By Richard Bammer
Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders heard the first draft of the charter school’s suicide-prevention policy, which, in accordance with state law, must be adopted by July 1.
In a board of directors meeting Monday, Pat Broughton, the education services director, introduced the three-page policy and the accompanying two-page administrative regulation.
Such policies, under Assembly Bill 2246 enacted last yearare required by every California school district, and, as an independent TK-8 charter school, — a school largely governed by its own board of directors and the California Department of Education — Kairos is, essentially, its own school district.
Authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, the bill requires school districts to adopt formal suicide-prevention, intervention and follow-up plans for all middle and high school students, including provisions that specifically address the needs of “high-risk groups.”
Source: Kairos directors hear draft of suicide-prevention policy
By Michael Morris
Dixon High School has come together and embodied the mantra of a longtime Ram.
With just over a month remaining in his 31 years as a beloved teacher, coach and athletic director at Dixon High School, Tom Crumpacker showed up to school on April 25 and was feeling out of sorts.
After attempting to make it through the day despite his unsettling condition and suspected anemic state, Dixon High Principal Nick Girimonte rushed Crumpacker to the Kaiser Permanante emergency room in Vacaville where they met with doctors and his wife Patty.
Source: Dixon High rallies behind long time coach, teacher
By Richard Bammer
Several large construction contracts, some of them related to Measure J, and an update on Gov. Jerry Brown’s “May revise” state budget are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
The seven-member governing board is expected to approve a $131,000 contract, funded by Measure J, with All Commercial Fence, a Waterford-based firm in Stanislaus County, for a fencing project at Green Valley Middle School.
But trustees will reject a $317,000 bid, because it was the only one, to refurbish Armijo High lockers, and re-bid the project, also funded by Measure J, at an unspecified date.
Measure J was the $249 million school bond measure passed by voters in June 2016, to upgrade aging schools in the sprawling district, the largest in Solano County, with more than 21,000 students across more than two dozen campuses.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun school district agenda: Measure J contracts, 2017-18 budget update
By Richard Bammer
Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet tonight in a special meeting, are expected to approve the addition of one new member to the Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee, Tad Smith, a scientist.
During a regular meeting last week, trustees approved a list of five members to serve on the committee. They are Julie Mustard, an administrative coordinator; Gary Riddle, a retiree; Robert Strong, a computer network specialist; Andrea Kett, a business owner; and Jack Caldwell, a local manager.
When school bond measures pass in California, citizens oversight committees usually are formed to comply with the requirements of the bond and state law. Its members are appointed volunteers, often from various organizations, in accord with state law, Basically, oversight committees, independent of a school district’s governing board, try to make sure the bond money is being spent wisely on construction projects and is accounted for, by providing period updates to trustees.
Source: Dixon school leaders to add another member to Measure Q oversight committee
By Marcus Lomtong
There were 11 Vanden High student-athletes honored for signing a letter of intent inside the school’s small theater, Wednesday.
On the surface it was a normal signing ceremony with the athletes being honored for getting the opportunity to play at the next level, but this class wasn’t as normal as it may have seemed.
Being honored were Korie Corral, Aryel Moreland, Andrea Walker, Kaelee Campbell, Julie Blackshell-Fair, Clarissa Sanchez, Lauryn Zabat, Phoenix Shackelford, Hope Brandner, James Ballard Jr. and Kiera Connelly.
Source: Vanden celebrates 11 student-athletes signing letters of intent
By Mayrene Bates
There are so many sad and terrible things happening at home and around the world that it brings tears to one’s eyes from time to time, but it’s also the time of the year that I get the opportunity to attend wonderful events that honor the successes of our schools, parents and business community partners.
Throughout history there have been few events of significance that have occurred purely by accident, someone once said. And, this time of the year, educators, parents, students, volunteers and business partners come together at many sites around Solano County to honor and celebrate educator and student accomplishments.
I try to attend as many events as I can and even for the ones that I do attend, this space would not come anywhere near covering all of them. This is, indeed, a great thing that there are so many accomplishments to celebrate.
Source: End-of-year events honor Solano successes
By Mikhail Zinshteyn
Programs run by the U.S. Department of Education, which distributes funding for numerous programs to all states, would be cut by $9 billion under the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget for the fiscal year beginning in October.
California’s K-12 federal allocation would shrink from the 2016-17 level of approximately $4 billion to $3.64 billion in 2017-18.
