Kairos directors hear draft of suicide-prevention policy – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders heard the first draft of the charter school’s suicide-prevention policy, which, in accordance with state law, must be adopted by July 1.

In a board of directors meeting Monday, Pat Broughton, the education services director, introduced the three-page policy and the accompanying two-page administrative regulation.

Such policies, under Assembly Bill 2246 enacted last yearare required by every California school district, and, as an independent TK-8 charter school, — a school largely governed by its own board of directors and the California Department of Education — Kairos is, essentially, its own school district.

Authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, the bill requires school districts to adopt formal suicide-prevention, intervention and follow-up plans for all middle and high school students, including provisions that specifically address the needs of “high-risk groups.”

 

Source: Kairos directors hear draft of suicide-prevention policy

Torlakson Announces Peak of Annual CAASPP Testing – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that nearly 500,000 California students took California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests on Tuesday May 9, the highest number of students testing simultaneously during the 2017 spring testing season.

“We are in the third year of administering these state-of-the-art assessments, and the capacity of our system and our schools to efficiently administer these tests increases every year,” Torlakson said. “Our students and families are the ultimate winners here. The information from these tests will help our schools refine their teaching, improve learning, and better prepare our students for success.”

The CAASPP assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics are given each spring to students in grades three through eight and grade eleven. More than two-thirds of the 3.3 million eligible California students have begun testing. As of Wednesday, May 10, more than 2.7 million students statewide have started a summative assessment in English language arts/literacy or mathematics. Participation peaked on May 9 with 495,463 students testing at one time.

Source: Torlakson Announces Peak of Annual CAASPP Testing – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

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

Fairfield-Suisun school recognized for its career tech program – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The Public Safety Academy, a Fairfield-Suisun Unified school, was one of 23 of 275 Golden Ribbon middle schools and high schools to receive an additional honor, of having an Exemplary Program in one of several areas: arts education, career technical education or physical activity and nutrition.

PSA, as it’s called for short, was recognized for its CTE program, according to a press release from the state Department of Education. Tom Torlakson, the state schools chief, made the announcement.

Laurie Halcomb is principal at the Atlantic Avenue school of choice, where students in grades five to 12 experience a rigorous academic program and career readiness for those interested in law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency response and other public safety-related fields.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun school recognized for its career tech program

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)

Buckingham Charter Magnet High School designated as Gold Ribbon School – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Four eastern Solano County schools have been recognized by the state Department of Education as 2017 Gold Ribbon Schools, it has been announced.

They are Buckingham Charter Magnet High School in Vacaville, Armijo High, Green Valley Middle School and the Public Safety Academy, the latter three all in Fairfield-Suisun Unified.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson made the announcement in a press release issued earlier this month. He cited 275 middle schools and high schools designated under annual awards program.

“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. “I look forward to travelling the state to honor these schools and to help share the programs, methods, and techniques that are working.”

 

Source: Buckingham Charter Magnet High School designated as Gold Ribbon School

New Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today the appointment of Caryn Moore as the new Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services at the California Department of Education. She began her new assignment on April 17.

Moore has almost two decades of fiscal management experience at the California Department of Education. She is the former Associate Director of the School Fiscal Services Division.

“Caryn’s extensive financial background, experience, and proven track record as a strong fiscal administrator are great qualifications to lead this division,” Torlakson said. “We are pleased to have someone with her expertise on our management team.”

Source: New Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

Classified School Employees Awardees Announced – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today honored six outstanding classified school employees for their dedication to California’s public school students.

“I started my public service career as a high school teacher and coach, and I know first-hand the vital role that classified employees have every day in our public schools,” Torlakson said. “These terrific employees keep schools clean and safe; they make sure our students get to school and can eat healthy meals; and they contribute to an overall positive school culture that cares for the whole child. I applaud the fantastic work these employees do every day.”

The annual program honors six outstanding classified school employees from the following categories: Child Nutrition; Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities; Office and Technical Support; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; Support Services and Security; and Transportation. This year’s recipients were chosen from more than 100 nominations statewide.

Source: Classified School Employees Awardees Announced – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

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

Six Solano schools earn golden grades from state – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

Six Solano schools have been designated as California Gold Ribbon Schools, the county Office of Education reported Wednesday.

Armijo, Benicia and Elise P. Buckingham Charter Magnet high schools were selected by the state Department of Education for the honor, as were the Public Safety Academy, and the Benicia and Green Valley middle schools.

Additionally, Benicia Middle School received an award for being a Title I Academic Achieving School.

Source: Six Solano schools earn golden grades from state

Torlakson Announces 2017 CA Gold Ribbon Schools – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 275 middle schools and high schools are being honored under the Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program.

The list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.

“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. “I look forward to travelling the state to honor these schools and to help share the programs, methods, and techniques that are working.”

The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment, accountability, and continuous improvement systems. 477 middle schools and high schools applied this year.

Schools applied for the award based on a model program or practice their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The award acknowledged elementary schools last year.

Source: Torlakson Announces 2017 CA Gold Ribbon Schools – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

Torlakson Announces Record High School Grad Rates – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson reported today that California’s graduation rate increased for the seventh year in a row and is now at a record high for the class of 2016, with the biggest increases during that period taking place among English learners and African American and Latino students.

