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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

November 3, 2016
Fall Back, Vote and Enjoy the Beautiful Fall Days

Opinion: Bring Back Vocational Training in Schools
Local Vocational Training Schools

Ask Nicole: Gearing Up for the Holidays

Christine: Psychobiotics
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  Fall Back, Vote and Enjoy the Beautiful Fall Days

(0 Nov 2016) Ivoted.jpgVote! Three ways to vote.  Find everything about the "how to's" at Votes Count

It really feels like Fall when it's time to set the clock back an hour! The official change is Sunday, November 6, 2am!  That plus the rains brings on a new season.

As our children grow into that time when they are thinking about future occupations, the different courses available to them become very important.  It seems that over the last few decades there has been much public emphasis on college and insufficient attention to all the wonderful trades and technical. Too many students go to college who might have benefitted from being guided toward other pursuits more suited to their interests, skills and abilities.  Let's look briefly at a little of what's available locally.

(A Buttons) Button_Weekend.jpgPlease recommend our newsletter to new friends so they won't miss a few tidbits of wisdom from our author contributors, and as always our many fun events! We cannot fit them all into this newsletter.  There are more on the online calendar.

Try on another character and enjoy your weekend with the family! Parmalee


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  Opinion: Bring Back Vocational Training in Schools

Why We Desperately Need To Bring Back Vocational Training In Schools

by Nicholas Wyman, Forbes Contributor

I write about job skills and training in the 21st-century workplace.

Throughout most of U.S. history, American high school students were routinely taught vocational and job-ready skills along with the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Indeed readers of a certain age are likely to have fond memories of huddling over wooden workbenches learning a craft such as woodwork or maybe metal work, or any one of the hands-on projects that characterized the once-ubiquitous shop class.

But in the 1950s, a different philosophy emerged: the theory that students should follow separate educational tracks according to ability. The idea was that the college-bound would take traditional academic courses (Latin, creative writing, science, math) and received no vocational training. Those students not headed for college would take basic academic courses, along with vocational training, or "shop."

Ability tracking did not sit well with educators or parents, who believed students were assigned to tracks not by aptitude, but by socio-economic status and race. The result being that by the end of the 1950s, what was once a perfectly respectable, even mainstream educational path came to be viewed as a remedial track that restricted minority and working-class students.

The backlash against tracking, however, did not bring vocational education back to the academic core. Instead, the focus shifted to preparing all students for college, and college prep is still the center of the U.S. high school curriculum.

So what's the harm in prepping kids for college? Won't all students benefit from a high-level, four-year academic degree program? As it turns out, not really. For one thing, people have a huge and diverse range of different skills and learning styles. Not everyone is good at math, biology, history and other traditional subjects that characterize college-level work. Not everyone is fascinated by Greek mythology, or enamored with Victorian literature, or enraptured by classical music. Some students are mechanical; others are artistic. Some focus best in a lecture hall or classroom; still others learn best by doing, and would thrive in the studio, workshop or shop floor.

And not everyone goes to college. The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that about 68% of high school students attend college. That means over 30% graduate with neither academic nor job skills.

But even the 68% aren't doing so well. Almost 40% of students who begin four-year college programs don't complete them, which translates into a whole lot of wasted time, wasted money, and burdensome student loan debt. Of those who do finish college, one-third or more will end up in jobs they could have had without a four-year degree. The BLS found that 37% of currently employed college grads are doing work for which only a high school degree is required.

  Local Vocational Training Schools

Ponderosa High School and Career Training Center

Ponderosa High School is designed for students 15 and older (and in 10th grade) seeking education and employment training in "green" careers while earning credits toward high school graduation.

Diamond Technology Institute

Diamond Technology Institute was established in 1999 as an educational alternative to traditional high school. Recognizing that every student learns differently, the founders of Diamond Tech designed the program to be very different from a traditional high school.

The focus at the institute is to prepare students for a career and higher education following graduation. Students learn career technical skills in addition to completing academic requirements for a diploma. As such, students may acquire entry level skills for a job following graduation as well as inquiry into post secondary career/academic studies.

