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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County

November 2, 2017
Look to Local, Successful Schools for Inspiration

Understanding Your Multi-situated Self

Suki: Kids Learn, A blog about how kids learn… for kids!

Ask Nicole: Preparing for the Holidays in a Blended Family
Fun Events!
Click to view our Business Directory
  Look to Local, Successful Schools for Inspiration

(0 Nov 2017) AcornPeople1.jpgHave you met one of these little acorn people on your walks in the woods? No? It would be easy to make and leave one!

I saw the headline "Bill Gates Tacitly Admits His Common Core Experiment Was a Failure." I filed it away to read a little later. Next a podcast called "The Path to Higher Ed: Building College and Career Readiness" came to my attention.  It "explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness." The podcast host invites guests who are known for their innovative, succesful programs (both public and private) which prepare students for what comes after high school.

If it's true that Common Core is a failure because it was a top-down program put together without first testing the concept at local levels, then (0 Nov 2017) RainyDayDinosaur3.jpgI wanted to hear about successful programs at individual schools.  One podcast stood out because it interviewed a teacher/administrator at one of our local schools. Please read the thought provoking article about Common Core and our introduction to the podcast topic, then listen to the podcast! Good ideas are worth emulating.

Please recommend our newsletter to new friends so they won't miss a few tidbits of wisdom from our author contributors, and as always the many fun events! Check the online calendar.

Enjoy a rainy weekend with family!  Parmalee


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  Understanding Your Multi-situated Self

(0 Nov 2017) ShannonKelly.jpgA Dialogue with Mount Madonna Upper School Director Shannon Kelly

In an interview earlier this fall with the program "The Path to Higher Ed, Building College and Career Readiness," Shannon Kelly, Director of Upper School at Mount Madonna School shared a fresh perspective. "Understanding Your Multi-situated Self," focuses on viewing students more holistically in their educational journeys. With a campus that is located in an intentional yoga community on 355 acres of land, students at Mount Madonna engage in an educational path that focuses on developing self-awareness and global-mindedness.

In the interview, excerpted below, Kelly bluntly discusses her belief that universities are not doing enough to take student character into consideration in the college admissions process.

"We want our students to understand their multi-situated selves --where  they belong within the family, the school community, the local community, the state, the nation, and the world. We are cultivating thinking, engaged, empathetic individuals who know how to think beyond their self-interests... If you graduate passionate about learning, knowing how to think and write and speak, you will be successful in whatever you want to do...Success is defined by what kind of life are you leading, what kind of impact are you making."

"In this inspiring interview," commented high school English and creative writing teacher Haley Campbell ('02), "Shannon talks about how Mount Madonna School addresses the three pillars of education - Academic Excellence, Creative Self-Expression, and Positive Character Development - through exposure to global perspectives, the power of our local and international learning journeys, the courage and confidence instilled through our all-student performing arts program, the importance of strong relationships and being seen, and the deep values that guide our educational community."

Listen to the podcast for free online at The Path to Higher Ed or via your podcast app.

Shannon Kelly earned a BA in political theory with a minor in history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with honors. Shannon joined the MMS office staff in 2007 as the finance contracts coordinator. She began assisting in the Values in World Thought classes as a co-teacher in 2009. In 2013, she became a co-teacher in the World Religions class. She has been training and assisting with college counseling since 2014 and is a member of the Monterey Bay College Counselor Consortium and the National Association of College Admissions Counseling.


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  Suki: Kids Learn, A blog about how kids learn… for kids!

(Photos General) SukiWessling2013.jpgQuestions to ask yourself before you post

Kids Learn, A blog about how kids learn... for kids!

If you haven't yet read Suki's Guide to Netiquette, please do before you read this!

OK, so here we are on the World Wide Web...and it's Wonderful! You can learn things here. You can make friends. You can find people who enjoy the same weird hobby that you do. You can take classes in your pajamas, riding in your motor home, or with a python around your neck.

However, the Web also presents new challenges in a kid's life, and one of them is knowing what's OK to post online and what's not.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. Does my parent know I'm doing this?

OK, I know that you might think your parent is a stodgy old you-know-what, but your parent has a lot more experience in the world than you do. If you are doing something you know your parents wouldn't approve of, think carefully about why....

