New Charter Schools Division Director Named – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Stephanie Farland as the Director of the Charter Schools Division for the California Department of Education (CDE).

The Charter Schools Division oversees State Board of Education-approved charter schools throughout California and administers the Federal Public Charter Schools Grant Program.

Currently, Farland is the Executive Director and Founder of Collaborative Solutions for Charter Authorizers, a private consulting firm dedicated to assisting school districts and county offices of education in their work as charter school authorizers. In that position, she works on all aspects of charter authorizing and oversight to ensure that a fair process is being implemented in California.

Source: New Charter Schools Division Director Named – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

VUSD to consider new proposal for Country High School – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Vacaville Unified School District has decided not to move forward with a plan to create two smaller credit recovery campuses at the Will C. Wood and Vacaville high school campuses.

Instead, the school board will be considering a new proposal to move Country High School to the Buckingham Charter Magnet High School campus, move Buckingham to the current Country High campus and merge Country High with the Ernest Kimme Charter Academy for Independent Learning, which will move into the building across the way, the district announced in a Facebook post.

The goal is for both programs to work together to bring more resources to students.

In September, the district announced that it was considering establishing smaller continuation campuses on the general education high school campuses for Country High students to take classes in self-contained classrooms. However, Country High students, parents and staff expressed concerns about this proposal — namely that Country High students benefited from being in a smaller campus away from the larger comprehensive campuses — at the Sept. 28 school board meeting and on social media.

Source: VUSD to consider new proposal for Country High School – The Reporter

Rollout and Webinar Series – CA School Dashboard and System of Support (CA Dept of Education)

This letter is to notify you of the timeline for the release of preview data on the state indicators for the 2019 California School Dashboard (Dashboard) and invite you to participate in the Dashboard webinar series. During the month of November, the California Department of Education (CDE) will release the state indicator data on a rolling basis. The Dashboard public release is scheduled for the week of December 9, 2019.

To support local education agencies (LEAs) with the rollout of the state indicators, the CDE will host a webinar series. Following each webinar, the PowerPoints will be made available on the California School Dashboard and System of Support web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/cm/. Information on accessing the webinars is provided in Attachment 1 along with the dates and times.

The Dashboard preview, along with downloadable data files, will be available on password-protected web sites. The link and single password to access these sites will be sent in a separate email to Dashboard and Secure Accountability Coordinators on November 5, 2019.

Source: Rollout and Webinar Series – California School Dashboard and System of Support (CA Dept of Education)

Buckingham RoboKnights Fundraise for a Spooky Spaghetti Feed – Daily Republic

The RoboKnights of Buckingham Charter Magnet High School’s have just finished Cap City and are hosting their annual spaghetti feed.

The annual spaghetti feed will be on Saturday, October 26 from 6PM-8PM at 188 Bella Vista Road, Vacaville 95687.

“They [fabrication, coding, and electrical departments] have worked for Cap City. The Public Relations and Business Department is ready to show off at the Spaghetti Feed. We’re going to blow everyone away.” says Andrei, the business lead of robotics.

Source: Press Release: Buckingham RoboKnights Fundraise for a Spooky Spaghetti Feed

Buckingham RoboKnights Assembled for Cap City Classic – Daily Republic

Buckingham Charter Magnet High School’s RoboKnights assembled for Cap City Classic from October 19-20.

Capital City Classic is an off-season tournament for robotics teams to come and compete for a weekend. It’s a great way to start off the new year.

“We grew together as a team in the face of adversity.” says Elizabeth Deards, president of the RoboKnights.

During the off-season tournament, the RoboKnights competed with other North Bay teams. Returning members know Capital City is a great way to return to competition, and it’s a great way for RoboKnight recruits to learn what robotics is all about: having fun.

Source: Press Release: Buckingham RoboKnights Assembled for Cap City Classic

Dixon City Council reinstates upper division youth basketball programs – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

All Dixon Youth Basketball divisions will have a chance to play this season.

The Dixon City Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution allowing Divisions 3 and 4 to play at Dixon Montessori Charter School (DMCS) after the two divisions had been canceled for the year due to lack of gym space.

According to Public Works Director Joe Leach, DYB programs have been offered by the city since 2007, having been previously run by a nonprofit. The program is split into four divisions: Division 1 for first and second-graders, Division 2 for third and fourth-graders, Division 3 for fifth and sixth-graders and Division 4 for seventh and eighth-graders.

Source: Dixon City Council reinstates upper division youth basketball programs – The Reporter

Dixon City Council to vote on reinstatement of basketball program – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Just when it was looking like Dixon youth basketball players would have to go outside the city to participate in recreational action this fall, Dixon Montessori Charter School (DMCS) has stepped in with an agreement to allow playing hoops on its campus.

The City Council provide direction to staff regarding this potential reinstatement at its Tuesday meeting, freeing the way for fifth through eighth-graders to dribble and drive.

For the past 12 years, the city has coordinated the Dixon Youth Basketball (DYB) program to allow Dixon’s youth to participate in a non-competitive recreational sport, according to a staff report by Public Works Director Joe Leach, Recreation Manager Jean Houseman and Recreation Supervisor Austin George. The program is split into four divisions: Division 1 for for first and second-graders, Division 2 for third and fourth-graders, Division 3 for fifth and sixth-graders and Division 4 for seventh and eighth-graders.

