By Stephanie Strom
Juliet Basinger pressed a button on a remote control, and the drone she built did a somersault, first in one direction, then in another, before taking off around the room, cheekily snapping photos of the adults looking on. Juliet won’t finish high school before 2025, but the 11-year-old already has big plans: She wants to be a mechanical engineer.
This year alone, Juliet has used 3D printers, servo motors and microcontrollers to build the parts needed to construct a therapeutic robotic dog that she hopes will help those afraid of canines overcome their fears, a project she did as part of a lesson in her English class. She has learned to use technology-enabled woodcutting tools and is at work creating a virtual tour of her school, Laing Middle School in Charleston County, using another drone she built in the school’s Fab Lab.
A narrow room crammed with high-tech equipment including 3D printers and an electrophoresis chamber to separate molecules and study chromosomes, the Fab Lab gives students at Laing a chance to get hands-on experience with the sorts of tools they might find in the workplace. “I really have fun doing these things,” says the rising seventh grader, “but I also like that it’s preparing me to be an engineer.”
Source: What Does ‘Career Readiness’ Look Like in Middle School? – MindShift
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced additional honors for 22 California Distinguished middle schools and high schools selected as having an Exemplary Program in Arts Education, Career Technical Education, or Physical Activity and Nutrition. Distinguished Schools applied separately for these honors. This year’s honorees include 10 schools for Arts Education, nine for Career Technical Education, and four schools for Physical Activity and Nutrition—with one school receiving honors in two categories.
“We know that closing the achievement gap includes world-class instruction, including access to STEAM, career technical education, physical education, and nutrition education.” said Thurmond. “Instruction outside of core academic subject areas—like job training, entrepreneurship, and STEAM—helps all students prepare for 21st century jobs and sparks creative and healthy minds. I congratulate these 22 Exemplary Program Award winners for their outstanding work.”
Source: Thurmond Announces Exemplary Program Awards – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Daily Republic Staff
The 24th annual Transition Information Fair for students in middle school, high school or an adult/transition program who has a disability and/or in a special education program will be held March 20.
The fair will occur from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Solano County Office of Education, 5100 Business Center Drive.
More than 40 agencies from Solano and surrounding counties will be on hand to provide information about programs and agencies that can assist with higher education, training, employment, adult day programs and independent living.
Source: 24th Transition Fair is scheduled for March 20 in Fairfield
By Bill Hicks
The Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board voted unanimously Thursday to move forward with an application for grant funding via Proposition 51 that would allow for the improvement and upgrade of Career Technical Education facilities at Armijo High School, as well as the establishment of a welding vocational program.
If approved, the grants would provide the district with as much as $2.7 million for the CTE upgrades at Armijo.
School districts throughout the country turned their focus at some point in the past away from traditional vocational programs in favor of programs oriented on getting students prepared for college.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun board approves pursuit of $2.7M in grants to boost vocational ed
By Rafujio Gonzalez, Courtney Lee
President Donald Trump recently signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, or Perkins V, which reauthorized $1.2 billion dollars in federal funds for career and technical educational (CTE) programs. The new law gives states more flexibility to set their own goals for CTE programs, along with reporting progress toward those goals. Who might benefit from these changes, and what new challenges do they present to the state?
Perkins V supports programs that integrate career skills and prepare students at the secondary, postsecondary, and adult education level for the workforce—for such careers as IT technician, accountant, or nurse. Funding is based on student enrollment, and each year California receives more than $110 million in Perkins dollars, the vast majority (85%) of which go to CTE programs in high schools and community colleges. During the 2017–18 school year, close to 780,000 (40%) high school students and 420,000 (35%) full-time community college students participated in CTE.
Source: Career Technical Education: Funding & New State Oversight – Public Policy Institute of California
By Daily Republic Staff
Solano Community College will host “Doing What Matters for Jobs in Solano County” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the school’s cafeteria, Building 1400.
The event will update Career Technical Education opportunities, provide for tours of facilities, as well as offer a chance to meet faculty and staff. The event will also discuss the next steps and feature a tour of the college’s Maker Space and Advanced Manufacturing facilities.
