From across California, the obituaries for the California Republican Party have come thick and fast ever since the November election. After all, the GOP’s onetime national stronghold in Orange County now lacks even a single Republican in Congress.

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With technology changing every industry on the planet, computing knowledge has become part of a well-rounded skill set for graduates, yet fewer than half of all schools in the United States teach computer science. 

More than a year before he won election as California’s next governor, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom did not hesitate for a moment when asked what’s California’s biggest problem. “Income inequality,” he said in an interview then. He repeated that evaluation in subsequent sit-downs during the campaign.

All industries are being changed by technology so computer science has become relevant to almost every career. The U.S currently has over half a million openings for computing jobs, and these jobs are expected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs.

Things were slightly bittersweet at Dianne Feinstein’s Election Night celebration in San Francisco, which marked her easy reelection to a fifth full term in the U.S. Senate, where she has been arguably the most influential Democratic member for the last few years.

Thanksgiving traditions transform a bit each year. This year the feasting was quite a global experience. Hearing perspectives from those raised in different cultures helps to expand everyone’s viewpoints. Sharing their gratitude for events of the past year melted the collective hearts.  

Last month hundreds of educators in Porterville heard Mike Mattos from Solution Tree present about building the collaborative culture of a Professional Learning Community (PLC).

Tim Brown is a dynamic speaker who promotes Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). 

Last month he began his presentation to hundreds of Porterville educators with questions. “Did you come to this event today ready to learn? What impact do you intend to have on the next generation?  What’s your internal motivator?”  

As a 28- year veteran of the fire service, I am proud to lead such a diverse group of firefighters and serve as your Fire Chief. The men and women that serve our Department are bound by a commitment to help all those in need and constantly pursue ways to enhance our services to the public.

Innovative teachers use the holidays to hook children into learning. Elementary teachers can start a lesson with a Halloween riddle…I like to cast spells, and wear a big hat. You might see me at night with a broom and a cat. What am I?

Marcia Tate is an internationally renowned presenter and author of eight books. In her book, Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites, she describes 20 instructional strategies that engage the brain and enhance memory.

According to Beers and Probst, “Rigor in reading is not an attribute of a text, but rather of a reader’s behavior.” When lifting weights at the gym, it’s not the barbell that is rigorous, but rather the reps of the one lifting. 

Research studies suggest that the more students read, the better their test scores are.  A child who reads 20 minutes a day will be exposed to nearly 2 million words in a year and scores on the 90th percentile on standardized test.  Children who read about 5 minutes a day encounter over a quarter of a million words a day and their percentile rank on standardized tests is about 50. 

Less than two hours after Gov. Jerry Brown signed California’s landmark new “no cash bail” law, the Republican candidate to become the state’s top lawyer pronounced it illegal, unconstitutional.

Folks with little faith in California voters have won at least a partial victory this year. For decades, since the great Progressive (a tag worn a century ago mostly by moderate Republicans) Gov. Hiram Johnson created the ballot initiative, critics have railed against direct democracy, claiming an uninformed public often makes major mistakes.

Ben Franklin wrote, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Teachers coax, train, and inspire students to examine what’s holding them back.  Success is a learnable skill. Learning to succeed requires commitment and perseverance. Knowledge is power. Power is the ability to act.

For months, the concept of a Western regional electricity grid advanced steadily through the Legislature, pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown and a phalanx of financial and utility giants including investor Warren Buffett and the AES electric generating firm, operator of 127 power plants.

This year approximately 600 teachers in Tulare County are working with emergency credentials which means they have college degrees, but haven’t taken teacher preparation classes. 

For all three decades since Ronald Reagan left the presidency, California has been all but irrelevant at the top level of American politics. Sure, plenty of ultra-wealthy Californians are regularly among the top moneybags raising funds for candidates from elsewhere on all parts of the political spectrum.

Brian Melloni in the picture book ‘Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children,’ wrote, “No matter how long they are or how short, lifetimes are really all the same. They have beginnings and endings and there is living in between.”

Californians interested in keeping this state’s toughest-in-the-world standards for automotive smog pollution heaved a sigh of relief just over one year ago, when the federal Environmental Protection Agency reversed an earlier decision to impose new national ozone standards on all cars sold in America.

The date today brings to mind the Twin Tower disaster. That national remembrance invokes a sadness similar to that felt at the loss of our colleague Dr. Santos as The PUSD family prepares for his memorial tomorrow. 

History teachers spend instructional time helping students study and comprehend their freedoms. After years of development, the new social studies framework was adopted in 2016 and focuses on four main social science disciplines: civics/government, economics, geography, and history. 

