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By Felix Adamo / The Californian
By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
The Panama-Buena Vista Union School District has added a new bus stop for the 2013-14 school year in response to construction of a controversial new wall between the Amberton and Stockdale Estates neighborhoods.
The wall, erected by a homeowner on his own property on June 14, blocks an access point previously used by a generation of children to walk to Stockdale Elementary and Actis Junior High, avoiding the busier major streets surrounding the two neighborhoods.
The new bus stop is at El Portal and Outingdale drives. It serves K-6th grade Stockdale Elementary School students and will operate in addition to two other bus stops in the area.
The idea was to prevent school children from having to walk along busy streets to get to a bus stop, said Gerrie Kincaid, assistant superintendent of educational services for PBVUSD.
A group of residents who live in the neighborhoods has formed an organization that is lobbying for the demolition of the wall. The Amberton-Stockdale Alliance recently hired attorney Michael T. Whittington, replacing previous counsel Barry Goldner.
"I think that both sides would like to avoid litigation. That's a good thing," Whittington said. "The lawyers (for both sides) met today, and we have had an exchange of ideas on resolving the matter. We've agreed to not file our lawsuit immediately, and we're going to have another meeting later this week."
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office is looking for volunteers for the annual Kern County Community Reading Project.
The project, which is partially funded by United Way of Kern County, recruits and trains community members to become reading coaches for local second grade students.
Volunteers attend a two-hour training session to learn the guided reading technique, then commit one hour, one day a week for at least one semester. Semesters run September to December and January to May.
During each visit, a volunteer coaches four students individually for 15 minutes. A different volunteer is in the classroom every day, assuring daily guided practice for the selected students.
Those interested in volunteering during the fall semester should attend one of three upcoming two-hour training sessions: 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27, 3 p.m. Aug. 28 or 9 a.m. Aug. 31. All training takes place at City Centre, 1300 17th St. in downtown Bakersfield. No pre-registration is necessary.
For more information, contact Teresa Twisselman, coordinator English/Language Arts, at (661) 636-4645.
Students new to Bakersfield College are invited to a "Find Your Classroom" event hosted by the college's Newman Club from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Aug. 24 at BC's Grace Van Dyke Bird Library, 1801 Panorama Drive.
Most BC classes start on Aug. 26. Students from the Newman Club and volunteers from BC will help students who want to locate their classes before the first day.
Students should bring their schedule and park in front of the library off of Haley Street.
Parking for "Find Your Classroom" is free, and there is no charge for the event. For more information, contact Newman Club advisor Lynn Krausse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RetailMeNot.com is accepting nominations for a free three-minute Costco shopping spree for teachers.
Close to half of K--12 teachers say their schools do not provide them with all the classroom supplies they need to do their job effectively, according to RetailMeNot.com, which created the contest to draw attention to school budget cuts.
To nominate your favorite teacher, visit http://www.retailmenot.com/contests/ no later than Saturday.
-- Courtenay Edelhart, Californian staff
For more education news, go to The Californian's education blog, The Grade, at www.bakersfield.com/thegrade or follow The Grade's Twitter at twitter.com/TBCTheGrade. Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/EducationReporterCourtenayEdelhart.