2. Is this something I can live with forever?

And I do mean forever. Did you know that colleges are turning down students because of their online posts? Did you know that when you go looking for a job in the far, distant future, the actions you take online will probably still be there? Think carefully about possibilities....

3. Is this a safe community?

heidiAthenas1EdYou may have found this blog through my classes at Athena's Advanced Academy. At Athena's, we ask our students to use their real names, and we encourage them to share openly with their classmates. However, out there on the Web you might find communities that look safe, but really aren't. If anyone can sign up, it's not safe. If anyone can use any name they want, it's not safe. When you visit an online community, think carefully about what is safe to post...

4. Is this something I would say IRL?

It feels so safe and anonymous to type at a computer screen, but in reality, it's neither safe nor anonymous. Just like in real life (IRL), your online activity comes with responsibilities. IRL, you are responsible for being respectful of others, taking care to be a good member of your community, and not stepping into a street before looking both ways. Online, you have the same responsibilities, but in a digital format. If you are typing something to another kid online, think carefully about what might happen as a result of your words...

Enjoy the Wonderful World of the Web

world-wide-web-341418_960_720I am not one of those adults who will tell you that everything out there is scary. It's not! So many things on the Web are wonderful and amazing. It has opened up the world and connected people around the globe. However, I also want my kids, my students, and you to be safe, respectful, and careful.

Enjoy it, and use it wisely!

Suki Wessling is a local parent She writes fiction and nonfiction about reading, writing, parenting, education, and homeschooling. If you'd like to learn more about this Suki, please click on "About Suki."


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  Ask Nicole: Preparing for the Holidays in a Blended Family

(02 Aug 2017) NicoleYoung.jpgNicole M. Young, MSW

Holidays can be a mixed bag full of love, laughter, joy, stress, anxiety, and full-blown tantrums. And I'm just talking about the adults. Expectations about gifts, traditions and spending time together can make the holidays challenging and overwhelming for many families, even when relationships are harmonious. When relationships between immediate, extended, separated, or blended family members are strained, it requires extra effort to communicate effectively so that children remember the holidays as a special time with family and loved ones.

Dear Nicole, I've been with my partner over two years, and we plan to get married. We each have kids from previous marriages (between ages 4 - 12) and want to start celebrating holidays as a blended family. I'm nervous about how my kids will react. On top of that, my partner wants to buy my kids expensive presents (video game system, tablets). I told him it's too much and will make my ex-husband angry because he can't afford to buy those kinds of gifts. My partner was hurt, and now I'm worried our first holiday season with our kids will be a disaster. What should I do? Stefan

Dear Stefan, It's great you're asking this question now, while you still have time to plan ahead. Creating new experiences and memories with your blended family can be both exciting and stressful, especially during the holidays. Here are a few tips to try:

(0 Nov 2017) BlendedFamily.jpgTalk with your partner about your mutual goals and hopes for the holidays. Try to find a time when you won't be interrupted or rushed so that you're both able to stay calm, present and supportive. Take turns describing your hopes for this first holiday season as a blended family. Talk about the traditions in your respective families that are important to continue, as well as the new holiday traditions that you want to create together. Listen to each other and find common ground so that you're confident you're working as a team.

Talk with your children about their hopes for the holidays. Ask them what they're looking forward to and if they're wondering or worrying about anything. If your children have a close relationship with their father, they might worry they're being disloyal if they enjoy spending time with your partner and his children. If you think this is the case, ask for their ideas about how to make the holidays special with their father. Reassure them they don't have to choose between loving their father and forming relationships with new family members.

Communicate with your former spouse about holiday plans. If you already have an agreement about the children's holiday schedule, then it's probably best to stick with it, even if it means your children will be apart from your blended family on the actual holiday. If you haven't set a schedule yet, ask your former spouse what his plans are and how flexible he's willing to be. Listen to him and then share your thoughts on the same issues. This is a way to show your ex-partner that you acknowledge the important role he plays in your children's lives and their holiday memories with him. This can help reduce any concerns he might have that another person is trying to take over his role as a parent.

