End-of-year events honor Solano successes – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

There are so many sad and terrible things happening at home and around the world that it brings tears to one’s eyes from time to time, but it’s also the time of the year that I get the opportunity to attend wonderful events that honor the successes of our schools, parents and business community partners.

Throughout history there have been few events of significance that have occurred purely by accident, someone once said. And, this time of the year, educators, parents, students, volunteers and business partners come together at many sites around Solano County to honor and celebrate educator and student accomplishments.

I try to attend as many events as I can and even for the ones that I do attend, this space would not come anywhere near covering all of them. This is, indeed, a great thing that there are so many accomplishments to celebrate.

Source: End-of-year events honor Solano successes

Benicia High School informational meeting draws concerns over new graduation requirements, funding for PAB – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Parents, students and teachers packed the Benicia High School Performing Arts Building for an informational meeting Monday night about the new school board-approved graduation requirements where they voiced their concerns about their potential impact on art and elective courses.

At the March 16 school board meeting, the board held a discussion and first reading of the proposed new requirements to go into effect for the class of 2022, which Superintendent Charles Young said were modeled after the University of California and California State University requirements, although with some modifications. The required amount of units for graduation would remain at 220, but some of the units would be redistributed to additional requirements. The proposed changes were as follows:

* Health and the semesterlong elective that accompanied it would be replaced by a new yearlong course titled “Get Focused,” intended to help freshmen be successful by identifying their life and career goals early on and develop a pathway to prepare for that field, according to its description in the 2017-2018 course catalog.

Source: Benicia High School informational meeting draws concerns over new graduation requirements, funding for PAB

Students monitor health of Solano waterways – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano Resource Conservation District announced Thursday that a group of students from Benicia High School completed the last in a series of projects to monitor the health of creeks throughout Solano County.

Nearly 300 high school students participated in the program throughout the year, including students from Fairfield, Vacaville, Dixon, Rio Vista, Vallejo, Jesse Bethel and Benicia high schools, as well as the Mare Island Technology Academy.

The creeks studied included Laurel and Union Avenue Creeks in Fairfield; Alamo and Ulatis Creeks in Vacaville; and Blue Rock Springs, Chabot, Rindler and Sulphur Springs Creeks in Vallejo. The general purpose is to monitor the water quality in different areas throughout the county to help local officials make informed policy decisions, the district stated.

Source: Students monitor health of Solano waterways

iQuest students reflect on life skills learned in senior internship – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

For the past year, students in Annette Fewins’ iQuest class at Benicia High School have been interning at local businesses to gain skills in the fields of their choice. Last week, students began discussing what they learned as part of their finals.

This was the first year the iQuest course was introduced to Benicia High’s Career Technical Education department as a way for seniors to get hands-on experience outside the classroom. In the past year, students have interned at the Benicia Police Department, Benicia Fire Department, Solano County Friends of Animals, Flat Iron Civil Engineering, the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum and more.

Cheyenne Reeves detailed what she had learned from working in Dr. Barry Parish’s office at Benicia Family Dentistry, including how to suction, how to take notes, working in the sterile room and ask questions of patients. She also started a blog about her experiences for the class and shared it as part of the final. Reeves plans to go to Diablo Valley College in the fall to take general education courses and prerequisites to eventually apply to a hygienist program.Andrea Wilson delivered her final on her experiences as a social media intern at Coldwell Banker, which she did for a year.

Source: iQuest students reflect on life skills learned in senior internship

Grad Night fundraiser, pasta dinner to be held at Clocktower tomorrow – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Benicia High School’s Grad Night Board and Committee will be holding its first ever pasta feed, fundraiser and silent auction tomorrow night at the Clocktower. The proceeds will benefit Grad Night, an evening of safe, sober fun for new Benicia High and Liberty High School graduates on the grounds of the BHS campus, featuring games, crafts, karaoke and a whole lot more.Funds are needed to bring these activities in, so the Grad Night Committee puts on several fundraisers throughout the year, often at local restaurants. The silent auction at the Clocktower will not only help benefit Grad Night, but it also will give attendees the chance to come home with some really cool prizes. How cool?

