By Richard Bammer
The most recent state data for California’s K–12 public schools indicates that overall enrollment is down slightly, while the number of Hispanic/Latino and charter school students has risen slightly and the number of white and black students has dropped slightly.
The 2018-19 data, announced Thursday by state schools chief Tony Thurmond, breaks down enrollment by ethnicity and grade, along with English language acquisition status, and can be sorted by county, district, or school. The data can be found at https://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest.
“This data provides a critical snapshot of all students in California, highlighting trends that show areas where students are improving, where they’re struggling and where additional resources are needed,” Thurmond said in a press release.
Source: State: Number of Hispanic, charter school students on the rise – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
For the third year in a row, Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy has been honored by the state for its civic engagement lessons.
It is one of 92 schools to receive a Civic Learning Award and the only one in Solano County to do so.
“It feels great,” Jared Austin, the executive director and co-founder of Kairos, said. “We have grown each year in our ability to offer students civic engagement and community service opportunities, and to have CDE and the California District Council acknowledge our efforts is great, and I think it also validates all the hard work our students are doing with community service and our teachers with the civic engagement lessons.”
Source: Kairos honored by state for civic learning – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
Mare Island Technical Academy has received an invitation to apply for the California Distinguished School award, the Solano County Office of Education announced.
The secondary school earned the invitation “because they have made exceptional gains in implementing the academic content performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education for all students,” Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.
Schools that received the invitation have met a variety of criteria, involving multiple measures on their performance and progress on the state indicators on the California School Dashboard.
Source: Mare Island academy up for Distinguished School award
California is recognizing outstanding education programs and practices in middle and high schools in 2019. The following schools are eligible to apply for the California Distinguished Schools (DS) Award and California Exemplary Award in 2019.
Information about the California Distinguished Schools (DS) Program, Eligibility Criteria, Application, California Exemplary Award, California Exemplary Districts Award, Timeline of Activities, Sponsors, and Resources, can be found on the California Department of Education California Distinguished Schools Program web page.
Source: CA Distinguished Schools Eligibility List for 2019 – California Distinguished Schools Program (CA Dept of Education)
By Antonio Harvey
Parents in Solano County are thankful the County Board of Education approved the opening of a new charter school they believe will deliver more education options in technology, language, and college readiness to prepare students to compete for college and jobs of the future.
Before Oct. 10, Dr. Ramona Bishop’s quest to open a community-led charter school in Solano County was on the brink of not coming to fruition, however, The Solano County Board of Education, SCBOE voted 5-2 to approve the petition to open ELITE Charter school covering the Vallejo City Unified School District, VCUSD.
Source: Veteran Administrator Dr. Ramona Bishop Leads Charter School Effort
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Outgoing Vallejo City Unified School District trustee Ruscal Cayangyang wants to change his vote rejecting the Griffin Academy High School, so the board plans to rescind that decision and vote on the matter again, at Wednesday’s meeting.
At last week’s meeting, Griffin Academy’s petition to establish a charter high school associated with Vallejo’s MIT Academy, from which students could simultaneously earn a diploma and an AA degree from Contra Costa Community College, was defeated 3-2, with Cayangyang on the prevailing side.
A comprehensive review of the application found Griffin mostly in compliance with legal requirements, but some issues remained, including lackluster math scores among 11th graders at MIT, decreasing enrollment, and “differences in demographics of student enrollment between other school operated by petitioner and Vallejo City Unified School District.
Source: A changed vote expected on charter high school petition at Wednesday meeting – Times-Herald
By Buckingham PR Team
Buckingham Charter Magnet High School’s Robo Knights are gearing up for the Capital City Classic at Davis High School on Oct. 27-28.
The Capital City Classic is an off-season tournament for all teams to gear up for the new season of competition starting just after the new year.
“Cap City is always an adventure. It’s a great way to show off and get started with the new season,¨ said A.J. Clifford, president of the Robo Knights.
The Robo Knights will battle with other North Bay teams. Veteran competitors enjoy the return to competition, and newcomers can dip their feet into the water and experience the excitement of robotics games.
Source: School Event: Buckingham robotics team preps for Capital City Classic
By Richard Bammer
What a difference nine months apparently make for a charter school petition.
The Solano County Board of Education on Wednesday voted 5 to 2 to overturn the Aug. 1 denial of the ELITE Charter School petition by the Vallejo City Unified School Board.
