Three Ventura County Schools Named 2018 California Distinguished Schools

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Three Ventura County elementary schools are being honored as 2018 California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education. Schools that applied were eligible based on their performance and progress on the state indicators as described on the California School Dashboard. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates and English learner progress.

The local schools being honored are:

  • Sycamore Canyon (Conejo Valley Unified School District)
  • Walnut Canyon Elementary (Moorpark Unified School District)
  • Oak Hills Elementary (Oak Park Unified School District)

Additionally, Oak Park Unified School District is one of just 22 in the state to be named an Exemplary District for making positive impacts on student outcomes. The district and the Distinguished Schools will be honored in May during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The complete list of the honorees is available here.

About the Ventura County Office of Education

The Ventura County Office of Education provides a broad array of fiscal, training and technology support services to local school districts, helping to maintain and improve lifelong educational opportunities for children, educators and community members. VCOE also operates schools that serve students with severe disabilities and behavioral issues, provides career education courses, and coordinates countywide academic competitions including Mock Trial and the Ventura County Science Fair. Learn more at: www.vcoe.org.

CSU Channel Islands to Launch Mechatronics Engineering Program in Fall 2018

CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) will launch its Mechatronics Engineering program in fall 2018.

The program will accept 24 students for fall 2018, increasing that number by 24 each year until the total number of Mechatronics majors admitted each year is just under 100.

With about 300 engineering jobs available in Ventura County each year, University administrators, faculty, lawmakers and the community saw the need for qualified engineers and began working toward adding the major at CSUCI years ago.

The program comes to the University during newly invested President Erika Beck’s tenure. Once the engineering major is launched, CSUCI will be one of less than a dozen universities in the nation that offers a Mechatronics degree.

Mechatronics is a quickly-growing area of engineering that includes aspects of control theory, computer science, electronics, and mechanics.

Plans are already in the works to apply for accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a nonprofit, non-governmental accrediting agency for programs in applied science, computing, engineering technology and related fields.

ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession each graduate intends to enter. CSUCI plans to seek ABET accreditation within four to five years.

The long term advantages to pursuing a degree in Mechatronics are many. Those who graduate with a degree in Mechatronics can expect great career mobility because of the expertise they will have in a variety of engineering skills.

Salaries for these graduates are also promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that median annual wages for all specialized engineers that are not categorized was $92,680 as of May of 2013. The middle 50 percent of these professionals earned between $68,610 and $117,930 yearly.

The demand for engineers is high along what’s known as the “101 Tech Corridor,” which includes companies like Amgen, Haas Automation, Teledyne Technologies, and HRL Laboratories, plus an ongoing need for Naval Base Ventura County at their Point Mugu and Port Hueneme facilities.

CSUCI is one of just three CSUs to offer the Mechatronics degree, the other two being CSU Chico and CSU San Luis Obispo.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CSUCI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CSUCI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CSUCI’s Social Media.

Ventura County Office of Education Opens New Career Education Center in Moorpark

The former site of Community High School in Moorpark, 5700 Condor Drive, is reborn as a second campus of the Ventura County Office of Education’s (VCOE) Career Education Center.

The new facility is the result of a partnership between VCOE and the Moorpark Unified School District. VCOE will lease the facility from the district for one dollar per year for the next five years, allowing the district to host additional programs and services for local students.

Fall programming will include classes in cybersecurity, game design, engineering and medical science. 

More information about the VCOE Career Education Center is available at www.vcoe.org/cec

CSU Channel Islands Launches Countywide STEM Regional Network

CSU Channel Islands (CI) will host a celebration of the official launch of the Ventura County STEM Regional Network beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 at the CI Boating Center at the Channel Islands Harbor.

“This is sort of a coming-out party for our VC STEM network,” explained VC STEM Planning Director Philip Hampton, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry at CI. “We’ve spent almost a year planning. Now we move from the ideation stage to the action stage.”

The VC STEM Network is a leadership hub for regional companies, universities, government agencies, parks, schools, museums and a host of other local organizations working together to improve educational outcomes in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) for all students throughout Ventura County.

VC STEM was made possible by a $75,000 grant awarded at the end of 2014 by the Amgen Foundation, the charitable arm of the Thousand Oaks biotechnology company.

Hampton put together the grant proposal and has since headed a steering committee that put together another grant to further benefit the network.

VC STEM was launched under the Ventura County P-20 Council, a group of like-minded partners from education, business, parent organizations and other community agencies interested in making Ventura County’s educational system the best it can be. The P-20 Council is chaired by CI President Richard R. Rush.

Legislators, educators and P-20 councilmembers are among those invited to the VC STEM launch, which will begin with demonstrations of partnerships including crowd-pleasing exhibits from Hampton’s popular Science Carnival, which is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24 at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Oxnard.

When the VC STEM network gets down to work, members will concentrate on three areas: 1) Early STEM learning; 2) STEM expanded learning; and 3) STEM professional learning for educators.

Early STEM will involve a look at how to stimulate kids’ interest in science from birth to Grade 3, and ways to introduce math at an early age.

STEM expanded learning is about science outside of the classroom, which may include science or technology clubs kids attend after school.

“It’s a powerful area where you can introduce science in an informal setting,” Hampton said. “Like computers and 3-D printing.

The third area of concentration will concern ways to get professional STEM training for kindergarten through third grade teachers who would like to feel more comfortable teaching science and math to elementary school students.

The VC STEM Regional Network is part of a larger nationwide initiative known as the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative, a countrywide campaign devoted to creating STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning opportunities for students from pre-school to college.

This fall, Ventura County was named as a “STEM Learning Ecosystem,” which means the area was chosen as one of 27 regions considered ideal to pilot the national STEM initiative.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI’s Social Media.

CLU Receives Upward Bound Grant to Help Low Income Science & Technology Students

CLU Awarded $1.6 million Upward Bound Grant

Math and Science Center will serve more students

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded California Lutheran University a $1.6 million grant to expand its TRIO Upward Bound Math and Science Center over the next five years.

Upward Bound Math and Science students (Photo courtesy of CLU)The grant will enable the center to prepare 75 low-income students each year to continue their education beyond high school in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. This is an increase of 20 students per year.

The students, all aspiring to be among the first generation in their families to go to college, attend Channel Islands, Hueneme, Oxnard and Pacifica highschools in Oxnard, Hawthorne and Leuzinger high schools in Los Angeles County, Fillmore High School and Santa Paula High School.

The center, which has been on the CLU campus for 22 years, has served more than 275 students in the last five years. All participants graduate from high school and 86 percent graduate from a post-secondary school. This year’s high school graduates included a student who earned a full-ride scholarship as a Posse Scholar and another who received a $20,000 scholarship as a Dell Scholar.

Students take classes in literature, composition, math, science and foreign languages and participate in cultural and recreational activities throughout the academic year and during a six-week residential program in summer. Center staff also provide tutoring,advising and assistance with test preparation and college-application completion.

The Federal TRIO Programs, which also include traditional Upward Bound, are designed to identify and provideservices for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. CLU has the distinction of having four TRIO programs: two traditional Upward Bound, Student SupportServices and Upward Bound Math Science.