Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No.35 is proud to announce Mr. Mark Dittmar was named Santa Cruz County Teacher of the Year, at the County’s annual ceremony held Friday, July 30, 2021.
Dittmar, an art teacher at Mountain View Elementary, has been a teacher for SCV35 for more than 22 years. He was also recently announced as the 2020-2021 SCV35 District Teacher of the Year at the District’s annual Welcome Back Celebration.
Every year, the District sends nomination forms to families and staff. In March, the District received close to 200 nominations for staff, administrators and teachers, several of which were for Mr. Dittmar. One nomination, submitted by fellow teacher, Josie Tanori, read “Mark is someone who everyone can learn from, his dedication and ability to create fun and interesting teaching methods for students during distance learning.”
When schools quickly transitioned to virtual learning last year due to COVID-19, Dittmar sought out an assistant art teacher to help capture students’ attention during online lessons. Secondary the Monkey, a talking hand puppet, filled the position.
“I began using the monkey as an occasional teaching aide years ago, but it wasn’t until the pandemic and remote learning that the need to keep students engaged became vital. That’s when Secondary’s comic voice and personality developed. He is a combination of people from my old neighborhood (and a bit of me),” said Dittmar.
Even parents were captivated by Secondary’s personality and charm. “He incorporated humor and interest into his lessons by using his puppet Secondary as a VERY effective teaching tool. Mr. Dittmar does not only know(s) how to teach art, but he knows how to teach art to KIDS. And knowing how to encourage creativity, wonder and talent in kids through art is not as easy as one might think,” wrote Mountain View parent Haydee Montemayor who submitted a nomination.
Not only did Montemayor nominate him, but also submitted a nomination on behalf of her son Angelo. “I chose Mr. D to be Teacher of The Year because he is creative. He taught me how to draw, showed me how to do “what its”, taught me about artistic people, and showed me how to shade and shadow. The best thing he taught me is how to shade and shadow because that’s how I learned how to make pictures come to life. I also chose him because I miss him. I hope he’s my art teacher again.”
Mr. Dittmar was one of twenty teachers from across Santa Cruz County who were honored at the annual ceremony by Superintendent of Schools Alfredo Velasquez’s office, and ultimately, he and Secondary took home first place.
Mr. Dittmar will represent Santa Cruz County in competition for the Arizona Rural School Teacher of the Year via zoom on Friday, August 13, 2021.
Local organizations along with NUSD have been hosting the Jump Back 2 School event for several years now. This was their 9th Annual Jump Back 2 School event. “This year we decided to do the same thing we did last year because of COVID. We decided not to host the event but ask our community partners for financial support to help purchase school supplies, backpacks, and uniforms. We sent out over 800 tickets and as of today, only 365 backpacks have been issued. Parents continue to come by everyday, and we will continue to hand them out throughout the year.” said Judith Mendoza, Student Services Director.
This event was originally spearheaded by Safeway along with other local non-profit organizations. The ultimate goal of this event has been to help prepare NUSD students for a successful school year. Local organizations know it is an opportunity for them and community leaders to work together to help motivate students towards a successful school year regardless of the circumstances. “We distributed backpacks filled with school supplies and uniforms. They were delivered to each school site where they were hand-delivered to the students,” said Judith.
The Jump Back 2 School Planning Committee would like to thank the following local organizations for their continued support:
Santa Cruz Superintendent Office Alfredo Velásquez
Santa Cruz County Manager Jennifer St. John
Croppers Nogales Auto Center
The City of Nogales
Mariposa Community Health Center
Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital
Making Connections 4U/Santa Cruz Community Action Coalition
Patagonia Union High School Graduation
Patagonia Union High School hosted their formal graduation commencement on Friday, June 4th at 7:30pm at their sports field. From every angle of the field, friends, school faculty, and family members could see the stage where the soon to be graduates were seated. The chairs were decorated in black, and orange highlighting the school colors. The PUHS Steel Band opened the procession playing the “Pomp & Circumstance,”as students walked towards the stage.
