By Ronnie Burt
Earlier this month, I was invited to discuss student privacy and publishing student work on the web with students in a graduate course at CSU Channel Islands. The course is ‘Advanced Teaching with Technology’ and is taught by Michelle Pacansky-Brock.
The students are all practicing K12 teachers in California, and they came ready with questions and perspectives.
This was the first time I had ever used VoiceThread to collaborate, and I enjoyed the experience. One thing that the students in the course may not know, is that VoiceThread allowed me to delete and re-record a few of my answers after I listened back to them, and nobody was none-the-wiser. I appreciated this 🙂
Source: An Important Conversation About Student Privacy – The Edublogger
By Richard Bammer
State community college leaders are concerned about a dramatic drop in financial aid applications among undocumented students, due, in part perhaps, to the political climate in Washington, D.C., and the Trump White House.
But Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California’s 113 community colleges, reminded that assistance is still available through the California Dream Act and urged eligible students to apply.
His announcement, in a press release issued in February, came several days after President Donald Trump broadened immigration enforcement policies, directing federal officials to find, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes.
Source: “Dreamers” at community colleges urged to apply for financial aid
By Richard Bammer
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Wednesday filed a court brief supporting a Bay Area county’s request to stop an executive order by President Donald Trump that threatens to stop federal funding for California cities, counties, and possibly public schools.
Torlakson filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Federal Court’s Ninth District, where Santa Clara County has filed for a preliminary injunction to stop the president’s January executive order that would withhold federal dollars from cities that declare themselves sanctuaries.
The injunction request said the order is unconstitutional because it would compel local governments to take an active role in enforcing immigration law and could withhold federal funding from agencies, including schools, which declare themselves “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The order fails to clearly define that term, Torlakson wrote in a press release issued Thursday.
Source: Torlakson files court brief to protect federal funding
By Susan Hiland
Children at Padan Elementary School knew what a sea lion was thanks to the recent stopover by “Mr. Leisure,” a sea lion that made his way up the Delta last week for a visit in Vacaville.
Thursday was a special day at the school because it was Christmas in March for some of the children in the first- and fifth-grade classrooms. Officials from the Marine Mammal Center came and gave the children some hands-on experience with how to help marine animals get well so they can be returned to their native habitats.
“This was a continuation from Christmas, so that they get a Christmas gift in March,” said Robin Miller, social media and online specialist for NorthBay Healthcare, which coordinated the activity.
Source: Christmas comes in March to children at Padan Elementary
By Richard Bammer
Travis Unified’s 2016-17 second interim budget report Tuesday was good news for a district that, in relatively recent years past, filed a series of negative or qualified budgets — generally regarded as troubling designations — with the county and state.
During a governing board meeting, Anna Pimentel, director of fiscal services, told trustees that she anticipates a “positive” budget certification, meaning the district will be able to pay its bills for the current fiscal year and the next two, for which she showed, in a slide presentations, budget projections for the 2017-18 and 18-19 years.
In a 20-minute presentation, Pimentel, as expected, noted minor changes to revenues, expenses and the beginning and ending fund balances.
Source: Travis Unified on solid financial footing
The members’ appointments come nearly five months after voters approved the $30.4 million bond that will pay for upgrades to several aging schools, including Old Dixon High, built in 1940, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, and Anderson Elementary, built in 1949, when Harry Truman was president.
School bond oversight committees consist of volunteers whose mission includes service as stewards of the money and delivery of periodic updates to the governing board.
Trustees will meet in open session at 7:45 p.m. in the City Council chamber, 600 East A St., Dixon.
Source: Dixon Unified leaders to name bond measure oversight committee members
By Daily Republic Staff
Students in the seventh through 12th grades can participate in a countywide video contest that underscores the impacts of positive behavior in Solano County.
Videos must be between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, and are due April 21.
The contest, The Power of Kindness, is sponsored by Supervisor John Vasquez and District Attorney Krishna Abrams.
Source: Solano announces kindness video contest
By Mikhail Zinshteyn
Charter schools in California and elsewhere stand to be a major beneficiary of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the coming year, even though he wants to slash $9.2 billion from many other federal education programs.
Trump called for $1.4 billion in new funding for a “school choice” program that includes an increase of $250 million to subsidize tuition for private schools and $168 million for expanding charter schools. An additional $1 billion is for a program that would allow students to attend a public school of their choice, which could include charter schools. Trump has provided no details for any of these programs.
The extra $168 million for charter schools represents a 50 percent expansion of the Charter Schools Program from its current level of $333 million. The bulk of the funds are shared with states to support new charter schools. Two other grants within the program support the expansion of charter networks and facilities costs. The funds given to states can be spent on purchasing classroom equipment, such as laptops for students and desks, informing parents that schools are opening and training school staff.
