By Rebecca Alber
I’ve had first days in the classroom that were pure poetry and others that were pure… well, you know. There’s things out of our control that can make that first day a tough one for sure. But there’s also things we can do beforehand to set the stage for success.
As I reflect, those great first days were usually after a summer where I spent extra time setting up, designing bordering for student work displays, dusting each individual book in the classroom library, fine-tuning and perfecting those beginning lessons: the handouts, the pacing, and the mini-lessons.
And then there’s been a few times where I really, I mean really, dove headfirst into enjoying my summer, returning from an island or road trip just days before the start of the new school year.
via Back to School: Preparing for Day One | Edutopia.
By Michael B. Horn
As Course Access programs, in which students have access to publicly funded courses of their choice across a range of providers held accountable for results, proliferate across the country, gauging the success of these statewide programs will be difficult because of how districts are likely to respond, as I wrote a few weeks back.
Few entities like to lose money even if it means their students will be better served, just as few companies like to lose money when customers choose another option in search of a better fit.
But Course Access presents a number of opportunities for districts, if they leverage it appropriately.
First, given the wide variety of students schools serve, it is challenging, if not impossible, for most school districts to provide access to all of the courses and academic content necessary to meet each student’s needs, interests, and abilities. The story is bleaker than many realize. Across the country, less than two-thirds of high schools–63%–offer physics. Only about half of high schools offer calculus. Among high schools that serve large percentages of African-American and Latino students, one in four don’t offer Algebra II, and one in three don’t offer chemistry.
via Five Reasons Districts Should Love Course Access – Education Next : Education Next.
By Ryan McCarthy
Jonathan Richardson, who is serving on the Mayor’s Commission on Crime for Fairfield, is running for Trustee Area 5 on the Fairfield-Suisun School District – and says he would have sought office if the elections were still at-large rather than by district.
“I’m committed to the community, not just a neighborhood,” he said.
The new geographic trustee areas, Richardson said, provide a balance of responsibility for representation by school board members.
Richardson, 33, an officer with the California Department of Corrections, spoke about working with students in the school district as a volunteer over the past 11 years. His work has included coaching track at Rodriguez High School.
via Richardson to run for Fairfield-Suisun school board Daily Republic.
By Ramona Marshall
Solano COE goes live on Escape Online 5!
And another customer goes live on Escape Online 5 this month! Solano County Office of Education and 6 of their districts are the latest addition to the Escape family of customers. Live AP and payroll runs have now both been successfully completed. Below is the team from the County Office of Education proudly displaying the first checks they produced from the system.
When asked about her thoughts on Escape and the implementation, Cindy Williamson, Director of Fiscal Operations – Vacaville Unified School District had the following to say.
My thoughts are all positive. Believe me my staff is happy and excited to have Escape! I have been training departments and starting on site staff. After a one-on-one hour everyone has left just as excited. The positive thing is all have found the program easy to learn and so easy I have had few further questions. Big kudos to Escape. You have been a great asset to making this conversion successful. Thank you so much.
via Solano COE goes live on Escape Online 5! | Escape Technology.
By Lillian Mongeau
After nearly two decades, bilingual education in California could stage a resurgence if the state Senate approves a bill in August that would put the issue on the ballot in November 2016.
Since the passage of Proposition 227 in 1998, schools have been banned from offering classes taught in a language other than English without express permission from parents, among other requirements. The initiative, which passed with 61 percent of the vote, overhauled a system where the default assignment for English learners was a class taught in their native language.
“We were outspent on advertising 24 to 1 and we still won one of the largest landslides in California political history,” said Ron Unz, the Silicon Valley businessman who sponsored the ballot initiative.
via Bilingual education could make a comeback | EdSource.
By Chad Aldeman
As states revamp their teacher evaluation systems, they continue to search for that magic number: the percentage of a teacher evaluation rating that should be based on student academic performance. Here’s how this has played out over the past month:
•The Ohio State Legislature voted to lower the weighting for student growth from 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation to 42.5 percent. Why the seemingly random choice of 42.5 percent? Because the state Senate wanted it revised downward to 35 percent and the House wanted to keep the weighting at 50 percent. Legislators compromised on 42.5 because it lies smack dab in the middle of 35 and 50.