The assistant principal Micheal Young welcomed students, staff, and their families followed by the pledge of allegiance directed by senior class president Hannah Rose Young.
The opening remarks were made by the Superintendent Kenny Hayes along with the presentation of honors. It was a joyful ceremony for the graduates, staff, and family members as they all shared a sense of excitement. A total of 23 seniors received their diplomas from the superintendent along with words of encouragement. Memories of the years flowed with tears and cheers for the graduates, as their families and school staff celebrated the Class of 2021.
Pierson High School Graduation
Pierson High School held their graduation on Wednesday, May 19th at the courtyard of the school’s Roosevelt building. A large 2021 blue and silver display decorated the center court along with light blue and white balloons. From every angle of the court, friends, school faculty, and family members were able to see the graduates walking towards the center to receive their diplomas.
It was a joyful ceremony for the graduates, staff and family members as they all shared a sense of excitement. The graduates received their diplomas and words of encouragement from staff and peers, with a fitting end to a beautiful commencement celebrating the accomplishments of the Class of 2021.
“Congratulations! Class of 2021, I am honored to have worked with such an amazing group of students. Throughout this academic year, we shared memorable moments and difficult moments too but we were able to overcome them together,”said PHS Lead Teacher/Counselor, Lillian Bernal.
Nogales High School Graduation
The Nogales High School hosted their graduation ceremony with limited attendance at the school’s Apache Stadium on Friday, May 21 at 6 p.m. It was an in-person ceremony as opposed to last year's graduation drive-through event in the school parking lot. The graduating students were full of stories about their four years at NHS, their teachers, staff, friendships and along with their future aspirations. A total of 382 graduating students walked to the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance,” the graduating Class of 2021 were draped in burgundy and white jacket with their burgundy and gold tassels fluttering in the breeze, as jubilant cheers from staff, family, and friends filled the night.One by one students names were being called to step to the stage by school district staff to shake hands and accept their diplomas.Balloons, flowers, and a cheerful atmosphere filled the NHS field with a good vibe.
Rio Rico High School Graduation
Rio Rico High School honored its graduating class with a tribute parade on Wednesday, May 12th at 6:30 p.m. La Maxima broadcasted the event live on its social media platforms. The Class of 2021 paraded in their decorated vehicles filled with balloons, banners, and posters, as family, friends and school staff cheered them.
Rio Rico High School later hosted their formal graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 20th at 7:00pm in Tucson at the Kino Sports Complex. From every angle of the Kino field stadium, friends, school faculty, and family members were able to see the graduates wearing their face masks walking into the field in their red & black caps and gowns. The stage where the soon to be graduates was decorated in red, black, gold and white.
Recently the honorable Emilio Velasquez, Justice of the Peace in Santa Cruz
County was recognized by David’s Hope, an Arizona Mental Health Criminal
Justice Coalition, for his outstanding achievement in Mental Health Criminal
Justice Collaboration by a Judicial Officer. The mission of David's Hope is to
reduce the number of incarcerations of individuals with mental disorders and
drug addictions through Prevention, Intervention and Treatment.
During a Zoom virtual award ceremony, Mary Lou Brncik, Director of David’s
Hope, introduced Judge Velasquez as, “instrumental in creating awareness and
changing mindsets related to mental disorders and addiction in Santa Cruz
In his first term in Santa Cruz County, he instituted a drug court program which
was the first in Arizona for a justice court. He also recently formed the Mental
Health Substance Abuse Community Coalition in Santa Cruz County which
meets regularly since 2019 to develop intercepts for SCC. The program serves
as a vehicle for mental health. He visits local agencies to learn more about
interventions and prevention treatments in an “attempt to match defendants to
services available to the defendant that best meets his or her needs.”
Velasquez often checks in personally with local agencies regarding those enrolled
in the program to determine their progress. He uses the personal reports to
help guide decisions in the court room as well as provide personal feedback to
the defendant. “Such positive feedback coming from a judge, has proven to be
powerful and has led to an abundance of successful outcomes,” said Velasquez
during his acceptance speech.
