By Daily Republic Staff
The Suisun Marsh attracts professional scientists from all over the world who come to study it.
Few people know that young, local scientists have been studying the marsh consistently for the past eight years thanks to a free opportunity offered by the Solano Resource Conservation District.
About 1,000 sixth- and seventh-graders will conduct soil, water and plant analysis during visits that began Monday and continue into early December. Testing happens during a visit to Rush Ranch Open Space, owned by Solano Land Trust.
Source: Solano students get hands-on experience studying Suisun Marsh
Exceptional leadership doesn’t require having a job title at the top of the organization. It isn’t about publicity, nor does it need to be widely seen to make a wide and powerful impact. Many times, those creating lasting change, ensuring the smooth day to day function of a district, and leading beyond limits are those in supporting roles.
One such leader is Laryn Bishop, Chief Assistant to the Superintendent at Solano County Office of Education.
Source: EdCal EdCal v48.7
By Iwunze Ugo and Laura Hill
School funding for both traditional public schools and charter schools underwent a major change in 2013, with the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Seeking to focus on high-need students—those who are economically disadvantaged, English Learners (EL), or foster youth1—and expand local authority and accountability over education spending, the new funding formula shifted away from the system of revenue limits and categorical programs, which had long been criticized as outdated and overly restrictive.2 The LCFF provides funding to school districts and charter schools through uniform base grants that are augmented by two levels of additional funding for high-need students: the supplemental grant, which provides added funding based on a district’s share of high-need students, and the concentration grant, which provides even more funding for districts in which more than 55 percent of students are identified as high need.
Before the LCFF, charter schools received less per pupil funding than traditional public school districts because some categorical funding was not available to them (Estrada 2012).3 Charter schools are now incorporated into a unified structure where they are treated much like school districts in terms of funding and accountability. There is, however, a provision in the LCFF that limits the amount of funding that some charters receive. While districts receive concentration grant funding if their share of high-need students is above 55 percent, the grant for a charter school is calculated based not on that school’s share of high-need students but on the share in the local district—if it is lower. This provision—which aims to discourage districts from trying to relieve pressure on their budgets by converting schools with many high-need students into charters, thus isolating them from less-disadvantaged students and communities (Fensterwald 2013, Cabral and Chu 2013)—lowers the amount of funding allocated to some charter schools. Charter schools serve more than 565,000 students4—many of whom are high need—and these somewhat arbitrary disparities have the potential to impact a substantial number of them.
Source: Charter Schools and the Local Control Funding Formula – Public Policy Institute of California
California is the first state in the nation to get enhanced school ratings from GreatSchools, an Oakland-based nonprofit.
The improved ratings now include course access, student progress and equity — which are intended to help parents choose schools, advocate to improve them and support their children’s education.
Those measures are in addition to test scores and other data that was previously included in school profiles on the group’s website.
“We believe schools must serve the needs of every child, in every community, and we know that parents play an enormous role in ensuring this happens,” said Matthew Nelson, president of GreatSchools. “We hope our new rating system and school profiles will further enable parents to be strong advocates for their children — and all children in their communities — to help all kids have a shot at success.”
Source: Expanded rating system helps California parents understand how schools are doing | EdSource
By Nick Sestanovich
The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District heard an update on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) at Thursday’s school board meeting.
The LCAP is a plan that is required by all public schools in California to receive funding provided through the Local Control Funding Formula, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013. BUSD’s LCAP has outlined three goals for the district:To create a collaborative team of highly engaged staff that supports the academic, emotional and social success of all students for college and career readiness.To modernize and improve infrastructure to provide a learning environment that offers opportunities for 21st-century teaching and learning.
To increase community and parental involvement through awareness and engagement.Assistant Superintendent Dr. Leslie Beatson and Educational Services Coordinator Stephanie Rice presented an update on the LCAP, which Beatson described as “a wrap-up from last year’s (strategic) plan.”
Source: Assistant supe provides update on LCAP goals to school board
By Richard Bammer
Markham Elementary, built in 1962, will undergo major upgrades starting in summer 2019, and Vacaville Unified elementary and secondary students will face new school start times next year, allowing middle and high schoolers to sleep in a bit longer.
As expected, with little comment, district leaders on Thursday unanimously approved the $35 million modernization project at the Markham Avenue campus and revised school start times for the 2018-19 academic year, major decisions long in coming.
Just before the formal Markham vote, governing board president Michael Kitzes, smiling, said, “This is really going to make a difference for students.”
