By Lanz Christian Bañes
Jennifer Ugochekwu of Vallejo always thought she wanted to be an artist when she grew up — until she met Tucky McKey.
“His art inspires me to be an artist one day,” said Jennifer, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at North Hills Christian School who attended the campus’ fourth annual college and career fair on Friday.
McKey, of Tucky Art, was one of about two dozen entrepreneurs, college representatives or companies that participated in the career fair.
via Vallejo students explore career options – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Teague P. Paterson
Now that a pension-modification measure proposed by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed will not appear on the November statewide ballot and a court ruling has blocked San Jose from slashing employees’ vested pension rights, opponents of public pensions are falling back on their old, false argument.
It’s a hackneyed line with little truth: Public employee labor unions are not willing to negotiate. That could not be further from the truth.
via What’s next for public employee pensions? – Viewpoints – The Sacramento Bee.
By Matt Davis
I still remember April Fools’ Day when I was a fourth grader. A reading comprehension worksheet went out to the class, and in minutes, we were all dumbfounded. The story and questions were incomprehensible, written in complete gibberish. But our teacher went along with the joke. We had a half hour to finish it, and it was going to be worth a substantial amount of points.
I don’t remember how long the gag lasted exactly, but I do remember all of us students, mouths agape, wondering if the assignment was serious. Then, once we’d all thrown our hands up, our teacher let us in on the joke: “April Fools!”
via April Fools’ Day in the Classroom: Eight Resources for Teachers | Edutopia.
By Frederick Hess
You can hardly open a newspaper, visit an education website, or visit a school without being bombarded by excited claims about educational technology and a raft of intimidating jargon. Newspapers and school district announcements are full of terms like “MOOCs” massive open online courses, “blended school models,” “virtual classrooms,” “adaptive assessments” and much more.
The promise is that digital learning will improve and enrich learning, while empowering educators to design more engaging, professional and dynamic schools and classrooms. But technology by itself can’t and won’t make this happen.
After all, though educational technology always seems ripe with promise, the results over the course of the past century have left educators exasperated and wary. Fanciful initiatives have repeatedly soaked up time, energy and money, only to leave parents unimpressed, teachers frustrated and students no better off.
via Focus on the Opportunities Ed Tech Brings, Not the Hype – Education Next : Education Next.
by Sue Waters
Unfortunately educators often dismiss Twitter, or fail to see the value of Twitter, when they’re first introduced to it.
Common misconceptions are that twitter is:
for celebrities, sports stars and journalists
like posting an update to Facebook
like an email where you need to read everything
Yet from experience, we know that most educators who use Twitter effectively say they learn more from their personal learning network (PLN) on Twitter than they’ve achieved from just about anything else.
via Helping Educators Get Started With Twitter – The Edublogger.
By The Associated Press
Every month that Gregory Zbylut pays $1,300 toward his law school loans is another month of not qualifying for a decent mortgage.
Every payment toward their student loans is $900 Dr. Nida Degesys and her husband aren’t putting in their retirement savings account.
They believe they’ll eventually climb from debt and begin using their earnings to build assets rather than fill holes. But, like the roughly 37 million others in the U.S. saddled with $1 trillion in student debt, they may never catch up with wealthy peers who began life after college free from the burden.
via $1 trillion student loan debt widens US wealth gap Daily Republic.
PRESCRIBED FORMAT FOR 2014–15 PROPOSED BUDGETS IN THE STANDARDIZED ACCOUNT CODE STRUCTURE
Education Code EC Section 52060b2 requires that the public meeting at which a school district governing board adopts a local control and accountability plan LCAP and adopts a budget must be held after, but not on the same day as, the public meeting at which the governing board holds the required public hearings on the LCAP and the proposed budget. EC Section 52068b2 imposes a similar requirement for county boards of education. This new requirement, which takes effect for budget year 2014–15, effectively eliminates a governing board’s previous prerogative to adopt a budget at the same public meeting at which the public hearing on the proposed budget is held, as was historically allowed by EC sections 42127a1 and 42127a2 for districts and sections 1620 and 1622 for county offices of education.
Historically, many local educational agency LEA governing boards have met only monthly. In order to meet the new requirement this year, many LEAs must hold the public hearing on the 2014–15 proposed budget at the May 2014 meeting of the governing board because it may not be feasible, this late in the year, for some LEAs to schedule an additional meeting in advance of the June 2014 meeting at which the budget will be adopted.
via Prescribed Format for 2014-15 Proposed BD – Correspondence CA Dept of Education.
