Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Thursday the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors presented a special study session, an education forum, which explained to the supervisors and the public what is being done in the County to educate our youth. I heard about it from my husband only 2 days before the event and my first reaction was maybe this was something I should go to. I wavered for two days, do I go or do I stay home and relax? I decided to bit the bullet and attend, expecting to not learn a lot. Boy was I wrong!
James Mousalimas led the audience through the various levels offered by our SJC County Office of Education:
1. Overview of K-12 Education in the SJ County
2. Early Childhood Education
3. S.T.EM Education Initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
4. Career Readiness Initiatives-Adult education & Training.
What I learned is that our education system is doing a darn good job to help each child to become the best they can be. Their goal is “helping a child believe in themselves.” to encourage the youth to challenge themselves, work harder, and reach inside themselves, to achieve high goals. They appear to have all the bases covered, beginning with the early childhood education and a program called “Head Start” all the way through Adult Education and Career Training. It seems that they decided 2 years ago to start a Head Start program and organized it. In the last year they had the first class. It’s where very young child attending a type of day care for low income parents where the children begin their education, reading and counting and social skills are taught. It gives the children a leg up before the actually being kindergarten.
One thing that was covered was a program called Reading by Third. That translates the importance of getting children to read at a 3rd grade level by the time they reach that grade. It was stated that those that fail to do so, often end up in our jails. They stated that reading is one of the most important thing a child can learn to do to become a success at life.
Different guest speakers from various levels took us through the different levels of education from K through 12th grade. They told us about bringing in experts in their fields to the classrooms to encourage the youth to explore all their options. They told us about living cells being formed into a real ear from a liquid, living matter going through a 3 D printer. The level of learning is so much higher than in my time. That blew my mind. They explained that everyone doesn’t have to go to college and that both the high school and colleges offered other options to learn trades that can teach our youth practical job skills. The Youth Build Skills program offers apprenticeships so a youth can explore various interests and decide what they want to be. The exciting part of the Youth Build was 3 youth who had been through the Juvenile Hall who had gone through the training given at the hall and then went on to additional training at Delta College in the same fields. They took advantage of the programs offered, and managed to turn their lives around. The success rate of this particular program is 74%. After the program, I went up to these youth, congratulated them, told them what a great job they had done, and wished them all the best.
The educators are partnering with various business and non-profit groups to offer mentoring, funding, and hands on experience for our youth. There seems to be an ongoing concern to help the youth in the county with at lot of volunteers and talented teachers mentoring our youth with the goal to prevent problems and help these youth become successful parts of society.
I came out of the session with hope and an entirely different prospective and a greater appreciation for the hard job the teachers in our county are doing with our youth. They know and understand the importance of an education and they are doing a fantastic job working with our youth to enable them to become the best that they can be. A big thank you to Mousilimas and his entire staff for a great job, a thank you to all our dedicated teachers, and a thank you to the Board of Supervisors for holding such an informative forum.
Chairman of SJC Juvenile