Source: Grad Night fundraiser, pasta dinner to be held at Clocktower tomorrow

Seniors, parents vote to hold BHS graduation at DVC this year – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

After an online poll indicated that Benicia High School graduating seniors and parents would rather hold their graduation at Diablo Valley College than at the school’s own George Drolette Stadium, school administrators made DVC’s stadium the new graduation location.Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, the Drolette Stadium has been under construction due to a renovation plan funded through Measure S. With several rainy days in the early months of 2017 delaying construction, administrators began exploring other possible locations, including the lower baseball fields, Vallejo High School’s Corbus Field, Solano Community College, Alhambra High School in Martinez and DVC. However, with the weather clearing up in March, quick progress was made on the field, increasing the likelihood of the graduation being held at Drolette Stadium, as it has been for many decades.

In April’s Panther Post newsletter, administrators noted that if the graduation were held at the stadium, it would remain an active construction site except for the time alloted to host graduation. In talking to other area high schools, Benicia High administrators learned that it is common for schools to use tickets and issue two to six per student, Principal Brianna Kleinschmidt said, so they decided to try it out at Benicia High for this year. As noted in the newsletter, seniors would only be allowed to invite six guests, and those who did not need all six tickets would be encouraged to give them to seniors who needed extra tickets or turn them into the main office to be raffled off in a lottery system before graduation.

Source: Seniors, parents vote to hold BHS graduation at DVC this year

Matthew Turner first-grader wins essay contest – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Aubrey Ilasco, a first-grader at Matthew Turner Elementary School, won first place for a letter she had written to Sen. Kamala Harris in the 2017 Growing Up Asian in America contest.The contest, put on by the San Francisco-based community foundation Asian Pacific Fund, is put on annually during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and has distributed more than half a million dollars in cash and prizes to its nearly 1,000 winners and honorable mention participants since it was established in 1995.

This year’s theme was “Letter to the Senator,” in which students at all grade levels wrote letters to Harris— the first Indian American and second African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate— about issues they believe the senator should address. Such topics included access to education, racial issues and the well-being of refugees.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important to engage students to examine and bring to light the issues that affect them and their communities,” Audrey Yamamoto, the president and executive director of the Asian Pacific Fund, said in a statement. “We are honored to provide an avenue for our youth— the leaders of tomorrow—to share their points of view and celebrate their heritage.”

Source: Matthew Turner first-grader wins essay contest

Benicia High School honored for exemplary arts education – Times Herald

By Katy St. Clair

The California Department of Education is recognizing Benicia High School for its “Exemplary Program in Arts Education.”

Benicia High had previously been selected as a “Gold Ribbon School” by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson for representing “best practices” in education.

The Public Safety Academy in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District also received the “Exemplary” honor for its “Career Technical Education.”

Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said that both schools served their community with “model practices” and support their students with “state-of-the-art programs.”

 

Source: Benicia High School honored for exemplary arts education

Two Solano schools named exemplary programs by state – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Public Safety Academy in Fairfield and Benicia High School have been selected for the Exemplary Program Award.

The academy is being honored for Career Technical Education, and Benicia High for its Arts Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced in a statement released through the county Office of Education.

“The recognition of these two schools highlights the range and depth of curricular options students have in Solano County’s School Districts. We thank the two schools for serving their communities with model practices and for supporting their students with state-of -the-art programs,”Lisette Estrella-Henderson, Solano County superintendent of schools, said in a statement announcing the awards.

Source: Two Solano schools named exemplary programs by state

Torlakson Announces Exemplary Program Awards – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced additional honors for 23 of the 275 middle schools and high schools that were recognized as Gold Ribbon Schools last month.

