Thursday, March 22, 2018

Every 15 Minutes comes to Amador County High Schools in May

Argonaut High School, Amador High School and Educational Alternatives High School

SUTTER CREEK, CA - On Monday, May 21st, 2018, the California Highway Patrol, in conjunction with the Amador County Juvenile Justice Commission, will be conducting a simulated drunk driving traffic collision as part of the Every 15 Minutes program.  The collision will be staged on the football field at Amador High School at approximately 9:30am.  The mock collision will take place for approximately one hour, and could result in delays on Sutter Ione Road above Amador High School.  During the mock collision there will be a high concentration of emergency vehicles in the area.  We would like to ensure that the public is aware this is a mock emergency incident and no real emergency actually exists.

Every 15 Minutes is a two day program, which demonstrates to high school students the impact drinking and drugged driving has on friends, families, and their community.  The program stresses the importance of making mature decisions and recognizing that their actions effect others besides themselves. The name of the program is based on the fact that every fifteen minutes in the United States, someone is injured or killed in an alcohol-related collision. During the school day on Monday, May 21, selected students from each high school will be removed from their classrooms by the “Grim Reaper” every 15 minutes, and taken to an overnight retreat to demonstrate this statistic.  Traffic collisions are, in fact, the leading cause of death among persons aged 4 through 34.

The first day of the program is highlighted by a simulated traffic collision that will be conducted at Amador High School involving an impaired teenage driver and a fatally injured victim.  Student participants will be carefully selected to include students from Amador, Argonaut, and Educational Alternatives High Schools.  All students from each high school will be present at the crash scene.  The event includes emergency responses from police, fire, ambulance, coroner, public works, and tow truck companies, just as an actual collision would require.

The second day of the Every 15 Minutes program will take place at Argonaut High School in Jackson on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.  A mock funeral assembly will be held at approximately 9:30am at Argonaut High School where the previously mock-dead students will be reunited with their parents, family, and friends.  Students from all high schools will attend the assembly where a video of the previous day’s activities will be shown, and presentations will be made by several guest speakers. Following the assembly will be a reception to provide support services, community engagement, and lunch to all students, staff and volunteers.

This event is conducted by the California Highway Patrol, with support from the Amador County Juvenile Justice Commission, Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians, Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort, Amador Teen Driver, Amador County Probation Department, Nexus Youth & Family Services, Ledger Dispatch, Sutter Creek Fire Department, Sutter Creek Police Department, Jackson Fire Department, Jackson Police Department, Amador County Sheriff’s Office,  State Farm Insurance,  American Legion, Amador County Superior Court, Amador County District Attorney’s Office, Daneri’s Mortuary, Sutter Amador Hospital, Amador County Unified School District, KVGC 1340 and many other community partners and affiliates.

Initial funding for this program is provided through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additional funding is needed to successfully implement this program.

Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians has generously offered to be a Platinum level sponsor for the event.  If you would like more information regarding funding opportunities contact Loraine Davis at or (209)304-5125. 

The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of safety, service, and security to the people of California.

For more information about this program, or other youth prevention activities that are available in our county, contact Nadine at Nexus Youth & Family Services at 257-1980 ext. 102 or email

Monday, March 12, 2018

California Connections Academy @ Ripon Opens Enrollment for 2018-19 School Year

Tuition-free online public school offers flexible option for K-12 students to thrive

RIPON, CA – California Connections Academy @ Ripona tuition-free, virtual public school, announces open enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year. The school, which serves students in transitional kindergarten through 12th grade who reside in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties offers a flexible learning option to meet the needs of the modern student. 

“At Connections Academy, I love that my days are never repetitive and there is always something new to learn,” said Delaney Bagneschi, student at California Connections Academy @ Ripon. “Being able to get in touch with all my teachers when I have subject questions or just questions in general has never been easier.”

Through advanced technology tools and a rigorous curriculum, teachers work closely with students to develop an individualized learning plan, which nurtures their strengths and provides additional support for areas of difficulty. The diverse student body includes competitive athletes with strict training schedules, previously homeschooled students looking for teacher support, and students seeking expanded course offerings, among others.

“It’s our mission to offer students a flexible and high-quality learning option that suits their academic needs,” said Amy Hunt, site administrator at California Connections Academy @ Ripon. “For prospective families, we recommend attending a free online or in-person information session to learn more about virtual school at Connections Academy.”

