The Fillmore Unified School District Board of Trustees commissioned a Long-Range Facilities Plan in the fall of 2015 aimed at providing the District with a tool that would ensure that all facility needs and learning environments would be met in the most educationally responsive and cost-effective manner possible. A Long-Range Facilities Master Plan is a long-range planning document that helps guide the District in its facility use, design, construction and capital renewal activities over the years and is updated periodically.

The development of a Facilities Master Plan is an integral task to assist the Fillmore Unified School District with maintaining their existing campuses and planning required facilities to best support a successful educational program. PBK – S.I.M. Architects was enlisted to assist the District with looking ahead ten (10) years to develop a Facilities Master Plan that would define facility needs at each of the District’s campuses and support facilities. The Fillmore Unified School District’s Board of Trustees has established facilities as one of its strategic goals and has tasked the District’s leadership with envisioning the types of spaces necessary to support 21st-century student learning while addressing immediate needs for the District’s existing facilities.

The specific purpose and goals of the Fillmore Unified School District’s Facilities Master Plan are as follows:

Assess the physical conditions of all sites and determine the “needs” for repair and replacement, prioritized based on the critical nature of the improvements.
Assess educational suitability and functionality of school sites and identify specific requirements for future upgrades and additions.
Identify priority projects for each site based on the educational needs of the campus.
Determine the costs associated with the development of each campus master plan.
Develop a Capital Plan that is fiscally sound that includes state, federal, local funding opportunities.
Prioritize all identified projects, both repair “needs” and educational “wants” based on criteria developed and set forth within the context of the process.

The Master Plan will address guiding principles for preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school campus levels, which will include demographics, financial plan, safety and security, technology, athletics, transportation, educational specifications and districtwide construction standards, sustainability and NextGeneration/21st Century Learning.

Include community engagement and involvement throughout the entire planning process.

Create a Comprehensive Long Range Facilities Master Plan that will be a living, “breathing”, document that is easily updated and revised, as well as easily interpreted for future project development.

This Facilities Master Plan is conceived as a ‘roadmap’ to achieve the educational goals of the Fillmore Unified School District. This comprehensive document is intended to be flexible and will be updated periodically as the District’s needs change and become more refined. The campus transformations envisioned by the District document to support “Next Generation” learning are forward-thinking, well-conceived and is designed to benefit all students for generations to come.

Facilities plays an integral part in our District’s mission to ensure that “Every day we develop high-performing students who become engaged and productive members of society.” It is an exciting time for Fillmore Unified School District as we formulate a Long-Range Facilities Master Plan to address immediate needs and look into the not-too-distant future to ensure that our students and staff have optimal environments for teaching and learning.

 


 
Rachel Cartwright
Rachel Cartwright

A whale surging up from the ocean and splashing back into the waves is one of the ocean’s most magnificent sights, but scientists have never understood exactly why whales put on this spectacular show, called “breaching.”

After five years of study, CSU Channel Islands (CI) Biology lecturer Rachel Cartwright, Ph.D., has an answer as to why whales breach – specifically, young whales. Her findings were published at the end of January in the Public Library of Science, an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal at http://www.plosone.org.

Scientists had long theorized that whales breached as a form of play or socialization, but Cartwright’s research conducted with Biology lecturer Cori Newton, Ph.D., six CI undergraduate researchers, and five supporting organizations, shows that breaching actually strengthens a young whale’s diving capacity.

“Our research clearly demonstrates that extreme exercise, such as breaching, has an important role in the development of the ability to breath-hold for young baleen whales, allowing them to make longer dives,” Cartwright said.

“Baleen” whales describe the approximately 14 species of whale whose mouths are equipped with plates of baleen, a substance similar to keratin. The plates allow them to strain plankton. The humpback and gray whales common in the Santa Barbara Channel are examples of baleen whales.

Cartwright and her team of researchers studied muscle tissue from whales that had died after being stranded. The researchers determined that the exertion required to leap out of the ocean increases the level of myoglobin levels in young whales. Like hemoglobin in humans, myoglobin carries oxygen in the muscles of whales.

Cartwright said breaching is a very specific activity that resembles a somersault starting underwater and rising out of the waves until the whale turns and lands on its back. “Exercise releases calcium in the muscle cells and that calcium is a trigger to this molecular pathway,” she said. When older whales breach, it may be more social in nature, she said.

