Student Wins 2nd at State Science Fair

Congratulations to Sixth Grade student Olivia Cevasco, who placed second at the California State Science Fair. She now qualifies for the national Broadcom MASTERS Competition.

Olivia was honored for her submission to the Microbiology (Medical) Junior Division, in which she determined that Staphylococcus bacteria is resistant to human tears. If you’d like to read more about Olivia’s project, “Healing Tears,” click here.

The Half Moon Bay Review also published an article about her experience:

A local sixth-grader’s science fair project will now move on to the national competition level after placing second in its category at the California State Science Fair last week.

Sea Crest School student Olivia Cevasco took home a medal in the medical microbiology category for “Healing Tears.” For her project, she tested how well tears could kill bacteria against several known antibacterial treatments. She found that Bactine was most successful at killing staphylococcus aureus. Cevasco also found that human tears didn’t work at all.

By winning second place at the state fair, held May 23-24 at the University of Southern California, Cevasco now qualifies for the national Broadcom MASTERS (math, applied science, technology and engineering for rising starts) Competition. In that contest, hundreds of top projects in the country are whittled down to 300, then to the top 30.

“Olivia is now looking forward to applying to this national fair, so she will be busy for sure!” mother Lilia Cevasco wrote in an email to the Review.

Cevasco was one of two Coastside students to go to the state fair. Cunha Intermediate School eighth-grader Sonya Cullen’s project “Ghost Fishing,” on alternatives to cotton twine for crab traps qualified but did not place among the winners.

Cullen wrote in an email that attending the state fair was “one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

“I am very proud to have made it that far,” she wrote. “I met many teens like myself that enjoy science and want to pursue STEM-related careers.”

Introducing Our New Director of Middle School

As Sea Crest continues to grow, it is vital to have an administrator dedicated to leading our Middle School. Following an extensive national search, we were fortunate to invite three highly qualified finalists to campus for two days each to meet with faculty, staff, students, and a small group of parents. We are now pleased to announce the appointment of Jessica Patti, who will join us this fall as Sea Crest’s Director of Middle School.

Jessica received her Bachelor of Science from Tulane University with concentrations in Anthropology and English Literature. She earned her Master of Education degree from Harvard University with a focus on School Leadership. Most recently, Jessica held the position of Dean of Students at Sacred Heart Schools (Atherton, CA), where she was responsible for staff supervision, curriculum development, student leadership, experiential education, and teaching history. Prior to that, she was the Upper School Dean of Students at John Cooper School (Woodlands, TX), the Director of Student Life at Quest Academy (Palatine, IL), and Program Coordinator of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas.

An avid outdoorsperson, Jessica has coached at the Middle School and varsity levels in boys’ crew, cross country, and track and field. She has led students on backpacking trips, been an on-site Wilderness First Responder, revamped outdoor education programs, and constructed K-8 service learning programs. She has also created leadership workshops for students and trained teachers to support authentic student initiatives. She has presented at The California Association of Independent Schools’ conferences on topics such as Honor Code, Student Discipline, and Student Club Moderation.

Those who know Jessica emphasize her collaborative style, warmth, deep knowledge of Middle School development, and high standards of integrity. She lives in Moss Beach with her two dogs and can often be found enjoying the outdoors with them.

Sea Crest Partners with UCSF to Help Catalyze Education Innovation

Innovative educators seek new answers to an age-old question: “What are the best practices to improve learning?” An important research study in the Bay Area is focusing on specific methods in order to help learners everywhere.

Beginning in January 2016, Sea Crest served as the first K-8 school to partake in this progressive study running out of the Educational Neuroscience program at the Mission Bay UCSF Center for Integrative Neurosciences. The research study is led by Dr. Melina Uncapher, whose work aims to bolster student self-efficacy through evidence-based learning practices.

Students who opted into the study piloted an iPad-based “brain game” called Adaptive Cognitive Evaluation (ACE) in order to assess baseline executive function such as working memory, attention, and inhibitory responses.

Sea Crest students are currently piloting EVO, a “prescriptive video game” and cognitive intervention developed by Akili in collaboration with the Gazzaley Research Group at UCSF. Students are looking forward to playing more of ACE in the fall, in addition to trying out the Brain-Body-Trainer (BBT), a synergistic cognitive and physical training intervention currently in development at the Gazzaley Neuroscape Lab.

Through this active research, UCSF cognitive neuroscientists will be able to examine academic achievement across different grade levels. They are assessing individual student achievement and how it corresponds with executive functioning skills. This work will inform researchers about the process underlying student learning, providing us with a more nuanced understanding of how students’ math and reading skills map over to executive functioning.

In partnership with organizations such as UCSF, Sea Crest is working to help catalyze education innovation.

8th Grade Student Honored by City for Leadership

In a ceremony on May 3rd, Eighth Grade student Thomas Hurrell received the City of Half Moon Bay 8th Grade Leadership Award. This award is granted to one Middle School student in the city who exemplifies work ethic, community service, and citizenship.

“I wasn’t expecting an award of any sort, and I was grateful,” says Thomas. “I am always thinking about how I can make a difference, and I think organizing is my strong point. I take on leadership roles because I enjoy them.”

Thomas is a First Rank Boy Scout, which means he is halfway to his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout. He volunteers at Table of Plenty in Half Moon Bay, a weekly supper for struggling families on the coastside.

“On the first Thursday of every month, we serve low-income families and homeless individuals in a restaurant setting. I’ve done that for the past three years at the senior center down the street from Sea Crest,” says Thomas. “I also enjoy volunteering at Mariners Church, where I help run tech for them in the summer.”

Thomas is a member of the cross country team and was one of the top runners at the recent Scholarship Run for tuition assistance. He also plays tennis and has participated in the Sea Crest leadership elective.

“Thomas can always be counted on to do the right thing,” says Michelle Giacotto, Director of Learning and Teaching. “He leads by example, and he does it in unassuming ways. He steps up quietly, and we’re glad to see him receiving this recognition.”

Kindergarten Publishing Party

Parents, staff, and Fourth Grade Learning Buddies were invited into the Kindergarten classrooms on Thursday, May 5th to culminate the students’ unit on Pattern Books. It was an exciting moment for the Kindergarten authors, who spent weeks planning, writing, and publishing their books.

“In a Pattern Book, each page has ‘pattern words,’ which repeat from page to page, and also a different content word,” said Kindergarten Teacher Emily Travis. “This allows students to focus on phonetic spelling of some words, without having to worry about the rest. They learn to spell a pattern consistently such as ‘I like…’ and then focus on learning new words to complete the sentence.”

Each Kindergartener wrote and illustrated more than one Pattern Book with multiple pages about a given topic. Each book ended with a twist or different take on the pattern. The Kindergarteners chose to write about topics such as baking, cheetahs, and Pokémon, and the Publishing Party gave them the opportunity to read their books aloud to friends and family.

“After the party, we reflected on how we felt reading our published works,” said Ms. Travis. “Students said they felt excited, happy, a little scared, brave, and proud. I certainly felt proud as well.”

Kindergarten Publishing Party

Kindergarten Publishing Party

Kindergarten Publishing Party

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