Speaker Series: Mary Ann Dewan, Ph.D.


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On June 5th, 2014, we had the honor of hearing Mary Ann Dewan, Ph.D., Santa Clara County Interim Superintendent of Schools and a resident of San Jose, CA., speak to a full room on “Public Education in 2014”.

Dr. Dewan was hired as the Chief Schools Officer for the Santa Clara County Office of Education in October 2013 and was appointed as Interim Superintendent on March 21, 2014. Santa Clara County Office of Education works with 32 school districts serving more than 270,000 students.

In addition to providing an explanation of the new-and-improved way California’s education is thought about, funded, and delivered to our children, Dr. Dewan shared some staggering statistics on the long term effects that education (or lack of) has on high-risk students, such as foster children, low-income families, and ESL (English as a second language) children.

While discussing the changes in educating and teaching, Dr. Dewan showed an example classroom problem from the newly-adopted Common Core standards which were developed to provide students with the tools to be lifelong learners and independent thinkers. Forty-four states have adopted Common Core and while there are, and will continue to be, challenges in the implementation of the new program, the belief is that Common Core will provide all children a distinct advantage in social, cultural, and economic growth, and better prepare them to becoming global citizens.

Also discussed was:

  • The immediate and long term benefits to students who learn second or third languages and how SCCOE is implementing programs to provide those opportunities
  • The impact of student drop-outs on families and communities of and the pilot Student Re-Engagement Program that SCCOE is putting into effect in collaboration with Opportunity Youth Partnership
  • The advantage of Early Learning and the how SCCOE is working on the Strong Start Initiative along with community partners to provide facilities for the 0 – 5 age children
  • The personal challenge to parents to find a way to engage with the system to volunteer, support, mentor, thanking the local and state leaders who are making these important changes happen, and sharing this information about education changes with friends and families

The presentation was followed by a Q&A session with questions that dug deeper into the changes with education and personal observations from audience members.

A light dinner was served at the end with delicious home-prepared Turkish foods and tea.




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