He began his interest in mental health in the late 80s working as a receptionist for
a mental health agency in California. He spent years in the mental health field as
a counselor and ultimately became regional director. It was those years of mental
health work and training that ignited his passion for serving those with mental
illnesses and drug addictions and has spilled over into his courtroom.
“My belief is that my court at least, is a second chance type of court. What
I want to do is be able to find programs and I want to be able to align these
individuals to be able to seek out the right treatment for their mental health or
their addictions. One of the things that was really important for me was to make
sure that these individuals were being empowered as human beings.”- Story by
Shannon Enciso /Communication Specialist
Patagonia Elementary School has been awarded an “A For Arizona” grant with community partners Mat Bevel Company and University of Arizona School for Mathematical Sciences. Funding from this award supports the implementation of a The Creative STEM Club with content drawing from a new multimedia edition of The Universe Within STEM world-building curriculum, which has been developed by Patagonia Elementary School, Mat Bevel Company and University of Arizona School of Mathematical Sciences. Lessons align with Science, Engineering, Math, Theater Arts, Visual Arts and English Language Arts state standards. As part of this project, an Instructors Guidebook and The Daily Doodle student notebook provide step-by-step activities and worksheets for both students and instructors.
The award is part of the Expansion and Innovation Fund to help Arizona’s most vulnerable student populations and students in areas hit hardest by COVID-19 have access to an excellent education. The fund provides access to fast capital that will jump start new approaches to learning and educational excellence in Arizona.
Patagonia Elementary School Superintendent Kenny Hayes says, “The Creative STEM Club addresses the impact of COVID-19 which has exacerbated existing achievement gaps with learning loss being greatest among low-income students in our Southern Arizona town. Data and student engagement this fall made it clear to our leadership team that we wanted to rethink learning opportunities this school year and beyond.”
This specific “A for Arizona” award is part of Public Small Learning Communities — all community-driven, small scale solutions by public schools across Arizona benefiting nearly 1,000 students this spring 2021 semester. These grants provide seed funding for new small models and approaches to teaching and learning that support student populations that have been significantly disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic and make access to Small Learning Communities free and more equitable.
Patagonia Elementary School’s solution is to build scalable public Creative STEM learning pods – proving what’s possible and accessible for more rural families. Patagonia is utilizing its expert math and science teachers to ensure that students will make academic progress exceeding their grade level and the education gap is closed as a result of participating in The Creative STEM pod.
This approach provides a way for Patagonia Elementary School to offer learning pods in various locations, to strategically address students’ academic gaps, including enhanced creative problem-solving skills, increased knowledge of math, science, and engineering well beyond their grade level, greater empathy for community-wide challenges, and improved presentation skills. Patagonia has plans to scale the pods into Santa Cruz and Cochise counties to increase rigorous and stimulating learning opportunities with a focus on STEM.
Community partner Mat Bevel Company offers its President Ned Schaper’s body of work at no cost to advance STEM education for students in Arizona. His formats used in this program include Available Resource Technology divergent thinking practices, his world of Beveldom framework and basic activities for Corrugated Headgear and The Art of Kinetics modules which form the basis for over 40 hours of educational programming.
Community partner University of Arizona (UA) School of Mathematical Sciences provides intellectual leadership in the mathematical sciences for this program. UA Math Professor Dr. Bruce Bayly assists in developing The Universe Withincurriculum and provides instruction as an animated character in opening videos. Dr. Bayly is President of The Physics Factory and heads up the Arizona Mathematics Road Show that brings hands-on science activities to schools and after-school programs.
Patagonia Elementary School provides access to facilities, equipment, teachers and students for The Creative STEM Club which launched in February. Middle school science teacher Randi Trantham and middle school math teacher Catherine Parker are teaching the multimedia edition of The Universe Within through The Creative STEM Club. Five students at Patagonia Elementary School are starring in opening videos, serving as peer mentors who provide tips and demonstrations to other kids their age.
