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Lisa Reyes, Human Resources, Solano County Office of Education

New School Fiscal Services Division Director Named – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Elizabeth Dearstyne as the new Director of the School Fiscal Services Division at the California Department of Education (CDE). The division apportions funds to local educational agencies (LEAs) and guides LEAs from the state level on fiscal solvency, audit resolution, and financial reports.

“Elizabeth brings with her a wealth of knowledge about the state’s school funding systems after almost 20 years in education finance,” said Thurmond. “Her leadership and management skills will help the state provide crucial support to our schools so that they can provide a high-quality education to all students.”

Dearstyne has spent the last 14 years at the CDE in the School Fiscal Services Division at different levels, most recently as the Associate Director since April 2019. She has provided her leadership, guidance, and support in a variety of K–12 education finance areas, such as the allocation of state and federal funding to LEAs, issues related to LEA fiscal solvency, and the impact of emergency school closures on instructional time and funding. Dearstyne also led the team that implemented the school funding formula changes in 2013 for the Local Control Funding Formula.

Source: New School Fiscal Services Division Director Named – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Bill would pay CSU tuition for those who earn associate degrees – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

Solano Community College students who earn an associate degree would get two years of tuition paid for at a California State University if legislation authored by Los Angeles Assemblyman Miguel Santiago becomes law.

“The cost of a bachelor’s degree is just too damn high. Our students deserve the chance to earn a degree without being burdened by overwhelming debt,” Santiago said in a statement after a press conference held this week to announce Assembly Bill 1862.

“Providing two years of tuition-free CSU means students will save tens of thousands of dollars while earning their bachelor’s degree. AB 1862 puts that dream within reach for California students and their families,” Santiago said in the statement.

Source: Bill would pay CSU tuition for those who earn associate degrees

TCU announces 2020 scholarship program for county’s high school seniors – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Given the high cost of living and going to college in California, $2,000 may not sound like much.

But certainly $2,000 toward college expenses is nothing to sniff at as a Northern California high school senior.

So, seniors, consider completing an application for one of these Travis Credit Union scholarships — 20 are available.

Credit union officials encourage all qualified graduating seniors to apply. Each applicant must have a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), bound for a two– or four–year college or university and a be member of TCU in good standing.

Source: TCU announces 2020 scholarship program for county’s high school seniors – The Reporter

Teacher subs may get jobless benefits; court rules [San Francisco Chronicle]

Substitute teachers and other school employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits when they’re not called to work in a summer school session, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

In a case from San Francisco, the court unanimously rejected the city school district’s argument that summer school sessions can never be considered regular “academic terms” that are the basis for unemployment benefits for on-call employees who are not summoned to work.

A summer session is classified as a “regular” term, making out-of-work employees eligible for payments, if it resembles the normal fall-to-spring term in “enrollment, staffing, budget, instructional program, or other objective characteristics,” Justice Goodwin Liu said in the 7-0 ruling.

Source: Teacher subs may get jobless benefits when not called in summer, court rules [San Francisco Chronicle]

Benicia eyes moving to district elections for councilmembers – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Benicia may soon join other Solano County cities by making the switch from at-large elections to district-based races for its City Council.

During its meeting this Tuesday, the Benicia City Council will consider adopting a resolution of intention to start the process of changing the method of how its members are elected.

Multiple municipalities, local and statewide, have faced demand letters stating that the the at-large election method they use violates the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) because it “impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election.”

Source: Benicia eyes moving to district elections for councilmembers – Times-Herald

Benicia High launches girls competitive cyber security team – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

In the 1992 film, “Sneakers” Robert Redford’s Martin Bishop/Brice character is asked by a bank teller, “So, people hire you to break into their places… to make sure no one can break into their places?” Redford then replies, “It’s a living,” while the teller then retorts back, “Not a very good one.”

Nearly 30 years later it’s actually a very good living, and Benicia High teacher, Andreas Kaiser, as well as Career Tech Educator, Annette Fewins, want to make sure that more students get interested in the field. Especially women.

Benicia High School has launched a girls competitive cyber security team, Cyber Panther, and approximately 25 students have already joined. The Panthers class is taught by Kaiser and Fewins.

Source: Benicia High launches girls competitive cyber security team – Times-Herald

New Year’s resolution run set Saturday at Solano College – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The New Year’s Run/Walk Party for Solano County’s 6th Annual Resolution 5K and 1 Mile event will occur Saturday.

The run begins at 8 a.m. at Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road in rural Fairfield.

It will feature a flat, scenic course that takes participants through the campus and linear park trail at Solano Community College.

Source: New Year’s resolution run set Saturday at Solano College

21 Students Selected for 62nd Annual Solano County Honor Band – Daily Republic

By RHSEU Boosters

High School Musicians from all over Solano County came together on Sunday, January 12, 2020, at the Vacaville Performance Arts Theater to perform in the 62nd Annual Solano County High School Honor Band. Leading up to this event students were encouraged to send in audition pieces to be selected to play in this special ensemble. The total members came to 117 strong selected from ten high schools from across Solano County. RHSEU was honored with the placement of 21 students listed here below. The entire ensemble met less than a handful of times to practice the five pieces chosen for Sunday’s concert; Cyprus the Great – Karl King, Magnolia Star – Steve Danyew, Rest – Frank Ticheli, Shepherd’s Hey – Percy Grainger, and First Suite in E Flat – Gustav Holst. Led by Guest Conductor Dr. John Zarco, Director of Instrumental Ensembles and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the students put on a rousing performance for a full house of family and friends. We are so very proud of our Honor Band Members and of all the student musicians in our county. Well done, All!

Source: Good News: RHSEU: 21 Students Selected for 62nd Annual Solano County Honor Band

New-look SolTrans bus greets Solano College students – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

A SolTrans bus with pictures to promote student enrollment and the “Ride Free with your Student ID” fare greeted Solano Community College students and staff when they opened the spring semester Tuesday.

The unveiling happened near Building 1400 of Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, in rural Fairfield.

The SolTrans SolanoExpress has been given the new “wrap” as part of a partnership with SolTrans, the Solano Transportation Authority and the college.

Source: New-look SolTrans bus greets Solano College students

Vallejo school board asked to approve project labor agreement – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

A year after Vallejo voters overwhelmingly approved Measure S — a $194 million bond to repair local schools — the school board will be asked to approve a project labor agreement (PLA) with numerous trade organizations and unions.

The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m., Wednesday, inside the Governing Board Room, at 665 Walnut Avenue on Mare Island in Vallejo.

The PLA will apply to construction projects of $1.5 million or more in the school district using Measure S bond monies. PLAs are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements establishing terms and conditions of employment for certain projects.

Source: Vallejo school board asked to approve project labor agreement – Times-Herald

Deadline nears for wartime veterans to get high school diplomas – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The deadline for the Retroactive High School Diplomas for Local Veterans program is Jan. 31.

“Operation Recognition” provides the opportunity for U.S. veterans in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s who were unable to finish high school due to wartime circumstances to get their diplomas. Posthumous diplomas may also be granted.

The program also applies to Japanese-American citizens who were interned in relocation camps.

Source: Deadline nears for wartime veterans to get high school diplomas

New-look SolTrans bus to greet Solano College students – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

A SolTrans bus with pictures to promote student enrollment and the “Ride Free with your Student ID” fare will greet Solano Community College students and staff when they open the spring semester Tuesday.

The unveiling will take place at 9 a.m. near Building 1400 of Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, in rural Fairfield.

The SolTrans SolanoExpress has been given the new “wrap” as part of a partnership with SolTrans, the Solano Transportation Authority and the college.

Source: New-look SolTrans bus to greet Solano College students

Solano County To Give HS Diplomas To Veterans, Japanese-Americans | Benicia, CA Patch

By Maggie Fusek

The Solano County Office of Education is participating in “Operation Recognition,” a program that grants retroactive high school diplomas to U.S. Veterans and Japanese-American citizens who were unable to finish high school due to wartime circumstances. Posthumous diplomas may also be granted to family members of deceased veterans, SCOE administrators said Monday in a news release.

During the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, thousands of young men and women left high school to serve in the United States Armed Forces. During World War II many Japanese-American citizens were interned in relocation camps in various locations across the United States. After these wars, many of these individuals were not able to finish high school and receive high school diplomas. Veterans and Japanese-American citizens now have the opportunity to be granted diplomas as a gesture of gratitude for the sacrifices they made, according to SCOE.

Source: Solano County To Give HS Diplomas To Veterans, Japanese-Americans | Benicia, CA Patch

Thurmond Praises Governor Newsom’s 2020 Budget – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020–21.

“Over the last year, my team and I have been collaborating with educational partners, including teachers and administrators all over the state, through my 13 workgroups, to establish and validate the areas of focus and priority initiatives for the California Department of Education,” said Thurmond. “Today, we were pleased to hear that many of the budget announcements were aligned with the work we have been doing. Governor Newsom and his team have produced a budget that is comprehensive, aligns with our goals to ensure equitable education for all students, and allows us to focus on helping our most vulnerable students in underserved communities.”

The budget includes the largest K–12 education per pupil expenditure in history. It proposes increasing K–12 education by $3 billion, with an investment of approximately $900 million for teacher preparation and retention.

Source: Thurmond Praises Governor Newsom’s 2020 Budget – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

SCOE names top teacher, classified staff member – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Katherine Reyes, a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program teacher, and Mike Kohl, a maintenance custodian, have been named Teacher and Classified Employee of the Year, respectively, for the Solano County Office of Education.

“Both of our nominees exemplify the highest standards of excellence, integrity, passion and kindheartedness. They possess that contagious ‘SCOE spark,’ inspiring those around them to be exceptional for each other and the young people we serve. Simply put, Mike and Katherine make us all better, and Solano County Office of Education is fortunate to have them on our team,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.

Source: SCOE names top teacher, classified staff member

17-year-old boy with nonverbal autism blogs to reach others like him – Daily Republic

By Tribune Content Agency

A few years ago, Mitchell Robins wasn’t able to tell anyone precisely what he was thinking. He lost the ability to speak when he was 4 and relied primarily on a system of pictures and limited sign language to tell his parents and caregivers what he wanted to eat or when he felt sick or how he wanted to spend his time. Then his parents realized he could spell.

Now Mitchell, 17, communicates deliberately, pointing letter by letter to a board that displays the alphabet. Ask him a question and his expression will flit between deep concentration and a jovial grin as he slowly spells his answer. Mitchell, who has autism and is nonverbal, said using spelling-based communication has changed his life.

“It changed everything because I could get my wants and needs met,” he spelled during a recent interview at his home in Highland Park, Ill., curled up in a couch corner while one of his therapists held the board at his eye level. “I am very happy people are finally figuring out how to reach people like me because it is a human rights issue we need to solve.”

Source: 17-year-old boy with nonverbal autism blogs to reach others like him: ‘People need to stop underestimating us’

School district seeks a few good workers – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Victoria Rodgers, 22, came to the Fairfield-Suisun School District Recruitment Fair hoping to find her dream job.

The Fairfield native was shocked to sit down for the job interview Saturday with Cheryl Countee, who was formerly known as Cheryl Jones and the principal of K.I. Jones Elementary where Rodgers attended school for years.

“I looked at her and went, ‘Don’t I know you?’,” Rodgers said.

Source: School district seeks a few good workers

Students get free sports physicals for new season – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Adrian Avalos, 15, of Fairfield was only a little nervous the NorthBay Healthcare Sports Physical might have needles involved.

“I knew it was just a checkup, but I don’t like shots,” he said.

Avalos didn’t get any shots for his sports physical Saturday. The Fairfield High School sophomore did get his heart checked out, his lungs were clear and he had never had a trauma that would interfere with him going out for track this year.

Source: Students get free sports physicals for new season

Vallejo committee recommending Lincoln and Beverly Hills schools be closed – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Pleas from local parents and students last month apparently didn’t sway a special Vallejo school district committee from recommending the closure of Beverly Hills and Lincoln elementary schools.

The Vallejo school board will receive a final report on Wednesday from the District Property Advisory Committee, which is recommending students from both schools be relocated, freeing up the property for sale or re-use as another district facility.

The board is expected to make a final decision on whether to implement the recommendations at a future meeting.

Source: Vallejo committee recommending Lincoln and Beverly Hills schools be closed – Times-Herald

SCOE names two as employees of the year – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The Solano County Office of Education has named an instructor who works with hearing-impaired students and a custodian as teacher and classified employees of the year, respectively.

Katherine Reyes, a deaf and hard-of-hearing program teacher for SCOE, was cited in the teacher category, and Mike Kohl, a SCOE custodian in the classified, or school-support, employee category, Jennifer Leonard, a spokeswoman for SCOE, which has offices in Fairfield.

An SCOE teacher since 2012, Reyes, who is deaf herself, teaches classes at Rodriguez High School in Fairfield.

Source: SCOE names two as employees of the year – The Reporter