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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

September 4, 2014
When you're having fun...

A Good Principal

MOD, Santa Cruz Children's Museum of Discovery, Has a New Home!

Gateway Welcomes a New Head of School

Ask Niccole: practical Solutions to Everyday Parenting Challenges

This Week
How many of the over 200 bird species can you spot?
Ask Nicole: Practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges
Click to view our Business Directory
  When you're having fun...

When you're having fun... 

(Photos General) CanningTomatoes.jpgMonday was Labor Day, the third day of a three-day weekend, everyone's favorite kind of weekend.  In fact I daresay, if put to a vote to make every weekend a three day weekend, we might see our polarized citizens in agreement.  I spent much of Labor Day helping a friend pick and can delicious black krim tomatoes from her bountiful garden.  Taking a break, I lay in her hammock in the shade of two large maples with one of my summer reads.  Soon I felt drowsiness infusing my being.  I relaxed into the feeling and slipped into a refreshing afternoon nap.  Our day ended with a gathering of friends.  I had forgotten to open the computer, think about work, look at email, worry about anything!  Tuesday and Wednesday were full, productive work days.  Then it hit me: tomorrow was Thursday and all day Wednesday I still thought it was Tuesday. 

"...time flies.."

On a more serious note I think about conversations we parents and our children's teachers need to have with our children as they begin to come out of the innocence of childhood and become more aware of the evil in this world --bullying, killings, beheadings, slavery, mass kidnappings, war.  How do we help our future citizens make sense of the baser aspects of human nature and inspire them to find the good in themselves and bring that (Ads 2014) SantaCruzCountyFair180.jpggoodness into their adult lives, especially when we ourselves are shocked and grappling with these horrible events in our too-much-information age?  There are no easy answers.  I just think we need to think ahead about when and how we have these conversations and model exemplary behavior in our families, classrooms and communities.

It's always exciting when a school gets a new leader. A good principal can make a big difference in the entire school community of children, teachers and parents.  We offer some articles on what makes a good principal and introduce a new principal in one of our leading private schools.

For a good time where everyone will find something of interest be sure to put the Santa Cruz County Fair on your calendar!

Thank you for your interest in our newsletter. As always, your questions, comments or concerns are welcome.  To find more events than we've highlighted below, just click for everything Friday through Sunday!

Have a great weekend with family and friends! 



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  A Good Principal

A good principal is a good leader.  Beyond that there are diverse opinions on what makes a good principal and there's plenty of room for different personalities.  Click on these articles for a few opinions.

The Secrets of a Principal Who Makes Things Work

What makes a great principal - and why few want the job

Good Principals: What Traits Do They Share?

Jennifer Gonzalez Asks Teachers: What Makes a Principal Great?

A few thoughts: A good principal is engaged, present in the halls, classrooms, playground, out front when parents are picking up and dropping off children, supportive and encouraging of staff, has a vision of excellence and outstanding people skills.  In my opinion the best ones have been teachers first.  What do you think!?


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  MOD, Santa Cruz Children's Museum of Discovery, Has a New Home!

(Special Event Images / Graphics) MODhome-sweet-home-web.jpgBring the Whole Family for a First Look at the New Museum!

We're so excited to get settled into our new space in the old Abercrombie & Fitch store in the Capitola Mall but our grand opening on November 1st is just too far away! We're holding a sneak preview event and fundraiser on Friday September 12th to give everyone a first look at our new digs!

Guests will be able to experience a few of our exhibits: Space Palette, an interactive musical and graphical instrument that is not to be missed; our StarLab, a mini inflatable planetarium; our Infinity Box, a state-of-the-art experience in perception and our one-of-a-kind, bigger-than life futuristic cardboard puppet plus more.

(Special Event Images / Graphics) MOD_HugeFoamBlocks.jpgWe'll also be serving beverages and finger foods all while being entertained by The Shapes, a five-piece Americana beach-folk band!

This will also be your first chance to register to become a future MOD member and learn more about the exciting exhibits, programs, classes, and job and volunteer opportunities to come as we get closer to our grand opening date.

If You Go:

When: Friday September 12th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm

Where: The Capitola Mall, adjacent to the Food Court

Cost: $10 at the door. And keep an eye our for our $5 off coupons!

What: Sneak Preview Party featuring wine and appetizers, a silent auction, and live music courtesy of The Shapes. Plus! Enjoy a selection of our popular exhibits.

