A special two hours for special-needs kids in Solano County – Times-Herald

By Richard Bammer

The December holidays are a special time of year for billions of people worldwide, but Silveyville Christmas Tree Farm in Dixon became an especially magical yuletide universe of its own Friday morning for more than 100 Solano County special-needs children.

In its 28th year, the annual Special Needs Day at the Silveyville Road farm serves to brighten the holidays for these children. Most come from Solano public schools, from Vacaville and Dixon to Fairfield and Vallejo school districts, plus some from programs managed by the Solano County Office of Education in Fairfield.

By 10 a.m., teachers and parents herding excitable groups of children, 130 in all during the two-hour event and ranging in age from 3 to 18, walked happily through the farm’s gates, oblivious to the light rain falling, temperatures in the mid-50s and gloomy skies.

Source: A special two hours for special-needs kids in Solano County – Times-Herald

2 Solano schools get Step Up to the Plate grants – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Golden West Middle School in Fairfield has received a $1,000 grant and Gretchen Higgins Elementary in Dixon was awarded $5,000 from the KNBR Step Up to the Plate for Education program with San Francisco Giants star Brandon Crawford.

The program, which also involves Wells Fargo, awarded $100,000 in grants to 32 schools “to support athletics, arts, STEM and community-based programs.”

Crawford presented the grants Thursday at Oracle Park.

Source: 2 Solano schools get Step Up to the Plate grants

Dixon school board selects John Knight as new middle school namesake – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

When Dixon middle schoolers return at the end of summer, they will not only be stepping onto a new campus but one with a new name.

The Dixon school board voted unanimously Thursday to rename CA Jacobs Middle School after longtime principal and educator John Knight when the school relocates to East A Street.

A committee of staff, students and parents was tasked with choosing a new name, mascot and school colors to signify a new beginning when CA Jacobs moves to the refurbished former Dixon High School campus at the start of the 2020-21 school year. The committee chose burgundy and gray as the new colors and Mavericks as the new mascot.

Source: Dixon school board selects John Knight as new middle school namesake – The Reporter

Dixon school board to consider new names for middle school – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Two potential names for Dixon’s relocated middle school will go before the Governing Board of the Dixon Unified School District at Thursday’s meeting.

One of the largest projects to be funded by Measure Q — a $30.4 million initiative passed by Dixon voters in 2016 to fund district construction and renovation projects — is the remodel of the old Dixon High School campus to house the district’s new middle school. The campus has sat mostly vacant since 2007 when Dixon High moved operations to a new campus on College Way, but will be open once again at the start of the 2020-21 year when sixth through eighth-graders will move to the old building at 455 East A St.

However, the new campus will not be just a relocated CA Jacobs Middle School. It will feature a new identity, as well.

Source: Dixon school board to consider new names for middle school – The Reporter

Kaiser Permanente Awards Grants in Napa & Solano Counties | Napa Valley, CA Patch

By Chyresse Hill

Kaiser Permanente has awarded $1 million in grants to 42 local nonprofit organizations providing services and programs that improve the health of under-served communities throughout the Napa Solano area, including several serving the residents of Napa.

Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grants are awarded every year to local organizations working on specific programs and projects that align with Kaiser Permanente’s mission and goals. Funding priorities are informed by the tri-annual Community Health Needs Assessment.

All the grants help fund projects in the following categories: Access to care and coverage, Community and family safety, Mental health and wellness, Healthy Eating Active Living

Source: Kaiser Permanente Awards Grants in Napa & Solano Counties | Napa Valley, CA Patch

Dixon Lions Club members given $100 each to spend on local charity acts – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Lions Club International is one of the most philanthropic organizations across the world. Beginning this month, the Dixon chapter will be allowing its individual members to donate money for good causes as part of its 4th annual Random Acts of Kindness program.

As part of the program, members are given $100 to spend on whatever cause they hold dear. Scott Smith, Dixon Lions Club’s secretary and membership chair, said the idea came from a Lions Club in the Midwest that did a Random Acts of Kindness program and was featured in LION Magazine.

“We just did the same thing they did,” he said.

Usually, Smith said, the Lions Club receives requests for funding from organizations in need and the board votes to write a check for a specific group. However, as part of the Random Acts of Kindness, each member will receive $100 in cash and a card telling them, “You have been selected for a Random Act of Kindness from the Dixon Lions Club.”