The week before school started, PUSD offered a new teacher academy for their ninety new hires.  The first day of training was provided by Fred Jones where participants received Teacher Tools for Teaching, a manual about discipline, instruction and motivation.  

Respected researchers, Marzano and Hattie, studied factors that impact student learning. Both concluded that the quality of instruction is the most important factor for increasing student achievement. Student learning happens best when quality instruction occurs. 

The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction, a book by Sean Cain and Mike Laird, describes five critical practices that result in highly effective teaching. Research acknowledges that the most important factor affecting student learning is the teacher, so empowering them to be as effective as possible improves education. The five fundamental practices include: framing the lesson, working in the power zone, frequent small group purposeful talk, recognize and reinforce, plus writing critically.

My family had a couple of trips to make this summer, to LA and the Bay Area.  One of the things that strikes me when I leave town is how much our entertainment options expand.

When Bill Clinton was sworn in as president in 1993, one of the media narratives was the change in generation. After a 30-year series of presidents born between 1908 and 1924, it was time for change. Born in 1946, Clinton was comparatively youthful, the first baby boomer president.

Noticing can focus the brain on items such as new teaching strategies, setting intentions and close reading. When new teachers are observed by mentors and instructional coaches, it’s good to start the debrief conversation with noticing something that was going well with the lesson. This puts the one being observed at ease and makes them more aware. 

Cadence fueled marches are only a small part of the activities the staff of Porterville Military Academy (PMA) is experiencing at Camp San Luis Obispo this week.  As they navigated slowly through the serpentine barricades at the entrance to report to the gate at the base, they realized they …

I wrote a couple of months ago about the concept of toxic masculinity. I was very careful to say that masculinity itself is not toxic, but our flawed interpretations of it often are. Still, some people see pieces like mine and immediately object and say that I am calling all men toxic or worse.

“At this point, I’m a glorified data entry clerk. I spend more time doing data entry in my office than I do seeing my patients…Our systems are incredibly optimized for sending bills. I can send a bill in like, three keystrokes. But, recording an allergy can be four different screens. “— Atul…

While I don’t have strong personal ties to any who have lost lives in combat, I know many military people who do. On Memorial Day, I like to be mindful of the more acute nature of their loss.

Fifty percent of teachers leave the profession in the first five years. In order to stick with teaching long enough to get good at it, educators need to develop confidence and emotional resilience. 

CAASPP testing will begin in a couple of weeks. The results are used to assess school-wide success as well as that of individual learners. Scores can determine placement in various educational programs that offer appropriate learning opportunities.

The Trump administration has been a revolving door like no other in recent memory.  Dozens of people serving the president have resigned, been fired, or otherwise left.  Some lasted only days.

Tomorrow is the first Wednesday of the month so students at PUSD schools will have a minimum day and teachers will stay at their own campuses for professional development or PD. Administrators as instructional leaders determine what the greatest collective need is for their teachers in order to impact student outcomes and design training opportunities based on that assessment.  

The United States Department of Justice has affirmed my citizenship.  Long story but I was born in Mexico.

“Men’s lives are violent because their souls have been violated.” — James Hollis, Under Saturn’s Shadow

 

In a column nearly two years ago, I used the phrase “toxic views of masculinity” to describe one of the many causes of a mass shooting.  At least one reader took exception to the phrase and I realized that I hadn’t really defined it.

Fivethirtyeight, the web site that uses data to track both politics and sports, recently completed a six-part series on gerrymandering.

Tomorrow is a minimum day for Porterville Unified School District middle school and high school students so that teachers have the opportunity to attend training. They have signed up for specific professional development sessions to explore various teaching strategies. Harmony is hosting these workshops which will be offered by teachers, instructional coaches, media tech specialists, math coaches, a counselor and a consultant.

Some history teachers use President’s Day weekend as a springboard to launch an exploration of President Lincoln and the Civil War period.  Interesting students in history often takes a good storyteller who can connect the past with its relevance today by focusing on the human aspect rather than names, dates and places. 

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, long a personal friend and colleague of California’s longtime Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, pronounced himself confounded the other day, when Feinstein released previously secret testimony about a controversial dossier on Donald Trump’s pre-presidentia…

While two current Hispanic governors are termed out of office, two prospective Hispanic governors are running for November election in Idaho and California. 

From the time this year’s California political campaigns began taking shape last fall, they’ve had the potential to produce the state’s most viable presidential candidate in almost half a century.

Foreign political lobbying caught the attention of U.S. authorities in 2017, resulting in criminal charges against three men from the Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and a guilty plea by a former White House official.