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Middle School Students To Attend STEM Day At Auto Club Speedway

Eleven middle schools in San Bernardino and Riverside counties will attend the sixth annual Auto Club Speedway STEM Day on March 20 as part of the Auto Club 400 Weekend. The STEM Day event will be held at the speedway beginning at 9 a.m.

More than 500 students are expected to participant in the event, which will feature special guest speakers Daniel Suarez, a NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver; Dakota Sun, National Hot Rod Association Sportsman Motorcycle National Event Champion; and Ivan “Iron Man” Stewart, an off-road racing legend.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are a foundation to the motorsports industry. Students will spend the day participating in a series of hands-on activities demonstrating how concepts are used in the sport of racing.

Students attending will receive a pair of reserved grandstand tickets to the Auto Club 400 race on March 22, courtesy of sponsor King Taco.

Participating schools – and their districts — include:

Almeria Middle School, Fontana Unified School District; Alliance_for_Education

Big Bear Middle, Bear Valley Unified;

Cobalt Institute for Math and Science, Victor Valley Union High School District;

Grace Yokley Middle, Mountain View;

Kolb Middle, Rialto Unified;

Mesa View Middle, Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified;

Ranchero Middle, Hesperia Unified;

Upland Junior High, Upland Unified;

Vanguard Prep, Apple Valley Unified;

Vineyard Junior High, Ontario-Montclair;

Vista Verde Middle, Val Verde Unified.

STEM Day is made possible with the funding from Alcoa Foundation; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Toyota Financial Services; John Elway’s Crown Toyota; Toyota Motor Sales; King Taco; and the Inland Empire United Way.

Educational partners teaming up with Auto Club Speedway include San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools’ Alliance for Education; Chaffey College; Ontario-Montclair School District; San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools; San Bernardino Community College District; San Bernardino Valley College; MESA Program; and University of California, Riverside.

IEEP honors SBCounty red-tape cutters

The Inland Empire Economic Partnership recently recognized the leaders of more than two dozen Inland Empire governments and agencies at its Second Annual “Turning Red Tape to Red Carpet Awards” reception, 14 of them representing San Bernardino County and the Countywide Vision’s Regional Goal of  establishing the county as a model in the state where local government, regulatory agencies and communities are truly business-friendly.

ieeplogoThe IEEP, the region’s largest economic development organization, honored the cities, counties and agencies that came up with innovative ways to enhance job growth and the local economy despite an often-difficult regulatory environment. These are the San Bernardino County agencies, departments and people that have gone the extra yard to grow the economy.

Business Retention and Expansion

FINALISTS: The San Bernardino Community College District for far exceeding its goals of hiring local people to work on capital improvement projects; City of Redlands for an aggressive downtown improvement project that was accomplished without the use of the city’s general fund.

Sustainable and Green Development

WINNER: City of Rancho Cucamonga for an automation project for numerous city departments that puts vital services online for the first time, dramatically reducing the amount of paper and ink that must be used as well as the need to drive to city offices.

RUNNER UP: San Bernardino Associated Governments, for a regional plan to reduce greenhouse gases in compliance with state laws that brings simplicity and consistency for 21 cities in San Bernardino County.

OTHER FINALIST: San Bernardino Community College District, for alternative energy measures in construction, landscaping and energy consumption, along with other environmental strategies.

Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse

FINALISTS: City of Ontario, for a downtown office building project the will provide jobs while maintaining the character of the area; City of Rialto, for its repurposing a blighted area and helping create that land into the site of a 718,000-square-foot logistics center.

Public-Private Partnership

RUNNER-UP: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which rallied other agencies to work with the promoters of the San Manuel Pavilion and other venues, achieving the twin goals of smooth operations and public safety.

Response to Globalization

WINNER: San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department, for using GIS technology to develop a computerized system that lets would-be developers, even developers in other countries, to self-search vacant land in the county.

Tales of Two Cities: Stories of Interagency Cooperation

WINNER: City of Rancho Cucamonga Library, for developing a program, in partnership with Riverside, Ontario and others, to establish new training parameters for a next generation of librarians in the Inland Empire.

RUNNER-UP: City of Fontana, for bringing other cities and agencies on board to solve issues relating to Interstate 10 interchange development, which helped Fontana redevelop some blighted areas.

OTHER FINALISTS: San Bernardino and Riverside counties, along with UCR and Los Angeles, for implementing the state’s Innovation Hub economic development project; The cities of Yucaipa and Calimesa, which work together on numerous projects despite being in two different counties.

Leadership in Public Service

RUNNER-UP: Kristen Riegel, the Supervising Hazardous Materials Specialist for the San Bernardino County Fire Prevention District. She has worked hard to ensure that businesses can operate with a minimal amount of government-imposed fees and still not compromise the environment or the safety of workers. Under her guidance, fees have come down for 20 percent of the businesses that are covered.