Source: Dixon Lions Club members given $100 each to spend on local charity acts – The Reporter

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 teacher shoots music video promoting positive relationships – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Neil Postman famously wrote, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” With that in mind, it is considered important for children to set positive examples — and form positive relationships — starting from a very early age to ensure that the future itself is positive.

Sheila Herd, a math teacher at CA Jacobs Middle School, chose to promote positive culture among youth via a music video she shot of students throughout Dixon Unified School District. To bring that message home, she chose the very right song and had the blessing of the band that wrote it.

Herd describes herself as a music lover who attends a lot of concerts and bonds with her son over a lot of bands. One band she is a huge fan of is the Strumbellas, a Canadian indie folk band best known for their 2016 No. 1 alternative hit “Spirits,” which netted them several Canadian music awards, including the coveted Juno Award for Single of the Year.

Source: Dixon teacher shoots music video promoting positive relationships – 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

State schools superintendent discusses education at Solano breakfast – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Elected officials, school board trustees and superintendents from throughout Solano got an understanding Thursday of the current state and future of education at Solano County Office of Education’s annual State of Education Breakfast Forum.

State superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond was the guest speaker.

With the theme of “Full STEAM Ahead,” the breakfast was an opportunity to bring educators, business leaders and elected officials together for a discussion on educational opportunities and showcase what certain school districts are doing to prepare students for the workforce in the new decade, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Source: State schools superintendent discusses education at Solano breakfast – The Reporter

DUSD officials tour Dixon High farm, future middle school campus – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

It is not often that the past, present and future can be equally represented, but that’s what the Governing Board of the Dixon Unified School District got Tuesday.

Officials received a glimpse at the construction progress of two of the district’s largest projects — the new farm at Dixon High School and the remodel of the old DHS campus to make way for the new middle school campus — during a special school board meeting.

In a tour attended by board trustees Jewel Fink, Luke Foster and Melissa Maseda; Superintendent Brian Dolan, Nick Girimonte, assistant superintendent of educational services; and Tad Smith, chairman of the Measure Q Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, officials got to see how the two large-scale projects are coming along. The tour was led by Jim Bombaci, the senior project manager for School Site Solutions which is constructing both projects.

Source: DUSD officials tour Dixon High farm, future middle school campus – The Reporter

Anderson students ready to learn on first day back – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

After a quiet two months, the halls of Linford L. Anderson Elementary School in Dixon were once again filled with new and familiar faces when classes resumed Thursday for the 2019-20 school year.

The day began with students and their parents gathering on the blacktop for a schoolwide welcome, morning announcements and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by Principal Rayito Farris. The students then formed single file lines and made their way to their classrooms.

Their backpack designs reflected their interests, ranging from movie franchises like “Frozen” and “Toy Story,” comic book characters like Spider-Man, video games like “Fortnite,” “Minecraft” and “Super Mario Bros”; and timeless hobbies like dinosaurs and cars.

Source: Anderson students ready to learn on first day back – The Reporter

Dixon school board to vote on student achievement plans for 3 schools – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The Governing Board of the Dixon Unified School District will vote on the Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSAs) for three of the district’s schools at Thursday’s meeting.

Per California’s Education Code, each Site Council of a school receiving Title 1 Funds is required to develop an SPSA with input from stakeholders and site committees. SPSAs outline schools’ goals to support the academic performance of all students.

According to a staff report by Nick Girimonte, DUSD’s assistant superintendent of educational services, the district is using a new state template to complete SPSAs for the 2019-20 school year. The template would more closely align the site plans with DUSD’s Local Control Accountability Plan, which Girimonte wrote would “allow for more effective monitoring of strategies, a more cohesive approach to services for students and a more manageable document for parents and other stakeholders to understand.”

Source: Dixon school board to vote on student achievement plans for 3 schools – The Reporter

Dixon USD School Calendar 2019-20 – Patch.com

The first day of school in Dixon is Thursday, Aug. 8 — and whether you and the kids are looking forward to the new school year or are dreading the end of summer, you’ll want to mark the date on your calendar ASAP.

The Dixon Unified School District has also released its 2019-2020 calendar. Embedded below, the calendar includes important dates such as fall, winter and spring breaks, holidays, early dismissals and parent-teacher conferences.