The action by the seven-member county governing board comes after it denied in January a previous ELITE petition for a countywide charter school and after the Aug. 20 appeal of the VCU decision to the county board by petitioner Ramona Bishop, a former VCU superintendent; and after a Sept. 17 public hearing at SCOE offices in Fairfield.
Bishop’s latest petition was for a single K-12 school, an independent charter, in Vallejo, and, with the vote, will be aligned with — or fall under the jurisdiction of — the county district.
Source: After previous denial, Solano County Office of Education trustees OK Elite Charter petition – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
Solano County Office of Education leaders voted unanimously Wednesday to deny the appeal of a Vallejo charter school petition at a time of increasingly intensive debate over the role of charter schools in the state.
The 7-0 decision, coming nearly five weeks after a public hearing about the appeal, occurred during a regular trustees meeting in the county schools headquarters on Business Center Drive in Fairfield.
In many ways, the vote to deny the appeal from Marie Issa Gil, whose petition to form Rocketship Vallejo Elementary Charter School also was denied June 20 by Vallejo City Unified trustees, came as no surprise.
At the June school board meeting, VCU administrators described Gil’s document as “deficient in many key respects” and offered “an unsound educational program,” the latter phrase almost always resulting in denial of a charter petition by a school district or its appeal to a county board or the state Board of Education in Sacramento.
Source: Solano County Office of Education board denies Rocketship charter appeal
By Richard Bammer
Solano County Office of Education leaders will grant or deny the appeal of a Vallejo charter school petition when the governing board meets tonight in Fairfield.
The trustees’ decision will come nearly five weeks after a public hearing about the appeal from Marie Issa Gil, whose petition to form Rocketship Vallejo Elementary Charter School was denied June 20 by Vallejo City Unified trustees, after district staffers described the petition as “deficient in many key respects.”
SCOE governing board members will have two formal options, according to agenda documents: 1) Obtain the school’s written agreement to the memorandum of understanding and grant the appeal; or 2) Deny it and adopt Resolution No. B18-19-07 in support of the denial.
It is unclear just how the seven-member board will ultimately vote, but the members’ recent history — notably denying some months ago an appeal by leaders at a Vacaville charter school, Heritage Peak — may serve as a guide.
Source: SCOE board set for up-or-down vote on charter school
By Richard Bammer
It’s 26 years old and needs a tune-up. Perhaps even an overhaul.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that he has created a panel to review the 1992 law governing California charter schools.
In a recent press release, the schools chief noted by name members of the Action Team on Charter Schools to provide recommendations of needed changes to his successor, the governor, the state Board of Education, and state Legislature. Both Torlakson and Gov. Jerry Brown term out at the end of the year.
The California Charter School Act has had few changes and little top-to-bottom review since it was enacted, Torlakson noted in the prepared statement.
Source: State schools chief forms team to update charter school law
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that he is creating an Action Team on Charter Schools to review laws governing California’s charter schools, and provide recommendations about any needed changes to the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Governor, State Board of Education, and State Legislature.
The guiding law for charter schools—the California Charter School Act—was enacted 26 years ago but has had few changes and little comprehensive review since then. In the meantime, California’s population and student population have increased significantly, our demographics have shifted, and our education system has been transformed with the introduction of new academic standards and new systems for funding and evaluating schools, Torlakson said.
“In the past few years, we have updated virtually our entire K–12 education system. Now it’s time to look at the key laws governing charter schools, which have not been significantly changed in 26 years, to see how they can be modernized to better meet the needs of all public school students, including those who attend charter schools,” said Superintendent Torlakson.
Source: Torlakson Creates Action Team on Charter Schools – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
A public hearing on the appeal of a Vallejo-based charter school petition, previously denied by the city’s education leaders two months ago, an update on the Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, and a Patriot Day resolution are on the agenda when Solano County Office of Education trustees meet tonight in Fairfield.
The seven-member governing board will hear from Marie Issa Gil, whose petition to form Rocketship Vallejo Elementary Charter School was nixed by Vallejo City Unified trustees on June 20, after district staffers characterized the petition as “deficient in many key respects.”
SCOE governing board members will “consider the level of support for the petition by teachers employed in the school district, other employees of the school district, and parents,” according to agenda documents.
Towards the end of June, county treasurers will receive a warrant that reflects state aid for school districts; charter schools; and county offices of education for programs included in the 2017–18 Second Principal Apportionment (P-2). The California Department of Education (CDE) certified P-2 on June 19, 2018, pursuant to California Education Code (EC) Section 41335 in the amount of $34,987,702,505. County superintendents of schools should advise school districts and charter schools immediately of this apportionment.
