Weekly roundup: Balboa Fun Zone offers new education experiences, OC Pathways to showcase industry partnerships, and more

About 50 seventh graders from Westminster’s Warner Middle School spent part of a day recently at The Balboa Fun Zone being groomed to become future environmentalists.

The Orange County Register chronicled this week how the students took water samples from the nearby Back Bay to store fronts that have been converted into Ocean Quest educational and museum space, run by the Santa Ana-based Discovery Cube science nonprofit.

There, they tested the water for contaminants and forwarded the results to the Surfrider Foundation as part of the environmental group’s water-quality monitoring, according to the Register.

The Discovery Cube is the latest owner hoping to pump fresh life into the Fun Zone, which has fallen into disrepair over the years amid multiple changes in ownership.

Educators say the area can serve as a great place for students to study ocean ecology, and the impacts of humans on water environments.

“Especially at this middle-school age, it empowers them to be involved and engaged,” science teacher Travis Garwick, who is bringing his classes on the Ocean Quest field trip for the second consecutive year, told the Register. “They are participating in a real-world application. Nobody ever does that for a 12-year old. Mostly what they hear is, ‘Stop skateboarding.’ ‘Stop doing this.’ ‘Stop doing that.’”

While at the Fun Zone, students participated in other educational activities, including looking for tags on the 10 sea lions on the buoy at the entrance to Newport Bay, so they could forward to the Marine Mammal Care Center sightings of animals that had been through the facility.

Here are other items making news from across the region for the week ending Nov. 2.

  • To kick-off their kindness campaign, students, parents and faculty members from Roosevelt High School in the Corona-Norco Unified School District painted uplifting images and quotes on their school’s bathroom stalls.
  • Schools in California’s wealthier communities have been reaping far more local bond money than poorer districts, a CALmatters analysis shows—a reality that amplifies existing inequities for the state’s public school students.
  • The PTA at Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach will hold its 10th annual Sports Swap at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, in the school gym. The event provides families an opportunity to clean out their garages, make a little money, outfit their growing children with fresh sports gear, and benefit Thurston’s PTA.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates or following us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.