College of Marin saw the number of individuals graduating from its certificate and associate degree programs in the 2013 academic year increase by 34 percent over 2012, a jump that administration attributed to a greater focus on student outcomes.

The junior college's Admissions and Records Office announced that there were 430 graduates total, compared to 321 graduates in 2012.

Associate degree programs saw the largest jump, with 393 graduates representing a 40 percent increase over 2012, according to the college. There was a 33 percent increase in the number of graduates for various certificate programs, with 105 graduates.***

ieSonoma (, a coalition of private and public organizations focused on exploring best practices in modern education, is partnering with the Sonoma State University School of Education to offer a four-day course titled "Unleashing Entrepreneurial Spirit: Continuing Our Journey Toward Creativity and Innovation."

With a free introductory course offered on June 24, the series will include presentations from regional leaders in business and education and discuss how entrepreneurial skills are an asset to a modern workforce. Participants are expected to work collaboratively to consider how to cultivate and embrace those skills in their line of work.

While the introductory course is free, registration is required. The subsequent series, held over four night sessions in the fall, is $50. Those seeking credits for continuing education can obtain one unit for an additional $55. Classes will be held at the Sonoma State campus.***

Pivot Charter School's Santa Rosa-based North Bay campus received full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, one of the primary accrediting groups for public and private schools and colleges in the United States.The school, which began offering programs to students in Sonoma and surrounding counties for the 2012--2013 academic year, provides free on-site and Web-based education to students grades 6 to 12. It is the fourth such school operated by the nonprofit ROADS Education Organization, which also operates schools in San Diego, Riverside and Butte counties.***

Large employers in the North Bay and beyond are launching initiatives to support education in science, technology, engineering and math, with San Rafael-based Autodesk among those taking part in a new effort under San Francisco's Exploratorium science museum.

Also in partnership with South San Francisco-based Genentech, which operates a large biotechnology manufacturing plant in Vacaville, as well as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Chevron, the program involves the development and underwriting of field trip opportunities to more than 20,000 low-income school students in the Bay Area, according to an announcement by the Exploratorium.

Each company's contribution is unique. Autodesk, which entered into a three-year partnership with the museum, will create three new exhibits for visitors that draw on resources from the company's consumer products team. That division is moving to San Francisco's Pier 9 this summer, next door to the relocated Exploratorium.

Meanwhile, Genentech is funding free admission to all California public school teachers, making it easier for those instructors to access the museum's resources.PG&E will sponsor visits by low-income students, while Chevron will fund a series of conferences about STEM education that will be made publicly available....

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