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Marin Community Foundation is making grants of nearly $2 million to support efforts in eight elementary schools across the county.

[caption id="attachment_24407" align="alignleft" width="211" caption="Tom Peters"][/caption]

“The foundation realizes that the earliest years of education, starting in preschool and continuing through the third grade, set the stage for life-long success, both in school and beyond,” said Thomas Peters, the foundation’s president. “Research shows that without a grasp of basic skills at this young age, students rarely catch up later on.”

The schools are located in the four districts where the foundation is focusing support under its five-year, $35 million commitment to close the education achievement gap in Marin: San Rafael, Sausalito, Marin City, Novato and Shoreline in West Marin.

“There is growing consensus across the country about the effectiveness of this kind of multi-grade, team approach to helping young students get started in school,” said Mr. Peters. “Plus, we’re learning more about the importance of early childhood preschool activities, including ones that parents undertake with their kids at home, so that young children enter school prepared to succeed.”

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Dominican University of California saw an 18 percent increase in incoming freshman this fall compared with last year.

Of those diverse 343 students, Dominican received 105 new transfer students, up 46 percent from 72 new transfers the same time last school year.

The incoming class boosted Dominican’s fall 2010 total enrollment to 2,194, up from 1,930 last year year-to-date.

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The California Assembly unanimously approved SB 1440, a bill that would put into place standards for students who transfer from a California community college to the California State University.

The assembly appropriations committee also passed the bill unanimously. It next goes to the Senate. If approved, it will go into effect next fall.

Currently, the degree process is governed by each community college. Some of these programs align with four-year degrees and some do not.

What the author of the bill, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, is intending to do is streamline the process so all students who go through a community college program with the goal of transferring to a CSU will be able to do so with ease and not have to retake courses.

A projected $160 million would be saved if this goes through, a savings of $75 million annually for the community colleges and $85 million annually for the CSU system because fewer classes will be needed.

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College of Marin has named five finalists for the position of superintendent/president to replace Dr. Frances White, who retired in June.

There were 65 candidates from across the country. Campus and community forums for each candidate will be held on Aug. 30, Aug. 31, Sept. 1, Sept. 2 and Sept. 3 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Kentfield Campus in the Olney Hall Auditorium; from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the Indian Valley Campus in Miwok 181; and a third public forum will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Kentfield Campus in the Olney Hall Auditorium.

The candidates are:

William Cochran, Ed.D.

He is currently the vice president of academic affairs at Shasta College in Redding.

Dr. Cochran has more than 36 years of experience in education. He received a doctorate of education from Brigham Young University and a post-doctoral master of science from National University. Dr. Cochran will be at College of Marin on Monday, Aug. 30.

David Wain Coon, Ed.D.

He has been the president of Evergreen Valley College in San Jose since July 2005.

Dr. Coon has a doctor of education in educational leadership with an emphasis in organizational development from Seattle University. Dr. Coon will be at College of Marin on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Kathryn Lehner

She has served as the superintendent-president at Mendocino-Lake Community College District since 2005.

She has worked in community college administration since 1994 and previously taught accounting and business statistics at both the university and community college level. Ms. Lehner will be at College of Marin on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

Lawrence Cox, Ph.D.

He has served as the chief executive officer of the Compton Community College District since 2008.

Dr. Cox earned degrees from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, including a Doctor of Philosophy. Dr. Cox will be at College of Marin on Thursday, Sept. 2.

Jim Faye, Ph.D.

He  is currently the academic vice president at Cerro Coso Community College in Southern California.

Dr. Faye has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Georgetown University, a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan and a law degree from University of California Hastings College of the Law. Dr. Faye will be at College of Marin on Friday, Sept. 3.

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Community First Credit Union has ramped up its annual distribution of calendars to teachers throughout Sonoma County. Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 20, managers at the Santa Rosa-based 11,750-member financial cooperative delivered 4,200 calendars to 143 individual schools and participated in a back-to-school rally for Santa Rosa teachers on Aug. 16.

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