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)

Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Federal lawmakers have agreed to relatively small spending increases for Title I programs to districts and for special education, as part of a budget deal covering the rest of fiscal 2017 through the end of September.

Title I spending on disadvantaged students would rise by $100 million up to $15.5 billion from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017, along with $450 million in new money that was already slated to be shifted over from the now-defunct School Improvement Grants program.

And state grants for special education would increase by $90 million up to $12 billion. However, Title II grants for teacher development would be cut by $294 million, down to about $2.1 billion for the rest of fiscal 2017.

The bill would also provide $400 million for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program, also known as Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Title IV is a block grant that districts can use for a wide range of programs, including health, safety, arts education, college readiness, and more.

Source: Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week

A taste of the trades – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Forrest Blue, a junior at Vintage High in Napa, sat astride a yellow-painted, pint-sized hydraulic shovel-excavator, using a stubby control stick to move the boom, arm and bucket, tentatively at best, as Steve Lewis, a member of Local 3 of the Operating Engineers union, looked on.

Just a few steps away and wearing a black welder’s protective face shield, Uriel Garcia, a junior at Napa High, listened and watched Julian Rucker, a member of Local 378 of the Iron Workers union, showed him how to cut a piece of steel with an oxygen-acetylene torch.

Hot sparks flying occasionally, school — with the nearby steady, brittle thrum of Interstate 80 traffic in their ears — was in session, specifically a glimpse of the construction trades and, perhaps, a career technical education career path for Blue and Garcia.

Source: A taste of the trades – The Reporter

 

Vacaville Unified official: New school accountability system gets mixed marks – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The newly released state public school and district accountability system, which uses multiple measures of school progress and performance, gets a mixed reaction from Vacaville Unified’s chief academic officer.

“Overall, I like the concept and the idea of looking at multiple sources of data; I think that’s really good,” Mark Frazier said of the California School Dashboard, launched last month by the state Department of Education.

“But one of the things that is disappointing is, that some of the data they’re using (suspension rate, English learner progress and graduation rate) is not as up-to-date as it could be,” he added. “That data is so old it’s hard to interpret.”

Source: Vacaville Unified official: New school accountability system gets mixed marks

Exploring Solano County’s economic strategic planning – The Reporter

By Doug Ford

I left the Solano EDC meeting a week ago a bit perplexed. It was great to hear that Solano County is planning to move ahead with economic strategic planning. What is being planned is all fine but the way it was presented needs some improving. I wonder what the slogan, “Solano Means Business” really means. That and other phrases used in the hand-out provided seems to have a tone of “this is all for business and for nobody else.” The photograph of a man standing in the middle of a grain field studying a road map seems to me to give a bad impression of the project.

It seems strange to lead off a presentation by pointing fingers at “economic red flags needing action” that are all non-Solano business entities: the military, residents who receive some sort of public assistance, residents who commute outside the county for work, and surrounding counties that are “bypassing Solano County.” This tone of “Solano business is good and everybody else is bad” is also noticeable in some of the other “Moving Solano Forward” publications.

Source: Exploring Solano County’s economic strategic planning – The Reporter

 

Career and Technical Education Advocates Pushing for Changes Under Trump – Education Week

Andrew Ujifusa

Career and technical education advocates have started their push for a facelift to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act under President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, a coalition of 85 advocacy groups and businesses, ranging from AASA, the School Administrators Association, to Boeing and IBM, sent a letter to the four leaders of the respective House and Senate CTE Caucus urging them to make career and technical education a priority.

“As we consider how federal policy proposals can achieve President Trump’s promise to ‘make America great again’ we urge Congress to support the Perkins Act and allocate adequate resources to ensure our country’s CTE programs can take full advantage of a newly reinvigorated CTE law,” says a portion of the letter, which was written to Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., and Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.

Source: Career and Technical Education Advocates Pushing for Changes Under Trump – Politics K-12 – Education Week

How Gaming Connects to SEL and Career Readiness | Edutopia

By Maurice J. Elias

What kinds of jobs will our students have, and how well are we preparing them for the future? The World Economic Forum, a not-for-profit foundation, is reaching out to educators worldwide. Their call to educators includes redefining what it means to be educated and prepared for work and civic participation—as well as an integration of technology.

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 report titled New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning Through Technology, “To thrive in the 21st century, students need more than traditional academic learning. They must be adept at collaboration, communication, and problem solving, which are some of the skills developed through social and emotional learning (SEL). Coupled with mastery of traditional skills, social and emotional proficiency will equip students to succeed in the swiftly evolving digital economy.”

Source: How Gaming Connects to SEL and Career Readiness | Edutopia

Vacaville Unified supe offers A-to-Z district snapshot – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Despite recent bad news that several Solano County unified school districts have some of the lowest average-daily-attendance funding in California, Vacaville’s can still lay claim to some decidedly positive news.