California Connections Academy enabled prolific alums Mirai Nigasu, Vincent Zhou, Nathan Chen and Karen Chen to chase international ice skating glory at PyeongChang, exemplary of the flexibility the school offers – allowing students to accommodate their schedules around other commitments.

While flexibility and a change in local school options are largely cited as reasons for switching to online school, the benefits of online learning go far beyond that. California Connections Academy provides a high-quality curriculum, which meets rigorous state education standards and state-credentialed teachers who teach a variety of courses, including honors and AP classes, digital technology and career technical courses. In addition, the school offers a variety of UC "a-g" courses including science wet labs, numerous visual and performing arts courses and more.
California Connections Academy also offers students a National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society chapters, and an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program to help students in grades 6-12 prepare for college. Many students also enjoy multiple in-person field trips and special events planned throughout the year where they can socialize offline with staff and fellow students.

For additional information about online education and the enrollment process, the school is hosting online and in-person free information sessions. To learn more about California Connections Academy and begin the enrollment process, visit the school’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, including transitional kindergarten, 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 who meet state residency requirements with the flexibility to learn from anywhere with an internet connection with an innovative curriculum which meets rigorous state education standards. The combination of state-credentialed teachers, a proven curriculum, unique electives, 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, call 800-382-6010 or visit the school’s website.

Friday, March 9, 2018

First 5 Amador - March 2018

As a parent, you are your child's first and most important teacher!
Ready ... Set ... Grow!
March 2018
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Upcoming Events

This month Dad and Me will be building with our hands! Come to the Upcountry Community Center in Pine Grove for a funhands-on day, Saturday, March 31, 10:00am - 12:00pm. 
RSVP to save your spot! (209) 257-1092.

Enroll online, click title/link above.
Strengthening Families - Getting to Know the Protective Factors
Thursday, March 22, 6:00-8:30pm, Sutter Creek
Call (209) 223-1624 to RSVP and for more information.

Vanessa's Life Works
Self-Empowerment Workshops
RSVP at (209) 223-6315
Friday, March 16 - 9:00-12:00, Behavioral Health
Monday, March 19 -  10:00 - 12:00, Tribal TANF
Monday, March 26 - 10:00 - 12:00, Tribal TANF

Thursday, March 22, 5:30-8:00pm
Call 223-1624-ext. 203 to RSVP and if you need child care (free).

Free financial literacy worshop
Thursday, March 8 or Thursday, April 12
Call (209) 223-1485 x243 to RSVP.

Dandelion Days, Saturday and Sunday, March 17th and 18th, Jackson

Celebrate Our Children
Save the Date!
Saturday, April 21, 11:00-2:00, Argonaut High School, Jackson

Ongoing Events:

Grandparent Cafe
Second Wednesday of each month.
Call for location, 223-1624, x204.
Third Wednesday each month, 6:00-7:30pm. 
Call 256-3691 or 257-1092 for more information. 

All Playgroups run from 9:30-11:30am on the following weekdays at the given locations:
Mondays - Camanche 
Tuesdays - Jackson  
First 5 Amador , 975 Broadway
Wednesdays - Ione

March is National Reading Month
Celebrate National Reading Month...even if your child can't read yet!
Even non-readers can celebrate Reading Month. Here are 6 skills to prepare your young child for reading.

Each year at the beginning of March, school children kick off National Reading Month by celebrating the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss. Teachers will design contests, family literacy events, and even pajama & pillow days to provide cozy mornings of uninterrupted reading. With help from Read Across America, their goal is motivating kids to read every day of the year.

But what about the little ones? With a little help, they can enjoy National Reading Month too.

Research findings outlined in a recent report of the National Early Literacy Panel highlight the fact that literacy skills begin to develop at birth. The panel identified a number of early skills that are related to-and may even help predict-a child's later success with reading and writing.
Skills closely related to later success with reading and writing
  • Alphabet knowledge-the ability to name letters and the sounds they make
  • Phonological awareness-the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds of spoken language (such as hear the beginning sound of a word)
  • Rapid letter or number naming-the ability to quickly name letters or numbers
  • Rapid object or color naming-the ability to quickly name random series of colors or objects
  • Phonological memory-the ability to remember spoken information for a short period of time
  • Writing letters or one's own name-the ability to write single letters in isolation, or write their own name
So, even young children who are not yet reading can join in the celebration of National Reading Month. While each child's developmental journey has its own pace, the next section describes how you can help foster these important skills with activities that suit your child's current abilities and interests. And chances are, you and your child already engage in some of these activities!

