JSEF Signal Article: October 2016

Each month, Board member Billie Davis shares the latest news with readers of the Crockett Signal newspaper and our web site. Keep up on our newest accomplishments and upcoming events.

 

 


October 2016: The Prom is Coming

Our prom is right ‘round the corner! Last minute attention to all the special details of your excursion back to the ‘80’s are being made. On November 19th at 6:00 you will be swept away through the Community Center threshold to imagine yourself a teenager again. Even with the all the questionable fashion choices — like wild neon colors, big hair, parachute pants and legwarmers — you can’t help but feel nostalgic. We felt like, totally, you know, totally rad. Remember when Michael Jackson, Van Halen, and Madonna ruled the airwaves? It was a vibrant fun time. Even though the 80’s brought a highlight of sushi to our dinner tables, JSEF chose to keep our menu current–and repeat the sophisticated menu from last year: an exquisite tri-tip dinner, a delicious desert bar, and a no host bar offering a few delightful excursions through memory lane—as well as our up-to-date highball favorites.

But back to our monthly meeting…
One of the important items on our monthly agenda was a special visit from our superintendent, Rob Stockberger. He is genuinely excited about the future of our kids. He was able to present the latest information about the bottom-line numbers that prove our community is making a difference in the lives of our students. New administrators and personnel are providing the guidance and motivation our students need. Mr. Stockberger has access to tremendous resources to keep our students on the cutting edge of a successful educational experience. The efforts being made to support students’ focus on colleges and tech schools will help all the kids from kindergarten through their senior year in high school. Mr. Stockberger’s optimism is infectious.

We also had a healthy discussion about the ballot propositions P and Q. The information and insight, details and particulars about these propositions gave all of us JSEF directors a better understanding of what these propositions present. After Mr. Stockberger left we continued to examine the facts. With our quorum present, and the two absentees voting by e-mail, we decided that the JSEF will endorse both propositions P and Q. These both offer the best backing for Carquinez Middle School as well as John Swett High School.

Business as usual came next: deciding how to send money into the schools. Ms. Shotwell continues to improve the library at Carquinez Middle School. She’s making the library an irresistibly attractive place for the students; they love to go there! It was an easy decision to support her through her request through Donor’s Choose. She is making a remarkable difference in the impact that school has on the lives of teenagers.

Additionally at CMS, Ms. Giannotti is conducting interactive courses helping students understand that if we don’t learn about history, we’re doomed to repeat it. But not all students can learn history from books. She is able to reach out to the students who learn through building 3-d images. Also Ms. Giannotti offers a better understanding of basic life models through a class called Futures. We were impressed, and were able to support her alternative approach to teaching students.

November 19th. Be sure to save the date.

We are very steadfast to our mission statement: Dedicated to expanding, enhancing, and restoring academic and extracurricular programs within the John Swett Unified School District in collaboration with parents, educators, and the community. It gives the direction and wherewithal to support our schools in every way possible.

Please visit our website for updates on all our activities at www.johnswettef.org. JSEF supports all schools with every donation. As usual, every interested person is invited to any of our meetings (third Monday of each month, School District Office, 6:30). It’s the best way to stay abreast of activity in all our schools. The next meeting will be October 17th. Come join us, we’d it if you’d join in our discussions.

 


August 2016: Sugartown Festival

The Sugartown Festival was the finest example of what a small town can do to show off how great it is to live here! It was an upbeat, sunny, breezy day—couldn’t have been better! There were smiles everywhere as people from all around the bay area poked their noses into all the different stalls that lined Rolph Avenue. So the JSEF wants to send out an enthusiastic “Thank You!” to everyone who stopped by our lemonade stand to quench their thirst, and help our school district. The months we spend preparing for this annual event always present a puzzle because it’s hard to predict what will be different year-to-year. It keeps us on our toes, and we’ve always been relieved to see the numbers increase each time. But this year we were totally blown away by how successful our efforts proved to be. So thank you one and all!

It is summertime, so we are preparing for the start-up of the new school year. As usual, we will help the district office sort, pack, and send the back-to-school information packets. This year’s Big Change: our celebrated, highly-valued, magnetic school calendars won’t be hidden in those informative packets. This year we are looking forward to seeing everyone at the back-to-school activities and gatherings; this way we can meet you face-to-face and personally give you the magnetic calendar gift. Then you can proudly carry it home and place it prominently on your refrigerator door. (When need arises, you can refer to it and find out important dates—like exactly when our prom will occur!)

We are continuing to discuss details for November’s fundraising prom: Back to the 80’s. Do you remember singing along with Blondie, “Call Me!” — or maybe Pink Floyd “Another Brick in the Wall”. Did you wear a “Jean’s jacket”? They were so hip! Sports? The Raiders and 49ers had their Super Bowl successes. Although Tab, Canned Spam, and Bubble tape made their debut in the ‘80’s – we have decided to stick with the proven success of last year’s catered menu (a more detailed account in next month’s issue). The community center will undergo a transformation (with the help of lots of pink, purple, and aqua props) so we can reminisce about the birth of “Pac Man” —- was it that long ago???

