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

New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Just how local education leaders on June 29 will vote on a proposed and newly named independent charter school is unknown, but a Sacramento-area charter school group director who has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified officials to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the district faced a spate of pointed questions Thursday night.

Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, a nonprofit charter company that operates four charter schools, made a 15-minute presentation during a packed governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center, touting the independent charter school’s standardized test results, suspension rate, education model and demographics.

But during a question-and-answer session with trustees, he at times appeared to stumble at providing quick answers from board members, especially Whit Whitman, and could not provide some sought-after financial information about Heritage Peak, the learning center at 354 Parker St. in downtown Vacaville. (If the petition is approved, it will be renamed as Pacific Valley Charter Academy.)

 

Source: New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting

Solano Community Foundation bestows Nelson Scholarships – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Solano Community Foundation has awarded sizable scholarships to 10 Vacaville high school seniors, it has been announced.

Seven students received Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Scholarships, five from Will C. Wood High, including Dylan Nute, Ian Kitamura, Mercedes Hall, Willow Rigney and Hailey Milsaps; one from Buckingham Charter High, Mikayla Canales; and one from Vacaville High, Cassidy Aberson. Each four-year award is worth $14,000, or $3,500 per year.

Cassiel Nortier-Tilly of Vacaville High School received the Grace B. Powell Vacaville High School Scholarship, a one-time award of $5,000. Powell was principal of Vacaville High and promoted academic achievement. An annual citywide spelling bee is named after her.

Kristoffer Hernandez of Vacaville High and Rita Zughbaba from Buckingham Charter will receive an Auldin Briggs Achievement Scholarship of $2,500 each for one year. Briggs was a sheet metal worker at Mare Island, and later taught mechanical drawing at Solano Community College.

Source: Solano Community Foundation bestows Nelson Scholarships

New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A petition from an independent charter school in Vacaville, two Local Control Accountability Plans from a pair of dependent charter schools in Vacaville, and a nearly $1 million construction contract are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Already rebuffed once, the leader of a Sacramento-area charter school group has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified leaders to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the 12,500-student district.

The governing board will hear a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, then seek comments and questions from the public and trustees.

The governing board — which, in July 2013, rejected the charter submitted on behalf of Heritage Peak, the PCI charter school at 354 Parker St. — will take action on the petition, an up-or-down vote, as required by law, at its June 29 meeting.

 

Source: New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda

Vallejo school board approves new charter – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A petition to open a new charter school in the city won approval by the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education during a May 3 meeting.

The petition — submitted by Mare Island Technology Academy officials — earned unanimous support from the VCUSD board. The Griffin Academy Middle School will be the third MIT charter in the city of Vallejo, joining a middle and high school.

Much of the board discussion centered around whether the charter should receive an initial three-year or five-year term.

Cheri Summers, the district’s chief academic officer, said staff recommended three years after noting the petition lacked depth and detail in certain areas but was still “technically compliant” with state law.

Lynne Vaughan, who serves on the MIT Academy Board of Directors, asked the board to consider giving the new charter a five-year term. She addressed the concerns of staff which focused mainly around the school’s learning program.

 

Source: Vallejo school board approves new charter

Rebuffed once, Sacramento-area charter school leader petitions VUSD again – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Already rebuffed once, the leader of a Sacramento-area charter school group has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified leaders to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the 12,500-student district.

When it meets Thursday, the governing board plans to hear a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, then seek comments and questions from the public and trustees.

The governing board — which, in July 2013, rejected the charter submitted on behalf of Heritage Peak, the PCI charter school at 354 Parker St. — will take action on the petition, an up-or-down vote, as required by law, at its June 29 meeting.

Keefer on April 28 sent notice of his renewed intentions to VUSD offices on Nut Tree Road. By law, the district has 60 days from receipt of the petition to make a decision. The last time Keefer engaged in the process with the district, trustees, on a 4-2 vote in a packed meeting room in the Educational Services center, rejected the petition, citing its “unsound educational plan.”

 

Source: Rebuffed once, Sacramento-area charter school leader petitions VUSD again

Buckingham artist ‘layers it on’ for annual student art show – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Hannah Siu loves the outdoors and art.

She’s employed both passions in “Mystical Meadow,” one of nearly 300 entries submitted to the Vacaville Art League’s annual student show. An honorable mention ribbon sits next to her creation on a pedestal.