Science kits in elementary classrooms, Chromebooks for every student across 16 district campuses, Measure A projects, PE teachers at every elementary school, and increased pay for employees were among the highlights cited by Superintendent Jane Shamieh during her 2015-16 annual report when she updated trustees and the public during last week’s governing board meeting.

Stepping down from the dais in the Educational Services Center and standing behind a lectern to face trustees, she moved quickly during her slide presentation, recalling last year’s major board actions and initiatives for students and employees, something of an A-to-Z snapshot of the district.

 

Source: Vacaville Unified supe offers A-to-Z district snapshot

Benicia High School’s new iQuest course offers student learning outside the classroom – Benicia Herald

By Jasmine Weis

Beginning this 2016-2017 school year, Benicia High School introduced a new class, iQuest, under the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department.

The iQuest curriculum provides enrolled high school seniors with an opportunity to explore careers in the community. Students select their career passion and seek out sponsors to provide an internship during the school year, where they will spend a minimum of three hours a week in the field. For the two hours spent in the classroom each week, workshops and guest speakers will be provided to further facilitate seniors’ transition into the career world. College and Career Counselor Lisa Douglass will be also be assisting students with their internship opportunities, as well as narrowing down the colleges best suited for their area of passion.Teaching the iQuest class is CTE epartment chair Annette Fewins.

As Fewins stated, the iQuest program is a great opportunity for students to explore their career passions. She first heard about the class last year through Benicia High’s then-interim principal, Mark Corti, who worked at California High School in San Ramon, where the course originated three years ago. After visiting Cal High to watch the iQuest students’ end of year presentations, Fewins realized this program would be perfect for Benicia High seniors.

Source: Benicia High School’s new iQuest course offers student learning outside the classroom, in the community

Trustees hear detailed update on career tech ed – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Decades ago in U.S. high schools, it was called “voc ed,” for vocational education, perhaps best exemplified by auto shop and wood shop classes for boys who were largely disinterested in college and perhaps disinterested in behaving well in traditional classrooms, too, the programs serving sometimes as a catch-all for boys deemed discipline programs, their GPAs hovering at 2.0 and lower.

But in recent years high school voc ed has morphed into “career technical education,” or CTE for short, and it is a lot more complex these days, specifically in its scope, offerings and goals, as explained by Mark Frazier, Vacaville Unified’s chief academic officer.

CTE is a program that mixes traditional academic subjects and knowledge with technical and job-related know-how, giving students a way to succeed in college or in a post-high school career.

 

Source: Trustees hear detailed update on career tech ed

New Career & College Transition Division Director – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today the appointment of Donna Wyatt as the new Career and College Transition Division Director at the California Department of Education (CDE). She began her assignment September 6.

“Donna has devoted her professional career to helping students identify their passions and professional callings and providing those students the skills and direction needed to succeed,” Torlakson said. “She will be a tremendous resource for all of our schools. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her join us in this important role.”

A long-time educator, Wyatt has more than 25 years of experience teaching, developing, and administering Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Since July 2011, she has worked as the manager of Curriculum and Instruction Career Technical Education (CTE) for the Oakland Unified School District’s Linked Learning office, working with teachers to create CTE curriculum and build out career pathway courses that help connect students with internships and mentorships in a wide variety of fields such as engineering, manufacturing, and media arts.

Source: New Career & College Transition Division Director – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

Career tech ed on VUSD agenda tonight – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, will hear an update on the district’s Career Technical Education program.

Mark Frazier, the district’s chief academic officer, and several high school principals, including Mike Sullivan of Country, Mike Boles of Buckingham Charter, Ed Santopadre of Vacaville, and Adam Rich of Will C. Wood, will speak to the seven-member governing board about a variety of topics. They range from career pathways, pathways being considered, and the CTE Incentive Grant, among other things.

Career Technical Education is a program that mixes traditional academic subjects and knowledge with technical and job-related know-how, giving students a way to succeed in college or in a post-high school career.

The speakers will tell trustees about collaboration with area businesses and industries, community organizations, Solano Community College, and the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce.

Source: Career tech ed on VUSD agenda tonight – The Reporter

 

Bill to Reauthorize Career and Technical Education Law Passed by U.S. House – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

The House of Representatives voted to approve a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act on Tuesday, after the House education committee unanimously backed the bill earlier this year.

The Perkins Act has not been reauthorized since 2006, but the proposed reauthorization, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, makes several notable changes to existing law. Among them are:

  • There’s a new definition of which students can be classified as “concentrators” in career and technical education. The bill defines a concentrator as a secondary student who has “completed three or more career and technical education courses, or completed at least two courses in [a] single career and technical education program or program of study.”
  • States would be able to withhold a greater share of their federal CTE funding under Perkins for their own competitive grants or formulas.
  • A new grant program, overseen by the education secretary, would award money to programs that align CTE with states’ workforce needs.
  • Schools are supposed to get less paperwork dumped on them when it comes to CTE.

