Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Amador Community Foundation awards $5K grant to ACCF

$5K GRANT AWARDED TO THE ACCF - The Amador Community College Foundation is excited to announce the awarding of a  $5000 grant to the Amador Learning Center by the Amador Community Foundation.  We thank them for their support of our efforts to “Educate Amador for Success!” by providing local opportunities to earn AA/AS degrees, career technical certificates, and/or UC/CSU transfer programs.  ACCF currently has over 70 students enrolled for Spring 2014. 
Thank you for your support and interest in our programs and we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season!

Karen Dickerson, Secretary
Amador Community College Foundation

Friday, December 6, 2013

California Connections Academy Expands Teaching Team and Staff with Nine New Hires

Seasoned group of educators join virtual school serving Bay Area and north San Joaquin County

RIPON, Calif. (Dec. 4, 2013) — Virtual school California Connections Academy @ Ripon welcomes nine new staff members for its 2013-14 school year. Now in its second year of instruction, California Connections Academy serves more than 500 students in grades K-12 in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties, and is accepting new students through mid-February 2014.

With the addition of eight state-credentialed teachers and a new administrative assistant, California Connections Academy continues to grow staff and expand its offerings to students.

“I’ve worked in education for more than 38 years and in that time, I’ve found that successful students start with passionate teachers,” said Tim Batiuk, principal at California Connections Academy @ Ripon. “We’re fortunate to have a top-notch group of educators, cutting-edge technology, and a high-quality curriculum. This enables our students to have individualized learning that caters to their strengths and weaknesses.”

New additions to the staff include:

Chris Brant, secondary English teacher
Jennifer Brunner, science teacher
Ashley Burgess, kindergarten and first-grade teacher
Thanette Caseri, fifth-grade teacher
Angela George, fourth and fifth-grade teacher
Denise Keen, seventh-grade teacher
Tonya Halvorson, secondary math teacher
Danielle Jespersen, administrative assistant
Brooke Shamhart, eighth-grade teacher

“My goal is to inspire my students to become life-long learners,” said teacher Angela George, who brings 10 years of elementary education experience to the school. “Connections Academy’s personalized learning model provides tools that allow me to engage with my students one-to-one and help them translate their knowledge to success in school and in life.”

“I’m a firm believer that the relationship between student, teacher and parent is essential to a student’s motivation and success,” added eighth-grade teacher Brooke Shamhart, who has been teaching for six years. “Our model facilitates these student-teacher relationships, which creates trust and communication, and ultimately helps our students achieve their personal best.”

California Connections Academy’s innovative education model provides students with a flexible learning environment that meets their individual learning needs and the state’s rigorous academic standards. Students can interact with one another through field trips, which the school holds nearly every week, to local learning sites such as art museums and dairy farms, as well as through group labs and LiveLesson® sessions. The school also offers visits to college campuses, which are open to all grade levels, and Career Technical Education (CTE) courses for high school students with in-depth career and field of study exploration opportunities.

California Connections Academy @ Ripon is fully accredited (grades K-12) by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and authorized under state law by the Ripon Unified School District. For more information, please visit California Connections Academy’s website.

About California Connections Academy @ Ripon:

California Connections Academy @ Ripon is a tuition-free, high-quality, highly accountable virtual public school serving students in grades K-12 in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties. California Connections Academy is fully accredited (grades K-12) by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The school opened in 2012 and is authorized under state law by the Ripon Unified School District. California Connections Academy provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere with an innovative curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. The combination of state-credentialed teachers, a proven curriculum, unique electives such as the Juilliard eLearning program, technology tools and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. For more information, visit the school’s website or call 800-382-6010.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Workshop: Designing, Improving & Maintaining Rural Roads - Fri Dec 13

The University of California Cooperative Extension Central Sierra is co-sponsoring a workshop, “Designing, Improving & Maintaining Rural Roads” in Jamestown on December 13, 2013. The objectives of this workshop are to provide landowners and land managers with information on the design and functions of low standard roads used for agriculture, resource management, residential access and recreation; provide tools for evaluating the conditions and environmental impacts of existing roads; introduce landowners to practices that may be used to improve existing roads and eliminate problems; and, outline procedures for maintaining roads to reduce potential for failure or impaired functioning especially in the aftermath of the Rim Fire.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