Undergraduate researchers like Biology major/Chemistry minor Lila Hernandez, 22, were thrilled to be involved in a groundbreaking research project, a privilege often enjoyed just by graduate students.

Hernandez said undergraduate opportunities like this one are part of what drew her to enroll at CI. “Because it’s a smaller school, it gives students the opportunity to actually interact with the professor rather than sit in a class of 500 and just interact with the teacher’s assistant,” she said.

The role Hernandez and the other undergraduate researchers played was to analyze muscle tissue samples in the lab. She hopes to get involved with a career in wildlife management after she graduates in May.

Adding new perspective to the research was an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV, which the team got permission to operate off the coast of Maui this year.

CI Business lecturer Alan Jaeger and his brother Ryan Jaeger operated the UAVs. Both teach classes in UAV operation through the Ventura County Office of Education.

“The UAV we used was specifically designed to be waterproof so we can operate it safely in the water,” Alan Jaeger said. “Once we locate where the young whale is, we work with Dr. Cartwright and her team to hover the UAV at a safe and specific altitude so we can get the best imagery for aerial measurements.”

Alan Jaeger said he looks forward to further developing this novel use of the UAV technology with help from the students.

Cartwright says she plans to use the aerial photos to assess the body condition and growth rates of humpback whale calves as she continues her research.

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.

 


 
Rio Vista Elementary School is very proud to announce the 2016 spelling bee winner was fourth grader Sienna Dalgarn and the runner up was fourth grader Wendy Romero. The school had 18 students participate in this year spelling bee, the competition was tough and exciting. We have many interesting activities and events happening at Rio Vista this month: Valentine grams are being sold for .50 cent, Yoyos fundraiser being sold the 3rd week of month. Coming soon the exciting new Roadrunner t-shirts, sweatshirts for students and parents. Parents, check out our Facebook page for new information and details on all theses events and the check out the new t-shirts design. (pictured) Winner Sienna Dalgarn and Runner-Up Wendy Romero.
Rio Vista Elementary School is very proud to announce the 2016 spelling bee winner was fourth grader Sienna Dalgarn and the runner up was fourth grader Wendy Romero. The school had 18 students participate in this year spelling bee, the competition was tough and exciting. We have many interesting activities and events happening at Rio Vista this month: Valentine grams are being sold for .50 cent, Yoyos fundraiser being sold the 3rd week of month. Coming soon the exciting new Roadrunner t-shirts, sweatshirts for students and parents. Parents, check out our Facebook page for new information and details on all theses events and the check out the new t-shirts design. (pictured) Winner Sienna Dalgarn and Runner-Up Wendy Romero.
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In November, students from Fillmore High School's prestigious drama program performed in
In November, students from Fillmore High School's prestigious drama program performed in "The Rainmaker," directed by Josh Overton. The performers present are: Fatima Bazurto, Israel Brooks, Nicholas Posada, and Trystan Riddle. Not pictured are Dillon Galarza, Rachel Rivera, and Blake Palacio.
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Feb. 6 & Feb. 27, 2016

Ventura College will host FREE hands-on workshops to assist students with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and California Dream Applications. You + FAFSA/Dream = Money for College is the equation for receiving FREE MONEY FOR COLLEGE. The workshops will be held on February 6 at Ventura College Santa Paula and February 27 at the Ventura College main campus. The events are FREE and everyone is welcome. For additional details, please call the Ventura College Financial Aid Office at 805-289-6369 or email vcfinancialaid@vcccd.edu.

The event dates and locations are:

Saturday, February 6, 2016, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Ventura College Santa Paula, 957 Faulkner Road, Santa Paula, CA

Saturday, February 27, 2016, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Ventura College main campus, MCE-341 & MCE-343, 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA

Applications for FAFSA or California Dream may be submitted beginning January 1, 2016, through March 2, 2016. Please visit www.fafsa.gov, www.caldreamact.org, and www.venturacollege.edu/finaid for the financial aid checklist of required documents to bring to the workshop.

About Ventura College
Ventura College, an accredited two-year institution of higher education, has been a part of the beautiful seaside community of Ventura, California, since 1925. It is conveniently located approximately 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 miles south of Santa Barbara. The 112-acre campus, set in the rolling hills of Ventura, has an enrollment of 14,500 students. Ventura College offers Associate of Arts and Associate of Sciences Degrees in 33 majors, and Certificates of Completion and Proficiency Awards in 61 areas of study. Ventura College also has Transfer Guarantee Agreements with CSUCI, CSUN, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz. Class schedules are posted at www.venturacollege.edu. For more information, contact the Ventura College Welcome Center at 805.289.6420.

