply these concepts in real-world scenarios. For example, in the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section, reading questions will feature charts and graphs similar to ones students will most likely encounter in science and social science majors as well as their careers. Math questions will also test more complex skills, and questions will build on one another.

4. Know your options: As the SAT will see significant changes, which could cause uncertainty, the ACT is another viable college-entrance exam option. The ACT, which focuses on core high school curriculum and what a student has learned, is accepted at all four-year U.S. colleges and has overtaken the SAT in popularity.


Find Some Fun Reads for the Summer PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 April 2015 15:29

042315sch2With summer vacation on the horizon, restocking the home book collection just makes sense for children who will be out of school, but still looking for great reads.”

Here are some titles that are just for fun for the summer:

• Super Heroes: Discover a thrilling, action-packed world with “Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Amazing Battles!,” which features the bravest of heroes as they foil yet another evil villain’s scheme. Dynamic images and scenes will appeal to reluctant readers.

Super hero fans may also love “Ultimate Factivity Collection: Marvel Avengers,” which combines facts about the Earth’s mightiest super heroes — the Avengers — with fun activities and interesting puzzles.

• Pop-Out Surprises: Using flaps, touch-and-feel textures and pop-out surprises, “Pop-Up Peekaboo Farm,” introduces young minds to sheepdogs, tractors, cows, horses and more.

• Creepy Crawlies: “Eyewitness Explorer: Bug Hunter” includes more than 30 hands-on learning activities and step-by-step project instructions. Enter the kingdom of creepy crawlies and learn everything there is to know about beetles, bees, spiders and more. Experiments that can be done at home include raising a caterpillar.

• Little Chefs: Encourage your budding chef’s aspirations with creative recipes that are safe for children. The “Mommy & Me Bake” cookbook is designed to offer parents and children the opportunity to work together as a team while teaching basic baking skills. From simple kneading and mixing to creating whimsical and tasty treats, the book empowers kids to experiment in the kitchen.

• “Frozen”: For fans of the mega hit film, fill up some gift bags with a great crop of new picks, including “Frozen: The Essential Guide,” a fact-filled reference book about the characters, locations and themes of Disney’s beloved princess tale.

• ABC’s: Children around the world have fallen in love with Sophie, the popular giraffe teether toy from France. In the “Sophie la girafe” book series, Sophie and her friends teach new concepts, such as colors and basic vocabulary. “Peekaboo ABC” features every letter of the alphabet illustrated by familiar objects found in Sophie’s world.

More kids’ book ideas for summer can be found at

— StatePoint

What Every Parent Should Know About Changes in the Classroom PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 April 2015 15:28

If you have school-age children, you likely have heard about the new Common Core State Standards.

Already adopted by California and 42 other states, as well as the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Common Core focuses on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills students will need to be successful in college and the workforce.

What does this mean for your children and their education?

With these new standards in place, parents may need to offer their students extra support. How can you help your young scholars be better prepared to meet the new challenges of the classroom?

English Language Arts

Vocabulary development is a major component of the new standards for English Language Arts. Encourage your children to build their vocabulary organically by supplementing their required reading with a wide range of elected choices, such as classical myths, historical documents and seminal literature.

If you don’t already frequent the library, consider making that part of your family’s routine.

Analysis and comprehension of reading is also important. So consider reading the same articles as your children and discussing what you both learned.


Math is all around us — from sports statistics to creating a family budget to investing for college. Parents can leverage real-life events and circumstances to both illustrate the importance of math comprehension, as well as help students further understand the Common Core curriculum.

Supplement classroom learning with free webinars, reference guides and online resources. Free education resources can be found at

— StatePoint

Set Kids Up with a Healthy Lifestyle PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 April 2015 15:25

By Mia Humphreys • Special to the Times

Childhood obesity continues to be a growing concern for many families around the country. The prevalence of obesity has more than doubled in children and more than tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

How can parents make a difference? Start with these five simple rules:

1) Focus on wholesome, nutritious foods! Create a love of whole grains, water, low-fat milk, vegetables and fruits by making them household items.

Most of these foods are high in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients and low in calories. These foods must become the mainstay of a family’s diet in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

2) Keep the treats! Treats are low in nutritional value and shouldn’t be used as a snack. However, the do add enjoyment, reduce feelings of deprivation, and support a realistic, sustainable eating pattern.

3) Cut the Screen Time! Aside from homework, parents should aim for their kids to be in front of the TV for only two hours or less per day. Numerous studies show that the daily number of hours in front of the television is linked to weight gain.