November 19th. Be sure to save the date.

We are very steadfast to our mission statement: Dedicated to expanding, enhancing, and restoring academic and extracurricular programs within the John Swett Unified School District in collaboration with parents, educators, and the community. It gives the direction and wherewithal to support our schools in every way possible.

Please visit our website for updates on all our activities. www.johnswettef.org. JSEF supports all schools with every donation. As usual, every interested person is invited to any of our meetings (third Monday of each month, School District Office, 6:30). The next meeting will be August 15th. Come join us, we’d love to hear what you have to say.

 


July 2016: Scholarship Winners Announced

The most exciting news this month is the proclamation of this year’s Scholarship winners. We are honored to publicize the names of two outstanding seniors: Stephen Butler and Darin Johnson. They wrote excellent essays, and will receive well-deserved scholarships from JSEF.

In addition we were able to make good on our promise of matching funds for the successful Book Fair; Jessica Shotwell continues to do an exemplary job of improving the library at Carquinez Middle School. Also, we were able to write two checks to the PTA for their independent fundraisers.

Our mail included a heartfelt “Thank you!” from Ms. Hayden for our continued support for the AP testing program which is so important for our college-bound Juniors and Seniors.

We are very steadfast to our mission statement: Dedicated to expanding, enhancing, and restoring academic and extracurricular programs within the John Swett Unified School District in collaboration with parents, educators, and the community. It gives the direction and wherewithal to support our schools in every way possible. Money that comes in from the prom, 5k fun run, our upcoming Sugar Town Festival, and the annual giving program are focused directly on the needs of our four schools.

Our proud thermometers enable you to see that you helped exceed our goals for the 2015-2016 school year: red mercury popping out the top!

So… Guess what! We are in a flurry planning for the next fundraiser. It’ll be this month’s Sugar Town Festival. Just like in years gone by, we’ll be delighted to offer you the most thirst-quenching lemonade ever! With our award-winning secret recipe, you’ll be able to add your choice of complimentary taste sensations, and you’ll be supporting our school district as you toast everyone’s good health!

Next on our business schedule was to discuss details for November’s fundraising prom. We’re planning a trip down memory lane: the 80’s! Your home work is to start looking through your high school yearbooks. Weren’t those hairstyles fabulous?!?! The clothes, the cars, the music. Oh, there are so many secrets we can’t tell! But those secrets will make your smiles more intriguing next November 19th. Be sure to save the date.

Please visit our website for updates on all our activities. www.johnswettef.org JSEF supports all schools with every penny that comes our way. Everyone is invited to any of our meetings (third Monday of each month, School District Office, 6:30). The next meeting will be July 18th. Come join us, we’d appreciate your input.

 


June 2016: Sweat for Swett

Sunday, May 22nd couldn’t have dawned better. Saturday’s clouds had sprinkled the Wood Rat trail, so the dust had settled down; the remnants of those clouds provided a beautifully cool 9:00 start time. Our Sweat for Swett Race for Technology was destined to be the best we’ve had. New records were set and broken. The fastest time was faster! The slowest time was slower! The youngest contestant was younger–crossing the finish line in a belly pack strapped to his father’s chest (and thereby beating his daddy’s finish time by a fraction of a second)! The oldest entrant was older! And, most importantly, the total number of participants was higher! Participants’ bib numbers and official “race” times are available on our website: www.johnswettef.org.

An abundance of “Thank Yous” go to our sponsors. Phillips 66 provided the t-shirts which Bay Area Screen Prints printed. Yogurtland gave bananas and gift cards. Safeways donated water. Road ID provided bib numbers and gift certificates. Axis Group donated Smart™ Cloths, yo-yo’s, and “clean cheeks”. Last, but certainly not least, Crockett Community Foundation provided matching funds. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

By the end of the school year our thermometers will report the combination of this fundraising effort in addition to the input from our Annual Giving Campaign. Red mercury squirting beyond the top of our goals! You’ve done a great jog helping our schools.

Two important pieces of business highlighted our meeting last month. (#1) Mr. Auza had managed to get all the middle school 6th graders to go on his annual trip to the California Academy of Science. Upon their return, the English teacher, Ms. Friedman, helped them write first-rate descriptions of their experiences. Four of the students read their paragraphs to us: excellent work. It was a thrill to be able to touch the starfish in the tide-pool display. And, after walking through the tropical forest “dome” filled with butterflies, trees and many other animals, each student had to be scanned to be sure butterflies weren’t trying to “hitch a ride” out of the enclosure on the student’s clothes. But, the favorite experience of all was the earthquake simulator. I’d imagine so! They had to hold on to handrails while they experienced shakes with Richter scale readings from 7.1 to 7.8. It made us JSEF Directors so pleased we’d been able to support their efforts to go. Additionally, beautiful art pieces (done in the science class) were created as thank you letters for us to appreciate. In these days of online e-mail and cloud-based communications, written work presented in person continues to be a skill which must not be neglected. (Jenissi Oppus, Niklas Rimbach, Matthew Collins, and Cassandra Dela Cruz will be on our radar in 6 years when they write essays for scholarships to college.)

