Benicia Democrats endorse Birdseye, Dean in local races – Benicia Herald

By the Editor

At its Tuesday meeting, the Progressive Democrats of Benicia interviewed candidates for the Benicia City Council and Solano County Board of Education. Club members cast their votes and announced the results on Wednesday.

Of the three candidates running for City Council, Planning Commission Chair Kari Birdseye and former Councilmember Christina Strawbridge. Ultimately, Birdseye narrowly edged out Strawbridge in the votes and received the club’s endorsement.

“The Progressive Democrats of Benicia are proud to endorse Planning Commission chair Birdseye,” group officials wrote.

Source: Benicia Democrats endorse Birdseye, Dean in local races

TUSD leaders report $285K revenue decrease this year – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Travis Unified leaders reported that the school district’s 2018-19 budget will incur a nearly $285,000 revenue decrease, due mainly to a cut in so-called “one-time” dollars from the state Department of Education.

Chief Business Officer Sonia Lasyone made the announcement during her 45-day budget report during the governing board’s once-monthly meeting Tuesday in Fairfield. (California school districts are required to prepare and announce publicly a 45-day budget revision 45 days after the governor signs the state budget.)

Lasyone reported a net revenue decrease of $283,564 to the five-member governing board, saying that, while Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2018-19 revised general fund budget of $139 billion provides for an increase in Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), it also includes a cut to the “one-time mandate dollars,” according to the text of the district’s board briefs, which were issued Wednesday.

Source: Travis Unified School District leaders report $285K revenue decrease this year

Thursday was the first day of school in Vacaville, and all systems were go – The Reporter

By Katy St. Clair

Two crimson walkways were unfurled at the entrance, and festive balloons flanked the doors.

Students at Browns Valley Elementary School who were already giddy with excitement felt extra special when they were greeted with “paparazzi” fanfare from teachers, their parents, and the school’s bear mascot, Buddy.

Thursday’s fanfare marked the first day of school for the Vacaville Unified School District. And it was a day of mixed emotions.

Riley, a third-grader, said he was excited to meet his new teacher, but missed Mrs. Panattoni from last year. Aiden, 9, walked through the doors with huge smile on his face, ready for the rigors of 4th grade.

Source: Thursday was the first day of school in Vacaville, and all systems were go

Vacaville, Travis school board races set – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

Five people are running to fill three seats on the Vacaville School District governing board this fall.

Two incumbents, Michele Dally and John Jansen, will campaign along with Khala Hastings, Michael Silva and Kristina Bell.

Bell was the last candidate to file Wednesday before the filing period closed. Thomas Kutz had pulled papers, but chose not to run.

Travis School District’s Trustee Area 1 got a single candidate for an open seat when Adrian Saiz filed for office Wednesday. Four candidates seek two Area 2 seats. They are incumbent Riita DeAnda, Janet Forbes, Russ Barrington and Vinh “Devin” Ma.

Source: Vacaville, Travis school board races set

Wood students begin new school year with new classes – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Adrian Garces, 14, left summer behind Thursday and entered Will C. Wood High School as a sophomore. He had a pretty good summer with a trip to Disneyland, but was ready to see his friends.

“I’m looking forward to getting good grades this year,” he said.

His brother promised him a PlayStation if he keeps his grades up. He said he earned ear buds last year with his impressive three sets of As.

As for the classes, well, he doesn’t have a favorite one.

Garces was among thousands of children and teenagers who started the school year Thursday in Vacaville.

Will C. Wood Principal Adam Rich welcomed his school’s 1,600 students at the front gates with a huge smile. Students are going to have some new classes his year;,one that is particularly a favorite of Rich’s.

Source: Wood students begin new school year with new classes

DUSD managers, school-support, confidential employees to get 2 percent raise – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified department managers, classified, or school-support, and confidential employees are expected to get a 2 percent raise tonight when trustees meet in Dixon.

Before the five-member governing board votes on the matter, there will be two public hearings, one for the tentative agreement with the district’s Service Employees International Union, which represents school-support workers (bus drivers, custodians, groundskeepers, some clerical staff, etc.), the other for management, confidential and any employees not represented by a bargaining unit.

Trustees are expected to approve the raise, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, in accord with the wage-and-benefit agreement reached earlier this year with the Dixon Teachers Association, which represents teachers and some other certificated employees, Melissa Mercado, the district’s chief business officer, noted Wednesday.

The latest employee agreement, which settles negotiations for the 2017-18 academic year, also includes revised contract language to define the district’s contribution to health benefits to be the midlevel of the high medical plan options offered by the district.

Source: Dixon Unified School District managers, school-support, confidential employees to get 2 percent raise

Partnerships between school, home essential – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

It’s hard to believe that a new school year is here.

