By Jessica Rogness
It’s 2:50 on a Tuesday afternoon. School has just ended at Jean Callison Elementary School and Robert “Bobby” Murray stands in the crosswalk, laughing with students and giving them high-fives and making sure they cross the street safely.
Just another day in the life of Vacaville’s Crossing Guard of the Year.
Murray was named the Crossing Guard of the Year and also received an award for “Perfect Attendance” from the Vacaville Police Department recently. While the awards were made out in the name of “Robert Murray,” don’t ask the children and parents he sees every day who that is — to them he’s “just Bobby.”
via Robert Murray named Crossing Guard of the Year – The Reporter.
By: Anya Kamenetz
Kaitlin Morgan says, this year, her school district is going “full Google.”
Morgan teaches U.S. and world history and advises the yearbook at Woodlake Union High School in California’s Central Valley. At Woodlake, “full Google” means a plan to have one Google Chromebook for every two students by the spring, running Google Apps.
The Chromebook is a relatively cheap, stripped-down laptop. It’s become popular in the education world, with 85 percent of its U.S. sales last year going to the ed market.
And the Chromebook is just the beginning. Already, Google Apps for Education claims 30 million active users around the world. The free, Web-based software works on any device and allows teachers and students to use Gmail with their own .edu address.
It’s the beginning of what Google calls the “paperless classroom” — moving assignments, class discussions, feedback, tests and quizzes online.
via What Do Schools Risk By Going ‘Full Google’? | MindShift.
By Lauren Camera
Come ride—virtually, anyway—with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as he heads out for his annual back-to-school bus tour. This year’s trip, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 8, to Wednesday, Sept. 10, will take the secretary and senior department officials to schools in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Politics K-12 readers will get a behind-the-scenes look at the trip, as I’ll be hopping aboard for that Tuesday’s long haul from Birmingham, Ala., to Chattanooga, Tenn., during which she’ll be blogging, tweeting, and sharing her photos on Instagram.
These Southern states exemplify the theme of this year’s tour, “Partners in Progress,” which is aimed at highlighting states’ commitments to the Obama administration’s education agenda.
via Arne Duncan to Head South for Annual Back-to-School Bus Tour – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
August 26, 2014
An EdSource survey of a sampling of county offices of education found that they approved nearly all school districts’ inaugural Local Control and Accountability Plans, laying out spending and academic priorities under the state’s new funding formula, by the Aug. 15 initial deadline for the review.
According to the survey of the county offices, which encompass about half of the state’s 1,000 school districts, 96 percent got the OK on their LCAPs. Only 21 out of 524 districts had LCAPS that were returned to them for changes or clarifications after the cutoff; one of those was Los Angeles Unified, the state’s largest district (see previous story). However, hundreds of districts had already made minor and substantive changes at the request of their county offices of education, either in early drafts or in the weeks preceding the deadline.
via Counties approve high number of LCAPs | EdSource.
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
For being as close as it was to the epicenter of Sunday’s South Napa Earthquake, the city of American Canyon fared remarkably well, city officials said.
“Mostly businesses – Safeway, Walmart and Walgreens – were hurt the worst,” City Councilman Mark Joseph said Monday. “Some water lines broke, but there was no structural damage. There was a lot of inventory lost and some cosmetic damage, maybe. A lot of cleanup and chaos-kinds of damage.”
Joseph said a number of older homes had some chimney damage, but not much else.
via Near epicenter, American Canyon fared better than Napa or Vallejo in Sunday’s quake – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Susan Winlow
The governing board of the Fairfield-Suisun School District will hear an update Thursday on the Local Educational Agency plan with a focus on school discipline.
The report prepared by Angie Avlonitis, director of student accountability and support, focuses on areas such as the legalities of suspensions and expulsions, legal updates and hearing notices along with site-level interventions and referral procedures and implementing such things as alternatives to suspensions, anti-bullying programs, character programs and positive incentive programs.
A report indicates that while the total number of expulsions has decreased dramatically in 2013-14 compared with 2008-09, there has been a percentage increase in expulsions among blacks and Hispanics, and a decrease among white non-Hispanic students.
via Fairfield-Suisun board to hear student discipline plan update Daily Republic.
Times-Herald staff report Posted:
Residents can apply to be part of the Citizens’ Oversight Committee for the Benicia Unified School District’s general obligation bond that was passed in the June election.
