CA Dream Act Applications Due March 2 – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) announced that applications for the California Dream Act are down significantly and urged all eligible students to apply for the program, which allows undocumented students to receive state financial aid for college.

“Please apply right away. The California Dream Act is the key to success in college and 21st century careers. It would be a shame if fear or confusion keeps students from applying for financial aid that they have earned and they deserve,” Torlakson said.

The application deadline is March 2. As of Friday, CSAC had received about 20,000 applications, down from more than 34,000 applications from the prior year. The California Dream Act is unrelated to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The California Student Aid Commission has redoubled its efforts to encourage Dreamers to complete the California Dream Act Application,” said Lupita Cortez Alcalá, Executive Director for the CSAC, which administers the California Dream Act. “California’s strength lies in its diversity and we will continue to support and advance our efforts to prepare all California students for academic and economic prosperity.”

Source: CA Dream Act Applications Due March 2 – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

Lower BUSD enrollment projected for next year – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Benicia Unified School District is projected to have lower enrollment next year, according to a report by Chief Business Official Tim Rahill at Thursday’s school board meeting.Rahill said that in the last five to eight years, BUSD has had stable enrollment with the numbers going up or down just a little bit each year. The exception is the 2016-2017 school year, in which all of the schools had 100 fewer students than the previous year. That amount is expected to dip to 90 fewer students next year.

“We basically have larger classes leaving and smaller classes moving up through the ranks,” Rahill said.

Rahill said the district is working one-on-one with all of the principals to make them aware of the information. He also noted that fewer students would result in smaller staffs at each school site.

“It looks like for next year, there will be some adjustments at the secondary level and working with the principals on their staffing and making sure all of the students fit into the classes, but with less students, there’s less of a need for adjusted staffing.”

Source: Lower BUSD enrollment projected for next year

Kindness contest, proposed budget reductions on Fairfield-Suisun district agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A Kindness Video Contest presentation, recommended budget reductions for the 2017-18 year, and the sunshining of a classified contract proposal are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet Thursday in Fairfield.

As they have recently at other area trustee meetings, staff from the offices of Supervisor John Vasquez and District Attorney Krishna Abrams will present information about a contest the two have devised: The Power of Kindness.

The seven-member governing board is expected to approve a resolution in support of the video contest.

In a presentation earlier this month to Vacaville Unified trustees, Vasquez and Tonya Covington, representing Abrams, told trustees that their families had been affected by bullying.

The contest asks students, through video, to illustrate positive behavior and show others the power that kindness can have on their school and community.

Source: Kindness contest, proposed budget reductions on Fairfield-Suisun district agenda

Solano’s top educator receives women’s leadership award – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella Henderson has been named the regional winner of the 2017 Outstanding Women Leader Award by the Association of California School Administrators.

Her selection was announced Tuesday.

Henderson took over as the county’s top educator at the start of the new year.

Two others were honored by the group: Darrien Johnson, director of Human Resources for Rescue Union Elementary School District in El Dorado County, and Deborah Bettencourt, superintendent of the Folsom-Cordova School District near Sacramento.

Source: Solano’s top educator receives women’s leadership award

MIT adopts safe haven resolution – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Joining the Vallejo school district, the Mare Island Technology Academy Board of Directors approved a resolution this week declaring its charter schools as “Safe Haven” zones.

In response to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies many school districts across the state have approved such resolutions to ease the fears of parents and students.

The resolution stipulates that both MIT’s middle and high schools will not release the immigration status of students to federal agencies or other authorities without parental permission or a warrant, court order, or subpena, the resolution states.

Staff at both schools are required to notify the superintendent’s office should any representatives from the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) come to a school site unannounced to interrogate or take custody of a student, the resolution further states.

 

Source: MIT adopts safe haven resolution

Vacaville Unified leaders approve more than $5.4M in Measure A contracts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A million here, a million there, and pretty soon we’re talking real money in Vacaville.

Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday approved more than $5.4 million in Measure A contracts to upgrade the district’s aging schools — many of them built more than 50 years ago — and to begin work on the long-awaited Will C. Wood High stadium project.

Meeting in the Educational Services Center, the governing board, as expected, OK’d a nearly $4.2 million contract with Lister Construction of Vacaville for building a pad, site work, and a staff parking lot at Vacaville High, which will see in the coming months two new classroom buildings rise on the West Monte Vista Avenue campus.

Work on the first new classroom building is already underway, Dan Banowetz, the district’s director of facilities, noted Friday.

“We’re kind of getting ready to work on both buildings at the same time,” he said. “So, once the summer rolls around, we’ll be getting rid of 15 portables (classrooms) and making room for the new building (on the southwest corner of the campus).”

 

Source: Vacaville Unified leaders approve more than $5.4M in Measure A contracts

2 Fairfield-Suisun musicians earn all-state honors, perform for music educators – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Two local high school students have earned all-state honors and will perform this weekend at the California All-State Music Education Conference in San Jose.