This apportionment includes funding for 2017−18 as well as updated funding for the 2016−17 First Annual Recertification, the 2015−16 Third Annual Recertification, and adjustments to other prior year apportionments, as necessary.
A summary of the calculations that the CDE used in the P-2 Apportionment is available as an attachment to this letter. Funding exhibits and apportionment Excel files that provide detailed funding amounts related to the P-2 Apportionment are available on the CDE 2017−18 Principal Apportionment web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/pa/pa1718.asp. Additional Excel files for Special Education are available on the Special Education web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/se/.
Source: 2017-18 Second Principal Apportionment (P2) Letter – Principal Apportionment (CA Dept of Education)
By Susan Hiland
With some mortarboards aglow with lights, a few with painted pictures and necks swathed in flowers, the graduates of Buckingham Charter Magnet High School officially crossed the threshold into adulthood Friday at The Mission church.
The school’s 24th commencement ceremony had a few tears, a lot of laughter and music to see the young adults off with a proper goodbye and hello.
Mentioned often by the speakers is the uniqueness of the graduating Class of 2018.
Principle Paul Tytler noted that these students choose to stand united in support of each other. He hoped that they took away from their four years of high school a confidence to speak from their hearts, compassion and courage to stand and endure.
Source: Buckingham grads ready for future
By John Glidden
An excited buzz permeated the air Tuesday as parents, kids, and school leaders celebrated the grand opening of the new Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy school.
Caliber students Lucas Norris and Zah Rai Francois stole the show when they jointly declared the two-story school, located on Oregon Street, as “officially open!”
A jubilant cheer erupted from the 150 in attendance.
The second loudest reaction came earlier in the program when Caliber co-founder Ron Beller reminded the audience about the history of the land.
Source: Caliber opens school in Vallejo
The 2018 graduation season in central and eastern Solano County is underway, with most of the ceremonies, pomp and circumstance occurring next week.
Solano Community College minted new graduates earlier this week in Hollister Stadium at main Fairfield campus.
Source: Area high school graduations, the pomp and circumstance, are set
By Richard Bammer
A 24-year Reporter employee, Bammer this year earned a John Swett Award for Media Excellence for a series of six stories in the category of continuous coverage of schools/education issues. He competed in the Community Daily Newspaper class, for publications with up to 100,000 subscribers.
And as he did last year, he earned another Certificate of Merit, this time for a news story about Buckingham Charter High students and the American Civil Liberties Union taking Vacaville Unified to task for censorship of a Black Lives Matter article in the school’s yearbook. After The Reporter story was published, the student article, as written, and a photo showing several female students raising a “black power” salute were eventually restored to the yearbook.
“For us at The Reporter, we appreciate Richard’s hard work and attention to detail,” said Managing Editor Melissa Murphy. “He offers experience and knowledge to his colleagues and maintains great relationships with the community he covers. He appreciates being recognized for his work, but that’s not what drives him. Rather, he strives for producing great community journalism and he’s very successful at that.”
Source: Reporter staffer earns another CTA writing award
By John Glidden
The Vallejo school board will hold a public hearing Wednesday night regarding a petition to open a new charter school in the district.
Representatives with the Redwood City-based nonprofit, Rocketship Public Schools, are asking to open a charter which serves transitional kindergarten to fourth grade. A 5th grade class would eventually be added, officials with the nonprofit told the Times-Herald in a previous interview.
Officials hope to open for the 2020-21 school year.
Rocketship currently operates 18 schools in three states and Washington, D.C.
“Vallejo families need and deserve schools like Rocketship that close the achievement gap and put students on the path to college and career success,” Marie Issa Gil, Rocketship Bay Area regional director wrote in a previous email to the Times-Herald.
Source: Vallejo trustees to review charter school petition
By John Glidden
A South Bay charter school operator has submitted a petition to establish a school in the Vallejo City Unified School District.
Rocketship Public Schools officials confirmed they are hoping to open the new facility for the 2020-2021 school year.
For the first year the school would be open for transitional kindergarten to fourth grade, with a fifth-grade class added in the second year, they said.
Marie Issa Gil, Rocketship Bay Area regional director and lead petitioner for Rocketship Vallejo said the proposed move comes after “over 500 students in Vallejo expressed their support for Rocketship to bring a school to their community.”
Source: New charter school hopes to land in Vallejo