By Kristin DeCarr
A new study performed by researchers at Syracuse and New York Universities takes a closer look at bullying within the school system, finding that students at the top of a grade span, more commonly referred to as “top dogs,” have a better experience than those on the bottom.
The report, “Do Top Dogs Rule in Middle School? Evidence on Bullying, Safety, and Belonging,” found that schools with larger grade spans typically have less instances of bullying. The authors state that as students move through grade levels, they take on more of a leadership role and are less likely to be bullied by other students within the school.
After studying reports from more than 90,000 students in over 500 city schools broken up into grade ranges of K-8, K-6, 6-8, 5-8, and 6-12, results were found matching those from a 2011 study performed by some of the same lead researchers, which found traditional elementary and middle school age ranges were worse for student test scores.
Source: Bullying Less Common In Schools With Larger Grade Spans
By Richard Bammer
Four out of six Solano County unified school districts, including Vacaville and Dixon, rank among the lowest-funded in California, a county educator told Vacaville Unified trustees.
During a special governing board meeting and workshop last week, Tommy Welch, an associate superintendent for administrative services and operations at the Solano County Office of Education in Fairfield, noting per-pupil funding revenues, said that out of 341 districts, Dixon was 341, Vacaville 326, Fairfield-Suisun 318, Benicia 306.
Travis Unified, which has two elementary schools in Vacaville, did not even make the median number, 170. It ranked 265.
Source: Several Solano school districts rank among lowest-funded in California
By Daily Republic Staff
WorldStrides OnStage programs has invited the Vanden High School cheer team to perform at the Holiday Bowl in late December.
The team will join dance, cheer, and drill teams from across the country in the halftime show finale.
Christina Hewett directs the cheer team. She will take four students to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego where they will rehearse with nationally known choreographers.
Source: Vanden High cheer team bound for Holiday Bowl
By Alyson Klein
The U.S. Department of Education Tuesday released a blueprint to help states and districts make the most of out of more than $2 billion in federal money for teacher support, preparation, training, and more.
The new federal guidance also walks states and districts through changes to this pot of money—known as Title II—under the brand new Every Student Succeeds Act. (More on the changes to teacher quality in ESSA here.)
The department recommends that states and districts use the funds to make sure that teachers are supported from the time they enter educator training programs, through their early years of teaching, and as they take on leadership positions, including the principalship.
Source: ESSA: Education Department Releases Guidance on Teachers – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Jasmine Weis
Beginning this 2016-2017 school year, Benicia High School introduced a new class, iQuest, under the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department.
The iQuest curriculum provides enrolled high school seniors with an opportunity to explore careers in the community. Students select their career passion and seek out sponsors to provide an internship during the school year, where they will spend a minimum of three hours a week in the field. For the two hours spent in the classroom each week, workshops and guest speakers will be provided to further facilitate seniors’ transition into the career world. College and Career Counselor Lisa Douglass will be also be assisting students with their internship opportunities, as well as narrowing down the colleges best suited for their area of passion.Teaching the iQuest class is CTE epartment chair Annette Fewins.
As Fewins stated, the iQuest program is a great opportunity for students to explore their career passions. She first heard about the class last year through Benicia High’s then-interim principal, Mark Corti, who worked at California High School in San Ramon, where the course originated three years ago. After visiting Cal High to watch the iQuest students’ end of year presentations, Fewins realized this program would be perfect for Benicia High seniors.
Source: Benicia High School’s new iQuest course offers student learning outside the classroom, in the community
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano County Office of Education is one step closer to building a new special education campus at the site of Irene Larsen Educational Center in Vacaville.
“The current plan is to tear down the current buildings and build a new building at the (site),” said Tommy Welch, associate superintendent of administrative services and operations for the county agency.
All the special education classrooms will be placed in a single building with one entry point for added security, Welch said. The plans will be submitted to the Division of the State Architect for review, after which a pre-bid budget for the project will be established.
Source: Law helps with Solano special education center project
By Susan Hiland
Children’s Nurturing Project has for the past 15 years provided services to children and adults in Solano County, but will no longer do so after this week.