Source: Charter schools in line to get extra help despite Trump plan to slash education funding | EdSource
By Nick Sestanovich
Solano Superior Court Judge Robert Bowers will be presiding over a DUI trial today with plaintiffs and defendants presenting their cases. The catch? It will all take place in Benicia High School’s Performing Arts Building auditorium.
This morning, approximately 400 students will witness an actual criminal trial, not a mock presentation. The judge, attorneys, witnesses, law enforcement officers and suspect are all real. The goal, according to Solano’s Superior Court, is to give students a firsthand look at how such trials are conducted. Such lessons include the legal repercussions of drinking and driving, the defendant’s arrest, the arraignment process, imposed fines and penalties if the suspect is convicted and the overall role of the judicial branch of government.
According to a news release by the Superior Court, one goal of the trial is to create a novel way to reduce alcohol-related issues and enable students to make more informed choices regarding the pressure to drink.
Source: DUI trial to be held in BHS auditorium today
By Richard Bammer
Will C. Wood High junior Carson Lamb, microphone in hand, pointed to what appeared to be bound copies of old newspapers lying on a white-topped portable table. Or maybe it was the 24-inch-long section of rusted steel track. Or maybe an old black-and-white map of a region in California.
They were among the artifacts, objects, photographs and ephemera he and his Advanced Placement U.S. History classmates gathered in about two hours Tuesday morning, to prepare for a brief, early afternoon presentation to some 40 other AP History students who assembled in the Hall of History at the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum in Vallejo.
Source: Wood High juniors prove to be “editors in history” – The Reporter
By Todd R. Hansen
Will C. Wood High School junior Alicia Bailey learned that cooking is hard – and even harder when limited to World War II rationing restrictions.
She learned what “folding dough” means, and can explain “creaming.”
Bailey and her four partners from the advanced placement history class presented the history of food preparation in the Solano County area, beginning with the natives who lived here first.
But the highlights were the wartime loaf, carrot cookies and World War II-era cake that the team prepared and shared with the audience Tuesday at the fifth annual Classroom Curator program at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.
Source: Will C. Wood students get hands-on feel for Solano County history
By Sophia Alvarez Boyd and Anya Kamenetz
National K-12 and higher ed news came fast and furious this week. Here are our highlights to help you keep on top.
The president’s “skinny budget” has cuts for education
The biggest story of our week happened early Thursday morning when President Trump released his budget outline, historically known as a “skinny budget” because it has few details.
The U.S. Department of Education came in for a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut.
During Trump’s campaign, he promised $20 billion for school choice. His 2018 budget is the first small step in that direction, increasing charter school funding by two-thirds, funding an unspecified new “private school choice program,” and adding another $1 billion for Title I, which helps fund high-poverty schools. That Title I money would be earmarked to “encourage” school choice.
Source: FAFSA, Pell Grants And Charters, Oh My! : NPR Ed : NPR
By Richard Bammer
With little discussion, Vacaville Unified leaders unanimously approved the pending sale of $38 million in Measure A bonds and several large contracts.
The no-surprise votes came Thursday during a regular governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center.
The bond sale approval comes after the initial issue of Measure A bonds, for $40 million, that help to launch the first major projects under the $194 million measure passed by voters in 2014. They included upgrades to Vacaville High and Sierra Vista K-8 School, among other projects.
The bonds are paid for through property taxes levied by the county, and the money largely will be used to upgrade the 12,500-student district’s aging school buildings, many of them more than 50 years old, and, of those, several are more than 60 years old. Another major Measure A project, the building of a new $12.8 million stadium at Will C. Wood High, officially gets underway with groundbreaking fanfare set for 3:30 p.m. Monday.
Source: VUSD trustees approve sale of $38M in Measure A bonds, several major contracts
By Richard Bammer
The 2016-17 second interim budget report and safe school plans are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
Anna Pimentel, director of fiscal services, and Sara Smith, assistant director of fiscal services, will present the latest budget interim report, and, based on agenda documents provided, it appears some of the information will echo the report presented at the Feb. 14 governing board meeting.
Still, as other area school districts have reported recently, they will note any likely minor changes to revenues, expenses and the beginning and ending fund balances. Perhaps most important, Pimentel will tell the five-member governing board that she anticipates a “positive” budget certification, meaning the district will be able to pay its bills for the current fiscal year and the next two. She also will offer budget projections for the 2017-18 and 18-19 years.
Source: Second interim budget, safe school plans on TUSD agenda
By Nick Sestanovich
Benicia High School’s Friday Night Live club had a good week. Not only did it win first place for a tobacco education PSA, it also was recognized by the state.
