Focus on Education - March 2022

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Focus on Education - Ventura County Office of Education

March 2022

Focus on Education provides news about K-12 public schools for families and educators in Ventura County. It is published by the Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE).

Science Fair Winners Headed to State


Do tortoises have a favorite color? Is car exhaust damaging to plants? Do insects get lonely? These are some of the intriguing questions explored by students who entered the 2022 Ventura County Science Fair.


The Science Fair was held virtually on March 18, with 230 students presenting their projects to volunteer judges via online video.


The 35 projects that received the highest scores will go on to represent Ventura County in the California Science & Engineering Fair on April 12. See the local winners and view their projects at this link.

Students Dive into Tech at "Hackathon"


A phone app that helps carpoolers find each other was the winning project in the VCOE Hackathon by the Sea, which wrapped up last weekend. The app was created by Max Lim of Westlake High School, who was one of 65 students who participated this year. 


This is the 5th year for the Hackathon, where students form teams to “hack” together apps and websites and then compete for prizes. The event spanned a full week with in-person gatherings at the start and end, and students meeting virtually in between. You can read more about the Hackathon by clicking here

Inclusion for Students with Disabilities

There’s growing momentum behind the effort to include students with disabilities in classrooms with their non-disabled peers and implement the inclusive practices they need to succeed. That’s why the Ventura County SELPA, along with the East Valley SELPA in San Bernardino County, is launching a year-long series of workshops on the topic.


It’s called Zooming Out & Zooming In on Inclusive Practices, and it kicks off on April 25. The series will be presented by Katie Novak and Shelley Moore, two dynamic, internationally recognized experts on inclusion for students with disabilities.


The workshops are free of charge and open to educators, parents and support personnel. Click here for more information and online registration.

Giving All Students

the Chance to Succeed in School

There are 130,000 students in Ventura County public schools, and every one of them is unique. They come from all types of backgrounds that represent a huge diversity of ethnicities, cultures and family structures. Some are from families that are financially secure, while others struggle to put food on the table. Some grew up speaking English, and others are still learning the language. Some have parents who know all about the college admissions process, but others have to figure it out on their own.


Ensuring that every student has access to the support and resources they need to reach their full potential was the goal of the second annual VCOE Equity Conference, which was held on March 22. This year's conference included new sessions about migrant students, black student success, serving deaf and hard of hearing students, and antisemitism.


We'd like to thank all of the wonderful presenters and the more than 600 people who registered for their dedication to making our schools equitable and inclusive for all students. We anticipate the conference will be held in person for the first time next year, so stay tuned for more details.

Teens Fight Vaping and Smoking


A record number of Ventura County students participated in the 24th annual Teens Kick Ash Anti-Tobacco & Vaping Advocacy Conference last month. Presented by the VCOE Comprehensive Health and Prevention Programs Department and Friday Night Live, the conference broke all previous attendance records with nearly 1,800 registrants.


This year’s conference focused on ways the tobacco and vaping industries use “gaslighting” to mislead young people about the dangers of their products. The conference was held virtually, and videos of the presentations are available to watch here.

More COVID-19 Test Kits for Schools


Another huge delivery of COVID-19 test kits recently arrived at the VCOE offices in Camarillo. The shipment included 321,440 at-home COVID-19 antigen tests funded by the federal government. They're being distributed to districts, charter schools and private schools countywide. Some schools will be encouraging families to use the kits to test their students before they return from spring break.

Gateway Students Prep for College

Students who are expelled from school need extra help to get their lives in order and their education back on track. And that's exactly what they get at

VCOE's Gateway Community School in Camarillo. The school specializes in helping these students earn their high school diplomas and prepare for what comes after that.


Gateway holds a College Seminar where students learn about enrolling in college, financial aid, earning professional certifications, and other career pathways. The seminar is led by representatives from the admissions and enrollment teams at Oxnard College. Students also recently had the opportunity to take a field trip to Oxnard College to get a taste of college life.

Oak Park High Goes to State Mock Trial


Oak Park High School represented Ventura County at the State of California Mock Trial competition this month. The school earned that honor after taking first place in the Ventura County Mock Trial in February.


At Mock Trial, students argue a fictional court case in front of real judges with volunteer attorneys doing the scoring. The county mock trial is usually held at the Ventura County courthouse, but Zoom rooms replaced courtrooms for the second year in a row. Even with the virtual format, the students' performances were as impressive as ever.


At the statewide contest, Oak Park's Ayush Natarajan won the award for "Outstanding Clerk." You can learn more about the 2022 Ventura County Mock trial here and see a list of past winners at this link.

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Upcoming VCOE Workshops


The Ventura County Office of Education and its partners present a wide variety of workshops and trainings for educators and community members. You can browse the full calendar of events at

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Make a Difference

with a Career in Education


If you want to put your skills to use to make a difference in the lives of students, a career at the Ventura County Office of Education could be a perfect fit.


Find all of our current openings and apply online at You can also sign up to receive our job alerts by email by clicking here.

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