AHA!’s Peace Builders Put Social-Emotional Education First

AHA From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

AHA’s Peace Builders From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Nonprofit Makes Social-Emotional Learning Engaging and Fun 

Today’s students live in a world where fear of violence and concerns about mental health, anxiety, stress, depression, and feelings of isolation are sadly an acknowledged part of their lives. But there are also several bright spots in this picture. 

For one thing, educators, parents, students, and employers increasingly recognize the value of social-emotional learning (SEL) as a way to combat these challenges. Here in town, the nonprofit AHA!’s Peace Builders program works in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria schools “to help build a learning and doing community for young people who want to use their SEL skills to play a leadership role in improving the climate of their school campuses,” explains Melissa Lowenstein, AHA! programs director and facilitator. 

Ryan Sportel, the dean of student engagement at Goleta Valley Junior High, is a fan. “What is unique about AHA! that nobody else has is that they have figured out how to present and teach and practice the skills associated with social and emotional learning in a way that’s really incredibly engaging and fun and also makes sense as a human being,” he said. “It’s very relatable, and it’s very natural and organic.” 

The curriculum trains participants to be great listeners, clear and courageous communicators, and allies who can confidently support others who are being bullied or who are otherwise struggling, explained Lowenstein. 

“We believe that students gain self-confidence on how to navigate through different points of views and being more accepting to all of the different people we are surrounded with in our community,” said Nathan Mendoza, dean of students at Santa Barbara High. 

Santa Barbara High teacher Mario Rodriguez praises the program’s diversity. “Some students are recognized strong leaders, active in the direction of the peace circles and whole group conversations,” he said. “Other students are timid yet finding positive role models to fortify their own role within the organization. Some students are very sure of their identities, confident in knowing who they are as adolescents within our school and community. Other students are in the process of finding themselves, feeling safe because they will not be judged in this setting but rather supported in their personal process. To be a part of AHA! is to be heard, celebrated, and uplifted.” 

Explained Sportel, “It’s at least as valuable as any other course of study that we provide to our children.” 

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

SBCC Brings the World to the Kitchen 

Free Tuition Program Covers School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management 

From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

SBCC Culinary Program, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Aspiring chefs whirl around the industrial-size kitchen classroom in clean white threads, cooking up a mouth-watering array of Northern African and Moroccan dishes like Mtuzi Wa Samaki (fish in coconut curry), homemade merguez sausage, and Ghanaian chicken-and-peanut stew. 

This intricate dance of chopping, stirring, sautéing, and learning is conducted by Chef Charlie Fredericks, who is clearly delighted to be orchestrating the SBCC class called “Modern Food: Style, Design, Theory, and Production.” Students create dishes from a different country every week — and once the global-themed feast is complete, they all share a meal together. 

“It’s so much fun,” said Fredericks, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, who has worked at restaurants in San Francisco, the Caribbean, Europe, and Napa before returning home to open bouchon in Santa Barbara in 1998. “This is definitely my favorite time,” he said. “It’s pretty much a Disneyland class.” 

Indeed, it’s a small world after all, and the Culinary Arts students seem to be enjoying the ride. “I really enjoy learning about the different countries and their different ways of cooking and different spices and how they have a connection to their culture,” said Claudia Garcia, a returning student who also has a son and a daughter enrolled at SBCC. 

The Chinese cooking lesson had a special resonance for Ava Engle, who grew up in Carpinteria and is attending the culinary school as part of the SBCC Promise Program, which provides the region’s high school graduates with the opportunity to attend for two years, free of charge. “I was actually adopted in China,” explained Engle, “and we made the Chinese food on my adoption day, just coincidentally, so that was great. I was kind of unfamiliar with the dishes we made, so it was fun to learn about them.” 

Alejandro Hernandez, a 2019 graduate of the SBCC School of Extended Learning Bilingual GED Program, is another one of 19 students enrolled in the Promise who’s attending the School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management Program this semester. Hernandez has supported himself and his family by working full-time at a Vietnamese restaurant for many years. He says the Promise — which covers enrollment costs and all required fees, books, and supplies for two years — is a great opportunity for him to bring a global perspective to combine with his family culinary roots from Guerrero, Mexico. “Hopefully, I’ll open my own restaurant in the future,” Hernandez said. 

“I’d love to work in a hotel and travel internationally,” said Miriam Martinez, another aspiring chef. “The Modern Foods is definitely my favorite class. I love the opportunity to taste — and cook — food from every country.”

