By Alyson Klein
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncans annual back-to-school bus tour is back in action and headed for the Midwest. And this years focus goes beyond K-12 policy. The theme is “Ready for Success” with a lot of emphasis on the bookends of the edu-spectrum: early and higher education.
The tour kicks off on September 14 and Duncan plant to make stops at a preschool in Kansas City, Missouri; a high school in Iowa to talk about college affordability with students and parents. And, also in Iowa, Duncan will chat with teacher leaders and shadow coaches at a middle school. In addition, hell talk family engagement at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. (The school was named after a black protestor killed in the Boston Massacre, which helped spur the Revolutionary War.)
via Arne Duncans Back-to-School Bus Tour to Focus on Preschool through Career – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Friday urged all local educational agencies throughout the state to immediately begin issuing diplomas to those students who have met all other high school graduation requirements in the 2014-15 school year except the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).
Senate Bill 725, authored by Senator Loni Hancock, passed by legislators, and signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown, eliminated the CAHSEE requirement for an estimated 5,000 students who were unable to take the July exit exam after the test was no longer available.
“This is a key part of the legislation the California Department of Education sponsored back in February to assure students would still get their high school diplomas and thus be assured of their admission to our four-year universities would not be impeded,” Torlakson said.
In a letter to county and district superintendents, charter school administrators, and CAHSEE coordinators, Torlakson wrote, “Local educational agencies may immediately begin issuing diplomas to eligible students.”
via Torlakson Urges Diplomas be Granted – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
By Richard Bammer
Getting ready for a Sept. 17 vote on the matter, Vacaville Unified leaders and the public appear divided on the fate of Sierra Vista School, closed since 2011 but currently home to the district’s Independent Study program.
During a special board workshop Thursday at the Bel Air Drive campus, trustees and parents, many of the latter from the neighborhood, shared ideas and opinions about whether or not the school should house (transitional kindergarten) TK-6 or TK-8 classes.
As for the school being used as home for Buckingham Charter Magnet High School, Board President Whit Whitman, during a post-public comment segment, said the governing board would not consider such a move in the coming days, leaving the elementary school configuration open for either TK-6 or TK-8 classes before the board’s final vote.
via VUSD leaders, public air ideas about Sierra Vista re-opening.
By Richard Bammer
In the wake of a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, state schools leader Tom Torlakson urges California school districts to immediately grant diplomas to high school students affected by the recently passed CAHSEE bill.
Torlakson, in a press release issued late Friday, encouraged districts to issue diplomas to any of some 5,000 students who have met all other high school graduation requirements in the 2014-15 school year except the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).
Responding to text messages, Mark Frazier, chief academic officer for Vacaville Unified, and Dixon Unified Superintendent Brian Dolan knew of no area students affected by the legislation.
via High School diplomas sub exit exam.
By Ryan McCarthy
Mayor Harry Price and the Armijo High School Marching Band will help mark the grand opening of a McDonald’s restaurant Saturday at 3500 Nelson Road.
The grand opening begins at 11 a.m. and includes a special number by the Armijo High School Marching Band.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony with the mayor happens at noon. Owners Harris and Mary Liu will present a $500 donation to Armijo High School’s music program. Those who attend can visit a McDonald’s booth with a spin-the-wheel game and bean bag toss with prizes.
via Mayor, Armijo High band to mark McDonald’s opening.
By Ryan McCarthy
A $16,000 trip by seven Fairfield-Suisun School District teachers and four administrators to attend a convention at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas won approval Thursday by the school board.
The national convention of No Excuses University, a program that emphasizes every student has the right to be educated in a way that prepares them for college, will take place Oct. 22-25.
Conference registration totals $3,500. Hotel costs are $5,300. Travel costs $7,200.
A Fairfield-Suisun School District staff report to trustees said as part of the No Excuses University network, participating schools must attend the annual convention at least once every two school years.
via Trustees OK $16,000 trip to Dallas for Fairfield-Suisun staff.
By Richard Bammer
Will Sierra Vista Elementary be home to TK-6 or TK-8 classes or Buckingham Charter High?
In a special Vacaville Unified governing board workshop, trustees tonight will hear from district parents, perhaps some students, and very likely from neighbors about proposed uses for the Bel Air Drive campus.
The seven-member board will make no formal decision about the fate of the school, closed in 2011 but currently home to the district’s Independent Study program.
Board president Whit Whitman said, “We hope to get a good grip” on how the school will be used in the coming months, how its classes will be configured, whether it will be strictly a traditional elementary, TK-6, or include seventh- and eighth-graders, middle school-level students.
via Fate of Sierra Vista topic of VUSD board workshop tonight.
