‘Mindfulness’ will be focus of new position at Barlow Park/Journey

   Ripon’s youngest public school students may only have a half-time school counselor next year.

   But they’ll also gain a familiar face in a new role designed to address behavioral and mental health issues.

   The Ripon School Board voted Monday to restructure the Barlow Park and Journey elementary schools’ guidance counselor position to half-time, following the retirement of Jocelyn Hoeper at the end of the school year.

    At the same time, the board created another half-time position to pilot at the K to 2 schools this fall: a coordinator of mindful education and mental health.

   And, a few items later on the agenda, board members approved a person for that new job in current Barlow Park first-grade teacher Crystal Gianopoulos.

   The plan came together as the district was attempting to find ways to save money in the face of a $700,000 deficit.

   While brainstorming cost-saving ideas with staff, administrators explained that Gianopoulos expressed a desire to move out of a full-time role into a part-time one, for family reasons.

   Barlow Park and Journey Principal Tanya Sanderfoot told board members that Gianopoulos already had undergone training in “mindful education,” a practice that Sanderfoot stated Gianopoulous has been successful implementing with “some of our most challenging students” in her classroom.

Read the full story in the March 22, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

Save some green: Financial Literacy offers poster competition

Students are now able to sign up to compete for prizes in a poster session on financial literacy and sustainability on April 19.

The Penn State Financial Literacy and Wellness Center hopes to blend together ideas for financial literacy and sustainability, and explore how those two aims can be achieved in the settings of student housing, office and classroom, just to name a few.

Students who wish to enter the competition must create a poster made of recyclable materials on the topic “Saving money as you’re saving the environment,” and can register through Eventbrite.

Posters should be delivered by 9 a.m. April 19 to the HUB room 229. Participants should be present from 4:30 to 6 p.m., when light refreshments will be served and general judging completed. The top three judges’ choices will then have 5 minutes to present their poster ideas and an overall winner will be selected.

The top three selections will all be awarded Amazon gift cards in the amounts of $100, $75 and $50. Entries are limited to one poster per student and the competition is open to all students. Students can register to participate until April 18.

The Financial Literacy and Wellness Center offers services to the entire Penn State Community and is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.


County shared services panel takes aim at youth services

Continuing with last year’s initiative, Oneida County last week convened its first shared services meeting of the year, which includes the school districts this year.

Some of the major topics included court consolidation, central services and purchasing, youth services and recreation, and tax collection.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said adding the school districts this year brought a new perspective.

After meeting with those districts and the municipalities, Oneida County now is looking at investigating consolidation of youth services, which was brought up by the school districts.

“The schools were very engaged — the superintendents that were there were coming up with ways to go about (sharing services)” he said. “I really believe adding schools this year added a nice twist, gives it a little more depth.”

Superintendents from Holland Patent and Clinton did not respond to requests for comment about the meeting.

Court consolidation is at the top of Picente’s list. According to a county fact sheet handed out at the meeting, 21 out of 34 plans submitted by counties throughout the state identified or are investigating cost-saving measures related to courts. Oneida County already got rid of the Boonville Village Court by consolidating services into the town, but there could be more savings there.

Village to town justice court consolidation, two or more town justice court consolidation with multiple justices, or using a single town justice between two or more towns, are some of the ideas being discussed.

Savings for central services and purchasing were another big part of last year’s consolidation efforts across the state. This year, however, the county could realize savings in these departments if it utilized countywide purchasing; joint purchasing agreements among county, cities, towns and school districts; joint fueling procurement for the county, cities, towns and school districts; and purchasing agreements between police and fire departments.

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri said in a statement that the city is happy to work with the other municipalities and will continue to do so.

“We consolidated our mail operations with Oneida County, and utilize their print shop, which has saved the city money,” Palmieri said in the statement. “The city has shared service agreements with several entities in which we share equipment. The city stands ready and willing to meet with any municipality to explore ways we can work together to provide a better service at a lower cost for our respective residents.”

Shared services became one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s major initiatives in the budget last year.

Counties that submit plans in 2017 and 2018 are eligible to receive a match from the state on their net savings. The plan must be submitted by Oct. 15.

Included in his proposed 2019 budget, Cuomo has made last year’s county-wide shared services panels permanent. The budget includes $225 million to fund the state’s match of savings from the shared services actions included in property tax savings plans.

In Rome, Mayor Jacqueline Izzo said the meeting is building upon where it left off last year. She said Picente recapped what was done last year and then revisited each issue, to see what could be done better this year.

“I think (the schools being there) is going to be helpful for municipalities, as well,” Izzo said. “To get that level of executive leadership, just for any discussion is good. And I think that’s basically what most people like about the initiative — you get to share a lot of ideas and/or maybe bring up some points of interest that others wouldn’t know about.”

Contact reporter Samantha Madison at 315-792-5015 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Madison).

