By Shawna De La Rosa
Learning to utilize social media can be a daunting task fraught with the potential for flubs and even major missteps. But avoiding social media all together may be the biggest mistake of all.
Creating strong policies will encourage responsible behavior by students, staff and faculty. Setting the guidelines can begin by stressing the importance of personal responsibility and outlining the boundaries of communication between staff and students, as well as families, on social media. Kristin Magette’s “Embracing Social Media: A Practical Guide To Manage Risk And Leverage Opportunity” is a good resource when tackling this process.
Source: School, district social media policies must tackle pitfalls as well as opportunities | Education Dive
By Alyson Klein
The U.S. Department of Education Tuesday sought to clear up confusion about how school privacy laws should be interpreted in the context of school safety with the release of a new frequently-asked-questions document that puts previous guidance and technical help on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act all in one place.
The new, comprehensive document, School Resource Officers, School Law Enforcement Units, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), builds on conclusions from the Federal School Safety Commission, which found that school districts seeking to bolster their safety efforts were confused about when and how they could share student information without violating FERPA. President Donald Trump established the school safety commission in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., last February.
Source: School Safety and Student Privacy: Betsy DeVos Seeks to Clarify Law – Politics K-12 – Education Week
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 31 schools were newly designated as Model Continuation High Schools for 2019. These schools are recognized for their innovative approach to instruction and helping students who have faced many challenges—including behavior issues, chronic absenteeism, and truancy—get back on the pathway to learning.
“These schools have created exemplary programs and strategies that provide students with a second chance at academic success,” said Thurmond. “The commitment demonstrated by the teachers and administrative staff, combined with a culture of caring that focuses on the emotional and education needs of the unique populations they serve, are what make these continuation high schools the best examples of how to help kids strive and reach their full potential.”
Source: 2019 Model Continuation High Schools Announced – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Joel Rosenbaum
Fairfield High School drama teacher, Elizabeth Choy, thought it would be interesting and cool to learn how to make puppets.
Using videos on YouTube and modeling her creations from images on social media, she created her first two puppets. Naming them after herself and her husband, she brought them into her classroom.
While she was building her first puppet in class five years ago, Choy noticed that one of her students who was autistic picked up one of the puppets and began to open and close the mouth and play with them.
Source: Fairfield High drama teacher uses handmade puppets in her classroom – The Reporter
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
The specific $7.2 million in budget cuts recommended by Superintendent Adam Clark last week are expected to be approved at the Vallejo City Unified School District meeting on Wednesday, despite impassioned appeals last week by many of those impacted.
The school district finds itself in financial trouble as a result of declining enrollment, including encroachment of charger schools, high chronic absentee rates, and rising contributions to employee health and benefits. The district is still repaying — at some $3 million per year — a $60 million state bailout loan from the last time it got into trouble.The district must maintain fiscal solvency to avoid being taken over the state again, by making appropriate revisions to the budget to eliminate structural deficits.
Source: Specific program, personnel cuts on Vallejo’s school board agenda – Times-Herald
By Katrina Schwartz
Nick Sigmon first encountered the idea of “grading for equity” when he attended a mandatory professional development training at San Leandro High School led by Joe Feldman, CEO of the Crescendo Education Group. As a fairly new high school physics teacher, Sigmon says he was open-minded to new ideas, but had thought carefully about his grading system and considered it fair already. Like many teachers, Sigmon had divided his class into different categories (tests, quizzes, classwork, homework, labs, notebook, etc.) and assigned each category a percentage. Then he broke each assignment down and assigned points. A student’s final grade was points earned divided by total points possible. He thought it was simple, neat and fair.
Looking back, however, Signmon said this kind of system made it seem like teachers were setting up rules to a game. “They say these are the rules and whatever the score works out to be that is your grade,” he said.
