ACADEMIC PENTATHLON: Stanislaus County junior high school students are gearing up for the fourth annual Academic Pentathlon. About 200 students are slated to participate in the day of tests, speeches and essays. The public is invited to attend the Super Quiz and Awards Presentation on April 5 from 1:45 to 3:30 p.m. at Blaker-Kinser Junior High School, 1601 Kinser Road, Ceres. Admission is free. The pentathlon, sponsored by the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Omega Nu and the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County, promotes scholastic achievement and interschool competition in academics. In the pentathlon, seventh- and eighth-graders compete as individuals and as teams in a series of five tests in subject areas including mathematics, essay writing, language arts, science and social studies. Participating schools send nine members (based on grade-point averages) to serve as the core team -- three students each in three categories. Schools may send as many alternate team members as they choose. Categories include Honors, 3.75-4.00 GPA; Scholastic, 3.00-3.74 GPA; and Varsity, 0.00-2.99 GPA. Eight junior high schools are participating in this year's event: Blaker-Kinser, Glick, Keyes Charter, Prescott, Somerset, Teel, Turlock and Ustach.
UC BUILDING HONORED: The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded LEED "gold" certification to the University of California at Merced's classroom and office building. The gold designation signifies excellence in environmentally responsible design, construction and operation. The building is the third at the newest UC campus to earn the gold certification. The Central Plant complex and the Kolligian Library earned the same distinction last year. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It rates buildings for environmental performance on a five-tier scale, awarding points for meeting or exceeding standards on 69 different measures. Gold is the second-highest level of achievement. To learn more about UC Merced's Environmental Stewardship Program, visit www.ucmerced.edu/about_ucmerced/environmentalstewardship.asp.
NEW DEAN FOR STAN STATE: California State University, Stanislaus, named a University of Maryland professor the dean of the College of Education. Ruth Fassinger is a professor of psychology and interim chairwoman of the department of counseling and personnel services at the University of Maryland, College Park. She'll start her new post at Stanislaus State in July. She succeeds Carl Brown, who will retire at the end of the academic year. The university is launching a new education doctorate this fall and trains many of the area's teachers. Prior to moving into higher education after earning her Ph.D. in psychology and becoming a practicing psychologist, Fassinger was a public school teacher for 10 years at the elementary level.