 


 
Thirty two students competed Tuesday to earn the title of Mountain Vista School Spelling Bee Champion. There was tense anticipation when only three competitors remained on stage in the 5th round. Five rounds later, Marco Gutierrez was declared winner with runner-up Jazmin Aguirre. Marco’s championship word was “marathon.” The next stage in the competition is Ventura County Spelling Bee at CSUCI campus on March 5. That winner will compete at the national competition in Washington, D.C. Mr. Wilber, Mtn. Vista Principal, with Spelling Bee Champion Marco Gutierrez and runner-up Jazmin Aguirre.
Thirty two students competed Tuesday to earn the title of Mountain Vista School Spelling Bee Champion. There was tense anticipation when only three competitors remained on stage in the 5th round. Five rounds later, Marco Gutierrez was declared winner with runner-up Jazmin Aguirre. Marco’s championship word was “marathon.” The next stage in the competition is Ventura County Spelling Bee at CSUCI campus on March 5. That winner will compete at the national competition in Washington, D.C. Mr. Wilber, Mtn. Vista Principal, with Spelling Bee Champion Marco Gutierrez and runner-up Jazmin Aguirre.
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The annual San Cayetano Spelling Bee took place on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. As always, there was tension in the air as the dedicated spellers took their seats onstage. Participating this year were third graders Diana Santa Rosa, Liam Anderson, Presley McClain, Michael Santoyo, Nadia Palazuelos and Destiny Alvarado. The fourth grade was
represented by Angel Laureano, Erika Sanchez, Aryanne Munoz and Joshua Estrada. Rounding out the school’s top spellers were fifth graders Anthony Perez, Paola Ruiz de Lara, Arturo Rodriguez and Alejandro Lanza. After 10 rounds of spelling, Erika Sanchez, top left, took the Runner-Up spot. Congratulations Erika! We are proud to announce that San Cayetano’s top speller this year is Nadia Palazuelos, top right. She will have the opportunity to represent us at the Ventura County Spelling Bee next month. Congratulations Nadia!
The annual San Cayetano Spelling Bee took place on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. As always, there was tension in the air as the dedicated spellers took their seats onstage. Participating this year were third graders Diana Santa Rosa, Liam Anderson, Presley McClain, Michael Santoyo, Nadia Palazuelos and Destiny Alvarado. The fourth grade was represented by Angel Laureano, Erika Sanchez, Aryanne Munoz and Joshua Estrada. Rounding out the school’s top spellers were fifth graders Anthony Perez, Paola Ruiz de Lara, Arturo Rodriguez and Alejandro Lanza. After 10 rounds of spelling, Erika Sanchez, top left, took the Runner-Up spot. Congratulations Erika! We are proud to announce that San Cayetano’s top speller this year is Nadia Palazuelos, top right. She will have the opportunity to represent us at the Ventura County Spelling Bee next month. Congratulations Nadia!
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Excellent diversity, staffing practices and work environment are among the reasons CSU Channel Islands (CI)’s Division of Student Affairs has won a designation as one of the “Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs” for a second year in a row.

CI is one of 19 universities and colleges in the nation to earn the award from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, in partnership with the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE) at Ohio State University and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) College Student Educators International.

CI’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Wm. Gregory Sawyer, Ph.D., said he is honored by the award and believes it is a tribute to the philosophy of the dedicated staff of the Division of Student Affairs.

“The aim of CI’s Division of Student Affairs is to provide students with excellent needs-based programs and services that cultivate a diverse learning community where leadership, wellness, personal and civic responsibility are valued and embraced,” he said. “At CI, it is our belief that the excellence of a University begins and ends with the well-being of its campus membership.”

CHEE conducted the web-based study, which also explored areas such as family friendliness, salary/benefits and professional development opportunities, to name a few.

The national survey was first commissioned by ACPA and Diverse in 2011. CI was the only CSU on the 2016 list. The results of the 2016 survey will be published in the Feb. 25, 2016 edition of the magazine.

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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.

 
“Super Quiz” to Cap Off 2016 Ventura County Academic Decathlon

What’s a fun way to see local high school students face off in a battle of academic skill? It’s the “Super Quiz” at the 2016 Ventura County Academic Decathlon this Saturday evening in Oxnard. Much like the game show Jeopardy, the Super Quiz tests students’ knowledge in a variety of academic subjects. The Super Quiz is open to the public and everyone is invited to watch the action unfold.