Presidential budgets typically serve as wish lists, and it is far from clear what parts of the document released Tuesday will be enacted by Congress. But the document provides important insights into President Donald Trump’s education agenda, and where his priorities lie.
Source: California would lose $400 million in federal K-12 education funding under Trump budget | EdSource
By Nick Sestanovich
Parents, students and teachers packed the Benicia High School Performing Arts Building for an informational meeting Monday night about the new school board-approved graduation requirements where they voiced their concerns about their potential impact on art and elective courses.
At the March 16 school board meeting, the board held a discussion and first reading of the proposed new requirements to go into effect for the class of 2022, which Superintendent Charles Young said were modeled after the University of California and California State University requirements, although with some modifications. The required amount of units for graduation would remain at 220, but some of the units would be redistributed to additional requirements. The proposed changes were as follows:
* Health and the semesterlong elective that accompanied it would be replaced by a new yearlong course titled “Get Focused,” intended to help freshmen be successful by identifying their life and career goals early on and develop a pathway to prepare for that field, according to its description in the 2017-2018 course catalog.
Source: Benicia High School informational meeting draws concerns over new graduation requirements, funding for PAB
By Richard Bammer
Tom Torlakson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Tuesday urged Congress to reject President Trump’s federal education budget proposal, which includes cuts that he described as “deep” to teacher training, after school programs, mental health services, advanced coursework, among others.
“I give this budget an ‘F’ grade for failing public school students in California and across the nation,” Torlakson, who leads the country’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students, said in a press release. “We need to invest more in our public schools, not slash away at programs that help students succeed.”
A former East Bay high school science teacher and athletics coach, he noted that the proposed federal education budget heads in a completely different direction than the California approach to education funding.
Source: State school leader gives fed ed budget proposal a failing grade
By Kimberly K. Fu
Anthony Lopes and Maria Hernandez have long held dreams of a law enforcement career, but neither knew how to achieve it.
Until a new course at Solano Community College, in partnership with the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, popped up, offering academics and real-life training.
“I saw this as an opportunity to go on in the criminal justice system,” said Hernandez, 25.
Lopes, 20, agreed.
“When I heard about it I had to do it,” he said. “It sounded exciting.”
Source: Class offers criminal justice students real-life experience
By Anya Kamenetz
It’s graduation season. That means commencement addresses lead off our weekly education news roundup. Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced boos at Bethune-Cookman University. This week, President Trump received a warmer welcome when he addressed cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Far from a conventional graduation speech, Trump talked about his rough week in Washington and how he keeps going in spite of his critics.
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams,” he told the graduates.
Source: Trump Gives Commencement Address; Leaked Education Budget Has Big Cuts : NPR Ed : NPR
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Geraldine Lonsdale learned Monday that on top of her other accomplishments, she was selected valedictorian of her class, news she shared with Soroptimist International of Vallejo members and others gathered at that group’s annual scholarship awards luncheon.
With the last of Public Works Week visible out Zio Fraedo’s picture windows along the Vallejo waterfront, Lonsdale and five other female Vallejo students were each awarded $5,000 scholarships at Monday’s event — something the group’s been doing annually since 1939, members said.
“These lucky young ladies applied, interviewed and were chosen to receive our scholarships because of their academic rigor, dedication to community service and demonstrated financial need,” group member and Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan said. Lonsdale, a Jesse Bethel High School senior, plans to study psychology at UC Berkeley. Besides being in the National Honor Society and president of Biomed Academy Leadership, she volunteers with the local Humane Society and with Faith Food Fridays, and works as a server at Brookdale Senior Living.
Source: Six young Vallejo women win $5K scholarships from Soroptimists
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano Resource Conservation District announced Thursday that a group of students from Benicia High School completed the last in a series of projects to monitor the health of creeks throughout Solano County.
Nearly 300 high school students participated in the program throughout the year, including students from Fairfield, Vacaville, Dixon, Rio Vista, Vallejo, Jesse Bethel and Benicia high schools, as well as the Mare Island Technology Academy.
The creeks studied included Laurel and Union Avenue Creeks in Fairfield; Alamo and Ulatis Creeks in Vacaville; and Blue Rock Springs, Chabot, Rindler and Sulphur Springs Creeks in Vallejo. The general purpose is to monitor the water quality in different areas throughout the county to help local officials make informed policy decisions, the district stated.
