In the Spring of 2010, the Coordinating Council for Youth Development in Sonoma (CCYDS), responsible for overseeing and implementing the Sonoma Valley Fund’s Youth Initiative, launched two programs to support the youth of Sonoma Valley. First, the Council recommended that a grant be made to the Sonoma Valley Unified School District to realize its vision of enhancing their summer school program for fifth and eighth graders. At the same time, a CCYDS Summer Activity Support fund was recommended to help Sonoma Valley children participate in summer opportunities. The Sonoma Valley Fund, an affiliate of Community Foundation Sonoma County, tapped into the generosity of several community and business groups and individuals in order to provide the necessary funding.
The curriculum-based study trips the fifth-graders took included a visit to the beach at Pt. Reyes and a marine mammal study seminar at Limantour Beach; a trip to the Egyptian Museum and Technology Museum in San Jose; and a trek to the Asian Art Museum and Chinatown in San Francisco. The eighth-graders went to Sacramento for a state Capitol tour and a UC Davis tour; to the Exploratorium and Santa Rosa Junior College; to Angel Island for an immigration study; and also to Great America for a math and science exploration.
In the Spring of 2011, about 100 children were invited to participate in a special after school program – Adele Harrison Middle School Academy: After School Matters! The students were chosen based on their need for academic improvement in Math and Language Arts and scores on state wide tests. The focus of the Academy was to strengthen the students’ academic proficiency with an emphasis on algebra skills, career pathways, enrichment activities, and engagement in school.
Adele Harrison Middle School, in conjunction with the Sonoma Valley Youth Initiative funded 6 enrichment classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. This was a great opportunity to expand students’ knowledge outside of the classroom and spark interest in lifelong learning. Each enrichment class included a study trip that took place outside of the scheduled school day and academy. Each student chose from amongst the following classes:
The second session of After School Matters completed at Adele Harrison Middle School in May 2011. Students chose from participation in sports teams, or one of four enrichment classes: Culinary; Teens, Community, Action!; Lego Robotics and Criminal Justice as a companion activity to their academic work.
The 2010 Summer School Enhancement program was such a success, the District enthusiastically agreed to collaborate and use the same format in 2011.
The Youth Initiative expanded its Summer 2011 Activity Support to more students this year and is providing enrichment programs to support 175 summer school students entering Middle and High School in the Fall. Both special courses (e.g., Ropes Course) and educational field trips have augmented the District’s Summer School program to the benefit of the kids attending. Trips have included tours of San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, Point Reyes National Park, San Jose’s Tech and Rosicrucian Museums. In addition, the future 9th graders were able to see several college campuses, including: Santa Rosa Junior College, Sacramento State University and UC Davis.