By Jane Meredith Adams
Update: Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Tuesday the bill eliminating the personal belief exemption for vaccinating schoolchildren. In his signing message, Brown wrote, “The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases.”
He continued, “While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”
In the pockets of California where hundreds and even thousands of kindergartners are not fully vaccinated, school districts are starting to think seriously about how a proposed law requiring vaccinations – which the Legislature approved Thursday – could affect their enrollment and in turn, their funding.
The proposed law, Senate Bill 277, would end the state’s personal belief exemption for vaccinating schoolchildren, an opt-out practice that in a small number of schools and communities has become widespread. More than 13,500 California schoolchildren held a personal belief exemption in 2014-15, a relatively low number compared to the state’s overall kindergarten enrollment of more than 500,000, but a figure of public health and financial importance in some districts.
via Schools consider impact of ending vaccination opt-outs | EdSource.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that Glen Price, a public education expert, and Michelle Zumot, a veteran administrator, will serve as his co-chief deputies of the California Department of Education (CDE).
“I am pleased to appoint these two outstanding leaders. They have the skills, experience, talent, and dedication to lead the California Department of Education as it implements huge changes to help all California students,” said Torlakson.
Zumot has been the Assistant Chief Deputy, while Price has most recently served as Interim Chief of Staff of CDE.
Torlakson said the two work well together and have different strengths that complement each other. Their duties split naturally, he said. Glen Price will take the lead on policy and program issues, while Michelle Zumot will head the operational side.
Michelle Zumot has worked for CDE for 12 years in a variety of administrative posts. She has been instrumental in supporting a variety of CDE organizational change efforts and also represents the agency on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the California State Teachers Retirement System Board of Directors.
via Torlakson Announces New Leadership Team – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Because an actual, paying job in one’s field of study adds an important dimension to book learning, a partnership between the Vallejo school district and many city businesses started a third year of a work experience program earlier this week.
Putting Our Youth to Work, Supporting Youth Through HIRE Education is an eight-week summer internship program that matches high school juniors and seniors with positions related in some way to their chosen academy studies, district spokeswoman Alana Shackleford said on Friday.
“Our endeavor is to provide the youth of Vallejo with firsthand work experience that will yield good training in work behavior and skills,” she said in a statement. Though the first students started working in their part-time or full-time local jobs Monday, more job options are always welcome and students can still sign up for a waiting list, Shackleford said. Interns work a maximum of 200 hours between June 22 and Aug. 14, she said. School starts the following week. Some 120 students are already enrolled in the program this year, she said.
via Vallejo high school students team with local employers for summer.
By Richard Bammer
Like other California school district governing boards, each facing important deadlines just days away, Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders are expected to approve the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan and the 2015-16 budget during a meeting tonight in Fairfield.
The district’s LCAP , as it is called for short, is a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula. At 117 pages, it is, essentially, the master plan that governs all district spending and specifically lays out how educators will teach “subgroups,” such as ethnic minorities, English language learners and foster youth, and how their progress will be measured.
Cara Mendoza, director of staff development and educational technology, likely will briefly review the document’s contents before the seven trustees cast their votes.
Board members are expected to approve the new budget, as presented by Kelly Bartel, the district’s assistant superintendent for business services.
via FSUSD leaders to approve LCAP and a $187M budget.
By Richard Bammer
With a deadline just days away, Vacaville Unified School District leaders on Thursday unanimously approved the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan, similar plans for several charter schools, and the 2015-16 budget during a meeting in the Educational Services Center.
The district’s LCAP, as it is called for short, is a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula. At 136 pages, it is, essentially, the master plan that governs all district spending and specifically lays out how educators will teach “subgroups,” such as ethnic minorities, English language learners and foster youth, and how their progress will be measured.
Trustees also approved LCAPs for ACE, Fairmont and Buckingham High School, all dependent charter schools, which require district oversight.
The seven-member governing board approved the new budget, as presented by Jane Shamieh, the district’s new interim superintendent, replacing Ken Jacopetti. He recently retired after two years in the district’s top job and has left the district.
via Vacaville school district leaders approve several LCAPs, $94M budget for 2015-16.
By Richard Bammer
Math and science teaching in Solano County’s public schools will get a lot more engaging this fall when students return to their classes and discover their teachers know how to use computer programming and robotics as new ways to teach math and science.
The change in curriculum (how subjects are taught) comes as the result of a two-week summer seminar, formally called the Programming and Robotics Integrated with Science and Mathematics (PRISM) project, part of which included 60 hours of training at Solano County Office of Education offices in Fairfield, one of the project’s partners.
via STEM seminar fosters county teachers’ abilities to teach programming, robotics.
