State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today directed the California Department of Education to work with all schools and school districts forced to close as a result of massive wildfires in Sonoma and Napa counties so that they may qualify for relief from the loss of state Average Daily Attendance (ADA) student funding.
“Safety for students and school staff is a top priority of the California Department of Education. Any schools forced to close as a result of the fires may be able to recoup these important ADA funds,” Torlakson said. “My staff will help affected school administrators through the process of applying for waivers due to school closures. Schools should not suffer financially or in any other way for putting safety first in any kind of emergency.”
One out-of-control blaze in and around northern Santa Rosa called the Tubbs Fire had burned at least 20,000 acres by Monday morning. Numerous homes and business were destroyed, a mobile home park burned, and some wineries were enveloped in flames. Public schools closed Monday in several cities including Napa, Santa Rosa and Petaluma.
Source: Funding Relief for Schools Closed Due to Wildfires – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce
The cheering and excited shouts from the large group of eighth graders gathered in a circle around their PE teacher could be heard throughout an entire corridor of the Suisun City Salvation Army KROC Center.
It was the morning of Oct. 3 and the 3rd Annual Inspire: Dreams Start Now interactive career fair was in full swing. All 1,600 eighth graders in Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District were going to visit the career fair that day and at this particular moment, students from Green Valley Middle School were gathered at the booth of Travis Air Force Base’s operations division.
Source: Students get INSPIREd at annual career fair
By Richard Bammer
The executive director’s monthly report, the student performance index, the Kairos Innovative Scholars Program, and the likely approval of a capitalization policy are on the agenda tonight when the Kairos board of directors meet in Vacaville.
As part of his student performance report, Executive Director Jared Austin will offer data about the Elm Street campus’ demographics, language proficiency, special education, state and federal accountability measures, attendance, community service, school climate and student conduct.
Leslie Shelby, KISP coordinator, will present the yearly update on the independent and homeschool study program, which has about 50 out of 550 students enrolled.
Chief business officer, Anita Schwab will present the resolution for the capitalization policy, necessary to set a reasonable threshold for all types of school assets and to include the depreciation method used to make calculations about the useful life of those assets.
Source: Student performance, KISP on Kairos agenda tonight
By Richard Bammer
Travis Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, face a relatively light agenda except for item 13.1, a review and potential approval of a long-awaited Facilities Master Plan.
Begun two years ago, the plan sought to re-evaluate facility needs at each of 10 campuses in the 5,500-student Fairfield district, which also includes two Vacaville elementaries, Foxboro and Cambridge. According to agenda documents, district leaders want to create a document that is updated regularly, as needs, priorities and funding options evolve and change.
While district enrollment has largely remained stable for the past 15 years, projections indicate considerable growth at several schools in the coming years, decreases at several others.
Source: Long-awaited Facilities Master Plan on TUSD agenda
By Todd R. Hansen
A fire that raged through rural Napa County early Monday forced rural Solano County residents to flee their homes by Monday night.
Mandatory evacuations were put in place about 8 p.m. Monday for residents on Twin Sisters Road. Joyce Lane was under mandatory evacuation 30 minutes later as fires from Napa County closed in on the area.
The fire’s spread into Solano County caused the Fairfield-Suisun School District to announce Monday night that Suisun Valley K-8 School would remain closed Tuesday. The district cited the severity of the fire and its effect on rural roads near the school.
Source: Residents evacuate as Atlas Fire closes in on rural Solano homes
By Daily Republic Staff
A “Team Up Against Drugs” campaign, which involves more than 6,000 students in 2016, will take place Oct. 27, the city announced in a press release.
The city’s AWARE Coalition is asking students and businesses to put on their favorite sports gear in recognition of Red Ribbon Week.
AWARE will award each participating school in the Vacaville and Travis school districts with a certificate of participation and award trophies to one elementary school, one K-8 school, one middle school and one high school.
Source: Vacaville announces ‘Team Up Against Drugs’ campaign
By Nick Sestanovich
Benicia Unified School District outlined positive highlights and areas for improvement when data from the most recent Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) was presented at Thursday’s Governing Board meeting.
