By Nick Sestanovich
At Thursday’s meeting, the Benicia school board unanimously voted to reject bids for fire alarm upgrades at two elementary schools and reopen them at a later time.
As part of the Measure S initiative, which was approved by voters in 2014 to provide $49.6 million in bond funding to projects at Benicia Unified School District sites, the district is looking to improve fire alarm systems at all of its sites. The fire alarms at Benicia High and Benicia Middle School have been either replaced or reconditioned, and the next schools slated to receive fire alarm renovations are Mary Farmar and Robert Semple elementary schools.
Roxanne Egan, Measure S bond director, said advertisements for public bids were recently put out and received interest from three contractors. However, only one put forth a bid: Bockmon & Woody, a Stockton-based electric utility company which previously did work on Benicia High and Benicia Middle’s fire alarms.
Source: School board rejects bids for fire alarm upgrades
By George Johnston
Facing unexcused absence as punishment, approximately 400 Benicia High School students nevertheless joined thousands of peers across the country to walk out of school as a part of the National School Walkout.
The National School Walkout was a nationwide protest held today to rally against gun violence and honor those who lost their lives in shootings. The event, coinciding with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre, was one of several national demonstrations held in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, and Benicia High students have actively participated throughout. On Feb. 24, students marched from Benicia High to City Park where they held a candlelight vigil. On March 14, they held a brief rally on campus in lieu of the the National School Walkout held that day. On March 24, students organized a march down First Street and rally at City Park which had several local officials speak. Today’s walkout called for students across America to leave school and join with their fellow youth in demonstrating a call to gun violence.
Source: Hundreds of students leave Benicia High for National School Walkout
By Tim Goree
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District is proud to announce Public Safety Academy and Fairfield-Suisun Adult School as recipients of the 31st Annual Jack London Award for Educational Innovation 2018. This award is made on an annual basis to a Pre K-12 program that has made an exemplary contribution to education through development of an innovative educational program throughout Sonoma, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Solano County.
Jack London epitomized the life-long learner. His own education was characterized by innovative and non-traditional experiences. The Jack London Award for Education Innovation memorializes the creative and individualistic spirit that London represents by recognizing and encouraging innovative, educational programs. The Jack London Award Committee, comprised of Sonoma State University faculty, as well as community and educational leaders, made the final selection of award recipients after site observations of the chosen semi-finalists.
Source: Two FSUSD Schools Selected as Recipient of Jack London Award
By George Johnston
Benicians and other participants will have a chance to show if they were born to run as the city is hosting the 11th annual Run for education on Sunday.
The Run for Education is a charity event put on by the Benicia Education Foundation to raise money for programs and services in the Benicia Unified School District.
The Benicia Education Foundation is a volunteer-run, community-based nonprofit organization that helps fund BUSD programs and services. The run is split into a 5K and a 10k. Both courses are certified by the USA Track & Field and professionally chipped and timed. Those participating in the 5K will pass historical sites, Victorian homes and views of the Carquinez Strait. The 10K course will takes runners into the Benicia State recreation Area. The Kids’ Fun-Run, open to children ages 12 and under, runs from the Marina Green down to the pier and back.
Source: Benicians to run for education this weekend
By Joel Rosenbaum
Educators from around Northern California including a group of about a dozen teachers and administrators from the Vacaville Unified School District participated in a daylong workshop that taught them the benefits of incorporating character into their daily curriculum.
“We are teaching them how to weave character development, compassion and interpersonal skills into their daily practice in the classroom and throughout the campus,” said Houston Kraft a trainer with Character Strong an organization that leads workshops around the country that “Help educators infuse character and social-emotional learning into the daily fabric of any classroom or campus,” according to their website. Visit www.characterstrong.com.
Source: Vacaville teachers join with others for Character Strong workshop
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
It’s a blend of the old and new as Solano College Theatre opens “Nice Work . . . If You Can Get It” this weekend.
The musical features tunes from George and Ira Gershwin. The show premiered on Broadway in April 2012. It’s based on a book written by Joe DiPietro and features material from Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse.
The next year, director Christine Mani heard the title song on a Pandora station that plays show tunes. Mani purchased the CD and discovered she loved all the songs in the show. She sought licensing for the show and was turned down because the show was too new.
Source: Solano College Theatre opens musical homage to old Broadway shows
By Tim Goree
The Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District is excited to announce its first ever, district wide English Learner Reclassification Celebration!