Twenty-three of those Gold Ribbon Schools have been selected as having an Exemplary Program in Arts Education, Career Technical Education or Physical Activity and Nutrition. Schools applied separately for those honors. Luther Burbank Middle School in Los Angeles County and Granite Bay High School in Placer County are multiple winners recognized for Exemplary Programs in both Arts Education and Career Technical Education.

“We know that school offerings outside of core academic subject areas—in addition to sparking creative minds and producing healthy bodies—keep students engaged in school, connected, and on the path to graduation and 21st century careers and college. I congratulate these 23 Gold Ribbon schools on their outstanding work.”

Source: Torlakson Announces Exemplary Program Awards – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

Waelbrock, Porter, Solano County’s educators of the year – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

Golden Hills Education Center Teacher Judith Waelbrock was announced Tuesday as Solano County’s 2017-18 teacher of the year.

Angela Porter, Benicia Middle School campus monitor, was chosen as the county’s classified school employee of the year.

“You promote collaboration and teamwork, and you step up to the challenges,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said to Waelbrock, Porter and the 11 other candidates who had earlier been named by their school districts.

Source: Waelbrock, Porter, Solano County’s educators of the year

School board to consider awarding fire alarm upgrade to lowest bidder – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The Benicia Unified School District is already in the process of looking for a contractor for the fire alarm upgrade at Benicia High School. The school board will be voting Thursday to award the contract to the lowest bidder.

The fire alarm improvement is another item to be funded through Measure S, the initiative approved by Benicia voters in 2014 to provide $49.6 million in bond funding to enhance facilities at BUSD’s seven schools. Much like the stadium renovation at Benicia High School and the fire alarm upgrade at Benicia Middle School, the project was taken to a public bidding process where contractors had to be pre-qualified in order to be eligible to bid. According to Measure S Bond Director Roxanne Egan, four contractors pre-qualified and three submitted a bid. The lowest was a $1.9 million bid submitted by Bockmon & Woody Electric Co. Inc. out of Stockton. District staff is recommending that the board award the contract to Bockmon & Woody, noting that the district’s electrical engineer has successfully worked on projects with the company and is confident in their ability.

Source: School board to consider awarding fire alarm upgrade to lowest bidder

3 school drama programs combine for ‘Virgil’s Wedding’ – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Benicia Unified School District would like to invite you to a wedding— “Virgil’s Wedding,” that is.
This week, audiences will be treated to a performance of Eddie McPherson’s Southern comedy at Benicia Middle School for a dinner theater fundraiser. However, the union depicted in “Virgil’s Wedding” is not the only marriage that attendees will stand witness to, as the production itself is a marriage of the drama programs at BUSD’s elementary, middle and high schools.

“Virgil’s Wedding” is the first show to be performed by the Benicia Unified Players, a theater collective consisting of student actors at all three levels in Benicia schools. Under the direction of elementary school drama teacher Nikki Tillotson, Benicia Middle School drama teacher Cathy Wright and Benicia High School drama teacher Nathan Day, the group pulls students together from all of the schools to perform and help raise money for art programs at the schools currently in need.

“We saw the need for a united dramatic arts program connecting K-12
grade students,” Tillotson and Wright said. “Each school has a drama program, but each school needs resources. We decided that if students joined together to  entertain an audience, they could use the ticket revenue to ‘play it  forward’ to whatever school had needs.”

Source: 3 school drama programs combine for “Virgil’s Wedding”

Celebration honors Solano educators of the year – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano County Office of Education will honor 13 school district employees who have been selected as 2017-18 educators of the year.

The celebration will begin at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center at 611 Village Drive in Suisun City.

