Young and homeless in America | EdSource

More than 4 percent of adolescents and 10 percent of young adults nationwide were living on the street, in cars or shelters, or couch-surfing at some point in the last year, according to a sweeping study by the University of Chicago released Wednesday.

The study, “Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America,” was based on random phone surveys of 26,000 young people ages 13 to 25, and represents one of the most accurate, wide-ranging overviews ever conducted of homeless youth, a group whose numbers have long eluded researchers, educators and social workers, homeless advocates said.

“We just haven’t had definitive numbers like this before,” said Shahera Hyatt, director of the California Homeless Youth Project, a state agency. “It’s fantastic to have this data, but the numbers are staggering. We as a country really have to face the truth about youth homelessness. I hope this report finally spurs us into action.”

Source: Young and homeless in America | EdSource

RoboKnights announce first Lego event in Vacaville – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Buckingham Charter Magnet High School RoboKnights have kicked off their new season and now they’re reaching out to the community by hosting an event for the smaller Robo children in the league.

The First Lego League offers an opportunity for children in elementary and middle schools to compete in robotics competitions that are geared toward young minds.

“These young teams are encouraged to think like scientists and engineers to solve real-world problems,” Logan Malaney, RoboKnights president, said in a statement. “And we get to guide them along the way.”

Source: RoboKnights announce first Lego event in Vacaville

Vacaville Unified leaders to discuss Measure A contracts – The Reporter

A biennial report about Alamo Elementary, accountability “local indicators,” and several large contracts are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Derek Wickliff, principal of Alamo Elementary, will present the report about the South Orchard Avenue campus. He will touch on a variety of topics. They include the school’s music program; recent past events; data from the California Dashboard, the state’s new schools accountability system, with statistics about suspension rates, English learner progress, and results from the 2017 state standardized tests; and attendance.

A district staff member will present information about local indicators from the Dashboard. They include basic services, the carrying-out of academic standards, parent engagement and school climate.

Through this accountability system, each California school district and charter school is required to provide a “narrative,” complete a rating scale, or use survey results to determine progress.

Source: Vacaville Unified leaders to discuss Measure A contracts

Solano Youth Theatre opens season with ‘Mulan Jr.’ – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Solano Youth Theatre, a division of Young Artists Conservatory of Music, opens the 2017-18 season this weekend with Disney’s “Mulan Jr.”

“Our SYT is a great expression of our community at its best,” said Wanda Cook, artistic director and founder of the Young Artists Conservatory of Music, in a press release.

“Each SYT show gives our student actors the opportunity to develop lifelong skills. It pulls together hundreds of adults in support of excellence demonstrated in the life of a hard-working young person.”

Source: Solano Youth Theatre opens season with ‘Mulan Jr.’

Midyear commencement in Fairfield marks start for graduates – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Cellphone cameras recorded the moment, “Pomp and Circumstance” played and a table displayed a quote from Henry David Thoreau.

The Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard at Armijo High School presented the colors and Xavier Deyro of Fairfield High School led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Source: Midyear commencement in Fairfield marks start for graduates

Vacaville High choir kicks off busy season at ‘Christmas in My Hometown’ – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Ashley Parker, who directs the Vacaville High School choir, begins listening and searching for Christmas music in the late summer.

“I joke around that I’m always ‘bah humbug’ by the time Christmas actually gets here,” she shared in an email.

The choir kicks off a busy holiday season Nov. 25 as they make their third appearance in “Christmas in My Hometown,” now in its 12th year.

That will be followed by singing Nov. 28 at the annual Festival of Trees in Vacaville.

Source: Vacaville High choir kicks off busy season at ‘Christmas in My Hometown’

Quick-Thinking School Staff Saved Children at California School – Education Week

By The Associated Press

A school secretary at a tiny elementary school rushed out to shoo children inside. A custodian swooped in, yelling “get into the classrooms,” at kids in the play yard.

Inside Rancho Tehama Elementary School, children and some parents huddled under desks as bullets riddled the tan and teal portable classrooms.

“I didn’t know what was happening and this boy was like, ‘Get down, get down!’ He did not want some people to get hurt,” 6-year-old Aileen Favela recalled Wednesday.

Source: Quick-Thinking School Staff Saved Children at California School – Education Week

5 Principles of Outstanding Classroom Management | Edutopia

By Samer Rabadi and Betty Ray

Effective classroom management requires awareness, patience, good timing, boundaries, and instinct. There’s nothing easy about shepherding a large group of easily distractible young people with different skills and temperaments along a meaningful learning journey.

So how do master teachers do it?

To get a deeper understanding of experienced teachers’ go-to classroom management strategies, we took an informal poll on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Unsurprisingly, there is no silver bullet for classroom management success. That said, as we pored over the more than 700 responses, we did see some clear trends. Here are the most often cited and creative approaches.

Source: 5 Principles of Outstanding Classroom Management | Edutopia

Tax Bills’ Potential Impact on Federal Education Funding: Big Cuts, or Meh? – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Over the last week or so, we’ve highlighted several provisions of the two GOP-backed tax reform proposals in Congress that could specifically impact education. But there’s one question we haven’t really dealt with yet: Would the tax bills lead to funding cuts at the U.S. Department of Education?

