Superintendent contract, high school farm on Dixon USD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An extension and some revisions to Superintendent Brian Dolan’s contract, an update on sixth-graders transitioning to middle school, and possible Proposition 51 funding for the Dixon High School Farm are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight.

The five-member governing board is expected to approve an extension to Dolan’s contract, which expires Sept. 30. Additionally, trustees will consider removing current contract language about Dolan also serving as human resources director.

Dolan will lead the update of sixth-graders who will be incorporated at the district’s middle school, C.A. Jacobs, during the 2018-19 academic year. Plans call for several key elements, including planning among affected principals, and discussions among teachers and parents.

Source: Superintendent contract, high school farm on Dixon school district agenda

Study puts Fairfield-Suisun USD in middle for salaries, revenues, benefits – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

A comparison of the Fairfield-Suisun School District with a dozen other nearby, similar districts found Fairfield-Suisun in the middle of categories that include salaries, revenues and employee benefits.

Fairfield-Suisun was the largest of the 13 districts that included the Vacaville, Travis and Dixon school districts as well as Berkeley and Napa Valley.

The study used California Department of Education data from 2015-16.

Source: Study puts Fairfield-Suisun School District in middle for salaries, revenues, benefits

Revised meal payment policy on Dixon USD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An explanation about a delayed release for the latest state standardized test scores and a revised food services meal payment policy are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Mike Walbridge, assistant superintendent for educational services, will explain the reason for the delay, which the state Department of Education has chalked up to an unspecified “data problem.” The 2017 California Assessment of Student Proficiency and Progress, or CAASPP, measures student skills in English and math for students in grades three through eight and 11th grades.

The five-member governing board will consider the new meal payment policy, as presented by Melissa Mercado, the chief business official.

In brief, the policy will require cafeteria workers and district staff to increase their efforts to inform parents or guardians of their student’s delinquent meal account. Once a limit of $50 is reached, the student will no longer be able to charge meals, and, after all efforts to collect the debts are made, district officials may prohibit seniors from participating in senior activities, including graduation, or possibly delay the sending of a student’s report card.

Source: Revised meal payment policy on Dixon Unified School District agenda

Denunciation chorus loud, clear – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

As expected, President Trump’s decision Tuesday to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, and his urging of Congress to replace it with legislation, prompted an outcry from several California elected officials and local and national educators — but it also earned applause from immigration reform advocates.

Part of the denunciation chorus, understandably large in California because more than one in four DACA recipients lives in the Golden State, state schools chief Tom Torlakson told California public school students and their families that California will keep protecting and supporting them.

Source: Denunciation chorus loud, clear

Surprise administrative churn in Dixon Unified – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

With the unexpected decision of a senior Dixon Unified manager, there is a new but familiar face in district offices and a new but equally familiar face in the principal’s office at Dixon High.

Superintendent Brian Dolan late last week named longtime Dixon High Principal Nick Girimonte to replace Mike Walbridge, who, in an unexpected move, resigned as assistant superintendent of educational services to relocate his family to Southern California. At the same time, Dolan elevated Dixon High Assistant Principal Stephanie Marquez to replace Girimonte.

Source: Surprise administrative churn in Dixon Unified

Grants available for Solano’s K-12 teachers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Money for some school programs generally is hard to come by and it may be more difficult to get if the Trump administration’s 2018 federal budget proposal, which will slash $9 billion from the Department of Education, is approved,

In the meantime, with area school districts starting the new academic year, the Solano Community Foundation has made available money for Solano County K-12 students in public schools.

Money from the foundation’s Education Plus! Grant Program supports classroom projects, after-school, and mentoring programs. Teachers and educators with innovative programs may apply for the financial support, Samantha Fordyce, the foundation’s development associate, wrote in a press release.

The program’s focus is two-fold: 1) development of grade-level reading skills, preferably by the end of the third grade; and 2) attainment of math skills to allow proper course placement at ninth grade. However, the foundation will fund projects that work toward achieving or improving reading and math skills for K-12 students at all levels, noted Fordyce.

Source: Grants available for Solano’s K-12 teachers

Dixon youths view the path of the eclipse – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

More than 100 students descended on the basketball court Monday at Gretchen Higgins Elementary in Dixon, specially-altered boxes of Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Eggo Waffles and FedEx stuck to their faces.

The aim — to view the historic “Great American Eclipse,” viewable in totality in certain areas across the nation but only as a partial eclipse in Northern California.

Practically vibrating with excitement, the pint-sized fifth and sixth graders, armed with their special viewing boxes, took turns at spaces around the court to watch the eclipse from different angles.

Source: Dixon youths view the path of the eclipse

Dixon USD trustees focuses on meal debt recovery plan, sixth-grade transition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A debt recovery plan for school lunch accounts, and updates on sixth-graders’ transition to C.A. Jacobs Intermediate School and the possibility of reconfiguring the district’s elementary school model are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight.

