By Maggie Fusek
Thanks to millions of gamblers whose lucky numbers didn’t come up, California school districts, including the Benicia Unified School District, are finding a little extra money in their bank accounts. Distributions from the state lottery during the 2019 fiscal year ended in June were up almost 9 percent over the previous year, with $1.85 billion being paid to the state’s K-12 school districts, community colleges and other educational institutions.
A state lottery spokesperson told Patch the increase was in large part attributable to the $1.6-billion Mega Millions jackpot in October of last year, the largest jackpot for a numbers game in U.S. history. Four other Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots ranging from $530 million to $768 million also contributed to increased sales and ultimate school district payments.
Source: Benicia Unified Schools Cash In On Increased Lottery Sales | Benicia, CA Patch
By Todd R. Hansen
Matt O’Reilly admits it’s a little strange to be teaching at the same high school from which he graduated, but the 10-year educator at Benicia High also works to convince his students to choose teaching as their career choices.
O’Reilly was recognized Tuesday by Solano County supervisors as the 2019-20 Teacher of the Year, and said that he and other teachers could not do their jobs if it were not for school employees like Daryl “D.J.”
Stillwell doing theirs.Stillwell, a custodian with the Vacaville School District, was selected as the 2019-20 Classified Employee of the Year.
Source: Board of Supervisors recognizes Solano’s top 2019-20 educators
By Vallejo Times Herald
Thanks to the OneCard collaboration between Benicia Public Library and Benicia Unified School District, all students attending middle school and high school in Benicia can now use their student ID cards as library cards, the city announced Monday.
The move puts library cards into the hands of the nearly 3,000 students who attend these schools.
“This is a very important step forward for access to information resources for our entire community,” said David Dodd, the city of Benicia’s director of library and cultural services, in a city press release. “We’ve been working towards this for a couple of years, and it is so fantastic to see it become a reality!”
Source: Benicia students can use ID cards to check out books – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
Elected officials, school board trustees and superintendents from throughout Solano got an understanding Thursday of the current state and future of education at Solano County Office of Education’s annual State of Education Breakfast Forum.
State superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond was the guest speaker.
With the theme of “Full STEAM Ahead,” the breakfast was an opportunity to bring educators, business leaders and elected officials together for a discussion on educational opportunities and showcase what certain school districts are doing to prepare students for the workforce in the new decade, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Source: State schools superintendent discusses education at Solano breakfast – The Reporter
By Thomas Gase
Benicia High’s Friday Night Live film club is offering citizens a potential glimpse of a better, healthier future. Call it a teaser if you will.
The high school’s Friday Night Live club recently won an award for a public service announcement (PSA) on Tobacco Use Prevention. The club’s nearly-two minute video is already being featured as a preview before movies at the Brenden Theatre in Vacaville and is in the works to be shown in Vallejo theaters by the end of the year.
The clip, which was put together by current and recently graduated Benicia High students, features no dialogue, but the silhouette of a club actor, Josh Hathaway, smoking a cigarette that then produces smoke which forms certain words like cancer and lung disease. Meanwhile other actors’ silhouettes are seen coughing or falling while an ambient score rolls in the background.
Source: Benicia High’s Friday Night Live club wins award with PSA – Times-Herald
By Thomas Gase
Each year, Solano County employee ability specialist Nel Sweet Davis likes to give members of a pre-apprenticeship construction training program a memento before they start their five-week training course. Quite simply, the memento is just piece of a random lost jigsaw puzzle.
On Friday morning nine members of this program were able to start seeing the entire board.
A graduation ceremony was held by the Workforce Development Board of Solano County, the Northern California Laborers’ Training Center and Benicia Unified School district to honor participants who completed a five-week training course. The course was designed for residents of Solano aged 18 to 24 and interested in the construction trade.
Source: Solano residents build a bright future, graduate from pre-apprenticeship program – Times Herald
The first day of school in Benicia is Tuesday, Aug. 20 — and whether you and the kids are looking forward to the new school year or are dreading the end of summer, you’ll want to mark the date on your calendar ASAP.
The Benicia Unified School District has released its 2019-2020 calendar. Embedded below, the two-page calendar includes important dates such as fall, winter and spring breaks, holidays, early dismissals and parent-teacher conferences.
Source: Benicia School Calendar 2019-20 – Patch.com
By John Glidden
While families meandered around enjoying the sights and sounds of the Solano County Fair, a group of girls were making robots dance on Saturday.
With just a few clicks on the laptop, mini robots, best described as over sized lint rollers attached to two giant wheels, move about a table, “dancing” front and back, side to side.
Representing the Girls in Robotics Leadership (GIRL) Camp, the middle and high school students showed off their coding skills while Lilibeth Pinpin looked on like a proud mother.
Pinpin is the director of innovative programs & student success for the Solano County Office of Education. The county office of education in partnership with UC Davis C-STEM (Computing-Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) hosted the five-day camp in the month of June.
Source: Robots invade Solano County Fair – Times 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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