Source: Bill to Reauthorize Career and Technical Education Law Passed by U.S. House – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Ed Dept Offers Guidelines on Gender Equity in Career/Tech Ed – Education News

By Raymond Scott

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Adult, Career, and Technical Education have released a letter saying that all students, regardless of their sex, must have equal access to the full range of career and technical programs offered. The letter is part of the White House’s United State of Women Summit.

“As the father of two daughters, I want my girls – and all young women in this country – to have access to the careers of their dreams, no matter the path,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Career and technical education is not just about preparing some students for successful lives and careers, it’s about giving all students the tools to succeed.”

The letter makes clear that the Carl D. Perkins Career and technical Education Act requires states to meet their targets for participation and completion rates of males and females in programs that are nontraditional for their sex. Disparities in expertise and employment persist in certain fields.

Source: Ed Dept Offers Guidelines on Gender Equity in Career/Tech Ed

$100,000 Career Technical Education Grant – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) has received a $100,000 grant to develop a career readiness action plan and expand job opportunities for California students.

California is one of 24 states and the District of Columbia that won “New Skills for Youth” grants, part of a $75 million, five-year initiative developed by global financial services firm JPMorgan Chase. The effort includes a partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Advance CTE, a national nonprofit that represents Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders in states.

The grants will increase career-focused education, starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or professional credentials focused on the skills that modern industries need.

“We are pleased to receive this grant because it will allow us to do additional analysis and planning in career technical education,” Torlakson said. “Improving and expanding career technical education is a top priority because these programs engage students and communities in so many different ways. They provide students with hands-on learning opportunities, internships, and mentorships with business leaders, and create pathways to 21st Century careers.”

Source: $100,000 Career Technical Education Grant – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

State awards $245 million in career technical education grants | EdSource

By Theresa Harrington

More than 250 California schools, districts and other educational agencies will split $245 million in grants for career technical education and professional training approved Wednesday by the State Board of Education.

“California’s Career Technical Education leads the way in providing our students with a rigorous academic education in addition to the practical job skills that are in the greatest demand,” said Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, in a prepared statement. “At the same time, we’re providing businesses and our communities with a next-generation workforce needed to keep our economy thriving.”

The grants – ranging from $28,562 for Southern Trinity Joint Unified to $32.5 million for Los Angeles Unified – were awarded through the state’s Career Technical Education Incentive Grant program. The 265 agencies receiving the grants include schools, districts, charter schools, Regional Occupational Centers and Programs, or groups of schools and districts that often partner with nonprofits and businesses. In January, the state awarded $91 million in similar grants to 100 applicants.

Source: State awards $245 million in career technical education grants | EdSource

$1.5 billion helping career pathways take off in California’s high schools | EdSource

By Fermin Leal

Tenth-grader Ryan Streckfus glanced over the gauges on the control panel as he carefully lifted the steering wheel, hoping to keep his aircraft from stalling in the sky over the Long Beach harbor.

“Heading is now 150. Elevation is climbing back up to 3,000 feet. I’m back in control,” he said, from a flight simulator inside the aviation career pathway at Canyon High School in Anaheim where he’s training to become a pilot.

The program, the only one of its kind in the state, is part of a career technical education boom across California. As record numbers of high school students are applying to state colleges and universities, more are also receiving hands-on training in high-demand technical careers even before they earn their diplomas. The students, many beginning in the 9th grade, are in career pathways learning job skills alongside professionals in fields including aviation, health care, civil engineering, fashion design, tourism and new media.

via $1.5 billion helping career pathways take off in California’s high schools | EdSource.

Career and technical education must be integrated with academic coursework | EdSource

By Gary Hoachlander and Christopher J. Steinhauser

Young people growing up in California will face stiff competition for jobs when they enter the workforce. Lasting success in the rapidly changing world of work requires ever increasing levels of proficiency with technical knowledge and skills. And the future prosperity of our state depends on a highly skilled workforce able to compete with the rest of the world.

Fortunately, career and technical education – once called vocational education – is enjoying a resurgence of interest and support in California, with an additional $900 million included in this year’s state budget. Just two weeks ago, the superintendent of public instruction gave school districts until Nov. 30, 2015 to apply for grants to develop and enhance high-quality career technical education programs.

via Career and technical education must be integrated with academic coursework | EdSource.

College and Career Readiness: An EdSource/CTA survey of teachers | EdSource

By EdSource Staff

This survey by EdSource, in partnership with the California Teachers Association (CTA), provides new insights into teacher attitudes toward preparing students for college and careers, a principal goal of all major education reforms being implemented in California, including the Common Core State Standards.

Of the 1,000 teachers surveyed, 95 percent support setting college and career readiness as the goal for the state’s students. The teachers surveyed also said they felt critical thinking skills are a more important indicator of college readiness than standardized test scores.

But while indicating a high level of support for the Common Core standards, teachers also expressed a need for a clearer definition of what constitutes “college and career readiness” and for greater professional development to support these goals. The survey also found that teachers’ confidence in the attainability of the career and college readiness goals varied based on the socioeconomic background of their students.

via College and Career Readiness: An EdSource/CTA survey of teachers | EdSource.