Green Technical Education and Employment employs youth over the summer to increase local access to healthy foods through use of an aquaponics system.
Regardless where they are, one thought plagues the minds of most aspiring principals in the nation: How can I improve my school by decreasing out-of-school suspensions?
Unlike other suspendable offenses, are as difficult to define as willful defiance. Carl Pinkston, a member of the Sacramento-based Black Parallel School Board, summarizes willful defiance as to “Willfully def(y) an authority (e.g. teacher, principals, SRO’s and school personnel) to perform their duty.”
“A student comes into class late, wearing clothing that displeases(s) the school official, non respons(ive) to a question, rolling of eyes, dropping of pencil, etc,” explains Pinkston. “In fact, it’s a question of implicit bias of authority view of a student and the failure of classroom management.”
While the subjective nature of willful defiance continues to confuse school administrators across the country, one New Jersey school seems to have found their own creative solution.
The Yorkship Family School in Camden, New Jersey has restructured some classrooms into “calm rooms”–typically used as safe spaces for anxious students–a type of group counseling room where students who are sent out of class on grounds of willful defiance can communicate their problems and learn how to better handle their frustrations in the classroom.
“After looking at the number of students being suspended at such a young age, sent home for misbehaviors in the classroom and decided that we weren’t approaching the whole child,” Linda Brown-Bartlett said in an interview with NewsWorks. “So we created this calming room which is a safe space where students can come if they’re anxious or agitated (or) starting to loose control…we’ve changed the question when they come into the calming room as to not ‘What did you do?’ but ‘How did this happen? What’s going on?’ and trying to make it a little more personal for the child.”
So if one school was able to decrease suspensions with this method, should California schools implement calm rooms as well?
“No,” says Pinkston. “It’s a very old approach to the wrong problem. First of all, Restorative Justice practices and (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports)attempts to address the underlin(ed) cause of the student acting out and develop a strategy to restore the harm done. A calming room, let(s) the student settle down, but no one in authority ask the student the fundamental question – Why?”
These two differing views on how to handle willful defiance, directing more focus on the student or the environment, are considerable input for principals who want to consider the benefits of implementing calm rooms in their schools.
According to Homeland Security, the estimated total of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. is between 8-12 million people. California alone is home to around 2 million; that’s 1 in 5 of all undocumented immigrants living in the Golden State. With that large number of people living in the United States, one might think that our government would want to provide support for our undocumented neighbors.
Many undocumented immigrants, specifically undocumented students, face many challenges as they move through the education system in the U.S. Many undocumented students fear that they could get separated from their families due to deportation when at school.
This issue has caught the eye of some very important people. The Sacramento City Unified School District recently declared their schools as safe havens. That means that students are allowed on campus without fear of federal agencies like ICE from entering school premises in search of undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented students also lack the accessibility to federal financial aid, making college harder to attend. State-level financial aid is available, though many undocumented students find it fearful to share very personal information with the government.
“I was lucky to be able to be born in the U.S. but for friends and family, a lot of them are undocumented,” said Angel Perez, a soon-to-be college student. “I will be going to college in the fall but I know some of my friends aren’t due to a lack of federal help.”
In California, there is a new rising wave of support for undocumented students that continues to grow. Free legal services at most UC campuses are offered through support from the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, and in-state tuition support at public universities through Assembly Bill 540.
One of the many topics that Californians are pushing for is keeping the public-at-large, specifically undocumented students, aware of the information on how to keep moving forward in the education system as an immigrant. It is also on the forefront of many resident’s minds to help students from the constant pressures that surround them.
Between May 6th and 8th, Sacramento was once again was the host of the #freeourdreams Youth Conference. Formerly known as Sisters and Brothers at the Capitol, the event’s name was changed to Free Our Dreams and has become an annual event which is organized by PolicyLink and Movement Strategy Center. Over 250 youth stormed upon the California State Capitol to hold over 100 legislative visits with lawmakers. Topics of interest for discussion included issues about health, safety, and the future success of young people.
The overall purpose of Free Our Dreams is to make sure that the power of the youth voice is one that is strong and to use that power to help change and advance policies and narratives that affect the neighborhoods of the youth by organizing a statewide effort at the State Capitol.
Youth were transported by bus from cities all over California from places like Bakersfield, San Diego, Stockton, Los Angeles and more. Participants were asked to spread the word and to hashtag #freeourdreams on social media accounts. They went to workshops to learn more about the planned march, social injustices and how they can help to overcome them. They took part in legislative training and preparation for their visits At the end of the first full day of events was a “Block Party” where the participants made their own signs for the march and rally, took advantage of a photo booth and got involved in other art and craft activities.
May 8th was the day that the participants were preparing for. The youth boarded their buses and traveled to the capitol with their signs and banners, displaying #freeourdreams. Participants lined up and began to march around the capitol before heading to the Sacramento California Endowment office where they would finish by hearing speeches from senators and youth participants. From there, the legislative visits began. Youth from Bakersfield-based South Kern Sol spoke on SB 68, a senate bill that extends in-state tuition for undocumented students at CSUs and community colleges. They met Ellen Cesaretti, a representative for Assemblymember Dante Acosta. They also spoke about SB 607 which aims to end suspensions for willful defiance.
