Focus on Education - November 2023

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Focus on Education - Dr. César Morales, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools

November 2023

Focus on Education provides news about Ventura County public schools for families and educators. It is published by the Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE).

Logo Contest Winners Selected


We're excited to announce the winners of the annual logo design contest for the Ventura County Office of Education's academic competitions. The logos for the Academic Decathlon, Battle of the Books, and Science Fair were chosen from among 166 entries submitted by students throughout the county.

Academic Decathlon

Andres Magana, Grade 9

Santa Paula High School

Santa Paula Unified School District

Academic Decathlon logo

Battle of the Books

Olivia Romero, Grade 3

Mesa Union School

Mesa Union School District

Battle of the Books logo

Mock Trial

Ella Ochoa, Grade 12

Channel Islands High School

Oxnard Union High School District

Mock Trial logo

Science Fair

Angie Mota, Grade 11

Fillmore High School

Fillmore Unified School District

Science Fair logo


The honor of designing the 2024 Mock Trial logo went to Ella Ocha from Channel Islands High School, who placed first in the nation for her courtroom drawings in last year's Mock Trial.


The selected logos will be prominently displayed on promotional and informational materials for these high-profile competitions and will be featured on commemorative pins for each event. Congratulations to these amazing student artists!

Science fair participant

Call for Volunteers!

You can be a part of these wonderful academic competitions by serving as a volunteer. We need judges, proctors, and moderators for the Academic Decathlon, Battle of the Books, and Science Fair. Click here to learn more about volunteering.

Oxnard College campus

Easing the Path to a College Degree


Imagine graduating from high school with most of the credits you need to earn a college degree or certificate. More Ventura County students will have that opportunity thanks to a growing partnership between local high schools and community colleges. We’re teaming up to expand dual enrollment programs that allow students to take college courses while still in high school. 


A first-of-its-kind meeting presented earlier this month by the Ventura County Office of Education and the Ventura County Community College District laid the groundwork for this expansion. The goal is to offer more college-level courses on high school campuses during the school day and to assist high school students who want to take college courses on their own time.


By reducing the financial and logistical barriers to a college education, we will ensure that more students achieve their dream of earning a college degree. 

Hackathon by the Sea graphic

Overnight Coding Event for Students


Students will be staying up all night working on high-tech projects at the 2024 Hackathon by the Sea. At this fun, free event, teams of high schoolers put their heads together to create apps and websites that address problems in our community and our world.


After burning the midnight oil, they will present their projects in a Shark Tank-type competition in hopes of winning the top prize. The Hackathon kicks off on Friday, January 19, 2024, in Camarillo and registration is now open at


The Hackathon would not be possible without the generous local educators and industry experts who volunteer as mentors and judges. To find out how you can become a Hackathon volunteer, click here.

Students at the VCOE Youth Mental Health Conference

Youth Mental Health in the Spotlight

“Speaking up about your problems is okay, and keeping them in can hurt.” That’s how one student summed up their experience at the recent VCOE Youth Mental Health Conference.


Students heard from Music Notes, who put their mental health message to music. One of the other highlights was a session led by Oxnard High School students who are interested in mental health careers. They did an amazing job teaching strategies for enhancing emotional well-being to their fellow students. 


In a post-event survey, nearly all the students who responded said they are now better informed about how to get help and more confident about speaking up regarding their mental health.

Central Coast K-16 Regional Collaborative graphic

New $18M Grant for Career Pathways


Ventura County students are going to have increased opportunities to find rewarding careers thanks to a new grant from the state. 

The $18.1 million grant was recently awarded to the Central Coast K-16 Regional Collaborative, which includes the Ventura County Office of Education. The collaborative spans six counties and is made up of leaders from K-12 public schools, community colleges, and universities. 


Over the next three years, the collaborative will work to enhance pathways that lead from high school to higher education and rewarding careers. By working together at all levels of the education system, the collaborative will ensure that more students have the opportunity to achieve their goals and realize their dreams.

Ventura County's Early Childhood Workforce is Focus of New Report

The Early Care and Education Workforce of Ventura County report cover

The people who provide child care and early education for our youngest children play a vital role in our community, but their work comes with a host of challenges. A new report from UC Berkeley takes an in-depth look at what's working and what could be improved for Ventura County's early childhood workforce.


Among the report's findings is that home-based child care centers haven't fully recovered from losses that came with the COVID-19 pandemic. They're also facing added competition as more schools offer the new transitional kindergarten grade level.


The report was prepared by the UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Child Care Employment and sponsored by the Ventura County Office of Education and the Local Planning Council of Ventura County. We invite you to read it at this link.

VCOE Equity Conference graphic

Save the Date: 2024 Equity Conference


Now in its fourth year, the upcoming VCOE Equity Conference will explore vital issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion in Ventura County public schools.


The March 12 event will feature a wide variety of workshops on increasing opportunities and removing obstacles for students from marginalized communities. New this year is a professional development day for educators that will be held the day before the conference on March 11.


Registration will be opening soon, and the Save the Date announcement is available now at

People attending a seminar

Upcoming Events and Workshops

The Ventura County Office of Education and its partners present a wide variety of workshops and events for educators, students, and community members. Some upcoming offerings are below, and you can browse our full calendar of events at

Autism Conference:

Sharpen Your Prompting Skills

For parents/caregivers and professionals

December 13, 2023



Transition to Adult Life

For parents and caregivers of students with disabilities

January 23, 2024



Ventura County Dual Language Summit

Elevating Cultural Roots Through Biliteracy & World Languages

February 9, 2024



Investigating Inclusion

Exploring Best Practices to Support Young Learners

February 10, 2024

See the Full Calendar of Events
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