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Las Positas College and Tri-Valley ROP Launching Immersive Middle College Program for High School Students

March 2, 2015

Las Positas College Livermore California 5Local high school students are being given a unique opportunity to simultaneously earn high school and college credit in an innovative Middle College Program launching at Las Positas College in Livermore. In collaboration with the Tri-Valley Regional Occupation Program (TVROP), Students enrolled in the program will take classes on the Las Positas campus in Livermore.

The Middle College program was pioneered in the 1970’s in New York. The initiative sought to create a pathway for current high school students to pursue advanced rigor at community colleges and to collect college credits. All the while, students would be fulfilling their existing responsibilities at their respective high schools. The program is not for everyone: the profile for success includes a student that is an independent thinker, one that is seeking out a different learning environment and one that can cope with the challenges of a college landscape.

In order for this vision to come to fruition in the Tri-Valley, Middle College required the full cooperation of LPC and the neighboring school districts – specifically, Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore. For the initial year, 30 students will be accepted from across the Tri-Valley with the hope that enrollment can be doubled in subsequent years. In order to qualify, students needed to attend an Information Night, submit an application, solicit recommendations, complete a placement test and have a personal interview. Further, eligible students must not be credit deficient at their current high schools.

Dr. Barry Russell and Kathleen Frazer

Dr. Barry Russell and Kathleen Frazer

With the assistance of a former subject and current Las Positas student, Matthew Dierking, we were connected to two key individuals in the Middle College program. We begin our discussion with the President of Las Positas College, Dr. Barry Russell. Barry came to the Tri-Valley in 2013 after a lengthy and distinguished career in the academic field. Most recently, he arrived in Livermore after serving as the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office where he served as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs since 2009.

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District Attorney’s Justice Academy Offers High School Students Internships and Lessons in the Law

February 25, 2015

District Attorney Justice Academy studentsThe media shapes our perception of the law with images of suspenseful courtroom dramas and paneled libraries of leather bound volumes. Yet this stylized view of what it’s like to be a lawyer is ultimately just a facade. For students wanting a richer understanding of what it really means to shape our legal system, a unique opportunity awaits at the District Attorney’s Justice Academy (DAJA). Piloted in 2011, the program has offered students aged 16-18 in the Tri-Valley and Eden regions the opportunity to learn from practicing lawyers – and get paid along the way.

Dublin High School’s Student Body President Tatiani Bouri summarizes her experiences at DAJA this way: “The program included extensive lectures from local and district elected officials as well as attorneys and judges, and we were given the opportunity to intern for one of them. I had two internships, one with the District Attorney for Fremont and the other for State Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. Both were amazing experiences. I was transcribing video evidence, giving my opinion on cases, and sitting in on trials, all of which furthered my interest in the law. Interning for Ms. Buchanan introduced me to political systems and showed me that politicians really do listen to their constituents.”

To learn more about the program we spoke with Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick. What is the goal of the District Attorney’s Justice Academy (DAJA) and how did it get started? Read more…

Dublin High School Video Production Program Thrives under Teacher Michael D’Ambrosio

February 23, 2015
Michael D'Ambrosio

Dublin High School Teacher Michael D’Ambrosio

Last fall, the Dublin High School Center for the Performing Arts and Education opened to much fanfare. And, it was well deserved. It is a state of art performance venue that can seat just over 500 patrons. It also includes a very sophisticated HVAC system, an advanced fly-rigging mechanism and countless other technological amenities.

What should not be lost is that the CPAE is part of an educational complex which also houses dressing rooms for the drama program, practice rooms for the band and choral program and a high end video production classroom. recently had the opportunity to explore the Video Production program at Dublin High School. This new classroom offering resides in the steady hands of Michael D’Ambrosio. Michael is conducting his seventh year in education and this is his first year at DHS. Prior to this, he served as an Associate Producer at the sports media giant ESPN in Bristol, CT for four years. While this was a very satisfying and challenging opportunity, he somehow felt that he might ultimately share his wisdom with young people. And, he has now come full circle as an educator within DUSD. We will share his thoughts on the topic and the views from some of his students. The opening of the entire Center for Performing Arts & Education complex has created many more opportunities for students at Dublin High.  Specifically, what has the Video Production program provided to your students? Read more…

Google Online Science Fair Open for Applications Through May 19

February 21, 2015

Students across Dublin, from elementary school to high school, are preparing for science fairs. Whether it’s to satisfy a course requirement or explore a passion, students are applying the scientific method to a diverse range of real-world problems. Dublin students have faired well in science fairs, from the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair, to statewide competitions.