“At first I felt really thrilled and then I became nervous,” said Jocelyn Cuevas, a participant with South Kern Sol. “I knew I had to be outside my shell.”
After a long weekend of preparation and work, the legislative visits concluded and the participants returned home in their buses. For many participants, the Free Our Dreams event was a fun and unique experience.
“I was sad when it was done,” said Nichole Castillo, a youth participant with Mid-City CAN. “It was a really great and fun opportunity. I got to meet and bond with other sites. I wasn’t ready to go back home. Not yet.”
Accesslocal.tv sat in on the Sacramento Youth Town Hall on May 13th and was able to get an exclusive interview with Sacramento’s Mayor, Darrel Steinberg.
This year for me has been accomplishing and exciting as I am approaching graduation and my time with Access Sacramento has come to an end. My time with Access Sacramento being a Neighborhood News Correspondent was amazing. Coming into this new experience I did, in fact, have some previous knowledge working in broadcasting from internships, and production assistant jobs. But my time as News Correspondent allowed me to gain hands-on experience that I couldn’t get anywhere else. As soon as I was hired we were given a camera bag with all the equipment needed to be a good reporter. Our first meeting we each individually were given our own story leads and from there it was up to us to make a story come to life. This was my first experience where I was allowed to have free will to tell a story my way. What I learned as reporters the world listens and watches you, expecting the story you
As soon as I was hired we were given a camera bag with all the equipment needed to be a good reporter. Our first meeting we each individually were given our own story leads and from there it was up to us to make a story come to life. This was my first experience where I was allowed to have free will to tell a story my way. What I learned as reporters the world listens and watches you, expecting the story you weave to be honest and truthful. The stories I have been able to tell throughout the city of Sacramento have been unbelievable. I underestimated the love and eagerness for engagement of the community people had for Sacramento. Every community event, free health clinic, or protest all demonstrated the unity and beauty of the people who live in these communities.
There have been many assignments that stood out for me throughout my eight months with Access Sacramento. However, there were two in particular that I will remember the most because they have turned out to be some of my best packages I have made. One of my first few assignments was an Oak Park Free Healthy Clinic. That day I watched hundreds of people show up in get support in getting free glasses, dental work, and medication. While I was there I interviewed so many people from attendees and staff. What surprised me the most was that people all over the world would volunteer to come help the people of the Sacramento area. It was a humbling experience and my job was to tell a story that highlighted this wonderful event. The second story I believe challenged my reporting skills due to the fact it was such a shocking story. My job was to cover a hate crime that took place on two local black businesses in the heart of Sacramento neighborhoods. The crime itself was shocking but, how the community responded touched my heart. The next day after the crime was committed local neighbors and businesses gathered in support of the victims by protesting and buying food in support of small black-owned businesses and demonstrating that this behavior won’t be tolerated.
With the guidance of the editor at Access Sacramento, I have learned so much about how to craft enticing social media chatter and how to be a better journalist. Going from a college intern to a respected Neighborhood News Correspondent was quite a leap, and I have found that publishing my work on a local platform is more rewarding than I could have guessed. I’m thankful for time and skill’s that I have gained at Access Sacramento. This program that Isaac Gonzalez runs is a rare platform for youth. This program allows young people the support hands-ons on skills that are needed to not only be successful within the broadcasting field but to also be a contributing member in society. As I move on to the next chapter in my life; I am confident in my skills and ability to conquer adversity thanks to the help of the Neighborhood News Correspondent position.
Ever since I started working for AccessLocal.TV as a Neighborhood News Correspondent, I began to see and overcome obstacles that would have definitely slowed me down in life. I have learned technical skills, personal skills, and workforce skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Using a video editor was not new to me, but I’ve never worked with the equipment that AccessLocal.TV provided us. I find it important to be well versed in technological know-how, and in my opinion, the more equipment you become familiar with, the better.
Working with the iPod and iMovie was interesting, and a lot simpler than the equipment I worked with in the past. It produced good footage, and the videos were easy enough to make. My first introductional video is amateurish, going back and watching it now. Comparing it to my latest video about Yisrael Farms is a huge difference. I can see major growth from then to now, and it makes me happy to know that my skills have improved so much within a few months.
Aside from the technical knowledge I’ve gained, I also learned a great deal in talking with people. I wouldn’t say I was shy, but I was definitely more reserved. It was difficult for me to walk up to people and ask for interviews. But, of course, working as a reporter, I had to get over that quickly. I started talking to people at events I went to so I could get used to just talking. After a chat, I’d ask them for an interview. Now I feel I have become a better conversationalist, and I’ve been applying my skills to my work as well as personal life.
Towards the beginning months, I had feared “getting in the way” of people. I didn’t like taking shots in front of crowds and during meetings or lectures because I feared I was being intrusive or disruptive. It didn’t take long for my boss, Isaac, to notice this, and he and my co-workers gave me reassurance in my ability, and in my press-pass to get the shots I wanted.