(0 Nov 2016) natural_bridges_student.jpgNatural Bridges High School/Career Training Center

Natural Bridges High School/Career Training Center is a program for students in grades 10-12 seeking employment training while earning credits toward high school graduation. The program includes training for careers in agriculture, construction, alternative energy, habitat restoration and computers; courses in local ecology, history, economics, as well as other graduation requirements; and instruction in written and spoken communication, presentation and leadership skills.

Cabrillo College

Cabrillo College is passionate about developing critical thinking, honing oral and written communication and enhancing global awareness, while cultivating personal and professional responsibility in our students. Exploration, innovation, creativity, and implementation of a variety of teaching methods, including technology literacy, are hallmarks of our approach to learning.

We now offer associate degrees and certificates in more than 70 fields of study and have reached record enrollment of more than 17,000 students.

The above "partial" information is derived from their websites. Visit them and peruse in depth.  There is a great variety of options beyond traditional academic instruction.


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  Ask Nicole: Gearing Up for the Holidays

by Nicole M. Young, MSW

I love this time of the year. The holidays my family celebrates serve as an important reminder to be thankful for what we have - including each other - and help others in need. I love how holiday celebrations from many religions and cultures share a similar purpose and bring out the best in people. However, holidays can also be a difficult time for many families, and heightened stress and tension can highlight our human flaws. Holidays can quickly become something "to get through" instead of a time for reflection and celebration. Sound familiar to anyone?

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, email me at

Dear Nicole, I'm visiting my family for a week over the holidays, which means traveling with two young children (2 and 5). I'm worried about how the kids will react to being away from home for that long. We're staying at my parents' house, and my kids tend to have epic melt-downs when they're in unfamiliar places. My relatives like to give me unwanted parenting advice since I'm a single dad, and I really don't want to deal with that. Got any tips for me?   Anthony

Dear Anthony, Many children and adults love the excitement and special activities during the holidays, but it can also be a stressful time. Hectic schedules, endless shopping, high expectations, tight budgets, family conflict, or different beliefs about holiday celebrations can all create enormous pressure on parents. Holidays can be hard for children, too, if they get bored, tired, hungry, overstimulated or overwhelmed. Children often communicate their needs and feelings through behaviors such as whining, complaining, tantrums, and refusing to follow directions - which adds to parents' stress. Here are a few tips to try:

Maintain your children's daily routines for eating, sleeping, and playing. The predictability of daily routines helps children feel secure and can prevent melt-downs caused by being tired, hungry, overstimulated or overwhelmed. Ask family members about their plans for mealtimes, visits, exchanging gifts, or other holiday activities, and let them know about your children's schedules. This allows you to discuss whether any plans can be modified so your children can participate, or at least helps others understand that your children may have to follow a different schedule than the adults.

Talk to your children about your holiday plans. Talk about your travel plans, which relatives they will see, and any important family, cultural or religious traditions. Talk about what it will be like to stay at their grandparents' house - what room they'll sleep in, any rules they'll have to follow, and how it will be different from being at home. Talking with children not only increases their vocabulary and thinking skills, but also gives them a "mental picture" of what to expect, which helps prepares them to face unfamiliar situations.

(0 Nov 2016) ConorTVKids.jpgHave simple, engaging activities ready for your children. This helps prevent melt-downs caused by boredom or restlessness. Take healthy snacks, some books, and a few of their favorite toys on your trip. Play guessing games, make up stories, or sing along to your favorite songs. And let's face it - letting children have a modest amount of age-appropriate screen time (TV, movie, video games, computer, etc) can give both children and parents a much-needed break after constant activities and socializing.

Encourage the behavior you want to see more of. Give descriptive praise when your children are being kind, helping others, following family rules, or expressing their feelings appropriately. This lets them know you appreciate their efforts and encourages them to keep it up.

Take time for yourself. Being a single parent during the holidays while surrounded by advice-giving relatives can be incredibly stressful. It's important to find ways to relieve stress before it affects your ability to enjoy the holidays with your family. If possible, ask another family member to watch your children so you can do something you enjoy, such as catching up with a relative, getting some exercise...or sitting in a quiet room by yourself.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Holidays provide special opportunities to enjoy quality family time, but they can also add stress and pressure for many families. Try a few of these positive parenting strategies to help you and your family not just survive, but thrive, during this holiday season.