By Richard Bammer
Boosting substitute teacher pay, an update on the Local Control Accountability Plan, and the re-opening of Dover Middle School as a K-8 campus are open for discussion by the Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders.
Tonight, trustees are expected to approve a hike in substitute teacher pay, raising the pay of a day-to-day substitute to $160 per day; a “trained,” or credentialed, substitute to $170; a long-term substitute to $185; a retired district teacher who substitutes to $195; Adult School substitute pay to $22.07 per hour; and “permit teacher” substitute (providing service to the state preschool program) pay to $17 per hour.
The district’s assistant superintendent for educational services, Rona Portalupi will offer an overview of the district’s 117-page LCAP, essentially a master plan, part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, 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.
via Sub teacher pay, LCAP, re-opening of Dover campus on FSUSD agenda tonight.
By Evie Blad
How should the public determine if schools are doing their jobs?
Respondents to the 2015 PDK/Gallup poll ranked “how engaged students are with their classwork” and “the percentage of students who feel hopeful about their future” at the top of a list of possible signs of schools success, well above standardized test results, which won the least favor in the poll.
Check out this Education Week story for a run-through of the polls complete results. But first, check out this graph to learn more about respondents views on school effectiveness.
via Student Engagement, Hope Outrank Tests as Measures of Schools Success, Poll Finds – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.
By Richard Bammer
In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall, writing in the 1803 case, stated, “A law repugnant to the Constitution is void.”
With those words, he established the Supreme Court’s role in America’s new and evolving government, and the high court, thus, was recognized as having the power to review all acts of Congress and to declare invalid those it found to be in conflict with the Constitution.
Of course, it was just one of many landmark cases in Supreme Court history, but Marbury v. Madison clearly established the notion of separation of powers in U.S. government.
This important doctrine is the topic of the 2015 Constitution Essay Contest open to all Solano County students, in public and private schools and those home-schooled, in grades 7 to 12. As in previous years, the essay has a 500-word limit. The deadline to enter is Oct. 16, and no entry fee is required.
via Annual Constitution essay contest underway in Solano schools.
By Theresa Harrington
The state Senate on Monday unanimously approved SB 725, which would remove passing the California High School Exit Exam as a graduation requirement for the class of 2015, and the governor plans to sign it.
The Senate also approved an urgency clause that would allow the bill to go into effect immediately, if the governor signs it. Both votes were 37-0. Gov. Jerry Brown has 12 days to act on any bill that reaches his desk this week. He plans to sign the bill, said his Deputy Press Secretary Deborah Hoffman in an e-mail.
“Students who’ve been accepted into college should not be prevented from starting class this fall because of a test cancellation they could not control,” she said. “The Governor will sign this bill to ensure these students begin their college careers.”
via Governor to sign high school exit exam bill | EdSource.
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced a second round of Broadband Infrastructure and Improvement Grants (BIIG 2.0) is available for California schools and districts to enhance their network connectivity.
“Because of a wise investment approved by the Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown, an additional $50 million is available to help schools connect to the states education network,” said Torlakson. “This will give students access to technology that will prepare them for college and careers, and give teachers more resources to improve instruction.”
BIIG 2.0 builds on the first round of funding earlier this year that provided nearly $27 million to 227 school sites. Schools and districts can start applying today for the BIIG 2.0 grants through the K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN). Eligible applicants will be prioritized based on their external connectivity. For example, first priority will be given to school sites that would be unable to administer the states 2016 computer-based California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) assessment. Second, will be school sites with limited options to administer the CAASPP.
via $50 Million Available in Broadband Grants – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
By Steve Guertin
Benicia High School is getting a makeover, with its biggest changes expected to be completed in the next couple of years.
The school was repainted over the summer in the school colors of blue and gold with some tan mixed in. The football field was watered over the summer and looks greener than last year, and the softball field recently had two new sets of bleachers installed, one behind home plate and another down the third-base line.
“It looks really nice and they probably seat about 100 people,” Benicia High Athletic Director Craig Holden said of the bleachers.
via Benicia High facilities getting a facelift.
By Irma Widjojo
The newest principal at Benicia Middle School said though education is not his first career, it’s his passion.
When the middle schoolers begin their school year Wednesday, Stephen Brady said he’s ready to greet and get to know them.
“Visibility is important,” said the Concord man, who’s married with three children.
Brady arrived at Benicia Middle with an array of experience, including many years in the hospitality industry and later getting his credential in education and a Master’s degree at the Principal Leadership Institute, University of California, Berkeley.
