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Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Lauren Foreman covers education for The Californian. Reach her at, at or on Twitter@TBCTheGrade.

SEIBERT TURNS 50: More than 50 years ago, Amy B. Seibert School (a first- through sixth- grade campus then) opened its doors at its current Agate Street location for the first time.

Pam Somes, the current principal, said she will reopen the doors Thursday to alumni, parents and students in celebration of the anniversary. The event will run from 4 to 6 p.m.

Somes said it is a milestone that only two other schools have reached in the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District.

Some Seibert staffers have particularly close relationships with the 50-year-old campus. They were Seibert students years ago, and the land of the Raiders was quite different.

The year was 1963.

The current cafeteria, 17 portable buildings and 10 of 14 more permanent structures were non-existent.

Seibert was a campus of four buildings -- a library, an office and two classroom buildings.

Connie (Lane) Munn, now an intervention aid at the school, was in the first sixth-grade class.

Students were served lunch from a portable cart, she said.

And the rows of apartment buildings and homes that surround the campus now were stretching fields, speckled housing and a dairy farm on Larson Lane and Coventry Drive.

About 200 cows grazed land across the street from the school, said Munn, joined by two other former students.

They were bombarded with lunchtime cow whiffs and had to go sans air conditioning.

"That was still the country," said Cheryl (Bedingfield) Bender, a fourth-grade teacher at Seibert.

She attended first grade at the school in 1964 and continued through grade six.

Bender said she remembers winning the school's Gold Track Shoe, the highest female track honor, twice.

"I could beat the boys in sixth grade," she said, laughing.

Rhonda Lamb, a sixth-grade teacher and one of three generations of Seibert graduates, said she was part of the school's first kindergarten class in 1965.

She was then Rhonda Poole, who got in trouble for jumping a fence to the school adjacent to her home.

Munn laughed and said she, too, had gotten caught hopping that same fence.

"That's back when they could still give you a good swat," she said.

The women, with decades of Seibert teaching experience between them, listed their memories like different parts of the same day.

They mentioned years as cheerleaders, shared interactions with the principal and retold bits of the same story about a sixth-grade teacher and former Seibert student who found -- hidden in a wooden cupboard -- the very article he had given his teacher in 1977.

Lamb said the school was different, but very much the same.

"It's bigger. We have the cafeteria, but it's still a family," she said.

Munn said she has always felt that familial connection.

"When people ask where I work, I tell them home," she said.

HISTORY DAY WINNERS: Forty-seven local students competed in the 31st annual Kern County History Day Saturday at the Larry E. Reider Educational Center. Winners in each category are eligible to participate in a state history fair and maybe advance to the national level this summer.

The California History Day will take place April 25-27 in Riverside, and the national version of the statewide event is scheduled for June in Maryland.

Students in the local competition earned distinctions in 12 categories and both senior and junior grade divisions.

Brooke Richter, Makay Moss, Caitlyn Richter and Kaitlyn Moss -- students at Liberty High School -- are the only students recognized in the senior division for work in a group exhibit.

See the complete list of winners online at

STATE TESTING: OPT-OUT OR NAH: Last week on the Education page, I mentioned that some parents and teachers in Chicago Public Schools participated in a boycott of Illinois testing last week. Well this week, "teachers at two schools will likely face disciplinary action," Education Week reported. And the opt-out push against state testing this year has led to greater parent participation in anti-testing advocacy efforts throughout the United States.

Parents and teachers question the need for state testing this year because many states (including California) are preparing to pilot new assessment systems aligned with Common Core State Standards, which will in some cases mean an instruction overhaul aimed to improve college and career readiness.


* The Bakersfield City School District will participate in the eighth Junior High/Middle School Band and Orchestra Standards Festival Thursday in Cal State Bakersfield's Dore Theatre.

Performances begin at 9:25 a.m. with Sequoia Middle School and end with Chipman Junior High School's advanced string orchestra at 4:15 p.m.

For more information, call Michael Stone of the visual and performing arts department at 319-8218.

* CSUB will hold a Science of the Dust Bowl program for elementary students from 11 to 3 a.m. March 15. The event, free for children 12 and younger, will include science and technology exhibits and demonstrations, held on the university campus at Runner Park. For more information, email or 654-2136.

* Hundreds of students in grades fourth through 12th will participate in the 26th annual Kern County Science Fair March 18 at the Rabobank Convention Center. Niall McCann, a biologist and TV personality, will provide the opening address at 9 a.m. The public is invited to view student displays from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and awards ceremonies will be held at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more information, call Eldred Marshall, county math/science coordinator, at 636-4640.

* Two dozen agencies will give an overview of youth sport, mentoring, counseling and extra-curricular programs available for students and adults age 11 to 25 years old. The event will take place 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 19 at the Larry E. Reider Education Center. For more information, call Sal Arias at 852-5661 or Kerri Sherwood at 852-5664.

* The Kern High School District expanded public opportunities to give feedback about the district's new Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), which will determine how newly restored state funding will be used for students.

Meetings will be held March 19 at North High and March 20 at Foothill High from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: Earlier this week, we asked this on Facebook in response to a tentative pay raise for teachers in the Kern High School District:

"When was the last time you received a pay raise? How much was it?"

Amber Maas Waybright: "I'm a teacher in another district and we are getting a 3% [...] We can't just up and move to another, better-paying district because we can only take five years experience with us. Not as cushy as some believe."

Guadalupe Durham: "2 years ago, $1.00"

Xavier Ramirez: "I think it's time to get a job that pays more and has better benefits."

Pamela Tarango: "BCSD teachers got 3.5% on the salary schedule this year... First increase in 7 years."

Christina Mil Ashby: "About time! Teachers are so underpaid...."