By Daily Republic Staff
About 150 area high school students will pile into five buses and tour five union apprenticeship centers Friday – a tour designed to give the teens a first-hand look at possible construction careers as an alternative to going to college.
“This partnership is all about the kids and is a fantastic way to give our students the opportunity to learn by doing,” Lisette Estrella-Henderson, Solano County superintendent of schools, said in a statement announcing the tour.
“They’re able to put their hands on specialized tools and equipment as well as have individual conversations with the dedicated labor leaders who offer the training,” Estrella-Henderson said.
Source: High school students to tour ‘apprenticeship centers’ in Solano, Napa
By John Glidden
The Vallejo school board will spend up to $50,000 to prepare the district for a possible run at a school bond in 2018.
A cadre of parents, educators, and community members attended the school board meeting Wednesday night recommending the trustees support the move, which includes working with bond counsel and district financial analysts, and advertising a Request for Qualifications (RFP) for qualified bond polling/information services, and communications/strategy consultants.
In the 4-1 vote, with Trustee Marianne Kearney-Brown opposed, the board further authorized district staff to “develop and initiate a plan of action with regular board updates and authorizations” regarding updating the facilities master plan and an implementation plan. Staff will also determine the type and amount of any possible bond as well.
Source: Vallejo school board begins work on possible 2018 bond measure
The time to read is right meow.
The Solano County Library Foundation is encouraging children ages 6-12 to read with Solano Kids Read program starting Oct. 1.
For the month of October with Solano County Library, children can read for fun and earn great prizes along the way.
They can earn “meow money” for reading the books they choose and spend it on prizes at the library “store.”
Each activity in the Solano Kids Read passport is worth one “meow dollar.” Pick up a passport at any Solano County Library location and get started.
Source: Children encouraged to read for fun, prizes
As expected, the Vacaville Unified School District governing board OK’d the $35 million modernization project funding under Measure A and the new school start times for the 2018-19 academic year.
See online later today or Saturday’s print edition of Reporter for the full story.
Source: Markham project, new start times, ok’d by VUSD Board
By Tim Goree
The California Educational Research Association (recently announced three winners of its $2,500 Classroom Innovation Grant, and Suisun Valley K-8 School’s Edible Schoolyard project was one of those winners.
Jas Wright, principal of Suisun Valley K-8 School, and Stacy Burke, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s assistant director of Public Relations and Grant Writing, teamed up to write the grant.
Suisun Valley K-8 Edible Schoolyard serves to meet the needs of the Suisun Valley’s agriculture community. The Agri-Science program is an innovative approach to teaching the Next Generation Science Standards.
Source: Good News: Suisun Valley K-8 School wins innovation grant
By Daily Republic Staff
The Western Growers Foundation has grants up to $1,500 available to support school gardens.
Any public, charter or private school that has a school garden program or wants to start one, or any school district or nonprofit that supports school gardens, can apply for the grants.
Source: School garden grants available through Western Growers
By Daily Republic Staff
A Quality Counts Early Childhood Education Conference will start at 8 a.m. Saturday at Solano Community College.
“The Solano County Office of Education is proud to bring together nearly 200 professionals to collaborate with each other and learn from experts in the field of early childhood education, for this professional learning event,” Lisette Estrella-Henderson, superintendent of schools, said in a statement.
“We know teacher effectiveness matters and is one of the most important school-related factors influencing student achievement. When our teachers participate in quality training, our children receive the benefits,” Estrella-Henderson said in the statement.
Source: Early Childhood education forum set at Solano College
By Ryan McCarthy
A resolution supporting a diverse, educated population – including students in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – won support from Solano Community College trustees.
Trustees meeting Wednesday approved the resolution that also notes that the California Community College Chancellor’s Office condemned DACA’s end as “a heartless and senseless decision that goes against American ideals and basic human decency.”
“Solano Community College is committed to educating every member of our community through the provision of an educational environment that supports and protects students from any disruption that may impair their right to an education,” the resolution read in part.
Source: Solano College trustees support DACA, diverse student body
By Nick Sestanovich
The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District will be voting to reappoint two members of the Measure S Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) at tonight’s meeting.Per the general obligation bonds of Measure S which was approved by Benicia voters in 2014 to provide funding for facility improvements at Benicia schools, the district is required to have a CBOC with seven members who meet quarterly to go over bond expenditure reports. The seven members consist of one person representing a local business, one person representing a senior citizens’ organization, one person representing a taxpayers’ organization, a parent or guardian of a Benicia Unified student, a parent or guardian of a Benicia Unified student who also serves on a parent-teacher organization or school site council, and two at-large community members.
