Donations needed for Stockton police toy drive

STOCKTON — The Stockton Police Department is collecting toys and donations again this year as part of its annual delivery of Christmas presents to children affected by violent crime.

The Police Youth Activities League’s annual Matt Smith Sharing of Christmas toy drive, which is named in honor of the late Officer Smith, a child-abuse detective who died in 2010 after a long battle with cancer, is in its 19th year.

Donations of new, unwrapped toys are being accepted at Arroyo’s Cafe, 2381 W. March Lane, through Dec. 22.

On Christmas morning, Stockton police officers and volunteers will drive throughout the city to deliver the gifts to the children’s homes.

MUSD charter school nabs top state educational award

MANTECA — A Manteca Unified charter has been recognized with a top statewide educational honor.

Be.Tech Charter school has been chosen as one of 51 recipients of the state’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award. The awards, now in their 39th year, are sponsored by the California School Boards Association to recognize outstanding public school programs for innovation, sustainability and best practices that facilitate positive student outcomes.

Principal Carey Simoni accepted the award at a recognition reception and ceremony on Nov. 29 at CSBA’s annual Education Conference and Trade Show in San Francisco.

Recognized for their exemplary practices and programs in career technical education including their four pathways be.first, be.cuisine, be.industrial and be.next, Be.Tech provides students with job readiness competencies and technical coursework in their career pathway while students earn their high school diploma.

Said Simoni in a statement: “This supports the everyday work and commitment of our staff as they strive to implement the mission of our school to empower students with skills and knowledge in a highly personalized learn-by-doing environment.”

Holiday boutique offers gifts crafted by students in special education

STOCKTON — Students in special education from across San Joaquin County will sell student-made holiday gifts and decorations at the fourth annual Entrepreneurial Business Holiday Boutique at the San Joaquin County Office of Education on Friday  from 9 a.m. to noon.

All are welcome to come shop and meet the student crafters behind the gifts on display. The Holiday Boutique is sponsored by the WorkAbility I program through the San Joaquin County Special Education Local Plan Area, part of the SJCOE.

WorkAbility I is a state program that provides students ages 12 to 22 vocational services and places students 16 and older in paid positions with local employers.

The middle school students, high school students, and young adults participating in the holiday boutique learn valuable skills while making the gifts and by interacting with customers.

For more information about the Entrepreneurial Business Holiday Boutique or the WorkAbility I program, email Margaret St. George at mstgeorge@sjcoe.net.