Class of 2020!
The heartache could be felt across Santa Cruz County as the Class of 2020, would not have an opportunity to experience a graduation ceremony like previous generations. Never did they imagine their graduation ceremony would have to be a virtual or graduation parade. Graduates this year learned they would not be able to hug their classmates, teachers, or family members who traditionally cheer them from the stands as they receive their diplomas.
Instead, high schools across the county had to think of creative ways to celebrate graduations where only the graduates and a few family members were allowed to attend the graduation. Some family members had to stay in their vehicles or stand by their vehicles.
Memories of the years flowed with tears and cheers for the graduates, as their families and school staff celebrated the Class of 2020! It was a bitter sweet experience, as no hugs or shake hands were allowed but this did not keep those in attendance from cheering the graduates, which made up for the lack of touch.
Los Padres is a Home Visitation Program with the Santa Cruz County Superintendent’s Office with Mr. Alfredo I. Velasquez. Mr. Velazquez is an avid advocate for Early Childhood Development. He is helping to build a county wide movement in support of Early Childhood Education with a grant from First Things First to administer Los Padres Program. We believe that Parents are the child’s FIRST and most important teachers. Our Vision is all children will develop, learn and grow to realize their full potential. Los Padres Mission is to promote optimal early development, learning and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.
Los Padres offers services for families with children of ages zero to five age and expecting mothers. Our program is framed around four important services; 1. Personal visit 2. Group Connections 3. Child Vision, Hearing, and Developmental Screenings and 4. Resource Networks. Our team is consists of five Parent Educators that visit the families in their homes. During the visit, Parent Educators assess family needs and partner with parents to set family goals. Home visitors provide necessary information and resources to ensure that parents are confident in the emotional, behavioral and physical development of their children. Our purpose is to empower parents or caregivers by increasing their knowledge of child development and parenting practices.
In an effort to support our families during COVID-19 crisis we have adapted our visits to be virtual calls, zoom Parent Connections, phone calls and texts. In addition, we send all our families a weekly schedule of activities to do with their children at home. We deliver art materials and books to their mailboxes so they can continue with their projects. In an effort to stay in contact we have also developed our new Facebook page with the latest news in child development, Covid-19 news, and the latest in family well-being. In Facebook, they can socialize and share their child’s creations and interchange ideas. You can look for us on Facebook at Los Padres, School Superintendent’s Office. For more information contact Georgina Parra, Director, Los Padres Program (520) 375-7951.
Several people across Santa Cruz County have been doing their part during the Coronavirus pandemic to contribute to the well-being of its citizens.
A local 15 year- old from Nogales High School named Jose Luis Huerta spent his savings to buy material to make face masks. He is a Nogales native son of Karizma Valencia. He donated those face masks to Mariposa Community Health Center, Denny’s, Right Choice Insurance, Villa's Market and the IMSS Hospital in Nogales, Sonora. His face masks became popular among locals. His mother started getting orders from local businesses across the county. Karizma began to sell the masks for $5 to help continue to purchase more material for her son, so he can continue to make and donate masks to the elderly community. These simple acts of kindness make a huge difference.
On March 3rd, 2020, families of children and loved ones with Down syndrome living in Santa Cruz County joined the City of Nogales Arizona and the Mayor Arturo Garino to make the Annual Proclamation on behalf of 2020 World Down syndrome Day.
On November 1st, 2011 the United Nation General Assembly made a resolution to designate March 21 as World Down syndrome day to be observed every year beginning in 2012. The 21 day of March was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplicación of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
While beautiful pictures of children with Down syndrome were projected on three different screens inside the city hall chamber, mothers and family members of loved ones with Down syndrome who attended the event spoke to the city officials and the public about their children’s strengths and challenges while living with Down syndrome.
World Down syndrome day has become a global event to spread awareness on behalf of people living with Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. In recent years, Down syndrome has become more common, and children with Down syndrome live longer. According to the National Down syndrome society, 1 in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome. Down syndrome affects people in all races, and economic levels.
The reality today is that prevailing negative attitudes, low expectations, discrimination and exclusion, ensure that people with Down syndrome are left behind. There is a lack of understanding of the challenges individuals with Down syndrome face across their life time and a failure to support them with opportunities and tools needed to live fulfilling lives. People with Down syndrome, their family and those who work with them must be empowered to advocate for opportunities. Our voices are getting louder but there is still so much more we can do.