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

Fielding Grad Mallory Price Leads for Literacy

Mallory Price, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Mallory Price, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Adams Elementary School’s Literacy Coach Is New Breed of Educator

Mallory Price is part of a new breed of educators out there, one that’s not anchored to a classroom or a particular grade’s curriculum but rather to skilled listening, problem solving, and relationship building. 

“My primary role is to support teachers,” said Price, who is in her third year as the literacy coach at Adams Elementary School. With some support from Santa Barbara Unified School District, she received her doctorate from Fielding Graduate University, which inspired her “to see beyond the walls of my own classroom, ultimately leading to the realization that I can have a greater impact if I step out of the classroom and expand my reach in a new role.” 

Price worked closely with former Adams principal Amy Alzina to become the district’s first literacy coach, and she was then then supported by the new principal, Kelly Fresch, who came from a school that had literacy coaches. “The stars were aligned for me,” said Price, “and she was the perfect principal for them to hire at that time!” 

Price works with teachers in cycles and allows them to determine which areas they want their students to focus on. “If the teachers don’t trust you, it’s going to be hard to have them open the door and trust you,” she explained. 

Price grew up in Summerland, attending Summerland School, Crane School, and Santa Barbara High, and is the daughter of retired Cold Spring superintendent/ principal Tricia Price, also a Fielding grad. Education may be in her blood — her grandfather Jim Thorsell was a teacher at Washington School for about 30 years — but she had zero interest in teaching when she was growing up. 

But after graduating from the University of Washington, Price started working as an instructional aide at Summerland School. “I just needed a job and wasn’t going to stay long, but it’s the classic story — I fell in love with teaching,” laughed Price, who then got her teaching credential and master’s from Antioch University in Santa Barbara. 

Eight years ago, she became a kindergarten teacher at Adams. It wasn’t the grade she wanted, “but I just kept surprising myself. I ended up falling in love with kindergarten too, and I did that for five years at Adams.” 

During that time, she also traveled to New York every summer for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. “It’s the best professional learning experience I’ve ever had; it’s transformational,” said Price. “It’s based on some research from some of the smartest literacy experts from around the world, and it really treats teachers like professionals. You feel like you’re with the best people who are really passionate about what they’re doing.” 

Now she’s using that model here in Santa Barbara. “Kids learn and grow and fall in love with reading when they can choose their own books. I never really loved reading until I got to choose my own book and I chose to read Harry Potter for the first time,” said Price, who added that one of her favorite activities has been helping teachers set up their classroom libraries. “The district has been amazing and has purchased libraries for every single classroom.” 

Thanks to Price’s success, the district now has literacy coaches at each elementary school: Barbara Conway (Washington/Franklin), Courtney-Firth Williams (Cleveland/Roosevelt), Sandy Robertson (SBCA), Amy Gates (McKinley/Monroe), and Lindsay Alker (Harding). 

“I love it,” said Price of transitioning from traditional teacher to coach. “I don’t think I could ask for it to go any better with my colleagues. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but they’re so supportive, and I feel like all of them welcomed me and want me there.” 

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

 

SBCC Auto Tech Gears Up For The Future

SBCC Automotive Technology, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

SBCC Automotive Technology, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Women Are Thriving in City College’s Automotive Technology Program 

The future of automotive technology is indeed female. 

With women accounting for just 27 percent of the U.S. auto manufacturing workforce (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018), and a skills-gap study forecasting a shortfall that will leave approximately 2.4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs vacant through 2028 and beyond (Deloitte Insights, 2018), it’s an ideal time for young women to pursue this in-demand career field. 

On a recent visit to SBCC, instructor Brittanye Muschamp’s Engine Rebuilding class in a shockingly clean, newly renovated engine lab, clusters of students, male and female, inspected and cleaned engine blocks and measured cylinders and pistons. Muschamp worked in the automotive service industry for many years before joining SBCC as the first full-time female faculty member in the department. At this rate, she won’t be the last. 

Jennifer Oseguera feels right at home with her arms elbow-deep in an engine. She’s wanted to be a race car driver since she was a little girl. “I had a race car team in high school, so I have some experience there,” she explained. “I got into auto body shop when I was in high school as well.” 

In addition to taking her second year of the automotive technology classes at SBCC, Oseguera also commutes to Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo for their auto body program. “I would like to have my own auto body shop or technician shop at some point and do some racing and custom paints as well as restoring classic cars,” she said. 