Source: Dixon City Council to vote on reinstatement of upper youth basketball program – The Reporter

Charter schools rally, march for Global Climate Action Day – Times-Herald

By Richard Freedman

While a 16-year-old Swedish girl chastised politicians on Capitol Hill this week, sister charter schools in Vallejo held a Global Climate Action Rally Day of their own.

Activist Greta Thunberg enlightened the suits in Washington, D.C., hoisting a sign in Swedish “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” (“School Strike for Climate”).

“I don’t want to be heard all the time, but if there is anything I can do to improve the situation then I think it’s a very small price to pay,” Thunberg told CNN.

Young people took to the streets in protest worldwide, including thousands in New York City.

Source: Charter schools rally, march for Global Climate Action Day – Times-Herald

California’s charter schools, unions call a truce in an epic battle – Times-Herald

By Ricardo Cano/Cal Matters

Gov. Gavin Newsom brokered an agreement Wednesday on a high-profile charter-school regulation proposal at the center of this year’s contentious battle between teachers unions and charter advocates, removing a key hurdle for its passage this session.

The compromise on Assembly Bill 1505 comes after months of lobbying by the state’s two most influential education interest groups and several impassioned hearings over sweeping proposed changes to how the publicly funded, independently managed schools operate in California.

Initiated in the early 1990s as a way to bring innovation into California’s K-12 school system, charter schools have sharply grown over the years, primarily in the state’s urban school systems, and have become a flashpoint for unions, who contend they draw enrollment away from traditional public schools, depriving them of critical funding and resources.

Source: California’s charter schools, unions call a truce in an epic battle – Times-Herald

Buckingham Roboknights Return With High Spirits – Daily Republic

By Community Contributor

Buckingham Roboknights Return With High SpiritsVacaville, CA – August 27, 2017.

The Buckingham Charter Magnet High School Robotics team is gearing up for yet another successful year.

“I’m really looking forward to this year” says Public Relations lead Matt Famularcano. “There is a lot of potential, we have a great team, and a lot of exciting work to do before the competitions.”

Source: Buckingham Roboknights Return With High Spirits

Joyous last hurrah for ‘super relieved’ Buckingham seniors – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Yellow daisies ringing her mortarboard, a string of blossoms hanging from her neck and her high school diploma in hand, Lilly Orr looked deeply satisfied Friday morning for a number of reasons.

One was the two-hour Buckingham Charter High graduation ceremony that ended shortly after noon and she and her mother were exiting The Mission, where the school’s 25th annual event was held, and her high school days were only moments — but, happily, permanent ones — behind her.

Another was Orr appeared ready to leave the Leisure Town Road church to have lunch with family; and still another was the prospect of a graduation party with classmates.

Source: Joyous last hurrah for ‘super relieved’ Buckingham seniors – The Reporter

Buckingham sends 25th graduating class out into world – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Jerry and Donna Leavitt traveled from Temecula to watch their grandson Ryan LeFleur walk across the stage at the Mission on Friday with his fellow graduates from Buckingham Charter Magnet High School.

“He’s big time into robotics,” Donna Leavitt said. “He wants to be an engineer.”

After a trip to Peru with the school, LeFleur may attend summer school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He’s already been accepted there on full scholarship, Donna Leavitt said.

Source: Buckingham sends 25th graduating class out into world

Vallejo’s MIT class of 2019 graduates with honors – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

The members of the 17th graduating class of Vallejo’s Mare Island Technology Academy didn’t choose a theme for themselves, so Superintendent Matt Smith thought for a moment and came up with “Rising Above.”

“There have been significant changes in the seven years they’re been here, and they’ve hung in there,” he said. “This is by far the largest graduating class we’ve ever had. So, ‘rising above.’ That’s their theme. They’re fantastic kids.”

The 107 graduates assembled on the MIT campus — a first in many years — for the commencement ceremonies Thursday. The school usually holds these events at some other venue, Smith said.

Source: Vallejo’s MIT class of 2019 graduates with honors – Times-Herald

Students rock Vallejo with kindness – Times-Herald

By Chris Riley

Vallejo rocks in more ways than one. On Friday, students from Vallejo Charter School plan to let the whole city know, in a quiet display of kindness.

All week, kindergarten through sixth-grade kids have been working on a project of peace and civic action to coincide with over 100 Expeditionary Learning schools across the country for “Better World Day.”

“It’s a way to spread happiness,” said third-grade teacher Jennifer O’Brien. “Everyone paints a rock with a positive message on them and Vallejo Peace Project are going to pick up all the rocks and distribute them. It’s just a way to make people smile and make them happy when they find them.”

Source: Students rock Vallejo with kindness – Times-Herald

Number of Hispanic, charter school students on the rise – The Reporter

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

Kairos honored by state for civic learning – 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

Mare Island academy up for Distinguished School award – Daily Republic

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

CA Distinguished Schools Eligibility List for 2019 –  (CA Dept of Education)

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)

Veteran Administrator Dr. Ramona Bishop Leads Charter School Effort – SacObserver

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

A changed vote expected on charter high school petition – Times-Herald

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