Activities to Foster Important Early Skills 

Knowing letters and sounds:
  • Sing the Alphabet Song. The number of versions on iTunes alone is testament to its enduring appeal. Have fun singing this familiar tune with different tempos or silly voices (monster voice, tiny mouse voice, robot voice).
  • Hunt for environmental print. Start a game of I-Spy and have your child search for letters prominently displayed on signs, posters, billboards, even cereal boxes.
  • Play with alphabet letters. Pull out the magnets, blocks, puzzles, whatever you have, and name the letters, eventually having your child identify the letter names on his own. It's usually best to introduce letters in alphabetical order, or start with the letters in your child's name. Upper case letters can be easier to tell apart, so they are often introduced first. At the same time, the lower case letters show up more in print, so there are good reasons to include both. Also, help your child match the letters with the sounds they make, along with a familiar word that contains the letter sound.
  • Explore the Starfall website. The ABCs section contains activities designed to help your child learn letter names and sounds.
Playing with the sounds of language:
  • Introduce nursery rhymes and sing-along games. Recite nursery rhymes, play the name game (Mason, Mason, bo bason, bananfana...), check out children's sing-along CDs at the local library, and spark your child's delight in the sounds of language.
  • Enjoy rhyming books. Read aloud and pause at opportune spots, encouraging your child to join in on the rhyming portions of text.
  • Go on a treasure hunt. Help your child search for items in your home that rhyme, or start with the same sound.
  • Tune your child's ears to the rhythm of music. Clap or dance to the beat, or tweak lyrics by substituting new rhyming words, even silly ones. Music provides plenty of natural opportunities for children to appreciate and manipulate the sounds of language.
Remembering what you hear:
  • Read it again...and again. When your child asks for repeated readings of the same book, rejoice! While you may tire of the storyline, your child is gradually memorizing the text and enhancing her listening comprehension. Eventually, you can encourage your child to "read" the story to you, using what she's memorized to retell the tale. You can also have your child retell the story using puppets, or by simply acting it out. Books with predictable, repetitive storylines are a good place to start. 
  • Read and discuss. While younger children benefit from fewer interruptions during reading in order to maintain attention, occasionally ask your child questions about the story and illustrations. Sometimes, repeat your child's response. Other times, expand on what he has said, or make your own responses. This provides your child with a model of how to talk about books and enhances his ability to remember what he's heard.
  • Make up listening games. Implement a version of Simon Says, with one, then two, then three or more verbal instructions to follow (Simon Says, touch your nose; Simon says touch your nose, then jump. Simon Says touch your nose, then jump, then turn around).
Quickly naming letters, numbers, objects, and colors:
  • Play beat-the-clock. Open a book or magazine and have your child point to, and name, as many letters, numbers, objects, or colors as she can in 30 seconds. 
  • Put a new twist on Slap Jack. As with the original version of the game, a deck of cards is divided equally between two players, with the stacks face down. One at a time, each player places the top card of her pile face up in the center of the table, but in this version of the game, the first player to name the number on the top card wins the pile and adds these cards to his own pile. If both players name the number at the same time, neither player gets the pile, and the game continues. Play continues until a player has won all of the cards. Other versions can be played with cards from games such as Memory or Old Maid.
Writing letters, writing your name:
  • Paint with water. Grab a bowl of water and a couple of paint brushes or sponges and "paint" letters on the sidewalk or on a wooden fence.
  • Scribble in the sand. Use fingers or small sticks to draw letters in the sand.
With the assurance that even the youngest children are on the road to reading, here's to embracing March as National Get-Ready-to-Read Month and building on these important foundational skills well beyond March 31st.

Thank you to Leap Frog for this great article!
In honor of Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss' Birthday (which was Friday, March 2). First 5 Amador had a Facebook Contest to win 5 children's books, each! Families posted pictures of their little ones reading (or being read to) on our Facebook page! To make sure you know about any future contests here at First 5, please LIKE us on Facebook!

Dad and Me Every Month!

Celebrate being a dad (or uncle, or grandpa...) every month at our Dad and Me outings, held at fun venues around the county!