The SBAC was initiated in 2015 and replaced the previous California Standards Test following the state’s shift to Common Core practices. The statewide assessment is given to all students in grades 3 to 8 and 11 in the areas of math and English Language Arts (ELA). According to Dr. Leslie Beatson, BUSD’s assistant superintendent of educational services, the test is taken on a computer and quizzes students in a variety of formats, including multiple choice, short answer, constructed response and performance test. The test also utilizes a concept called universal design where accommodations such as enlarged text or Individualized Education Program arrangements for special education students can be built in.
Source: BUSD highlights successes, areas for improvement in state test results
By George Johnston
It was a somber morning Thursday at Benicia High School. A group of students gathered during the school’s new Access period to hear the story of a young woman whose life was taken by a drunken driver and take the pledge not to drink and drive.
The assembly began with an introduction by students involved with Friday Night Live, an organization which promotes life choices for young adults. The program has been a part of Benicia High for the past two years.
“We think that it is important for you to be informed about staying safe on the road” Kirsten Lambinico, an FNL student student leader said. “For you, it’s probably a no duh that you shouldn’t drive while you are drunk, but it still happens and that’s why we are talking about this.”
Source: Benicia High Schoolers take Casey’s pledge
By Richard Bammer
In her annual report to the governing board, Vacaville Unified Superintendent Jane Shamieh on Thursday offered a detailed, data-filled snapshot of the school district during the 2016-17 academic year, a mixed bag of good and, she appeared to concede, sometimes disappointing news.
Using a computer-aided slide presentation, Shamieh, standing at a lectern in the Educational Services Center, laid out the numbers, from enrollment and student demographics to the annual budget and CASSPP scores to the graduation rate and physical education programs to student intervention and support practices and changes in child nutrition, to name a few segments.
She also offered year-end data about the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, the document that outlines parameters for student achievement, closing the so-called “achievement gap,” and enhancing school climate, among other things. (The LCAP, a key component of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, guides virtually all spending for California’s 1,000 school districts, especially for programs affecting English learners, low-income students and foster youth.)
Source: Vacaville schools supe offers detailed look at district
By Kimberly K. Fu
The Vacaville Library Commission has a vacancy and is seeking applicants for the position.
The five-member commission serves as an advisory body to the Vacaville Unified School District Library District Board.
Commissioners must live within the boundaries of the Vacaville Unified School District.
This is a volunteer position.
The commission meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday every other month in the Vacaville Public Library-Cultural Center conference room. Applications, which are available at the Information Desks of the Cultural Center and Town Square library branches, must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Oct. 16.
Source: Applicants sought for Vacaville Library Commission post
By Daily Republic Staff
Middle and high school students in California public schools will receive education on how to spot the early warning signs of abusive relationships after the governor this week signed a bill authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier.
“Domestic violence invariably leads to tragedy: broken families, long periods of incarceration and far too often, homicide,” Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, said in a statement released Saturday by his office.
Source: New law designed to educate on signs of abusive relationships
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed into law a bill that goes further than any other legislation in the country toward creating a statewide sanctuary policy. SB 54, by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, limits local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities, except when the immigrant has been convicted of certain crimes.
SB 54 will end the practices of local police arrests for “civil immigrant warrants,” using immigration agents as interpreters, local police proactively providing personal information to ICE, and the “287g” deportation agreements. The new law also prohibits cruel, costly, and unconstitutional ICE “holds” in local jails. SB 54 will also help ensure that immigration raids do not take place in public hospitals, schools, health facilities, and courthouses.
Source: Gov. Brown Signs SB 54 into Law – New America Media
By Nick Sestanovich
Homecoming Week is coming. Once again, Benicia High School will maximize its spirit levels next week and welcome back former students with its annual rally, dance and football game.One Homecoming tradition will not be present this year, and that is float parade. However, school officials have replaced it with something just as appealing: a carnival.
Mary Wheat, Benicia High’s activities director, said a lot of factors inspired the decision to end the floats. One was the breezy length of the parades. The parades typically consisted of four floats designed by members of each of the classes.“The parade was always a fun activity, but it was always very short,” she said. “It ran approximately 15 minutes from beginning to end.”