After receiving the graduate degree, Brady was named the program manager for the 10 court/community Schools for the San Mateo Office of Education. Most recently, he was the principal of Ygnacio Valley High School at the Mount Diablo Unified School District for the past two years.
via New Benicia Middle principal looks to foster positivity.
Two years ago, the federal government took an enormous step toward providing the first national data on chronic absenteeism. The Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) asked the school districts it surveys to report how many students are missing 15 or more days in a school year. The data will be released for the first time next spring, providing a font of information about the who, what and where of chronic absence. We can’t wait to dig into it.
But we want more. OCR is asking for input by Monday, Aug. 3, on its Civil Rights Data Collection program, and Attendance Works is submitting these comments. We encourage you to submit comments as well on this link. Feel free to lift any or all of the comments we’ve developed.
Chiefly we want OCR to change its definition of chronic absence from missing 15 days to missing 10 percent of the school year. There are several reasons.
via Change the Way the Feds Collect Attendance Data – Attendance Works Attendance Works.
Why do teenagers miss so much school? And what can we do to get them to come back to class?
Get Schooled, a nonprofit that connects to thousands of students across the country, decided to find out. In late July, the group conducted an e-mail survey of 15,000 students active on the Get Schooled website. More than 1,300 students from 46 states responded, a mix of age groups and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Only a quarter of the students reported missing more than five days in the year.
The reasons they gave for missing school were enlightening:
- I wasn’t feeling well: 79%
- I had obligations with my family: 40%
- I didn’t feel like it: 21%
- I didn’t do my homework/study for a test: 17
- I didn’t have a ride: 10%
via Why Do Teens Miss School? – Attendance Works Attendance Works.
By Fermin Leal
Graduating more college-ready students ranks as one of most important education initiatives in California, leading Los Angeles Unified School District to implement a sweeping plan requiring all students to complete a college-prep curriculum before they earn a diploma.
In 2005 the nation’s second-largest district joined a growing number in the state that began aligning their graduation requirements with the A-G sequence, the minimum standards needed for admission into the University of California and California State University systems and other four-year colleges and universities.
But like many of the other districts, Los Angeles Unified struggled to implement the new requirement. Officials said they miscalculated the large number of students who would have trouble with the college-prep coursework. The loss in state funding caused by the recession hampered other districts’ efforts to add intervention programs, making them reluctant to punish students who could not meet the tougher targets.
via Raising graduation bar poses challenges for school districts | EdSource.
By Evie Blad
School food workers say they need more training and resources to keep up with changes made in the wake of new nutrition standards created under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
In a recent survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 58 percent of 3,372 total respondents said cooks and front-line servers needed training on basic cooking skills, and 68 percent said nutrition directors needed training in developing or modifying menus to meet the new standards.
“To run successful programs and meet updated nutrition standards, most school districts expected to make at least one change in their production approach, like cooking more meals from scratch or implementing recipe changes to ensure appropriate and consistent nutrient content,” the report says.
The nationally representative survey was administered during the 2012-13 school year. Thats before the U.S. Department of Agriculture set training and professional development standards for school food workers. Those standards set minimum training and education levels for food personnel that vary by district size.
via School Food Workers Need More Training, Resources, Survey Finds – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.
By Jane Meredith Adams
If you’ve got some time on your hands and a yearning for school district data, check out a new tool announced Monday by the California Department of Education that tracks how well districts and schools have done from 2012 to 2014 in three state priority areas: student achievement, student engagement and school climate.
While many educators broadly define achievement, engagement and school climate, the terms in the “State Priorities Snapshot” tool refer to selected data measurements used by districts.
Achievement is measured by five factors: progress for English learners; the number of students who complete the “a-g” course requirements for entrance to the University of California or the California State University; the number of students who score at least a 3 (out of a maximum of 5) on an Advanced Placement test; scores on college readiness assessments; and the number of students who have completed at least one career technical education pathway course.
via New snapshots of school district achievement, drop-outs and discipline | EdSource.
By Jessica Rogness
The spouses of Vacaville police officers raised nearly $1,300 to fill 34 backpacks for Vacaville children in need this week.
The effort was the first fundraising event for the Vacaville Law Enforcement Wives Organization.
Members of the organization set up a table the past two weekends to collect school supplies and cash donations in exchange for free movie passes. A large portion of those donations were given by families of Vacaville police officers and firefighters.
They were able to stock 34 backpacks for children who need them.
“Everything you can possibly imagine,” Bruce Simpson said of the supplies inside the packs. “If there’s a school supply, it’s in there.”
via The Reporter