Source: Solano College hosts Doing What Matters event
Career technical education is critical to meeting the state’s workforce needs.
If current trends continue, roughly one-third of new jobs in California will require some training beyond high school but less than a four-year degree. Career technical education (CTE), also known as vocational training, connects students to these career opportunities by providing industry-based skills. In addition to improving career options in the short term, CTE can provide pathways to higher education; for example, about a third of high school CTE courses meet the admission requirements for California’s public four-year universities.
Public high schools and community colleges are the primary providers of CTE.
During the 2016–17 school year, close to 800,000 high school students (45%) enrolled in a CTE course. Arts and media courses are especially popular, as are CTE courses in information technology, agriculture, and health. At community colleges, nearly 420,000 students (35%) participated in CTE. Arts and media is once again the most popular industry sector, followed by education, business, health, and public services. While for-profit colleges also offer CTE training, enrollments have declined in recent years.
Source: Career Technical Education in California – Public Policy Institute of California
By Mayrene Bates
As I do every year, I make every effort to attend as many year-end events as I possibly can. I love to celebrate the accomplishments of educators, students, parents, nonprofits, the business community and, even the newspaper reporters who take the pictures and write the stories.
That’s what makes all of these events so great, because we celebrate as a community the accomplishments of everyone involved. Needless to say, there’s not enough space here to write about every successful program across the county.
Someone once said that throughout history, there have been few events of significance that have occurred purely by accident. We know that success happens, because many care enough to make a difference for the good of all. According to Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”
Source: Solano Voices: Year-end events celebrate accomplishments
By Richard Bammer
Solano County Office of Education leaders, in a partnership with Travis Air Force Base, are launching an event, believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, that will enlist the help of Solano County high school students to tackle real-world problems at Travis Air Force Base.
A group of student will visit the sprawling base today so can participate in the next phase the Phoenix Spark Challenge — described as a strategy used by the military to solve problems shared by military operational experts, academia and government agencies — will take place May 18 at the sprawling base.
Airmen will lead student tours of the base and show them three real-life issues the consumer sector and the Department of Defense are trying to solve. Students will have a chance to ask questions, then select which challenge they want to resolve through design and problem-solving processes.
Source: High schoolers begin design, innovation challenge at Travis Air Force Base
By Nick Sestanovich
As Measure S bond projects continue to move along, attendees of this Thursday’s school board meeting can get a greater understanding of which projects have been completed, which ones are nearing completion and which projects will be taken on next. The discussion will be presented by Bond Director Roxanne Egan.
Measure S was a ballot initiative approved by Benicia voters in 2014 aimed at providing $49.6 million in bond funding for improvements at each of the Benicia Unified School District’s seven schools. As of Dec. 31, 11 projects had been completed, technology infrastructure upgrades at all the schools, playground modernizations at the elementary schools, fixing the roofs at Benicia Middle School and Mary Farmar Elementary School, painting the exteriors at Benicia High School and renovating Benicia High’s stadium.
Egan also identified 10 approved bond projects in progress. These include fire alarm replacements at Liberty High School and the District Office as well as Mary Farmar, Joe Henderson and Robert Semple elementary schools, a fire alarm upgrade at Matthew Turner Elementary School, a modernization of Benicia Middle School’s campus, miscellaneous infrastructure upgrades, alternative education improvements and repairing the gym floor at Benicia High. Another approved project is improvements to Benicia High’s Performing Arts Building, which Egan said is part of the district’s efforts to apply for a Career Technical Education grant for the building. If the grant is awarded, then the district will be required to match up to a maximum of $3 million in local funding. If the grant is not awarded, then a minimum amount of $400,000 will be allocated for PAB improvements.
Source: School board to hear quarterly bond update at Thursday’s meeting
By Richard Bammer
Solano County Office of Education leaders, when they meet tonight in Fairfield, will face a relatively light agenda, followed by a special meeting and a closed hearing.
Nicola Parr, director of student and program support, will update the seven-member board on the SCOE’s Local Control Accountability Plan, a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula. LCAPs are annual documents that guide virtually all of a school district’s spending, especially for English learners, low-income students and foster youth.