By Anna Challet,
For Sandy Mendoza, advocacy manager of the Los Angeles-based organization Families in Schools, the difference between parent involvement and parent engagement could make or break California’s new school funding law.
The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), she says, “is going to be an opportunity for us to help the parents become more than involved – rather, it’s becoming more engaged … Involvement means more what the district wants from parents [in order] to fit [the district’s] agenda, as opposed to engagement, which means really listening to what the parents want and what they need.”
Educators, advocates, and community members came together recently at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to discuss the new law. Over the next 8 years, education spending in California will increase, and more money will be allocated to districts with greater numbers of high-needs students. Districts will now have more flexibility in how they spend funds, but they’ll also be more accountable for the outcomes of their decisions. This spring, school districts are required to develop their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs), which detail how they’ll serve their high-needs students, and, crucially, must incorporate community input.
via Parent Engagement, Not Just Involvement, Key to LCFF Success – New America Media.
By John Fensterwald
Earlier this month, a research institute at Stanford University affiliated with the Hoover Institution reported that students at independent charter schools in Los Angeles performed a lot better than their peers in traditional Los Angeles Unified District schools. The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) has now released a report for California as a whole, and the results are mixed.
Data for six years of students in grades 2 to 11 in nearly 1,000 charter schools showed that overall they performed better in reading but did worse in math. In reading, 32 percent of charter students outperformed their peers at traditional schools while 21 percent underperformed. But in math, 37 percent underperformed while 29 percent outperformed traditional schools with similar students.
via Mixed results for charter schools statewide in new study | EdSource Today.
By Joyce Tsai firstname.lastname@example.org
Although tuberculosis has reached an all-time low in California, with a total of 2,170 cases reported in 2013, Bay Area public health officials say there are still challenges in fighting the preventable disease.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Pennan Barry, surveillance and epidemiology chief of the state Department of Public Healths Tuberculosis Control Branch.. He was speaking Wednesday at an event in recognition of World Tuberculosis Day at Curry International Tuberculosis Center in Oakland that drew public health leaders from Bay Area counties. World Tuberculosis Day was Monday.
In California, health officials say TB rates are nearly twice as high as the nation’s average, with 5.7 cases reported per 100,000 people. Last year, 2,170 cases were reported statewide compared to 2,189 cases the year before, a nearly 1 percent decrease.
via Health officials say more work needed to fight tuberculosis – ContraCostaTimes.com.
By Evie Blad
Two California groups released a policy brief today that asks school districts in the state to use new funding to lessen the gap in spending between school security and student support and engagement initiatives.
An overreliance on school-based police in many districts, including many that serve large numbers of poor and minority students, has led to overly harsh discipline and too many referrals of students to the justice system, the Los Angeles-based Labor/Community Strategy Center’s Community Rights Campaign and the Oakland-based Black Organizing Project said in the report.
via California Groups Urge Schools to Spend on Student Support Staff, Not Police – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.
By Ryan McCarthy
Police and fire personnel responding at 7:41 a.m. Monday found two Vacaville high school students lying injured in the roadway after a car hit the two teens on their way to school, the city says.
A 50-year-old Vacaville resident driving a 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse struck the teens when they were walking northbound across West Monte Vista Avenue in the cross walk, the city said.
The driver had been eastbound in the No. 1 lane when a mail truck stopped in the No. 2 lane to let the pedestrians cross the street. The vehicle drove past the stopped mail truck and hit the teens, the city said.
via 2 students injured Monday on way to school in Vacaville Daily Republic.
By Cory Turner
Across the country, many school districts dropped cursive from their curricula years ago. The new Common Core State Standards now being implemented in most states never mention the word “cursive.” Given longhand’s waning popularity, lawmakers in several states, including Tennessee, are now trying to legislate a cursive comeback.
The arguments in favor of cursive usually revolve around heritage or tradition. Some parents want their children to be able to read a letter from Grandma as well as our nation’s founding documents. Some cursive supporters also invoke science, arguing that learning cursive helps young brains grow more than learning basic printing does.
Professor Amy Bastian, a motor neuroscientist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has dedicated her career to studying how the brain talks to the body. “The more variety of things you do in the fine motor domain, the more variety of hand movements you make, will improve your dexterity,” Bastian says.
via Cursive, Print, or Type? The Point is To Keep Writing | MindShift.
By Ernest Kimme
Back when I went to high school, it was a dark and dangerous place. The hallways were filled with bullies, and you quickly learned which students to avoid. “Survival of the Fittest” was the rule of the day. Times have changed.
Last month, Will C. Wood High School held a Wishes Assembly. The concept was simple: Ask students what they wish for, and grant, if possible, those wishes.