(#2) Scholarships. Our job for the next couple of weeks will be to read and examine the scholarship essays our seniors wrote. Students were given precise instructions as to how to apply for our scholarship awards. The Directors will discuss and debate the merits of each anonymous applicant. Winners of the scholarships will be notified, and their names will be reported in next month’s Signal, as well as announced at www.johnswettef.org

Be sure to visit our website for updates on all our activities. www.johnswettef.org JSEF supports all schools with every penny that comes our way. You are invited to any of our meetings (third Monday of each month, School District Office, 6:30).

 


April 2016: Whiskey Tasting

Last November’s JSEF gala fundraising prom offered the opportunity to bid for a “Whiskey Tasting” party (hosted by Tracy Weber). Last month several well-dressed and well-behaved participants were welcomed into Tracy’s home to see a table spread with a spectrum of fine whiskeys from the sublime to the ridiculous. Did you know that India, as well as Japan have their own versions of distilled grains? And until you have the opportunity to sip one of them, you have a delightful addition to your “bucket list.” Additionally Tracy (who had been a sous chef in Europe) offered an elaborate array of delicious finger foods to accompany each beverage. Some of the whiskeys were easy, comfortable and mellow. Others were enjoyed by heartier souls who were presented with a boggy, peat-y (and to my naive palette—a bit too musty) drink. But on the more positive side of things—I didn’t have to spend a sizeable amount of money to shop all over the bay area to find those pricey bottles that are enjoyed by folks who appreciate the offerings from the fair isles of the north eastern Atlantic. Although I didn’t keep track, I’d be surprised if any of Tracy’s guests managed to take a nip from each and every bottle. So there will be a chance next year to taste the ones missed this year. The whiskey tasting is always a delightful evening with plenty of opportunities to chat with familiar friends and make new ones. Next November be sure to bid on the whiskey tasting at our “Get Lucky” Prom / silent auction; it will be the Tenth Anniversary of this event!

The other brief discussion at our meeting was an update on Challenge Day at Carquinez Middle School. JSEF will be proud to continue to support this worthy program because we keep getting feedback from the adult volunteers, many of whom aren’t from our immediate community and have had no previous contact with our school district; the consensus is that our students are a cut above those from other schools in the bay area. And we intend to keep it that way!

Our Superintendent, Rob Stockburger, made a presentation to let us know that providing Chromebooks for our students, continues to be a high priority for our school district. The JSEF directors all agreed and voted to write a sizeable check at this moment in support of this program. As soon as the Fun Run (A Race for Technology!) is over, we’ll donate those profits too.

Once again, Jessica Shotwell, presented us with an opportunity to support the needs of the Middle School library. We‘ll be happy to match the funds raised by their Scholastic Book Fair (the week of May 23rd). So, if you want to double your efforts to help make the Carquinez library even better, be sure to look at the offerings during their Scholastic Book Fair, and choose a few volumes to enlarge your own personal library.

We’re ironing out the final details for our third annual 5k fun run Sweat for Swett A Race for Technology! On May 22nd. It’ll be a wonderful chance to experience the beauty of our Crockett foothills. If you—or anyone you know—haven’t had the opportunity to jog through the hillsides that protects our enchanting little town, this is the best way to do it. It’s easy to park in the school’s lot. You’ll see our tents set up there to give you a numbered runner’s bib. The starting gun goes off at 9 AM and the course begins behind the Carquinez Middle school, goes up past Willow School and into the Regional Park. The well-marked Wood Rat Trail parallels Crockett Boulevard up to the Cummings Skyway. It’s breath-taking there (in more ways than one). You’ll be given some water and a well-deserved sticker proclaiming you made it to the top. From that point it’s easy to coast back down past the starting point, and through the tunnel that leads you to the High School athletic field. Your grand finish will be shown on the gigantic sports screen! Yeah! A beautiful T-shirt, ribbon, snacks, drinks, and a goodie bag full of surprises will be your award for doing a job you can be proud of!

On April 23rd be sure to look for us at the PTA Fiesta dinner (Scout Hall) You’ll be able to find JSEF helping all our schools by offering a bar full of wonderful opportunities to wet your whistle, (and there will be more information about our fun run there as well).

JSEF supports all schools with every penny that comes our way. You are invited to any of our meetings (third Monday of each month, School District Office, 6:30).