Parr will note the stakeholders “engagement process,” to include the frequency of meetings with parents, students, staff and foster youth advocates.
Additionally, she will note a pending Career Technical Education advisory meeting, to include a guest speaker who will offer an update on the economic climate for the North Bay; input from local businesses about the skills they want in graduates, among other things.
Source: Solano County Office of Education board holds special meeting
By Nick Sestanovich
The school board will be voting to approve the submission of two applications requesting grant funding for renovation of Benicia High School’s Performing Arts Building (PAB) at its Thursday meeting.
In May, an informational meeting was held at Benicia High to discuss two items. One was a new set of graduation requirements that had recently been approved by the school board, which parents, students, faculty and community members felt decreased opportunities for performing arts students. The new requirements were later rescinded by the board and the old ones reinstated. The other item was the PAB. Many felt the 36-year-old building was not being treated as a high priority for Measure S funding, despite safety concerns including overhead lights without support beams.
Benicia Unified School District is seeking funding from a California Proposition 51 Career Technical Education Grant. Proposition 51 was approved by California voters in the 2016 election to provide $9 billion in bond funding for construction and improvement of K-12 schools and community colleges in the state. The funding would include renovation of the current building as well as new construction. Among the improvements planned by the district are replacing the “outdated” lighting and acoustic fixtures, converting and expanding old the costume shop into a dance studio, adding changing rooms in the backstage and production support space in the backstage, and expanding the stage to provide more performance space.
Source: BUSD applying for grant funding for BHS Performing Arts Building renovation
By Richard Bammer
A collective bargaining proposal for the current year, and updates about the Career Technical Education facilities program and a school resource officer position are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.
Shawn Tutt, president of the Dixon Teachers Association, will tell the five-member governing board that the union’s collective bargaining proposal “is open,” Superintendent Brian Dolan said in an interview Wednesday.
He was unsure what the teachers are considering in terms of wage and benefit hikes, since the proposal is in its early stages.
Nick Girimonte, assistant superintendent for educational services, will update trustees on the CTE facilities program, which includes information about funding for the Dixon High School Farm.
Source: Teacher contract proposal on Dixon Unified agenda
By Richard Bammer
Like so many California school districts in summertime, with their 2017-18 LCAPs and budgets sent to county offices of education, Fairfield-Suisun Unified has posted a relatively light agenda for its Thursday meeting in Fairfield.
Trustees will hear several presentations at the outset, including a report, delivered by students, about the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camp at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Under the consent calendar, items typically approved in one collective vote, governing board members will OK a $1.13 million contract with the state Department of Education for child development services.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun leaders to consider budget
By Nick Sestanovich
The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District approved five new Benicia High School courses— advanced engineering design, basic welding and automotive, Construction & Building Trades 1, introduction to medical careers, and yoga— and held two— physics of the universe and “Get Focused”— for further discussion at Thursday’s meeting.
Dr. Leslie Beatson, the assistant superintendent of educational services, presided over the discussion of the new courses. She immediately requested pulling physics of the universe, a required course for 9th-graders, from that night’s agenda because she wanted it to be agendized for the June 15 meeting when proposed pathways for the science courses as well as California’s Next Generation Science Standards will be discussed. She then introduced Benicia High Principal Brianna Kleinschmidt to go over the other courses. She described the basic welding and automotive course as the first course in a two-part pathway that also serves to resurrect a previous long-time Career Technical Education (CTE) course.
“We used to have an auto shop program,” she said. “It was very popular, and that went away for a few years, so we’re happy to be bringing it back.”
Source: School board approves 5 new BHS courses, delays vote on 2
By Ian Thompson
Armijo High School and the Public Safety Academy proudly took possession Wednesday of the banners that announced them as 2017 Gold Ribbon Schools.
The Public Safety Academy also garnered additional recognition for receiving the state’s Career Technical Education Exemplary Program banner.
“Your determination and dedication are what made this school a success,” Public Safety Academy Principal Laurie Halcomb told the students gathered on the school’s Parade Deck.
Source: Armijo, Public Safety Academy celebrate academic achievements
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
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
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
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