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

Special needs students get day to themselves at Dixon May Fair – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

In the late morning hours Friday, special education students throughout Solano County got to have the Dixon May Fair all to themselves, enjoying the rides, livestock exhibitions and food — hours before the fair officially opened for the day.

The event, held by local Rotary Clubs throughout the county in conjunction with the Solano County Office of Education, has been a staple for 26 years. Bill Seiden, event chair and member of the Vacaville Noon Rotary Club, said it started in 1993 as a fishing derby.

“There had been a previous history of a special needs gathering at the May Fair,” he said. “When I learned that, we decided to move it here as a Special Needs Day at the fair, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Source: Special needs students get day to themselves at Dixon May Fair – The Reporter

Solano schools honor Benicia teacher, Vacaville custodian – Daily Republic

By Bill Hicks

School districts throughout the county, by way of an event organized by the Solano County Office of Education, came together Tuesday to honor all teachers and support staff by recognizing some of the best in their positions.

Callison Elementary School’s DJ Stilwell, a custodian, was recognized with an educator of the year award, as was Benicia High School’s Matt O’Reilly, an arts and design teacher.

The Solano County Office of Education Educators of the Year Awards Ceremony, held at Suisun City’s Joseph A. Nelson Community Center, honored teachers of the year in each district, as well as support workers, which range from clerical, maintenance, student nutrition and similar roles.

Source: Solano schools honor Benicia teacher, Vacaville custodian

Gretchen Higgins students decorate rocks, work on garden for Earth Day – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Bird is the word for Gretchen Higgins Elementary School’s Ornithology Club students. What better day to help members continue to beautify their bird sanctuary garden than Earth Day?

It was a busy day for students at the Dixon elementary school. Trash was picked up, of course, and the ornithology Club students had their work cut out for them. They had the entire school decorate rocks for their garden which they also spent a lot of time building and maintaining.

The Ornithology Club was formed as Higgins science teacher and club adviser Peggy Harte was doing research with Dr. Heidi Ballard, an associate professor at the University of California, Davis who started the Center for Community and Citizen Science to create partnerships with science educators. Harte said she had been working with Ballard on research projects looking into the implementation of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Source: Gretchen Higgins students decorate rocks, work on garden for Earth Day – The Reporter

13th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony – Daily Republic

The 13th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday, May 6, 2019, from 3:30 to 5:00 PM at the Solano County Office of Education located at 5100 Business Center Drive in Fairfield.

CAC Awards are presented to educators, youth, and community members for outstanding service to students with special needs. Award recipients are from each school district within the Solano County Special Education Local Plan Area: Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Travis, and Vacaville Unified School Districts, as well as the Solano County Office of Education.

Source: 13th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony

Dixon High bands to play with Tower of Power saxophonist – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

For the last 11 years, Dixon High School’s student bands have had the opportunity to perform with world-class musicians for special concerts.

The tradition will continue April 24 when the DHS Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble will get to perform in front of a live audience with none other than Tom E. Politzer, the lead tenor saxophonist with Tower of Power.

Yes, that Tower of Power.

Source: Dixon High bands to play with Tower of Power saxophonist – The Reporter

North Bay Academic Decathlon To Conclude With ‘Super Quiz’ | Suisun City, CA Patch

By Maggie Avants

Nearly 300 students from 15 high schools across Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties battled it out Saturday, Jan. 26 and will continue battling it out Saturday, Feb. 2 in the North Bay Region’s Academic Decathlon at Solano Community College in Fairfield, according to a news release.

The theme of this year’s academic decathlon — a competitive event modeled after the Olympics to stimulate academic achievement and honor “athletes of the mind” — is “The 1960s: A Transformational Decade.”

Source: North Bay Academic Decathlon To Conclude With ‘Super Quiz’ | Suisun City, CA Patch

State grant will fund education wellness centers in Fairfield, Dixon – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano County Office of Education, in partnership with the Dixon School District, has received a $509,378 grant to develop wellness centers at four education sites.

The centers will be located at Solano County Office of Education’s Golden Hills Education Center in Fairfield, and at Anderson Elementary, Gretchen Higgins Elementary and Dixon High in Dixon. The goal is to have them up and running with the 2019-20 school year.

