By Thomas Arnett
As schools adopt blended learning, many are eager to use the floods of student learning data gathered by their various software systems to make better instructional decisions. We are accustomed to the ease with which we can use data from multiple systems in other domains of life—such as when we use GPS apps on our smartphones to search for dinner options, check operating hours and customer ratings, and then get traffic-optimized driving directions. So it isn’t hard to imagine an ideal world in which all student data flows seamlessly and securely between software applications: a concept known as data interoperability.
But currently, data interoperability across education software tools remains more of a hope than a reality. Often, the software that schools use only provides educators with the data that software developers have deemed necessary or relevant for teachers. Each piece of learning software usually has its own proprietary dashboards and reports, and the software typically does not tag, categorize, or provide access to its data in a way that makes data easy to share across systems.
Source: Making Student Data More Usable: What Innovation Theory Tells Us About Interoperability – Education Next : Education Next
By Mikhail Zinshteyn
Californians on both sides of the charter school debate can expect two years of hearings over Senate Bill 808, a bill that would restrict the charter school approval process, which critics claim could lead to the shuttering of many of the schools.
During a press conference Monday at the Capitol, the bill’s author, Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, outlined a two-year roadmap for the proposed law’s passage that includes an eventual vote on the bill.
“Yes, this bill will be going through the process like any other bill, and eventually it’ll be having a vote,” Mendoza said. That process includes a hearing in the Senate Education Committee this week and meetings in communities throughout the state this year.
Source: Controversial charter bill could face prolonged fight in Legislature | EdSource
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today the appointment of Caryn Moore as the new Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services at the California Department of Education. She began her new assignment on April 17.
Moore has almost two decades of fiscal management experience at the California Department of Education. She is the former Associate Director of the School Fiscal Services Division.
“Caryn’s extensive financial background, experience, and proven track record as a strong fiscal administrator are great qualifications to lead this division,” Torlakson said. “We are pleased to have someone with her expertise on our management team.”
Source: New Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today honored six outstanding classified school employees for their dedication to California’s public school students.
“I started my public service career as a high school teacher and coach, and I know first-hand the vital role that classified employees have every day in our public schools,” Torlakson said. “These terrific employees keep schools clean and safe; they make sure our students get to school and can eat healthy meals; and they contribute to an overall positive school culture that cares for the whole child. I applaud the fantastic work these employees do every day.”
The annual program honors six outstanding classified school employees from the following categories: Child Nutrition; Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities; Office and Technical Support; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; Support Services and Security; and Transportation. This year’s recipients were chosen from more than 100 nominations statewide.
Source: Classified School Employees Awardees Announced – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville-area high school robotics teams posted mixed results but gained immeasurable experience at the 2017 FIRST Robotics World Championships, The Reporter has learned.
Held in Houston last week, Wednesday through Saturday, the competition yielded the final tallies, with the RoboVikes from Vanden High, in the 67-team Galileo division, in 13th place; the RoboKnights from Buckingham Charter High in 43rd in the Hopper division; and the Armijo High Robotics squad in 66th, also in the Galileo division.
Long a robotics powerhouse and mentor to other robotics teams, the RoboVikes, veterans of several world championship runs, ended up in first place after the first day of competition, Thursday, in the George Brown Convention Center, for essentially a STEM face-off that attracted 400 teams (in five divisions) from the West and South and from several foreign countries, including Australia, China and Turkey. (Because the championship has grown in popularity, another round of championship matches is this coming weekend in St. Louis.)
Source: Area high school robotics teams tally mixed results at world championships
By Ryan McCarthy
A $24,731 agreement between the Butte County Office of Education and the Fairfield-Suisun School District for educational services to 88 students identified as migrants goes before school board members Thursday.
The Butte office and school district have worked together for several years to provide services to students with a parent who is a migratory worker in the agriculture, dairy, lumber or fishing industries and whose family has moved during the past three years, a school district staff report said.
Services include extended day tutoring for English. Migrant parents are told about services during Parent Advisory Council meetings.
Source: Pact for services to migrant students goes to Fairfield-Suisun trustees
By Nick Sestanovich
BHS math teacher, BMS campus supervisor in running
The Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) announced its nominees for the county’s Educators of the Year Award. Two Benicia Unified School District employees are in the running.This year, 13 employees from each of the county’s school district are eligible, including teachers and support staff. Representing BUSD are Lee Anne Aidt, a math teacher at Benicia High School; and Angela Porter, a campus supervisor at Benicia Middle School.Also nominated are:
*Martha Salazar, a reading and English Language Development teacher at Anderson Elementary School in Dixon.