15 Years for Kids: First 5 Amador – Ready, Set, Grow!

First 5 has been investing in California’s young children for 15 years. Approved by voters in 1998, Proposition 10 builds on research showing investments in the first five years of life produce significant results for children – as future students, parents, and workers.
Research from varied disciplines, including neuroscience, child development, and economics, continues to show that children's earliest experiences -- both positive and adverse -- directly influence how their brains develop and whether they grow up healthy, prepared for school and successful later in life.
Locally, First 5 Amador has invested more than $5 million to create effective and essential services for our county's youngest residents.  Thanks to Proposition 10, which created First 5 commissions in every California county to respond to local needs and invest in local solutions, our children are getting a better start at life.
First 5 is transparent, accountable, and cost-effective with an emphasis on local control that allows each county to identify their particular needs to prioritize services for children.

Thank you to the many families, organizations, and individuals in Amador County that are part of the success of improving the lives of our youngest!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FACL Book Drive Scheduled for September 14

Jackson, CA.  Do you have some nice books taking up room on your bookshelf? If so, why not sort through them and donate some to the Friends of the Amador County Library (FACL). The Friends is holding a book drive at its book storage facility behind the old courthouse in Jackson, 42A Summit Street:

Saturday, September 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Every year the group collects books from generous donors throughout the county and then sells them to raise money for the county library. Books collected at this book drive, along with other books donated throughout the year, will be on sale at the Friends’ Fall book sale, November 1-3, 2013.

Because of the Friends’ successful book sales and fund raisers, the non-profit organization has been able to contribute significantly to the library, enabling the purchase of new books, e-books, online resources, and other important library services.

“We couldn’t do what we do for the library without the generous donations from so many Amadorians,” said Sandy Sullivan, president of the Friends board of directors. “I hope everyone who loves books will help us continue to support our excellent county library.”

For those who have books to donate but who can’t make the book drive, FACL has set up donation boxes at the following locations:

• El Dorado Savings Bank, 460 Hwy 49, Sutter Creek
• Bank of Amador, 422 Sutter St., Jackson
• Bank of Amador, 26395 Buckhorn Ridge Road, Pioneer
• Clark's Corner, 12 West Main, Ione
• Pokerville Market, 18170 State Highway 49, Plymouth

Gently read books and lightly used audio-visual materials are requested.   The Friends cannot accept donations of books in poor condition, manuals or magazines, or VHS and cassette tapes. If you have major donations of books and can't make it to the book storage or the other drop off locations, please contact us at 267-0855 and someone will pick up your donations.

All donations to the nonprofit organization are tax deductible. Monetary contributions are always appreciated and can be sent to FACL, PO Box 701, Jackson CA 95642, or can be made online at

Friday, August 30, 2013

Registration for EGUSD Virtual Academy closes on September 10

Registration for the Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) Virtual Academy will close on Tuesday, September 10.  Current registration is for kindergarten through 8th grade students for the 2013-2014 school year. The online academy is open to students living in Sacramento, Amador, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Placer, San Joaquin, Solano, Sutter and Yolo counties.

The EGUSD Virtual Academy offers an innovative learning experience for the 21st century student. This free online academy allows students in kindergarten through 8th grade to experience teaching and learning from virtually anywhere a computer will take them. All courses are aligned to the State of California’s standards and benchmarks and have a strong emphasis on building skills and critical thinking.

Each EGUSD Virtual Academy student has an individualized plan for his or her course of study. Student learning is guided by Elk Grove Unified teachers. Students have access to their teachers in person, online and by email. Parents play a critical role as learning coaches in the EGUSD Virtual Academy to support their students’ learning.

Registration materials can be downloaded at or picked up at the Las Flores High School campus at 5900 Bamford Drive, Sacramento. 

For more information about the EGUSD Virtual Academy, contact (916) 399-9890, email or visit

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Newsletter: Friends of the Amador County Library

Click on the link below to view the newsletter:

Book Drive .... September 14 .... 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Bring your gently used books to the FACL book storage room at 42A Summit, behind the old courthouse. These books are needed for our Next Book Sale November 1-3 at the American Legion Hall in Sutter Creek.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cyberbullying Presentation - Wed Sept 4

A Cyberbullying Presentation with Mary Kay Hoal will be September 4, at Amador High School gym at 7pm.  She is the go-to family online safety expert for millions of parents. Everyone is encouraged to attend and become better informed on this subject. It is presented by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission of Amador County.  