The Buckingham High School senior used about 10 layers of paper to create the three-dimensional scene. She carved with a thin tool and used about 30 pieces of paper in the accordion-style piece.

It was created during her painting and sculpting class at school when her instructor encouraged the students to be creative, she said.

Source: Buckingham artist ‘layers it on’ for annual student art show

Measure Q items, charter school petition on DUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Business related to Measure Q, the $30.4 million bond approved by voters in November, and a public hearing on the Norcal Trade and Tech Center Charter School petition are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

The five-member governing board is expected to approve a $864,000 contract with LPA Inc. for design services related to the modernization of Old Dixon High, built in 1940 when Franklin Roosevelt was president. LPA is an architectural firm with offices in California and Texas, from Sacramento and San Diego to Dallas and San Antonio.

Later in the meeting, trustees also are expected to approve some additional applicants to serve on the Citizens Oversight Committee for Measure Q. Typically, bond oversight committees are tasked with being stewards of the money, delivering periodic updates to the governing board on how the money is being spent. Agenda documents did not list the names of the applicants, but two were approved in March, one in April, and Superintendent Brian Dolan, noted the latest applicants bring the committee closer to being fully staffed.

Source: Measure Q items, charter school petition on DUSD agenda

Local charter school students publish book of short stories – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Eight Solano County junior high students have developed a book of their own short stories as part of their language arts course.

The students are Lisette Adundez, Caden Hiteshew, Madeline LeBron, Kawika Makua, Warren Dominguez, Carolyn West, Josiah West and Spencer Young. Their book, “Ready for Liftoff,” is available on Amazon.

“They all belong to different charter schools,” said Mia Douglas, director of the Launch tutoring program, which these students have been enrolled in for two years.

Source: Local charter school students publish book of short stories

Vallejo school board to decide numerous items – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A charter school petition, Internet services, and creation of an advisory committee to assist with selection of a superintendent search firm are all before the Vallejo City Unified School District Governing Board Wednesday night.

District staff is recommending trustees approve an application for a third Mare Island Technology charter school. If approved, the MIT Griffin Academy Middle School will have an initial charter from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021.

MIT currently operates two charters: A middle school and high school.

• Also before the board is a proposed 10-year agreement with Zayo Networks to provide Internet services for the district. The VCUSD currently pays $31,200 per year to AT&T for Internet and phone services, a student information system, site surveillance, paging systems, clocks, fiscal accounting and online curriculum.

 

Source: Vallejo school board to decide numerous items

Controversial charter bill could face prolonged fight in Legislature | EdSource

By Mikhail Zinshteyn

Californians on both sides of the charter school debate can expect two years of hearings over Senate Bill 808, a bill that would restrict the charter school approval process, which critics claim could lead to the shuttering of many of the schools.

During a press conference Monday at the Capitol, the bill’s author, Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, outlined a two-year roadmap for the proposed law’s passage that includes an eventual vote on the bill.

“Yes, this bill will be going through the process like any other bill, and eventually it’ll be having a vote,” Mendoza said. That process includes a hearing in the Senate Education Committee this week and meetings in communities throughout the state this year.

Source: Controversial charter bill could face prolonged fight in Legislature | EdSource

Area high school robotics teams tally mixed results at world championships – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville-area high school robotics teams posted mixed results but gained immeasurable experience at the 2017 FIRST Robotics World Championships, The Reporter has learned.

Held in Houston last week, Wednesday through Saturday, the competition yielded the final tallies, with the RoboVikes from Vanden High, in the 67-team Galileo division, in 13th place; the RoboKnights from Buckingham Charter High in 43rd in the Hopper division; and the Armijo High Robotics squad in 66th, also in the Galileo division.

Long a robotics powerhouse and mentor to other robotics teams, the RoboVikes, veterans of several world championship runs, ended up in first place after the first day of competition, Thursday, in the George Brown Convention Center, for essentially a STEM face-off that attracted 400 teams (in five divisions) from the West and South and from several foreign countries, including Australia, China and Turkey. (Because the championship has grown in popularity, another round of championship matches is this coming weekend in St. Louis.)