Source: State grant will fund education wellness centers in Fairfield, Dixon

Unhealthy air quality closes schools countywide Friday – The Reporter

By Joel Rosenbaum

School districts from Vallejo to Dixon are closed Friday as air quality continues to be poor due to drifting smoke from the Camp Fire in Paradise.

The message from Vacaville Unified School District Superintendent Jane Shamieh, posted on the district website, read: “We have decided to close schools and the district office tomorrow due to another forecast of air quality in the “unhealthy” range. Please know that we do not take closing schools lightly, and we understand that this can have significant financial impact on our families. Under normal circumstances, we would remain open at AQI levels of 151-200, however we have concerns about the prolonged exposure to staff and students occurring this week.”

Similar messages were posted on the district pages of the Travis, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Kairos Public Schools and Vallejo school district websites.

Source: Unhealthy air quality closes schools countywide Friday – The Reporter

Inspire: Dreams Start Now 2018 – Daily Republic

By Tim Goree

Every 8th grader in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District visited the Kroc Center in Suisun City on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018 for a unique opportunity to interactively explore future career paths. That’s over 1,600 students.

It’s the 4th annual Inspire: Dreams Start Now event for the Fairfield-Suisun area, a program developed in collaboration with Vacaville Unified School District, Travis Unified School District, Dixon Unified School District, Solano County Office of Education, Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce, Vacaville Chamber of Commerce, Dixon Chamber of Commerce, Solano Economic Development Corporation, Solano Workforce Development Board, and many other government agencies and commercial companies in Solano County.

Source: Inspire: Dreams Start Now 2018

Dixon taxpayers group launches Measure Q Oversight website – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The Dixon chapter of the Solano County Taxpayers Association (SCTA) launched a website recently to provide residents with access to documents regarding Dixon Unified School District’s Measure Q bond funds.

Measure Q is a $30.4 million revenue initiative that was passed by Dixon voters in 2016 to provide funds for construction and renovation projects at DUSD schools. Such projects include reopening the old Dixon High School site as a new middle school, repairs and renovations at Anderson Elementary School, and providing security and safety improvements and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance upgrades at all the district schools.

Following the passage of Measure Q, the school board established a Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) made up of independent volunteers in Aug. 2017 to ensure that the Measure Q money would only be spent on its projects. Per Proposition 39, which was approved by California voters in 2000, school districts that pass bond measures are required to have a CBOC that meets at least once a year and provide information to the public about bond revenues.

Source: Dixon taxpayers group launches Measure Q Oversight website – The Reporter

Strong schools are hallmark of Solano life – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

One of the great influencing factors for choosing a place to live, particularly for families with young children, is the quality of education available.

As far as Solano County is concerned, the quality of education at all levels is generally strong. Most of the schools in the Fairfield-Suisun School District, for example, are at or above statewide targets for school with a similar makeup of student bodies.

The same holds true for the school districts in Vacaville and Travis, with each of these having a particularly strong collection of elementary schools.

The Benicia district and Dixon district, each representing smaller communities, have high-performing schools throughout different levels.

Source: Solano Life 2018: Strong schools are hallmark of Solano life

DUSD managers, school-support, confidential employees to get 2 percent raise – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified department managers, classified, or school-support, and confidential employees are expected to get a 2 percent raise tonight when trustees meet in Dixon.

Before the five-member governing board votes on the matter, there will be two public hearings, one for the tentative agreement with the district’s Service Employees International Union, which represents school-support workers (bus drivers, custodians, groundskeepers, some clerical staff, etc.), the other for management, confidential and any employees not represented by a bargaining unit.

Trustees are expected to approve the raise, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, in accord with the wage-and-benefit agreement reached earlier this year with the Dixon Teachers Association, which represents teachers and some other certificated employees, Melissa Mercado, the district’s chief business officer, noted Wednesday.

The latest employee agreement, which settles negotiations for the 2017-18 academic year, also includes revised contract language to define the district’s contribution to health benefits to be the midlevel of the high medical plan options offered by the district.

Source: Dixon Unified School District managers, school-support, confidential employees to get 2 percent raise

Students in Dixon Unified School District begin new school year – The Reporter

By Joel Rosenbaum

From the shy kindergartner to the confident high school senior, students across the city of Dixon on Thursday headed back to the classroom.

Mia Lodigiani opened the door to her room at 8:15 a.m. when the first bell rang and welcomed in the newest crop of kindergartners, some nervously clinging to their mothers and fathers, others walking around wide-eyed taking in their new surroundings.