About “A For Arizona”
Governor Ducey remains the first and only governor to use GEERs (Governor’s Emergency Education Relief grants) funding to fuel Innovation Microgrants for local public school leaders developing creative solutions to address the current challenges facing our K-12 education system and to enhance teaching and learning. Over the past 6 months, “A for Arizona” has awarded Expansion and Innovation Fund grants totaling over $1.2 million to 23 public district and public charter school systems to implement and expand innovative models and practices to support Arizona’s most vulnerable student populations. By the end of the 2021 school year, all of these grant recipients have the potential to reach more than 21,000 students.
About Patagonia Elementary School
We are a caring community, nurturing and empowering both academic and individual excellence. Patagonia Elementary School is a rural Title One school with over 73% of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch 26.7% of Patagonia residents had an income below the poverty level in 2017, which was 44.4% greater than the poverty level across the entire state of Arizona. The ethnic make-up of the student population is 61.4% Latino, 1.9% African American, and 36.6% Caucasian. Patagonia schools is one of the few schools to still be providing PE, Music and Art on a weekly basis. One on one instruction and small class size is a value the school can offer its students. The students also receive one time per week mindfulness instruction. The students have access to multiple daily outdoor recess and full service salad bar at lunch.
About Mat Bevel Company
Mat Bevel Company is an arts and education nonprofit that teaches people to think in original ways, enabling them to tackle challenges and seize opportunities with greater imagination. Through theater, video, educational programs, and inspiring kinetic sculpture made from repurposed and found objects, Mat Bevel Company helps people of all ages see new possibilities that enrich their lives and their communities.
About University of Arizona School of Mathematical Sciences
The School of Mathematical Sciences discovers new knowledge in mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics to address critical mathematical, scientific, engineering, and technological challenges of our time; provides graduate education cutting across disciplines in science, engineering, and medicine; and contributes to the mathematical education of our nation's children and citizens through its undergraduate teaching mission and many outreach activities both locally and nationwide.
Border Eco is pleased to highlight this month of February Officer Jacob Acosta for his heroic act of saving the life of an inmate. An act of heroism is defined as bravery and selflessness. When a detention officer notices an inmate not breathing and calls medical assistance, this is an example of heroism. His act of heroism consisted of putting others first. Officer Acosta knew at the time he needed to act swiftly to save the life of an inmate. Office Acosta has been employed at the Santa Cruz County Adult Detention Center for over two years. He began his career as a detention officer and was recently promoted to Lead Officer.
“As a child, I have always been interested in working for my local Sheriff’s Department and making an impact in my community. I have always appreciated and admired those who put their lives on the line to protect our communities and impact on everyday lives. I always strive to become a better detention officer. Correctional officers protect not only the jail, its staff but the inmates as well. Being able to make a difference in a person’s life makes this job meaningful.”
“I noticed an inmate was having trouble breathing and losing consciousness. I reacted immediately and contacted the medic for assistance. When I noticed the inmate's health was deteriorating, I contacted the Nogales Fire Department to give the inmate the proper help he needed. Law enforcement is not only there to enforce laws but to assist the public with any issues they may encounter. For me, as a Detention Officer my job is to care for the inmates as well as maintain control. I hope this event will help to change how the public sees law enforcement in general,” said Officer Acosta.
Supervisor Rudy Molera Honored for Outstanding Leadership as President of County Supervisors Association.
Santa Cruz County Supervisor Rudy Molera completed a successful year of service as he ended his term as President of the County Supervisors Association (CSA) at the organization’s Board of Directors meeting in Phoenix on November 19, 2020.