Johanna Nowak-Palmer, Solano County Office of Education’s (SCOE) program manager for youth development and special events, stopped by at the club’s Thursday meeting to deliver the good news.
“You guys were registered as an official club last school year, but you have been active for over a year now, so the state now recognizes you as an active club that is part of the California Friday Night Live network throughout the state,” she said. “You are now part of the thousands of students who do this work.
”Friday Night Live is a statewide organization aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles among teens by preventing alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse. The organization has several student chapters at secondary schools throughout the state, and a club was established at Benicia High last year. Physical education teacher Dean Gor serves as adviser, and sophomore Kirsten Lambinicio serves as president. The club meets every Thursday at lunch.
Source: Benicia High’s FNL club wins tobacco PSA contest, gets recognized by state
By Nick Sestanovich
The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District unanimously voted to approve a tentative agreement between the district and the Benicia Teachers’ Association at Thursday’s meeting.
In November, the BTA declared it was at an impasse with the district over contract negotiations regarding pay raises. On March 3, a tentative agreement was reached that offered a 3.5 percent increase for the 2016-2017 school year.
Deputy Superintendent Michael Gardner noted that the agreement had already been ratified by the BTA, and he brought it to the board for approval.
“It’s very important, the process that we go through,” he said. “It’s always been very respectful from each side, and I think it’s gotten better as the years have gone by since I’ve been here as far as listening to the other side and coming to some agreements. We came to a lot of agreements very quickly, and then some took us a little bit longer.”
Source: School board approves pay increases, discusses new graduation requirements at Thursday’s meeting
By Doug Ford
I left the Solano EDC meeting a week ago a bit perplexed. It was great to hear that Solano County is planning to move ahead with economic strategic planning. What is being planned is all fine but the way it was presented needs some improving. I wonder what the slogan, “Solano Means Business” really means. That and other phrases used in the hand-out provided seems to have a tone of “this is all for business and for nobody else.” The photograph of a man standing in the middle of a grain field studying a road map seems to me to give a bad impression of the project.
It seems strange to lead off a presentation by pointing fingers at “economic red flags needing action” that are all non-Solano business entities: the military, residents who receive some sort of public assistance, residents who commute outside the county for work, and surrounding counties that are “bypassing Solano County.” This tone of “Solano business is good and everybody else is bad” is also noticeable in some of the other “Moving Solano Forward” publications.
Source: Exploring Solano County’s economic strategic planning – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
In the coming weeks, if Vacaville Unified leaders eventually approve revisions to a physical education and activity regulation and policy, secondary school student-athletes and others with busy schedules will be able to get required state PE credit with an expanded definition of Independent Study.
In a Thursday slide presentation to the governing board, Kelley Birch, director of secondary education, reviewed the existing regulation and policy, formally designated as AR and BP 6142.7(a), respectively.
District administrators are recommending and expansion of the physical education aspect of Independent Study, to serve the needs of students who want to participate in a competitive sport “independent” of a middle school or high school — or whose school schedules are “impacted” because they participate in other school courses and/or activities.
Source: Vacaville school district leaders consider revisions to PE and Activity policy
By Richard Bammer
State schools chief Tom Torlakson said President Donald Trump’s proposed $1.1 trillion 2018 budget was very disappointing and goes in the wrong direction with funding cuts that would hurt disadvantaged children, after-school programs, teacher training, and other services, but sets aside $250 million for a nationwide voucher program.
In a press release issued Friday, he said the cuts, should they go into effect, would hobble programs that help prepare California 6.2 million public school students for jobs in the increasingly technological, 21st-century global economy.
Trump’s planned budget would take hundreds of millions of dollars from California by eliminating federal funds for programs that have proven successful in educating at-risk students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. It also reduces financial assistance to low-income college students.
Source: State schools chief vows to battle Trump over cuts
By Richard Bammer
In his second report of the year about Vacaville Unified’s budget picture, Deo Persaud, the district’s chief business official, showed a slide headlined “The Common Message.”
Under the rubric, which applied to the current budget and the next two outlying fiscal years, he listed three points during his presentation Thursday to district leaders: 1) “Maintaining adequate reserves” of 8 percent; 2) Limiting commitments to future (and ongoing) expenses; 3) “Establishing contingencies,” or plans, that allow current spending decisions to be changed, if required.
The slide essentially summed up Persaud’s major emphasis during his 20-minute second interim report presentation, which began with his saying the district will submit a “positive certification” to the Solano County Office of Education on or before June 30, meaning the district will be able to pay its bills for the current year and the next two.
Source: Vacaville Unified business official to trustees: Keep adequate reserves