Benicia High School Advanced Dance Show, “Slumber Party” set for three performances – Benicia Herald

By Galen Kusic

This year’s annual Benicia High School Advanced Dance Show, titled “Slumber Party,” is scheduled for three shows on May 30, 31 and June 1 at the Hayley Horn Auditorium on campus. This event is not only a great medium for students to showcase their dancing skills, but it also helps provide funding for the dance program.

“The dance program at BHS accepts donations year round, but participates in fundraising events twice a year in order to allow every student the opportunity to participate,” said BHS dance teacher Samantha Sanchez, who also directed this year’s show. “The program is made up of a beginning, intermediate and advanced class.”

Source: Benicia High School Advanced Dance Show, “Slumber Party” set for three performances

Solano special needs students dance the morning away at annual prom – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Over at Armijo High School’s gym, the bass was thumping and fists were pumping for Solano County’s annual prom Friday morning for students with special needs, which proved to be a good time for all.

With the theme being “An Evening in the Enchanted Garden,” the room was strewn with flowers and images of iconic Disney fairies. The feeling of a magic garden was captured as special needs students throughout the county got to dress in their finest outfits, play games and dance to their hearts’ content, all while getting to be themselves.

Lynne Lee, a teacher in Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s adapted physical education department, said the event started more than 25 years ago.

Source: Solano special needs students dance the morning away at annual prom – The Reporter

Solano schools honor Benicia teacher, Vacaville custodian – Daily Republic

By Bill Hicks

School districts throughout the county, by way of an event organized by the Solano County Office of Education, came together Tuesday to honor all teachers and support staff by recognizing some of the best in their positions.

Callison Elementary School’s DJ Stilwell, a custodian, was recognized with an educator of the year award, as was Benicia High School’s Matt O’Reilly, an arts and design teacher.

The Solano County Office of Education Educators of the Year Awards Ceremony, held at Suisun City’s Joseph A. Nelson Community Center, honored teachers of the year in each district, as well as support workers, which range from clerical, maintenance, student nutrition and similar roles.

Source: Solano schools honor Benicia teacher, Vacaville custodian

STEAM Discovery Festival on calendar at Benicia High – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The 2019 STEAM Discovery Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27 at Benicia High School, 1101 Military West.

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the event, previously Benicia Mini Maker Faire, which is a celebration of do-it-yourself spirit and hands-on making and learning.

It’s geared for anyone intrigued by the creativity and ingenuity of the surrounding region.

Proceeds support the event and Benicia Makerspace – a nonprofit organization that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Source: STEAM Discovery Festival on calendar at Benicia High

13th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony – Daily Republic

The 13th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday, May 6, 2019, from 3:30 to 5:00 PM at the Solano County Office of Education located at 5100 Business Center Drive in Fairfield.

CAC Awards are presented to educators, youth, and community members for outstanding service to students with special needs. Award recipients are from each school district within the Solano County Special Education Local Plan Area: Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Travis, and Vacaville Unified School Districts, as well as the Solano County Office of Education.

Source: 13th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony

Will science, engineering fair yield tomorrow’s scientists? – Times-Herald

By Richard Bammer

The numbers of careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, have taken a quantum jump.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2010 and 2020 employment in science and engineering will grow by nearly 19 percent, compared to 14 percent for all other occupations.

And, as widely reported in the media, this rapid growth has created a STEM worker shortage in the United States.To address this shortage, the Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) has joined widespread educator efforts to boost interest in STEM among students.

Source: Will science, engineering fair yield tomorrow’s scientists? – Times-Herald

Vanden, Caliber students top Solano Science Fair competitions – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Vanden High sophomore Mayah Gantt was the overall Senior Division winner and Ryan Menefee, a student at Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy in Vallejo, was the Junior Division winner at the recent Solano County Science and Engineering Fair.

Gantt was also first in the Earth Science category, while Menefee was first in the Physical Science category. There was a Life Science category as well.

First-place winners are eligible to enter the California State Science and Engineering Fair that takes place April 29-30 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Source: Vanden, Caliber students top Solano Science Fair competitions

Benicia Middle School Innovative Grants Fundraiser, “Shamrocks & Shenanigans” March 15

By Editor

The Benicia Middle School PTSA is working hard to expand outlets for students to learn and experience new avenues of education through the “Shamrocks & Shenanigans” event on March 15.

In true St. Patrick’s Day style, the “Shamrocks & Shenanigans” event will feature Irish-themed food, specialty-crafted brews and drinks (sponsored by Benicia Brüehol), live entertainment by Comedian Chelsea Bearce, dancing to the tunes of DJ Mike Deasy and a host of fun, interactive activities (including a live and silent auction) that are sure to bring out the luck of the Irish!