•In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie signed an executive order mandating that statewide exams account for 10 percent of a teacher’s evaluation this upcoming school year rather than the previously decided upon 30 percent. It will climb to 20 percent in 2015-16.
The issue here isn’t whether 10 or 35 or 50 percent is the right amount of student growth in teacher evaluations. No one knows for sure what that number is, and no one knew it when states set their initial student growth weightings either.
via The Politics of Teacher Evaluation Formulas – Education Next : Education Next.
By Ryan McCarthy
A fine balance of communication with the public is required for school board members, a Fairfield-Suisun School District trustee said Monday at a candidates workshop.
“We’re armed with a lot of facts,” John Silva said of school district trustees. “Most of what the public is armed with is pure hearsay.”
“Maybe you can make them understand something they didn’t know,” he said.
His statements were part of a workshop that won praise from people who attended the event – including three Vallejo residents who said no such assistance is available in southern Solano County.
via Candidate workshop for Fairfield-Suisun School District wins praise Daily Republic.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Tamia Wilson continues to give back to her community.
The 17-year-old Rodriguez High School senior is wrapping up her third annual backpack and school supply drive. She calls the effort Reach One, Teach One.
Donations, and fundraisers she organizes herself, keep her dream alive.
Her goal this year is to stuff 200 backpacks. Her reward comes from the happy faces of elementary, middle and high school students who get the backpacks.
“It’s exciting to see their smiles,” she said. “They are happy to have the backpacks.”
via Rodriguez student collects, stuffs backpacks for others Daily Republic.
By Richard Bammer
It was item No. 4 on the Travis Unified agenda Thursday: “Interview of applicant(s) and possible appointment to fill Area 1 (Travis Air Force Base) seat on the Travis USD governing board until the board election of November 8, 2016.”
The only thing was, no one showed up at the 5 p.m. special meeting to convince the board that they should be selected as the newest trustee for the 5,100-student Fairfield district.
“No one stepped forward to fill the vacancy,” a clearly disappointed John Dickerson said Friday. He is one of four trustees remaining on the board after the May 21 resignation of Dawn Kirby, who represented Area 1, the sprawling air base south of Vacaville.
via No one selected to fill vacant TUSD board seat – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
Fairfield-Suisun Unified, like Vacaville Unified and other California school districts, will have trustee seats up for grabs on Election Day, Nov. 4.
Voters will cast ballots for three governing board positions in the 30-school, 21,500-student district, by far the largest in Solano County, and it will be the first “by area” election, instead of “at large,” in the district’s history.
Trustee areas open for election are areas 4, 5, and 7.
For those interested, governing board members will hold an informational meeting for trustee candidates at 6 p.m. July 28 in the board room at the district’s central office, at 2490 Hilborn Road, Fairfield. Current members will cover primary roles, responsibilities, and expectations of a trustee and be available to answer questions from potential candidates.
via Fairfield-Suisun school board to hold ‘how-to-get-elected’ discussion – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
It was midafternoon at the Dixon Migrant Child Development Center and Elvia Nunez, a master teacher of 27 years, watched over nearly two dozen preschoolers, ages 2 1/2 to 5, napping on mats.
Soothing instrumental music, at a barely audible volume, seeped out of speakers in the darkened classroom, the shades drawn to ward off bright summer sun at the aging Radio Station Road migrant camp, a somewhat drab complex of former U.S. Navy housing and the center, a small, beige-colored single-story school with an adjacent portable classroom.
Enrolled in the Migrant Education Program, they account for one-quarter of the 87 students, infants to sixth-graders, who this year are attending the center from April to October. They are children of migrant farmworkers who, for minimum wages, till, plant and tend eastern Solano County’s vast agricultural lands, then harvest its crops: tomatoes, corn, grapes, sunflowers, among them.
via Dixon Migrant Education: Planting seeds, harvesting young lives – The Reporter.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Incumbent Michele “Shelley” Dally is seeking election to the Vacaville School District’s governing board Nov. 4.
Dally, who was appointed to the board last fall, filed candidacy papers Tuesday at the Solano County Registrar’s Office in Fairfield.
The longtime educator worked as a teacher, principal and after-school program administrator in the Vacaville School District. She currently is a supervisor and lecturer at the University of California, Davis.
via Dally seeks to retain seat on Vacaville school board Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
The Vacaville School District’s governing board is accepting applications to fill a vacancy because of the recent resignation of Trustee Jerry Eaton.