Source: Area high school robotics teams tally mixed results at world championships

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

Buckingham honored among Gold Ribbon Schools – The Reporter

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

Among the award winners is Buckingham Charter Magnet High School of the Vacaville Unified School District. The list also includes Armijo High School, Green Valley Middle School and the Public Safety Academy of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. Benicia High School and Benicia Middle School are also honored.

“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 press release. “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 honored among Gold Ribbon Schools

California bill that would restrict charter school approvals stalls in Sacramento | EdSource

By Mikhail Zinshteyn

Charter school supporters are applauding a state senator’s decision to table a bill that would have allowed only school districts to approve new charter petitions.

The bill’s author, State Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, said Monday he will not ask the Senate Education Committee to vote on the bill next week when it was due to come up for consideration.

Mendoza said he remains behind the concept of the bill, which would greatly restrict how charters appeal district-level refusals to their county offices of education and remove the state Board of Education from the process altogether.

Source: California bill that would restrict charter school approvals stalls in Sacramento | EdSource

SCC, area high schools set graduation dates – The Reporter

Warmer spring days mean area high school and community college graduations are being noted on calendars in central and eastern Solano County.

By chronological date, here is a list of local high school and the Solano Community College graduation times, dates and locations:

  • Solano Community College — 6 p.m. May 25 in the football stadium, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Fairfield.
  • Vacaville Christian High School — 7 p.m. May 25, Falcon Field, 821 Marshall Road, Vacaville.
  • Vacaville Unified Adult Education — 7 p.m. May 30, Catwalk Theatre, Will C. Wood High, 998 Marshall Road, Vacaville.
  • Maine Prairie High School — 6 p.m. May 31, Dixon High School Theater, 555 College Way, Dixon

Source: SCC, area high schools set graduation dates

Charter schools in line to get extra help despite Trump plan to slash education funding | EdSource

By Mikhail Zinshteyn

Charter schools in California and elsewhere stand to be a major beneficiary of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the coming year, even though he wants to slash $9.2 billion from many other federal education programs.

Trump called for $1.4 billion in new funding for a “school choice” program that includes an increase of $250 million to subsidize tuition for private schools and $168 million for expanding charter schools. An additional $1 billion is for a program that would allow students to attend a public school of their choice, which could include charter schools. Trump has provided no details for any of these programs.

The extra $168 million for charter schools represents a 50 percent expansion of the Charter Schools Program from its current level of $333 million. The bulk of the funds are shared with states to support new charter schools. Two other grants within the program support the expansion of charter networks and facilities costs. The funds given to states can be spent on purchasing classroom equipment, such as laptops for students and desks, informing parents that schools are opening and training school staff.

Source: Charter schools in line to get extra help despite Trump plan to slash education funding | EdSource

Education Budget Cuts, Student Aid Problems and More : NPR Ed

By Sophia Alvarez Boyd and Anya Kamenetz

National K-12 and higher ed news came fast and furious this week. Here are our highlights to help you keep on top.

The president’s “skinny budget” has cuts for education

The biggest story of our week happened early Thursday morning when President Trump released his budget outline, historically known as a “skinny budget” because it has few details.

The U.S. Department of Education came in for a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut.

During Trump’s campaign, he promised $20 billion for school choice. His 2018 budget is the first small step in that direction, increasing charter school funding by two-thirds, funding an unspecified new “private school choice program,” and adding another $1 billion for Title I, which helps fund high-poverty schools. That Title I money would be earmarked to “encourage” school choice.

Source: FAFSA, Pell Grants And Charters, Oh My! : NPR Ed : NPR

On Kairos agenda: Second interim budget, facilities update – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Approval of the second interim budget for 2016-17 and updates on facilities and open enrollment are on the agenda when Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Anita Schwab, the chief business officer for the independent charter school on Elm Street, will update the board on the budget. The board of directors likely will approve it.

She will stress that the current budget is a “blueprint” for the final one to be adopted before June 30, and that it will be subject to Gov. Jerry Brown’s state budget revision due in May.

In her summary, as indicated by agenda documents, Schwab said the budget reflects, among several things, the revised Local Control Funding Formula funding gap percentages adopted by the state, reduction in the per-pupil rate for one-time mandated money, additional curriculum for a new academy, and increases to tenant improvements.

 

Source: On Kairos agenda: Second interim budget, facilities update