Google recently open its 5th annual online science fair for applications, with a wide range of prizes for winning projects. According to Google, “Science is about observing and experimenting. It’s about exploring unanswered questions, solving problems through curiosity, learning as you go and always trying again. Together with LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic, we’re calling on all young researchers, explorers, builders, technologists and inventors to try something ambitious. Something imaginative, or maybe even unimaginable. Something that might just change the world around us.”

Applications can be submitted now through May 18 via Prizes include $100,000 in scholarships and classroom grants from Scientific American and Google, a National Geographic Expedition to the Galapagos, an opportunity to visit LEGO designers at their Denmark headquarters, and the chance to tour Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship at their Mojave Air and Spaceport. There is also an Inspiring Educator, as well as a Community Impact Award honoring a project that addresses an environmental or health challenge.

The 20 finalists, along with a parent or guardian, with travel to Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA to present their project to the judges and compete for all of the awards.

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Wells Middle School Band Director Erik Bertelson Honored as Dublin Citizen of the Year

February 19, 2015

Erik Bertelson Receives the City of Dublin Citizen of the Year AwardOne of the enduring traditions in Dublin carried on tonight in the form of the annual Volunteer Recognition Event. This program seeks to recognize a Young Citizen, an Organization and Citizen of the Year. On Wednesday, a crowd gathered at the Shannon Center to applaud all of the nominees for 2014. In order to be under consideration, a candidate must have a written nomination submitted by others to City Hall in a timely fashion.

The nomination letter must spell out why the individual/group is worthy under the required characteristics of the Dublin Pride – Integrity in Action motto. These qualities include: Responsibility, Respectfulness, Caring, Giving, Positive Attitude, Trustworthiness, Cooperation, Doing One’s Best, Honesty and Self-Discipline. As in years past, the judging of these nominations is conducted outside of Dublin to provide complete transparency.

The scene at Shannon was simple, yet elegant. The Hors d’oeuvres and social mixer was conducted in the first hour. After opening comments from Mayor David Haubert, the audience listened to a welcoming from Eric Swalwell, U.S. Representative from the 15th Congressional District.

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Life at UC Berkeley – Alexandra Brown’s Journey to Cal Chemistry Labs

February 17, 2015

Alexandra Brown

We first wrote about Dublin High School Class of 2013 alum Alexandra Brown when she was the Student Representative on the Dublin School Board. Fast forward to 2015 and she is now a UC Berkeley sophomore pursuing a degree in chemistry. As a result, this latest profile is part of both the Life in College Series and Women in STEM Series of articles. What triggered your interest in pursuing a degree in chemistry?

Alexandra Brown: “At Berkeley you apply directly to the College of Chemistry, so I started college as a chemistry major. My experiences in high school, including Honors and AP Chemistry, were very positive. I really became set on chemistry more recently, during my last semester, when I took Organic Chemistry which was a very fun class.

“What I really like about the chemistry is that there is a mathematical basis to everything we’re doing, and you can predict a lot of outcomes based on the periodic table. While you don’t have to use a lot of math to solve problems, I like that the detail is there so that you can if you need to.

“Chemistry in high school is a lot different than in college. There are five fields of chemistry: physical, analytical, inorganic, organic and biological. I’m interested in inorganic chemistry which deals with metals that are used in catalysis (making a reaction go faster). When you are trying to transform one substance into another through a chemical reaction a catalyst makes that reaction go faster, or require less heat, which makes industrial processes more efficient.” What advice do you have for students who aspire to attend a school like Berkeley?
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Amador Elementary School Nearing Completion with a Nod to Gryffindor

February 13, 2015
Amador Elementary School

Amador Elementary School last visited the construction site of Amador Elementary in the fall of 2014. At the time, many of the buildings were beginning to take shape, but it required a bit of imagination to understand how they may ultimately look. The library was but an empty shell and the Multi-purpose room had just been framed. And, concrete was still being poured to fill out the walkways. While we continue to live in drought-like conditions, the silver lining for the Amador project was the lack of interruptions due to weather in the construction cycle. was granted an exclusive tour on Monday that was led by Project Manager John Hansen and Amador Principal Holly Scroggins. The maturation of the school site was rather jaw dropping. The color palate is clearly in place, floor coverings and furniture have now been placed on order. The library now has shelving in place and the MP has been sheet rocked and one can clearly make out the shape of the stage. On the opposite side of the room sits the kitchen. The refrigeration systems have been installed and it is clear where the industrial sized stove hoods will reside. Externally, play structures have been installed and the irrigation system has been successfully installed to utilize non-potable water for landscaping.

We asked Project Manager John Hansen to partially summarize some of the highlights of this massive project and he gladly shared his thoughts.

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