For several weeks prior to the assembly, the students submitted their wishes. Tracy Ruiz (a teacher at Wood, and the mastermind behind this crazy idea) and her leadership students — the LINK Crew — collected and sorted them out. Some wishes were clearly not doable: a new car or $1000. Other wishes were easy: a candy bar, tickets to the prom, or new binder – so the students raised money and granted them.
via Ernest Kimme: Schools not the same; better – The Reporter.
By Michele McNeil
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has a history of granting specific district-level waivers, in places such as California, Utah, and Kansas. It stands to reason, then, that a waiver granted to one district ought to be allowable for another district citing the same reasons. After all, it does not make for happy superintendents (or happy congressional delegations) to give flexibility to some folks and not others.
But recent events show growing inconsistencies in the U.S. Department of Education’s waiver policy, and some disconnect between that policy and its practice.
Last week, we told you about how the Education Department rejected a No Child Left Behind Act waiver request from a district in South Carolina that wanted to pilot the use of ACT tests in grades 3-8 and in high school, rather than the regular state exams.
via Are There Growing Inconsistencies in Arne Duncan’s NCLB Waiver Policy? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
LOS ANGELES—The Smarter Balanced Field Test will launch Tuesday, marking an important milestone in Californias transition to a new assessment system as it assesses technological capacity and the quality of test questions, and helps students and teachers prepare for next years first operational test, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said today.
“Over the next three months, students, teachers, and administrators will gain valuable hands-on experience in a new era of student assessments,” Torlakson said. “With more than three million students participating, this is the largest field test of its kind in the nation. It is a challenging transformation, but our schools are rising to that challenge with a great sense of excitement and determination.”
Field testing begins Tuesday and runs through June 6. By the end, more than three million students in school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools will have had a chance to try the new system.
via State Launches Field Tests – Year 2014 CA Dept of Education.
By Richard Bammer
With an eye on future savings, Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday approved a request for school district staff to draft a proposal to select an energy services consultant to help the district devise an energy plan.
The scope of the work — finding ways to reduce costs to light, heat and cool district schools, and to retrofit them — includes money made available through Proposition 39, Leigh Coop, the district’s director of facilities, told the governing board, which met in the Educational Services Center.
Proposition 39, passed by voters in 2012, is a law that requires multistate businesses to pay income taxes based on a percentage of their sales in California, money that will be used, for five years, for clean-energy projects. At passage, state officials predicted the state would reap $1 billion, with a significant portion spent on public schools.
via Consultant to help VUSD devise plan – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
As required by state law, Safe School Plans are in place at Vacaville Unified’s 16 campuses, but some district leaders on Thursday wondered if the reporting process could be streamlined among school sites.
Meeting in the Educational Services Center, trustees Whit Whitman and Chris Flask asked Assistant Superintendent Danielle Storey, during her presentation to the governing board, whether or not district staff members could devise a “template” reporting form.
Whitman and Flask noted that each school site council, which is responsible for submitting a Safe School Plan to the district by March 1, responded in individual ways to questions it was being asked to answer.
via Vacaville Unified School District looks at Safe School plans – The Reporter.
By Reporter Staff Posted:
Vacaville-area school districts have recently named their top teachers and school support employees.
In Vacaville Unified, Dave Hawkins, an instructor at Buckingham Charter Magnet High School, was tapped as the top district teacher for 2014, making him eligible to be named the county’s most outstanding teacher of the year.
By school, the other top teachers are Sondra Steck, Alamo Elementary; Shannon Garner, Hemlock Elementary; Monika Panatonni, Browns Valley Elementary; Tracy Begley, Jepson Middle School; Roxann Burns, Markham Elementary; Allen May, Callison Elementary; Katherine Epstein, Orchard Elementary; Pam Wilcox, Cooper Elementary; Joy Alden, Padan; Sharon Patelzick, Country High; Adam Wight, Vacaville High; Carolyn Thomas, Fairmont Elementary; Jamie Ratti, Vaca Pena Middle School; and Greg Lyon, Will C. Wood High.
via Vacaville-area schools name their top teachers, support staffers – The Reporter.
By Susan Winlow
Solano Community College board members on Wednesday will hear both a Measure Q and a Measure G bond update pursuant to state law.
Proposition 39 was passed in 2000 to allow issuance of general obligation bonds by school districts, community colleges and county offices of education. Among other allowances, the bonds allowed for the construction, rehabilitation or replacement of a variety of school facilities.
via Solano College trustees to hear bond audit reports Daily Republic.