As they are currently written, the tax cuts in the House and Senate proposals would be financed with about $1.4 trillion in deficit spending over the next decade. In other words, they’re not “deficit neutral” as that term is traditionally understood, and would add to the national debt, although Republicans argue that this leaves out “dynamic scoring” of the budget, in which tax cuts spur economic growth and ultimately boost tax revenue. However, if those tax cuts become law and they do increase the national debt, it could factor into long-running from Republicans in Congress that the national debt must be reined in. (There’s a separate argument to be had about whether approving tax cuts that add to the debt and then cutting spending to reduce the debt is sound policy, but let’s leave that aside.)

If spending is reined in, that means budget cuts, and the odds are that Republicans would advocate cuts to discretionary spending, the kind that funds the Education Department.

Source: Tax Bills’ Potential Impact on Federal Education Funding: Big Cuts, or Meh? – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Legislative Analyst predicts healthy state revenues next year for schools, community colleges | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Uncertainty over the impact of a proposed Republican tax cut on the state’s economy and budget is hanging like a cloud over California, but at this point, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting robust growth in state revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges in the coming year.

The LAO is predicting that the schools and community colleges will get $3.2 billion more in 2018-19 under Proposition 98, the constitutional formula that determines minimum school funding. That would be an increase of 4.3 percent, bringing the Prop. 98 total to $77.7 billion, according to the LAO report released Wednesday.

K-12 schools get about 89 percent of Prop. 98 funding, with community colleges getting most of the remainder.

Source: Legislative Analyst predicts healthy state revenues next year for schools, community colleges | EdSource

Fires, floods, hurricanes: Teachers turn natural disasters into science and history lessons | EdSource

By Carolyn Jones

At Design Tech High, a charter school in Burlingame that’s affiliated with Oracle, students are analyzing the science behind the Tubbs Fire that raged through Sonoma County in October and creating blueprints for how the destroyed neighborhoods can rebuild in a way that could minimize impacts from the next fire.

The crash course in sustainability is an example of how, amidst the devastation and human suffering, teachers are using wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters to further students’ understanding of science, history and social studies.

“Drought, famine, fire, war — students get it. They see the connection between what’s on the news and these larger environmental issues,” said Andra Yeghoian, environmental education coordinator for the San Mateo County Office of Education, who teaches environmental science and trains teachers at Design Tech and other public schools in San Mateo County.

Source: Fires, floods, hurricanes: Teachers turn natural disasters into science and history lessons | EdSource

California’s school war flares up on 3 fronts – Daily Republic

By Dan Walters

Three recent and seemingly discreet events neatly frame California’s political and legal war over whether the state’s six million K-12 students are being adequately educated.

The conflict pits the state’s education establishment against a coalition of civil rights groups, education reformers and charter school advocates over the “achievement gap” that separates poor children, particularly Latinos and African-Americans, from more privileged white and Asian students.

The battle has been waged in the Legislature, before the state school board and local boards and quite often in the legal arena.

Source: CALmatters Commentary: California’s school war flares up on 3 fronts

Local students prepare for another Merriment on Main ensemble – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

It’s that time of year in which music often acts as a uniting force for communities throughout the country.

Whether the sounds of the season exude from the speakers of a family’s living room or spills through the illuminated neighborhood streets as carolers go from house to house, Christmas music often rekindles the most treasured of memories as people reconvene for Merriment on Main Nov. 28.

For families set to attend to the 35th tree lighting, music has become ingrained within the tradition of Christmas in Vacaville. While there will be a collection of professional artists, the performances by the younger and less seasoned crowd have been a popular point of interest year after year.

Although the local jazz bands at Vacaville and Will C. Wood high schools have been an integral part of the annual celebration, the choir at Jean Callison Elementary School returns after more than 25 years providing their unique spin on the annual festivities. After originally performing on the sidewalk adjacent to where Fleet Feet Sports currently resides, the budding group of more than 100 elementary students will return with 14 unique songs and plenty of movement.

Source: Local students prepare for another Merriment on Main ensemble

Vanden Robotics Team prepare to visit China to share STEM Robotics Curriculum – Daily Republic

Sixteen students from Vanden High School in Fairfield, CA, will be traveling to Beijing, Shanghai, and Ningbo this November 18-26, 2017. The students will conduct presentations and demonstrations to Beijing Economic Management High School and Jiaxing Sichuan Vocational College in Jiaxing, with the goal of building up a competitive and sustainable robotics curriculum programs in their respective communities.

These local robotics students will not only put their robot building and programming knowledge to the test but will also employ unique presentation skills, tying together academic language in English with elements of the Mandarin language. The support will not end with their visit, but will continue during the following year, providing support and resources by email and Skype. While in China, the students will also tour the sites of Shanghai, Terracotta Soldiers in Xi’an, and Beijing including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.