On April 24, 2018 at the Fairfield Community Center’s Willow Hall, the district will honor and recognize nearly 400 English learner students who have achieved English language fluency and mastery of academic skills. To qualify for reclassification, students must exceed standards set by the FSUSD Governing Board as measured by the state language assessment, a standards based assessment, teacher recommendation, and parent consultation.
Two separate celebration ceremonies will take place to properly recognize all of these students.
Source: FSUSD English Learner Reclassification Celebration
By Daily Republic Staff
The Vacaville High Advanced String Ensemble, under the new direction of Melinda Packer, celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of spring with tunes such as “Molly on the Shore,” by Percy Grainger, “Here Comes the Sun,” a Beatles song, and Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”
The string ensemble entertained Division 24 of the California Retired Teachers Association on March 13 at the Vacaville Opera House. The retired teachers showed their gratitude by donating more than $350 to the school group for their spring activities.
Source: Good News: Vaca High group entertains California retired teachers
By Daily Republic Staff
The Leadership Today Class of 2018 is hosting a fundraiser for the Public Safety Academy.
Leadership Today is attended by select city employees and community business leaders. Attendees are selected by both the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce and the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce.
The course focuses on group activities to develop leadership skills.
CPR training is planned from 10 a.m. to noon April 28 at NorthBay Healthcare’s HealthSpring Fitness, 1020 Nut Tree Road in Vacaville and from 6 to 8 p.m. April 30 at Brandman University, 2450 Martin Road in Fairfield.
Source: CPR fundraiser benefits Public Safety Academy
By Daily Republic Staff
First 5 Solano has launched a $200,000 grant program for one-time projects that address the needs of children up to 5 years old, caregivers – including parents and guardians – and service providers.
“The purpose of the annual grants program is to provide an opportunity for the First 5 Solano Commission to consider grant requests that fill community gaps, pilot new or innovative ideas, or address time-sensitive community needs,” a statement released by the county Administrator’s Office said.
“All projects proposed for the annual grants fund must support First 5 Solano’s mission to promote, support and improve the lives of young children, their families and their communities,” the statement said.
Source: First 5 Solano starts $200K annual grant program
By Daily Republic Staff
Five Vanden High School students brought home 11 medals and the team finished ninth in their division at the 2017-18 California State Academic Decathlon in Sacramento.
“The Academic Decathlon is a rigorous academic program and team competition which develops students’ confidence and improves their study skills,” Lisette Estrella Henderson, Solano County superintendent of schools, said in a statement released Wednesday. “As a result, students are more prepared for career and post-secondary education options.”
Vanden’s decathlon team won the North Bay Regional Academic Decathlon, which featured 12 schools from four counties – six from Solano County. There were more than 275 students involved.
Source: Vanden captures 9th at 38th state Academic Decathlon
The results are in from the 2017 North Bay Regional Academic Decathlon and the California State Academic Decathlon. This year, over 275 students from 13 high schools across Napa, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties participated in the North Bay Region’s Academic Decathlon. The Academic Decathlon is a competitive event modeled after the Olympics to stimulate academic achievement and honor “athletes of the mind.” The competition provides students the opportunity to participate in an educational forum, which fosters a deep respect for knowledge, cooperation, and self-esteem. The theme of this year’s academic decathlon contests was “Africa.” “The Academic Decathlon is a rigorous academic program and team competition which develops students’ confidence and improves their study skills,” said Lisette Estrella Henderson, Solano County Superintendent of Schools. “As a result, students are more prepared for career and post-secondary education options.”
Source: North Bay Decathlon Teams Compete At State Level | Dixon, CA Patch
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the release of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) CA Meals for Kids mobile app. The app allows users to find the locations of California’s Summer and Afterschool Meal Programs, which are spread throughout the state. These programs provide no-cost meals to children aged eighteen and under.
“It is critical that children continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session. This helps to counter summer learning loss and ensures that students are able to return to the classroom ready to learn,” said Torlakson. “This application will make it easier for families and caregivers to locate the sites closest to them and receive other information about meal services.”
The CA Meals for Kids App draws upon information submitted to the CDE Nutrition Services Division by local program sponsors and provides the most up-to-date information about meal services available in the community. Children and families can use location-based searches to find meal sites, dates, and times. The app also allows for searches by site name, ZIP code, and city.