This month join us at the Upcountry Community Center in Pine Grove for a fun hands-on morning building with our hands! Enjoy a snack, story-time and a free book to bring home.

Saturday, March 31, 10:00am - 12:00pm.
See the FLYER with all the information.

Save the fourth Saturday of every month for more outings held at fun venues around the county. Story time, a snack and a free book are provided each month!

Upcoming Opportunities 

ASQ Training

How can you give kids the best start in life? 

Are the children in your program at risk for social or emotional difficulties?
We know how critical the first 5 years of life are.
The sooner we catch a delay or disability in a young child, the sooner we can help connect them with services and supports that make a real difference. The Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ/ASQ-SE) are parent-completed developmental and social-emotional screeners used to pinpoint delays as early as possible and can identify any need for further assessment or ongoing monitoring.
Come to a free training to learn all about these valuable screening tools and how to best work with families to ensure every child is getting the best start in life they can get. Receive a free ASQ Kit at the training.

Thursday, March 13, 5:30-8:00 (new date!)
(dinner at 5:30, meeting starts at 6:00)

Call (209) 257-1092 for more information about the training and to RSVP.



Get Involved! 

Would you like to improve the quality of care you offer to children in your family child care home, preschool setting, or other early learning environment?

Give us a call at First 5 and find out about the many resources (and incentives!) available to you, (209) 257-1092.
The Summer Kindergarten Bridge Program is designed for children who will be starting kindergarten in the Fall. First 5 Amador is seeking teachers, and teacher's aides, to serve children at each of these sites.

Dates and times are: Monday - Thursday, 8:00 - 11:30 am, from June 11 through June 28. These positions are ideal for current kindergarten, transitional-kindergarten, or preschool teachers, aides, or students in the Early Childhood Education field. Education and/or experience required.

If interested, please contact First 5 Amador at 257-1092, for an application. All applications are due no later than 2:00 pm on FRIDAY, MARCH 16.

Download the Enrollment FormHERE or in Spanish, HERE.

Priority enrollment deadline is May 11.

Print the flyer HERE, or in Spanish, HERE.
Do you know about Little Free Libraries? 

Little Free Libraries offer a way to share good things to read: books that intrigue, books that teach, books that are fun! Whose libraries are these? They belong to everybody: neighbors, friends, people we don't even know yet. Anyone can use them. That's why we want to take care of them. Share a book: after you read a book, bring it to any Little Free Library, and bring other books from home that you would like to share. Take a book: if you see a book you would like to read, take it, and then bring it back for someone else to read.

Amador County now has over 20 Little Free Libraries in every corner of the county! Print out the map below and find one near you!
Print a map here.

Healthy QUICK TIPS of the MONTH

Rainbow Pot of Gold Fruit Platter

Nothing says Saint Patrick's Day like a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end!

Put this out at the beginning of the day and let your kids snack on healthy fruits all day long. They'll love the idea and they'll enjoy making their way to the pot of gold. Put a bowl of banana slices at the ends of the rainbow, or bowls of yogurt for dipping to be your pot of gold!

Happy snacking!


Here are some fun Spring ideas for kids for National Nutrition Month, Saint Patrick's Day, and the First day of Spring:
  • Help you children keep a daily eating log, making sure they understand the importance of healthy eating
  • Color a Saint Patrick's Day picture
  • Tell Leprechaun stories
  • Help your kids come up with a list of all the reasons they like spring
  • Start some seeds in your yard or in small pots for the house

One day, California's success 
will be measured by the 
well-being of its youngest children.

   ILibaryCalling all children 0 to 5 years of age.   
Join Amador's favorite reading club!
Imagination Library Logo
Over 800 Amador kids and counting! Get free books for your children! Sign your child up today and start receiving one free book every month from the Imagination Library! This is a free program,
available to all Amador County children aged 0-4
(from birth until their 5th birthday).
All you have to do is read to your child!   

                             For more information click here. 
It's Our Job as Adults to Keep Kids Safe

Stay up to date on all the news and information about keeping our kids safe from abuse and neglect. Sign up for the Amador Child Abuse Prevention Council's monthly e-newsletter HERE!
First 5 Amador | (209) 257-1092 |
First 5 Amador supports and designs programs for children 0-5 years old and their Families. 
For more information call us at (209) 257-1092, visit our website,and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
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