Weekly roundup: Ocean View debuts new Central Kitchen, artificial intelligence enters the classroom, and more

Central Kitchen exteriorThe Ocean View School District unveiled its new Central Kitchen this week.

As the Orange County Register reported, the 13,000-square-foot facility was built from scratch on a Warner Avenue site that was once a K-8 campus.

Filled with state-of-the-art culinary equipment — and a staff of 15 — the kitchen allows the district to create its own healthier and tastier menu options rather than relying on vendors for pre-packaged entrees.

Workers in a kitchen
The Ocean View School District hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 17 for its new 13,000-square-foot Central Kitchen. (Photos courtesy of OVSD)

“Healthy eating is the foundation to proper nutrition,” said Superintendent Dr. Carol Hansen, noting that “well-nourished students have higher test scores, increased school attendance, and improved concentration.”

Ocean View school board President Gina Clayton-Tarvin and Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta were among the local dignitaries who took part in the ceremony and toured the kitchen on Dec. 17.

Jim Riner, the district’s director of food services, was also on hand for the opening. As the Register notes, Riner has a restaurant background, having worked for eight years as an area director for Corner Bakery Café.

Ocean View serves about 8,000 students in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Westminster and Midway City.

And here are some other education stories from the final days before winter break:

  • OCDE is partnering with the Orange County Human Relations Commission to host a pair of forums in January that will explore the impact that hate has on students and school communities. Students, families and community members are encouraged to attend the first session on Jan. 7.
  • The U.S. census count is one of the few national activities the American public does together. It’s also easy, confidential and critically important to students and their communities, writes Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares in his latest column for the OCDE Newsroom.
  • Artificial intelligence is making its way into the classroom, optimizing coursework and taking over repetitive tasks such as grading. Experts say emerging technologies are increasingly enabling teachers to spend more of their time working directly with students.
  • As California makes plans to expand and improve early childhood programs, its efforts could be impacted by a federal government proposal to stop collecting a wide range of data, including information about young children.
  • “You get a bike! And you get a bike!” Third-graders at Thorman Elementary in Tustin Unified had no idea they’d be leaving a school assembly with brand new bicycles after participating in an essay contest. More than 130 black and yellow Huffys were donated by the Bikes for Kids Foundation and assembled by community volunteers, according to a “spokes”-person.
  • The 12 Days of GRITmas ended Friday for students at Dwyer Middle School in Huntington Beach. Since Dec. 5, kids have been pursuing at least one kind act each day and writing it on a construction-paper ornament to hang on the GRITmas tree.
  • An alarming new poll of U.S. high school students reveals skyrocketing rates of marijuana use associated with vaping devices. About 14 percent of seniors acknowledged they had vaped marijuana at least once in the past month, which is nearly double last year’s rate.
  • A rental assistance program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is helping foster youth avoid homelessness when they age out of care facilities for minors. Orange County United Way’s Welcome Home OC is assisting the effort by tracking down available homes and providing furniture.
  • A new law set to take effect in July will prohibit middle school suspensions for disruptive behavior. A similar ban has been in effect for younger students from kindergarten through grade five.
  • More than 65 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, California’s public preschools remain deeply segregated, LAist reports. Experts say well-meaning but ultimately flawed funding policies are largely to blame.
  • And last but not least, Laguna Beach Police Officer Fred Yeilding has been selected as the second school resource officer for the Laguna Beach Unified School District. District and city officials recently agreed to jointly support a second SRO for local campuses.

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.