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Sgt. Jeff Nicks of the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety, tends to his son, Camden Nicks, a senior at Rancho Cotate High School, after he was hit by a vehicle in a simulated accident during an elaborate staging of “Every 15 Minutes.” (topright) Amaya Zuniga, senior at Rancho Cotate High School, gets emotional during a mock funeral for those students who participated in “Every 15 Minutes” the previous day.

Five Ideas about Saving Time and Money while Studying at University

(Newswire.net — March 19, 2018) — Time and money are essential facets of every student’s life. You know that you will not get that good grade you are yearning for without good time management. Likewise, you will not be able to buy that item you need most without saving some money or spending wisely. While in University, you will also need extra cash to settle the rising tuition fees, as well as other costs that come along with the rising cost of living.  Luckily, getting a good grade or some extra cash does not need rocket science. It only calls for your little effort on time management and spending the little you have wisely.  This piece describes some ways that you can use to save time and money while studying in university.

Time-saving tips

Examine your course calendar carefully

Begin by scrutinizing your course calendar. Reading the calendar is simple but very helpful when it comes to time management in university.  This move will help you know the due dates for your various assignments and papers and the specific time when you will sit for exams.

With this knowledge, you will be able to allocate your time to every task effectively, and ensure that the tasks are completed before the due date. You will be able to plan to make sure you are doing something for the school work daily to assuage the workload.  Bear in mind that once you are behind, it is not easy to catch up.  Planning will help you balance workload, and avoid last minute rush that may negatively affect your performance.

Remain organized

Good organization skills are another key strategy that you need to employ to save your time in university.  If you use a single notebook and single folder for all classes, the possibility of losing valuable information is higher than when using a specific notebook and folder for every class. When you have separate items for each of your classes, it is easier to locate your notes every time you need them. You will easily retrieve that item that you require for your upcoming tests or a journal that you need to use as a reference in your research.  Hence, you will not waste time looking for your notes at the expense of your studies.

Being organized also reduces stress. You will be able to avoid losing items that you require in your studies. Being an organized student makes it possible for you to know where all your items are whenever you need them. It is a key factor that will help you save some time, especially if you have a tight schedule.

Also, remember to keep your computer organized so that you can easily retrieve the files that you need for your classes. That way you will save time as you will not have to search through multiple locations to get that file you need most for your class.

Look for assistance when doing difficult assignments

Sometimes you will encounter challenging assignments that are beyond your capability. For instance, you may need to write a paper, but you do not have good writing skills. Also may not be able to understand the instructions of the paper. You will, therefore, take a lot of time researching about it, and this may end up affecting the time allocated for other tasks. To avoid these inconveniences, you may need to ask someone to help you do the assignment or at least help you understand the requirements. That way, you will be able to complete it before time, therefore saving some time for other tasks. Try to look for services like my assignment help australia that will help you finish your work way before the deadline.

Money saving tips

Monitor your spending

As unpleasant as it might be, but you need to keep track of your cash to avoid overspending. You can use a spreadsheet that reflects your various sources of income, such as student loans and bursaries, and write down the regular spending s like food and rent.  That way, you will be able to know the amount of money you have to use each month.  Always ensure that you stick to your limits, and check your bank balance regularly.

Despite all these efforts, you may finish your money before the end of the term. In such a situation, you can reach for the interest- free overdrafts that some student banks offer. Avoid spending too much at the beginning of the semester to avoid running out of money before the semester ends.

Plan carefully for your food shopping

Food is one of the primary costs that you will incur in university. Hence, it is important to devise ways to reduce the cost. Buying cheap products from a supermarket instead of renowned brands, and shopping in the evening when some things are discounted, are some ways that you can use to save money. If possible, you can cook with your housemates, or plan your meals beforehand. Either way, you will be able to do a big shopping at the beginning of every week. You will be able to avoid buying costly takeaways that can impact your budget negatively. You can also consider making your packed lunch instead of buying expensive food.

Ensure that you are not late in paying your bills

When in university, living in a hall of residence is easier and cheaper than renting a house. The reason for this is the facts that the administration may include utility bills in the rent, hence making the payment more manageable.  However, when you rent a house, you will have to pay for your cooking gas, internet, electricity, and other bills. Ensure that you rent an affordable house to have enough money to settle the bills. Put on warm clothes instead of using the heater. Also, avoid using tumble drier or other devices that consume a lot of power daily. You can also share the house and the accompanying bills with a friend. Doing that will ensure you save some money to settle your bills on time. Moreover, you will be able to avoid fines that may be attached to late payments. Paying on time can also earn you some discounts.

Gartner survey unveils CIOs’ cost-saving priorities

The top criteria for CIOs when selecting cost-optimisation priorities is business value or benefits realisation, rather than the biggest or fastest cost reductions, according research by Gartner.