Melissa Mercado, the district’s new chief business officer, will lead the discussion on the food services department’s plans to get families to pay off meal debts.

The agenda item comes two weeks after the five-member board first heard of the plan from Superintendent Brian Dolan, which came after headlines about public rage directed at American schools that resort to so-called “lunch shaming” policies that humiliate children with meal debts.

Since July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has required school districts to adopt policies for taking care of delinquent student accounts for breakfast and lunch meals. While the agency, which funds the meal programs, is not specifically barring most of the embarrassing methods — such as serving cheap sandwiches instead of hot meals or sending children home with reminders, such as hand stamps — districts are being encouraged to inform parents at the start of the school year, so children don’t go hungry.

Source: Dixon Unified School District trustees focuses on meal debt recovery plan, sixth-grade transition

Vacaville school district ranked in detailed income-expense comparative analysis – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders late last week were nowhere near a school cafeteria but they heard plenty of information from representatives of an advocacy educational resources firm that provided food for thought as the district’s new academic year begins Thursday.

Two employees from the Sacramento-based School Services of California Inc., which offers business, financial, management and support for the state’s 1,000 school districts, laid out the numbers during Thursdays’s governing board meeting, an comparative analysis of district income and expenses side-by-side with a dozen primarily other Bay Area districts for the 2015-16 year (the most recent for which their specific data was available).

School district officials had requested the analysis, Sheila Vickers, a company vice president, told trustees. The analysis and comparisons cast an eye on districts with similar average daily attendance and percentages of “unduplicated” students, that is, English learners, low-income and foster youth.

Source: Vacaville school district ranked in detailed income-expense comparative analysis

A day of anxieties, rules, new faces, hope – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Standing with friends near the school office, Kaylee Sendejas, 11, a fifth-grader at Gretchen Higgins Elementary in Dixon, pointed to her name and her teacher’s, Matt Banuelos, on a class roster affixed to a window. She giggled and smiled, matching the high youthful spirits of those clustered around her.

For Sendejas — with less than 10 minutes before the school bell’s first loud ring on the first day, at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, marking the start of the 2017-18 academic year in Dixon Unified — it was a morning with many possibilities mixed with an equal amount of anxieties.

Source: A day of anxieties, rules, new faces, hope

“Food shaming” not an issue as DUSD deals with meal debts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After a national chorus of outrage, American public schools are rethinking so-called “lunch shaming” policies that humiliate children with meal debts.

Since July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has required school districts to adopt policies for taking care of delinquent student accounts for breakfast and lunch meals. While the agency, which funds the meal programs, is not specifically barring most of the embarrassing methods — such as serving cheap sandwiches instead of hot meals or sending children home with reminders, such as hand stamps — districts are being encouraged to inform parents at the start of the school year, so children don’t go hungry.

It is an issue that turned up last week on the Dixon Unified governing board agenda, as district leaders seeks solutions to the sizable number of unpaid lunch accounts.

via: “Food shaming” not an issue as DUSD deals with meal debts.

SCOE report: Fewer homeless students in 2017 – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The number of homeless public school students in Solano County has fluctuated in the past four years, from a record 2,200 in 2013 to 1,425 in 2015 to 2,080 in 2016 to 1,545 in 2017, and Vacaville-area districts this past year, reflecting county trends, tracked decidedly decreased numbers, the county Office of Education reported Wednesday.

Districts with fewer numbers from the most recent reporting period, ending June 30, include Vacaville, with 197, down from 237 in 2016; Travis Unified, with 91, a sizable drop from 264; and Fairfield-Suisun Unified, Solano’s largest district with more than 21,500 students, somewhat surprisingly with 687, down from 950.

Source: SCOE report: Fewer homeless students in 2017

DUSD agenda: lunch bills, Oversight Committee, medical billing contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will discuss solutions to the sizable number of unpaid lunch accounts, legal requirements for the Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee, a formal resolution establishing the committee, and a contract for Medi-Cal billing services.

The five-member governing board will hear a report from Superintendent Brian Dolan about the rural eastern Solano County school district’s food service program that will require future decisions.

Among them are actions to take when a student has an unpaid balance on their food service account; methods to collect such debts; and a general fund contribution to pay for breakfasts at Anderson Elementary and breakfasts and lunches at Maine Prairie High, a continuation school.

Source: DUSD agenda: Unpaid lunch bills, Citizens Oversight Committee, medical billing contract

School resource officer a possibility for Dixon Unified – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified may soon lose an arguably dubious distinction; the only Solano County school district without a school resource officer.

Dixon Police Chief Robert Thompson on Thursday told district trustees that he had applied for federal funding that would pay for, either in full or part, the creation of the new department job.

“It’s critically important to fund and staff” the position, he said during a school board meeting in the Dixon City Council chamber.