Be prepared to be flexible. Even if you've done your best to create plans that accommodate everyone's wishes, it's best to expect the unexpected. Plans might need to change because someone got sick, a family member stopped by unexpectedly, or the children decided they didn't like the idea of being part of a blended family after all. If your ideal holiday celebration doesn't occur as planned, take a few deep breaths and identify options for a new plan. If you start the holiday season believing you need to be flexible, you're more likely to bounce back from disappointing or frustrating events instead of letting them ruin your holiday.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Holiday celebrations are both joyful and stressful for all types of families. Take steps to minimize stress and conflict between family members so that your children have holiday memories filled with love, peace, laughter, thankfulness and kindness. This is a priceless gift for your children that they will pass on to their children someday.

Nicole Young is the mother of two children, ages 14 and 17, who also manages Santa Cruz County's Triple P - Positive Parenting Program, the world's leading positive parenting program. This monthly column provides tips for anyone who is helping raise children, based on the world-renowned Triple P - Positive Parenting Program, available to families in Santa Cruz County. If you have a question or idea for a future column, please email Nicole at To find a Triple P parenting class or practitioner, visit

  Fun Events!
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Gateway School K-8, Kindergarten Visit Day 11/4

Mount Madonna PreK-12, Fall Open House 11/5

Gateway School K-8, School Day Tour 11/7

Natural Bridges Children's Center, Pre-school, Open House 11/11

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Thanks Pinterest!

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Community Breakfast
click to view website
  Community Breakfast
Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County
Date: 11/09/2017 from 8:15am to 9:15am
Ages: ALL
Details: Hand in Hand Together We Can
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 423-3138 view all details >>
Citizen Science
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  Citizen Science
Library Central
Date: The 1st Th of every month from 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Ages: All
Details: A presentation and Q&A with local experts and researchers in the field discussing life science, ecology, geology, genetics, clim
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 427-7717 view all details >>
International Games Week
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  International Games Week
Library Scotts Valley
Date: Every day (Oct 30-Nov 4)
Details: Special gaming programs and events suitable for the whole family
City: Scotts Valley Phone: 831-427-7712 view all details >>
Day of the Dead
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  Day of the Dead
Date: 11/04/2017 at 12:30pm
Details: All-ages festival throughout downtown
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Encouragement Instead of Praise and Rewards
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  Encouragement Instead of Praise and Rewards
Positive Discipline Community Resources
Date: 11/04/2017 from 10:00am to 12:00pm
Ages: adults
Details: Encouragement Instead of Praise and Rewards
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 476-7284 view all details >>
The Serengeti Rules
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  The Serengeti Rules
Rio Theater
Date: 05/11/2018 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Details: "A master storyteller, Carroll explores the unity of biology from the molecular level to the Serengeti, the rules that regulate
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Field Sketching
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  Field Sketching
Elkhorn Slough
Date: 03/31/2018 from 9:30am to 12:30pm
Details: Artist in Residence, Megan Gnekow will provide tips and guidance to bring out your sketch artists.
City: Watsonville Phone: (831) 728-2822 view all details >>
Sea Glass & Ocean Art Festival
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  Sea Glass & Ocean Art Festival
Santa Cruz Seaglass Festival
Date: Every day (Nov 4-Nov 5) from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Details: The romance of sea glass on display and for sale!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 332-7188 view all details >>
Fall Book Sale!
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  Fall Book Sale!
Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries
Date: Every day (Nov 3-Nov 4) from 11:00am to 4:00pm
Ages: All ages
Details: Thousands of books will be available!
Special Instructions:
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 477-7707 view all details >>
click to view website
view all details >>
Elephant Seal Walks
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  Elephant Seal Walks
State Park Ano Nuevo
Date: Every day (Oct 20-Mar 31)
Ages: All: (Lots of walking)
Details: 3 mile hike over sand and sloping terrain to see thousands of elephant seals, including newborn pups, their mothers, and bulls
Special Instructions: Dec 15 - Mar 31
City: Pescadero Phone: (650) 879-2025 view all details >>
Holiday Craft Sale
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  Holiday Craft Sale
Aptos Grange
Date: 11/04/2017 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Details: Shop early for lovely crafts
City: Aptos view all details >>
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