Health survey, farm on Dixon Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Results from a student health survey, an update to the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan, and an update on the funding process for the Dixon High School Farm are among the topics Dixon Unified leaders will hear about and discuss when they meet tonight in Dixon.

Julie Kehoe, executive director for special education and pupil services, will offer a presentation of results from the California Healthy Kids Survey taken last spring.

She will tell the five-member governing board that students in grades seven, nine and 11 annually take the survey that measures the students’ connection to their respective schools as well as their views on drugs and alcohol.

Source: Health survey, farm on Dixon Unified agenda

Some Solano govt. offices shut down for holiday – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Some government offices and schools will be open Monday while others will close to observe the federal holiday.

Solano County offices and the courts are closed Monday in observance of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and again Feb. 19 in observance of George Washington’s birthday.

Schools in the Fairfield-Suisun School District are closed both Mondays. Schools in the Vacaville School District are open Monday but will close Feb. 19-23 to observe Presidents Week. Schools in Vallejo are open Monday but closed Feb. 19. Schools in Dixon will be closed Friday and again Feb. 19 to observe the Presidents Day holiday. Schools in Benicia are closed both Monday and Feb. 19.

Source: Some Solano govt. office shut down for holiday

SELPA seeks nominations for community recognition awards – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Do you know someone who does the extraordinary in their service to students with disabilities?

SELPA Community Advisory Committee members are seeking nominations for their 12th annual Recognition Awards event.

Nominations, due Feb. 16, may be submitted online at www.solanocountyselpa.net.

The CAC awards are given to educators, youth, and community members for outstanding service “who go above and beyond in service of students with disabilities,” Kanani Cherry, SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area) coordinator for Solano County, noted in a press release issued Wednesday.

Award recipients come from each school district within the local plan area, unified school districts in Vacaville, Dixon, Fairfield, and the Solano County Office of Education.

Source: SELPA seeks nominations for community recognition awards

Committee seeks nominations for those who serve Solano students with disabilities – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Nominations are being accepted for the 12th annual Community Advisory Committee Recognition Awards, recognition given to people who have gone “above and beyond” in their service of students with disabilities.

Awards are presented to educators, youth and community members. Recipients are from each school district within the Solano County Special Education Local Plan Area: Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Travis and Vacaville, as well as the Solano County Office of Education.

Additionally, a student and representative from a community organization who have demonstrated dedication to supporting people with special needs will be honored.

Source: Committee seeks nominations for those who serve Solano students with disabilities

Dixon High School novels, sixth-grade transition on agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An update regarding the availability of high school novels at Dixon High, a tentative agreement about employee orientations, and an update on the sixth-grade transition to a middle school setting are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

The assistant superintendent of educational services, Nick Girimonte will note that a staff member raised a “concern” about the lack of “core novels” at Dixon High. Girimonte will review past and current “processes” for buying and maintaining the books. The agenda documents did not mention which works of fiction were considered “core.”

Leanee Medina Estrada, human resources director, will introduce the tentative agreement between the district and Local 1021 of the Service Employee International Union, which represents school-support employees, regarding new employee orientation under Assembly Bill 119. Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in June, the law requires public employers to grant union members access to new employee orientations. The cost of the agreement, which would require some employee release time to attend the orientations, is estimate to be $1,000. It is unclear if the five-member governing board will approve the agreement.

Source: Dixon High School novels, sixth-grade transition on agenda

Nearly 1k students took part in RCD’s education program during past year – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Reliable research shows that we remember field trips long into adulthood — journeys to museums, state and national monuments, state capitols, major libraries, seashores, national forests and the like — enriching visits that offer real educational value.

That, in part, is the mission of the Solano Resource Conservation District and its Suisun Marsh Watershed Education Program as it intersects with the missions of county school districts, which, like districts across the nation, are increasingly hard-pressed to fund.

