Standing while working could be helpful – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

Many agree that technology has made our lives much easier but it has also caused us to become more sedentary at home and in the workplace. That’s why more and more workplace research suggests that we may want to walk to a desk a few feet away or down the hall to confer with a colleague instead of sending a text message or an email.

Research is emerging that notes because we sit more, we are more at risk for diabetes, heart disease and other health-related problems. We are simply sitting too much in the workplace and at home, as we watch more television, use our digital devices and exercise less.

Source: Standing while working could be helpful

Summer school programs still needed – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

My children were fortunate enough when they were in school to attend summer school programs.

My oldest son recalls that he really started to understand and like mathematics when he took math classes for two straight summers at Fairfield High School. Today, he is an IT administrator and can run circles around me in math and technology. To think, it all started when he decided – on his own – that he might be able to make better grades in math if he attended summer school.

Growing up in rural Tennessee, there was no summer school, no Girl Scouts organizations or public libraries open to me. So, every year when September rolled around, I was ecstatic and could hardly wait for school to begin, even if I had to ride a shirt factory worker’s bus 32 miles round trip every day – though there was a high school much closer to my home.

Source: Summer school programs still needed

Locals recall earliest best-loved books – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

During the summer, some like to find a good book and head to the beach or even the backyard. Then, others like former councilwoman and Rotarian Noreen O’Regan read non-stop year-round.

The Pew Research Center in its annual “Book Reading” survey conducted in March and April 2016, reported that though reading for Americans has remained about the same in the last few years, how we’re reading is changing with e-books and audiobooks.

Source: Locals recall earliest best-loved books

Enjoy vacation, but make time for reading – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

Reading has been called the gateway skill for learning. Many teachers tell us that when a student is underachieving, the underlying cause is many times lack of reading skills. Most research studies agree that poor preschool children hear fewer words than wealthy children.

Growing up in the South, my siblings and I were expected to be seen but not heard, and when visitors came, my mom always asked us to leave the room. I hated that, because I loved listening to the adults talk, plus, there wasn’t anything interesting to do outside. So, when it was our turn to make home visits, I preferred to stay home alone and read old newspapers that my mother brought home from work.

Source: Enjoy vacation, but make time for reading

End-of-year events honor Solano successes – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

There are so many sad and terrible things happening at home and around the world that it brings tears to one’s eyes from time to time, but it’s also the time of the year that I get the opportunity to attend wonderful events that honor the successes of our schools, parents and business community partners.

Throughout history there have been few events of significance that have occurred purely by accident, someone once said. And, this time of the year, educators, parents, students, volunteers and business partners come together at many sites around Solano County to honor and celebrate educator and student accomplishments.

I try to attend as many events as I can and even for the ones that I do attend, this space would not come anywhere near covering all of them. This is, indeed, a great thing that there are so many accomplishments to celebrate.

Source: End-of-year events honor Solano successes

Teacher training in Finland gets high marks – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

Doug Ford, my colleague on the Solano County Board of Education, loves to compare American education to that of other industrialized countries. Months ago, he shared a book, “The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way,” and passed out several copies but only recently have I had an opportunity to read my copy.

Several years ago, author Amanda Ripley of Time magazine followed three American teenagers for a year who went to live and study in three different countries: Finland, Poland and South Korea. Her book was published in 2013. The American Field Service and Rotary Clubs have been sponsoring such student exchange programs for many years.

Source: Teacher training in Finland gets high marks

We can all do 1 kind thing – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

There’s so much gloom and doom around these days that it’s hard sometimes to find a bit of cheer anywhere, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Maybe we just need to look at things in a different way and focus on what we as an individual can do to spread a bit of cheer here and there.

The other day the phone rang and it was my friend Becky Lum who called to say that she hadn’t seen Jim and me in a while and wanted to know if we were OK. The other reason was that she has been walking past a table in her house with a Christmas and a birthday card from me and she wanted to thank me for thinking about her. We hadn’t spoken or seen each other in several months, so I, too, was pleased to hear from her as well.

