St. Felicitas Career Day PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 10 July 2014 14:17

071014schBefore leaving for summer vacation, the students in St. Felicitas School’s second grade dressed up for career day. The kids wore outfits to represent the jobs they would like to have in the future, including athletes, teachers, doctors, and more.

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:44

061914sch1By Poppy Richie • Special to the Times

This spring the San Leandro Principled Academy treated their first through eighth grade students to a week of assemblies about careers.

Parent Ms. Cherrie Garay organized a group of parents to talk about their jobs, and to emphasize the education it took to achieve their career goals.

The parent presenters defined the qualities that were necessary for them to achieve their career goals. Dr. Rosa Sanchez-Rosen talked about her 18 years of education to become a specialist in her field. She treats blood related diseases in children.

Others spoke about what they love about their job, and the challenges they faced.  Deputy Chief Jan Davis of the BART police force talked about how it was difficult for her to enter this line of work because she is a petite woman, and most officers, when she joined, were taller than her and male. One student asked if she ever felt like giving up.  She told about one training week that was almost unbearable, and she wanted to quit, but she persevered and did not give up.

Each speaker brought a career “show and tell.”  Mr. Jason Rittenbach, a licensed contractor, brought his tool kit and wore a hard hat. He also demonstrated a fascinating tool that measures with a laser pointer.

061914sch2Officer Shaunte Barnes, a BART police officer, came in full uniform with a police vehicle that students were allowed to sit in for a few seconds. Ms. Lisa Randon, a Registered Nurse who specializes in caring for premature babies, brought a tiny diaper that would fit on a wrist to demonstrate the size of babies under her care.

Mr. Larry Collins, a chef for Carlton Plaza in San Leandro, wore his chef’s hat, brought some of his tools, and talked about how he studied all about nutrition in order to serve his clients healthy food.  Mrs. Teresa Goodlow, a lawyer, brought a heavy thick law book, and emphasized the importance of developing reading and writing skills if you want to become a lawyer.  She encouraged anyone who likes to argue to look into her career.

Students had lots of questions for the speakers, and they learned about the value of getting a good education in order to get the job of their dreams.

Poppy Richie is a second grade teacher at The Principled Academy, 2305 Washington Avenue, San Leandro. For a school tour, call 351-6400, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

CAPTION 1: Allied Services Construction Owner Jason Rittenbach wears his hard hat with his children.

CAPTION 2: BART Deputy Chief Jan Davis with daughter Destiny.

San Leandro High Yearbook Inspired by ‘The Wiz’ Theme PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:42

061914eThe San Leandro High yearbook for this past year was inspired by the musical, “The Wiz.”

In the coming-of-age message, the freshmen seek courage, the sophomores wisdom, the juniors look for love and the seniors discover the power to make their dreams come true lies within them. And the school staff gets to play the wizards and witches.

The yearbook got a good reception, said yearbook advisor and journalism teacher Linda Thurston.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the MGM movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” on which “The Wiz” is based.

“Oz is probably the most collectible theme of all time,” Thurston said.  “But we believe after diligent internet research and asking several yearbook reps that we are the first school anywhere to use it as a theme.”

CAPTION: The San Leandro High yearbook staff created a design this year by incorporating “The Wiz” as their theme.

2014 Earth Day Poster Winners PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 June 2014 10:47


On May 28, 35 students, were recognized at an awards ceremony at the Marina Community Center in San Leandro.

Thirty-five students were recognized at an awards ceremony at the Marina Community Center in San Leandro on May 28, as they showcased their knowledge of recycling in the 20th Annual Oro Loma/Waste Management of Alameda County Earth Day Poster Contest.

Nearly 250 family, friends and guests were in attendance and a total of $25,000 was awarded to students and schools within Oro Loma Sanitary District.

“It’s amazing to see the level of artistic talent in these students,” said Jason Warner, Oro Loma Sanitary District General Manager. “Every year, we are even more impressed with their knowledge and understanding of recycling.”

Winners in six grade groups, from first through twelfth grades, were selected based on (1) how well the poster expressed this year’s theme of “Recycling A through Z,” (2) creativity, and (3) artistic expression on an 11” x 17” poster. Five Recycling Star winners were selected from the Kindergarten entries.

