News Release

March 6, 2013

Teachers honored for projects countywide

Twenty-six teachers from nine school districts countywide were recognized by the Santa Barbara County Education Office with Care for our Earth grants for classroom projects focusing on saving energy or cutting traffic or pollution at school.

Five teachers from the County Education Office received Teacher Innovation Grant awards, and 29 teachers were recognized for their innovative and effective curriculum projects.

Another 60 teachers received Instructional Strategy Team Grant awards, which involve teacher team members applying to work with a team coach who has developed an effective instructional strategy and is willing to share the expertise.

The awards were presented at the 2013 SBCEO Teachers Network Grant Recognition Dinner event March 5 at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton.

Riccardo Magni, 2013 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year, presented the keynote address, along with Bill Cirone, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools.

Emcees for the event were Robert P. Hatch, president and CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Joe Howell, attorney, Howell Moore & Gough LLP, and trustee, Santa Barbara County Board of Education.

Grants awarded at the event included:

South County:

Curriculum Project Grant, funded by the Southern California Gas Company, and submitted by Russell Granger, Automotive Technologies teacher from San Marcos High School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District: starting with small-scale renewable energy systems used to power model vehicles, students create large-scale solar arrays and ecosystems that generate larger amounts of renewable energy. This energy is then used to power the San Marcos High School automotive program’s electric and biodiesel vehicles.

Curriculum Project Grant, funded by the Santa Barbara Teachers Federal Credit Union, and submitted by Valerie Lent, French teacher from Dos Pueblos High School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District: French AP and IB students work collaboratively with a class of 11th graders from Paris, France, to create seven bilingual short stories, each class working simultaneously to learn the foreign language.

Lompoc area:

Curriculum Project Grant, funded by the Air Force Association: Robert H. Goddard Chapter #266, and submitted by Chris Ladwig, Science teacher at Vandenberg Middle School in the Lompoc Unified School District: students are introduced to several concepts important throughout the aerospace industry, including hydraulics, pneumatics, and electronic circuits, as they construct a hydraulic-controlled wooden arm in a competitive setting.

North County:

Care for Our Earth Grant funded by the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Southern California Gas Company, and submitted by Riccardo Magni, science teacher at Pioneer Valley High School in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District: students conduct an experiment on the germination of plants under varying conditions, including acid rain, and learn the negative effects acid rain has on food and its production.

Instructional Strategy Team Grant funded by Venoco, Inc.; Coach Tammie Castillo Shiffer of Pioneer Valley High School in the Santa Maria Joint Unified High School District, and Team Members Michelle Allen, Kristina Duran, Joshua Ostini of Pioneer Valley High School; and Barbara Johnston and Patricia Wagner of Santa Maria High School in the Santa Maria Joint Unified High School District: Teacher team members learn how to establish routines, procedures, organizational strategies, and an “Interactive Notebook” alternative to increase classroom efficiency.

Further information on the SBCEO Teachers Network Grants and Program is available from Steven Keithley, director of teacher programs, at the Santa Barbara County Education Office, 964-4710, ext. 5281.

Van Mullem and Magni photoDave Van Mullem, Director, Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. On the right is Riccardo Magni, science teacher, Pioneer Valley High School, Santa Maria Jt. Union High School District, and Care for Our Earth Grant recipient (the Care for Our Earth Grants are sponsored by the SB Co. Air Pollution Control District). Magni is also the 2013 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year.