Monday, July 25, 2011

Whooping cough shots: Schools strive to obey rule

By: Jill Tucker

School districts across the state are struggling to comply with a new law requiring all middle and high school students to get a whooping cough booster shot before showing up for class this fall.

With the school year starting as early as mid-August, more than 1 million California students still haven't gotten the vaccine for whooping cough, also called pertussis. That's about a third of all seventh through 12th graders.

Students who can't produce proof that they've had the vaccine by the first day of school will be barred from class until they get it. The Legislature approved a measure this month to extend the deadline by 30 days, but Gov. Jerry Brown hasn't yet signed it. He has until Tuesday to sign or veto it, or the extension will automatically go into effect.

The new vaccine law was passed in September in reaction to a nationwide spike in whooping cough cases last year. The law applies to both public and private school students in an age group that is most likely to spread a disease that is a racking illness for adults and a deadly disease for infants.

From time-out to quiet time: meditation comes to SF schools

Innovative ideas are often born in California. This is the home of Silicon Valley, after all. But, that spirit of innovation isn’t limited to finding more ways to plug in to the world of high tech. Innovation also means finding ways to disconnect from it all. This kind of innovation is taking place in three San Francisco public schools that have started school-wide meditation programs. The hope is that a little quiet time and mindfulness will help facilitate learning.
It's all paid for with private money, and one school says it's seeing results. Natalie Jones reports on how it works.
*     *     *
By Natalie Jones: Middle schools do not tend to be quiet places. For many people, middle school is hard enough in the best of circumstances. For students growing up in rough neighborhoods or dealing with difficult family issues, it can be especially stressful.
That’s why four years ago, James Dierke, principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco, decided to implement a meditation program for the entire school to see if it would help students and teachers deal with stress and focus on schoolwork.

JAMES DIERKE: There’s individual stresses of just being a teenager, there’s family stress, there’s community stress, and all those things multiply within a person. So this is something that everyone can do and doesn’t require a tremendous amount of effort on their part but has great results.

The program is called Quiet Time, and it teachers students the practice of Transcendental Meditation. Read more and listen to the audio archive at KALW.