The term for each member is two years, and the terms of two— at-large member Ron Arrants and taxpayers’ organization representative Pat Lopes— are slated to end on Oct. 1. Per CBOC bylaws, members can not serve more than three consecutive terms and the school board has the ability to appoint members based on the recommendation of the superintendent.Superintendent Dr. Charles Young is recommending that the board reappoint Arrants and Lopes for two-year terms that run through Oct. 1, 2019. Both members had previously been re-appointed in 2015.
Source: School board to consider reappointment of 2 Bond Oversight Committee members tonight
By Daily Republic Staff
Emily Eddy, a 2013 Armijo High School graduate, recently traveled to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, to volunteer at a hospital.
Her effort, along her friend, Owen Christian-Schubert, went beyond volunteering. The pair established a GoFundMe page which resulted in donations for 28 hand sanitizers for the hospital. The original goal was for 14 units.
Eddy and Christian-Schubert are students at the University of California, Davis.
Source: Good News: Armijo grad makes difference in Zimbabwe
By Richard Bammer
An extension and some revisions to Superintendent Brian Dolan’s contract, an update on sixth-graders transitioning to middle school, and possible Proposition 51 funding for the Dixon High School Farm are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight.
The five-member governing board is expected to approve an extension to Dolan’s contract, which expires Sept. 30. Additionally, trustees will consider removing current contract language about Dolan also serving as human resources director.
Dolan will lead the update of sixth-graders who will be incorporated at the district’s middle school, C.A. Jacobs, during the 2018-19 academic year. Plans call for several key elements, including planning among affected principals, and discussions among teachers and parents.
Source: Superintendent contract, high school farm on Dixon school district agenda
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, are expected to approve $35 million in Measure A dollars to modernize Markham Elementary, will consider approving revised school start times for the 2018-19 year, and will hear a student suicide prevention update.
The Markham vote will come after a Sept. 12 special governing board meeting at the Markham Avenue campus, where trustees, based on their comments, appeared poised to approve the bond money to modernize and upgrade the school, built in 1962 and one of the district’s oldest.
The roll call vote will come after more than a year of discussion, including an August facilities planning workshop, of how to improve facilities at the aging campus and how much to spend doing it.
Over recent weeks and months, district administrators have urged trustees to make a decision, because time is running out to meet preferred deadlines — for design and landscaping plans, heeding city regulations, and approvals by the Office of the State Architect, for example — before a planned groundbreaking in summer 2019.
Source: Vacaville school district leaders expected to OK $35 million in Markham upgrades
By Tanner Higgin
Social media is an increasingly important part of students’ lives. According to a recent study by Common Sense Media, the average teen spends over an hour a day using social media, and only 3 percent of the time tweens and teens spend online is focused on creation vs. consumption. To be true digital citizens, our students need teachers who model pro-social, creative, and responsible social media use.
So why is only one in 10 teachers using social media professionally? Working in a school environment and dealing with issues ranging from Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliance to headline-making incidents can be a scary and confusing prospect. It’s no wonder many teachers avoid these questions entirely. In fact, 81 percent of teachers surveyed in the study above expressed concerns about the possible pitfalls that arise from mixing professional work with social media.
Source: Protecting Student Privacy on Social Media | Edutopia
By Andrew Ujifusa
Educators who thought Congress would leave schools alone and not pass a big health care overhaul any time soon might want to reconsider.
Senators are making one more push to end President Barack Obama’s signature health care law before Sept. 30. The legislation now getting the attention has Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as the lead co-authors. After Sept. 30, the Senate would in practice have to pass any repeal of Obamacare with 60 votes, which is all but impossible politically given that Republicans control only 52 seats in the chamber. So time is short for this latest GOP effort to send an Obamacare repeal bill, even though some are skeptical that it’s a “true” repeal of the ACA, to President Donald Trump.
Like previous recent efforts to overhaul health care and ditch Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation would significantly impact the $4 billion in Medicaid money schools receive annually. That dollar amount makes Medicaid the third-largest source of federal funding for K-12, and covers some special education costs as well as other services. School advcoates worked to defeat the last GOP attempt to repeal the ACA over the summer.
Source: Here’s What the Latest Push to Repeal Obamacare Could Mean for Schools – Politics K-12 – Education Week