Cyberbullying Presentation Summary
Over the course of 90 minutes, Mary Kay Hoal will address the topic of cyberbullying in a way that will allow both parents and their children to walk away with an understanding of what it is, how to deal with it when it happens, and how to prevent it from happening at all. Attendees will also see a 45-minute special screening of Submit the Documentary, a documentary that delves into cyberbullying and examines the affect it has on youth on a national level. After the screening and presentation, Mary Kay will open the floor for the audience to ask questions for a period of 15 minutes. 
Mary Kay Hoal Bio
Mary Kay Hoal is a nationally recognized family online safety expert. She is a mother of five children ranging in age from 8 - 21 years old. She is the founder and president of Yoursphere Media Inc., which focuses on the family and publishes the award-winning social network,, and the Internet and social networking safety resource site Mary Kay has been profiled on CNN, BBC, E!, Fox & Friends, Lifetime TV, ABC 20/20 and is a contributor to ABC News and is published on Yahoo! Shine, Dr., and many other family-focused sites. She is the go-to family online safety expert for millions of parents. In addition, she has provided legal expert witness work and speaks at various venues with audiences ranging from children, teens and parents.

Monday, August 5, 2013

US Congressman Tom McClintock Featured Speaker at Business/Education Summit - Fri Sept 13

Event Aimed at Building a Network of Stakeholders to Create a Prosperous Economy for Amador County

On Friday, September 13th, local corporations, education and nonprofit organizations will come together, at Thomi’s Banquet Room, 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, to raise awareness of the critical role the business community plays in partnering with schools and other stakeholders to support the learning needs of students and develop Amador’s future workforce.

This event is sponsored by the Amador Community College Foundation and will feature US Congressman, Tom McClintock speaking on “Education as the Driver for Economic Vitality” and Supervisor John Plasse presenting, “Local Solutions for Higher Education.”  A question and answer session will follow.  $10.00 donation at the door includes buffet lunch. 

“Because companies provide careers that are the basis for prosperity, they are the ones who can still persuasively say to students, if you work hard in school, careers and success will follow,”‖ said Supervisor Plasse, who serves as Board Chair of the Amador Community College Foundation.  “Our intention for the business/education summit is to further the conversation about what companies can do to help young people succeed educationally and economically.”

ACCF invites leaders in business, education and community organizations together at the Business/Education Summit to solicit input on Amador’s needs for workforce training and to begin to forge businesses /education networks that lead to increasing the chances for students to complete high school and successfully transition into postsecondary education and career pathways. 

Email Karen Dickerson  to reserve lunch.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Michael Bilbrey elected as California School Employees Association President

Bilbrey is CSEA’s 44th president since 1927

Michael Bilbrey was elected today as the new California School Employees Association President. Bilbrey, a bookstore operations coordinator at Citrus Community College in Glendora, is the 44th association president since 1927.

“It is my distinct honor and privilege to lead this great association,” Bilbrey said. “As we move forward with rebuilding California public schools and reclaiming the California Dream, I will continue to work to improve the lives of our 208,000 members, the 6 million students we serve and the 38 million residents of our great state.”

Delegates at CSEA’s 87th Annual Conference also elected Ben ValdepeƱa as the association’s First Vice President. ValdepeƱa is a lead custodian at Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District. Delores Rodriguez, a special education secretary with Corona Norco Unified School District, was elected CSEA Second Vice President; and Kerry Woods, a senior records clerk with Fullerton Joint Union High School District, was elected CSEA Secretary.

The California School Employees Association is the largest classified school employees union in the United States, representing more than 208,000 school support staff throughout California.

CSEA members perform a wide range of essential work in our public schools and community colleges, including security, food services, office and clerical work, school maintenance and operations, transportation, academic assistance and paraeducator services, library and media assistance, computer services and more.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Amador Learning Center Awarded $2500 Ethyl Grant

The Ethyl Grant program from the Foundation for Rural Education and Development awarded the Amador Community College Foundation a $2500 grant for computer equipment recently. 

