By Alam Fram, Andrew Taylor and Zeke Miller, Associate Press
President Donald Trump signed a bill reopening the government late Monday, ending a 69-hour display of partisan dysfunction after Democrats reluctantly voted to temporarily pay for resumed operations. They relented in return for Republican assurances that the Senate will soon take up the plight of young immigrant “dreamers” and other contentious issues.
The vote set the stage for hundreds of thousands of federal workers to return on Tuesday, cutting short what could have become a messy and costly impasse. The House approved the measure shortly thereafter, and President Donald Trump later signed it behind closed doors at the White House.
But by relenting, the Democrats prompted a backlash from immigration activists and liberal base supporters who wanted them to fight longer and harder for legislation to protect from deportation the 700,000 or so younger immigrants who were brought to the country as children and now are here illegally.
Source: Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent
By Richard Bammer
Famed Catholic nun Mother Teresa once said, “Peace begins with a smile” and “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”
For most of us, such thoughts may inspire kindness, the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.
From California to Washington, D.C., word is, it’s time to get kind, to help create a culture of kindness, the purpose of the 2018 Great Kindness Challenge, the positive and proactive anti-bullying initiative that all of us — but especially educators — can use to create a culture of kindness.
To that end, the Solano County Office of Education will join the nationwide challenge, which continues to Friday.
Source: In a fractious era, it’s time to get kind
By Ryan McCarthy
State spending on public schools doesn’t match California’s wealth, ambitions, demographics or demands of a 21st century education, says a resolution that goes before Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees Thursday.
“Despite its vast wealth, California has consistently underfunded public education while widening its scope, adding new requirements and raising standards without providing appropriate resources to prepare all students for college, career and civil life,” according to the resolution.
Kris Corey, superintendent of the Fairfield-Suisun School District, said in a report to trustees that “California has the world’s sixth-largest economy and the highest gross domestic product of any state.”
Source: School board group says up to $40B more needed annually for quality education
By Anya Kamenetz
An online charter school is closing midyear
One of the largest online charter schools in the country closed this week amid a financial and legal dispute with the state of Ohio. Parents, many of whom have children with special needs, are scrambling to find new placements, according to news reports. The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow had earlier been asked to return $60 million in what the state says are overpayments due to disputes over enrollment. The school has claimed up to 15,000 students. However, the state says it’s more like 9,000 who log in regularly.
Source: DeVos: ‘Common Core Is Dead’; A Large Online Charter School Is Shut Down : NPR Ed : NPR
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that he has appointed Lisa Constancio as Director of the Charter Schools Division. Her division oversees State Board of Education-approved charter schools throughout California and administers the Federal Public Charter Schools Grant Program.
Constancio most recently served as a consultant with the CDE’s School Facilities Planning and Transportation Services Division. During her 11 years there, she helped to design charter schools, review State Board of Education chartered schools facilities, and advised on state and federal capital funding opportunities.
“Lisa’s years of experience in program administration and her history of creating positive relationships with local education agencies, charter school advocacy groups, legislative staff, and other state agencies will be a great asset in providing leadership to her division,” Torlakson said. “Innovative charter schools help California’s children learn by including programs that offer everything from an emphasis on foreign languages to performing and fine arts.”
Source: New Charter Schools Division Director Announced – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By John Glidden
A polling consultant informed the Vallejo school board on Wednesday that the district is in a unique position after survey results revealed residents support a possible school bond but they don’t trust the district.
At least 61 percent of the 601 interviewed by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) said they would support a Vallejo City Unified School District bond.
However, just 29 percent of the same people surveyed said they have a favorable view of the district while a majority of the participants, 57 percent, said they have an unfavorable view of the VCUSD.
This is the third survey conducted since June 2013 to ascertain the public’s views on a possible school bond.
Prior to Wednesday’s results, the last bond survey held in January 2016 concluded confidence in the district was around 37 percent with about 40 percent of those surveyed viewing the district unfavorably.
Source: Vallejo school board receives bond survey results
By John Glidden
The Vallejo school board will get its first look on Wednesday at proposed reductions which will slash about $8.9 million from the district’s 2018-19 budget.
Numerous staffing cuts, including teachers, site safety supervisors, and administrators are part of the reductions.
Taking the biggest administrative hit is the district’s Partnerships & Community Engagement Division. Cuts include elimination of the division’s top two positions.
Alana Shackelford has served as chief partnerships and community engagement officer since being promoted to the position in the summer of 2015 by former Superintendent Ramona Bishop.
Last week, the school board approved moving Kathleen Gossett to principal of Johnston Cooper Elementary School. Gossett was tapped to be director of partnership & community engagement after Shackelford’s promotion three years ago.
Source: Vallejo school board to review budget reductions
By Richard Bammer
Leaders at the Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE) Program, at Hemlock Elementary in Vacaville, are accepting enrollment forms for the 2018-19 academic year.