“I have been deeply honored to serve as president of this outstanding organization over the past year,” Supervisor Molera said. “This has been an incredibly challenging time for all of Arizona, and I have been so proud to see how counties have worked so hard to protect public health during a pandemic while keeping basic government services operational. One of the beautiful things about CSA is that it really creates a place for us as supervisors to work together to tackle whatever confronts us. And, it has been my privilege to work on behalf of my colleague supervisors to strengthen the partnership among counties as well as with state and federal leaders in order to better serve Arizonans.”
Incoming CSA President and Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo praised Supervisor Molera for his leadership and commitment to strengthening the organization. He said, “This has been an enormously challenging year, and I want to thank Rudy for his outstanding service. Dealing with the pandemic has been devastating in our communities, and it has been critical for county supervisors across the state to work together in order to support our constituents. Rudy has shown great leadership, made sure everyone stayed involved and had their voices heard, and made sure that critical issues were addressed.”
During his term as CSA President, Supervisor Molera led conversations among county officials regarding regional strategies to support economic development, broadband deployment, and to address mental health issues in the community, among other policy topics. He also advocated before the state legislature regarding the importance of investing in transportation infrastructure as well as other policies important to improving constituent services and controlling the costs of state mandates.
Following the onset of the pandemic, Supervisor Molera worked diligently to make sure that critical lines of communication remained open. He convened regular meetings of county supervisors and professional staff to share information and strategies, advocated for on-going communications between local county officials and state and federal leaders, and helped to empower the local response to the pandemic.
CSA Executive Director, Craig Sullivan shared, “Supervisor Molera is an outstanding public servant, and I am deeply grateful for his leadership. He really worked tirelessly over the past year to serve his colleagues, and he made CSA a stronger, more effective organization.”
The Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District (SCV35) is proud to announce Rio Rico High School senior Roshan Tinoco-Miranda won the Division III Boys individual state title at the AZ AIA state final at Crossroads Park, November 13th, in Gilbert, Arizona.
Roshan’s time of 15:32:32 was faster than Division I athletes who competed earlier in the day. This was Roshan’s second consecutive cross country state title, and the 16th individual state title for the Rio Rico High School cross country program.
Although COVID may have slowed Roshan’s team training, it certainly did not slow his determination to race. One day after winning the state title in Gilbert, Roshan, former head coach Stephen Schadler, and current head coach Jolanne Palumbo flew to Terre Haute, Indiana to compete in the XC Town USA Meet of Champions, held November 15th.
Roshan came in 26th among 161 champion runners from across the nation at his second major race in three days. Despite a canceled spring training season, he managed to set a personal record during the second mile of his three mile race, “something that doesn’t typically happen,” says former head coach and mentor, SCV35 Assistant Superintendent. “The pandemic really was make or break for Roshan in terms of his willingness to up his game and take control of his own destiny. Large amounts of training was required to be done "on your own" and without fail, he got it done. This means waking up at 5:30 am all summer long...by himself. Completing his long runs on weekends...by himself” explained Schadler.
Although he intends to continue running next year, Roshan has not chosen a school yet. “He is still exploring his post-secondary options but I know that wherever he lands, he still has plenty of room to grow,” Schadler said.
Supervisor Rudy Molera, District 2, has been appointed by the National Association of Counties (NACo) President Gary Moore, to two NACo committees. Molera was appointed to the International Economic Development Task Force as well as the Membership Standing Committee.
The International Economic Development Task Force provides information, guidance and support for international economic development activities.
(Appoints the chair, vice chair and members.)
The Membership Standing Committee takes direction from and reports directly to the NACo Officers. This committee will be responsible for actively recruiting and retaining member counties, parishes and boroughs in order to increase NACo's total membership. (Appoints the chair, vicechairs, and members for a one-year term.)
Moore expressed that the reason he appointed Molera to the committee is because “my goal is to build a talented and committed leadership team for NACo.” One of the duties of the task force is to participate in the NACo Legislative Conference, February 20 - 24, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Molera said, “It’s an honor to represent Santa Cruz County and Arizona at the national level in order to bring resources and innovations.