“It’s very welcoming, especially being here as a girl now that we have a female automotive teacher,” said Oseguera of her SBCC experience. “The guys don’t shut me down, and they treat me like everybody else. I’m learning a lot and getting a lot more hands-on experience.” 

Michelle Tepeque is a Santa Barbara High grad and one of 46 Automotive Technology participants in the SBCC Promise program, which provides hometown high school graduates free tuition for two years. She used to watch a lot of car restoration shows with her dad, but she never really thought about the automotive field as a career until recently. “Then a lot of my guy friends were doing it, and I thought, well, I’m kind of interested in seeing how it is,” she said. “So I gave it a try last semester and really loved it. Now, this semester, these are the only classes I’m taking.” 

As for being one of the only females in class, Tepeque said it’s mostly accepting. “I didn’t feel like all eyes were on me, and most guys are pretty laid-back about it, like they don’t really care. There are some that do give you more shit than others — they’ll ask you questions and make you feel like you don’t fit in. But being in this industry, I know there’s going to be a lot of men that will try to put you down because you’re female, so it’s teaching me to have thicker skin and stand up for whatever I’m doing.” 

Overall, she’s had a great time. “I feel like I actually learn things more when I’m hands-on like this,” said Tepeque. “Mostly, I love it.” 

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

African Adventures for Laguna Blanca’s Zack Moore

Laguna Blanca's Zack Moore, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Laguna Blanca’s Zack Moore, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Science Teacher Returns to West African Coast for Educational Outreach

When Zack Moore travels to Ghana this November, his second journey to the West African coast will take his educational voyage full circle. The Laguna Blanca STEM coordinator and science instructor began his teaching career in 1997 as a physics and science instructor for the Peace Corps in the village of Breman Asikuma. Now, thanks to winning one of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Short-Term (DAST), he’ll return to the same town to facilitate STEM integration in the Ghana-Lebanon Islamic School. He’s one of just 13 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad as part of the prestigious program in 2019. 

Moore’s first journey to Ghana came after he graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in civil engineering. He had “a vague notion of going out and saving the world by joining the Peace Corps,” thinking he’d spend a few years in Ghana and return home to be an engineer. 

“When I did Peace Corps, I recognized the impact that you can have on others,” said Moore, who admitted that there is a self-serving aspect as well. “The amount of joy I had every day, where kids were excited to see me and wanted to hear what I had to say and interact in a way where I helped them grow and they helped me grow was so great.” 

He’s been teaching ever since, first at several high schools in San Francisco and then the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, Nicaragua. He joined Laguna Blanca in 2007. 

On his return to Breman Asikuma, Moore will bring his expertise in infusing STEM methodology into a traditional liberal arts education, particularly for young girls. But he’s also bringing his wife, Dr. Erin Moore (a physician at UCSB Student Health), and their two young sons, Riley, age 9, and Shane, age 5. 

“It’s just such a great opportunity,” said Moore, who hopes his kids will take classes at the school. “It would be great to have them see a very different experience from what they’re used to.” 

For the STEM program at Laguna Blanca, Moore tries to “give kids tangible skills that they can apply to not just their STEM electives but also to problems around the world. We try to instill this design-thinking mindset into what we do … across all disciplines.” 

He hopes to do the same during his short stay in Ghana. “A Fulbright program focusing on my field of expertise and passion — STEM integration for girls — seems serendipitous,” he said. “It will give me an opportunity to come full circle.” 

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

Raising S.B.’s Next Generation of Teachers 

New Town-Gown Partnership Between UCSB and Public Schools 

SB's Next Generation of Teachers, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

SB’s Next Generation of Teachers, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

It takes a village to raise a child and an even bigger village to raise a community to new heights. The PEAC Community Fellows for Education is an innovative new program that does just that. 

This unprecedented collaboration — which stands for “Program for Effective Access to College” — is between UCSB and the Santa Barbara Unified School District, with support from the James S. Bower Foundation, Hazen Family Foundation, and the Helen and Will Webster Foundation. It kicked off this summer to fund teacher training at UCSB for four college graduates who, upon earning their teaching credentials, will receive an opportunity to teach in Santa Barbara public schools. 

First-generation college graduates Alejandrina and Maria Lorenzano, Evely Jimenez, and Monica Rojas have each received full funding to attend UCSB’s acclaimed Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, with scholarships in honor of beloved educator Jo Ann Caines. 

