What began as a fourth-grade journaling assignment three years ago is now an illustrated children’s book chronicling a local student’s journey with hearing loss.
As reported in the Orange County Register, Harper Gideons was diagnosed at birth with moderate hearing loss from a genetic condition known as Pendred syndrome. At 10, she reflected on her experiences during a writing assignment at Marblehead Elementary School in San Clemente.
Those journal entries have since become the source material for “Now Hear This: Harper Soars with her Magic Ears,” which, as of this week, was available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s website.
Harper, now 13, hears with the aid of a cochlear implant in her right ear and a hearing aid in her left. Her older brother has two cochlear implants.
“The first time my new implant was turned on, my eyes got wide as saucers,” she writes in the book. “Before, the world sounded a little bit muted, but after the implant was turned on, everything sounded so clear and awesome.”
Valli Gideons told the Register she discovered her daughter’s earlier journal entries and realized they could be helpful to others. Priscila Soares, who also has hearing loss, was tapped to illustrate the book.
And here are some of the other stories we’ve been following this week:
- Thanks to a Laguna Beach nonprofit, a group of young girls got the chance to tackle engineering challenges and learn about STEM careers at UCI’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering.
- The Santa Ana Unified School District has opened new wellness centers at each of its 57 schools, offering free classes and resources to local families and community members.
- A series of reports produced by Policy Analysis for California Education calls for significant changes to special education, including more streamlined services and better training for teachers. Researchers praised OCDE and a Central Valley district for the steps they’ve already taken, saying they can serve as models for the rest of the state.
- California’s Next Generation Science Standards were designed to help create a more scientifically literate society, where people better understand the world around them, writes Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares in a column for the OCDE Newsroom.
- OCDE is partnering with the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University to host a conference on human trafficking March 6 and 7. The OCDE Newsroom posted a story this week breaking down some facts and myths about human trafficking.
- The March 3 primary election will fill three seats on the Orange County Board of Education. The five-member body is responsible for approving OCDE’s annual budget, voting on charter school appeals, handling the appeals of students who are expelled, and reviewing interdistrict transfer requests.
- At a school assembly, Carrillo Elementary students presented civil rights icon Sylvia Mendez with a check for more than $1,000 to help build a monument that will honor her family’s fight for school desegregation in Orange County.
- They had already tilled the soil, mixed the compost and leveled the ground. On Tuesday, it came time for students at Harbor Learning Center to carefully dig out the small plots for the tiny strawberry roots, with the help of local farmers Paul and Yvonne Murai.
- In an 85-page education trailer bill, Gov. Gavin Newsom sketched out plans his for improving underperforming schools and addressing the teacher shortage. The bill outlines strategies for attracting new teachers, targeting impoverished neighborhoods for school improvement, and offering competitive grants to encourage districts to form partnerships and embrace best practices.