The research house’s survey of CIOs found that after a focus on business optimisation, lowest operational risk and then price and/or performance benchmarks are the major IT cost-optimisation focuses.

“The survey findings highlight how cost optimisation has become a business-focused, continuous discipline that drives spending and cost reduction, while maximising business value,” said Stewart Buchanan, research vice president at Gartner.

How cost optimisation ideas are prioritised

“It’s not enough to simply reduce IT spending; CIOs must reinvest in growth and transformation to deliver more value.

“Those who fail to engage in optimisation risk having savings decisions imposed on them by an advisory organisation with less understanding of IT or digital technology opportunities.”

The survey also revealed that larger and more successful organisations plan to give the business greater budgetary control over the savings it achieves. This way, business controls how it spends these savings on digital solutions development.

“Giving money back to business leaders to reinvest in IT demonstrates faith in the maturity of business decision making and in the strength of IT’s business relationships,” said Buchanan.

The survey also looked at how IT organisations’ control over spending on IT and digital technologies has changed in recent years.

It found that there are two and a half times as many IT organisations gaining financial control than there are losing it.

Respondents were also questioned about who manages the selection and approval of cost-optimisation ideas. Those with visibility of both the IT shared services budget and all digital spending across the organisation reported that, on average, nearly half of their digital technology spending is paid for by the business. A quarter is paid for out of the IT budget, with chargeback to the business.

“As you would expect, CIOs have the most influence over the selection and approval of cost-optimisation opportunities within IT shared services,” added Buchanan.

“Interestingly, CIOs who focus on digital business opportunities have greater responsibility for cost optimisation than those who don’t. This suggests that CIOs are starting to exert influence over selecting and approving digital business ideas to optimise business costs.”



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Superintendent receives leadership award from Bloomfield Chamber

FARMINGTON — The Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce presented Bloomfield School District Superintendent Kim Mizell the Christine Donisthorpe Excellence in Leadership Award at the annual chamber banquet on March 9 at the SunRay Park Casino.

Mizell earned the award, which is a special award given on a merit basis, for her “creativity and problem-solving skills,” according to Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce Board President Janet Mackey.

“She took over the school district when the bottom was tanking out in the oil fields and all of the reserve funds were drying up, and she brought some really creative ideas to the school district,” Mackey said on March 16, adding that “she’s just brought so many innovative ideas to Bloomfield.”

Mizell has served as superintendent for Bloomfield schools for three years, but has lived in Bloomfield since she was a child. She said the award is “very appreciated” and an honor.

Bringing innovation to the school district is one of her priorities as superintendent, Mizell said.

“Being innovative — as far as the school magazine and applying for free lunches for all the students — has facilitated raising funds through advertisement and saving families money,” Mizell said on March 16.

The award is designed to celebrate exceptional leadership in the community. The award is named in honor of Christine Donisthorpe, who was “a true trailblazer for women,” Mackey said. Donisthorpe, who died in July 2017, was a state senator from the Bloomfield area.

More than 180 people attended the event, where several other awards were given, according to Mackey.

Cynthia Atencio, a city administrative assistant who was recently elected Bloomfield’s new mayor, received the Circle of Excellence award for her dedication to and support of the city of Bloomfield as an employee.

Karina Camacho of Citizens Bank received the Customer Service of the Year award.

Freddie Garcia and Ferlin Willie of the city of Bloomfield Parks Department jointly received the Public Employee of the Year award.

Zofia Sliwinski, a special education teacher at Naaba Ani Elementary School, received the Educator of the Year Award.

Halo Services Inc., a Bloomfield-based oil field service company, received the Business of the Year award.

The event also featured a silent auction in which 94 items were auctioned to attendees. Mackey said she didn’t know how much cash was raised for the chamber through the auction, but all the proceeds fund community children’s events put on by the chamber, including an upcoming Easter egg hunt, a kids’ night out scheduled for May and holiday events with Santa Claus.

Three new board members — Teresa Hensley, Celeste Lujan and Dorothy Nobis — were introduced during the March 9 event, Mackey said.

The event was meant to be a celebration after what Mackey called a “hard year.”

“We know that it’s been a hard year for businesses, and we appreciate all they’ve done for the city of Bloomfield and the Bloomfield Chamber,” Mackey said. “We’re there for them, and together we can get through it.”

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com.

Free workshop helps farmers, businesses be energy efficient

STANWOOD — Farmers and small-business owners in rural areas of Snohomish County can seek advice on energy conservation during a free workshop Wednesday evening.

Though geared toward farms and small businesses, the event is open to the public, said Nicholas Cusick, a conservation assistance specialist with the Pierce Conservation District who is helping coordinate the workshop.

The Stanwood gathering, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Snohomish PUD office on 271st Street, is the last in a series of presentations around the state. They’re put on by the Washington Conservation Commission and Spark Northwest.