But just ending its 10th year, the RCD program — which uses Rush Ranch, just south of Suisun City, and the massive adjacent marsh as an outdoor classroom — continues to flourish, thanks to its partners: the Solano County Water Agency, the Solano County Department of Resource Management and the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District.

Source: Nearly 1k students took part in RCD’s education program

Dixon board elects new officers, OKs budget report – The Reporter

By Reporter Staff

In the annual reshuffling of governing board officers, Dixon Unified leaders elected Melissa Maseda, a former preschool teacher, as president, it has been announced.

Attorney Luke Foster was elected vice president; and Caitlin O’Halloran, client engagement and community relations manager, Capital Resource Network, was named clerk of the board.

The five-member governing board is rounded out by John Gabby, a mortgage broker; and Guy Garcia, a farmer, who handed the president’s gavel to Maseda.

In other matters during a trustees meeting earlier this month, Melissa Mercado, the district’s chief business officer, updated the board on the 2017-18 first interim budget, one of two annual summaries of the 3,500-student district’s financial status.

Source: Dixon board elects new officers, OKs budget report

Dixon school leaders will reorganize board, hear budget report – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

As they will in Vacaville, Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will reorganize the governing board and elect new officers, hear the 2017-18 first interim budget report, and solicit ideas about program offerings and “facilities challenges” at Maine Prairie High, the district’s continuation school.

Guy Garcia, president of the five-member governing board, will give up his gavel. Trustees will elect a new president, vice president and clerk.

As chief business officer, Melissa Mercado will update the board on the 2017-18 first interim budget, one of two annual summaries of the 3,500-student district’s financial status.

Revenues are expected to be $33.1 million, expenditures $33.9 million, resulting in $800,000 in red ink. The estimated ending fund balance is nearly $2 million.

Mercado’s numbers come are California school districts face increasing employee pension costs in several future years and as teacher unions clamor for member pay hikes.

Source: Dixon school leaders will reorganize board, hear budget report

Teacher contract proposal on Dixon Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A collective bargaining proposal for the current year, and updates about the Career Technical Education facilities program and a school resource officer position are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Shawn Tutt, president of the Dixon Teachers Association, will tell the five-member governing board that the union’s collective bargaining proposal “is open,” Superintendent Brian Dolan said in an interview Wednesday.

He was unsure what the teachers are considering in terms of wage and benefit hikes, since the proposal is in its early stages.

Nick Girimonte, assistant superintendent for educational services, will update trustees on the CTE facilities program, which includes information about funding for the Dixon High School Farm.

Source: Teacher contract proposal on Dixon Unified agenda

Pensions pack punch for school district budgets, superintendent says – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Pension costs could run school districts out of business, a superintendent said Thursday at the State of Education in Solano County forum.

Schools may first reach a point where they do less for students because of contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System, said Brian Dolan, superintendent of the Dixon School District.

Source: Pensions pack punch for school district budgets, superintendent says

Dixon Unified leaders face light agenda tonight – The Reporter

Dixon Unified leaders face a relatively light agenda when they meet tonight in Dixon.

Superintendent Brian Dolan will lead an update about the ongoing process of planning and carrying out of the sixth-grade cohort’s transition to middle school.

He also will lead an update of the progress toward development of a school resource officer position, a suggestion made in July by Police Chief Robert E. Thompson.

At the time, during a trustee meeting, he noted that the rural, 3,500-student district was the only one in Solano without a school resource officer. Thompson told the five-member governing board that he had applied for federal funding that would pay for, either in full or part, the creation of the new department job.

Source: Dixon Unified leaders face light agenda tonight

DUSD leaders forgo lease-leaseback option for Measure Q projects – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Not willing to spend the time and money to fend off a potential legal challenge, Dixon Unified leaders have decided to forgo using the lease-leaseback process for proposed and much-needed school renovations under Measure Q.

The Reporter recently learned of the district’s decision — made during a closed session gathering last month — from George Guynn, president of the Solano County Taxpayers Association, which in May first challenged the effort to use the lease-leaseback option.