The provisional appointment would be for the remainder of Eaton’s term, which expires in December 2016. Voters will have the opportunity to vote for a representative for a new four-year term in the November 2016 election.
Any registered voter – except for school district employees – who lives within the school district boundaries is eligible to turn in an application for the provisional appointment.
via Applications available Monday for vacant Vacaville school board seat Daily Republic.
By Ryan McCarthy
Citizens interested in running for the school board can attend a Monday informational meeting at the Fairfield-Suisun School District central office, where topics may include collective governance as well as the relationship between board members and the superintendent.
“This election of ordinary citizens to a board that oversees the public education of our community’s youth is an important example of a democratic approach to local control,” said a school district release. “It is the governing board, elected by the people, which is entrusted with the lives of our children and their future in our society.”
via Workshop set for Fairfield-Suisun school board candidates Daily Republic.
By Ryan McCarthy
Robert Lucky, who as a student at B. Gale Wilson Elementary was inspired by hearing Matt Garcia speak about serving on the Fairfield City Council, is running for the Fairfield-Suisun School District board of trustees where Lucky wants to be an advocate for the disabled.
“He had a lot of integrity,” Lucky said of Garcia. “He was talking about all that he wanted to do for Fairfield.”
Lucky, running for Area 4 on the school board, is the first candidate to file for the Fairfield-Suisun School District. Trustees will be elected Nov. 4 by district rather than at large.
via Lucky first to file for Fairfield-Suisun School District seat Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
Three passionate voices are louder and stronger than one – and it’s the power of three that Jeremy Jeffreys, Judi Ruggiero and Tracee Stacy are relying on to make a difference on the Vacaville School District board.
All three are running on a common platform for the four expiring board of education seats currently filled by David McCallum, Whit Whitman, Shelley Dally and Chris Flask.
via 3 declare common intent for Vacaville school board seats Daily Republic.
By Susan Hiland
The Kairos Family BBQ drew about 700 hundred people to the new charter school’s campus on Saturday for a welcoming picnic.
The picnic was a way to introduce the parents to the teachers for the upcoming school year and give everyone some time to get to know each other.
“We have a lot of friends from around the area who plan to bring their kids to this school,” said Kim Haddon, who has three sons in charter schools.
Her husband Daniel remembers how his youngest son struggled in second grade in public school. Everything turned around for him after they put him in the Alternative Cooperative Education Charter School.
via Kairos Family BBQ a success Daily Republic.
By Donna Beth Weilenman
Benicia has made a “top 10” ranking of Bay Area cities because of its quality schools, Teri Davena, Economic Development Division administrative assistant, said.
The city learned Tuesday of the ranking by ZipRealty, which looked at municipalities with the highest-ranked school districts.
The online brokerage company compiled a list after scoring school districts from zero to 10, with 10 being the highest ranking.The company based its assessment on test scores and student-teacher ratios in cities for every home on its listings.
via Benicia ‘top 10’ for schools.
By Susan Winlow
It was a done deal in a matter of minutes Thursday night.
With 100 percent backing from the Vacaville School District’s board of education, the city’s schools moved closer to a modernization makeover with a $194 million bond that will now appear on the November ballot.
“I think this is the most important vote we’re going to take (for) the rest of our time,” said Trustee Michael Kitzes, the board’s vice president. “This is going to really revamp the district in so many ways. It’s so important for Vacaville.”
Kitzes said that there are so few ways now for a school district to get money. His vote, he said, was an “emphatic yes.”
via Vacaville board votes to put $194M schools bond on upcoming ballot Daily Republic.
By Melissa Murphy
The smell of a new box of crayons, the sound of opening a new package of paper and the feel of a brand new pen.
It’s that time of year, it’s time to shop for school supplies.
School begins next month and that’s why NorthBay Healthcare is looking to the community for help to collect school supplies and “fill up the ambulance” for classrooms at Padan Elementary School in Vacaville. What started as an inhouse donation drive by NorthBay employees has turned into a community effort after it gained popularity among family and friends. Next year, Clinical Manager and Registered Nurse Rebecca Mock, said she hopes the school supply collecting will be on a much bigger scale, incorporating it into NorthBay events during the summer.
via NorthBay Healthcare collecting school supplies for Padan and Fairview Elementary schools – The Reporter.