School shorts

Summer is ending, so education-related activities are picking up



There's more to local education than we could ever hope to print in a 64-page newspaper. There's more than we could ever hope to print in even a 1,000-page newspaper. Still, our size relative to the task doesn't stop us from trying.

Here are a few brief looks at topics that didn't get the full story treatment. And remember: There's a lot more out there.

Discover an interest in science
A group of San Luis Obispo County residents believes that the United States is experiencing a crisis in science and technology education. That upper-grade-level students are missing out on related studies. That national science test scores are mediocre at best. That this country is producing a dwindling number of engineers and scientists.

This group also believes that the United States doesn't have to forfeit its position at the top of the global technology market, and help can come from Arroyo Grande.

The Discovery Institute for the Advancement of Science and Technology Education is a nonprofit corporation "dedicated to the improvement of science and technology education through informal learning environments."

To accomplish its goal, the institute has its eyes on a future facility: the Central Coast Discovery Center. The long-term plan is to provide hands-on exhibits, classrooms, a conference center, an IMAX theater, a planetarium/observatory, a sci-tech store, an organic research farm with a restaurant, and more.

Currently, the group is seeking a land donor. In the meantime, the Discovery Institute has focused its gaze on a more down-to-earth approach to kindling interest in science and math.

The Young Scientist Research Conference is scheduled for Nov. 3 at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo.

The event including a banquet will encourage and honor research projects in the county, in categories for students ranging from junior-high explorers to graduate researchers.

Students will be selected based on an application process, due by Sept. 8. According to the group's web site chosen participants "will conduct original research to discover new knowledge under the guidance of mentor scientists and teachers. Each student will prepare a poster outlining his or her research and make a short presentation during the banquet."

A panel of teachers and scientists will judge the research and select the winners, who will each receive a scholarship and savings bond.

The institute is still looking for contributors to sponsor students for $90 each, which includes dinner for two at the event.

For more information, call 481-0037 or e-mail

No student should ever go hungry
On August 1, San Luis Coastal Unified School District announced its policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. Each school and the district office has a copy of the policy available for public view.

Eligibility is determined by household size and income. Children who receive food stamps, California Work and Responsibility to Kids assistance, Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations benefits are automatically eligible for free meals, regardless of their household's income.

Eligibility for a foster child is based on a separate application and solely on the amount of the child's "personal use" income.

Local households should receive application forms that outline the program's availability. Applications are also available in each school's principal's office and may be submitted at any time during the school year.

Interested in childcare or education?
The San Luis Obispo County Child Care Planning Council announced in late July that it's accepting applications for new members who live and/or work in San Luis Obispo County and are interested in children's early care and education. Successful applicants will be appointed to a two-year term beginning in January 2007.

The council seeks to advocate for childcare funding and legislation, promote quality childcare standards in private and public programs, ensure a large and stable childcare workforce, and promote a community understanding of and commitment to the early care and education needs of local children and families.

Planning council members are consumers, who receive childcare services or received them in the last 36 months providers, who offer childcare services or represent people who do public-agency members, who represent a city, a county, both, or a local education agency community members, who represent an agency or business that provides or advocates for private funding for childcare services through participation in civic or community-based organizations and discretionary members, who represent any of the categories or not at the discretion of the appointing agencies.

For more information or an application, contact Carol L. Capito at 782-7280 or


Everything old is new again
What would a back-to-school issue be without some mention of fashion?

Prime Outlets in Pismo Beach reported that its retailers are hoping that the leggings, cinched waists, bold prints, and bulky sweaters of the '80s will appeal to a new generation of teen customers.

Yes, shimmery T-shirts, skin-tight pants, and ankle-length booties could be making a comeback in this very county.

Is an electric musical renaissance in the works as well? If you hear strains of Bananarama echoing through local hallowed halls of learning, blame the clothiers.

Editor Ryan Miller can be reached at



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