WHAT: Super Quiz at the 2016 Ventura County Academic Decathlon
WHEN: Saturday, February 6 from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm
WHERE: Pacifica High School Gymnasium - 600 E. Gonzales Road in Oxnard

Prior to the Super Quiz, students from 15 Ventura County high schools will spend the day competing in ten academic events; essay writing, speech, interview, art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science and social science. The theme of this year’s competition is “India.” Members of the media are invited to cover any portion of the competition, which runs from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (only the Super Quiz is open to the public).

The winning Ventura County School will be announced at an awards ceremony, which is open to the public and the media, at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, February 9 at the Pacifica High School Performing Arts Center. The county winner will advance to the state Academic Decathlon in March. The awards ceremony is open to the public and media coverage is welcomed.

Ventura County Teams have made it to the national competition six times, placing second in 2000 and 2002, and taking first place in 1999, 2003, 2008 and 2009.

High schools fielding teams this year are: Adolfo Camarillo, Buena, Channel Islands, Fillmore, Moorpark, Newbury Park, Oak Park, Oxnard, Pacifica, Rio Mesa, Royal, Santa Susana, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Westlake.

More about the Academic Decathlon
The Academic Decathlon is a unique opportunity for high school students in Ventura County to compete against like teams of students countywide. The top Ventura County team participates in the statewide Academic Decathlon competition. A California team then participates in the United States Academic Decathlon which is the premier scholastic competition for students in America from both public and private high schools. The Academic Decathlon consists of ten academic events.

A particularly unique aspect of this ten-event scholastic competition is that it is designed to include students from all academic backgrounds. A team consists of nine full-time students from the 9th through 12th grades of the same high school. Each nine-member team is comprised of three students whose grade point average falls into the “A” category, three students in the “B” category and three students in the “C” category.

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.

 
Tuition-Free Classes To Qualifying Students

Moorpark College President Luis Sanchez, JD, LLM, today announced “1,000 Scholars,” a campaign to provide one thousand mini-scholarships to the first 1,000 qualifying students. Current students who meet the following criteria will have the opportunity to take one extra class this spring semester tuition-free (does not apply to out-of-state students):

1. The one free class will be provided to the first one thousand students who apply;
2. The offer applies to spring 2016 classes only that start on or after February 1, 2016, and to classes that have openings available;
3. Students must see a counselor to receive the mini-scholarship for the free class; and
4. Incidental costs (such as the health center fee) will still apply.

“This campaign is my number one priority, at the moment,” said President Sanchez. “The application deadline is approaching, so we need to act quickly to ensure that students are made aware of this limited time offer.”

“I support this campaign and commend Sanchez for providing such a wonderful opportunity to Moorpark students,” said Ventura County Community College Board of Trustees Chair, Larry Kennedy. “ The goal is to boost Moorpark College spring enrollments, provide a rare opportunity for students to add a class for free, and shore up classes that might otherwise be cancelled due to low enrollments for the benefit of everyone,” chimed Kennedy.

Moorpark is one of the three colleges in the Ventura County Community College District and currently has approximately 15,000 students enrolled. The college has attracted students from Conejo Valley, CA, and over 52 countries.

The “1000 Scholars” campaign launches on Monday, January 25, 2016. For more information and to apply today, current students should visit www.mooorparkcollege.edu/FREE

The Ventura County Community College District is a partner in the 112-campus California Community College system. The District’s three colleges, Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura, offer programs in general education for transfer to four-year universities, occupational and vocational fields, developmental programs, community service and continuing education, and provide opportunities to engage in co-curricular campus activities. For more information, please visit us at www.vcccd.edu.

 
Ira the Lion Turns 2

MOORPARK, CA (January 25, 2016) - America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College will celebrate Ira the lion’s 2nd birthday with a Super Bowl-style birthday party on Saturday, February 6, 2016 (7075 Campus Rd. Moorpark, CA). Festivities for the “King of the Campus” will kick off at 1:00 p.m. with a behind the scenes look at Ira receiving his gifts made by student trainers. Guests may also purchase gifts for Ira through our Amazon Wish List. The zoo is open from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 3 to 12 and seniors. Children under age two are admitted for free. Zoo members receive free admission to this event.