Topics include grants and incentives to help farmers and business owners pay for sustainable energy programs. In particular, presenters plan to talk about the Rural Energy for America Program. They can help applicants with the paperwork, too, Cusick said.

“Energy costs are often higher in rural areas and the whole messaging of energy efficiency and self-sustainability really resonates with rural landowners,” he said. “It really helps them cut their costs and can get them off the grid, and in some cases they can sell extra energy back into the grid, as well.”

Most projects done in Washington with the grant money are solar panel installations, he said. Rising energy costs and concern over climate change have increased interest in renewable energy, he said, but putting in solar panels can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Grants may make that possible.

Some programs can be used for smaller, simpler projects than installing solar panels, according to a news release. The money can go toward replacing insulation to cut back on energy used for heating or cooling, or toward upgrading old lights to more efficient LED bulbs.

Decreasing energy consumption isn’t just a cost-saving measure, Cusick said. It can be good for marketing.

“A lot of these farms and businesses are trying to create an image of sustainability that resonates with their customers, as well,” he said.

People should come to the workshop with questions and ideas for projects. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to NicholasC@piercecd.org.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

Ask Brianna: How to avoid a spring break money hangover

Q: I want to travel this spring, but I don’t have a lot of extra cash. How can I make it happen?

A: Spring break doesn’t just belong to college folks tired of pulling pre-midterm all-nighters in the library. Everyone needs an excuse to indulge, whether or not you’re in school.

But jetting off for spring break like you might have in college is pricey (and seems exhausting after age 22). I searched the travel comparison website Kayak for weeklong all-inclusive resort vacations in Cancún, Mexico, booked one month in advance. For a trip in late March, the average cost was about $1,600 per person, which included flights, a hotel room and meals.

That is a ton of money for someone who doesn’t have any extra cash.

Bottom line: You have no “extra cash” if you have no emergency savings. You have no “extra cash” if you’re wondering whether you have enough room on your credit card. But with some planning and forethought, you can have an emergency cushion and a vacation, too.

Try this plan: Do something small, cheap and slightly less extravagant; save a little for emergencies; and then plan a guilt-free trip next year with money that’s actually in your bank account —— the very definition of “extra cash.”

Protect future first

Proactively saving money for emergencies you can’t predict is more important than a big vacation. Find the money by cutting a subscription service you don’t use or getting rid of extras on your cell phone plan you don’t need. You don’t have to sit at home watching HGTV until you have three to six months of expenses saved, though.

Save $500 first, then reward yourself with a meal out. Get to $2,000, and take a day trip somewhere. After that, you’ll be in a better position to spend on things you want simply because you want them. Add up your basic expenses each month, and keep saving until you can cover three months’ worth, then six months’.

Treat yourself close to home

While saving up, you’re still allowed to do cool stuff. The trick is to pay for that stuff in cash so you’re not building credit card debt at the same time. Here are some ideas for local escapes:

A massage or spa service: A one-hour massage costs $73 on average, according to the American Massage Therapy Association, though prices vary depending on where you live. Search for a massage therapist through the association’s therapist look-up tool.

A pasta-making class: I found options that cost $35 for a 1.5-hour class, $79 for a two-hour class or $140 per couple for a 2.5-hour class.

Go on a hike: National parks have free entry on certain days during the year, including Saturday, April 21, the first day of National Park Week. Spend a day at the closest one to you; pack a lunch and pay only for gas to get there.

Once your emergency fund is up and running, consider signing up for a rewards credit card, which can get you cash back to spend, or points for flights or hotel stays when you’re ready to go away. Many come with sign-up bonuses that can subsidize part of a future trip, but make sure to pay off the balance each month to avoid paying interest.

Plan ahead

People who successfully save for vacation do it all year long. Just like you put a specific amount each month toward that emergency fund, and ideally also for retirement, do the same for travel, says Shurdonna S. Joseph , a certified financial planner at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.

Danny Kofke, a special education teacher in the Atlanta area and author of “The Wealthy Teacher,” generally goes on one big summer trip with his wife and two kids. He saves $1,000 to $1,500 for it in what he calls a travel escrow account during the course of the year.

This strategy requires researching far in advance where you want to go and how much it costs. So try it for the next vacation you take. If that all-inclusive resort sounded appealing, set up an automatic transfer to your savings account for $133 a month, and you’ll have $1,600 for next year. Many online banks let you set up and name several accounts or subaccounts, so make one specifically for “Fun,” “Travel” or “Seeing the Sun Again.” You might even save more than you thought you could.

“Ask Brianna” is a column from NerdWallet for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to askbrianna@nerdwallet.com.

Related Links

NerdWallet:Emergency Fund Calculator: How Much Will Protect You?

American Massage Therapy Association:Find a massage therapist

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