Source: How Teachers Are Changing Grading Practices With an Eye on Equity | MindShift | KQED News
I would like to invite each County Office of Education (COE) to participate in the 2019 Classified School Employees of the Year (CSEY) Program. Presented by the California Department of Education (CDE), the Classified School Employees Association, and California Casualty, 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 goals are to identify six exemplary classified school employees throughout California for the CSEY award. The 2019 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 Nick Sestanovich
The walls of the multipurpose room at Three Oaks Community Center were lined with balloons. Attendees arrived dressed in tuxedos, fedoras, red velvet dresses and high heels.
Photo booths were set up for them to take pictures with friends and hit songs by Taylor Swift, The Chainsmokers and DJ Khaled filled the room while people danced.
This could have been a scene from any high school prom. What made it unique was that the attendees were all individuals with special needs and their families, giving them their own night to remember.
Source: Special needs prom gives individuals a night to shine – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
Travis School District trustees will recognize the classified and certificated employees of the year when they meet Tuesday.
Connie Nichols, a Food Service worker at Vanden High School, was selected as the Classified School Employee of the Year, while Melanie Green, a teacher at Cambridge Elementary School, was selected as Certificated Employee of the Year.
They will represent the Travis district at the Solano County Educators of the Year Ceremony that’s scheduled March 30.
Source: Travis School District to recognize top employees, review policies
By Daily Republic Staff
Mare Island Technical Academy has received an invitation to apply for the California Distinguished School award, the Solano County Office of Education announced.
The secondary school earned the invitation “because they have made exceptional gains in implementing the academic content performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education for all students,” Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.
Schools that received the invitation have met a variety of criteria, involving multiple measures on their performance and progress on the state indicators on the California School Dashboard.
Source: Mare Island academy up for Distinguished School award
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
There were long faces on the dais as well as in the crowded gallery at Wednesday’s Vallejo City Unified School District meeting. There were even tears, as some of the people in positions recommended for budget-balancing cuts took to the podium to plead with officials to reconsider.
It was reiterated that the district faces a $22 million structural deficit, and that if a way is not found to staunch the financial bleeding, the district could wind up under state control again. The reasons this has happened again to the district, which is still repaying a $60 million bailout loan to the state of California, are several-fold.
For one thing, it’s been losing students at a precipitous rate — having gone from some 20,000 just 20 years ago, to less than 12,000 today, and dropping by hundreds each year. Some of that is a result of charter school encroachment, officials said. Also, the district has among the state’s worst chronic absenteeism rates, which costs it money as well.
Source: Proposed Vallejo school board cuts draw tears – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
Definition: having or showing great knowledge or learning.
Used in a sentence: Boy, those kids in Vacaville sure are erudite when it comes to spelling.
A student from Alamo Elementary School and another from Vaca Pena Middle School proved themselves as this year’s top wordsmiths in their respective levels of schooling. Nash Martinez and Alexis Abadiano were the big winners at Wednesday’s Grace B. Powell Citywide Spelling Bee.
Hosted by the Vacaville Rotary Club at Will C. Wood High School’s Catwalk Theater, the bee is named after a former Vacaville High School principal who was dedicated to the education of students.
Source: T-R-I-U-M-P-H-A-N-T: Alamo, Vaca Pena students win big at spelling bee – The Reporter
By The Washington Post
Patrick Cox, a junior at Quaker Valley High School in the Pittsburgh suburbs, has learning disabilities, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder – ADHD – or what he calls “not giving two licks.”
Like most special-education students in this country, he has an individualized education program, known as an IEP. It is supposed to help him overcome his disability. Such programs have mixed results, but Cox’s experience has been different because of the unusual character of his school.
Educators are often reluctant to put students like him into challenging college-level courses, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate. They legitimately fear that children with disabilities will gain nothing but stress and anxiety from the experience.
Source: School unlocks students’ potential by doing something radical: Listening to them
By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Seven 4-H’ers, covering such diverse topics from “how to make a chocoflan cake” to “how to reel in channel catfish,” won showmanship pins for their presentations at the Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day that took place Saturday at Sierra Vista Elementary School.
The annual event is an opportunity for 4-H’ers to show what they’ve learned in their projects and demonstrate their showmanship skills, according to Solano County 4-H Program representative Valerie Williams. Evaluators, all 4-H volunteers, scored the youths on their display, presentation, knowledge and interaction.