Agencies help introduce students to higher education

On March 6, the San Bernardino School District, in partnership with the City of San Bernardino, led a “Path to Success” field trip designed to excite junior high students Pathway_3about local options in higher education.  Six hundred students from Richardson, Shandin Hills, Rodriguez, and King middle schools participated in the event.

The Art Institute, Valley College, and Cal State San Bernardino provided free campus tours and presentations. Omnitrans sponsored transportation for students between institutions on city buses and its sbX rapid transit service. Representatives from the bus agency were on hand to assist each group in navigating their routes.

The three schools are also participants in the Omnitrans GoSmart program, which offers students unlimited free bus rides with their student IDs. Funding for the discounted fare program comes from student fees and administrative sources.

Redlands’ ESRI pledges $1 billion in software to U.S. schools

JackDangermondRedlands-based mapping software giant Esri, operated and founded by Redlands native Jack Dangermond, has made a major commitment to America’s K-12 and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education efforts, pledging to provide $1 billion in mapping software to 100,000 U.S. schools.

Esri announced on Tuesday that it will make its advanced mapping software ArcGIS available to K-12 schools across the country. Through the program, students will now have access to the cloud-based software — the same GIS technology used by governments and businesses — to map and analyze data.

“Geographic Information System technology gives students powerful tools for understanding our planet, and teaches them to become problem solvers,” Dangermond said. “It is a perfect complement to STEM courses and many other classroom activities, while preparing students for further education and expanding career opportunities in fields that can help better manage our world, build better lives for more people, and design a better future.”

According to Forbes magazine, it all started when Dangermond met with President Obama a few months ago to discuss how Esri can contribute to the ConnectED Initiative, a program by the White House to help strengthen STEM education for K-12 students across the country. “I asked myself: ‘What’s the biggest idea that we can go for?’” Dangermond recalled in an interview with Forbes. As soon as he proposed that Esri would offer its software for free for every K-12 school in America, the President was immediately on board. “We thought this is a way to scale it up and bring GIS education to schools in the whole country,” Dangermond said.

By bringing the tool to K-12 classrooms across the country, Dangermond is hoping that students will learn “creative problem-solving” through hands-on projects. He gave an example of “Get The Lead Out,” a project in which students in Detroit used the company’s software to identify environmental issues and come up with plans to fix them. “It let kids to use analytics and come up with ideas for their own communities,” Dangermond said. “The kids learned citizenship, science, problem-solving, and political involvement.”

While bringing the mapping software to all the public K-12 schools is a big step forward, Esri has experimented with the initiative on a smaller scale over the past few years in different states. Students who benefited from the program have researched a wide array of topics, from mapping out health issues in Los Angeles to using demographic data to get Walmart products delivered to returning veterans, according to the billionaire.

“This kind of project-based learning is going to have an impact on the students,” Dangermond said. “We have to build a better education in this country. We need to step it up.”


Collaboration highlights Community Vital Signs Summit

Education, economy and access to healthcare hold the key to a healthier future for the County of San Bernardino, according to a report from Community Vital Signs released at its “Live Well, Age Well” Summit at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino on Thursday, November 14, 2013.

More than 200 community leaders attended the summit where community feedback and priorities established from Community Vital Signs’ 23 community engagement meetings during July and August were unveiled. Attendees were given copies of “San Bernardino County: Our Community Vital Signs,” a report based on the community meetings. The report, expected to generate a framework for sustainable health improvement in communities, will be available online at and will be available in County of San Bernardino libraries.

Summit attendees heard from keynote speakers, John Husing, Chief Economist of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and June Simmons, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Partners in Care Foundation.

community-vital-signsThroughout the summer, more than 1,000  leaders from business, education, public safety, health and human services, faith and community organizations, transportation and planning came together to make plans for improving health and wellness in the community. County Chief Executive Officer, Gregory Devereaux, and each of the County’s Board of Supervisors participated in the various meetings.

Meeting attendees received a list of indicators and were asked to choose indicators that the Community Vital Signs Steering Committee should prioritize as community goals over the next three to five years. According to the report, the seven indicators that rose to the top included: education, economy, access to health care, nutrition/access to healthy foods, mental health, community safety, and safety at school.

“San Bernardino County: Our Community Vital Signs, will impact the future of this County with regard to decisions, policies, systems-change and strategies that will better meet the healthy needs of residents of San Bernardino County,” said Maxwell Ohikhuare, MD, Health Officer, County of San Bernardino. “Community Vital Signs meetings has set the stage for action-driven priorities and measurable results. It is our hope the report will be used to pave the way for a healthier County.”

The Community Vital Signs initiative addresses the Wellness Element of the Countywide Vision. It is a community health improvement framework developed through the collaborative efforts of county residents, community organizations, and government agencies. It sets evidence-based goals and priorities that align and leverage our resources to improve the overall health and well-being of the county’s residents.

View this special video message from Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford about Community Vital Signs Initiative.

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