By Kevin W. Green
The Solano Community College board of trustees voted unanimously in a special closed-session meeting Wednesday to accept the resignation of Jowel Laguerre as the school’s superintendent/president and appoint Stan Arterberry to the post in an interim role.
It was revealed after a closed session that Laguerre, who came to Solano College in 2009, has been appointed chancellor of the Peralta Community College District.
Arterberry – the chancellor emeritus of West-Valley Mission Community College District – returns to Solano College, where he served as the superintendent/president from 1994 to 2002, until a permanent replacement for Laguerre can be found.
via Solano College accepts Laguerre’s resignation, appoints interim leader.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Tina Edwards found one of the last chairs in the Grange Middle School gym Thursday morning.
It may not have been as comfortable as the stacking ones other audience members were using. She was just happy to be there and the folding chair was just fine, although it was in the back row.
Edwards was there to watch her daughter Hollie Edwards, 13, handle the role of Cinderella at the Grange Middle School Summer Musical performance.
via Youth, teens get crash course in musical theater.
By Susan Schena
Solano Community College has been awarded the California Community College Linked Learning Work-Based Learning Program grant. The grant, provided by the Foundation for California Community Colleges, was awarded based on a proposed work-based learning program for grades 9-12 and SCC students for automotive occupations, culminating in internships with large dealers for SCC and Los Medanos Community College students.
Great News For High-Schoolers And Students From Your Local Community College | Benicia, CA Patch.
By Susan Schena
The National Science Foundation (NSF), the nation’s premier agency that sponsors STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) research and education activities in colleges and universities across the country, has granted Solano Community College $622,715 to award 165 scholarships to “academically talented and financially needy” students over a five-year period.
Solano Community College To Award 165 STEM Scholarships | Benicia, CA Patch.
By Lauren Camera
Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee were unsuccessful in several attempts to restore funding for federal education programs during Wednesdays markup of a fiscal 2016 spending plan that would slash the current funding level for the U.S. Department of Education by $2.8 billion.
The committee cleared the measure, which funds the department and federal education programs to the tune of $64.4 billion, on party-line vote of 30-21. You can read more about how education programs would be funded here.
Democrats tried to increase funding for several programs, as well as restore funding for some 20 education programs that would be eliminated under the GOP appropriations bill, which also funds the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor.
via House Appropriations Committee OKs Fiscal 2016 Education Spending Plan – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Katherine Ellison
Thousands of California teachers, who’ve spent recent years simultaneously learning and teaching the new Common Core State Standards, will share ideas about what has worked best in their classrooms at a multi-site conference on July 31.
An expected 20,000 pre-K-12 teachers will lead and attend workshops on best practices they’ve discovered for teaching the new standards at the one-day event, “Better Together: California Teacher Summit.” It will be hosted at 33 college and university campuses throughout the state.
Kitty Dixon, senior vice president for special projects at the New Teacher Center, a Santa Cruz-based nonprofit dedicated to improving teacher effectiveness, said the conference aims to inspire and help teachers struggling to find effective curriculum materials and best practices to help them implement the new standards. These concerns, she said, have been at the top of teachers’ lists when asked what would most help them.
via Teachers to teach teachers at statewide Common Core summit | EdSource.
By Dianne de Guzman
Summer is looking to be a great time for basketball fans in Vallejo.
With the Bay Area still excited from the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA title, the tipoff for Late Night Basketball at Vallejo High School on Friday could not have been timed better.
From 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night, kids and young teens from ages 12 to 25 crowded the gym shooting hoops — as well as meeting community members and police officers, getting health screenings or learning about conflict resolution.
via Vallejo’s ‘Midnight basketball’ attracts hundreds of players.
By Elena Aguilar
I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good team in a school context. I’ll share some of these thoughts, but I really want to hear your ideas on this subject.
I’m going to admit that its taken me a while to feel convinced by the power of teams. Until recently, I didnt have great experiences in teams. I felt that alone I could produce whatever needed to be created better, and quicker, than working with others. I often felt frustrated working in teams — the process felt so slow and cumbersome. I felt like I was usually given (or took) the bulk of the work. I didnt really know what an effective team looked like, how one worked together, or what the benefits could be.
In the last few years, however, my experience in a couple different teams shifted these beliefs. Now, Im compelled to figure out how to create and develop good teams — and to identify the specific moves that a coach or facilitator makes in this process. I want to figure out how to grow powerful teams that can transform schools.
via 5 Characteristics of an Effective School Team | Edutopia.