Source: Celebration honors Solano educators of the year

Solano County Educator of the Year nominees announced – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

BHS math teacher, BMS campus supervisor in running

The Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) announced its nominees for the county’s Educators of the Year Award. Two Benicia Unified School District employees are in the running.This year, 13 employees from each of the county’s school district are eligible, including teachers and support staff. Representing BUSD are Lee Anne Aidt, a math teacher at Benicia High School; and Angela Porter, a campus supervisor at Benicia Middle School.Also nominated are:

*Martha Salazar, a reading and English Language Development teacher at Anderson Elementary School in Dixon.

*Debbie Thiessen, the food service coordinator at Dixon High School.

*Cindy Lederer, a physical education teacher at multiple sites in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District.

Source: Solano County Educator of the Year nominees announced

Nominees chosen for Solano County Educator of the Year award – Times Herald

By Matthew Adkins

The Solano County Office of Education announced Thursday the school district’s nominations for Solano County Educator of the Year award.

Thirteen people were selected this year from a wide range of disciplines, including those with experience in teaching, paraeducation, child nutrition, support services, security and school staff.

Making the cut from Benicia Unified School District are Mathematics Teacher Lee Anne Aidt at Benicia High School and Campus Supervisor Angela Porter of Benicia Middle School.

Selected from Vallejo City Unified School District are Glen Cove Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher Joan Samson and Bilingual Tutor/Instructional Assistant Cristina Gutierrez at Franklin Middle School.

As with previous years, the Office of Education will select only one teacher and one school support employee to represent Solano County in a statewide Educators of the Year Competition.

 

Source: Nominees chosen for Solano County Educator of the Year award

Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored as exemplary California secondary schools – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Torlakson announced that 275 California middle and high schools were being recognized as part of the state’s Gold Ribbon Schools Award Program. Among them are Benicia Middle School and Benicia High School.The Gold Ribbon program honors schools throughout the state while the previous program, California Distinguished Schools, is on hiatus as the state creates new assessment programs. Schools throughout California applied based on standards-based activities, strategies projects, programs or practices that serve as models that other schools can follow.

“These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said in a statement.

Of the thousands of secondary schools in California, 477 applied in 2016. Of these, 275 received the honor, including Benicia Middle and Benicia High.

Source: Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored as exemplary California secondary schools

Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored with ‘Gold Ribbon’ awards – Times Herald

By Katy St. Clair

Both Benicia High and Benicia Middle School were two of six Solano County schools to be selected for 2017’s “California Gold Ribbon” recognition.

Gold Ribbon schools are designated by the California Department of Education and represent what it considers exemplars of “best practices” in education.

“This is a tremendous honor and well-deserved recognition for these schools,” Solano County Superintendent Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.

Schools apply for the honor and are whittled down after meeting “rigorous” criteria, according to Assistant Superintendent for Solano County Victor Romualdi.

Source: Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored with ‘Gold Ribbon’ awards – Times Herald

Benicia High School chops off locks for good cause – Times Herald

By Katy St. Clair

It can be a special sacrifice for a teenager to part with their hair, but for 16 Benicia High School students, handing over their locks for a good cause was more important.

The high school kids gathered at the quad during Wednesday’s lunch hour to “Make The Cut,” a charity event that donates healthy hair to make wigs for cancer patients.

The event was coordinated by senior Clare Rodgers, who first organized it as a junior.

She is working in conjunction with the hair care company Pantene, which runs the larger hair-donation charity known as “Beautiful Lengths.”

Last year, seven students stepped up to have their hair lopped off, Rodgers said. This year the number has doubled, with 14 people signing up and two more donating hair from recent trips to the salon.

In order to contribute, students had to be willing to part with at least 8 inches of hair, but some students were willing to give up as many as 13 inches.

 

Source: Benicia High School chops off locks for good cause

Event set in Suisun to honor Solano educators – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano County Office of Education will honor 13 school district employees who have been selected as 2017-18 educators of the year.

The celebration will begin at 5:15 p.m. May 2 at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center at 611 Village Drive in Suisun City.

One educator will also be selected as Solano County’s nominee for the state educator of the year.

Source: Event set in Suisun to honor Solano educators