This Week: Kids throughout the Sacramento region are heading back to school

This week, thousands of children throughout the Sacramento region head back to school.

Folsom Cordova Unified and Natomas Unified resume classes on Wednesday. The San Juan, Elk Grove and Twin Rivers districts go back Thursday.

The big exception is Sacramento City Unified School District, one of the few large districts in the state whose summer vacation lasts until the day after Labor Day.

The budget crunch of a few years ago has eased, and additional money will be flowing into classrooms this year, particularly in districts that serve many low-income children and English-language learners. Rancho Cordova schools will reduce class sizes in grades K-3 this year, and Twin Rivers is adding about 90 new teachers, including 24 in arts and music.

A big issue this year will be the new national Common Core standards, which aim to teach students to think rather than just spout facts, but which critics have said are too difficult. Students will be taking computerized assessment tests based on the Common Core next spring. Districts have spent millions of dollars to buy tablet computers for their classrooms.

Mary Lynne Vellinga


Fort celebrates SutterÂ’s arrival 175 years later

Sutter’s Fort is commemorating the 175th anniversary of John Sutter’s arrival in the Sacramento region with a special “Hands-on History” event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Aside from cannon-firing demonstrations at 11 a.m, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m, special activities include a stencil-rubbing station of John SutterÂ’s brand, a dress-up station where families can take photos dressed as pioneers and tastings of food prepared in an outdoor brick oven. Exhibits include a work boot purportedly worn by Sutter and a geography book published in 1838 that belonged to Sutter.

A Swiss pioneer, Sutter arrived on the banks of the American River in August 1839. He built SutterÂ’s Fort on land he called New Helvetia, which later became the city of Sacramento. The 1849 California Gold Rush was sparked after gold was discovered at the Coloma lumber mill Sutter owned with partner James W. Marshall a year earlier.

SutterÂ’s Fort is at 27th and L streets in midtown. Admission is $7 for adults over 18; $5 for youths 6-17, and free for children 5 and under.

Info: Call (916) 445-4422 or www.suttersfort.org.

Class focuses on cutting landscape watering

The city of Roseville is hosting a gardening workshop Saturday aimed at reducing water use for landscaping.

Participants in the workshop – from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Roseville Utility Exploration Center, 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd. – will learn water-saving techniques for lawns and gardens, as well as how to find and fix problems in irrigation systems and develop irrigation schedules.

The class is $6 for Roseville residents and $8 for nonresidents.

Information and registration: (916) 746-1550.

AAA releases new gas price survey Tuesday

Sacramento-area motorists, who endured $4-a-gallon-plus gas through the Independence Day holiday, have been enjoying steadily decreasing prices in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, AAA will release its monthly gas price survey, breaking down prices throughout the state.

Info: Check for details at www.sacbee.com.

Panel examines trauma, PTSD for war vets

As part of a statewide conversation about veterans returning to California, called “War Comes Home,” Sacramento Central Library is hosting a panel discussion Sunday on trauma and post-tramatic stress disorder.

The 2 p.m. discussion at 828 I St. will be moderated by Jay Mechling, a UC Davis emeritus professor. Other panelists include David Morris, author of an upcoming memoir on PTSD, “The Evil Hours”; Elisabeth McKennam, a clinical psychologist with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System; and Bill Ludwig, a Vietnam vet and infantry officer diagnosed with chronic PTSD.

Sign-language interpretation will be available.

Info: (916) 264-2770.

McClintock holds meetings in Rocklin, Roseville

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, is hosting a pair of town-hall-style meetings for residents of his sprawling 4th Congressional District in the coming weeks.

The first takes place Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Timber Creek Ballroom at Sun City Roseville, 7050 Del Webb Blvd. The second is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 25 at Rocklin Event Center, 2650 Sunset Blvd. The congressman will take questions.

McClintockÂ’s district spans a vast portion of eastern California, from Placer and Nevada counties in the north to Fresno and Madera counties in the south.

Info: mcclintock.house.gov.

Foundation offers tour of McKinley Park trees

The Sacramento Tree Foundation invites the public to a free tour of McKinley ParkÂ’s trees from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Led by a certified arborist, the tour begins at Shepard Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd. in Sacramento. Participants are encouraged to bring a tablet or smartphone to learn how to identify trees and edit data using GreenprintMaps, a digital mapping of trees in the Sacramento region. However, mobile devices are not required to take the tour.

Info: www.sactree.com/events.