See you there!


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  Gateway Welcomes a New Head of School

(Photos General) ZacharyRoberts-Gateway.jpgGateway School will celebrate its fifth Head of School, Dr. Zachary Roberts at a Welcome Convocation event on Friday, September 5 at the Seymour Discovery Center from 6-8pm.  The event will host alumni, current and past Gateway families, local public and independent school educators, and community business leaders. 

Dr. Zachary Roberts took the helm at Gateway School beginning July 1, 2014 after an exhaustive national search and extensive involvement of the extended Gateway community.  He was unanimously selected by the Board of Trustees to serve as the school's fifth Head of School in its 44 year history. Dr. Roberts is an extraordinarily bright, committed educational leader who brings to Gateway a wealth of administrative and teaching experience, a growth mindset and deep knowledge of educational leadership.

Dr. Roberts arrives at Gateway with a foundation of thirteen years as an educator at The Berkeley School, where he served numerous roles including Associate Head of School and Elementary Division Head, Middle School Division Head, and Acting Head of School.  Dr. Roberts has also been an Assistant Visiting Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Mills College. Dr. Roberts has a B.A. in English from Stanford University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Mills College.

In accepting his appointment as Gateway's next Head of School, Dr. Roberts stated, "I am thrilled at the opportunity to be the next Head of School at Gateway and to join its long and extraordinary history of providing exceptional progressive education for K-8 children in Santa Cruz. From the moment I stepped onto campus, I was profoundly impressed by the joyous engagement of the children and by the wisdom, warmth and commitment of the teachers, administration, parents and Board. I look forward to continuing the mission of the school to challenge, prepare, encourage, develop, and inspire students for the 21st century and to becoming part of the larger community of educators in the Monterey Bay area.  For me, the promise and power of education is nothing less than the transformation of the individual and society. There is no greater or more important work than fostering the self-transformation of the next generation of human beings as individuals, learners, and citizens. It is a humbling and exhilarating experience."

Dr. Roberts is joined at Gateway by his wife, an early childhood educator, and their three daughters.


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  Ask Niccole: practical Solutions to Everyday Parenting Challenges

-By Nicole M. Young, MSW

"Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do." - Matt Walsh, blogger

Isn't that the truth! It seems that everywhere I turn - TV, internet, social media and everyday conversations - everyone has an opinion about the "right" way to parent, which implies there is a "wrong" way. I don't know about you, but I find parenting hard enough without worrying about being blamed or shamed for the decisions (and mistakes) I make.       

This month we'll talk about the power of praise, a topic that generates many opinions and questions. How much is too much or too little? Will my children become dependent on praise? Will praise do more harm than good? These are important questions, and like much of parenting, the answer is, "It depends."     

It's my hope that this column provides an opportunity for parents and caregivers to ask questions and get answers that help strengthen their relationships with their children. I hope you'll find value in the following practical tips and ideas based on the world-renowned Triple P Positive Parenting Program, available to families in Santa Cruz County. If you have a question, please email me at

Click for discussion on "To praise, not praise and if so when!>>>>>


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  This Week

(Ads 2014) SantaCruzCountyFair180.jpg

Events in the Parks

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School Corner


SSCDC Preschool Open Houses Tuesdays & Wednesdays


LitWits Master Classes High School, September


Gateway School K-8, Still Enrolling, Open for Tours


Spring Hill School K-6, Open House 9/10


Mount Madonna, Campus Tour Day 10/22


Tara Redwood School Pre-5, Call for a Tour

Next event:
SATURDAY September  6, 12-2pm

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Seahorse Swim School
is giving back
to the community!


FREE lessons are
the first Saturday
of each month


Lifestyle Fitness



Daily Citron

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Viva: Startling Diaper Facts

When I was pregnant with my second child I became interested in cloth diapering, both for its environmental and money-saving benefits.  I ran the numbers on the cost of diapers, to see if the money saved would be worth the extra time spent in washing them.

I was shocked at how much cheaper it is to use cloth diapers, so I thought I'd share my calculations with you.  Before we get started, you might want to check out my Cloth Diapering 101 post to see tons of example of cloth diapers, and descriptions of how they work. If you're intimidated and/or grossed out by the idea of cloth diapering your baby, let me just say this: the options for cloth diapering have changed a lot in the seven years, not to mention the last twenty years.  So I encourage you to cast off every preconception you have about cloth diapering and learn about what's going on right now- cloth diapering is a lot easier, and a lot cuter, than it was for previous generations.