4) Move! Try to be active at least an hour per day. This recommendation includes all kinds of activity, both structured and unstructured — that means everything from playing outside after school to riding a bike to the store.

5) Everyone counts! These rules apply to everyone in the home. A healthy-weight lifestyle isn’t just for family members who have or had weight issues. It’s important that these five simple rules are followed by everyone in the family because it provides kids with consistent expectations which makes the rules stick.

CCS Students Advance to State Tournament PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 March 2015 15:52


Students from Chinese Christian Schools were big winners at the Odyssey of the Mind San Francisco Bay Regional Tournament.

The students of Chinese Christian Schools couldn’t be more excited as three of the four teams placed either first or second in their divisions at the Odyssey of the Mind San Francisco Bay Regional Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 28 in Concord, Calif.

They will now advance to the State tournament to be held at UC Riverside later this month.  Depending on the teams’ placement at State, they may move on to the 2015 World Finals competition as the previous teams have the last three years.

Odyssey of the Mind lets students apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to interpreting literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition.


Firefighters Love Corvallis PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 February 2015 15:03

022615schAlameda County Firefighters recently visited Corvallis Elementary School to help the kids make hearts out of old fire hoses in honor of Valentines Day. Joining in the fun was San Leandro City Councilman Lee Thomas, top center.


SLHS Business Students Innovate PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 19 February 2015 12:58

021915schFour teams from San Leandro High School’s Academy of Business and Finance won awards in the 2014 World Series of Innovation.

The competition is open to students nationwide and is put on by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a non-profit that encourages young people to start their own businesses.

Juniors Maggie Mehari and Lauren Adona won first place in a restaurant redesign category with their plan to turn a 4-star Indian restaurant into a Bollywood-style nightclub with street food after hours, in their project “Joonan Nightlife.”

Juniors Laura Friedlund, Angelo Belenson and Diana Grande won the GoDaddy Business Builder Challenge with their app design to connect entrepreneurs and businesses world-wide.

Sophomores Keturah Fluker, Kardiere Johnson Hale, Vaijon Hortan and Abril Rubalcaba won the Mircosoft school improvement category for their app “My Look Out,” which helps people who find themselves in a dangerous situation get help.

And seniors Sharon Pham, Kamarri Williams, and Marielle Lopez  won the People’s Choice Award for their app CONNECTTeen, which is designed to help students new to a community find friends and places that meet their interests.

CAPTION: Seniors Sharon Pham, Kamarri Williams, and Marielle Lopez  were among four winning teams from San Leandro at the 2014 World Series of Innovation.


Say Hello To Principal Petersen PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 February 2015 14:10

021215sch1Assumption Catholic School recently welcomed a new principal, Joe Petersen.Petersen came to San Leandro from 13 years as principal at St. Elizabeth’s in Oakland.

As the school’s first new principal in nearly a decade, Petersen – himself a graduate of Catholic school – has proven to be a strong presence at the school, according to Assumption parent Allison Pretto, who interviewed him recently.

Petersen grew up in a family with ten kids.  His  dad was a teacher/principal/superintendent in a public school system where they consolidated two school systems.  After his father was laid off, Petersen’s mom, who was a stay-at-home mom for 30-plus years, went into the work force as a bank teller.

Petersen said he is excited about being the principal at Assumption and that he is inspired by the community on campus. He says he has big plans for Assumption.

“In the classroom, I would like teachers to meet individual kids,” said Petersen. “It shouldn’t be where 30 kids have to figure out the one teacher.  It should be the one teacher figuring out the 30 kids. Also, if students are not socially and emotionally in a safe place, they are not going to learn.  So how do we as instructors or educators generate and create and facilitate that social and emotional place so our kids know, ‘I’m going to be okay.  I can make a mistake, and I’m going to be okay.’”

CAPTION: Joe Petersen recently took over as principal at Assumption School.


New San Leandro Students Have a One-Stop Shop for School Enrollment PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 13:27



The Department of Student Services, Special Education and Community Services staff, including Myrna Hernandez, Cordula Dokes, Theresa Gonzalez, Sandra Bueno-Salas and Consuelo Zuluaga, will be working on centralized enrollment.

The San Leandro Unified School District announced that, beginning Feb. 23, the district will launch centralized enrollment for students new to the district for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Families registering new students will be able to make appointments at the new offices of the Student Services, Special Education and Community Wellness Department, which will open in February at 2255 Bancroft Ave. (formerly the offices of the San Leandro Adult School), directly across the street from San Leandro High School and adjacent to the new San Leandro Health and Wellness Center, which is currently under construction.