The nonprofit organization will shut its doors for good Friday.
“We are no longer able to provide services,” Executive Director Gina Merrell said Monday. “For the last couple of months we have not been able to meet the needs in terms of funding.”
She said that many nonprofits have been struggling with cash flow issues, making it difficult to stay afloat.
Source: Children’s Nurturing Project nonprofit closes doors for good
By Richard Bammer
Like many school districts in Solano County, Fairfield-Suisun Unified continues to hang its electronic “Help Wanted” sign, the listings a sign of the lingering teacher shortage across the state and nation.
The county’s largest school district by far, it has 14 unfilled teaching positions, said Robert Martinez, assistant superintendent for human resources.
The following teaching positions are listed on www.edjoin.org, the district’s online application system, which is accessible through the “Job Opportunities” tab on the district website, www.fsusd.org: three English, two math, one science/physics, three physical education, three special education, one music, and one auto shop.
Starting pay for a fully credentialed teacher is $51,537 for a 184-day work year, noted Martinez.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun Unified hangs out ‘Help Wanted’ sign
By Nick Sestanovich
One of the growing educational trends in recent years has been the implementation of active learning classrooms. These are rooms that provide a 21st century learning environment with laptops, tablets, interactive whiteboards, ergonomic seats and tables and more with the goal of having students become more involved in the educational process in innovative new ways. Such classrooms have been utilized at various institutions at both the K-12 and college level and first arrived at Benicia Unified School District in 2014 with Benicia High School’s Active Learning Space. Now this kind of setting has arrived at Benicia Middle School in what is simply known as the Viking Village.
One would assume the “village” in the title was chosen as a complementary alliteration to the school’s mascot, but Principal Damian Scott assures that it is actually in reference to the funding received through the community and groups like the Benicia Parent Teacher Student Association and Benicia Education Foundation.“It was created by a village,” he said.
Source: Benicia Middle Schoolers get taste of 21st century learning with Viking Village
By Richard Bammer
The possibility of juvenile court youths to receive a high school diploma got a littler easier Thursday, when Gov. Brown signed into law AB 2306 by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D Solano.
The new law requires school districts to exempt a student from local high school graduation requirements once the student transfers to the district from a juvenile court school.
“By allowing these students to earn a diploma after meeting statewide graduation requirements, this bill increases their likelihood of continuing their education and getting ready for the workforce while simultaneously decreasing their chances of recidivism,” Frazier said in a press release.
Existing law authorizes local school districts to establish graduation requirements in addition to statewide requirements.
Source: Brown signs Frazier bill allowing juvenile court students to earn diploma
Governor Jerry Brown Thursday signed into law legislation by Senator Lois Wolk, D-Solano, to protect public agencies from fraud and enable the Solano County Office of Education to modernize and construct new facilities at a local special education center.
Wolk’s Senate Bill 441 responded to a shortcoming in current law that resulted in the City of Dixon falling victim to a scheme attempting to defraud the city of $1.3 million, an intended payment to a legitimate vendor with which the city contracts.
“This measure balances the public’s right to information about the contractors, vendors, and their affiliates hired by public agencies with the need to prevent the misuse of those entities’ identification information to defraud public agencies,” said Wolk.
Investigations of the scam targeting the City of Dixon revealed that the perpetrators developed their scheme using public information available online — including the unique identification number the city used for the vendor.
Source: Governor signs measures benefitting Solano County
Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Saturday AB 1719, a law that requires hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instruction, along with Automated External Defibrillator awareness in high school health classes, an American Heart Association spokeswoman said.
California is the 35th state to provide CPR training in schools, along with Washington, D.C., spokeswoman Robin Swanson said. State Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) authored the bill.
Source: CPR Training Now Mandatory In High School Health Classes In California – Dixon, CA Patch
By Ryan McCarthy
Payments, including $2,677 for three Fairfield-Suisun School District administrators to stay at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront for three nights to attend an Association of California School Administrators leadership conference, were approved Thursday by the school board.