*Debbie Thiessen, the food service coordinator at Dixon High School.
*Cindy Lederer, a physical education teacher at multiple sites in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District.
Source: Solano County Educator of the Year nominees announced
By Matthew Adkins
The Solano County Office of Education announced Thursday the school district’s nominations for Solano County Educator of the Year award.
Thirteen people were selected this year from a wide range of disciplines, including those with experience in teaching, paraeducation, child nutrition, support services, security and school staff.
Making the cut from Benicia Unified School District are Mathematics Teacher Lee Anne Aidt at Benicia High School and Campus Supervisor Angela Porter of Benicia Middle School.
Selected from Vallejo City Unified School District are Glen Cove Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher Joan Samson and Bilingual Tutor/Instructional Assistant Cristina Gutierrez at Franklin Middle School.
As with previous years, the Office of Education will select only one teacher and one school support employee to represent Solano County in a statewide Educators of the Year Competition.
Source: Nominees chosen for Solano County Educator of the Year award
By Daily Republic Staff
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Wildcat Stadium will be held at 3:30 p.m. on April 27 at Will C. Wood High School.
Work on the $13 million stadium is expected to be completed in December.
More than 15 students will participate in the shovel ceremony, along with local elected officials. More than 250 people are expected to attend.
Source: Will C. Wood breaking ground on stadium
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
A sea of bodies, in white, gray and blue T-shirts, filled a good portion of the grass Thursday afternoon at K.I. Jones Elementary School.
The students and staff, some on their backs, other on their knees, formed a giant blue heron while the Fairfield Fire Department took photos from ladder truck, getting a bird’s-eye view.
A drone also flew over the Art for the Sky event, to capture movement that artist Daniel Dancer will turn into a music video so students and staff can see their role in the giant creation.
The project was also designed to raise awareness of the environment and encourage mindfulness.
Source: KI Jones students, staff serve as ‘paint’ for giant blue heron project
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano Community College District earned a recent improved credit rating from Standard & Poor’s (S&P), up to “AA” from a previous score of “AA-,” the district announced, Friday.
At the same time, S&P Global Ratings assigned its “AA” rating to the District’s election of 2012, series C GO bonds, affirming the stable outlook. Moody’s Investor Services also provided their assessment, re-affirming the college with their “Aa3” rating.
These ratings are utilized in the purchase of bonds and other fixed income investments. In general, the better the rating, the lower the borrowing costs, the district explained.
Source: Solano College earns credit rating upgrade from S&P
By Nick Sestanovich
On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Torlakson announced that 275 California middle and high schools were being recognized as part of the state’s Gold Ribbon Schools Award Program. Among them are Benicia Middle School and Benicia High School.The Gold Ribbon program honors schools throughout the state while the previous program, California Distinguished Schools, is on hiatus as the state creates new assessment programs. Schools throughout California applied based on standards-based activities, strategies projects, programs or practices that serve as models that other schools can follow.
“These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said in a statement.
Of the thousands of secondary schools in California, 477 applied in 2016. Of these, 275 received the honor, including Benicia Middle and Benicia High.
Source: Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored as exemplary California secondary schools
By Katy St. Clair
Both Benicia High and Benicia Middle School were two of six Solano County schools to be selected for 2017’s “California Gold Ribbon” recognition.
Gold Ribbon schools are designated by the California Department of Education and represent what it considers exemplars of “best practices” in education.
“This is a tremendous honor and well-deserved recognition for these schools,” Solano County Superintendent Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.
Schools apply for the honor and are whittled down after meeting “rigorous” criteria, according to Assistant Superintendent for Solano County Victor Romualdi.
Source: Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored with ‘Gold Ribbon’ awards – Times Herald
By Katy St. Clair
It can be a special sacrifice for a teenager to part with their hair, but for 16 Benicia High School students, handing over their locks for a good cause was more important.
The high school kids gathered at the quad during Wednesday’s lunch hour to “Make The Cut,” a charity event that donates healthy hair to make wigs for cancer patients.
The event was coordinated by senior Clare Rodgers, who first organized it as a junior.