“Since celebrating Ira’s 1st birthday, he has transformed from lion cub to lion king. His mane is quite the attraction and his roar is near completion,” said Moorpark College President Luis Sanchez. “We celebrate Ira with pride, and we commend our student trainers whose lives are also being transformed through this program.”

Cake will be served to attendees after we salute our lion king with a “Happy Birthday” song. Crowns and crayons will be on hand for the children to color, adorn their heads, and take home as a keepsake in remembrance of this royal celebration.

“As Ira turns 2, we are excited to celebrate this milestone with all of his fans,” said Mara Rodriguez, zoo staff. “There is no better way to prepare for this year’s NFL Super Bowl 50 on Sunday than to enjoy a roaring good time on Saturday with the community’s favorite lion, Ira.”

America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College, the only zoo in Ventura County, is the home of the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program. The EATM program offers educational programs that prepare students to enter the expanding animal care industry through the study of zoo keeping, basic animal medical care, wildlife education, and positive training methods. This unique program trains students to work safely and humanely with wild and exotic animals at zoos, aquariums and wildlife facilities across the country.
“EATM has been an established career program at Moorpark College since 1974 and is the best of its type. We are proud of EATM as a signature program of the Ventura County Community College District,” said Larry Kennedy, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

The zoo is located at 7075 Campus Rd. Moorpark, CA. For more information call Mara Rodriguez, Zoo Operations Staff at (805) 378-1441 or visit zoo.moorparkcollege.edu.

MOORPARK COLLEGE, one of three colleges in the Ventura County Community College District, was founded in 1967. It is set on 150 beautiful acres, nestled in the foothills on the southeastern flank of Ventura County, about 40 miles from UCLA, and approximately 75 miles from UC Santa Barbara. It is also a short drive from CSU Northridge, CSU Channel Islands, and California Lutheran University. Moorpark College was recognized in the Huffington Post in March of 2015 as the fourth-best community college in the nation. It has an excellent reputation for university transfer preparation, and its signature career/technical programs include nursing, radiation technology, biotechnology, and exotic animal training, which incorporates the world-renowned America’s Teaching Zoo. The college also offers a dynamic range of classes and programs in the visual and performing arts, and its pristine athletic fields and mild climate provide an excellent home for student athletes.

 

The Ventura County Community College District Board of Trustees approved Chancellor Bernard Luskin’s and the Board Committee on Finance and Capitol Resources recommendation to the Board of Trustees to purchase a 40,000 square feet office building in Camarillo, CA, to relocate the District Administrative Center. The building is situated on 3.53 acres of land located at 730 Paseo Camarillo Road. The asking price is $5.1 million.

Action item 13.04 on the January 19 Board agenda recommended the district purchase and renovate the building using unallocated reserves of $6.6 million and a 1998 Certificate of Participation of $1.2 million for a total of $7.5 million. In addition to the purchase, renovations are estimated at $2.3 million.

The District has leased its current offices at 255 West Stanley Avenue, Ventura, CA, from the Ventura Unified School District since 2006. They occupy 24,000 square feet for $33,645 per month or approximately $400,000 per year – the equivalent of purchasing a $7.5 million property and making $400,000 annual payments for 30 years. The lease agreement ends on January 31, 2017.

“This is both an economic and need-based decision,” said Larry Kennedy, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “The cost is in alignment with what the District is currently paying for space, and the building is the appropriate size for long-term growth and sustainability. We will save a great deal of money over time.”

At the June 16, 2015, Board meeting, the Chancellor was authorized to enter into negotiations to purchase property for the relocation of the DAC and enter into a Real Estate Agreement with Center Commercial Realty Advisors to assist with the property search. Vice Chancellor Dave Keebler and Board Trustee Arturo Hernández have been chairing the sub-committee and toured several properties in Camarillo and Oxnard.

“In addition to being centrally located and convenient to all of our employees and stakeholders, the total benefits outweigh the costs,” said Bernardo Perez, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees. “According to our preliminary budget, we should realize a $150,000 to $300,000 operating savings per year beginning in the second year while maintaining a prudent reserve balance consistent with board policy.”

Escrow is anticipated to open immediately with a $75,000 deposit required within seven days of execution of the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

The Ventura County Community College District is a member of the 113-campus California Community College system, and serves more than 50,000 students annually. The District’s three colleges- Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura- offer programs in general education for degrees and certificates, transfer to four-year colleges and universities, career technical education, and provide opportunities to engage in co-curricular campus activities. For more information, please visit www.vcccd.edu.