Some parents told me that they could hardly wait for school to start, while others said that summer vacation seemed all too short. As a military spouse and teacher, I could hardly wait to send my two boys back to school, though I did enroll them (when possible) in summer school and library reading programs. It’s very important that school districts, business partners and families provide learning opportunities for students during the summer months.

Research points out that over the summer, many students tend to lose some of their school-year gains, especially in lower-income and rural areas. Some districts in Solano County provide food as well as activities at some schools. In addition, libraries do a good job of providing reading programs as well as fun activities that keep children learning and having fun at the same time over the summer months. It’s also important that school districts find ways to engage parents by promoting more contact with parents, even during the summer months.

Source: Solano Voices: Partnerships between school, home essential

New app offers safety features, emergency plans, more for Solano College students – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Solano Community College is rolling out a tool that puts school safety at one’s fingertips.

“We are proud to add another layer of safety and protection to the campus community,” said service area manager Lt. Brian Travis in a Facebook post for the Solano County Sheriff’s Office. “Our students, faculty and staff thrive when they are free and safe to focus on their work.”

Source: New app offers safety features, emergency plans, more for Solano College students

Cheers, construction greet Fairfield, Suisun students on first day of school – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

The students and their parents at Cordelia Hills Elementary School were greeted with cheers, applause and a lot of bubbles as they entered the school Wednesday to start the school year.

“We want to make it exciting for them on the first day,” Principal Steve Trotter said just before the gates opened to about 680 children and their families.

Maria Ramirez liked the greeting as she accompanied her grandson through the gates.

Source: Cheers, construction greet Fairfield, Suisun students on first day of school

Torlakson Creates Action Team on Charter Schools – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that he is creating an Action Team on Charter Schools to review laws governing California’s charter schools, and provide recommendations about any needed changes to the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Governor, State Board of Education, and State Legislature.

The guiding law for charter schools—the California Charter School Act—was enacted 26 years ago but has had few changes and little comprehensive review since then. In the meantime, California’s population and student population have increased significantly, our demographics have shifted, and our education system has been transformed with the introduction of new academic standards and new systems for funding and evaluating schools, Torlakson said.

“In the past few years, we have updated virtually our entire K–12 education system. Now it’s time to look at the key laws governing charter schools, which have not been significantly changed in 26 years, to see how they can be modernized to better meet the needs of all public school students, including those who attend charter schools,” said Superintendent Torlakson.

Source: Torlakson Creates Action Team on Charter Schools – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Eight candidates vying for Vallejo school board – Times Herald

By John Glidden

There are actually eight candidates fighting for three Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education seats this November.

Solano County Registrar of Voters officials confirmed Monday morning that Christy Gardner completed her candidacy paperwork before the Aug. 10 deadline.

A candidate list on the county’s website previously showed that Gardner had missed the deadline.

With Gardner’s addition, she joins a crowded field which includes all three board incumbents and four other challengers.

Board President Burky Worel, along with trustees Ruscal Cayangyang and Tony Ubalde, will attempt to keep their seats on the five-person board.

Both Worel and Ubalde were re-elected to the board in 2014.

Source: Eight candidates vying for Vallejo school board

Solano Youth Coalition seeks new members – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano Youth Coalition is accepting applications for new members.

The coalition, open to county residents ages 14 to 21 who are full-time students, is a youth advocate organization that addresses issues that face students and young adults in the community.

To apply, go to http://tinyurl.com/zfdtxvp. The deadline is Aug. 31.

For more information, call Johanna Nowak-Palmer, program manager of Youth Development for the Solano County Office of Education, at 646-7608 or send an email to jnowak@solanocoe.net.

Source: Solano Youth Coalition seeks new members

School board to vote on resolution removing obsolete books – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

On Monday, students throughout Benicia will be returning to school, but nearly 2,000 outdated books in Benicia High School’s library will not be joining them. Over the summer, Benicia Unified School District officials and student volunteers weeded certain books out of Benicia High’s collection, and the school board will be voting to declare these books as well as library furniture to be obsolete when it reconvenes from its summer break on Thursday.

According to the school board agenda, BHS has 14,314 books in its collection. The district went through a process to remove approximately 1,930 items which were either in poor condition, had information that was no longer relevant or were available online through Benicia High’s current database. The books will be donated to either the Benicia Public Library or Benicia High art classes for future projects. Student volunteers assisted with the process for three days, and a Benicia Public Library representative provided consultation.

Source: School board to vote on resolution removing obsolete books

Sub teacher raises and vendor contracts on VCUSD agenda – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

A raise for substitute teachers and another slew of contracts Vallejo City Unified School District officials want approved fill the agenda for the school board’s meeting Wednesday.

The trustees are being asked to approve a restructuring of substitute pay to a tiered model with $160 for daily subs, $170 daily for long-term subs and $205 daily for retiree subs.

The district has had problems finding subs, so, in an effort to make the district more competitive with surrounding school districts, the staff is proposing increasing substitute pay. This is expected to cost about $2.3 million.

