The Marin Education Fund is looking for potential mentors who have the desire to assist high school students with the college and financial aid application process.

President Barack Obama proclaimed January to be America’s National Mentoring Month, calling on Americans to “give back by mentoring young people in their communities who may lack role models, and pass that precious gift on to the next generation.”

The National Mentoring Month campaign is spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, Mentor/National Mentoring Partnership and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Mentors will be partnered with the graduates of Marin Education Fund’s 2010 Summer Application Institute, a program that assists first-generation high school juniors and seniors from low-income families by providing them with guidance and information regarding the college and financial aid application process.

Marin Education Fund will provide training and support for mentors and will be available to provide ongoing assistance as needed. The length of the program runs from May 2010 through June 2011 with November through February being the busiest months.

To qualify, mentors must be interested in working one-on-one with a high school student and engaging in a yearlong relationship during the student's junior or senior year in high school as well as have a college degree (A.A., B.A., B.S. or advanced degree) or be working toward one.

For more information, contact Chase Finney at 415-451-4016 or cfinney@marineducationfund.org.


The North Bay Leadership Council and First Five Marin and First Five Sonoma County are co-sponsoring an event entitled “Key to Economic Success in the 21st Century:  Investment in Early Childhood Programs.”

The event is being held to teach how early childhood education and care are improving educational outcomes and why investments in early childhood programs reap the highest return.

A report commissioned by the Bay Area Council on the state budget crisis and funding cuts to public education will be presented by Jim Wunderman, council president and chief executive officer, and Matt Regan, director of government relations, and Ken McNeely, president, AT&T California, will make recommendations based on the latest research.

According to the report, research shows that investments in high-quality educational experiences during the years from birth to age five significantly improve not only school achievement, but also a range of social and economic outcomes throughout life.

Cynthia Murray, NBLC’s president and CEO, said, “I hope the findings in the report spur more public/private partnerships to improve education in the North Bay and the economic competiveness of the region.“

The event is Jan. 28 at Infineon Raceway Conference Center, Highways 37 & 121, Sonoma, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., and includes breakfast.  Tickets are $30 per person. For more information or reservations, go to www.northbayleadership.org or call 707-283-0028.


Sonoma State University’s campus will be closed two Fridays a month during the spring semester in order to save money on utilities as part of the reductions caused by the current state budget crisis.

Four days in the April spring break period will also be used as furlough days. During these days, the campus will be closed except for the Student Recreation Center. Additionally, police, parking and services for the residential community will be available for students.

Last semester staff chose its own days, creating confusion for students and making meetings difficult to organize, the university said.

Vice Provost of Academic Affairs Melinda Barnard said it will be a lot easier for the students. “It is simple in the sense that campus is closed so students know they don’t have to be there.”

Faculty and staff school-wide took a 10 percent pay reduction, and Ms. Barnard said having the furlough days seems a bit like a reward for having the cuts.

The exceptions are for the courses that meet offsite, such as those in the nursing department and education.


Pamela Martens, superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, submitted her resignation as superintendent effective Jan. 11, but agreed to remain with the district to assist with a transition to new leadership until June 30.


Submit items for this column to Jenna V. Loceff at jlocecff@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4259 or fax 707-521-5292.