 

VENTURA, CA - With its scholarship application deadline on Jan. 24, the Ventura College Foundation is welcoming a final flood of applications from Ventura College students who have completed at least 12 units. Foundation officials expect to award more than $400,000 to some 280 students this spring, for an average of $2,000 per student.

“Nearly all of these scholarships are awarded based on the donors’ wishes, in honor of or in memory of a loved one. It’s a living legacy, to have an impact on a student and that student’s family,” said Norbert Tan, executive director of the Ventura College Foundation.

Nearly half of scholarship applicants will receive some funds. Most awards are based on a combination of need and achievement with criteria designated by the donors, such as students’ area of study.

Students who receive financial support from the Ventura College Foundation tend to have higher completion rates than students who don’t, according to foundation statistics. Many scholarship recipients graduate to enter a career that allows them to support a family, and many students graduate from Ventura College to pursue a four-year degree.

“Many students come to us wanting to get a college education but have to overcome the hurdle of cost. The Foundation helps with student success, enabling scholarship recipients to focus on their studies to achieve their career goals,” said Ventura College President Greg Gillespie, Ph.D.

For more information on scholarships or to download an application, visit www.venturacollege.edu. Students with questions should contact the foundation at 805-289-6491 or email vcfoundation@ vcccd.edu.

Established in 1983, the Ventura College Foundation provides financial support to the students and the programs of Ventura College to facilitate student success and grow the impact and legacy of Ventura College as a vital community asset. The Foundation also hosts the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace, an outdoor shopping experience held every weekend on the Ventura College campus east parking lot. For more information, contact Norbert Tan at (805) 289-6160 or ntan@vcccd.edu. Or visit www.venturacollege.edu/foundation.

 

Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) Chancellor Bernard Luskin today announced that Sherice Bellamy has joined the VCCCD as Public Information Officer. Bellamy reports directly to the Chancellor and provides support to the district and each of the three colleges, including Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura. Bellamy is responsible for implementing the public relations and information program through disseminating important information to the campuses and community.

Bellamy brings 20 years of combined experience in education and public relations to the VCCCD. She has taught in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) for nearly 10 years, teaching business communication, management, and small business entrepreneurship at West Los Angeles College (WLAC).

“Sherice was a Senior Vice President at a communications firm in downtown Los Angeles where she developed strategic plans and managed public relations campaigns for corporate clients before establishing Bellamy PR and serving as Communications Consultant for a regional bank,” noted Chancellor Luskin. “Our plan is to share more information with the residents of Ventura County, let our communities know more about programs in the district and keep our community properly informed,” he said.

“This is an exciting time in the district and I am honored to have the opportunity to share in its future,” Bellamy said. “As a first-generation college graduate and a product of the community college system, I understand the power of open access. I look forward to working with the district to ensure we meet our primary goal of student learning and success.”

“Adding a PIO will help us,” said Larry Kennedy, Chair of the Board of Trustees. This position was eliminated in 2008 because of recession and cuts, so it is an important step ’back to the future,’” he quipped.

Bellamy earned an M.B.A. in International Business from the University of LaVerne, LaVerne, California, and a B.S. in Management from the Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business, Malibu, California.

The Ventura County Community College District is a member of the 113-campus California Community College system, and serves more than 50,000 students annually. The District’s three colleges- Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura- offer programs in general education for degrees and certificates, transfer to four-year colleges and universities, career technical education, and provide opportunities to engage in co-curricular campus activities. For more information, please visit www.vcccd.edu.

 
Virginia de la Piedra was named the new Fillmore Unified School Board President at Tuesday’s meeting.
Virginia de la Piedra was named the new Fillmore Unified School Board President at Tuesday’s meeting.

Two Fillmore elementary schools, San Cayetano and Piru, are continuing to receive improvements and upgrades. The playground, asphalt and concrete repairs are completed and both schools will soon start the upgrades to the fire alarm and PA systems. During the Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) Board Meeting on Tuesday the Board approved bids by Scoll and Sons Electric for $341,000 and $265,000 to upgrade both schools' systems.

The money comes from a grant of $3,091,742 by the State Allocation Board. The bidding process for the upgrades was very tight due to the length of time between the application for the Emergency Repair Funding grant, submitted back in 2008, and the time received. The State's fiscal problems at that time meant the funds could not be awarded for years and prices and costs for the projects have increased. The grant was finally received in October 2014 and is 3.3% of the total funding that was distributed State-wide with FUSD was the only Ventura County school district to receive the funding; San Cayetano - $1,764,393 and Piru - $1,327, 349.

An agenda item the Board discussed during closed session was taking the first step in contract labor/salary negotiations with Fillmore Unified Teachers Association (FUTA). During public comments when the Board reconvened to open session, Brian Ricards, a Fillmore High School science teacher, spoke of the faculty concerns regarding the negotiations, stating "Thousands of teachers in neighboring school districts have received well deserved raises to their salaries and improvements to their benefits. Ricards then gave a list of salary percentage increases for 2015-2016 in other Ventura County school districts: Santa Paula- 5% raise and a 5% raise for 2014-2015 school year, Hueneme 6.5% and a 5% raise for 2014-2015, Simi Valley 6.5%, Pleasant Valley 6% and a 3% raise for 2014-2015, Oak Park 6% and a 5% raise for 2014-2015, Ocean View 7.5% and a 5.5% raise for 2014-2015.

According to the California Department of Education's Department of Fiscal Service (DFS) FUSD reported a 3% increase in teacher salary over the 2014-2015 schedule. Teaching salary depends on various things such as a teacher education level and experience.

The lowest salary FUSD offered during the 2014-2015 school year is $40,582. This is a beginning teacher’s salary that may or may not hold a full teaching credential. The highest salary FUSD offered is $86,404 which would include a Bachelors Degree with special units, and an average FUSD salary is $67,526. Those amounts do not include salaries for extended year, bonuses for special accomplishments such as a masters or doctorate degree or payment for extra-curricular services such as coaching, drama or music.

Besides the negotiated increase in salary each year, FUSD teachers receive an automatic Step and Column increase of approximately 1/2%-1% in salary (depending on their degree and years of education) each year up to 40 years. The automatic increase starts the first year of teaching for those with a Bachelors Degree plus 30 units or higher. For those with just a Bachelors Degree the increases start their fourth year of teaching.

Ricards ended his address to the Board by stating that FUTA are eager to begin contract negotiations and that having competitive teacher salaries with other county school districts will attract and keep quality teachers in the FUSD.

During the Superintendent’s Report and responding to the days lockdown of Los Angeles Schools, Dr. Adrian E. Palazuelos addressed the issue of school safety. "Security and safety is a top priority....in no way should we be cavalier with our students (safety)." Adding that the new PA and alarm system will give the district schools an advantage is safety preparation.

Palazuelos then commented that the districts "Master Plan" which he stated continues moving forward. He emphasized the improvements to the district stating, "....there are still things we can improve on" and that it is important to get staff involved and knowing how to use the resources available. Inspections of every area of every school will be done and reports given as to how those resources can be used the best way possible. "The State has put education on the front burner" and providing more resources to education Palazuelos stated and ended with "It warms my heart that more and more students are getting access to the arts."

It was also announced and approved that Fillmore High School will offer two new courses for the 2016-2017 School Year: Advanced Placement Statistics and Advanced Placement Psychology.

 

Fillmore Unified School District completed a refinancing of general obligation (GO) bonds on December 9. The District’s refinancing of two series of bonds exceeded projected savings and lowered interest rates from an average of 4.58 percent to 2.11 percent, saving Fillmore property taxpayers $2,103,023 over the next 11 years.

“I applaud our Board of Trustees for providing direction to our District, which holds fiscal responsibility as one of its core values,” said Dr. Adrian Palazuelos, superintendent of Fillmore Unified School District. “Through the refinancing of these bonds, Fillmore Unified is working diligently to identify opportunities to provide a savings to taxpayers and continue its work as responsible stewards of financial resources.”

The average assessed value for a single-family home in the District is $247,428. The annual savings for the average homeowner will be $26 per year, or $286 in total, over the next 11 years.

Dale Scott and Company, the financial advisor for the District, managed the competitive bidding process for the refinancing bonds. The district received bids from five institutional investors. Hilltop Securities Inc. produced the winning bid.