The committee will serve to “inform the public concerning the expenditure of bond revenues,” according to the district.
The $49.6 million bond is for improvement and renovation on the district’s facilities. They will be rolled out in three waves, with the first $16 million issued in 2015.
Seven people will be appointed by the district school board to serve in the committee based on a certain criteria. They are:
• An active member in a business organization representing the business community.
via Benicia school general bond oversight committee application period begins – Vallejo Times Herald.
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Assistance for Schools Closed Due to Earthquake
SACRAMENTO—Schools closed because of the earthquake in Napa over the weekend will still receive full state funding, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.
“Our thoughts and our prayers are with the people in Napa as they deal with the aftermath of the weekend’s earthquake,” Torlakson said. “While the California Department of Education has not received any reports of deaths, injuries, or serious damage on school property, I want to assure local educational agencies that they will not lose funding if their facilities are closed or used as emergency shelters during this disaster.”
Local educational agencies will not lose Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding if their facilities are used as community shelters or forced to close because of a natural disaster. The California Education Code allows the State Superintendent to authorize ADA credit for the days that schools are closed.
via Earthquake Assistance for Schools – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education).
By Susan Winlow
Solano Community College is moving into the future with myriad projects born out of the passage of Measure Q, a $348 million facilities bond passed in 2012.
Projects will touch each of the three campuses – Fairfield, Vacaville and Vallejo – and include new or improved libraries at all three locations, performing arts facility projects in Fairfield, an auto technology building in Vallejo and biotechnology facilities in Vacaville.
Refurbishment of the administration building, including the governing board meeting room, is nearly complete and it will be in use in the near future. It is being funded by some of the last Measure G bond money from the previous facilities measure that passed in 2002.
via Solano College gives locals a chance to get ahead Daily Republic.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
A new charter school in Vacaville and a new life for Sullivan Middle School are among the local educational highlights.
Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy opened its doors with the new school year. It’s located at the former Elm School on Elm Street.
It serves students kindergarten through eighth grade. About 465 students are enrolled, with another 300 on the waiting list.
Sullivan Middle School in Fairfield didn’t sit empty for long after board members voted to close it in 2012. Now it’s called the Sullivan Interagency Youth Services Center.
via Changes keep coming to local schools Daily Republic.
By Ian Thompson
To get local schoolchildren to be healthier and more alert in the classroom, Sarah Fitzgerald of the Solano Transportation Authority’s Safe Routes to School is asking them to get out of their parents’ cars and walk to school.
To do that, she and her staff are promoting efforts such as the Walking School Bus program, with adult volunteers escorting groups of students, the Bay Area Bike Mobile’s visits to local libraries to repair bikes and International Walk to School Day, where participating schools and students get prizes.
“We are working hard to reach out, primarily to elementary schools and middle schools,” Fitzgerald said. “The whole idea is to get kids moving.”
via Safe Routes to School working to get kids out of the cars and walking, riding to school Daily Republic.
By Danette Mitchell:
On Tuesday night at Will C. Wood High School, incumbents Michele “Shelley” Dally, David McCallum, Whit Whitman and Chris Flask and challengers Jeremy Jeffreys, Deloris Roach, Judith Ruggiero, Tracee Stacy and Shawn Windham — all with aspirations of being elected in November to fill four trustee seats on the Vacaville Unified School District Board — gathered at a candidates forum to answer questions about key issues that will affect administrators, teachers and students in our public schools.
At the forum, sponsored by the Vacaville Teachers Association, candidates gave their qualifications and outlined goals they would like to see accomplished. They were passionate about their feelings regarding Common Core and addressed how best they believe the board can effectively invest in students and staff.
During the customary question-and-answer format, candidates discussed the proposed new stadium at Will C. Wood, the exorbitant health care premiums teachers must pay and the lack of various Spanish-speaking materials for Spanish-speaking parents.
via Danette Mitchell: Diversity important to consider in school board election – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday appointed Nolan Sullivan, a Yolo County public servant and president of the Vacaville Public Education Foundation, to replace Jerry Eaton, the trustee who resigned last month and whose term expires in November 2016.