They competed, via auditions, with other high school students across the state.

Quinn Weaver, a Rodriguez High School senior, was selected to be one of 17 members of the high school vocal jazz group.

His musical education began when he was 6 and started with piano. Weaver also plays the tuba and trombone. He studies vocals with Jay Trottier, who brings Handel’s “Messiah” to life every Christmas.

Source: 2 Fairfield-Suisun musicians earn all-state honors, perform for music educators

$75,0000 pact for Rodriguez High prom eyed – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

A $75,000 pact for Rodriguez High School to hold its 2018 prom at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is among contracts that go before Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees Thursday.

Armijo High School has an $11,000 pact for its 2018 prom at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland.

Associated Student Body funds at the schools pay for the events.

Rodriguez held its April 2016 prom at the Academy of Sciences – an event that carried a $46,000 contract.

Source: $75,0000 pact for Rodriguez High prom eyed

Dance classes offered at Adult School – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Jasmine Hamilton, a math teacher at Crystal Middle School, will teach two new dance classes at the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School.

The recreational dance class includes international, folk, square, contra and ballroom dance. Students will learn specific dances from each of these styles and gain an understanding and appreciation of the role of dance in societies and cultures.

The dance fitness course includes an introduction to various dance styles such as ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip hop.

Source: Dance classes offered at Adult School

Falls Elementary site up for sale, $1.9M eyed – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

The 10-acre site of the closed Falls Elementary School on Rockville Road may be sold for at least $1.9 million if Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees go along Thursday with a staff recommendation.

Sealed bids would have to be submitted by April 13, when the school district would open them and also call for oral bids, a school district staff report said.

Falls Elementary closed in 1998 when the school district opened Nelda Mundy Elementary.

A community advisory committee was selected in 2010 to evaluate the property and recommend its use or disposition, the staff report said.

Source: Falls Elementary site up for sale, $1.9M eyed

TUSD: State funding may not keep pace with inflation, mandated expenses – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus’ famous saying attributed to him still rings true 2,500 years later: “The only thing constant is change,” and it echoes down to the near and foreseeable future for the Travis Unified 2017-18 budget process.

In their first slide during a budget presentation Tuesday night in Fairfield, the director of fiscal services, Anna Pimentel, and the assistant director of fiscal services, Sara Smith, reminded the five-member governing board that the state’s and district’s budget process is ongoing “and one thing we know for sure is that most of the numbers” will change.

Speaking in the Travis Education Center, Pimentel, toward the end of an informative and highly detailed 20-minute update, said, “Depending on what happens with the May revision, we’ll have some work to do.” It was a reference to Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2017-18 proposed $123 billion budget, released in January and set for revision in May.

 

Source: Travis Unified officials: State funding may not keep pace with inflation, mandated expenses

Vacaville school district agenda: Buckingham High report, large Measure A contracts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The Buckingham Charter High School biannual report and several large Measure A contracts are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight.

Buckingham Principal Mike Boles will lead the presentation about the Bella Vista Road campus, covering topics that will range from the mission statement and enrollment to state standardized test results and college readiness to parent survey results and goals.

In a computer-aided slide presentation, Boles will note increasing enrollments over the years, from 442 in 2014-15 to a projected enrollment of 550 this academic year.

Of state standardized test results, specifically the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, he will report that last year 78 percent of Buckingham students met or exceeded state standards in English, compared to 48 percent statewide; and 46 percent of students met or exceeded state standards in math compared to 36 percent statewide.

Source: Vacaville school district agenda: Buckingham High report, large Measure A contracts

Travis continuation center earns model school recognition – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Travis Education Center was among the 35 schools state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson recognized Wednesday as Model Continuation Schools for 2017.

“I applaud the dedicated administration and staff on their work to assist and motivate at-risk students and help them reach their full potential,” Torlakson said in a statement released by his office. “The positive and nurturing climate these schools have created inspires students to do well in their academic work and also to contribute to their communities.”

Continuation schools provide high school diploma programs for students ages 16 to 18 who are often at risk of not completing their graduation requirements due to a variety of reasons.

Source: Travis continuation center earns model school recognition

Vanden students mark Black History Month – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Students gathered during lunch Wednesday at Vanden High School in Fairfield to mark events that include Black History Month. Aniyah Gusseaux, 17, president of the Black Student Union at the school, said the event was also intended to recognize Black Lives Matter and the student union. “It’s going really well,” she said. Students wore black clothing for the event, attended by more than 75 people. Bill Sarty, principal of Vanden High, said one of the aims of the gathering was to “keep it positive.” Teacher Mary Centeno, co-adviser to the Black Student Union, described the event as “very low-key.” Travis School District Trustee Ivery Hood said, “The kids seem to be enjoying it.”