Source: Local High School Robotics Team prepare to visit China to share STEM Robotics Curriculum

Board Approves History Social Science Materials – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to approve instructional materials for grades K–8 that teach California’s groundbreaking History/Social-Science Curriculum Framework.

“I am proud California continues to lead the nation by teaching history-social science that is inclusive and recognizes the diversity of our great state and nation,” he said. “Students will benefit enormously.”

Torlakson said the instructional materials will give students a broader, deeper, and more accurate understanding of history and the social sciences, provide them with current research, and equip them with the critical thinking and research skills to make up their own minds about controversial issues.

“They update the teaching and learning of history and social science and convey important new information about the challenges and contributions made by individuals and ethnic groups, members of the LGBT communities, and people with disabilities,” he said. “They recognize some individuals and groups who may not have been fully included in the past.”

Source: Board Approves History Social Science Materials – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

BUSD applying for grant funding for BHS Performing Arts Building renovation – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The school board will be voting to approve the submission of two applications requesting grant funding for renovation of Benicia High School’s Performing Arts Building (PAB) at its Thursday meeting.

In May, an informational meeting was held at Benicia High to discuss two items. One was a new set of graduation requirements that had recently been approved by the school board, which parents, students, faculty and community members felt decreased opportunities for performing arts students. The new requirements were later rescinded by the board and the old ones reinstated. The other item was the PAB. Many felt the 36-year-old building was not being treated as a high priority for Measure S funding, despite safety concerns including overhead lights without support beams.

Benicia Unified School District is seeking funding from a California Proposition 51 Career Technical Education Grant. Proposition 51 was approved by California voters in the 2016 election to provide $9 billion in bond funding for construction and improvement of K-12 schools and community colleges in the state. The funding would include renovation of the current building as well as new construction. Among the improvements planned by the district are replacing the “outdated” lighting and acoustic fixtures, converting and expanding old the costume shop into a dance studio, adding changing rooms in the backstage and production support space in the backstage, and expanding the stage to provide more performance space.

Source: BUSD applying for grant funding for BHS Performing Arts Building renovation

On Kairos agenda: New board member, SELPA agreement – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Approval of a new board member, an agreement to accept a change to the El Dorado County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) document, and an update of the school’s special education program are on the agenda when the Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy board of directors meets tonight in Vacaville.

The directors are expected to approve the appointment of Leah Parker of Vacaville as the newest of seven board members for a three-year term. A former Buckingham Charter High teacher and the owner of Leah Dawn Photography in Vacaville, she will replace Bob Brigham.

The board also likely will approve an amended agreement with the El Dorado County SELPA, which, in October, OK’d a change in its “participation agreement,” which districts aligned to it must, in turn, approve.

Source: On Kairos agenda: New board member, SELPA agreement

Slow contract talks irk Travis teachers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Tonight’s Travis Unified governing board meeting will not be routine, in part because dozens of unionized teachers will protest the lack of progress in 2017-18 contract talks that have dragged on since spring.

Members of the Fairfield district’s teachers association plan to gather in the parking lot outside the Travis Education Center at 5 p.m., one hour before trustees meet in open session. They also will speak during the public comment segment of the meeting.

With virtually no progress after several bargaining sessions going back more than six months, the union and district remain far apart on issues that will help attract and retain excellent teachers, Michael Souza, president of the 290-member Travis Unified Teachers Association, said Monday.

Source: Slow contract talks irk Travis teachers

Benicia High news broadcast program continues to evolve – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Lights, camera, action…lots and lots of action. That is the best way to describe Benicia High School’s Panther TV.

Since its inception in 2013, the weekly web series that serves as an offshoot of the film production class has had the same goal: to deliver the news of on-campus happenings to students and their parents in a video format. However, each year, the student cast has brought something new to the presentation, and with showings now being required for the whole campus under the new schedule, this year’s class has sought to take it to a whole new level.Matt O’Reilly, the class instructor, said Panther TV began as a way for students to deliver news to their fellow peers. He describes the program as a class within a class where a group of film production students focuses on putting Panther TV together as a means to use their film skills for broadcasting.

The class began with seven students delivering the news from desks out of a ceramics room.“They were delivering information almost like how announcements were delivered on the intercom but at least it was in video format,” O’Reilly said.

Source: Benicia High news broadcast program continues to evolve

Big 5 Sporting Goods – Special Donation to Dan O. Root Health and Wellness Academy – Daily Republic

By Tim Goree

Big 5 Sporting Goods is celebrating their new store opening in Fairfield with an Open House Reception and official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to highlight a special donation to the Dan O. Root Health and Wellness Academy on Tuesday, November 14th, from 4:00pm – 6:30pm.

The donation consists of ‘kettle bell’ fitness equipment, shock absorbing athletic gym flooring, yoga mats, and a $1,500 line of credit for future purchases by the school. This is the beginning of what we hope will be a mutually beneficial partnership between Big 5 and a school with an instructional theme that fits perfectly with the store’s expertise.

Source: Event: Big 5 Sporting Goods Ribbon Cutting Features Special Donation to Dan O. Root Health and Wellness Academy