Source: We can all do 1 kind thing

Never too late to learn about the Constitution – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

It’s been said that Americans revere the Constitution of the United States, but studies show that most of us know little about it. And if you missed it, last week was Constitution Week and Sept. 17 was Citizenship Day.

During this year’s Republican and Democratic conventions, there was a lot of back and forth about who had read the Constitution and who had not read it. I admit it’s not my go-to bedtime reading, but I do have two small, very portable booklets that I read from time to time. One is “The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States,” published by the Cato Institute. The other is “The Constitution of the United States,” published by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Source: Never too late to learn about the Constitution

School bus drivers vital link to home, school – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

Just in case some of us may have forgotten, Tuesday was California School Bus Driver’s Day. I am a huge cheerleader for school bus drivers and each year try to make it a top priority to ride, at least, one of the routes – usually out of town.

I always return enthused, as I get to meet a new driver or renew an acquaintance with a driver who I’ve ridden with before like Eliane Medina. I also get to meet the children, of course, as well as greet parents who meet the bus to see their children off to school.

This School Bus Driver’s Day I was excited about taking the bus at 7 a.m. from the Solano County Office of Education’s transportation yard on Clay Bank Road and head out to schools in Fairfield and Green Valley with driver Medina. By the time we returned to the yard, it was time to join everyone for a mouth-watering barbecue to honor theses special heroes of the road.

Source: School bus drivers vital link to home, school

It takes a village to raise high expectations – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

February and March are exciting times for many students, educators, parents, volunteers and sponsors.

If you’re thinking Academic Decathlon, you’re absolutely right. While the Academic Decathlon is a competitive event modeled after the Greek Olympics that focused on physical strength, the Academic Decathlon focuses on academic achievement and honors “athletes of the mind.”

The competitions include tests in art, music, language and literature, mathematics, economics, science and social science. In addition, there are communication tests that include the writing of an essay, the delivery of a prepared speech and an interview.

Source: It takes a village to raise high expectations

Mundy 5th-graders on reading, learning, life – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

Reading has been called the gateway skill for learning. When a student is underachieving, the underlying cause is usually that the child cannot read.

It’s clear that not even the impact of TV, the computer, video games, etc. has changed the need for a child to know how to read.

As always, it was great news when I received the call from Theresa Huzel, (super!) fifth-grade teacher at Nelda Mundy Elementary School, to come talk to this year’s class. This is my third year to go there, and it’s always a very special day.

via Mundy 5th-graders on reading, learning, life.

Home, school key to student success – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

Parents, for the most part, will forever remain the most important role models that we will ever have.

Though my mother only went to school through the eighth grade and never visited my schools that I recall, she placed a great deal of emphasis on the responsibility for learning on the part of my siblings and me. She also provided us with a strong moral code, and we knew her stance on right and wrong.

Researchers remind us that some students will take advantage of every opportunity offered to learn, achieve and succeed, while others will view school as drudgery. I recently ran across an old International Education Achievement survey report that said, “The variations in test scores is due to the home background – not just the classroom experience.”

via Home, school key to student success.

Mundy fifth-graders share their thoughts – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

It was such a pleasure to again visit Theresa Huzel and the fifth-grade classes at Nelda Mundy Elementary School.

Huzel is an outstanding, hard-working teacher; the parents, students and the school district are so fortunate to have her. Though we are bombarded with technology on every front, she enthusiastically promotes a love of reading and library use to her students.

How did I meet Theresa Huzel? I met her several years ago at the soup suppers at the home of Gretchen Shilts, who served on the Fairfield-Suisun school board many years ago. Shilts has long served as a strong advocate for the educational and spiritual needs of students, families and the community. I’m always amazed at the caliber of citizens among us in Fairfield.

via Mundy fifth-graders share their thoughts Daily Republic.