The 2014 first place winners are as follows: grade
1-2, Sky Poon, from Chinese Christian Schools; grade
3-4, Izabella Ramirez, from Dayton Elementary School; grade 5-6, Edwin Kwong, from Chinese Christian Schools; grade 7-8, Phoebe Lawton, from Assumption School; grade 9-10, Leslie Morales, from Arroyo High School; grade 11-12, Rachel Yu, from San Leandro High School.


Retired Teachers Award Scholarships PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 June 2014 10:46

The California Retired Teachers Southern Alameda County Division 59 awarded four $2,000 scholarships to students enrolled in the teacher credentialing program at California State University East Bay.

Members Mary Jardine, Geraldine Osborne, Wilda Colbert and Yvonne Thrower introduced each recipient.

The scholarship recipients are Courtney Bracke, Robert Hubbard and Lindway Steinfeld all majoring in Special Education and Jaime Fordyce majoring in General Science and Biology.

Division 59 which represents Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro and San Lorenzo Unified School Districts awards the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment  program  Teachers Gift Cards.  This year San Lorenzo’s fifty-one BTSA first and second year teachers received a $25 gift card to purchase classroom supplies.


Bancroft Students Travel Back to the Middle Ages PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 June 2014 10:41

061214sch1Aztec warriors, Italian artists and victims of the Black Plague all showed up at the Bancroft Middle School gym on May 29 for the annual Civilizations of the World Faire.

Bancroft seventh graders researched life in the Middle Ages and then built a visual project to put on display. They each chose a subject from all the corners of the world – Africa, China, Japan, Europe and the Maya, Aztec and Inca cultures.

The student research project, now in its 13th year, involves the whole school – the history and English departments, library staff, art program, counselors, resource specialists, E.L.D. staff, and the administrative and building staff, and parent volunteers.

The Ollin Anahuac Aztec Dance Troupe performed on stage, followed by the Temple of Poi fire dancers.

CAPTION: Bancroft students Eva Aranguren and Samantha Ferrante dressed in Peruvian style.


Students Finding Solutions to Campus, World Problems PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:44



The San Leandro High choir, The Notables, sang for the audience at the Performing Arts Center.

San Leandro High students hit the stage last Thursday for a presentation of how they’re tackling some of life’s toughest problems.

The program, called “Season of Sharing, Period of Peace,” brought together several campus academies united by the desire to work for peace and a just society – both on the campus and in the world at large.

050114sch2Students recited their own poems, read works from Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King, and showed videos on themes such as bullying and depression among teens.

Working on peaceful solutions to problems began after incidents at the high school in 2007 and what the students called a culture of violence. From there, students and teachers began the programs that address the root of the problems high school students face.

The students in the SLHS Social Justice Academy saw a problem for students who haven’t yet reached high school. They told the audience about their project this year to re-open the libraries at the elementary schools, which were closed a few years ago in a budget-cutting move.

The students went to the elementary schools, read to the kids and brought them books. In a video that accompanied their presentation, teachers said the grade school students are inspired by the interest in reading displayed by the high school students.

050114sch3The students also got their wish. Superintendent Michael McLaughlin stepped up on stage at the end of the program and announced that the elementary school libraries will be open again next school year.

The program was sponsored by the San Leandro Education Foundation (SLED), a group that raises funds to support San Leandro public schools.

– By Jim Knowles

CAPTION 2: San Leandro High student Hugo Medina reads his poem, “Unity.”

CAPTION 3: School Superintendent Michael McLaughin said the elementary school libraries will re-open next year.

Is Your Child on Track to Meet Their Milestones? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 24 April 2014 14:15

042414pg2It is natural for parents to be curious about how their children are developing mentally, emotionally and physically. And, it’s even natural for parents to experience some apprehension about what is “normal.” But experts say that, by better understanding your child, you can put the anxieties aside and help guide your children through each age and stage.

“Each child grows at a different pace,” advises Dr. Lise Eliot, an early childhood mental development expert. “There are few hard and fast deadlines when it comes to a child’s milestones.”

To ease parents’ concerns, Dr. Eliot worked with VTech, which produces age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children, to create a set of Developmental Milestones.

These milestones can be used as a guideline to help parents better understand a child’s development and determine which toys and games are appropriate for that stage. Here are three areas of development to consider:

Language and Cognition

Language immersion is absolutely key to children’s cognitive and emotional development.  Children use words to express themselves, but also to learn about the people and world around them. Research has shown that early, two-way conversations with babies and young children are critical to speech and, later, reading development.

“Look for interactive toys and books to expand your child’s vocabulary and awareness of letter sounds,” says Eliot.

