Early Spring 2017

Message from Your County Superintendent of Schools

Spring signals the beginning of what I like to call our "Blue Ribbon Season" when we celebrate a host of events showcasing our outstanding Monterey County students and staff. This edition of MCOE News, in our new dynamic email and webpage format, highlights old and new annual events along with exciting accomplishments throughout Monterey County.

As we dedicate our careers working together to guide all students to success, it is rewarding to see the many ways our students are soaring to new heights.

For more of what Monterey County has achieved recently, be sure to read our 2016 Annual Report to the Community, available on our website.

Enjoy the beautiful blossoming spring season and accomplishments of our students and staff!


Nancy Kotowski, Ph.D.

Monterey County Superintendent of Schools

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MCOE Wellness Rocks Health Fair Puts Staff Wellness on Center Stage

Keeping our employees healthy and happy is a priority for MCOE. March 30th's Wellness Rocks Health Fair (the first MCOE Health Fair in several years) was a huge success where employees and their families from all over Monterey County learned how to keep themselves happy and stress-free. Booths throughout the building focused on healthy snacking and meal preparation, acupuncture and massage, weight loss, services offered by local doctors, dentists, hospitals and specialists, and so much more. Free health screenings were given along with lots of free snacks and gift bag goodies. Several attendees walked away as winners of these fantastic raffle prizes, but everyone left with lots of wellness knowledge!

Thank you to all of our vendors who participated and to MCSIG and CVT for sponsoring the fair. We look forward to making this an annual offering for all employees.

Celebrating Our Districts' Successes

Carmel High School Mock Trial Team Wins State

Congratulations to Carmel High School from Monterey County, the 2017 California Mock Trial Champions! Carmel High School will be representing California at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Hartford, Connecticut in May. The complete list of award recipients is available here.
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Pacific Grove High School Robotics Team Wins 2nd Place at Regionals

Congratulations to the Pacific Grove High School BreakerBots Robotics team who won second place at the regional FIRST competition in Madera. This qualifies them to go to the FIRST World Championships in Houston, TX in April. Visit their funding page to help them on their trip to Houston!
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Current Gonzales High School Senior, Cecilia Trujillo has been accepted to Harvard University and Yale University.

Cecilia, who attended Chualar School, was the 2013 Monterey County Spelling Bee Champion.

MCOE Taking Teacher Shortage Head-On

MCOE is taking the teacher shortage head-on with two events designed to lead current students, recent graduates, and those looking for a new career to the teaching profession.

The California and national teacher shortage has created a number of open positions across the country, and Monterey County has felt the impact over the last several years. County and district officials once again have a number of open positions to fill for the upcoming school year. MCOE’s Teacher Recruitment Fair and “Learn How to Become a Teacher” Educational Workshop were aimed to encourage anyone interested in teaching to follow their passion and make a difference in the lives of students.

Teacher Recruitment Fair

One hundred and eighteen (118) candidates attended MCOE’s Teacher Recruitment Fair on Saturday, March 11. The Fair gave candidates the opportunity to meet with 17 different schools’ representatives to discuss employment opportunities and 76 attendees were given on-the-spot interviews.

This year’s fair had the largest attendance of candidates in the last several years - a positive sign for local schools struggling with teacher shortages.

Learn How to Become a Teacher Workshop

For those individuals interested in the teaching field, but not yet at a point to apply for a job, MCOE hosted a half-day Educational Workshop “Learn How to Become a Teacher” on Saturday, March 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hartnell College’s Steinbeck Hall, located at 411 Central Avenue in Salinas.

The free workshop (attended by seventy people interested in teaching!) included breakout sessions on the steps to becoming a teacher and/or substitute teacher, financial aid, and local college and university admissions, pathways, and internships. Participating institutions include Hartnell College, Brandman University, California State University, Monterey Bay, and National University.

Migrant Education Staff Members Recognized for Years of Service to MCOE

On Friday, March 31st, four MCOE Migrant Education employees were recognized for their years of service.

Thank you for your dedicated years of service to MCOE.

MCOE Spelling Bee Breaks Records

The 2017 Monterey Countywide Spelling Bee experience can be summed up with one word – e-n-d-u-r-a-n-c-e. After a record-breaking number of Monterey County students (57) competed during the longest Monterey Countywide Bee in its history, 7th grade student Paul Hamrick, correctly spelled "reparations" to become the new Monterey County spelling champ. Paul, from Lambert Hamrick Homeschool, outlasted 17 rounds and out-spelled 56 other students from schools throughout Monterey County to win the Bee on March 5th at the Western Stage Theatre at Hartnell College.