Source: Students monitor health of Solano waterways
By Daily Republic Staff
Assemblyman Jim Frazier on Monday passed a special resolution declaring May 22 as Special Olympics Day, then presented proclamations recognizing two affiliated organizations.
“It’s beyond amazing that 96,000 Californians have the opportunity each year to participate in the sports they love while developing lifelong friendships and skills,” Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, said in a statement released by his office.
“When I was in high school, I helped a dear friend who had a disability of his own play a game on the football team and from that moment I knew how much it meant for him to feel included, and how great it was for the whole team. I see that same fulfillment in everyone involved with the Special Olympics,” Frazier said.
Source: Special Olympics front and center in Assembly
By Nick Sestanovich
For the past year, students in Annette Fewins’ iQuest class at Benicia High School have been interning at local businesses to gain skills in the fields of their choice. Last week, students began discussing what they learned as part of their finals.
This was the first year the iQuest course was introduced to Benicia High’s Career Technical Education department as a way for seniors to get hands-on experience outside the classroom. In the past year, students have interned at the Benicia Police Department, Benicia Fire Department, Solano County Friends of Animals, Flat Iron Civil Engineering, the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum and more.
Cheyenne Reeves detailed what she had learned from working in Dr. Barry Parish’s office at Benicia Family Dentistry, including how to suction, how to take notes, working in the sterile room and ask questions of patients. She also started a blog about her experiences for the class and shared it as part of the final. Reeves plans to go to Diablo Valley College in the fall to take general education courses and prerequisites to eventually apply to a hygienist program.Andrea Wilson delivered her final on her experiences as a social media intern at Coldwell Banker, which she did for a year.
Source: iQuest students reflect on life skills learned in senior internship
By Matthew Adkins
Gearheads and car enthusiasts of all ages trekked to Jesse Bethel High School Saturday for the second Cars on the Quad event.
Hosted by the school and organized by athletic booster clubs, the car show gave local car clubs a chance to strut their stuff while financially supporting the students.
While the show was mostly for fun, a number of trophies were also up for grabs this year, including Best in Show, Athlete’s Choice and Principal’s Award.
Source: Annual car show held at Jesse Bethel High School
By Kimberly K. Fu
They stomped and danced and threw beach balls in the air Friday morning all while clad for comfort and celebration.
Must have been the 25th annual prom for students with adapted physical education needs.
Bus after bus arrived from the Vacaville, Dixon and Fairfield-Suisun school districts, each carrying students of all ages who were ready to party.
The celebrants gathered in the Armijo High School gym, passing through entrances strewn with glittery silver stars.
Source: Students countywide enjoy special prom at Armijo
By Richard Bammer
Just how local education leaders on June 29 will vote on a proposed and newly named independent charter school is unknown, but a Sacramento-area charter school group director who has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified officials to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the district faced a spate of pointed questions Thursday night.
Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, a nonprofit charter company that operates four charter schools, made a 15-minute presentation during a packed governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center, touting the independent charter school’s standardized test results, suspension rate, education model and demographics.
But during a question-and-answer session with trustees, he at times appeared to stumble at providing quick answers from board members, especially Whit Whitman, and could not provide some sought-after financial information about Heritage Peak, the learning center at 354 Parker St. in downtown Vacaville. (If the petition is approved, it will be renamed as Pacific Valley Charter Academy.)
Source: New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting
By Ryan McCarthy
White string cheese and red grapes, a DJ playing “Gangnam Style” and photographers taking pictures – the 2017 prom Friday at the Armijo High School gym had it all.
More than 200 students from around Solano County came for the event with a quarter-century history. It is supported from the Associated Student Body of Armijo High and sponsored by employees of The Dutra Group dredging and marine construction company in the Bay Area.
The prom for adapted physical education and special education students got a new name a couple of years ago, said Lynne Lee, an adapted physical education instructor.
Source: Armijo High School draws students countywide for prom
By Susan Hiland
The artwork of Will C. Wood High’s Jasmin Tupy has been voted a top-five finalist for the National Vans Custom Culture Art Contest and the was only school in California to be selected.
The competition’s final event takes place in June when the five finalists will be awarded with an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to showcase their customized shoe design around the Vans’ “Off the Wall” themes to a panel of celebrity judges.
The grand prize for the winning school is $50,000 toward its art program and the potential of one of the designs sold in Vans retail locations. The four runner-up schools will receive $4,000 toward their art program.
Source: Good News: Vacaville student’s art picked as Top 5 in nation