A couple of months ago, an incident of vandalism plagued one of the elementary schools in the Santa Clara Unified School District. The perpetrator was quickly identified, thanks to a video surveillance system that is being implemented in the district schools.
“I’ve come from districts where we’ve had surveillance systems, so I’m used to having them around,” says Bobbie Plough, Superintendent of the Santa Clara Unified School District. “It’s one more added security measure. Also, when the community knows there’s a surveillance system, it serves as a deterrent for crime. Word gets out that you might get captured [doing something you shouldn’t be doing] on video. This system can help us solve crimes and learn about other situations that might occur on campus.”
“The number one objective for installing the cameras is to protect our students at our sites,” says Mary Phillips, director of technology for the Santa Clara Unified School District. “For example, if there was someone on campus with a gun, the surveillance cameras will help the police pinpoint what’s going on. Law enforcement and the fire department will have access to the videos. These agencies will be able to view the footage live so they can make critical decisions.
When choosing a performing arts summer camp to send their children to, many parents struggle with all of the available options. Some may be within the right price range, but the adults wonder just how much real experience from industry professionals their child will receive.
In Santa Clara, we have multiple arts-related summer camps. The city's Recreation Center has many interesting offerings. Starting Arts also offers a camp teaching children dance, theatre and music.
And this year a new arts group has found its way into the mix. Guggenheim Entertainment (the group that wrote, directed, stared in and produced Thanks for Playing the Game Show Show and The Meshuga Nutracker) is holding its intensive summer conservatory for musical theater at Santa Clara University.
Imagine receiving a brand-new book written by a best-selling author for free, without any strings attached. This year, the internationally celebrated World Book Night fell on April 23rd. On this day, selected volunteers gave away free books to strangers in their communities with the intent to promote reading among those who don’t read regularly. The free books were made available by the generosity of participating publishers and authors.
Rachel Rein, a resident of Santa Clara, gave away books at Westwood Elementary School when she picked up her daughter from the school.
“It was interesting to see the variety of responses I got from people,” says Rein, an aspiring entrepreneur in the genetics industry. “There was a lot of enthusiasm and delight, though a few people were wary [about being offered a free book].”
Having traded some of her books with another volunteer, Rein ended up with two titles to give away; one was The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, written by Alexander McCall Smith, and the other was The Tender Bar, written by J.R. Moehringer.
Jenny Gonzales gave away copies of Bossypants, written by Tina Fey. She left her books at a number of places, including the Valley Fair Mall and a local Safeway store near her work place. Gonzales works as a production supervisor at Progressive Solutions, a Santa Clara company.
“I put little cards in my books to encourage the people who find the book to go on Twitter or Instagram to share their experience of finding the book,” Gonzales says. “I’ve already had one person who found one of my books put up a picture on Instagram. He said thanks.”