Source: Dixon USD School Calendar 2019-20 – Patch.com

Some local schools begin new academic year in two weeks – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Long gone is the notion that California schools begin their new year on the first day after Labor Day, and it seems some Solano County schools and school districts begin their new academic years earlier and earlier as the years pass by.

Still, it may surprise some to learn that two local charter schools and Dixon Unified schools open their doors in early August, while Vacaville and Travis unified districts begin in mid-August, while other districts start in late August.

Dixon Montessori, a K-8 independent charter, will welcome students on Aug. 7 at its North Almond St. campus, while Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, a TK-8 independent charter on Elm Street in Vacaville, and Dixon Unified schools will begin Aug. 8.

Source: Some local schools begin new academic year in two weeks – The Reporter

Son of immigrants, 2015 DHS grad graduates from UCLA – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A son of Latino immigrants, Alejandro Sanchez, a 2015 Dixon High graduate and scholarship recipient, more or less defied the odds once as a teenager and has done it again as a new college graduate in his early 20s.

In June, Sanchez, the first DHS student to earn the David Robben Memorial Scholarship, received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating summa cum laude, Latin for “with the greatest honor.”

Sanchez, a first-generation college graduate, plans to attend medical school in 2020 and has applied to about 20 institutions for admission — Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, among them — Samantha Fordyce, a development associate with the Solano Community Foundation, said in a press release.

Source: Son of immigrants, 2015 DHS grad graduates from UCLA – The Reporter

 

Dixon High fetes its graduates – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

Smiles were big and excitement was high despite seeming gale-force winds Saturday morning as Dixon High School’s Class of 2019 marched onto Finney Field one last time.

Clad in emerald green caps and gowns, nearly 250 young men and women descended onto the green amid cheers, spinning wooden noisemakers and crowds waving everything from balloons to flowers, photos to signs, a plush Pikachu and a rainbow-striped donkey pinata.

Throughout the ceremony, the sounds of air horns rent the air and explosions of confetti showered the bleachers and nearby track with bits and pieces of vibrantly colored paper.

Source: Dixon High fetes its graduates – The Reporter

Friends of Dixon May Fair dish out scholarship funds – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Cameron Kemper, a 2019 graduate of Dixon High School and an incoming student at California State University, Chico, received the $3,000 Ester Armstrong Memorial Award as part of the Friends of Dixon May Fair agricultural scholarship awards, according to a press release.

Kemper, an Eagle Scout who plans to become a forest ranger, earned the group’s top honor, which is named after the fair’s former director.

Donnie Huffman of Vacaville, president of the friends group, and Carrie Hamel of Dixon, scholarship chairwoman, presented a total of $12,500 in scholarship awards to seven students, all of Dixon, at a recent barbecue on the fairgrounds.

Source: Friends of Dixon May Fair dish out scholarship funds

Ceremony to break ground on Dixon High School farm – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

After more than a decade in the works, the Dixon High School farm will have its groundbreaking ceremony Thursday.

When Dixon High relocated to its College Way campus in 2007, one of the proposed new features was a 30-acre farm for the school’s agriculture program. That dream moved a little closer to reality when the Dixon Unified School District Governing Board unanimously approved an agreement for Vacaville-based Abide Builders as the contractor for the project at its May 16 meeting, according to a Facebook post by board Trustee Caitlin O’Halloran.

The construction will consist of two barns, a greenhouse, 8-foot fence, a washout area for animals and utility installation. Work is expected to begin this summer.

Source: Ceremony to break ground on Dixon High School farm – The Reporter

Solano special needs students dance the morning away at annual prom – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Over at Armijo High School’s gym, the bass was thumping and fists were pumping for Solano County’s annual prom Friday morning for students with special needs, which proved to be a good time for all.

With the theme being “An Evening in the Enchanted Garden,” the room was strewn with flowers and images of iconic Disney fairies. The feeling of a magic garden was captured as special needs students throughout the county got to dress in their finest outfits, play games and dance to their hearts’ content, all while getting to be themselves.

Lynne Lee, a teacher in Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s adapted physical education department, said the event started more than 25 years ago.

Source: Solano special needs students dance the morning away at annual prom – The Reporter