Some parents gave their child a big hug and kiss goodbye, while others hung around in the room and watched as Lodigiani gathered the students on a colorful rug to teach them the classroom rules; sitting with your legs crossed, raising your hand and waiting until you are called upon to talk.

Source: Students in Dixon Unified School District begin new school year

Maine Prairie relocation plan, new cafeteria tables on DUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The strategic plan and timelines for the relocation of Maine Prairie High, cafeteria table replacement at Tremont Elementary, and an update on the process and planning and the carrying out of the sixth-grade transition to middle school are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Superintendent Brian Dolan, recently returned from a short-term medical leave, will lead the discussion about the relocation plan for Maine Prairie, the rural, eastern Solano County school district’s continuation high school. It is currently housed at 305 East C St.

Dolan will review meeting timelines, stretching from tonight to the coming months and beyond; the date when a final decision will be presented to trustees (Nov. 17); stakeholder groups that will figure into the final decision; and potential new sites for the school.

Source: Maine Prairie relocation plan, new cafeteria tables on DUSD agenda

DUSD Supervisor Brian Dolan returns from medical leave – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After more than two months of medical leave, Dixon Unified Superintendent Brian Dolan will return to work Monday, The Reporter has learned.

Nick Girimonte, assistant superintendent for educational services, made the announcement in an email Friday.

“As you can imagine, he is excited to be back and resume serving the students and staff of Dixon Unified,” Girimonte, who served interim superintendent while Dolan was sidelined, wrote.

Dolan’s executive secretary, Cicely Bernhardt, confirmed the superintendent’s medical leave in mid-April, but provided no further details.

Serving in the rural eastern Solano district’s top post for some seven years, Dolan oversees nearly 3,500 students, hundreds teachers and support staff and is helping to guide the district through the administrative processes of Measure Q, a $30.4 million bond measure passed by voters in 2016, as a way to upgrade and refurbish the district’s many aging school buildings.

Source: Dixon Unified School District Supervisor Brian Dolan returns from medical leave

Dixon City Council OKs police department fence and SRO – The Reporter

By Jessica Rogness

The Dixon City Council approved a fence for the police department parking lot, and will consider in the near future adding a second School Resource Officer (SRO).

The council voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve the purchase and installation of a wrought iron fence from Golden Bay Fence Plus Iron Works, the only company to bid on the project. The base bid amount is $330,283 for the installation of a wrought iron fence with an attached screening panel system.

City staff requested the bid for three options: an 8-foot-tall fence of wrought iron, concrete panels or concrete blocks, with motorized gates at the entrance and exit to the lot. There would also be a pedestrian gate with an emergency crash bar to allow access for police department staff.

Police Chief Robert Thompson said all three options provide the same functional aspect, but there was one issue with concrete blocks.

Source: Dixon City Council OKs police department fence

New $37M budget, district response to immigration on DUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 2018-19 annual budget, with its accompanying LCAP, a review of the school district’s policy and administrative regulation about responses to immigration enforcement, and an update on the naming ceremony for the Dixon Community Performing Arts Center at Dixon High are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Melissa Mercado, the district’s chief business official, will present the budget, which must be submitted to the Solano County Office of Education for approval on or before June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Source: New $37M budget, district response to immigration enforcement on Dixon Unified School District agenda

Dixon High Migrant Ed Debate Team rises to 2018 state championship – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Debate has deep roots in the 2,500-year-old Western intellectual tradition. It can be traced to medieval universities and original Greek and Roman educational practices. Also called forensics, debate, at the high school and college level, may be called a varsity sport for the mind and heart, the ability to use the power of logical thinking coupled with clear — and perhaps passionate — expression, to argue effectively while examining problems with a point in mind.

Which is what the Dixon High Migrant Education Debate Team did early last month during the annual statewide Speech and Debate Tournament in Visalia, taking home the first-place trophy in the Spanish division in debate (the other division is conducted in English).

Source: Dixon High Migrant Ed Debate Team rises to 2018 state championship

Area high school graduations, the pomp and circumstance, are set – The Reporter

The 2018 graduation season in central and eastern Solano County is underway, with most of the ceremonies, pomp and circumstance occurring next week.

Solano Community College minted new graduates earlier this week in Hollister Stadium at main Fairfield campus.

Source: Area high school graduations, the pomp and circumstance, are set