Board members did not comment about the payments before their unanimous vote.
The school administrators association website describes the November conference as its premier professional development event.
Source: School board OKs $3,037 for San Diego, Orange County hotel stays
By Ryan McCarthy
A study session by Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees to review project labor agreements will take place Tuesday.
The trustees decided Sept. 8 to have sessions about the agreements and the $249 million school facilities bond voters passed in June. Trustees can ask questions and request information at the Tuesday session.
A second study session is scheduled Oct. 3 to hear information from representatives of local trade unions and other labor agreement advocates. A third session will occur Oct. 25 for opposition groups to present their viewpoint.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees to review project labor agreements
By Ryan McCarthy
Three Fairfield-Suisun School District administrators staying at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront for three nights at a total cost of $2,677 are among payments that go before the school board at its Thursday meeting.
An Association of California School Administrators leadership conference is scheduled in November at the site. The association website describes the conference at its premier professional development event.
“This annual gathering of educators at all levels of administration is a celebration of the profession,” the website states. “This event provides opportunities for invaluable networking and offers professional development on current critical leadership and educational issues.”
Source: $3,037 for San Diego, Orange County hotel stays goes before Fairfield-Suisun school board
By Ian Thompson
Suisun City Councilman Mike Segala listened politely as Dan O. Root Elementary School parents talked about the need to establish a parent-teacher organization.
As Dan O. Root’s principal for a day, Segala agreed with the idea. He said it was important while the principal he was shadowing, Julie Reece, said she hopes to see it “up and running in the near future.”
The parents were part of the school’s coffee with the principal where they could bring up any subject they wanted with Reece.
Source: Community members serve as principals for day
By Richard Bammer
The certificate of appreciation at morning’s end was a nice token, acknowledging my participation in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s renewed Principal for the Day program Wednesday.
When I walked up to receive the certificate, during a noon luncheon in the district’s central offices on Hilborn Road, Superintendent Kris Corey asked me what was the “bright spot” of my morning experience as acting principal at Cleo Gordon Elementary.
Source: Principal for the Day a chance to learn appreciation – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
Elementary music instruction and the review and possible approval of several policies are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified trustees meet tonight in Fairfield.
The director of elementary education, Cindy Brown, will lead a discussion about the physical education, music and art programs in K-5 and K-8 schools. Her presentation will include information about the level of music and band instruction provided in the elementary schools. The district employs 39 specialists in physical education, seven in art and music.
The sprawling district, the county’s largest, has some 21,000 students across more than two dozen campuses.
Source: Elementary P.E., music, new board policies on FSUSD agenda tonight
By Richard Bammer
Budget numbers and more — that is what Vacaville Unified leaders will hear and discuss Thursday when they meet in a special governing board workshop.
Chief Business Officer Deo Persaud will lead a budget workshop for the seven-member board, during which he will lay out in detail the 2016-16 budget, at nearly $109 million, with $660,000 in red ink and an ending balance of $16.5 million. Nearly 15 percent of the budget will be held in reserve, for economic uncertainties, Persaud told trustees during a June meeting.
Additionally, Superintendent Jane Shamieh, during last week’s regular trustee meeting, said a Solano County Office of Education official also may offer information about budgets from other Solano school districts.
Source: Vacaville Unified leaders in budget workshop Thursday
By Corwin Mollett
The Education Commission of the States, or ECS, has released the Education Trends report that examines graduation requirements regarding computer science classes. The report notes that many states have changed their graduation requirements to encourage districts to offer computer science courses.
“… identifies states that are allowing or requiring districts to apply computer science coursework toward completion of high school graduation requirements in math, science or foreign language. This report also highlights several states that require computer science courses to fulfill requirements for a specialized diploma or endorsement to the standard high school diploma.”
The report found that 14 states now require students to be allowed to fulfill a math, science, or foreign language credit with a computer science course. In an age where computer knowledge is nearly a mandatory skill for a growing number of jobs, this push for offering and requiring computer science courses is a strong starting point for students.
Source: ECS Report Shows Growing Trend Toward Computer Science