Skip to content 2014 Year in review

December 30, 2014

It’s been an exciting year at celebrating education excellence, and we already have several articles lined up for 2015! If you haven’t done so already, subscribe via email to to receive notifications of new articles. It’s free and will only add a couple of emails a week to your inbox! (The subscribe option is on our home page,, on the right side at the top of the page). You can also follow us on Facebook or Google+.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 200,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 9 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Studying Abroad in Italy: Dublin High School Alum Rebecca Bomfim’s Florence Adventure

December 19, 2014
Rebecca in Rome

Rebecca in Rome

We first wrote about Dublin High School Class of 2012 alum and Cal Lutheran University student Rebecca Bomfim last year (read more…), as part of’s popular Life in College series. Fast forwards to 2014 and Rebecca has completed a semester abroad in Florence, Italy where she attended Richmond University as part of Cal Lutheran’s Study Abroad Program. For college students and their parents with questions about studying abroad, read on. Before talking about your time in Florence, what was your motivation to incorporate a semester abroad into your college experience?

Rebecca Bomfim: “Studying abroad is really common at Cal Lutheran, a lot of students do it, and I felt it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I wasn’t sure if I’d have the same opportunity after graduation, there are so many ‘what if’s’, so I decided to travel while I was still in school.” How did Cal Lutheran make it easier to arrange a semester abroad?

Bomfim: “Cal Lutheran has a Study Abroad Center staffed with advisors who go over all aspects of the process. If you’re not sure where you want to go they provide booklets and talk about different programs. Every advisor in the Study Abroad center has had direct experience with the program. You apply through Cal Lutheran first, and then you apply to individual programs. The advisors help you with every step along the way.” With the many options available how did you settle on Florence?

Bomfim: “Italy was my first choice from the beginning, I just wasn’t sure where in Italy at first. As I started researching further options specific to my major it came down to Rome or Florence. I wasn’t interested in Rome because I’d heard it’s a big, busy city, whereas I heard amazing things about Florence, that it was a much smaller city with a great culture.” Are you able to stay on track to graduate in four years even with a semester abroad?

Read more…

Valley High School Alumnus, Military Veteran Shares Life Lessons With Students

December 10, 2014
Matthew Dierking

Matthew Dierking

At times, sometimes overlooked, a Principal’s Secretary is vital to the everyday operations of a successful school site. In this specific case, it helped to yield a fascinating opportunity to witness the return of a Valley High School graduate. And, it speaks to the willingness of a Certificated Staff member to invite a student back into his former classroom. Earlier this summer, profiled Mr. Matthew Dierking, as he concludes his studies at Las Positas College. As a veteran of both the U.S. Army and Navy, he is seeking to accomplish his goal of attaining an undergraduate degree – and perhaps more. After many personal and professional life experiences, he returned to the Valley High School campus to simply retrieve his transcripts. This chance meeting led to this profile.

By his own admission, Matthew had made some “dumb” choices while enrolled within the Dublin Unified School District. As a student at Dublin High School, these mistakes led him to be transferred to Valley High School to complete his high school diploma. In hindsight, it was the best possible destination for him. Subsequently, he completed two successful tours in the military – including time spent in Iraq driving a truck across this country. Upon his return, he refocused all of his energies in order to accomplish his academic goals. It began at Las Positas College. During this time, he has also committed numerous volunteer hours to the Veterans Resource Center. His objective has been to assist fellow Veterans to navigate the federal support system – the same system that has helped him to reach this point.

Based upon an invitation by VHS, we are pleased to share Mr. Kierking’s successful return to Valley High School and to share what he experienced with current students. You were very candid about your life experiences – both as a student and in the military.  What messages were you trying to convey to the students? 

Read more…

Dublin Teen’s Cancer Battle: It Takes a Village to Fight Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

December 7, 2014
Camille Chabot

Dublin High School Alum Camille Chabot

DUBLIN, CA — Dublin High School Class of 2013 alum and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo sophomore Camille Chabot is no stranger to our readers. She’s written about her experiences as a Dublin High School cheerleader and as a member of the McGrath School of Irish Dance, and more recently was interviewed about her first year of college (as part of our Life in College Series).

Camille’s story took a life-changing turn late this summer when, after months of uncertainty, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (also known as Hodgkin’s disease). Since sharing her story publicly there has been an outpouring of community support symbolized by #camillestrong in hundreds of social media posts from around the world, coverage in the San Jose Mercury News and more recently on CBS SF Bay Area News. Vito’s Express, supporters and friends of the Chabot family will be hosting a fundraiser in support of the Camille Strong Foundation on Friday December 12 at Vito’s Pizza Express in Dublin.

Camille graciously agreed to share her story with while recovering from her fifth round of chemotherapy. She hopes her story helps other teens facing similar cancer battles. Her positive attitude and infectious smile, despite everything she has experienced in recent months, is inspiring. When did you first get an inkling that something wasn’t right?