At the same time, children learn important concepts through non-verbal play, like building and sorting, and so the combination of verbal and spatial play is very powerful to children’s overall development.

Social Development

Relationships are at the core of all human learning. Babies look to their parents’ emotions and facial expressions to first learn about the world, and children continue to depend completely on other people to learn language and the rules of social engagement. Peers are an equally important part of the social equation.

“The fact is: We are a highly social species, and the better children learn to read other people’s feelings and desires the easier time they will have learning and befriending others,” says Eliot.

Physical and Motor Skills

Children learn through play. And, as every exhausted parent knows, their play is extremely physical. Whether it is learning to crawl, run or build a toy tower, young children are constantly exercising their gross and fine motor skills, honing brain pathways for smooth, purposeful movement.

“The more opportunity children have for physical exertion and exploration, the better for the development of both their minds and bodies,” says Eliot.

For a detailed milestones guideline, sorted by age group and area of development, along with other free parenting resources, visit

— StatePoint

Find the Right School for Your Child PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 24 April 2014 14:13

042414pg3By Andrew Campanella • Special to the Times

If you are looking for a new school for a child for the 2014-2015 school year, now is the time to begin researching your options.

While choosing a new school for your son or daughter is an intensely personal experience, here are a few ideas for starting the school-selection process.

1) Start right now. Seats in great schools are already filling up for next year. Ask yourself what matters most to you in a school. Is it academics, school safety, an educational theme, a specific style of instruction, the qualifications of teachers, the size of classes, or other factors?

2) Research your options. Make a list of the choices you have, including public, charter and magnet schools. You may be able to get a scholarship to send your children to a private or faith-based school. In addition, there are full-time, online schools in many states.

3) Visit the schools you’re considering with your children. While there, ask lots of questions. Talk to principals and teachers and make sure that you’re comfortable with the answers you receive. Consider sitting in on classes, too.

4)Talk to other parents… and your children. Before making your decision, ask parents of other students who attend your target schools about their experiences. Ask your children about their impressions and their concerns.

The more research you do, the better choices you can make. Remember: You know your child best, and you are truly in the best position — better than anyone else — to decide what type of school your child should attend.

You can learn more at

Mr. Campanella is president of National School Choice Week, an independent public-awareness campaign that shines a spotlight on effective education options for children.

— North American Precis Synd., Inc.

Mom, Get Better Organized PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 24 April 2014 14:10

042414pg1For busy moms always on the go, it’s crucial to find new ways to save time and money, while reducing daily hassles. Let these organizational tips help you stay on track:

Make Mornings Easier

Mornings are always hectic when you’re preparing the entire family for the day. Simplify those early hours by prepping certain things the night before.

For example, pack the kids’ lunches as you’re getting dinner ready. There’s always downtime to put together a few sandwiches while something is marinating, chilling or heating.

Spend a few minutes with your children on Sunday nights picking out their clothes for the week. You’ll thank yourself on weekday mornings.

Organize your bag the night before. You’ll be less likely to leave something behind when you aren’t in a rush.

Keep Track

Technology is playing an increasing role in parenting, from keeping in touch with the kids to using organizational apps. Unfortunately, one in eight moms who use mobile electronic devices and have an on-the-go lifestyle say they lose or misplace their smartphone “very often” or “often,” according to a 2014 Essentials for Mobile Life Survey.

But replacing a smartphone is expensive, time-consuming and stressful. It is often a “keeper” of a tremendous amount of personal, confidential and work-related information.

New technology is making it possible to keep track of your phone, as well as other essential appendages, like backpacks, keys and handbags. For example, a new Proximo app made by Kensington includes a fob for your keys and up to four tags on other items to alert you when you’re leaving behind something valuable. It can also help locate the misplaced item with the touch of a button, saving you time and money (

Chore Chart

A chore wheel can help you remember what tasks need to be completed weekly. By involving everyone, you can make each member of the family feel their contributions are important.

Assign age-appropriate tasks to each member of the family and rotate jobs from week to week. Even the youngest children can learn to pick up their own toys or help with simple tasks in the kitchen. Post the chore wheel in a centralized location, such as on the refrigerator — at a height everyone can see.

Make Extra

When you get home after a long day, leftovers can be a blessing if you’re too tired to cook. Sure, you can order in, but even that will get old. Plus, the food you cook at home is often healthier and less expensive to prepare. Save yourself the hassle of making dinner nightly by cooking more than you need and freezing or storing some for later.

