Weekly roundup: An out-of-this-world chat, classified employees of the year and more

Students from Betsy Ross Elementary in Anaheim were treated to an out-of-this-world experience this week. About 150 of them got to chat with actual astronauts living aboard the International Space Station.

As reported in this Orange County Register storyExpedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson took part in the long-distance video Q&A for about 20 minutes on Monday, sharing stories about the challenges of space, managing zero gravity and opportunities for women. 

This was a pretty big deal for Betsy Ross, considering only about a dozen or so educational organizations are selected each year to communicate with astronauts orbiting the Earth.

Here are some other education stories that caught our attention this week:

  • Anaheim’s Walt Disney Elementary School celebrated its 60th birthday with special guests from Disneyland, who brought a gift to mark the occasion. 
  • Pacifica High School in the Garden Grove Unified School District is one of three campuses in California to earn a highly prestigious civic education award co-sponsored by the state superintendent of public instruction and California’s chief justice.
  • The county’s six Classified School Employees of the Year were honored during a ceremony at this week’s Orange County Board of Education meeting.
  • OCDE and the Los Angeles County Office of Education are organizing a civic learning summit and inviting students, teachers, elected officials and members of the business community to attend.
  • Following an extensive search, the Saddleback Valley Unified School District has hired a new superintendent whose educational career started in the district.
  • Bolsa Chica State Beach got a spring cleaning from Orange County elementary school students, who plucked a combined 41 pounds of trash from Bolsa’s sandy shore.