By John Glidden
With a noticeable empty seat Wednesday night, the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education unanimously voted to seek applications from members of the public to fill the vacancy created by Richard Porter.
Porter, who teaches math and science at the Mare Island Health & Fitness Academy, confirmed that — despite winning election to the board on Nov. 4 — he would not accept the board seat, opting to stay as a teacher at the academy.
Due to state law, Porter can not serve on the board of education and teach in the district at the same time. Porter — who filed candidacy papers in August — suspended his campaign in early September to teach. Despite halting his campaign, more than 7,000 Vallejo voters decided to elect him, placing him second out of three available seats.
via Vallejo school board decides to seek applicants to fill seat.
By Richard Bammer
Dixon Unified leaders have reshuffled the governing board, an annual rite for California school districts during December.
Caitlin O’Halloran, a former Reporter columnist, was elected as board president, replacing Guy Garcia, who was elected vice president.
John Gabby was re-elected as clerk of the board.
via Dixon Unified School District elects new board officers.
By Ian Thompson
Veterans on both coasts will be getting Christmas stockings stuffed with small gifts thanks to local high school and elementary school students, as well as the spouses of Vacaville veterans and Boy and Girl Scout troops.
This is the fifth year that members of the National Honor Society at Vanden High School have cut out more than 300 stockings that were sewn together by the Vacaville Binky Patrol, a group of local quilters. The students also shopped for items to put in the stockings.
The first batch of 150 stockings were shipped to the East Coast in October to Staff Sgt. Ryan Eberle, the son of veterans advocate Kelli Germeraad, who coordinates the holiday project. Eberle, a Vanden graduate and member of the 30th Intel Squadron at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, and other squadron members will fill and distribute these to veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Hampton, Virginia.
via Students, veterans’ spouses stuff stockings for hospitalized vets Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
Solano College trustees adopted a cautious but optimistic approach this week to entering into a future agreement with Huameijiadai Investment Fund Management Company and the United States Education Foundation in creating an accelerated aircraft maintenance program for Chinese students.
The current program is two years. The accelerated program will last 14 months and give Chinese students a different take on an aircraft mechanics program that in China is heavy on classroom learning but leaves students to hire on with an airline to get the practical work, said Paul Cheng, an international recruiter for the college and CEO of the United States Education Foundation.
via College staff to move forward with Chinese aircraft program Daily Republic.
By Susan Hiland
NorthBay staff members helped Santa bring an early Christmas to local children Thursday at Fairview Elementary School in Fairfield.
Every classroom was adopted by the NorthBay staff, who filled the wish list of children and teachers.
The wish lists included such things as jackets, socks, books, hats, gloves, school supplies, sports balls, games, blankets and art supplies. Each classroom had a different wish list and was adopted by a different department from NorthBay.
via Santas have busy week at schools Daily Republic.
By Alyson Klein
States that are implementing the Common Core State Standards and those going with their own college-and-career ready expectations are using the same strategies—and facing the same types of challenges, according to a Government Accountability Office report released last week.
For instance, states in both camps are giving teachers professional development to implement the standards, but they’re worried the training isn’t high-quality. And all states with new standards are developing new instructional materials that are supposed to match them—but that can be time- consuming, and there isn’t always as much alignment as states were hoping for.
via Common Core, Non-Common Core States Face Similar Challenges, GAO Says – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Susan Winlow
It rained Wednesday night. It was a dark and stormy night, actually.
But it rained outside this year – not a leak-catching bucket in sight as dozens celebrated the opening of the new Denis Honeychurch Boardroom within the newly renovated 14,000-square-foot administration building at Solano Community College.
The smell of newness permeated as board members and staff mingled in the new room before the regularly scheduled board meeting, checking out the multiple wall-mounted video flat screens, the new technology available, new lighting, new sound system and marveling at the difference between the “then” and “now” mental visuals of the boardroom.
via Solano College trustees move back ‘home’ Daily Republic.
By Keri Luiz
Benicia Unified School District trustees will discuss and possibly approve Thursday lists of Measure S bond projects, divided into series based on when the funds will be available.
Trustees also will discuss the district’s First Interim Financial Report for 2014-15.
Measure S was approved by voters in June. It will provide an anticipated $49.6 million in bond funding to be used for district facilities upgrades, improvements and modernization.