In a press release, Guynn said the decision reaffirmed the governing board’s promise to voters when they approved the $30.4 million bond measure in November to modernize Old Dixon High and Anderson Elementary, among other aging campuses.

Before the election, district leaders promised to comply with the awarding of construction contracts “through competitive bid; prioritize projects; structure bond maturity consistent with project useful life; control soft costs and use non-bond funds for facility maintenance,” he wrote in the prepared statement.

Source: DUSD leaders forgo lease-leaseback option for Measure Q projects

On Dixon USD agenda: State test scores, update on elementary reconfiguration – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 2017 CAASPP results, approval of a temporary roof cover at Old Dixon High, and an update about input from three parent meetings about the possible reconfiguration of district elementary schools are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet Thursday.

Nick Girimonte, newly named assistant superintendent for educational services, will lead the discussion about the district’s 2017 California Assessment of Student Proficiency and Program scores.

This is the third year of the computer-based tests, based on the California State Standards, which gauge whether students in grades three to eight and 11 are able to understand what they read, write clearly, think critically, solve complex math problems, and explain their reasoning as they prepare themselves for college, the military, and a rapidly changing and increasingly technological job market.

Scores fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met. The state also computes the average scores of all tested students, by grade level, called “mean scale” scores, which reflects the progress of all students rather than only those who changed achievement levels from one year to the next.

Source: On Dixon Unified School District agenda: State test scores, update on elementary reconfiguration

The jury must hear two sides to the CAASPP story – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

There are two sides to every story, and the adage applies to recently released CAASPP scores given last spring to California public school students in grades three through eight and 11.

For the past two years, Superintendent Tom Torlakson and local educators generally have framed the results in, understandably, more positive-sounding ways, stressing that certain percentages of students “met” or “exceeded” state standards on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, an all-computerized test begun three years ago as the then-relatively new California State Standards began to take effect.

In brief, the tests gauge, at every grade level, whether students are able to understand what they read, write clearly, think critically, solve complex math problems, and explain their reasoning, as they prepare themselves for college, the job market, or the military — all of which increasingly demand technology literacy.

Source: Richard Bammer: The jury must hear two sides to the CAASPP story

The trades 101: Students learn about careers at union training centers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

They may not be college-bound students, but they will draw upon relevant high school math and English lessons on construction jobs, a longtime sheet metal worker told more than two dozen Vacaville Unified students.

The teenagers, most of them from Vacaville and Will C. Wood high schools, listened closely as Dan Riley, training coordinator for Local 104 of the International Association of Sheet Metal Workers, spoke Friday morning in an assembly room at the union’s Apprenticeship Training Center in Fairfield.

The students, many of them seniors looking forward to a June graduation and entry into a well-paying construction job or a training program, were part of some 100 from five different Solano or Napa county districts who participated in a half-day “Tour of the Trades” informational event.

Source: The trades 101: Students learn about careers at union training centers

New CAASPP results: Most Vaca-area districts exceed state, county averages – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After a few weeks’ delay, the 2017 online state standardized test scores are in, and most Vacaville-area school districts posted results that met or exceeded Solano County and state averages but largely remained the same as last year’s, reflecting the latest state averages, several administrators said.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Wednesday the results of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests in English and mathematics, noting, in a prepared statement, that they

“remained steady and retained the strong gains students made in 2016.”

Source: New CAASPP results: Most Vaca-area districts exceed state, county averages

Solano students get hands-on experience studying Suisun Marsh – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Suisun Marsh attracts professional scientists from all over the world who come to study it.

Few people know that young, local scientists have been studying the marsh consistently for the past eight years thanks to a free opportunity offered by the Solano Resource Conservation District.

About 1,000 sixth- and seventh-graders will conduct soil, water and plant analysis during visits that began Monday and continue into early December. Testing happens during a visit to Rush Ranch Open Space, owned by Solano Land Trust.

Source: Solano students get hands-on experience studying Suisun Marsh

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