Among the cohort of students who started high school in 2012–13, 83.2 percent graduated with their class in 2016, up 0.9 percent from the year before. (See Table 1.) This increase means that 4,917 more students received their high school diploma last year than the year before.

The state’s graduation rate has increased 8.5 percentage points since the class of 2010 posted a 74.7 percent rate.

The graduation rate of almost every student subgroup calculated by the California Department of Education (CDE) also rose in 2016. (See Table 2.) The rate of increase among English learners was 2.7 percentage points, African Americans went up 1.8 percentage points, and Latino students increased by 1.5 percentage points.

Source: Torlakson Announces Record High School Grad Rates – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State recognizes Fairfield-Suisun School District’s attendance program – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Fairfield-Suisun School District is one of 27 school attendance programs recognized as model School Attendance Review Boards by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

“Students need to be in school to learn,” Torlakson said in a press release announcing the honors. “The terrific work of the review boards is a testament to the collaboration between the school, parents and community so that all students have the opportunity to succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.”

The number of districts that applied to the Model SARB Recognition Program tripled since 2016, said a press release from Torlakson’s office. The state SARB, a panel appointed by Torlakson, reviewed the applications.

Source: State recognizes Fairfield-Suisun School District’s attendance program

2017 Model School Attendance Program Winners – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that 27 school attendance programs were recognized as Model School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs) for innovative and effective practices to reduce suspensions, expulsions, and chronic absenteeism.

“Students need to be in school to learn. The terrific work of the review boards is a testament to the collaboration between the school, parents, and community so that all students have the opportunity to succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said.

The number of districts that applied to the Model SARB Recognition Program tripled since 2016. The State SARB, an expert panel appointed by Torlakson, reviewed the applications.

Source: 2017 Model School Attendance Program Winners – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

Guidelines designed to help districts implement new science standards | EdSource

By Carolyn Jones

Thorough, comprehensive teacher training and textbooks that appeal to a diverse array of students will be key to successfully implementing California’s new science standards, according to guidelines released by the standards’ creators.

“Implementation is complex. There’s a lot of moving parts,” said Vanessa Wolbrink, program associate at Achieve, the education nonprofit that helped craft the new Next Generation Science Standards. “We hope this will help.”

The new standards, adopted by California in 2013, focus on hands-on science projects, critical thinking over rote memorization, and crossover between scientific disciplines. They also include curriculum for all grade levels, which will be a major shift for some elementary schools that have not in the past emphasized science instruction.

Source: Guidelines designed to help districts implement new science standards | EdSource

Torlakson files court brief to protect federal funding – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Wednesday filed a court brief supporting a Bay Area county’s request to stop an executive order by President Donald Trump that threatens to stop federal funding for California cities, counties, and possibly public schools.

Torlakson filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Federal Court’s Ninth District, where Santa Clara County has filed for a preliminary injunction to stop the president’s January executive order that would withhold federal dollars from cities that declare themselves sanctuaries.

The injunction request said the order is unconstitutional because it would compel local governments to take an active role in enforcing immigration law and could withhold federal funding from agencies, including schools, which declare themselves “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The order fails to clearly define that term, Torlakson wrote in a press release issued Thursday.

 

Source: Torlakson files court brief to protect federal funding

State schools chief vows to battle Trump over cuts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State schools chief Tom Torlakson said President Donald Trump’s proposed $1.1 trillion 2018 budget was very disappointing and goes in the wrong direction with funding cuts that would hurt disadvantaged children, after-school programs, teacher training, and other services, but sets aside $250 million for a nationwide voucher program.

In a press release issued Friday, he said the cuts, should they go into effect, would hobble programs that help prepare California 6.2 million public school students for jobs in the increasingly technological, 21st-century global economy.

Trump’s planned budget would take hundreds of millions of dollars from California by eliminating federal funds for programs that have proven successful in educating at-risk students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. It also reduces financial assistance to low-income college students.

 

Source: State schools chief vows to battle Trump over cuts

CA School Dashboard Debuts – Year 2017 – CA Dept of Education

The State Board of Education (SBE) and the California Department of Education (CDE) today unveiled the California School Dashboard, a new Web site that provides parents, educators, and the public with important information they can use to evaluate schools and school districts in an easy-to-understand report card format.

The California School Dashboard is a critical piece of California’s new school accountability and continuous improvement system. The state’s former accountability system—the Academic Performance Index (API)—relied exclusively on standardized tests and gave schools a single score. That system was suspended three years ago.

“The California School Dashboard provides local communities with meaningful and relevant information on how well schools and districts are doing,” said State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst. “It will help in local decision-making by highlighting both the progress of schools and student groups, shining a light on disparities and helping stakeholders pinpoint where resources should be directed.

Source: CA School Dashboard Debuts – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State’s new school “report card” system debuts Wednesday – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After some field testing, the state’s new school “report card” system, giving parents another way to evaluate their child’s learning environment, will finally debut Wednesday, state officials have announced.

The California School Dashboard, as it’s called, will go live to the general public at www.cde.ca.gov/dashboard.

The public rollout will come nearly nine weeks after the State Board of Education formally approved it, with several changes to be made to strengthen and improve it for the 2017-18 academic year, when it will go into full effect.

Source: State’s new school “report card” system debuts Wednesday – The Reporter