This fellowship embodies the mission of the Gevirtz School, said Dean Jeffrey Milem. “It stresses the important role that education plays in helping to build a democratic society that is becoming increasingly diverse,” he explained. “Our teacher candidates commit to an intensive 12-month program, and with teaching placements during the day and graduate classes at night, there is no time for them to work, too.” That’s where the foundations step in to ensure these students “get a first-class education without incurring large debt.” 

The four young women are now finishing up their first placements. Alejandrina Lorenzano, for instance, has been working at Santa Barbara High School with Joe Velasco in an English class. “Things are going great. We have settled into the rhythm of things a bit,” she said. “Every day is different, and every day I learn more about my students, about learning, and about teaching. As I worked more and more within the class, I have come to realize that this is the work I want to be doing.” 

Alejandrina’s twin sister, Maria Lorenzano enioyed her time at Dos Pueblos working with teacher Kelly Savio. “She was really able to challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone when it comes to instructing a class for the first time,” said Lorenzano. “I am excited to see what each day will have in store for me while I am there. Sure, there are times when stress would set in; however, I have enjoyed every moment I have experienced so far.” 

The twins bought their mother a “UCSB Mom” sweatshirt when they found out they were accepted into the program, which led to “a lot of happy tears.” They hope to serve the Santa Barbara community for as long as they can. “We are hoping to continue to get others interested in the PEAC Fellowship to help ensure it continues to help students who want to dedicate themselves to teaching,” they said. 

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

A Sculptor’s Tribute

Photo by Gary Moss, 805 Living Magazine.

Before creating his full-size sculptures in tribute to the victims of last year’s mass
shooting at Thousand Oaks’ Borderline Bar & Grill, Ali Alinejad perfected his
designs with these miniature prototypes. Photo by Gary Moss, 805 Living Magazine.

The grieving process continues for the 12 people who lost their lives in the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on November 7, 2018.

“There was so much emotion and so much grief in this community after this happened, people didn’t have a place to go,” says Thousand Oaks–based sculptor Ali Alinejad. “Creating that place is what inspired me,” he says of the ceramic memorials he sculpted to honor each of the victims.

With the support of the community, Alinejad built an 8- to 12-foot totem for each victim, stacking the letters of their first names, which he sculpted from clay, and inscribing special memories on the back. The colorful, joyful sculptures are currently displayed throughout Alinejad’s neighborhood, which is also home to his business, Clay Studio + Gallery (claystudioandgallery.com). He hopes to find a permanent home for the sculptures and to create a memorial with benches that can be used as a site for contemplation.

For more information, visit the project’s GoFundMe page: gofundme.com/f/sculpure-memorial-for-the-12-victims-at-borderline.      —Leslie Dinaberg

805 Living Magazine, November 2019.

805 Living Magazine, November 2019.

Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, November 2019 805 Living Magazine November 2019.

Mind, Body, Soul

Mind, Body and Soul, published in 805 Living, July/August 2019.

Click here to read these stories as they appeared in 805 Living magazine, July/August 2019. 805 Living MBS Jul-Aug 2019

Cheers for Wildlife Conservation

This story as it appeared in 805 Living, July/August 2019. Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Zoo.

This story as it appeared in 805 Living, July/August 2019. Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Zoo.

Something cold, refreshing, and eco-friendly is brewing at the Santa Barbara Zoo (sbzoo.org) this summer. Sales of Zoo Brew, a custom California pale ale produced by Ventura Coast Brewing Company (vcbc.beer), have already exceeded expectations, says zoo culinary programs manager Emily Largey. While the zoo gets the profits, the beer serves an even more important role as a vehicle to educate adults about animal conservation efforts. “Learning isn’t just for the kids,” Largey says. “The conservation messaging on the first can is ‘Drink beer, save wildlife.’ Each season we’ll roll out a new beer and a new label featuring an endangered or protected animal at the zoo.” 

This story originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of 805 Living.

805 Living Pulse Jul-Aug 2019 (click here to see the story as it appeared in 805 Living)

 

 

Creating New Knowledge

Undergraduate Research Colloquium is part of Undergraduate Research Week. Previous Undergraduate Research Colloquium participants have represented disciplines across science and engineering and the social sciences, humanities and fine arts. Courtesy photo.