As champion, Paul will represent Monterey County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the Washington, D.C. area May 28 – June 4, 2017. Airfare, hotel and expenses for Paul and a parent are sponsored by community partners. Other prizes included the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary from Merriam Webster, a $50 gift card from Northridge Mall, and a champion trophy.

The complete order of finishers can be found on our website.

Budding Scientists Bloom at MCOE Science and Engineering Fair

The judges at the 2017 Monterey County Science & Engineering Fair had a difficult job this year, as they reviewed 331 projects and interviewed 501 student scientists from public and private schools across the county.

The three-day event held from Friday, March 10 through Sunday, March 12 at California State University Monterey Bay concluded Sunday with the presentation of awards to top projects in such fields as Applied Mechanics, Material Science, Aerodynamics and Plant Biology.

The top three Senior Division projects will advance to compete in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair to be held in Los Angeles May 14 - 18. They are:

  • Grand Prize Winner: Megan Tang, 11th grade, York School, “Using Dropsonde Descending Speed to Determine Vertical Velocity in a Hurricane”
  • First Runner-Up: Kaden Agha, 11th grade, York School, “Investigation of the Disparity between the Number of Tamalia spp. Galls per Cubic Meter on Arbutus unedo and Arctostaphylos spp.”
  • Second Runner-Up: Rohan Bhushan, 11th grade, Monterey High School, “Phototactic Analysis of the Effects of the Chemorepellent Nitrate on Taxis-Based Vertical Column Orientation in Flagellates”

Classified Employees Utilize Grant Funding to Become Teachers

Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE) is one of 25 California school districts and county offices of education to share $20 million of a state grant to help Classified employees earn teaching credentials. Forty-five slots in the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program, totaling $180,000, have been awarded to MCOE. A survey given in October 2016 showed over 450 Classified employees throughout the county would be interested in the opportunity to become a teacher.

The grant provides up to $4,000 in funding annually for five years. Flexible scheduling of classes will be available to assist employees as they continue to work while enrolled in a teacher credentialing program.

MCOE is leading the efforts in this grant project alongside key partners Brandman University, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), Hartnell College, as well as 19 Monterey County districts. All partners are committed to acquiring highly-qualified teachers for Monterey County students in order to close the teacher shortage gap.

The first Aspiring Classified Into Teaching (ACEIT) grant informational meeting was held on March 29 for 80 interested candidates. An Orientation meeting will be held at MCOE on April 27 for the final 45 participants.

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Eighth Grade Students Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Constitution

Over 200 eighth grade students from four districts in Monterey County convened to learn and share knowledge through civic dialogue about the Constitution on March 30th at Monterey Tides.

The Constitution Project is sponsored by the Dan and Lillian King Foundation. It is open to all eighth-grade U.S. history teachers and students in Monterey County and has led students through a deeper understanding of the Constitution and its present-day impacts.

At the culminating activity of the Constitution Project students shared videos they created explaining how the U.S. Constitution works, and discussed the Constitution in response to the question, “What did freedom mean to the nation’s founders?”

Expanding their civic learning, Salinas High School students also joined the event as student journalists documenting the day’s discussions and activities for a written article entitled, “What the Constitution Means to Eighth Graders.”

The Dan and Lillian King Foundation provided funding for books, resources, and field trips for this project.

Volunteers Needed for Annual Mathletics Event

Are you looking for an "addition" to your calendar on Saturday, May 13th? Sign up to be a volunteer at the Mathletics Competition!

Mathletics is a math contest held annually to encourage excellence in mathematics and recognize the achievement of individual students and the schools they represent. Mathletics is made possible by the generosity of donations and is organized mainly by volunteer teachers and students from the participating schools and the mathematics department from California State University Monterey Bay. The event is coordinated by the Monterey County Office of Education Mathematics Department.

The 49th Annual Mathletics will take place on Saturday, May 13th, 2017 at Hartnell College. Volunteers are needed to proctor/supervise Mathletics students as they take their tests as well as supervise and engage students as they rotate through demos and eat lunch.

Volunteers can choose to leave at 11:15, or stay through rotations and attend the awards ceremony. We appreciate any support you can provide.

To sign up to volunteer, please email Susan Castillo at

Thank You to Our Community Partners

Thank you to the following community partners who have recently provided generous donations to MCOE and its programs:

  • $16,000 from The Elizabeth Hook Armstrong Foundation to the children of Arthur B. Ingham School, in order to provide medical equipment, materials and technology.
  • $6,000 from The Chapman Foundation to support the MCOE Science and Engineering Fair

Monterey County Office of Education

Leadership, Support and Service to Prepare All Students for Success