The Ethyl Grant provides matching funds to rural communities that are involved with projects aimed at bettering their communities. The grants, ranging from $500 - $2,500 are awarded throughout the year.  An estimated $10,000 in funding is available in 2013.

Volcano Telephone Company nominated the Amador Community College Foundation for a $2500 Ethyl Grant from the Foundation for Rural Education and Development for the procurement of computer equipment for the Amador Learning Center.  This much needed equipment will be used with matching funds from the Amador Community College Foundation to access community college level distance education to our rural County in the Amador Learning Center. 

In endorsing our program, President Sharon Lundgren stated that “Volcano Telephone considers ACCF as a valuable asset to our community and has provided employee time in technology consultation and Board of Director Service for many years.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

First 5 Amador: July News & Announcements

Header 2011
Investing in Our Youngest Children
Healthy Social, Emotional & Physical Development 
Early Learning * Quality Care * Family Support
July 2013
Rethink Your Drink

Find us on Facebook 
Upcoming Events     

Thursday, June 6
Detert Park, Jackson
(The Toddler Playgroup will be here that day instead of Pine Grove.)

Kindergarten Bridge Program
Mondays - Thursdays
All 6 elementary schools.

Summer Reading Program
Reading is Delicious

For other events, please visit our Calendar

potter the otter
Tip of the Month
 "Drink Water for thirst, and you should know, water is healthy. It helps you grow!"

Potter's Tips
 * Drink water when you are thirsty - it's the best choice

*Fill a pitcher with water and add fresh fruit slices for more flavor (see below!) 

*Limit juice to 4 to 6 ounces per day (less than 1 juice box), even 100% fruit juice contains sugar and should be limited

*Prevent tooth decay - don't put soda or juice in a baby bottle or sippy cup

*Drink low-fat or skim milk with meals - it will help your bones and teeth grow

For more ideas about rethinking your drink, please visit the following websites:
BanPac - Bay Area Nutrition & Physical Activity Collaborative

Thank you to First 5 Santa Clara for these great resources!  
Fun Water!
(That's healthy!)

Fresh fruit infused waters are easy to make. Slice up some fruit, veggies, or herbs & place them in a pitcher, add cold water, and chill for a few hours. Pour over ice, garnish with a piece of fruit and enjoy.

Some fruits you might want to try alone or in combination with other fruits:

Click on the image to open and print out some great recipe ideas!   

Join Our Mailing List

Find us on Facebook

Ready...Set...Grow!                                                                    Volume 31 
News & Announcements

Rethink Your Drink

Did you know that a regular sized juice box (6 oz.) has 4  
teaspoons of sugar per box? Or that a small carton of chocolate milk (8 oz.) has as much as 7 teaspoons?
 rethink your drink poster

Sugar beverages have been linked to several severe health problems such as obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Studies show that an average 4 year old eats almost 65 lbs. of added sugar a year, more than 17 teaspoons of sugar each day.

A large number of children as young as age two are drinking one or more sweetened beverages a day. The single biggest source of added sugar in our children's diet comes from these sweetened drinks, which are non-nutritious calories.

The Rethink Your Drink campaign, developed by First 5 Santa Clara, Kaiser Permanente and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, is encouraging families to reduce or eliminate drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.

Rethink Your Drink asks parents and caregivers to choose healthy drinks like water for their children instead of sweetened beverages, sports drinks, juices, or punch. It also encourages children to learn to make these healthier choices for themselves.

Program Spotlight

Potter the Otter Loves to Drink Water
In an effort to provide families important information, First 5  Amador has teamed up with a savvy critter that knows the importance of drinking water.  Potter the Otter is here in Amador County! Through the distribution of books and activities, he is encouraging families to drink water instead of sugary drinks.

 If you are interested in additional information, please contact First 5 Amador at 257-1092.

Here are some free Potter the Otter activities to print out to do at home:
 potter otter poster

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F5 Logo 

First 5 Amador supports and designs programs for
children 0-5 years old and their families.
For more information please visit our website:
or call us at (209) 257-1092. 

Find us on Facebook


As a parent, you are your child's first & most important teacher!
Save money on books for your children--get them for free!  Sign your child up today and start receiving one free book a month from the Imagination Library.  This is a free program, available to all Amador County children 0-4 (from birth until their fifth birthday). 
All you have to do is read to your child! 
For more information click here.