Benicia High last held a float parade in 2015. Wheat said the school offered to do a parade last year without floats, but students did not think it would be worth it.Additionally, when the school could not find a warehouse to store the floats, students had to build them in the Multi-Purpose Room, which Wheat said was taking up space utilized by physical education classes and the school’s wrestling team.“People loved the floats, but not everyone realized the money and time that went into building them,” she said. “Although it was a tough decision, we felt it was best to end the tradition of building floats.”
Source: Benicia High initiates new carnival night for Homecoming Week
By Doug Ford
Last week I reviewed some important points made by Peter D. Salins in his book “The Smart Society: Strengthening America’s Greatest Resource, its People.” He identified the “Megagap,” between the performance levels of the mainstream of American students and the “disadvantaged American youngsters of all ethnic groups” as the biggest problem in American education
Salins argued that we have followed strategies for closing the Megagap that didn’t work for more than six decades. He pointed out that our inadequate graduation levels from high school and college are a direct result of lack of effort to enable disadvantaged students to overcome their cultural literacy deficit before they start first grade and in the early years of elementary school.
Then he shows several examples of what has been demonstrated to work: well-designed and supported preschool programs. “Although a growing volume of empirically solid research confirms the cultural deficit hypothesis, this finding has been largely ignored or rejected by the American educational establishment.”… “This has led to a nationwide profusion of ineffective or inefficient preschools, undermining the rationale and broad-based public support for significantly expanding the preschool enterprise.”
Source: Doug Ford: Understanding importance of preschool education
By The Washington Post
For months, officials in Republican-controlled Iowa had sought federal permission to revitalize their ailing health-insurance marketplace. Then President Donald Trump read about the request in a newspaper story and called the federal director weighing the application.
Trump’s message was clear, according to individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations: Tell Iowa no.
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president’s opposition even to changes sought by conservative states as part of a broader campaign by his administration to undermine the 2010 health-care law. In addition to trying to cut funding for the ACA, the Trump administration also is hampering state efforts to control premiums. In the case of Iowa, that involved a highly unusual intervention by the president himself.
Source: As ACA enrollment nears, administration keeps cutting federal support of the law
By Anya Kamenetz
Fred Rogers, the beloved children’s television host, used to tell a story about when he would see scary things in the news as a child. His mother would reassure him by saying: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Lately, there’s been a surfeit of scary news: Charlottesville, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and now Las Vegas.
And unfortunately, the stress of children’s daily lives doesn’t go away with all that’s happening in the world around us. The National Survey of Children’s Health consistently finds that nearly half of American children experience at least one adversity such as physical abuse or food insecurity, and 1 in 5 experience at least two.
Source: How Teachers And Schools Can Help When Bad Stuff Happens | MindShift | KQED News
By Louis Freedberg, John Fensterwald & Theresa Harrington
In evaluating school performance, registered voters in California say creating a safe and positive school environment is far more important than higher scores on standardized tests, according to a Berkeley IGS/EdSource poll.
Voters also express considerable concerns about bullying, school fights and other forms of intimidation or violence on school campuses, along with harassment that students experience through social media.
These are among the principal findings of the poll to be released Thursday at EdSource’s 40th anniversary symposium in Oakland.
The poll reveals strong voter support for school districts to devote more funds and resources to address the needs of the state’s most vulnerable students, a central theme of this year’s symposium. In particular, voters feel strongly that schools should do more to support homeless children as well as those whose family members are threatened with deportation as a result of current heightened federal immigration enforcement policies.
Source: New poll: Safe and positive school environment more important than higher test scores | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
At Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, the test numbers arguably speak for themselves and they might say a new math curriculum introduced to fifth-graders last year helped to yield astounding scores on the 2017 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP.
Slightly more than 71 percent of fifth-graders at the Elm Street independent charter school, nearly 60 students, met or exceeded state standards on the statewide test given last spring. Of those, nearly 53 percent exceeded the standards in the third year of the assessment for students in grades three to eight and 11, measuring their understanding of mathematical rules and ideas, their ability to apply problem-solving skills, and their ability to express how they reached an answer. Of nearly 350 students tested schoolwide, Kairos’ math scores, with nearly 51 percent meeting or exceeding state standards, were among the highest in Solano County, well above state, county and surrounding-district averages.
Source: At Kairos, a promising numbers crunch