She is working in conjunction with the hair care company Pantene, which runs the larger hair-donation charity known as “Beautiful Lengths.”
Last year, seven students stepped up to have their hair lopped off, Rodgers said. This year the number has doubled, with 14 people signing up and two more donating hair from recent trips to the salon.
In order to contribute, students had to be willing to part with at least 8 inches of hair, but some students were willing to give up as many as 13 inches.
Source: Benicia High School chops off locks for good cause
By Ian Thompson
Wednesday was a bad day to be a weed at the urban garden being cultivated by some of the Travis Air Force Base Youth Center’s children.
Six-year-olds Jaxon Dieball and Keegan Reinhard were two of eight children getting the raised garden beds next to the center ready for a visit from judges for a basewide best urban garden contest as well as a best watermelon contest.
“This is a great opportunity to get outdoors and to have that opportunity to care for the Earth,” Youth Center Director Carrie Basaca said.
Source: Travis base starts Earth Day early with urban garden contest
By Kelli Germeraad
On Saturday, April 8, the Vacaville Veterans Organizations and Auxiliaries hosted a “Celebration of Service” to honor fifteen years of community service excellence by the Vanden High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) to the Vacaville veteran’s community.
It was an event that included cadets and their parents currently in the program; past alumni of the program; instructors Lt. Colonel Billy Lakes, Major Marian Collins and MSgt. Hollis Huvar, as well as some special invited guests.
The veteran’s hall was a sea of green and gold, fifteen years of pictures, posters and memorabilia. Volunteers on the committee scanned some 400 plus photos of the past in order to highlight a continued service to area veterans and their families. You could not walk in to the main hall at the veterans building and not be overwhelmed by the veteran’s gratitude to this group of young people who may have set out to earn ribbons and medals for community service, and instead provided life changing support to a community.
Source: Vanden JROTC honored for service – The Reporter
Hundreds of Solano County students will strap on safety helmets and pedal to school May 10 — National Bike to School Day.
The annual event focuses attention on the physical and environmental benefits of biking or walking to school instead of commuting by car.
In 2016, 26 elementary and middle schools throughout Solano County participated in the Solano Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program to promote Bike to School Day and this year high schools are invited to participate.
Along with promoting safety, SR2S aims to improve children’s health by increasing their daily physical activity by walking and biking to school. SR2S staff works with schools and parents to organize Walking School Buses and daily or weekly walking programs. The program also conducts traffic safety assemblies, bike safety rodeos and helmet fittings in Solano County schools.
Source: Students ready for National Bike to School Day
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano County Office of Education will honor 13 school district employees who have been selected as 2017-18 educators of the year.
The celebration will begin at 5:15 p.m. May 2 at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center at 611 Village Drive in Suisun City.
One educator will also be selected as Solano County’s nominee for the state educator of the year.
Source: Event set in Suisun to honor Solano educators
By Todd R. Hansen
Six Solano schools have been designated as California Gold Ribbon Schools, the county Office of Education reported Wednesday.
Armijo, Benicia and Elise P. Buckingham Charter Magnet high schools were selected by the state Department of Education for the honor, as were the Public Safety Academy, and the Benicia and Green Valley middle schools.
Additionally, Benicia Middle School received an award for being a Title I Academic Achieving School.
Source: Six Solano schools earn golden grades from state
By Jonathan Kaplan
As we blogged about recently, President Trump’s budget blueprint for federal “discretionary” spending proposes significant cuts to a range of key public systems and services. While this so-called “skinny budget” lacks important details, it calls for eliminating two K-12 education programs and, by doing so, would reduce the funding available to every California school district as well as to many community-based organizations across the state. California is estimated to receive more than $365 million for these two programs in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2017, which began October 1, 2016: $252 million for Supporting Effective Instruction (SEI) State Grants (also known as “Title II, Part A” funds), which aim in part to increase the number of educators and advance their quality and effectiveness; and $114 million for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before- and after-school as well as summer school programs. Although these two federal funding streams represent just a fraction of the $74.5 billion overall that is budgeted for K-12 education in California in 2016-17 (the state fiscal year that began July 1, 2016), their elimination would disproportionately affect students from low-income families because dollars for these programs are targeted to these learners.
Source: President Trump’s Proposal to Eliminate Federal Support for Certain K-12 Programs Would Hurt Economically Disadvantaged Students in Every Part of California – California Budget & Policy Center