Superintendent’s Update – January 2020

Community Events In January

January 8. Michael Paynter, Robyn McKeen, and Faris Sabbah hosted a convening in Watsonville of over 100 stakeholders to begin designing more integrated systems to meet the behavioral health needs of our students.

Dr Faris Sabbah & Jason BorgenTitan of Tech

January 8. Debi Bodenheimer, Sage Leibenson, and Faris Sabbah joined Jason Borgen as he was honored as a Titan Of Tech by Santa Cruz Works. When he received his award, Jason highlighted the COE’s vision for technology and innovation across Santa Cruz County.

January 13. Faris Sabbah visited Scotts Valley High School as they were providing the “Safe and Sound” training to tudents to bring awareness in our fight against Human Trafficking.

January 13 & 16. Faris Sabbah conducted interviews on KSQD and KSCO to discuss the new and ongoing efforts of the County Office of Education to support students achieve and thrive.

Dr Faris Sabbah & Graduates
January 14. County Superintendent of Schools, Faris Sabbah joined students prior to their graduation ceremony.

Upcoming Events

January 21. COE Strategic Plan Event, Watsonville

January 24. Santa Cruz County Civics Summit

January 28. COE Strategic Plan Event, MAH, Santa Cruz

February 20. County Board of Education Meeting

County Board Action

This month, the Santa Cruz County Board of Education will The Board will hold an Inter-District Transfer Appeal Hearing and consider the following resolutions for

  • Resolution #20-01 in Support of CA Prop 13
  • Resolution #20-02 in Support of SCCS
    Measures T and U

Division Updates

Educational Services

The Educational Services Department is hard at work reflecting on accomplishments from 2019 and making plans for 2020 and forward. One goal for the department is to create a comprehensive professional development plan that will include input from other departments, such as Student Services.

We’ll do this to ensure that all of our school districts are getting the tailored support that they need, for both academic and social-emotional needs of our students. Ongoing department work continues with our Counselor Academy, upcoming County Wide Science Initiative (CSI) session #2 in February, and support for districts with the new LCAP template.

The department is looking forward to representing all of our services and student events at Delivering on Our Promise: Santa Cruz COE’s Strategic Plan For Education events in January.

Career Technical Education Partnership (CTEP)

On Friday, January 10th the Career Technical Education Partnership (CTEP) was invited to present to the Santa Cruz Rotary Club. While presenting general services offered by CTEP, the career preparation services provided specifically to the Sheriff’s Corrections was highlighted. CTEP and Sheriff’s Corrections staff provided personal testimonials on how incarcerated student’s lives are being affected in a positive way.

Alternative Education


The CAC and our Court and Community Schools (CCS) will be celebrating our mid-year graduates this month. The CAC, throughout all of its sites, celebrates 50 Graduates from July to January. And our Court and Community Schools celebrate roughly 75 more. Congratulations, Graduates!

Cypress High School

  • Cypress’ next Prospective Student Night is January 30th at 6 p.m. We are enrolling now for students in grades 9-11 and beginning the enrollment process for next year’s 9th grade class.
  • Cypress students recently won the Northern California Regional Ethics Bowl, besting 27 other schools for the title. We are the first public school to ever win! Our students will next compete in the national finals at the University of North Carolina in April.
  • College acceptances are rolling in. Cypress students have been admitted to Reed College, Lewis and Clark, Minneapolis College of Art and Design and Stanford University!

Business Services

Over the past couple of months the Finance Division has worked on analyzing the District’s 1st Interim budgets. We are finalizing them this week. I am happy to report all Districts are “Positive” In addition, we are processing W2’s and 1099’s for the entire County and will wrap that up by month end. The challenge has been combining the two systems of data and ensuring all vendors and elements are accounted for. The staff have been doing an exceptional job. Great work, team!

Human Resources

The Human Resources Department is implementing paperless on-boarding for new COE employees. We are working hard to review and update forms to be more welcoming and inclusive to all identities, and create a more efficient process for new hire paperwork that will reduce the COE’s carbon footprint.