The vote, during a regular board meeting at the Educational Services Center, was unanimous and came after nearly 45 minutes of statements and trustee questions for Sullivan and another candidate, Michael Stover, an assistant court executive officer for Placer County Superior Court and a member of the district’s Measure V Citizen’s Oversight Committee.
via Nolan Sullivan tapped for Vacaville school board – The Reporter.
By Susan Winlow
Nolan Sullivan took a seat on the dais Thursday night next to Vacaville School District Superintendent Ken Jacopetti and his six new-found peers on the board.
Sullivan was up against another Vacaville resident, Michael Stover, for the seat vacated after the resignation of Jerry Eaton in July. Eaton resigned due to work conflicts.
“I recommend that we make this an eight-member board,” Trustee David McCallum said. “If we had the legal authority we would. It’s clear to me we have two excellent candidates here.”
via Vacaville education foundation president wins vacant school board seat Daily Republic.
By John Glidden
Kristianne Daos walked around her classroom Tuesday morning, placing a schedule and other educational materials on the wall of room 9 at Steffan Manor Elementary School. Much of her preparation work had been completed already, as tiny desks had been placed in clusters of four. At each desk was a name tag on a string lanyard and a paper announcing a classroom scavenger hunt.
Everything needed to be in place as Wednesday would be a first day for everybody in room 9.
The first day of kindergarten is usually marked with tears, uncertainty and nervousness, as many students find themselves in a new and strange place: School.
via Teacher excited about teaching first day of class – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Mayrene Bates
A new school year has started and that for principals, teachers and parents includes thinking about the importance of children eating breakfast. According to research, eating breakfast definitely links to higher student achievement.
Writing this column certainly brought back memories of growing up below poor (if there’s such a thing) in rural Tennessee. The memories remain as vivid today as if it all happened yesterday. Breakfast consisted of oatmeal or rice with sugar and butter every morning. Nevertheless, we still ate something before we headed off to school. On Sundays, our mother made hot biscuits and gravy. I never cared for biscuits and gravy and still don’t.
via Breakfast after the Bell wins support Daily Republic.
There will be a new face on the governing board after Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in open session.
Trustees will select one of two candidates, Michael Stover and Nolan Sullivan, who submitted applications to replace Jerry Eaton. The former French and Spanish instructor at Vanden High resigned last month to take a board of directors post with the California Teachers Association.
The appointment to the seven-member board will come early in the meeting. Each applicant will be allowed to give three-minute personal statement before one of them is appointed and sworn in, then will immediately take a seat on the dais. Whoever is chosen will serve out the remainder of Eaton’s term, which ends in November 2016.
via Vacaville school board to appoint new trustee tonight – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
Whistle and red STOP sign in hand, the crossing guard at Cambridge Elementary said the cluster of drivers wheeling their vehicles Wednesday morning onto the Cambridge Drive campus in Vacaville had been courteous, cautious and aware of their surroundings.
By that and other accounts, the first day of classes for the 2014-15 year in Travis Unified went equally well at several school sites, most in Fairfield.
But Cambridge added a twist to the annual back-to-school ritual: Volunteers handed out comfort items for adults who walked by on their way to three kindergarten classrooms.
via In Travis Unified School District, slightly smaller classes greet students – The Reporter.
By Susan Hiland
The wait to enter Golden West Middle School on Wednesday featured youngsters laughing and greeting each other with hugs. It looked as if it had been years since the kids saw each other, rather than a few short months of summer.
Beth Tumulak sat in her SUV with her video camera trained on her daughter, Kristin, an eighth-grader.
“She was so excited last night that she couldn’t sleep,” Tumulak said. “I put her to bed at 9 p.m. and she was up early. She just couldn’t sleep.”
All Travis School District campuses began the 2014-15 year Wednesday, opening a week after the Fairfield-Suisun and Rio Vista schools and six days after the Vacaville School District.
via First day back to school brings laughter, jitters Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
Two applicants vying for the empty Vacaville School District governing board seat left by Jerry Eaton’s resignation in July will be vetted for the position at Thursday’s school board meeting.
Michael Stover and Nolan Sullivan will each give a three-minute personal statement with interviews after the statements.
Upon applying for the position, each potential candidate was required to fill out an application form and answer the question, “Why are you passionate to serve on the Vacaville Unified School District governing board?”
via Vacaville school board to vet candidates for open seat Daily Republic.