Source: New CDE Mobile App—CA Meals for Kids – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By John Glidden
Fifteen air monitoring units may be installed around various sites within the Vallejo City Unified School District soon.
The VCUSD Board of Education will be asked Wednesday to approve an agreement with the Regents of the University of California, Berkeley on behalf of the Berkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network (BEACO2N) program for the installation of observation units to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the area.
The district’s administrative building on Mare Island, along with Jesse Bethel and John Finney high schools and Franklin and Solano middle schools, will each receive an air monitor.
Source: Vallejo trustees asked to approve air monitoring units
Perseverance. Teamwork. Excellence. These few words describe robotics team 5496.
The RoboKnights are a four-year team based out of Buckingham High School in Vacaville. In this build season alone, they have spent 200-plus hours building their robot named, Sir Elton John.
Team members have already attended two regionals in Davis and Boise, Idaho this season, placing sixth and ninth, respectively. After placing so high in Davis, the RoboKnights were put into a lottery in hopes of competing at World Competitions in Houston, Texas.
Source: ‘Sir Elton John’ wants to win robotic worlds; needs funds
Educators, Youth and Community Members Who Work with Special Education Students Recognized for Outstanding Service
The 12th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday, April 30, 2018, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the Solano County Office of Education, 5100 Business Center Drive, Fairfield.
CAC Awards are presented to educators, youth, and community members for outstanding service to students with special needs. Award recipients are from each school district within the Solano County Special Education Local Plan Area: Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Travis, and Vacaville Unified School Districts, as well as the Solano County Office of Education.
Source: News Release – Solano County SELPA Community Advisory Committee
By Nick Sestanovich
A little sunshine is on the horizon— both in the weather and at Benicia Unified School District’s Governing Board meeting, where a 2017-18 sunshine proposal between the district and the California School Employees Association (CSEA) is on the agenda.
Per Education Code, BUSD must publicly disclose negotiation proposals before beginning negotiations with the CSEA, a union representing classified employees. The current collective bargaining agreement between BUSD and CSEA Chapter 1096 expired on June 30, and the entire bargaining agreement is open this year, per contract.
The CSEA highlighted several articles to be made available to the public. These include seeking to remove restrictions on the union steward investigation process, seeking fair and equitable pay as well as a solution to overnight trip pay, searching for a fair and equitable medical cap contribution, making earned compensatory time immediately available, an expanded definition of “immediate family,” updating parental leave provisions, removing language to discourage safe working conditions, establishing annual first aid and CPR training, and commemorating verbal warnings for employee records. The agreement would be good through June 30, 2020.
Source: BUSD to discuss sunshine proposal negotiations with classified employees union
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
About 700 Solano County students filled the Empress Theatre Monday morning for two performances by the Vallejo Symphony.
The symphony’s board of directors picked up the ticket tab. Schools were responsible for transportation to and from the venue.
A few of the neighborhood schools were able to walk to the historic theater.
This is the first time in more than 20 years the symphony has offered the student performances, said Tim Zumwalt, who heads up publicity for the symphony.
The symphony – founded in 1931 – completed its first full season Sunday of performing at the Empress, which is more than 100 years old.
Source: Vallejo Symphony offers youth chance to hear, learn about Mozart
By Glen Faison
Members of the Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board will meet Tuesday for a study session to consider how rising costs may whittle away at future Measure J projects.
The notion of “something for all schools” – a foundational element to the campaign that led to Measure J’s passage – may fall by the wayside as a result.
Natural disasters and what a district staff summary describes as unprecedented levels of construction associated with local bonds in California are contributing to an increase in the cost of materials and labor across the state.
Bids for current district facilities projects are up to 40 percent higher than estimates from just a few months ago, according to the staff summary.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun board to consider cuts to scope of Measure J work
By Richard Bammer
On the job for less than a year, Buckingham Charter Magnet High Principal Paul Tytler has announced his resignation, effective June 30.
In a letter to students, parents and families, posted after hours Friday, Tytler, expressing “mixed feelings” about the decision, noted that he and wife Barbara, “after much consideration and reflection,” plan to relocate to Seattle, Wash., his home.
“I greatly appreciate the opportunities that BCMHS has provided me, as well as the wonderful partnerships I have formed with teachers, parents and students,” he wrote in the five-paragraph letter.
Source: Buckingham Charter Principal to resign