The bond funds are planned to be issued in three series: Series A, B and C.
via School board to consider lists of Measure S projects.
By Andrew Miller
We all struggle with homework and how to use it. In fact, many have said no to homework for good reason. It’s often just busywork, boring, or not clearly connected to the learning. Many times, students come home and can’t even articulate why they have a homework assignment. This is a problem of relevance. Worse yet, students receive hours of homework each night. They are required to read and take notes on material, produce papers, or more. This is what you might call “Do-It-Yourself School.” If you are assigning work where students are learning a large amount of completely new material on their own, then you are actually doing a disservice to your students.
Students should not be required to be their own teachers outside of class (the keyword here is “required”). Instead, homework needs to be designed for intentional purposes that support student learning. Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, in their book Better Learning Through Structured Teaching, articulate many of the points that I try to make here. When we focus on some of these examples and principles below, we can actually make homework a useful tool for learning, where students see the relevance and engage in it.
via Homework When Students Are Ready For It! | Edutopia.
By John Fensterwald
An advocacy organization that analyzed dozens of school districts’ inaugural improvement plans under the state’s new school funding law praised the level of community involvement but criticized the lack of clarity in the finished product.
Under the Local Control Funding Formula, districts get more spending flexibility and autonomy but in return must reach out to parents, students, teachers and the community to help shape the plan and be accountable for the results. Although not uniform across districts, there was “an unprecedented level of engagement among school district leaders, community leaders, parents, teachers, and students,” Education Trust-West, a nonprofit based in Oakland that works to narrow the achievement gap in education, said in a report issued Tuesday. “We also find that district leaders have oriented themselves to the new law. Administrators responsible for instruction and budget are collaborating more than ever before in a real effort to align budgets with academic plans.”
via Report on LCAPs finds mixed success | EdSource#.VJG0XxcO4c#.VJG0XxcO4c.
By John Glidden
Tony Ubalde and Burky Worel will take the oath of office Wednesday night at the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education annual organizational meeting.
Ubalde, an incumbent on the board, was reelected in November, while challenger Burky Worel also earned a seat. Worel is a former VCUSD Board of Education trustee, having served on the board from 1993 to 2001.
The board will also meet to decide on whether to call for a special election or make a provisional appointment, to fill the vacancy created by Richard Porter.
via Vallejo school board to select option on how to replace Porter.
By John Glidden
Jowel Laguerre is keeping his fingers crossed.
Solano Community College is one of several college districts competing for a coveted spot within a new state pilot program, which will allow 15 community college districts to offer a baccalaureate degree, not currently served by the California State University or the University of California systems.
The legislation, authored by state Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) and signed into law by Gov. Brown, allows the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, in consultation with the UC and CSU systems, to decided which districts are chosen to offer new degree programs beginning no later that the 2017-18 academic year.
“We threw our hats in the ring,” Laguerre said by phone Tuesday.
via Solano College hopes to offer a baccalaureate degree soon.
By Susan Winlow
An accelerated aviation program for Chinese students could be in the works as soon as September 2015 if the Solano Community College board of trustees approves an agreement Wednesday between the district, Huameijiadai Investment Fund Management Company Ltd. and the United States Education Foundation.
The accelerated program would allow Chinese students to earn Federal Aviation Administration certification in an aeronautics program structure that is different in China than in the United States.
Paul Cheng, an international recruiter for Solano College and CEO for the United States Education Foundation, said he discovered the Chinese need for such a program by talking to aviation students in China. The Chinese program emphasizes classroom time but “not so much hands on,” Cheng said. After they learn in school, they have to be hired by an airline to get the practical work, he said.
via Solano College eyes accelerated aircraft program for Chinese students Daily Republic.
By Alyson Klein
Congress may have gotten rid of the Obama administration’s signature Race to the Top competitive-grant program in the “cromnibus” spending measure, which has been approved by both houses of Congress. But lawmakers kept two other stimulus-era Obama administration education-redesign programs: the School Improvement Grant program, which is aimed at turning around low-performing schools, and the Investing in Innovation grant program, which is meant to scale up promising practices at the district level.