Source: Benicia Middle School Innovative Grants Fundraiser, “Shamrocks & Shenanigans” March 15

9 BMS students accepted to North Bay Honor Band – Benicia Herald

By Editor

Nine Benicia Middle School students were accepted to the 2019 North Bay Honor Band. Following a two-day rehearsal, the concert took place at Pioneer High School in Woodland, Calif. On Jan. 20.

“It’ll be nice to let the town know what a great music program we have. There are many talented students in Benicia,” said Benicia Middle School Music Boosters President Carol Ham. “Students were focused and well behaved during the two-day rehearsal. The performance was amazing!”

Source: 9 BMS students accepted to North Bay Honor Band

2,000 Solano County students become scientists through local environmental education programs – Benicia Herald

By Editor

This month the Solano Resource Conservation District (Solano RCD) continues engaging more than two-thousand Solano County youth in its Watershed Explorers, Biomonitoring, and School Water Education Programs. These programs will continue through May and include students from each of Solano County’s seven cities and school districts.

The Watershed Explorers program transforms third grade students into local watershed scientists learning the value of Solano County water and collecting critical ecological data on behalf of researchers across the United States. As part of a new program component initiated last fall, the participants become phenologists, or scientists that observe and record information about changes in nature across the different seasons. Around 800 students that participated in the fall are returning this winter or spring to compare their observations and 700 new students will be collecting data for the first time.

Source: 2,000 Solano County students become scientists through local environmental education programs

Benicia school gets $5K from Crawford-promoted program – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Mary Farmar Elementary School in Benicia has received a $5,000 grant to buy instruments and equipment for its music program.

The grant comes from the KNBR Step Up to the Plate for Education program, which is funded by Wells Fargo and promoted by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

“As a kid, my parents always emphasized the importance of an education – above and beyond participating in sports,” Crawford said in a statement announcing the grants. “As a Bay Area native, it is an honor to be part of a program that increases education and athletic programs for local kids.”

Source: Benicia school gets $5K from Crawford-promoted program

Unhealthy air quality closes schools countywide Friday – The Reporter

By Joel Rosenbaum

School districts from Vallejo to Dixon are closed Friday as air quality continues to be poor due to drifting smoke from the Camp Fire in Paradise.

The message from Vacaville Unified School District Superintendent Jane Shamieh, posted on the district website, read: “We have decided to close schools and the district office tomorrow due to another forecast of air quality in the “unhealthy” range. Please know that we do not take closing schools lightly, and we understand that this can have significant financial impact on our families. Under normal circumstances, we would remain open at AQI levels of 151-200, however we have concerns about the prolonged exposure to staff and students occurring this week.”

Similar messages were posted on the district pages of the Travis, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Kairos Public Schools and Vallejo school district websites.

Source: Unhealthy air quality closes schools countywide Friday – The Reporter

Fairfield, Benicia trade center tour focus on Solano, Napa high schoolers – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

More than 150 Solano and Napa high school students will tour trade training centers Friday, including two in Fairfield and one in Benicia.

The Carpenters 46 Northern and Sheetmetal Workers Local 104, both in Fairfield, and the Heat and Frost Insulators Local 16 in Benicia are stops on the tour.

“This partnership is based on a commitment to make graduating students aware of excellent career options in our area. The tour is a great experience for them, as they are able to use specialized tools and ask questions directly to labor leaders and trainers,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement released Thursday.

Source: Fairfield, Benicia trade center tour focus on Solano, Napa high schoolers

Five school board candidates speak at LWV forum – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

School safety, mental health and district budgeting were among the topics addressed by prospective school board trustees at Wednesday’s candidate’s forum at the Benicia Public Library.

As part of its efforts to ensure a more informed voting populace, Benicia’s League of Women Voters hosted a forum with the five candidates in the Dona Benicia Room. With board President Diane Ferrucci the only incumbent seeking re-election in 2018, this leaves four candidates vying to fill the seats being vacated by trustees Celeste Monnette and Peter Morgan: realtor Adrean Hayashi, Pittsburg middle school teacher Mark Maselli, Arts & Culture Commissioner Gethsemane Moss and retired school librarian Sheri Zada. Moderator and LWV member Jane Keene asked questions of the candidates crafted by the LWV and audience.

Source: Five school board candidates speak at LWV forum

Liberty High rolling out new internship program – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Liberty High School is in the process of implementing a new internship program for its students. New Principal Kimberly Lewis provided an update on the process at Thursday’s school board meeting.