Funding for the renovation is through the Measure B and Measure M school facilities bonds. Measure B also supplied some funding for the Health and Wellness Center.

“We are excited about bringing our families the benefits of centralized enrollment, which allows one-stop shopping with resources at their fingertips,” said Victoria Forrester, Director of Student Services, Special Education and Community Wellness. “Although our school office managers do a phenomenal job registering new families, it is impossible for every school to know which resources are available for throughout the district.”

Currently, SLUSD enrollment occurs at all school sites, with 1,300 new students projected for the 2015-2016 school year.   Centralized enrollment streamlines and improves the process for families, said Forrester.

Centralized enrollment will greatly benefit foster youth, families with housing instability, students with special needs and English language learners, the district says.

According to Sonal Patel, Director of Teaching, Learning and Educational Equity, centralized enrollment is especially critical for initial identification of native language and program placement for English Learners.

“All families fill out a home language survey,” said Patel. “Our families need the survey with instructions in their primary language, which the online component will also offer. Currently, we may be under-identifying English Learners. The online format, along with an appointment-type setting will help us present families with our most current program options available at all of our schools and track their choices in order to monitor placement.”

Forrester commended her staff for doing the heavy lifting on the design of the new centralized enrollment process.

“This work has been fast and furious, but incredibly thorough, thanks to my department,” said Forrester. She also noted that the location change itself creates a more central location for families, as Bancroft Avenue is centrally located and a major thoroughfare with multiple bus routes.

For more information on centralized enrollment, call Student Services at 510-667-6427.


Use Technology to Study Smarter PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 22 January 2015 16:07

012215pSchool can seem like a whirlwind for kids, and it’s important for parents to get them organized and put them in a position to succeed.

Thankfully, new developments in education are making it easier for students to keep organized, study smarter and achieve better results.

These days, technology has the power to dramatically improve how kids digest, retain and apply information — if you know how to use it. Check out these great study tips that can help your student achieve the grades they strive for.

Quit Cramming

“All-nighters” are a relic of the “Saved by the Bell” era. Research now shows that students who cram the evening before a test or quiz are less likely to perform well the following day. Rest is critical for academic success.

Instead of packing learning into marathon sessions, students should maintain a regular study schedule leading up to their tests and should make sure to get plenty of shuteye.

Jump Around

When prepping for a test, most students review course materials in chronological order. While this approach may seem logical, research suggests that studying out-of-order helps students retain standalone knowledge more effectively. This allows them to recall information in a randomized fashion (the way it appears on tests).

If your children apply themselves and use these tips to guide their studies, they should have a leg up on the curriculum this school year. Whether it’s digital learning products, or just a good night’s sleep, a dynamic, modern approach to education can help your child thrive.

If your student has struggled in the past, or if you think he or she isn’t reaching his or her true potential, try some new techniques to help make this school year the best of your son or daughter’s academic career.

Create a Digital Tool-Kit

“Be prepared” is the simple motto of the Boy Scouts, and it applies to almost every facet of life. You wouldn’t try to build a tree-house without a hammer, saw and nails — you shouldn’t study with an empty tool kit either.

These days, there are unique tech tools available that make the studying process more efficient, engaging and effective.

One such tool is LearnSmart from McGraw-Hill ( that continuously assesses students’ knowledge and skills and provides personalized recommendations that help them master content over time, helping students focus their study time more on learning what they don’t know and less on what they already know.


Start Early When Teaching Children About Traffic Safety PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 22 January 2015 16:05

012215p6It’s never too early to start teaching your children about traffic safety. Traffic accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 12 in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Here are some traffic safety tips for you and your children to remember.

Car Safety: Everyone should use seat belts, and children should always be in a properly fitted car seat.

When reversing out of parking spaces, drivers should be on alert for small children, and parents should always hold their child’s hand and watch for speeding. And, while it may be convenient to leave a trunk open when loading or unloading items, children are naturally curious and may get trapped inside if left unattended. So, be sure to teach your child that trunks are for cargo, not hide-and-seek.

Bike Safety: Make sure your, and your child’s, bike helmets sit low across the forehead with no more than two finger-widths above the eyebrow. And make sure the chin strap is buckled snugly. Children should also ride on bike paths or sidewalks — never in the streets.

In low-light conditions, make sure that you and your children wear brightly colored clothing and reflective materials. Everyone’s bike should be equipped with a white front light and a red rear light.

— StatePoint