The program’s philosophy of education “honors and supports each individual’s unique development,” Jennifer Leonard, public information officer for Vacaville Unified, wrote in a press release.
Enrollment forms may be picked up at the school office, 400 Hemlock St., during regular school hours — or completed over the telephone (453-6245) — through Feb. 16.
An informational meeting will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6; classroom observations will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. Feb. 8; parent-led activity observation will be from 9:30 to 10:20 a.m. Feb. 16.
Lottery ticket pick up are scheduled as follows: 10:20 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 16; and 9 to 10 a.m. Feb. 26. The lottery will be held at 9 a.m. Feb. 27.
Source: ACE, a Vacaville Unified School District program, is accepting enrollment forms
By Susan Hiland
For those looking for a new job in education or to become a first-time teacher the opportunity to put their best foot forward came Saturday with the annual Fairfield-Suisun School District Winter Career Fair.
The school district has 55 job openings for teachers that need to be filled. There are also jobs available in maintenance, transportation, the adult school and with partners Touro University, according to Cheryl Jones, the district’s assistant director of human resources.
The district has a huge need for math and science teachers who have certification or are working toward the end of their academics and getting ready to go out into the workforce.
Jones has worked out a plan for hiring for the school year, which will include multiple fairs through May.
Source: Teachers find new work at career fair
By Richard Bammer
If you are a college-bound high school senior with pretty good grades, you may want to apply for a sizable scholarship offered by Travis Credit Union.
Managers at the Vacaville-based firm announced Wednesday that it will award 20 $2,000 scholarships in the coming months, and they encourage all graduating seniors to apply.
Each applicant must be a high school senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, bound for a two– or four–year college or university, and be a member of the credit union in good standing.
Students who live in the company’s 12-county service region and are not yet members may join and apply for a scholarship at the same time, Sherry Cordonnier, director of corporate relations, noted in a press release.
Source: Travis Credit Union offers scholarships for college-bound seniors
By John Glidden
At least 38 positions are being considered for possible elimination as the Vallejo City Unified School District faces an anticipated $8 million shortfall for the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year.
VCUSD’s new Chief Business Officer Hitesh Haria presented the news to the Vallejo school board during its meeting Wednesday night.
Twenty-seven of the positions would come from various school sites, with the balance from the district’s central office, Haria added.
A full list of which positions the district is recommending to be cut will come before the school board Jan. 24. The week after that, the board is expected to make official positions cuts, Haria said.
In addition, preliminary cuts are being eyed for student nutrition services, child development and special education, he informed the board.
Source: Vallejo school district looking at eliminating 38 positions
By Vernon M. Billy and Ryan J. Smith
California has always been a state of dreamers and idealists. That’s part of our legacy and a reason for our success. Yet, as our state’s long trail of innovators have shown us, success takes more than ideas — it also requires careful implementation. California’s school funding model is based on a powerful idea: improve outcomes by directing more resources to high-need students and use a multiple-measure accountability system that supports local decision-making. Unfortunately, the reality of the system doesn’t match the vision.
This week, the State Board of Education will hear feedback about the California School Dashboard — an online tool that shows how schools and districts are performing. The state says it’s “the next step in a series of major shifts in California K-12 schools, changes that have raised the bar for student learning, transformed testing and placed the focus on equity for all students.”
Source: State must improve the California School Dashboard, not move the goalposts | EdSource
On January 10, Governor Jerry Brown released a proposed 2018-19 budget that prioritizes building up reserves amid deep uncertainty about looming federal budget proposals, the impacts of the recently enacted federal tax bill, and future economic conditions. The Governor forecasts revenues that are $4.2 billion higher (over a three-year “budget window” from 2016-17 to 2018-19) than previously projected in the 2017-18 budget enacted last June, driven largely by continued economic growth. The Governor’s budget assumes no changes to current federal policies and funding levels and is not yet able to account for the potential impacts of the Republican tax bill passed in late December.
The Governor’s proposed budget reflects some notable advances, such as providing funding to fully implement the Local Control Funding Formula for K-12 education (designed to direct additional resources to disadvantaged students), continuing to invest in early education and higher education, and creating a home visiting pilot program that would offer a range of supports for families participating in welfare-to-work (CalWORKs). In addition, the proposal maintains resources to address the impact of federal actions targeting the state’s immigrant residents. Yet, the Governor also places a heavy emphasis on building California’s reserves. He proposes making a one-time supplemental deposit of $3.5 billion to the state’s rainy day fund, in addition to the $1.5 billion required by Proposition 2 (2014). This proposed $5.0 billion deposit would raise the rainy day fund balance to the Prop. 2 maximum of 10 percent of General Fund tax revenues.