Focus on school attendance now, always – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

If you listen to KUIC radio, you’ve probably heard Solano County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck making public service announcements about the social and academic risk factors of chronic absence and truancy.

In addition to public service announcements, the attendance awareness campaign also includes the use of Facebook, newspaper editorials, personalized banners for every school, a poster contest and tool kits for every school.

Lisette Estrella-Henderson, associate superintendent for student programs and educational services, recently made a presentation to the county school board and shared some of the research findings on student attendance:

via Focus on school attendance now, always Daily Republic.

Breakfast after the Bell wins support – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

A new school year has started and that for principals, teachers and parents includes thinking about the importance of children eating breakfast. According to research, eating breakfast definitely links to higher student achievement.

Writing this column certainly brought back memories of growing up below poor (if there’s such a thing) in rural Tennessee. The memories remain as vivid today as if it all happened yesterday. Breakfast consisted of oatmeal or rice with sugar and butter every morning. Nevertheless, we still ate something before we headed off to school. On Sundays, our mother made hot biscuits and gravy. I never cared for biscuits and gravy and still don’t.

via Breakfast after the Bell wins support Daily Republic.

Good school year communication plan critical – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

It doesn’t hurt each year to take a fresh look at our communication strategies.

Research tells us that parents and the public care about safety, order, the mastery of skills and the ability of our students to compete in a global marketplace. Getting ready for the new school year isn’t just about buying clothes and supplies on the part of the parents and making sure the classrooms are clean and ready for the students on the part of school leaders. A successful school year requires a good communication plan that works for the school, parents, students and the community.

via Good school year communication plan critical Daily Republic.

Vanden decathletes share how program changes lives – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

The best part of being a school board trustee is visiting as many schools and programs as possible throughout the year.

Long before I became a school board trustee, I followed the Vanden High School Academic Decathlon team and their outstanding coach, David Kenyon. Vanden has been a top decathlon winner for approximately 13 years. Academic Decathlon programs in Solano County, in contrast to some of the award-winning ones out of Southern California, run on very limited budgets. It’s probably why not all of our high schools participate in the program.

It’s really a year-round endeavor, as Kenyon and the Vanden team well know, if you expect to be competitive with other counties throughout the state. The regional competition for our area occurs in late January in Fairfield, and the state competition in March in Sacramento. I know for sure that Kenyon has already planned some summer study sessions.

via Vanden decathletes share how program changes lives Daily Republic.

Implementing Common Core: A work in progress – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

“Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men – the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”

– Horace Mann, renowned U.S. educator

Horace Mann’s premise is no less true today. As the daughter of a sharecropper, I can’t imagine my life, though with access only to a very inferior education in segregated schools in the South, is still so much better than it would have been otherwise. I remain forever grateful for educators and others who encouraged me, no matter how difficult it would be, not to give up on getting an education.

via Implementing Common Core: A work in progress Daily Republic.

Volunteers give boost to Academic Decathlon – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

Our big North Bay Region Academic Decathlon has come and gone yet another year.

It takes a host of volunteers to make this big event for high school students from four North Bay counties happen. These dedicated volunteers from all walks of life get up bright and early to volunteer on two consecutive Saturdays and they always come through for us. Some will go on to work at the state competition in Sacramento in March.

via Volunteers give boost to Academic Decathlon Daily Republic.

School bus safety deserves our attention – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

This delightful verse by Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson reminded me that we recently rolled our clocks to return to standard time. I often wonder about this, especially when I see children walking to school or waiting for the school bus, sometimes in the dark.

This time of the year reminds me of the years that I had to rise very early on dark, chilly mornings to ride not a school bus but a shirt factory workers’ bus many miles to my high school. There are somethings that one seems never to forget. My high school bus riding days could make another column quite unto itself, but not this time around.

via School bus safety deserves our attention Daily Republic.