School resource officers typically are responsible for providing security and crime-prevention services in U.S. schools. They may also have other duties, including mentoring, speaking about youth-related issues, and, he said at one point, making “soft contacts” with students and staff.

Thompson, a former FBI employee, said he was concerned about “the negative consequences of not having” a school resource officer in the rural eastern Solano County district with 3,500 students across eight campuses.

Source: School resource officer a possibility for Dixon Unified

Trustees table to Aug. 3 Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee resolution – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified leaders on Thursday tabled until their next meeting, Aug. 3, a resolution to establish the Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee, the decision coming after nearly three hours of discussion, by turns rancorous, repetitious and frustrating.

The lengthy discussion on the first new business agenda item came as a surprise to some, given the seemingly routine nature of such matters in other school districts, but committee members, who have already been meeting over the past several weeks, objected to the addition of five pages of bylaws, committee procedures and an excerpt from the California Constitution attached to the three-page resolution.

Source: Trustees table to Aug. 3 Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee resolution

Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to meet – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified’s Measure Q Citizens Bond Oversight Committee will meet in Wednesday in Dixon.

Members will hear an overview of existing bond projects from John Calise, the rural school district’s director of facilities and operations.

They also will hear from a guest speaker Anton Jungherr on organizational guidance.

Gary Riddle, a committee member, will offer a report and the committee may take action, according to agenda documents.

Calise will present information about the committee’s website content.

Source: Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to meet

Mattress company begins school supplies drive for foster youth – The Reporter

Summer vacation is underway, but a new school year is right around the corner.

Consider that classes begin Aug. 9 in Dixon Unified, Aug. 17 for Vacaville Unified, Aug. 21 for Vacaville Christian Schools, and Aug. 23 for Travis Unified.

But for local foster children who might be headed to a new school, this time of year can bring concern about fitting in and keeping up academically. Having the necessary school supplies can help ease their worry and allow them to focus on learning.

To that end, Mattress Firm, the mattress chain store with two outlets in Vacaville, is hosting, through Aug. 27, its School Supply Drive for Foster Kids, offering a simple template for the community to donate, a corporate spokesman said in a press release.

Source: Mattress company begins school supplies drive for foster youth

Friends of the Fair ward six ag scholarships – The Reporter

By Kathy Keatley Garvey

Not many organizations can say, “We have given away $175,000 in college scholarship funds over the last 17 years.”

The Friends of the Dixon May Fair can.

The Friends of the Fair, the service-oriented and fundraising arm of the Dixon May Fair, just presented a total of $12,500 in scholarships to six Solano County residents majoring in an agricultural-related field. The Friends’ philanthropic contributions now totals $175,000.

“We totally support our college students majoring in ag,” said Donnie Huffman of Vacaville, president of the Friends of Fair. The organization raises funds primarily through the sale of beverages sold at the Dixon May Fair.

He and Carrie Hamel of Dixon, the scholarship committee chair, presented the awards to the winners at a recent end-of-the-year barbecue on the fairgrounds.

 

Source: Friends of the Fair ward six ag scholarships

Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to hold organizational meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified’s Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee will hold its organizational meeting Wednesday at Dixon High School.

The committee, formed in May, will review procedures, policies and guidelines; Brown Act provisions that stipulate the state’s open meetings laws; elect officers (chair, vice chair, secretary, etc.); and set dates for future meetings.

The $30.4 million bond, which will pay for upgrades to the district’s aging schools, passed by more than 55 percent of district voters in November. The money will be used to upgrade the district’s eight campuses, but especially the oldest, such as Old Dixon High, built in 1940, and Anderson Elementary, built in 1949. By law, none of the bond money can be used for administrator or teacher salaries or school operating expenses.

Source: Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to hold organizational meeting

DHS Athletics updates athletic policy process – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

School may have wrapped up last week, but the Dixon High School Athletic Department is already preparing for the fall.

On June 1, Dixon High officially opened up its brand new registration procedure for prospective student-athletes, offering a method that is almost entirely online.

After facilitating a familiar process that typically included stacks of forms, multiple meetings, and unnecessary questions at times, DHS Athletic Director and teacher Angela West spearheaded the effort to offer a more user-friendly approach.

Dixon High will also be hosting it’s lone mandatory meeting for fall sports on Aug. 3 at 6 p.m.. But unlike past years, the mandatory meeting will be broken up into small groups that are led by the coaches of the respective fall sports (cross country, football, water polo, girls golf, girls volleyball, cheer). “It allows the parents to log on and take care of it from home,” said Dixon High Athletics secretary Norma Holtmeyer. “We have probably had a half dozen parents sign their kids up and they said how it was very user friendly. I think in our world, nowadays anyway, a lot of things are online and it’s almost expected.”

 

Source: DHS Athletics updates athletic policy process