State school leader gives fed ed budget proposal a failing grade – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Tom Torlakson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Tuesday urged Congress to reject President Trump’s federal education budget proposal, which includes cuts that he described as “deep” to teacher training, after school programs, mental health services, advanced coursework, among others.

“I give this budget an ‘F’ grade for failing public school students in California and across the nation,” Torlakson, who leads the country’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students, said in a press release. “We need to invest more in our public schools, not slash away at programs that help students succeed.”

A former East Bay high school science teacher and athletics coach, he noted that the proposed federal education budget heads in a completely different direction than the California approach to education funding.

 

Source: State school leader gives fed ed budget proposal a failing grade

Federal support for teacher training to continue, but next year’s funding in doubt | EdSource

By Michael Collier

As Congress struck a $1.1 trillion-dollar budget deal earlier this month to fund the federal government through the rest of the 2016-17 fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown of federal agencies, education leaders in California are relieved that the state will continue to receive federal support for teacher preparation programs.

But support for these programs in the coming fiscal year, beginning on Oct. 1, is still in doubt.

The Trump Administration had proposed to cut federal funding through Title II Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by half – by $1.2 billion – for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and to eliminate the program altogether after that. However, the budget bill approved by Congress cuts the program’s funding by only $249 million for the current fiscal year, according to Education Week, to about $2 billion.

Source: Federal support for teacher training to continue, but next year’s funding in doubt | EdSource

Two remaining ‘cultural proficiency’ sessions at SCOE – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

California has the most diverse public school student population in the nation and it is increasingly “minority majority” in its enrollments — and increasingly Hispanic and Latino, at more than 53 percent for those two groups alone.

Under parts of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, the state’s 1,000 school districts must devise a plan of action to meet the educational needs for each of the 6.2 million K-12 students in California, where, according to data from the 2000 Census, 60 percent of state residents speak only English, while 40 percent speak another language (either instead of, or in addition to, English).

To that end, the Solano County Office of Education has launched a “cultural proficiency” program to better serve students in an increasingly diverse county, where, essentially, the world has arrived during the better part of the last half century.

Source: Two remaining ‘cultural proficiency’ sessions at SCOE

 

Can Micro-credentials Create More Meaningful Professional Development For Teachers? | MindShift

By Katrina Schwartz

Learning science says people learn best when they apply new information to their own contexts. When learners can make mistakes, reflect on new strategies, get feedback, and try again they gain a deeper understanding of the topic. But these elements are rarely applied to professional development. School districts spend a lot of money on trainings for educators, but the returns on that investment are not always clear. Many teachers say that even when the professional development is interesting — not always a given — they often feel like it’s one more thing to do in an already jampacked academic schedule. While educators around the country are slowly adopting various approaches that allow them to better differentiate learning for students, the same is rarely true for the adult learners in the system.

Source: Can Micro-credentials Create More Meaningful Professional Development For Teachers? | MindShift | KQED News

Hotel stays goes before Fairfield-Suisun school board – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Three Fairfield-Suisun School District administrators staying at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront for three nights at a total cost of $2,677 are among payments that go before the school board at its Thursday meeting.

An Association of California School Administrators leadership conference is scheduled in November at the site. The association website describes the conference at its premier professional development event.

“This annual gathering of educators at all levels of administration is a celebration of the profession,” the website states. “This event provides opportunities for invaluable networking and offers professional development on current critical leadership and educational issues.”

Source: $3,037 for San Diego, Orange County hotel stays goes before Fairfield-Suisun school board

Fairfield-Suisun School District earns praise for professional development – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Motivational speaker Gary Zelesky has appeared – and Charlie Appelstein, author of “No Such Thing as a Bad Kid,” will speak Oct. 1 at a daylong event – part of professional development offered by the Fairfield-Suisun School District for teachers and administrators.

Marie Williams, director of curriculum and assessment for the school district, said the Sacramento County-based Zelesky had school administrators laughing and crying.

“That was a great offering,” Williams told school board members at their Sept. 8 meeting.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun School District earns praise for professional development

Fairfield-Suisun school leaders headed to D.C. for summit on “reinventing” high schools – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For the second time in two years, Fairfield-Suisun Unified Superintendent Kris Corey will return to Washington, D.C., to discuss and share ideas about 21st-century high schools.

The Vacaville resident and also Kristen Witt, the school district’s director of secondary education, will attend the White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools, Sept. 12, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

There, they will meet with state and district education leaders, researchers and philanthropists who have developed or funded models for high school “redesign,” a proposal President Barack Obama laid out in his 2013 State of the Union address.

Trustees OK conference, hotel costs of $25,705 – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Conference and hotel costs of $25,705 – including events at UCLA and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas – were among payments Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees approved Thursday.

School district spokewoman Sheila McCabe said before the meeting that the district misstated that $2,793 of the total was spent for Superintendent Kris Corey and a trustee to attend a two-day leadership institute in Sacramento.

Source: Trustees OK conference, hotel costs of $25,705

Nonprofit offers mini grants to support education of employees, board – The Reporter

Solano Community Foundation (SCF) is announcing a grant-making component to its Nonprofit Partnership Program (NPP).

The organization has begun accepting applications for “Nonprofit Professional Development” mini-grants to benefit Nonprofit Partnership Program members. These grants will help members that need financial support to pursue education and training opportunities that will help their organizations grow.