The agenda also includes what amounts to an appeal for one contract denied at the last meeting.

As part of the superintendent’s report, Chief Academic Officer Cheri Summers will offer what amounts to an appeal of the board’s decision to deny implementation of Imagine Learning, Inc. at the Aug. 1 meeting. That contract would have provided 2018-19 school year licenses to support language, literacy, and math strategy developments for all K-5 students, and especially English Learners, students performing significantly below grade level and students with gaps in specific concepts and skills. Principals and other staff members have requested the opportunity to address the board about the impact of this action.

Source: Possible substitute teacher raises, more possible vendor contracts on VCUSD agenda

Accountability for Early Education — A Different Approach and Some Positive Signs – Education Next

By Susanna Loeb

Early childhood education in the United States is tangle of options—varying in quality, price, structure, and a range of other dimensions. In part as a result, children start kindergarten having had very different experiences in care and very different opportunities to develop the skills and dispositions that will serve them well during school. Systematic differences across groups by income, race, ethnicity, home language, and geographic location are particularly troubling because inequalities that appear early are often sustained through school and affect prospects throughout life.

Convincing research has demonstrated that high-quality early childhood programs can reduce these differences across groups. [1] A few small programs have demonstrated strong positive effects throughout the life cycle, but even some large-scale programs, such as those in Boston and Tulsa have shown effects on math and reading learning. [2] These positive results combined with evident need have led to substantial public investment in early childhood education. State spending on preschool more than doubled between 2002 and 2016, from $3.3 to $7.4 billion (constant 2017 dollars). [3]

Source: Accountability for Early Education — A Different Approach and Some Positive Signs – Education Next : Education Next

Back-to-school fair preps children for new school year – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Children were waiting in line at 5 a.m. Saturday to get a free backpack at the Fairfield-Suisun School District Family Resource Fair at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

The line was wrapped around the building by 10 a.m.

“We couldn’t believe that they came that early,” said Elizabeth Teresi, assistant director of Student Services for the school district.

The event gave parents a chance to get a free backpack filled with school supplies and to learn about programs offered in Solano County to benefit low-income families.

Source: Back-to-school fair preps children for new school year

Free teacher supply store open at Vallejo High School – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Many would agree that it’s hard enough to be a public school teacher without having to come out of pocket for classroom supplies. So, some Vallejo folks created a way to help.

With signs around the walls saying, “You are a VCUSD Superstar,” and “We celebrate VCUSD educators,” the 4-year-old Teacher Supply Store occupies two portables on the Vallejo High School campus. It stocks a wide range of donated school supplies and all Vallejo City Unified School District teachers are welcome to stop by and stock up, former school board member, store organizer and head volunteer Hazel Wilson said.

Source: Free teacher supply store open at Vallejo High School

FSUSD Procedures in Response to Changes in Air Quality – Daily Republic

By Tim Goree

Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District schools follow specific guidelines when air quality changes. These guidelines were established in cooperation with the Solano County Public Health Department.

Staff members at each school check the “Current Conditions” section of the Air Now website (https://goo.gl/cDPN8J) and then use the following guide to determine activities. The website is checked multiple times per day if there is reason to believe that air quality is changing rapidly.

– School is in Green/Yellow zone – Outdoor activities are conducted normally.

– School is in Orange zone – Outdoor activities can happen, but should be limited. Staff keep a close eye on students who have air quality sensitivities and provide them with alternative, inside activities. School may have lunch outside, but PE should be conducted inside.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District Procedures in Response to Changes in Air Quality

Retired librarian becomes first candidate in school board race – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The Benicia school board election is well underway. This year, three seats are up for grabs but of those three, only President Diane Ferrucci has made an attempt to run for re-election. This will essentially guarantee new faces on the board, and according to the Solano County Registrar of Voters’ website, at least four challengers are going through the process of filing papers to establish candidacies. Of these, one is now an established candidate as of press time.

Sheri Zada, a retired elementary school librarian and local volunteer, is the first candidate in the race. She cites a lifelong love for education and children that she hopes to bring to the board.

“I’ve been heavily involved in volunteering for children and education, which is my passion,” she said.

Source: Retired librarian becomes first candidate in school board race

Corbus Field gets new lights, scoreboard in time for fall season – Times Herald

By Thomas Gase

With the start of the high school football season just a week away, the clock was ticking down and both Vallejo and Jesse Bethel high schools could see the light at the end of the tunnel concerning the end of summer practices.

So with many final preparations for the season underway, Vallejo Unified School District came through and made sure that the home field for both schools would actually have a clock ticking down and lights at the end of a tunnel.

Corbus Field, without a working scoreboard for about a year and without lights since a fire occurred nearby last spring, finally got new installments for both on Wednesday, just in time for the start of Bethel’s first home game, which is Aug. 17.

Source: Corbus Field gets new lights, scoreboard in time for fall season