Working for AccessLocal.TV news has been an overall wonderful experience. Although I had a rocky start, my skills improved with the help of my boss and co-workers. I cannot thank them enough for all I have learned from them. I feel more confident as a worker, and as a person, and I owe it all to AccessLocal.TV, and the wonderful people working for it.
AccessLocal proved to be a much richer and more multifaceted experience than the simple news job I took it for at first. I learned this at our first meeting, when instead of stepping into the sophisticated and austere television studio I was interviewed in, I found myself sitting at a table of journalists my age with EDM playing in the background. This environment wasn’t to be mistaken as lax, I quickly learned, but rather a professional environment for a discussion designed to make the news correspondents feel at ease enough to discuss stories and relevant topics comfortably as they would outside of a ‘job’. My wonderful boss, Isaac Gonzalez, led the assignment sections and relevant discussions with a calm tone, maintaining the balance between professional and colloquial.
The first project alone sent me into the deep end of filming, editing and writing an article on a deadline with only the bare essential tools to guide me: a short tutorial video playlist for filming, iMovie and basic journalism tactics, an iPod touch equipped with iMovie, and a microphone and camera attachments to make a viable filming device. The prompt was simply: what is your community?
While I was pleased with the result, the process of making the video was a complete disaster. I spent half a day figuring out iMovie and planning the clip arrangements for the final product. I submitted my report right on the nose of the deadline and wished I had more of a plan going into the project to better know what I was doing.
These steps were absolutely critical to my progress as a Neighborhood News Correspondent. I learned more from arranging my friends to talk about what they thought about our community and the first 30 minutes of tampering with iMovie than I did in the whole hour of tutorial videos that were the entirety of my education in journalism.
I’m beyond grateful for the independent and self-reliant method of learning that Isaac and AccessLocal based the program on. In four months I’ve gone to city hall meetings, an art exhibition and an art workshop, a protest at the state capital, and even a gun show where I pressed tough questions to a reclusive and closed audience. If the program would have spent all that time on the textbook approach of teaching me how to film, how not to film, who to film, what to focus on and so on, I would never have really learned how to film in the way I did. I picked all of these skills up through doing the work assigned to me, and Isaac was always there to give advice and strategies if I was unsure. I now know how to cover stories confidently and have months of experience doing so. The paychecks were gravy on top of what I’ve gained from all of this.
I could not recommend AccessLocal more to anyone interested in journalism, writing, filming, debate or even public-speaking. Whether or not I choose to pursue journalism as a career, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity I was provided and the valuable, interdisciplinary skills I gained. I would like to thank my coworkers: the outgoing and amiable Levi Harvey, the quietly confident and ever-friendly Ivan Caballero, the understated and brilliant Dominique Mejia, the bold, hilarious and completely unique Bruce Tran, and most of all my boss, the attentive, caring, engaging and one-of-a-kind Isaac Gonzalez. I would also like to thank Gary Martin from our parent company for seeing something to let me into this amazing program. Good luck future Neighborhood News Correspondents!
On April 5th, restaurant chain Panera Bread unveiled a new line of low-sugar and sugar-free drinks as well as a chart detailing information about the calorie sugar content of all of their self-serve drinks.
In a recent ad that appeared in the Washington Post, Panera Bread founder and CEO Ron Shaich writes: “our goal is not to dictate what you drink, it’s to be transparent and provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice.”
The chart places their drinks on a range of unsweetened to fully sweetened, beginning with iced black tea and the new plum ginger hibiscus tea and ending with regular soft drinks.
The “Medium Sweetened” tier of drinks below soft drinks contain up to 34 grams of sugar, less than half as many as the potential 75 grams of regular soft drinks, while the “Lightly Sweetened” tier of drinks between “Medium Sweetened” and “Unsweetened” tiers contains 0 grams of sugar and is only sweetened through the fruit juice base of the drinks. Teaspoons of sugar are shown on the illustrated cups to provide an easy and visual point of reference for the sugar content of each drink type.
Panera Bread has become one of the first major restaurant chains to voluntarily display the sugar and calorie content of drinks. While a recent FDA regulation requires prepackaged foods and beverages to display health information including sugar content in a special nutrition information box, there is no similar regulation for restaurants or fast-food chains.
Despite the lack of restrictions on restaurants to display health information about drinks, Panera Bread calls for competing companies to follow the same practice in the aforementioned ad:
“[…] we challenge the beverage and restaurant industries to join us in this effort,” writes Shaich. “Whether you choose soda or lemonade, you deserve to know what’s in your cup and how it affects your health.”
The new “clean” drinks contain no preservatives or artificial sweeteners and include agave lemonade, plum ginger hibiscus tea as well as green tea. The signs were put on display in each of the over 2,000 Panera Bread locations across the country.
Recently, Chanowk Yisrael gave a presentation about how climate change can effect the food we eat, as well as how carbon foot-printing can change what we eat. He wants to draw more people into farming the correct way, that isn’t damaging to the environment.