— StatePoint

Being a mom means juggling many different things at once. But don’t stress — find ways to make life easier for yourself instead.


Are We Being Lazy in Our Approach to Educating Boys? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 24 April 2014 14:09

The problem of boys in education is not a new one — data has been mounting for many years that our sons are simply falling behind our daughters, says pioneering veteran in education, Edmond J. Dixon, Ph.D. But it’s not because boys are any less intelligent than girls, he adds.

A recent study from researchers at the University of Georgia, which followed 10,000 students as they moved from kindergarten to eighth grade, indicates that though boys scored well on tests, indicating mastery of material, girls got better grades. Researchers account for higher scores in girls because they comported themselves better than boys while in the classroom.

“I think that, by now, most academics have accepted that boys and girls have fundamentally different learning needs; girls are better at sitting still and listening, whereas boys learn better via kinesthetic learning, which involves more physical activity,” says Dixon, who has more than three decades experience as a teacher and is a parent of boys, and is the author of “Helping Boys Learn: Six Secrets for Your Son’s Success in School,” ( He also has a teacher’s edition titled “Helping Boys Learn: Six Secrets for Teaching Boys in the Classroom.”

Dixon, a cognitive-kinesthetics specialist, discusses why his first three “secrets” are so important in helping boys with active minds and bodies.

• Movement matters: Nearly ever time, the student who disrupts class because they cannot sit still is a boy. Research reveals that young boys’ brains develop a tremendous amount of neural wiring to facilitate movement and sensitivity for how things “fit” together.

We would never think that a sedentary boy as a toddler is a good indicator of health, so what makes us think that he should change while in grade school?

One tip: Allow a boy to use his “movement wiring” by allowing him to use his body as he learns.

• Games work: Testosterone makes males naturally competitive. If you want them to become suddenly engaged in something, make a game out of the lesson — it’s just like flipping a switch on. Games also serve as an excellent method for male bonding, too.

• Make them laugh: Observe a group of males; whether young or old, they bust each other’s chops. Not only is it okay, they enjoy it! Everyone has a positive chemical reaction with laughter; boys, however, often use humor as a form of communication, an asset with which most girls do not have a problem.

Tip: Before starting homework or an assignment, ask a boy to consider what might be funny, weird or strange about it; his mind will be more focused on the topic afterwards.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg; if parents and teachers are serious about getting their boys off to a better start in life, I encourage active participation and education,” Dixon says.


Make Smart Media Choices PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 24 April 2014 14:06

Aggression and other behavior issues linked to excessive media use



A healthy media diet balances the risks of too much media and its affect on your child’s growth and progress with some of the pro-social benefits it offers.

From TV to smartphones to social media, our lives are dominated by 24/7 media exposure. Despite this, many children and teens have few rules around their media use.

While media consumption by itself is not the leading cause of any health problem in the U.S., it can contribute to numerous health risks, say experts. At the same time, kids can learn many positive things from “pro-social” media. The key is to teach children to make healthy media choices.

“It is time for a renewed commitment to change the way we address media use,” says Dr. Thomas K. McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “In the same way you may need to guide children on how to eat nutritiously, you can foster a healthy media diet.”

In a digital world that is ever in flux, the AAP is offering some key tips for families looking to make smarter media choices:

• Make a media use plan, including mealtime and bedtime “curfews” for media devices. Media use plans take into account not only the quantity, but the quality and location of media use. Screens should be kept out of kids’ bedrooms.

• Excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleep, school problems, aggression and other behavior issues. Limit entertainment screen time to less than one or two hours per day.

• For children under 2 years old, substitute unstructured play and human interaction for screen time. The opportunity to think creatively, problem solve and develop reasoning and motor skills is more valuable for the developing brain than passive media intake.

• Take an active role in your children’s media education by co-viewing programs with them and discussing values. You may consider having your own profile on the social media sites your children use. By “friending” your kids, you can monitor their online presence.

• Keep the computer in a public part of your home, so you can check on what your kids are doing online and how much time they are spending there.

• Look for media choices that are educational, or teach good values — such as empathy, and racial and ethnic tolerance — and interpersonal skills.

• If you’re unsure of the quality of the “media diet” in your household, consult with your children’s pediatrician on what your kids are viewing, how much time they are spending with media, and privacy and safety issues associated with social media and internet use.

More healthy media tips for families can be found at