Undergraduate Research Colloquium is part of Undergraduate Research Week. Previous Undergraduate Research Colloquium participants have represented disciplines across science and engineering and the social sciences, humanities and fine arts. Courtesy photo.

A week of events spotlights undergraduate student-led research initiatives and projects

Many believe that no research is ever quite complete, and the true value of the work is that it opens the way for something better. Aiming to spread the joy that comes with educational discovery, UC Santa Barbara’s debut Undergraduate Research Week offers a variety of ways to share ideas.

“A university is supposed to be about the interchange of ideas and thought and I want to encourage as many students as possible to feel like they can be a part of that,” said Anne Charity Hudley, director of undergraduate research in the Office of Undergraduate Education and North Hall Endowed Chair in Linguistics, who is leading Undergraduate Research Week.

Last year’s two-day event was so popular that the undergraduate research showcase expands to a full week of events beginning Monday, May 6. The traditional Undergraduate Research Colloquium will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, May 7 and 8, in Corwin Pavilion.

“I’m really excited to see the number of projects grow,” said Charity Hudley. “The thing I like to emphasize to students is that you should share your work, no matter what stage you are in, rather than just thinking that it has to be a culminating experience. The actual discussion and sharing of ideas and information is the most important takeaway.”

Undergraduate Research Colloquium is part of Undergraduate Research Week. Previous Undergraduate Research Colloquium participants have represented disciplines across science and engineering and the social sciences, humanities and fine arts. Courtesy photo.

Undergraduate Research Colloquium is part of Undergraduate Research Week. Previous Undergraduate Research Colloquium participants have represented disciplines across science and engineering and the social sciences, humanities and fine arts. Courtesy photo.

The variety of projects on display will be rich and varied. Xochitl Briseno’s research — performed under the guidance of Rebeca Mireles Rios, an assistant professor in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education — explores the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) in supporting the Latinx scholar. It also addresses the factors that contribute to the retention and persistence of Latinx students as well as the importance of an HSI’s role in supporting high-impact practices that provide a second form of engagement to aid the second through third year transition.

Graduating senior Erika Prado’s research sheds light on the interactional competence of autistic individuals. Prado will pursue a Ph.D. in comparative human development at the University of Chicago next fall, and credits her decision to do so in part to her undergraduate research experiences — with the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences’s Attention Lab, the Koegel Autism Center and as a McNair Scholar in the Department of Linguistics — as well as her work as a peer mentor for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA).

All undergraduate students had the option to participate in the Colloquium, which includes traditional poster presentations; Colloquium Unbound, which includes videos, graphic novels, board games, performances and other artifacts that represent the essence of the research; or the Undergraduate Research Slam, a lively competition in which students, vying for the $2,500 prize, present their research in three minutes or less to a panel of judges.

Charity Hudley encourages students, faculty and staff to attend any or all of Undergraduate Research Week. “It’s really celebrating the students’ achievements from a developmental perspective,” she said. “We expect these research projects to grow and change over time — the more that they can learn from each other the more that will also strengthen their research. It’s more than just a showcase to show your friends or your professors your research, it’s also a great opportunity to learn from seeing what other people are doing.”

Schedule of Events:

May 6 – Undergraduate Research Panels – Library 1312

10 a.m. URCA & FRAP Mentors, featuring:

•          Jennifer King, Geography

•          Nadège Clitandre, Global Studies

•           Stuart Feinstein, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology

•           Andrew Griffin, English

1 p.m. Newer Faculty, featuring:

•          Daniel Conroy-Beam, Psychology

•          Janet Bourne, Music

•          Anne H. Charity Hudley, Linguistics

3 p.m. Research Centers on Campus featuring:

•           Samantha Davis, Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP)

•           Erin Nerstad, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC)

•           Linda Adler-Kassner, Center for Innovative Teaching, Research & Learning  (CITRAL)

5 p.m. Peter Felten of Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning

May 7 – Undergraduate Research Colloquium – Corwin Pavilion

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Math, Life and Physical Sciences

May 8 – Undergraduate Research Colloquium – Corwin Pavilion

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Social Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts

May 9 – Undergraduate Research Slam Finals – Old Little Theater

5:30 – 8 p.m. Sixteen finalists compete for the top prize of $2,500 the People Choice award of $1,000

May 10 – Undergraduate Research Trivia – CITRAL (Library 1576, ground floor Oceanside)

3 – 5 p.m. Put together your team and join in an afternoon of trivia

Originally published in the UCSB Current on May 3, 2019.