Source: Vanden students mark Black History Month

Frazier bill would require schools to teach healthy teen dating – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

State Assemblyman Jim Frazier has introduced legislation – suggested by a Vacaville resident – to require public schools to provide education for students to recognize abusive relationships.

Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, said the bill would teach students about healthy teen dating.

“Researchers have found that nearly a quarter of all girls and women who have ever been raped, attacked or stalked by an intimate partner – and 14 percent of men and boys in that situation – first experienced some form of dating violence between the ages of 11 and 17,” Frazier said in a statement. “If we can teach young people what healthy relationships are supposed to look like, we will give them the tools they need to avoid the unhealthy ones.”

Frazier credits Vacaville resident Sonia McClellin with the idea for the bill, the release said.

Source: Frazier bill would require schools to teach healthy teen dating

Can Micro-credentials Create More Meaningful Professional Development For Teachers? | MindShift

By Katrina Schwartz

Learning science says people learn best when they apply new information to their own contexts. When learners can make mistakes, reflect on new strategies, get feedback, and try again they gain a deeper understanding of the topic. But these elements are rarely applied to professional development. School districts spend a lot of money on trainings for educators, but the returns on that investment are not always clear. Many teachers say that even when the professional development is interesting — not always a given — they often feel like it’s one more thing to do in an already jampacked academic schedule. While educators around the country are slowly adopting various approaches that allow them to better differentiate learning for students, the same is rarely true for the adult learners in the system.

Source: Can Micro-credentials Create More Meaningful Professional Development For Teachers? | MindShift | KQED News

Mardi Gras-themed elementary school fundraiser, auction event returns – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Mardi Gras is Tuesday, Feb. 28, but you can celebrate three days earlier while also supporting Joe Henderson and Robert Semple Elementary School’s parent teacher groups.

The annual event— now in its fourth year— certainly puts the “fun” in “fundraising.” It is an adult-only event with the proceeds being split between the two schools to help raise money toward student enrichment programs. The evening will feature everything adults could want, including dancing, dining, a no-host bar, games and a live and silent auction.

The auctions are the focal point of the event. Among the goodies to be bid on include Friday and Saturday tickets to the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival— headlined by Maroon 5 and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, respectively—, tickets to the Golden State Warriors’ March 24 game against the Sacramento Kings, tickets to Disneyland, a signed photo of San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo, a cord-free Dyson V8 Absolute vacuum, a weekend stay at a three-bedroom home in Lake Tahoe, a tour of the Benicia Fire Department, various gift baskets put together by Robert Semple and Joe Henderson students and a whole lot more.

Source: Mardi Gras-themed elementary school fundraiser, auction event returns

Assemblyman introduces bill to close gun-free school zones loophole – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A Sacramento assemblyman has introduced a bill that will further strengthen the state’s Gun-Free School Zone Act.

In a press release issued Monday, Kevin McCarty, a Democrat, said Assembly Bill 424 would close a loophole that allows a school district to authorize an armed civilian with a concealed weapon permit to enter a school campus.

A number of California school districts, including Folsom Cordova Unified, Kingsburg Joint Union, Anderson Union, and Kern school districts have begun to issue these authorizations, increasing the number of guns on K-12 school campuses and the risk of an on-campus shooting, according to wording in the prepared statement.

The proposed bill comes as school shootings appear to be on the rise. Since 2013, more than 200 school shootings have taken place in America — an average of nearly one per week, said Terry Schanz, a spokesperson for McCarty.

 

Source: Assemblyman introduces bill to close gun-free school zones loophole

Vaca High robotics team prepares for regional competitions – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A robot is a human-like mechanical device built to do routine manual work for human beings and is usually operated by remote control.

OK, so much for definitions, and there was certainly no time for them Friday in Phil Jenschke’s industrial shop-classroom at Vacaville High, where members of the school’s robotics team, the RoboDogs, busied themselves tweaking a robot they will enter in a pair of pending competitions.

Well into an annual six-week “build season,” the students, freshmen to seasoned seniors, must literally wrap up (in shrink wrap) their competition ’bot — made of aluminum, Plexiglas, nuts and bolts, gears, a “micro controller” with a computer chip inside, sensors, rubberized wheels, among other things — by a Feb. 21 deadline.

Source: Vaca High robotics team prepares for regional competitions

Barbershop quartet delivers gift of song on Valentine’s Day – The Reporter

By Jessica Rogness

Singing greetings were heard around Solano County for Valentine’s Day.

Marion Graff, who volunteers at David Weir K-8 Preparatory Academy, booked the “Sounds About Right” barbershop quartet to visit the fourth grade classroom of Eileen Witt-Albedi Tuesday.

“I’ve done this before for teachers and the kids just love it,” Graff said.

Her late husband was a “barbershopper” in San Jose, and she has been involved with the Barbershop Harmony Society for 30 years.

Source: Barbershop quartet delivers gift of song on Valentine’s Day