 
 

The Board of Trustees for the Ventura County Community College District named Larry Kennedy as Chair Tuesday, and Bernardo Perez as Vice Chair. They continue to serve alongside Trustees Stephen Blum, Arturo Hernández, Dianne McKay, and Student Trustee, Ilse Maymes.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Kennedy was elected to the Ventura County Community College District Board of Trustees in 2012. He previously held roles as Professor in the Business Department at Oxnard College, Director of the Oxnard College Job and Career Center, and as Regional Manager and Job Service Manager with the State of California Employment Development Department. He is currently owner of Kennedy Consulting Services, a consulting firm that trains workforce professionals to improve services through staff and board workshops.

Bernardo Perez joined the Board of Trustees in 2010, having previously represented his community on the Moorpark City Council, including serving as mayor of the City of Moorpark. Perez currently holds positions with the Workforce Investment Board, the Moorpark Foundation for the Arts, and the Simi Valley Hospital Foundation, and is the Project Manager for the Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation in Ventura.

“There is much that the District has to look forward to,” Kennedy said. “I am excited about our partnerships with a variety of community organizations, including the Ventura County Office of Education. We’re geared up to serve the students of Ventura County, with added courses and opportunities. We’re here and we’re ready.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, VCCCD Chancellor Bernard Luskin and the Trustees thanked outgoing Chair Dianne McKay, and noted the increasing local and state leadership roles held by board members. Active in the California Community College League, Kennedy serves as co-chair for the new Veteran’s Caucus, while outgoing chair McKay is leading CEO professional development initiatives. Blum is the Trustee Representative on the statewide accreditation task force, in addition to a variety of other roles.

The Ventura County Community College District is a member of the 72 district, 113-campus California Community College system. The VCCCD serves more than 50,000 students annually. The District’s three colleges- Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura- offer programs in general education for degrees and certificates, transfer to four-year colleges and universities, career technical education, and provide opportunities to engage in co-curricular campus activities. For more information, please visit www.vcccd.edu.

 

This January, Saturday classes return to the Ventura College schedule, as the college continues to give students new options to access learning conveniently, as increasing student access and attracting working adult students are priorities for the college.

“We are here to serve students and the community, so we’re delighted to offer Saturday classes as a way to give busy people a way to further their education and careers,” said Kim Hoffmans, Ed.D., vice president of academic affairs.

Most courses begin on January 16 and meet for 18 weeks. Course offerings include introductory classes in sociology, speech communications, United States history and guitar. Also offered are courses toward certified nurse assistant, for smog license update, in intermediate guitar and in cardio machine training.

Saturday classes are an especially great option for high school seniors who want to get a jump-start on their college requirements, Hoffmans noted. “Students can apply online and receive their acceptance instantly. Then they can enroll in the class online and just like that, they’ve launched their college education,” she said.

For more information and to register, visit www.venturacollege.edu, or call Ventura College at 805-289-6000.

 
On Tuesday December 1st, Mountain Vista School honored the Readers and Writers of the Month. Pictured are 2nd Grade Recipients: Alayna Macias, Sienna Cummings, Emelie Magana, Penelope Lucky, Jillian Munoz, (not pictured- Miguel Martinez)
On Tuesday December 1st, Mountain Vista School honored the Readers and Writers of the Month. Pictured are 2nd Grade Recipients: Alayna Macias, Sienna Cummings, Emelie Magana, Penelope Lucky, Jillian Munoz, (not pictured- Miguel Martinez)
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3rd Grade Recipients: Joey Ocegueda, Christian Tafoya, Daniel Viveros, Jasmine Martinez, Fernando Ramos, Melvin Assphor, Alejandro Ceja, Ximena Arzola
3rd Grade Recipients: Joey Ocegueda, Christian Tafoya, Daniel Viveros, Jasmine Martinez, Fernando Ramos, Melvin Assphor, Alejandro Ceja, Ximena Arzola
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5th Grade Recipients: Martin Garza, Alondra Rodriguez, Juan Luis Orozco, Ivan Becerra, Aiden Sanchez, Omar Aguilar, Juan Luis Valdez Solorzano
5th Grade Recipients: Martin Garza, Alondra Rodriguez, Juan Luis Orozco, Ivan Becerra, Aiden Sanchez, Omar Aguilar, Juan Luis Valdez Solorzano
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4th Grade Recipients: Alphonse Alvarado, Lucero Tirado, Steven Lopez, Sergio Torres, Leslie Ortiz, Benjamin Meza
4th Grade Recipients: Alphonse Alvarado, Lucero Tirado, Steven Lopez, Sergio Torres, Leslie Ortiz, Benjamin Meza
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