Columns
May 27, 2018
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City of RP Updates

Darrin Jenkins
Valuing our Schools
May 25, 2018

Great schools are the foundation of a great city. In Rohnert Park, we are proud to do our part to support our schools – from the earliest grades through college. Here are some examples of what we do:

Last week the city joined first and second-grade students from University Elementary School in a new “Little Community Managers” program where the students had the opportunity to create and present their vision for city improvements. 

Every four years our Public Safety Department brings the “Every 15 Minutes” program to our high school students. This program removes one student every 15 minutes from the classroom as a symbol of a death from driving under the influence, illustrating that nationally one teen dies that often from driving while using drugs or alcohol. This visible demonstration of the importance of safe driving is a great way to get an important message across to teens. 

For children at the youngest ages, we collaborate with the Child Care Community Council (4Cs) of Sonoma County. They offer half and full time pre-school programs for residents of varied income levels at the city owned Goldridge Community Center. Quality pre-school is one of the best investments we can make in the long-term success of children. 

This spring our Public Safety Chief, Brian Masterson and officers from the city spent lunch and recess with students from Hahn Elementary School, including learning the finer points of handball. Creating positive relationships with our young residents helps them feel more confident in themselves and builds trust with police officers and fire fighters. 

At the other end of the educational spectrum, we are partnering with Sonoma State University and the Housing Land Trust of Sonoma County to create affordable housing in our new neighborhoods. First priority for some of these homes will go to Sonoma State faculty and staff; because of high housing prices, the university is having challenges in recruiting faculty and staff. 

Because the schools have many grass fields and because water is always a valuable resource, the city provides all schools and Sonoma State with access to recycled water for their landscaping. Overall, recycled water meets 20 percent of the overall water need in Rohnert Park. 

The city is an annual contributor to Project Graduation, held each year to ensure graduating high school students have a safe, enjoyable place to go to celebrate their success.

Our Public Safety Department provides safety training for faculty and staff at our schools to address responses to active shooters and other potential threats. 

We have an arrangement that allows Credo High School, which does not have a gym, to rent the city’s sports center for their basketball and volleyball games. This includes Credo’s purchase of a new electronic scoreboard that also benefits the numerous recreational sports teams that regularly use the sports center. We have also helped arrange financing that will allow them to expand the school to over 600 students. 

Each year the city hosts students from the Hauser STEM Academy for a week, demonstrating how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills are applicable in tasks from repairing streets to building water systems. 

Every year our city departments allow students from Sonoma State University to serve as interns in different jobs. This behind the scene look allows the students to ask professionals about their field of study and provides insight into a career they are pursuing. 

The Department of Public Safety hosted several class trips of elementary school students to the main police/fire station on City Center Drive. The guided tours allow the students to see where our officers work and learn about some of the emergency equipment used to protect our community. 

Rohnert Park Public Safety Officers held a pancake breakfast at one of our fire stations last May to raise funds for “Project Graduation” to support our graduating high school seniors.