Local organizations along with NUSD have been hosting the Jump Back 2 School event for several years now. This was their 8th Annual Jump Back 2 School event but this year was very different from previous ones. “The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. We had originally started planning for this event in February but the pandemic changed how we would move forward in helping our students this year. We decided not to host the event but ask our community partners for financial support to help purchase the school supplies,” said Judith Mendoza, Student Services Director.
This event was originally spearheaded by Safeway along with other local non-profit organizations. The ultimate goal of this event has been to help prepare students for a successful school year. Local organizations know it is an opportunity for them and community leaders to work together to help motivate students towards a successful school year regardless of the circumstances.“We distributed over 450 backpacks with uniforms. They were delivered to each site and parents picked them up at their school,” said Judith.
The Jump Back 2 School Planning Committee would like to thank the following local organizations for their continued support:
Nogales Unified School District
Santa Cruz County Office of Superintendent
Making Connections 4U
NUSD Title 1
Office of Santa Cruz County Manager St. John
Santa Cruz County Board of Realtors
Hall of Fame
When we think of people who work in healthcare, we often know these people are caring, kind and patient. While this is true, health professionals have also proven to be courageous. Border Eco this month, celebrates our everyday heroes, our healthcare workers. We often don’t realize the sacrifices healthcare workers make on a daily basis to keep patients healthy. We realize now healthcare workers are heroes too. A hero is an individual who gives unconditionally, often putting their own lives at great risk, for the greater good of the patient. According to Kaiser Health News nearly 600 and counting — US Health Workers Have Died Of COVID-19.
The Holy Cross Hospital was recently awarded in April of this year, $1.01 million dollars to help Arizona’s rural hospitals dealing with the challenges of the coronavirus crisis. Holy Cross Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital established in 1960. It currently employs 175 healthcare providers.
Carondelet Holy Cross is fortunate to be a part of Tenet Healthcare, with its network of 65 hospitals across the country.
Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital was recognized for their quality of patient and nurse communication and patient safety in the surveys conducted by the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, divisions of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital also received Critical Access Hospital recognition certification in 2017 from the National Rural Health Resource Center, recognizing its work with the Community Healthcare Integrated Paramedicine Program. It is also certified as a Critical Access facility by The Joint Commission.
“We are united around a common mission to help people within the communities where we serve to live happier and healthier lives. We accomplish this by providing for the health care needs of our community; by embracing the whole person in mind, body, and spirit; and by serving all persons without distinction. We seek to serve our patients, customers, and our communities well; and to provide an exceptional environment for our employees and affiliated physicians,”said Communication Specialist Angelica Martinez.
As a rural safety net provider, Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital collaborates with community partners like Mariposa Community Health Center and works with emergency medical services to provide care for residents of the Santa Cruz County area.
Holy Cross Hospital provides general medical/surgical services, 24-hour emergency care, outpatient rehabilitation, diabetes care, skilled nursing swing bed and community education services, birthing services, mammography and ultrasound. Holy Cross also offers advanced technology such as teleradiology and lithotripsy programs.
As a critical access hospital, Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital is a cornerstone of the Santa Cruz County community, providing access to healthcare for a broad population. “We are very proud of our long history of caring for our friends and neighbors,” said Martinez.
The 25-bed facility provides emergency care, general surgery, labor and delivery services, rehabilitation services and health and wellness education for residents of Santa Cruz County in Southern Arizona. Holy Cross Hospital also focuses on offering community education and outreach on key health issues including prenatal care, obesity, diabetes, well-child visits and preventive care.
“There has been tremendous teamwork and compassion from hospital staff, physicians and board members, who are offering all of their support during this pandemic. We are all in this together to protect the health of our community. We have had to make changes like restricting visitors, but our hospital remains open and able to treat those needing care. For the protection of our community, everyone entering the hospital is screened for fever, respiratory symptoms and travel history, and must wear a face mask. Holy Cross Hospital works closely with our county and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to any potential COVID-19 cases that may present at our hospital,” said Communication Specialist Angelica Martinez.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.