But just because SIG and i3 are still around doesn’t mean there won’t be some changes to them.
via Congress Tweaks School Improvement Grants, i3 in Spending Bill – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Katrina Schwartz
Educators have long known academic standards are only one part of nurturing a well-rounded and successful student. There are a host of other skills like creativity, persistence, critical thinking, collaboration and empathy that help make a student successful in school and in life, but are less quantifiable. Current assessment systems aren’t set up to measure these very important but less measurable skills, so policymakers have focused on standardized tests that try to capture what a student knows, not how he or she can apply that information. Game-based learning has entered the assessment field with hopes of measuring both content-specific knowledge and softer skills at the same time, through the mechanics of the game.
“I believe that assessment should be open and transparent and flexible and gently surround and support student learning or groups of students learning together,” said Valerie Shutes, a professor of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems at Florida State University in an edWeb webinar. She’s been experimenting with digital games as a way to more firmly link learning and assessment, hoping to show the two can happen inseparably. She’s particularly interested in how to measure improvement in the less tangible areas that are hard to measure, like creativity and persistence.
via Can a Child’s Creativity and Persistence be Assessed by a Game? | MindShift.
By Chad Aldeman
In theory, defined benefit pension plans like those offered to 9 out of 10 teachers offer career public servants a steady stream of retirement income, adjusted for inflation as they age, that’s guaranteed to last their entire lifetime.
In practice, only half of teachers stick around long enough to qualify for any pension at all. Those that do must remain 20, 25, or 30 years in order to qualify for a pension worth more than their own contributions. And in a field with significant turnover, only a tiny percentage of teachers last a full career and qualify for the theoretical, idealized pension.
Unfortunately, too much of our debate about pensions focuses on theory rather than reality. The latest example comes from a report from William B. Fornia and Nari Rhee published by the National Institute on Retirement Security NIRS, in which the authors attempt to estimate whether pensions or 401k-style defined contribution plans are a “better bang for the buck.”
via Pension Theory Versus Pension Reality – Education Next : Education Next.
By Katrina Schwartz
One day, Adam Holman decided he was fed up with trying to cram knowledge into the brains of the high school students he taught. They weren’t grasping the physics he was teaching at the level he knew they were capable of, so he decided to change up his teaching style. It wasn’t that his students didn’t care about achieving — he taught at high performing, affluent schools where students knew they needed high grades to get into good colleges. They argued for every point to make sure their grades were as high as possible, but were they learning?
“I felt I had to remove all the barriers I could on my end before I could ask my kids to meet me halfway,” Holman said. The first thing he did was move to standards-based grading. He told his students to show him they’d learned the material, it didn’t matter how long it took them.
via How ‘Deprogramming’ Kids From How to ‘Do School’ Could Improve Learning | MindShift.
By John Glidden
Familiar faces, new building.
Solano Community College Governing Board trustees Pam Keith, A. Marie Young, Denis Honeychurch and Sarah Chapman will have the privilege of raising their right hands Wednesday night as they are each administered the oath of office to serve on the district’s governing board for another term.
Keith won reelection to the board in November, after defeating Jose “Joe” Ramos, a former SCC police officer, seeking his first term to the board. Keith is in her 20th year on the board.
Young, Honeychurch and Chapman were all automatically reelected to the board, when they each filed candidacy paperwork to their respective seats unopposed.
via Solano College officially opens new administrative building Wednesday.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
There’s a first time for everything.
For the father-son team of Maclovio Aguirre and Ernesto Aguirre, that initial event happened Friday as Armijo High School’s Leadership Class and the school’s Helping Hands and Around the World clubs hosted about 30 families for a Christmas party.
Ernesto, 9, sat on a chair as his father, holding a cup of shaving cream, made the boy a Santa beard. The beard was there to stay as long as the shaving cream held, Ernesto said.
via Daily Republic | Solano County’s Breaking News Source.
By Paul Farmer
Anthony Costales didn’t compete in his first marathon just to run 26 miles, 385 yards.
The former Fairfield High standout ran in the California International Marathon on Dec. 7 with a goal of reaching the qualifying time for the next United States Olympic Marathon Trials.
Costales had to cover the course, which ran from Folsom to Sacramento, in 2 hours, 18 minutes or less. He did just that – with 12 seconds to spare.
via Fairfield grad Costales qualifies for Olympic marathon trials Daily Republic.