Focus on Education - January 2024

  • 1/23/2024 1:54:00 PM
Focus on Education - Dr. César Morales, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools

January 2024

Para leer en español, haga clic aquí.

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).

A Home for Education event

Housing Affordability for School Employees


The high cost of housing in Ventura County is a serious roadblock for schools trying to recruit and retain teachers and support staff. One potential solution that's getting increased attention is to use school-owned property to build affordable housing developments for education employees.


That idea will be the focus of a first-of-its-kind conference next month in Camarillo. A Home for Education will bring together decision-makers in education, government, and housing development to discuss the opportunities and challenges of this type of project.


The free event takes place on Thursday, February 29, 2024, at CSU Channel Islands. It's being jointly presented by the Ventura County P-20 Council, Housing Trust Fund Ventura County, the Ventura County Office of Education, the County of Ventura, and CSUCI.

Click Here to Register
Presenter Logos
Students at graduation ceremony

Graduation Rate Recovers from Pandemic


Ventura County's high school graduation rate is now higher than before the pandemic and better than the state overall. In 2023, Ventura County had a graduation rate of 89.9%, which is slightly higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 89.2%. It's also better than the graduation rate of 88.7% for the state as a whole.


"The numbers show the system of support that was put in place to help students recover from the pandemic’s impacts is making a real difference," said Dr. César Morales, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools.


"Additional academic support, increased parent engagement efforts, and the expansion of student wellness centers all play a role in the progress we’re seeing. By addressing the needs of the whole child, we are ensuring that more students leave high school well-prepared to enter the workforce or further their education."

Amgen Biotech Experience

Amgen Biotech Experience for Teachers

Ventura County high school teachers have the opportunity to take part in a 2-day Biotechnology Professional Development Institute presented by Amgen.


Participants will receive lab-based training that incorporates technologies used by research scientists in the discovery and development of therapeutics. The program connects biology and biotechnology concepts to real-world applications in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


This opportunity is free of charge and takes place on the weekend of March 16-17 at CSU Channel Islands. More information is available here, and the registration web page is at

Community Event to Fight Addiction

We are excited to invite you to a community event called The Addiction Inoculation: Protecting Our Youth Against Addiction, 

featuring bestselling author, Jessica Lahey. 


Presented by Community Memorial Healthcare and the Ventura County Office of Education, this event will take place on Monday, February 12 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm in Camarillo. A live stream will also be provided.


This event is for parents, students, educators, and service providers who want to help kids become more autonomous, competent, connected, and fulfilled without relying on substances or addictive behaviors.

Click Here to Register
Hackathon by the Sea winning team members

Hackathon by the Sea Winners

The team VitalSync from Westlake High School is the overall winner of the 2024 VCOE Hackathon by the Sea! More than 100 students from schools throughout Ventura County stayed up all night as they competed in the annual computer coding event last weekend in Camarillo. Participants spent an entire night creating apps and websites with the assistance of volunteer mentors. 


Presented by the Ventura County Office of Education, the Hackathon encourages students to use technology in creative ways to solve problems and engage users. At the end of the event, student teams presented their creations to judges, who awarded prizes.


VitalSync created a system that makes it easier for people to get medical care online. You can see a list of all the winners and descriptions of their innovative projects at this link.

Students participate in Battle of the Books

Volunteers Needed for Student Events

Ventura County’s popular academic competitions are seeking volunteers to help present these events for local students. The Ventura County Academic Decathlon, Science Fair, Battle of the Books, and Visual & Performing Arts Showcase will be taking place between January and May 2024.


On average, more than 400 volunteer proctors, judges, scorers, and general helpers are needed to support the 3,000 students who participate. These events are presented by the Ventura County Office of Education and provide students countywide with fun and engaging ways to develop skills and express their creativity. Many of the volunteer opportunities have no special requirements.


All of the dates and details are available on the volunteer sign up form at

Sign Up to Volunteer
VCOE Equity Conference graphic

Equity Conference Registration is Open

Families, educators, and members of the community are invited to join us for the fourth annual Ventura County Office of Education Equity Conference in Camarillo on March 12, 2024.


The conference will feature a wide variety of speakers and workshops on increasing opportunities and removing obstacles for students from marginalized communities. 


The conference is free of charge and includes refreshments and door prizes. Attendees can choose from sessions in English and Spanish, and language interpretation will be provided. The event flyer is here, and you can register now at

News Literacy Week is January 22-26

National News Literacy Week

Making sense of the news has become harder than ever for students. The flood of questionable information on social media, the decline of local news outlets, and our increasing political polarization are all factors.


This week is National News Literacy Week, which will highlight the importance of news literacy in our democracy. It will provide resources and events for students and educators on how to become smarter news consumers. Everything is available on this News Literacy Week webpage

Increased Collaboration on Wellness

Wellness logo

The Ventura County Office of Education is joining with several county agencies and community partners to streamline and enhance the way services are provided to children and families in crisis.


The Ventura County Child, Youth, and Family Wellness System will better integrate services from schools and agencies like Behavioral Health and Probation to make it easier for students and parents to get the support they need.


Last month, representatives from all of the agencies who are part of this effort shared their progress in a presentation to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.

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

Investigating Inclusion

Exploring Best Practices to Support Young Learners

February 10, 2024



Agency 101

Social services resource fair for the community

February 15, 2024



Carpe Diem

For parents and professionals who care for

children with emotional challenges

March 7, 2024



VCOE Equity Conference

Breaking down barriers to educational opportunity

March 12, 2024

See the Full Calendar of Events
Subscribe to this Newsletter

View this Newsletter as a Webpage


Connect with the Ventura County Office of Education

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube