By John Glidden
Almost a year after directing staff to prepare a Request for Proposal for new banking services, the Vallejo school board again asked staff to move forward with an RFP.
The item of banking services came up Wednesday during the board’s organizational meeting. Vallejo City Unified School District staff had requested the board approve Wells Fargo Bank as the designated bank for the district’s clearing account, student body and scholarship funds, and revolving account.
Interim Chief Business Officer Adrian Vargas said he found out about the original RFP while staff prepared the agenda item for the board.
He said the RFP went out last spring but an issue prevented it from coming to fruition. Reached by phone Thursday, board President Burky Worel said a personnel issue was the reason for the delay in following up with the RFP.
Source: Vallejo school board renews efforts to release RFP
By Daily Republic Staff
Four Solano County schools have received grants that range from $2,500 to $5,000 from a group that includes San Francisco Giants gold glove shortstop, Brandon Crawford.
“As a kid, my parents always emphasized the importance of an education – above and beyond participating in sports. As a Bay Area native, it is an honor to be part of a program that increases education and athletic programs for local kids,”
Crawford said in a statement announcing the grants.Crawford, along with Wells Fargo, awarded a total of $100,000 in grants to 31 Bay Area schools.
Source: 4 Solano schools hit home runs with grants
By Ryan McCarthy
The description for a new “mindful coach” position that includes preferred experience in “mindfulness, yoga or restorative practices” won approval Thursday from Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.
The 6-1 vote followed Monica Brown, a former teacher in the school district, telling trustees she shook her head when learning about the position and Trustee Joan Gaut, the lone vote against the measure, saying some parents view the mindful coach as teaching religion.
A Christian group asked why meditation of Eastern religions is allowed while praying by Western religions is prohibited, Gaut said.
Source: Trustees OK ‘mindful coach’ job title in Fairfield-Suisun district
By Daily Republic Staff
In the last competition before the holiday, the Buckingham RoboKnights VEX four teams will compete against other schools for VEX’s “In the Zone.”
The event will take place Saturday at the Vanden High School gym, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Fairfield.
“Each team will use their capable engineering skills to gain a higher score than their opponents by stacking cones on goals, scoring mobile goals in zones, having the highest stacks, and parking robots” VEX coordinator Sean O’Bra said.
Source: Buckingham VEX Robotics get in the zone on Saturday
By Anya Kamenetz and Cory Turner
The House and Senate are working to reconcile their versions of a tax plan, but one thing is certain: Big changes are ahead for the nation’s schools and colleges.
Let’s start with K-12. There, Republicans from both sides of Congress generally agree on two big changes.
Saving for private school
Taxpayers can currently save money for college through a 529 plan, where earnings grow tax-free. Many states also offer deductions for contributions. In the proposals, Republicans want to let taxpayers use 529s to pay for K-12 tuition at private and religious schools, too. Families can already do that with a different plan — Coverdell Education Savings Accounts — but these have low contribution limits and aren’t open to high-income Americans. The move to expand the 529 would dramatically increase who could use these plans and the money they could save.
Source: What A Tax Overhaul Could Mean For Students And Schools : NPR Ed : NPR
By Michael Kirst and Tom Torlakson
This week the state is launching an online report card that identifies district and school performance in an effort to better help all young Californians succeed.
While user-friendly design improvements are in the works, the fall 2017 California School Dashboard upgrades the state’s antiquated Academic Performance Index, which was based exclusively on standardized tests. To better identify students who are succeeding and those who need help, the Dashboard includes five additional measures: graduation and suspension rates, college and career readiness, English learner progress and chronic absenteeism. In turn, schools and districts can use this information to better refine their strategies to support and accelerate learning.
Source: California School Dashboard provides opportunity for schools “to turn data into action” | EdSource
By Ryan McCarthy
Expulsions in the Fairfield-Suisun School District have dropped from 185 in the 2010-11 school year to 31 last year, according to a report that goes before district trustees Thursday.
Crystal Middle School in Suisun City had six students expelled in school year 2016-17, the most among middle schools, with Grange reporting three expulsions and one at Green Valley.
Armjio High School listed seven expelled students, Fairfield totaled four and Rodriguez three last school year.
Armjio had the highest enrollment at 2,244, followed by Rodriguez with an enrollment of 1,730 and Fairfield with 1,414 students.
Source: Expulsions drop in Fairfield-Suisun School District
By Richard Bammer
Christmas carols have been with us since the earliest days of Christianity, with songs of praise at Christmastime going back to the fifth century, not long after the early Christian church created the holy day marking Christ’s birth. Many of the songs were written in the Middle Ages and told stories as minstrels carried them from town to town, the lyrics providing a narrative about the Nativity, among other things.
A pair of weekend choral concerts at Solano Community College may not delve into such detail, but the holiday spirit almost certainly will quicken somewhat when the Solano Choral Society and the Solano Community College Chamber Choir begin their musical programs, which organizers promise will be fun and festive.
Dubbed “A Fest of Carols and Lullabies,” music begins at 8 p.m. Saturday and will be repeated at 3 p.m. Sunday in the newly renovated SCC Theatre, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Fairfield.
Source: Choristers to liven the holidays at SCC
By Nick Sestanovich
One might associate fantasy fans and theater fans as being disparate groups of people, but they will come together for Benicia High School’s fall play “She Kills Monsters,” which opens tonight. However, the fantasy elements will be intertwined with the harsh realities of grieving and growing up.
Qui Nguyen’s comedic drama only debuted off-Broadway in 2011 but is quickly becoming a popular production for high schools. The story is set in the ‘90s and centers around Agnes Evans (played by Ellie Bettencourt), a young high school teacher reeling from the loss of her parents and teenage sister Tilly (Pilar Gonzales) in a car accident. Agnes learns that Tilly was an avid “Dungeons and Dragons” player after uncovering a notebook of game scenarios and soon becomes a part of that world— both literally and figuratively— while learning about the side of her sister that she never really knew.
Director Nathan Day said he chose the play due to its themes, which he felt audiences could relate to.
Source: Fantasy, reality become intertwined in Benicia High School fall production
By John Glidden
Trustees will be asked to approve a second amendment to the School Resource Officer (SRO) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the city of Vallejo during Wednesday’s Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education meeting.
Amendments to the original contract include: extension of the contract to 2022, addition of a third SRO, and revising the compensation scheme.
The district brought back the SRO program in late 2014, nearly seven years after the program was scrapped in 2008 due to budgetary issues.
Source: Trustees asked to revise SRO contract with Vallejo
By Ryan McCarthy
Trustees for the Fairfield-Suisun School District take up a description of a new “mindful coach” position that includes preferred experience in “mindfulness, yoga or restorative practices,” when they meet Thursday.
Mindful coaches are highly trained and assist with classroom instruction to decrease undesirable behaviors that impede student access to curriculum and increase self-regulation, according to the job description.
The job has been created to support positive behavior intervention strategies at school district sites, according to a staff report.
Source: ‘Mindful coach’ job goes before Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees
By Richard Bammer
As they will in Vacaville, Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will reorganize the governing board and elect new officers, hear the 2017-18 first interim budget report, and solicit ideas about program offerings and “facilities challenges” at Maine Prairie High, the district’s continuation school.
Guy Garcia, president of the five-member governing board, will give up his gavel. Trustees will elect a new president, vice president and clerk.
As chief business officer, Melissa Mercado will update the board on the 2017-18 first interim budget, one of two annual summaries of the 3,500-student district’s financial status.
Revenues are expected to be $33.1 million, expenditures $33.9 million, resulting in $800,000 in red ink. The estimated ending fund balance is nearly $2 million.
Mercado’s numbers come are California school districts face increasing employee pension costs in several future years and as teacher unions clamor for member pay hikes.
Source: Dixon school leaders will reorganize board, hear budget report
By Richard Bammer
Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will hear about the district’s financial status when hear about the first interim budget report for the 2017-18 academic year and, later in the governing board meeting, budget priorities.
Laneia Grindle, the district’s director of fiscal services, will tell the governing board that revenues are projected to be $214 million, with expenses expected to top nearly $230 million, resulting in $14 million in deficit spending and an ending fund balance of $4.6 million.
For the 2018-19 and 2019-20 years, expenses are projected to be $227 million and $234 million, respectively, relatively flat growth that will come as the districts faces increased costs for employee pensions for several future years and as the Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association clamors for increased wages.
Source: Budget report, priorities on Fairfield-Suisun school agenda
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will elect new governing board officers, hear and likely approve the school district’s first interim budget, and hear an update on the Local Control Accountability Plan.
Current board president Michael Kitzes will give up the gavel after one year of service and be recognized for his service for the past 12 months.
Besides naming a new president, trustees will elect a vice president, clerk, and, in a routine vote, once again approve Superintendent Jane Shamieh as secretary to the board.
After the board reorganization vote, an annual rite during December, trustees will recess to conduct organizational meetings for Vacaville Library governing board and the Vacaville Public Facilities Financing Corporation.
Jennifer Stahlheber, chief business officer for the 12,600-student district, will lead the discussion of the 2017-18 first interim budget report.
Source: Annual reorganization, first interim budget report, LCAP update on VUSD agenda
By Todd R. Hansen
Brooke Parker sees a lot of videos online, but she said many have negative messages or are about negative subjects.
So given a chance to make a video that was positive, the junior at Buckingham Charter High School and three of her schoolmates produced a video about the power of kindness.
“I just wanted to turn it into something positive because there are so many videos online today of people holding up signs when it’s negative, saying they are suicidal and everything, so we just wanted to turn it into something positive like ‘you got this,’ ‘you’re strong,’ you’re beautiful,’ ” Parker said.
Source: Supervisors recognize Vacaville student videographers for ‘Kindness’
By Daily Republic Staff
A variety of volunteer positions await adults who want to help at the North Bay Region Academic Decathlon Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 at Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road.
The Academic Decathlon is a competitive event modeled after the Olympics to stimulate academic achievement and honor “athletes of the mind.” The competition among high school students centers on art, music, literature, mathematics, economics, science and social science.
A list of volunteer jobs, and a volunteer form, can be found at NBRAD Application.
For more information, send an email to Ken Scarberry at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646-7601.
Source: Academic Decathlon organizers seek volunteers
By Leah Shafer
Did I study enough for this test? Won’t my friends do better than me? If I don’t get an A now, I won’t do well on the next exam, and then will I even get into a good college?
Anxious thoughts such as these aren’t always just passing worries. They’re becoming deeply rooted, widespread mantras for young people across America. Anxiety is the most common mental health challenge that young people face, and it’s the top reason why students seek mental health services at college today. In severe cases, anxiety is stopping teens from doing homework, reaching out to friends, and even leaving their homes, and leading to depressive and suicidal thoughts.
Many anxious teens have some sort of trigger: a school subject that doesn’t come naturally, the cliques they face at school, or — hovering throughout their high school experience — pressure to apply and get into college. It can be tempting for the counselors and therapists who work with these students to remove as many of these instigators as possible, allowing students to simply walk out of class when the content gets tough, or eat lunch away from the chaotic cafeteria. But those solutions don’t usually get to the root of the problem, and in fact they can make it worse.
Source: How Schools Can Help Students Manage and Mitigate Anxiety | MindShift | KQED News
By Alex Knapp
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) announced today that it has found a sponsor for its annual math modeling competition. Boston-based MathWorks, which creates software such as MATLAB and Simulink. The competition has been newly-named the MathWorks Math Modeling (M3) Challenge, and the three-day competition will begin on March 2 of next year.
The terms of the sponsorship haven’t been made public, but last summer, SIAM had stated it was looking for a commitment of at least 3 years for $1.2 million annually.
“We see this opportunity to support SIAM as another step in our efforts to motivate and inspire young students to consider and pursue STEM careers,” Lauren Tabolinsky, MathWorks’ academic program manager, said in a statement.
Source: MathWorks Is The New Sponsor Of High School Math Modeling Competition
By Louis Freedberg
California voters interested in the future of education in California will make a pivotal decision when they go to the polls twice next year to elect a successor to Gov. Jerry Brown, whose record four terms are drawing to a close.
The primary election will be held exactly six months from now (on June 5, 2018). The general election will be held on Nov. 6. The four leading Democratic candidates to replace him are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Assembly Speaker and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin and former State Controller and current State Treasurer John Chiang. Because of Democratic dominance in statewide elections, it is a virtual certainty that one of them will be elected governor.
In the latest PPIC poll of registered voters, conducted between Nov. 10 and Nov. 19, Newsom was still leading the field, although narrowly. He received 23 percent voter support, compared to 18 percent for Villaraigosa. Chiang got 9 percent support, and Eastin 6 percent. But large proportion of voters — 30 percent — are undecided. The two leading GOP candidates — businessman John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen — received 9 percent and 6 percent support respectively.
Source: Where they stand: leading Democratic candidates for California governor offer visions for education | EdSource
By Cory Turner
A new report from the nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office says many of the nation’s voucher programs — and the private schools that participate in them — aren’t giving parents the information they need to make an informed choice, especially parents of kids with disabilities.
Federal law says that students with disabilities are entitled to certain protections when they attend public school (more on those in a minute). If parents use a publicly funded voucher to enroll their child in a private school, they leave many of those protections behind. Some families do this knowingly, trading federal guarantees in a cash-strapped public school for the hope of something better on the private market.
Source: School Voucher Programs Should Be Clear About Disability Rights, GAO Report Says : NPR Ed : NPR