Cloth Diapers Save You a Lot of Money

Cloth diapers have a higher up-front cost than disposable diapers, but over the long term the savings really add up- in the range of $1000-$3000 over a three year period.  Let's break down these cost savings with a hypothetical family that needs to diaper their baby from birth to potty training...continued>>>

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Tune up Your Parenting Skills

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Take a Parenting Workshop

Schedule a consultation session with Steve.

The start of a new school year is around the corner.

Get a head start on working on your family issues with your young children before school starts.


Special August rates.

Contact Steve at
for details.

(Photos General) Dog_InHammock.jpg

 How many of the over 200 bird species can you spot?

Birding Along the San Lorenzo River Walk

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
How many of the over 200 bird species can you spot?
Date: Every Sa (Aug 23-Oct 18)
Admission Fees: Free
Special Instructions: River Walk just east of the Ross parking lot

The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, in partnership with the Santa Cruz Bird Club, invites you to join in our exciting new birding series along the San Lorenzo River. The San Lorenzo River has over two hundred bird species known to migrate through or live on the river. Expert birders from the Santa Cruz Bird Club will be guiding these early morning workshops, open to families and bird lovers of all ages.

(meet at 8am at the River Walk just east of the Ross parking lot at 650 River St.)

Saturday | September 6, 8:30am | With Nick Levendosky | Registration

Saturday | September 20, 8:30am | With Phil Brown | Registration

Saturday | October 18th, 8:30am | With Nanci Adams | Registration

About the Bird Club Members:

NICHOLAS LEVENDOSKY was first introduced to the idea of birding while taking a natural history and ecology course at Prescott College in 2001. Although he found this idea rather silly at first, the puzzle and game of identifying birds quickly peaked his interest and he was hooked. From that point on he has worked to transform from a casual birder to an intentional observer. Since moving back to Santa Cruz six years ago after obtaining a job with the San Jose Fire Department, Nicholas has devoted a significant amount of time getting into the field to 'simply learn birds.' He most appreciates the relationship between species and habitat-believing birding lends itself to building a sense of place and physical community around one's home.

PHIL BROWN, current president of the Santa Cruz Bird Club has been birding and guiding trips for the Santa Cruz Bird Club for more than 20 years. He began his birding in Humboldt County and has birded in Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Canada, Alaska, New Zealand, and South Africa. He is a section leader in the Santa Cruz/Moss Landing and Pinnacles Christmas Bird Counts.

NANCI ADAMS is a past president of the Santa Cruz Bird Club.  She began birding as a teen in South Dakota, and she now teaches two birding classes through Watsonville-Aptos Adult Ed. Her emphasis is on non-competitive, supportive birding and an appreciation of local birds and habitats.  She leads field trips for Monterey Audubon and participates in three bird surveys in the area.  She also helps train wetlands docents and high school stewards for Watsonville Wetlands Watch.  She has birded in all fifty states and in various locales in the world.  She is currently working her way through South American birds.

Location: levee east of Ross, 650 River St, Santa Cruz Map  •website Santa Cruz

"Pioneering the Valley: The Chinese American Legacy in Santa Cla
click to view website
  "Pioneering the Valley: The Chinese American Legacy in Santa Cla
Saratoga Historical Museum
Date: Every Su, Fri and Sa (Jul 13-Oct 26) from 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Details: History of the Chinese American Community in the Santa Clara Valley from the 19th century to today with highlights of community
City: Saratoga view all details >>
When you're having fun...
click to view website
  When you're having fun...
view all details >>
When you're having fun...
click to view website
  When you're having fun...
view all details >>
Basic Bicycle Maintenance Class
click to view website
  Basic Bicycle Maintenance Class
The Spokesman
Date: The 1st Sa of every month from 10:00am to 12:00am
Ages: Free
Details: Learn how to fix your flat tire!
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Emergency Preparedness
click to view website
  Emergency Preparedness
Home Depot
Date: 09/07/2014 from 10:00am to 3:00pm
Details: Stop in to learn all about emergency preparedness.
City: Soquel view all details >>
Mountain View  Annual Art & Wine Festival
click to view website
  Mountain View Annual Art & Wine Festival
Chamber of Commerce Mountain View
Date: Every day (Sep 6-Sep 7) from 10:00am to 6:00pm
Details: Silicon Valley's World-Class Art & Music Festival is "A Festival
City: Mountain View view all details >>
Santa Cruz Greek Festival
click to view website
  Santa Cruz Greek Festival
Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church
Date: Every day (Sep 5-Sep 7)
Ages: All ages welcome!
Details: Come Eat Like a Greek at the 33rd Annual Santa Cruz Greek Festival
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831.429.6500 view all details >>
When you're having fun...
click to view website
  When you're having fun...
view all details >>
Young Eagles - Kids Fly Free
click to view website
  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 >>
When you're having fun...
click to view website
  When you're having fun...
view all details >>
Sunday Seaside Crafts
click to view website
  Sunday Seaside Crafts
Seymour Marine Discovery Center (at Long Marine Lab)
Date: Every Su from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Ages: Kids and up
Details: Join us with your small fry every Sunday for hands-on fun!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 459-3800 view all details >>
When you're having fun...
click to view website
  When you're having fun...
view all details >>
When you're having fun...
click to view website
  When you're having fun...
view all details >>
  Ask Nicole: Practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges

Dear Nicole, I have two kids, ages 3 and 7. They're both great kids, and I don't have any parenting problems right now. But during a recent play group, one of the other parents said that praise is bad for kids because they will learn to only feel good about themselves if someone is praising them. I praise my kids and they seem to like it, but should I stop doing this?   Lena, Watsonville

Dear Lena,

Thanks for asking this question. It sounds like praise works for you and your children, which is a good reason to continue using it. There are many opinions about whether praise helps children become confident, capable and motivated. Some studies say praise increases children's willingness to tackle challenges and continue trying tasks. Other say that praising children's intelligence makes them less likely to take on challenging tasks, especially when they have low self-esteem to begin with. That makes it clear as mud, right? 

Not all praise is the same, though. Vague, over-exaggerated or overused praise loses its meaning. But praise - also called encouragement, acknowledgement, or positive feedback - is effective when it's sincere, specific, and descriptive. Think about how it feels when you get positive feedback about a task you worked hard on at home or your job. It feels good to be acknowledged and makes you want to do more of the same, right? The same thing applies to kids. Here are some tips for using praise effectively:

Praise your child's efforts and accomplishments.

  • "I can see how hard you're studying for that spelling test," or "You were really focused during soccer practice" are examples of acknowledging a child's efforts. This type of praise tells your children they are valued for just being themselves and trying their best, regardless of the end result. This helps increase children's motivation and persistence when learning new or difficult tasks.
  • "Great job on your spelling test," or "I'm proud of you for scoring a goal today" are examples of praising accomplishments. This type of praise can be rewarding for children because it tells them you noticed their achievements. Try to praise accomplishments that your children worked hard to achieve, especially as they get older. Praise may sound insincere to them - and lose its meaning - if they feel they're being praised for accomplishments that come easily or are routine.

Describe the specific behavior you want to see more of.

  • Descriptive praise is an effective way to encourage positive behaviors and help children learn new skills. For example, "I'm impressed you cleaned your room all by yourself," or "Thank you for using your calm voice to ask your brother to stop teasing you" are good examples.

Keep the praise focused on positive behaviors.

  • Avoid giving praise that sounds like criticism, such as "It's nice to see you following the rules for a change," or "Thank you for not talking back to me like you always do." These statements keep the focus on problem behaviors instead of recognizing a child's positive choices and improvements.

Be genuine and sincere.

  • Use words and body language that feel natural to you. Even if you stumble over your words, your children will feel the genuine love and appreciation you are expressing through your praise.

The "debate" about whether praise is helpful or not is likely to continue. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to make their own choices about how to raise their children. However, perhaps instead of debating whether to praise children, we should be asking ourselves how to use praise effectively to encourage children's confidence, competence, motivation and independence. That's what parenting is all about, right?    

Nicole Young is the mother of two children, ages 10 and 14, who also manages Santa Cruz County's Triple P - Positive Parenting Program, the world's leading positive parenting program. Scientifically proven, Triple P is made available locally by First 5 Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency (Mental Health Services Act) and the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department. For more information, including classes and one-on-one meetings to help parents handle everyday parenting challenges, visit, or To find a Triple P class or practitioner, contact First 5 Santa Cruz County at 465-2217 or

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