Source: First Look: Budget Proposal Prioritizes Saving for a Rainy Day Amid Federal and Economic Uncertainties – California Budget & Policy Center
I am pleased to invite each County Office of Education (COE) to participate in the 2018 Classified School Employees of the Year (CSEY) Program. Presented by California Casualty, the Classified School Employees Association, and the California Department of Education (CDE), the CSEY Program highlights the contributions of classified school employees who support the education of California’s public school students in preschool through grade twelve.
The program’s goals are to identify six exemplary classified school employees throughout California for the CSEY award. The 2018 CSEY Program will identify and honor classified employees working in the following categories: Child Nutrition; Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities; Office and Technical; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; Support Services and Security; and Transportation.
Source: Classified School Employees of the Year Program – Letters (CA Dept of Education)
By Daily Republic Staff
Travis Credit Union will award 20 $2,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors.
Each applicant must be a high school senior with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0, will be attending a two– or four–year college or university and is a member in good standing of Travis Credit Union.
Students who live in Travis Credit Union’s 12-county service region and are not yet members may join the credit union and apply for a scholarship at the same time.
“In the last 14 years, we have received a tremendous response from young members who have exhibited a commitment to academic excellence and community service. We look forward to recognizing even more of our deserving young members this year,” said Barry Nelson, Travis Credit Union’s president and CEO, in a press release.
Source: Travis Credit Union scholarships await 20 graduating high school seniors
By Nick Sestanovich
Nine new or restructured Benicia High School course outlines are up for review at Thursday’s school board meeting.
“The course outline of record plays a critical educational role,” Dr. Leslie Beatson, assistant superintendent of educational services, wrote in the agenda. “It is the primary vehicle for course planning. When a course is revised or updated, it is the course outline that records the changes. As such, it forms the basis for a contract among the student, instructor, and institution identifying the expectations which will serve as the basis of the student’s grade and giving the fundamental required components of the course which the student is guaranteed to receive from the instructor and institution.”
The first course up for approval is advanced welding, a full-year course for sophomores through seniors which serves as the next step for students currently taking automotive, welding/fabrication or construction, all courses which were implemented this year.
Source: School board to vote on new, realigned BHS course outlines at Thursday’s meeting
By John Glidden
The Vallejo school district’s biennial tradition continues Wednesday as trustees review survey results regarding the community’s interest in supporting a school bond for the upcoming election.
This attempt to get a school bond measure approved by voters may be more difficult.
According to the survey — conducted between Nov. 30 through Dec. 9 last year — the public’s confidence in the district has eroded since 2016, according to results provided by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3).
Polled in January 2016, just 37 percent said they had a favorable opinion of the Vallejo City Unified School District. That number dropped to 29 percent, with 57 percent stating they did not have a favorable view of the district.
Source: Vallejo school board to review polling results
By John Glidden
Newly hired Vallejo school district Superintendent Adam Clark has made several moves to his administrative team.
Clark confirmed to the Times-Herald on Tuesday that most notably he removed the chief partnership & community engagement officer position from his executive cabinet and from the cabinet structure altogether.
Alana Shackelford was promoted to the position in the summer of 2015 by former Superintendent Ramona Bishop.
Clark said he removed high school oversight from Shackelford’s list of duties — a move which will free Shackelford up to continue working on the district’s collaboration with the community and local businesses.
Source: Clark makes changes to VCUSD administrative team
By John Glidden
The Vallejo school board is expected to name four additional members to the district’s Budget Advisory Committee on Wednesday.
Vallejo school district Superintendent Adam Clark is recommending the board appoint Ken Salas, Lynette Henley, Hazel Wilson, and Shawnee Blaylock.
The California School Employee Association and Vallejo Education Association will be represented by Salas and Henley, respectively.
Wilson is a former Vallejo City Unified School District Governing Board trustee and will represent the community while Blaylock is a parent/guardian member.
The four will join VCUSD Trustee Marianne Kearney-Brown, the district’s Chief Operations Officer Mitchell Romao, community members Allan Yeap and Ravi Shankar, Kimberly Mitchell-Lewis and Rosalind Hines of the Vallejo School Managers Association.
Source: Vallejo trustees to appoint more members to committee
By Reporter Staff
Solano County Office of Education leaders, in a partnership with Travis Air Force Base, are launching an event, believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, that will enlist the help of Solano County high school students to tackle real-world problems at Travis Air Force Base.
The Phoenix Spark Challenge — described as a strategy used by the military to solve problems shared by military operational experts, academia and government agencies — will take place May 18 at the sprawling base south of Vacaville.
The academic-minded event calls for students “to design, solve and innovate in resolving real-life problems facing Travis Air Force Base,” Gethsemane Moss, senior director of community engagement, wrote in a press release.
Source: County students, Travis AFB to team up for problem-solving exercise