Read more…

Meet Amador Elementary School’s First Principal Holly Scroggins – Managing Growth and High Expectations

December 4, 2014
Holly Scroggins

Amador Principal Holly Scroggins

DUBLIN, CA — Dublin’s newest elementary school, Amador Elementary School, is set to open for the 2015-16 school year with a new principal. Before sharing our interview with Principal Holly Scroggins, let’s take a look back at her first tour of principal duty with the Dublin Unified School District.

The year was 2007. Among the existing elementary schools in the DUSD, Frederiksen Elementary School had just completed a very tough year. In the wake of its long tenured Principal taking a position to mentor new school administrators in Sacramento, the site went through not one, but two Principals in a single academic year. The site was in flux, parents were confused and staff morale was very low. It was a scenario that could potentially spiral out of control. In fairness, Fred’s Academic Performance Index (API) for baseline in 2007 was 839 – an acceptable level above the state mandated number of 800. However, this site was a Title I school and also supported a somewhat transient student population that poured in from Camp Parks RFTA. In essence, Frederiksen represented one of the most challenging elementary schools to manage in the district. All throughout this time, brand new communities were being constructed in the previously untouched Eastern Dublin region. However, by 2013, the API Growth Rate achieved at Fred climbed to 904 in the last year that API scores were published by the CA Department of Education.

The District responded to the unsettled matter by constructing a task force that included school community involvement in order to identify a leader that could help to right the ship. Emerging from this process was an experienced classroom teacher and administrator in Ms. Holly Scroggins. Holly came to DUSD from the New Haven School District (South Hayward and Union City) after completing a Masters Degree from California State University, East Bay. She is credentialed in Reading/Language Arts, Administrative Services and has served as a Science Specialist. These accomplishments occurred over a span of 22 years.

Frederiksen Elementary SchoolFor the past eight years, Ms. Scroggins has helped to reshape the landscape at Frederiksen. Site stability was restored. Part of this was incorporating the District’s desire to inject collaboration into the annual calendar, incorporating the principles of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) and the new adoption of Common Core Standards. Further, she wanted to introduce the concept of “looping” which would prepare certificated staff to effectively manage students up and down from multiple grade levels. From a parental perspective, the PFC and the SSC organizations were reinvigorated and responded to an environment that welcomed family input. As a site that was constructed in the mid 1960’s, it has also received the benefits from the community supported Measure C which gave the school a much needed facelift/re-engineering over the past five years.

Read more…

Life at St. Mary’s College of California: Megan Zummo on Balancing Lacrosse and Academics

December 1, 2014

Megan Zummo

Dublin High School Class of 2013 graduate and St. Mary’s College of California sophomore Megan Zummo’s story is the latest entry in’s popular Life in College Series. Megan is attending St. Mary’s on an athletic scholarship, playing for the SMC Gaels Women’s Lacrosse Team. What attracted you to attend St. Mary’s College of California?

Megan Zummo: “I originally wanted to go to a big school, but over time I realized that lecture halls with 300 students was not the way I wanted to go. I wanted to have close relationships with my teachers, and at St. Mary’s the student to teacher ratio is really low. St. Mary’s also offered me a scholarship for lacrosse.” How did you get introduced to lacrosse and why did you fall in love with the sport?

Zummo: “I’ve played soccer since I was in elementary school and when I arrived at Dublin High School my fifth grade teacher was one of the first lacrosse coaches. She told me the best soccer players make the best lacrosse players and recommended I try the sport.

“Lacrosse is a very fast-paced sport and it took me about a year to fully understand and get good at the sport. Lacrosse is like soccer, but there are a lot of technical skills you have to learn. I love the pace of the game!” Talk about the recruiting process for athletes which is a bit different from students enrolling strictly on academic merit.

Read more…

Valley High School Welcomes New Principal Thomas Orput, Thanksgiving Food Drive

November 25, 2014
Valley High School Principal Thomas Orput

Valley High School Principal Thomas Orput

DUBLIN, CA: While the Dublin Unified School District moves into a “quiet” week for the Thanksgiving holiday, it was a very busy week on the campus of Valley High School. Not only do they have a new Principal, but the community banded together to provide some families a happier Thanksgiving Day celebration. Earlier this summer, long time VHS Principal Rinda Bartley, accepted the position of Director of Student Services in the Castro Valley Unified School District. Ms. Bartley was also responsible for running the Adult Education at the locale adjacent to VHS. It was an unexpected departure and the district was left to fulfill a critical position in relatively short order. The process went into motion and the interviewed candidates were winnowed down to the finalists. In the end, the district and the Board of Trustees advanced with a nomination for Mr. Thomas Orput. Mr. Orput commenced his position a week ago and was graced with the opportunity to meet him.

Thomas has an interesting and varied background. After a successful career in the United States Coast Guard, he took advantage of the “Troops to Teachers” program which provided a path for veterans to continue their lives in the educational field. It was also a mechanism for him to achieve multiple college degrees. We asked Mr. Orput to share his journey and to help us understand how he ultimately secured his position as Valley High School Principal. He comes to Dublin from the Newark Unified School District. You had mentioned the “Troops to Teachers” program upon exiting the armed forces. Please detail how the existence of this avenue motivated you to pursue a path in education.

Read more…


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