Lewis’ presentation was introduced by Dr. Leslie Beatson, assistant superintendent of educational services, who said the district has been exploring new opportunities for students at Benicia’s alternative high school.

“A couple of years ago, we started thinking about, ‘How do we continue to provide amazing experiences for our students over at Liberty?’” Beatson said. “‘What is it that our students at Liberty really need from us, beyond getting across the stage at graduation?’”

Source: Liberty High rolling out new internship program

Benicia Teachers Association endorses candidates – Times-Herald

The Benicia Teachers Association has finalized its endorsements for Benicia City Council 2018, the Association announced.

The association has endorsed Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Largespada. Two of the five seats on the city council are open during the fall election. Kari Birdseye, and William Emes Jr. are also seeking election the council.

The Association finalized its endorsements for the Benicia Unified School District Board of Education. Those candidates are Adrean Hayashi, Mark Maselli, and Sheri Zada. Three of the five board seats are open. Incumbent Diane Ferrucci is seeking re-election, while challenger Gethsemane Moss is also seeking election to the board.

Source: Benicia Teachers Association endorses candidates – Times-Herald

BHS nabs 13 Arty nominees apiece for 2017-18 productions – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The Performing Arts Network (PAN-Arts) announced its nominees for the 34th annual Arty Awards, which honor theatrical productions at all levels in the counties of Solano, Napa and– for the first time this year– Yolo, this morning. Once again, Benicia High School and Benicia Old Town Theatre Group are well-represented among the nominees.

Benicia High School’s fall play, the fantasy/comedy/drama “She Kills Monsters,” racked up a total of 13 nominations, including outstanding high school production. Drama instructor Nathan Day received nods for directing, sound design and set design. Additionally, Brandon Nelson and Meghan Guertin received nods for lighting design, and Linda Wichelman received a nomination for costume design. In the acting categories, Eleanor Bettencourt and Pilar Gonzales are up for best lead actress, Kevin McLarty and Garrett Mingardi are in the running for best lead actor, Tate Reeves received a nod for best supporting actor, and Guertin and Skylear Clouse are competing for best supporting actress.

Source: BHS nabs 13 Arty nominees apiece for 2017-18 productions; BOTTG nets 5

School board approves tentative agreement with teachers union – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Following nearly a yearlong impasse over contract negotiations with the Benicia Teacher Association (BTA), the Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District voted to ratify a tentative agreement with a 2.5 percent salary increase at Thursday’s meeting.

Throughout the 2017-18 school year, the BTA and BUSD’s bargaining teams met for several negotiation sessions. In January, the district had proposed a one-time bonus of 1 percent off the salary schedule for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. BTA countered with a 5 percent increase for 2017-18 and a 4.25 percent increase for 2018-19 school year. After being unable to reach an agreement, BTA requested to file for impasse. Teachers, students and parents voiced their disapproval at board meetings, with some educators providing lists of free services they would no longer offer to students outside of their contract hours unless an agreement was reached.

Source: School board approves tentative agreement with teachers union

BUSD survey results presented to school board – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Results from the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) and Relationships Effort Aspirations Cognition and Heart (REACH) Survey were presented at Thursday’s school board meeting.

Dr. Carolyn Patton, Benicia Unified School District’s special services director, presented a quick overview of the two surveys’ results. The reports come out publicly in November, so Patton initiated a preliminary discussion with some highlights locally.

The CHKS is administered to seventh, ninth and 11th-graders every two years to capture behavioral data in the areas of substance abuse, school safety, social/emotional wellness and student/teacher relations.

Patton noted that mental and physical health indicators were stable with a small decrease in substance abuse among students surveyed. She said the district defined substance abuse as “binge drinking” and “binge usage of marijuana,” although she was not able to say if chronic use had decreased.

Source: BUSD survey results presented to school board

Benicia High sophomore raising funds for volunteer trip to Africa – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Olivia Andrade just started her sophomore year at Benicia High School, but she is already looking forward to the summer where she will be embarking on a volunteer trip to West Africa as part of Global Leadership Adventures (GLA).

GLA is an organization that offers study abroad programs for high schoolers to provide them service skills in such nations as Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Indonesia, South Africa and more. GLA has twice hosted events with Archbishop Demond Tutu in South Africa to discuss the lasting impact of apartheid, and in 2013 then-President Barack Obama recognized GLA founder Fred Swaniker in a speech.

Andrade’s family has resided in Benicia for generations. In fact, she is the great granddaughter of former longtime Benicia High teacher, administrator and coach George Drolette.

Source: Benicia High sophomore raising funds for volunteer trip to Africa