The showmanship winners included three from the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club in Vallejo, three from the Suisun Valley 4-H Club in the Fairfield-Suisun City area; and one from the Tremont 4-H Club in Dixon.
Source: Solano County 4-H members earn showmanship awards
By Vallejo Times Herald
A celebration of life to honor longtime Vallejo teacher Ricardo “Rick” Henley was attended by 300 colleagues, students, and friends on Saturday at Jesse Bethel High.
Gregory Allen Howard who wrote the movie, “Remember the Titans,” fondly remembered Henley as the enthusiastic water boy for the Vallejo High School for the 1969-70 football champions.Councilwoman Dr. Rozzana Verder-Aliga presented a City of Vallejo certificate of appreciation to Rick’s wife, Barbara, which read, “In recognition of your dedication to duty, unwavering integrity, and 37 outstanding years of service as a teacher at Vallejo Adult School, Solano Junior High School, and Jesse Bethel High School in the Vallejo City Unified School District.
Source: Jesse Bethel High honors longtime mentor Rick Henley – Times-Herald
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond praised the recent adoption of new California Arts standards by the State Board of Education, stating it is a critical step in enhancing creativity in students and preparing students for California’s “creative economy.” The last update to the state’s arts standards was in 2001.
“This was long overdue. Creativity and appreciation for the arts is important for all students to have a well-rounded education, exposing them to new ideas and perspectives. Arts education boosts school attendance, academic achievement, and college attendance rates; improves school climate; and promotes higher self-esteem and social-emotional development.” Thurmond said. “In addition, proficiency in the technology related to creative work is becoming an important skill for students as they progress into college and career.”
According to a 2018 report External link opens in new window or tab. by the Otis College of Art and Design, California’s creative economy generated $407.1 billion in economic output and 1.6 billion jobs, resulting in $141.5 billion in wages earned statewide. In the Los Angeles region alone, the creative economy generated $198 billion in economic output with $59.6 billion in wages earned.
Source: New K-12 California Arts Standards – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Matt Sieger
It turns out that 4-H isn’t just about animals. It’s also about chili.
More accurately, it’s a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provides experiences where young people learn by doing. Kids complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and citizenship.
At the annual Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day & Chili Cook Off, held Saturday at Sierra Vista K-8 School in Vacaville, 4-Hers, who range in age from five to 19, showed what they have learned and also competed in a chili contest.
Source: 4-H kids impress at annual Solano County Projects Skills Day – The Reporter
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
The first order of business during the public portion of the Vallejo City Unified School District’s meeting Wednesday will be the swearing in of new board member Christy Gardner. A first reading of the district’s new graduation requirement policy, and a first round of proposed budget cuts, including layoffs, is also planned.
Declining enrollment, high chronic absentee rates, rising health and benefit contributions, and charter school encroachment, has caused a significant budget shortfall. To maintain fiscal solvency and avoid the loss of local control, cuts must be made.
Superintendent Adam Clark has found some $7.2 million in cuts that come mostly through personnel and program revisions/reductions, designed to meet both the fiscal and program objectives.
Source: Budget cuts, new grad requirements are part of Vallejo school district meeting agenda – Times-Herald
By John Glidden
Preliminary projections indicate that the exodus of students from the Vallejo school district will result in 1,708 fewer pupils over the coming two years.
That’s about a $15 million hit in funding for the Vallejo City Unified School District.
The district’s board of education got a look at the sobering numbers during a special study session Wednesday night on the 2019-20 budget.
Source: Vallejo school board gets look at budget numbers – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
Today might be Groundhog Day, but it was Friday when agencies throughout Solano saw their shadows — or rather teens shadowing them.
As part of National Job Shadow Day, the Solano County Office of Education joined forces with the Solano County Workforce Development Board to partner with local agencies and businesses to give guided tours of their facilities to teens.
In Vacaville, a group of more than 20 students from both Vacaville and Will C. Wood high schools got a taste of what goes on daily at their local Police Department.
Source: Teens get glimpse at Police Department – The Reporter