Nicole Young is the mother of two children, ages 12 and 16, who also manages Santa Cruz County's Triple P - Positive Parenting Program, the world's leading positive parenting program. For more information, including classes and one-on-one meetings to help parents handle everyday parenting challenges, visit,


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  Christine: Psychobiotics

(0 Nov 2016) brain.jpgI learned a new word today - psychobiotics. It sounds like bacteria gone wacky, but that isn't right. It turns out that bacteria can make us go wacky. Psychobiotics is the interaction of our gut bacteria with our brain. 

As we look harder at the bacteria in our body we find more important interactions. At this moment, the bacteria in our intestines is the best studied. We have found that this bacteria can affect us anywhere in our body. The brain was the last to be added, since it has always been believed that the brain protects itself from everything. Below is a very detailed diagram that shows many of the currently accepted interactions. Read more>>>

Christine Cockey is a local mom and scientist who researches what's happening in the world of science and makes science easier to understand.  Keep up with her latest articles at


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Physics & Chemistry Fun with Irvin Santa Cruz Nov 2-Dec 21


Gateway School K-8, School Day Tours 11/11


Gateway School K-8, Kindergarten Visit Day 11/5

Mount Madonna School PreK-12, Open House 11/19

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Santa Cruz Polar Express
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  Santa Cruz Polar Express
Santa Cruz Polar Express
Date: Every day (Nov 18-Dec 23)
Details: Ride to the North Pole and back, have cookies and cocoa, meet singing elves and Santa --in your pajamas!
Special Instructions: 1 pm, 3 pm, 5:30 pm, 7:30 pm NOTE: not all departures occur on each day.
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Fly Fishing Casting Clinic
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  Fly Fishing Casting Clinic
Coastal Watershed Council
Date: 11/18/2017 from 9:00am to 12:00pm
Ages: ALL
Details: This clinic is for all ages and all experience levels.
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Girls Night Out
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  Girls Night Out
Art Factory
Date: Every Fri from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Details: Treat yourself to some time with the girls, wine and cheese and a create evening. Call Yvette for schedule!
City: Aptos Phone: 831-688-8862 view all details >>
Kids' Connection with Lorraine Pursell
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  Kids' Connection with Lorraine Pursell
Lorraine Pursell, M.A.
Date: Every Su, Mon, Tues, Wed, Th, Fri and Sa
Ages: All
Details: The 3 Greatest Gifts You Can Give Your Child
Phone: (808) 936-4370 view all details >>
Lady Washington Comes to Monterey
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  Lady Washington Comes to Monterey
Lady Washington
Date: Every day (Nov 8-Nov 20)
Details: Now's your chance to sail on the tall ship Lady Washington!
Special Instructions: Monterey, CA-November 8 to November 20 (Nov. 18, BATTLE OF THE PRESIDIO) (Lady Washington)
City: Monterey Phone: 800-200-5239 view all details >>
Physics & Chemistry Fun with Irvin
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  Physics & Chemistry Fun with Irvin
Date: Every Wed (Nov 2-Dec 21) from 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Ages: grades 2-5
Details: Super fun physics & chemistry to inspire your children
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831-419-2147 view all details >>
Explore California's Wild Edge Prints by Tom Killion
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  Explore California's Wild Edge Prints by Tom Killion
Date: Every day (Jan 12-Apr 22)
Details: This exhibition invites you to explore California's coastal edge through prints by woodcut artist Tom Killion
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831 763 4047 view all details >>
Positive Time-Out (Positive Discipline Saturday Series)
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  Positive Time-Out (Positive Discipline Saturday Series)
Positive Discipline Community Resources
Date: 11/05/2016 from 10:00am to 12:00pm
Details: Positive Time-Out (Positive Discipline Saturday Series)
Special Instructions: Limited Scholarships Available for Workshop and Childcare (typically $10/child)
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 476-7284 view all details >>
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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 >>
Young Eagles - Kids Fly Free
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  Young Eagles - Kids Fly Free
Young Eagles
Date: The 2nd Sa of every month from 8:00am to 4:00pm
Ages: 8 yrs - 17 yrs
Details: Kds fly free EAA airplane rides, on the first Saturday of every month between January and April and then again between September
City: Watsonville Phone: 831-531-8440 view all details >>
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