On behalf of the Down syndrome community we thank Mayor Garino, the city council, families and community members for their support.
For information about Down syndrome, and our local organization in Santa Cruz County. Call The Santa Cruz Parent Love Connection at (520) 470-5833. Find us on Facebook.
Sodexo, the food provider for SCV35 schools recently held the grand opening of Taste 4, a retail-style cafeteria located inside Rio Rico High School. The cafeteria makeover is a result of efforts by SCV35’s food provider to improve school lunches across the U.S. The company conducted focus groups with students all over the U.S. regarding the question on the minds of millions of parents and schools everywhere. What do kids want to eat?
Families can understand the challenges of deciding and preparing meals daily for children. Parents and schools alike want to provide healthy and tasty food. Let’s face it, kids can be picky and healthy can sometimes be tricky.
Although a very big undertaking, Sodexo was determined to win the stomachs of students everywhere. After polling students across the nation, two factors simmered to the top of the list, students wanted more flavor and more options. With that in mind, Sodexo approached the district about revamping the food program.
When approached about the change, SCV35 Business Manager Isela Brown agreed and asked the company to go one step further. She wanted to see the cafeteria transformed into a more modern style with a retail feel. “Many times we eat with our eyes,” said Ms. Brown. She wanted students to be excited about the food changes as well as the presentation. She wanted to exceed the student expectations of cafeteria food. Kendal Zuniga Sodexo Senior Marketing Director agreed with Ms. Brown saying, “Generations of students are different in their expectations for not only food but the presentation.”
The new combination of style and food resulted in the grand opening of Taste 4. The new menu has four options, one of which is a weekly rotating option. Street tacos, chicken dishes, and Asian cuisine are just a few examples of the rotating food items. In addition to the new menu is a rotating flavor station. Flavors like sriracha and garlic parmesan were added to compliment the menu while adding flavor in a healthy way. The daily options include fresh, made to order deli sandwiches, spicy chicken sandwiches, pizza, burgers, fresh fruit, and fresh flavored water.
Students were pleased with the grand opening, as was obvious by the food line that wound around the cafeteria. Students were asked what they thought about the new menu, sophomore Benjamin Gonzales said it was “good, (an) improvement of food choices.” Yesena Michel, who was surveyed while eating her Asian bowl, said it “looks more appetizing. (It) looks cooler.”
Of course, none of this could have been possible if it were not for the local Sodexo team who cares and serves RRHS students daily. Rachel Carroll, Sodexo Food Service Director for SCV35 said the company “has made changes to 29 school programs, and RRHS Sodexo team helped make this the smoothest.” SCV35 wishes to thank Sodexo for their dedication to our students.-Shannon Enciso, Communications Specialist Santa Cruz Valley USD No. 35.
Friday, December 13th was a magical day for Santa Cruz County’s 4th-grade students and teachers who attended the Holiday Nutcracker performance sponsored by County School Superintendent Alfredo I. Velásquez and the Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning initiative in partnership with Young Audiences. Under the direction of Fred Milner, NUSD #1 Music & Arts teacher, Challenger Elementary School’s 4th & 5th-grade students performed their rendition of the Nutcracker complete with costumes, set changes, and a chorus who sang in multiple languages.
An audience of nearly 900 students, along with teachers, principals, and parents were mesmerized by the 90-minute show that took the classic Nutcracker story and added a special twist. Milner, a veteran music teacher and Director of the long-running show, adapts the ballet so it feels more like a musical with many types of dance and comedic dialogue. Acting coach Alex Guzman and choreographer Lupita Bustamante assist Milner with the countless hours of rehearsal, stage preparations, and costume fittings.
The performance was part of a series of arts events that will take place in our K-12 schools during the 2019-2020 school year. Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning is an initiative Superintendent Velásquez is passionate about with one simple message: Get art to kids! The partnership with Young Audiences will allow teaching artists to visit our school districts, as well as support our local arts activities. A very special guest, Carolina Rendon, former Director of Young Audiences in Santa Cruz County, was honored during the intermission for her dedication to bringing quality arts experiences to our community.
A special thanks to NUSD #1 Superintendent Fernando Parra and NHS Principal Tim Colgate for the use of the James Clark Auditorium. For more information contact C-CREO Grants Program Director, Maya Donnelly at email@example.com.