By John Fensterwald
The Legislature has given the State Board of Education an extra year to complete the next phase of a new school accountability system required by the state’s 2-year-old funding law.
The state board had requested more time, which legislators included in Assembly Bill 104 (section 22), the catch-all “trailer bill” that enacts the state budget details into law. The trailer bill also is a way to expedite non-controversial issues that need quick action.
For months, the board has been struggling with an Oct. 1 deadline for adopting a set of “evaluation rubrics,” a set of uniform student and school performance standards. The Legislature mandated that the state board establish the standards and ultimately hold districts accountable for meeting them.
via State board gets extra year to create measures of school progress | EdSource.
By Dianne de Guzman
Vallejo High School’s basketball courts could be packed this summer as part of the city’s new “midnight basketball” program, iBallVallejo, which starts Friday night.
Local teens and young adults are being invited to Bottari Gym between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. to not only shoot some hoops on Friday and Saturday nights, but to take part in a host of other services being offered: Health screenings, such as eye exams and dental checkups, CPR training, learning about conflict resolution or refreshing interview skills (just to name a few).
The program was created in cooperation between a number of local groups, law enforcement and school officials in what they hope will not only be a fun diversion for teens in town, but also a way to build community and relationships with local law enforcement and the courts.
via ‘Midnight basketball’ to start Friday at Vallejo High School.
By Dianne de Guzman
The seventh and eighth graders at the Benicia Police Department’s Youth Academy weren’t exactly solving the crime of the century, but they were certainly taking their task very seriously.
Students were told to solve the mystery of who bit into a chocolate bar, based on “dental records” — teeth impressions made from biting into two pieces of styrofoam plates — and what they could decipher from the bite marks.
Sgt. Kenny Hart showed students what to look for when viewing evidence, during a lesson on crime scene investigations. “The victim was bit twice and they were bit harder on the right side,” Hart said to the group, pointing to an area on the plates with a police flashlight. “(Police) can tell how many times a person was bit.”
via Benicia Youth Academy teaches police tactics, life lessons.
By Kristin DeCarr
A number of school districts in at least five states are looking to increase their cash flow by asking parents to pay for their children to take the bus to school, a move that officials hope will offset some of the budget deficits they face. The service was previously paid for by taxpayers.
A recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that state funding for education has been dropping for the last 7 years. At least 30 states were found to have offered less per-student funding than was given before the recession. Of those states, 14 cut that funding by at least 10%, if not more. Across the nation, state funding accounts for around 45% of revenue for school districts, with local government contributions accounting for about the same.
“It’s a trend that started back in ‘08 when the recession hit,” said Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. “School districts’ budgets were cut back severely. As an alternative to cutting a lot of programs, districts went the route of charging fees for sports events, uniforms, after-school activities—and eventually transportation.”
Many parents are angered by the decision to ask them to pay for bus transportation, and school officials report concerns over children’s safety and access to education.
via Schools Charging Parents for Kids Bus Transportation.
By Louis Freedberg
Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature have agreed to allocate a half billion dollars for a range of programs to enhance “teacher effectiveness” in California, the largest amount to be dedicated for that purpose in years.
The funds, which will be set aside as a block grant, will flow to each of California’s nearly 1,000 districts based on the number of credentialed teachers and school administrators they have on their payrolls. Districts can spend the funds at any time over the next three years.
Ratified by the Legislature on Friday, the funds represent a massive increase over the $10 million that Brown had included in his proposed 2015-16 budget in January to address the quality of teacher preparation programs. The fact that lawmakers were able to agree less than six months later to send 50 times that amount directly to school districts underscored the high priority the state is placing on teacher preparation and effectiveness.
via State to spend a half billion dollars to promote ‘teacher effectiveness’ | EdSource.
By John Glidden
The Solano Community College Governing Board has an important task Monday night: The trustees are expected to name the school’s interim-superintendent/president.
Last week, SCC Superintendent Jowel Laguerre was appointed chancellor of the Peralta Community College District.
Laguerre will take over from Jose Ortiz, who is retiring after three years in the position. Laguerre is expected to officially begin work in July.
“It’s really bittersweet,” Laguerre said last week. “But I’m really excited (about the new opportunity) and the things we have done at Solano.”
Laguerre said at the same time he will miss the people at SCC, especially the faculty and staff, who are always focused on making the college better.
via Solano College governing board expected to name interim-superintendent Monday.