“The Foundation is thrilled to be able to offer this funding opportunity. It’s something we’ve always wanted to provide the nonprofit community, but never had the resources to do so until now,” said Connie Harris, SCF’s CEO, said in a prepared statement.

Source: Nonprofit offers mini grants to support education of employees, board – The Reporter

 

District 2 hopefuls differ on children’s tax measure – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

An emotional Monica Brown questioned why there is even a need to pass additional taxes to support children’s services, but because she believes the need is great, she would support a proposal for a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot.

Her 2nd District opponent, Mike Ioakimedes, said he would likely support the initiative, but he called it another “Band-Aid measure,” and said real change will only come with an overhaul of the tax system.

“It is incomprehensible that in 2016 we have to take votes to take care of our kids,” said Brown, who broke down in tears when discussing the proposed Solano Fund for Children. “What kind of society are we that we don’t take care of our children?”

Source: District 2 hopefuls differ on children’s tax measure

County will help children’s group craft ballot measure – The Reporter

By Todd R. Hansen

The Board of Supervisors faced a full room of advocates imploring that it was time to invest in Solano’s children.

“Is there any reason you won’t support us?” the board was asked by four children in a rehearsed plea to support a ballot measure that, as proposed, would raise the sales tax 25 cents over the next 10 years.

Suisun City Vice Mayor Lori Wilson said the kind of services that the measure would support gave her hope and a chance at a productive life. In an emotional testimonial, she described a childhood of homelessness and abuse.

Source: County will help children’s group craft ballot measure

$4,200 for ‘How to Train a Llama’ workshop wins school board OK – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

A $4,200 contract with Doug Curry, author of “How to Train a Llama,” for a Feb. 27 workshop at Liberty Church with 45 teachers was among pacts that won approval Thursday by Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.

Teachers from David Weir K-8 Preparatory Academy and Fairfield High School learned classroom management techniques at the event, according to the school district.

Texas-based No Excuses University, through the group TurnAround Schools, provided the professional development for teachers.

Source: $4,200 for ‘How to Train a Llama’ workshop wins school board OK

Education Dept. Seeks More Input for Online Teacher-Prep Program Regs – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

The U.S. Department of Education is inviting additional comment on its long-delayed teacher-preparation proposal—this time, on how to apply the regulations to online teacher-preparation programs.

Although the reopened comment period is limited only to this specific issue, it would seem to further delay the final regulations, which were due out last December. The notice inviting comment will appear in tomorrow’s Federal Register, and comments are due in 30 days.

This might seem like a pretty narrow thing to worry about, but as I reported some years back, online teacher education programs, both for- and non-profit, are among the largest in the country. These big providers include the University of Phoenix and Grand Canyon University, both based out of Arizona; National University, in California; and Walden University, in Minnesota.

Source: Education Dept. Seeks More Input for Online Teacher-Prep Program Regs – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Solano County teachers target of free training program – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The School Water Education Program is offering an eight-hour water training program for Solano County teachers.

The session will take place Feb. 27 at Solano Community College.

This training supports the Project Water Education for Teachers program curriculum, a kindergarten-through-12th-grade hands-on, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics-friendly science education program with a water theme.

via Solano County teachers target of free training program.

Travel up for approval by Fairfield-Suisun schools – Daily Republic

Trips to Texas, Oregon and South Carolina go before Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees when they meet Thursday.

Three Armijo High School teachers plan to attend International Baccalaureate professional development training. The training is occur Feb. 20-22 in Charleston, South Carolina, and from Feb. 28 to March 1 in Houston.

Total cost is $6,000.

This is mandatory professional development required by the baccalaureate program, a school district staff report said. The program is for motivated students who are encouraged to attempt a demanding curriculum.

via Texas, South Carolina, Oregon travel up for approval by Fairfield-Suisun schools.

Why Don’t We Differentiate Professional Development? | Edutopia

By Pauline Zdonek

As I prepare for another afternoon of district-provided professional development activities, I always make sure that I bring plenty of work to do (papers to grade, lesson planning, etc.). This isnt because I have a bad attitude and hate professional development (PD). A great PD event can really energize me to improve my classroom instruction. However, the sad fact is that the majority of PDs I attend are repetitive, simplistic, or downright boring. I bring other work to do so that I dont get irritated when I feel that my time is being so carelessly wasted.

Wasted Opportunities

I am not alone. According to the Center for Public Educations Teaching the Teachers report (PDF), almost all teachers participate in PD throughout the year. However, a majority of those teachers find the PD in which they participate ineffective.

via Why Don’t We Differentiate Professional Development? | Edutopia.

California approves tougher teacher training standards to help mainstreaming | EdSource

By Jane Meredith Adams

Under federal pressure to increase the amount of time special education students spend in general education classrooms, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing announced it will require all future teachers to learn techniques proven to foster the success of students with disabilities, including small group instruction, behavior management and using frequent informal assessments to identify and address learning gaps.

The new standards for general education teacher preparation are the first statewide change to emerge from a push to improve the academic outcomes of students with disabilities, prompted in part by warnings from the U.S. Department of Education about the poor academic performance of California students with disabilities, compared to their peers in other states. A second major improvement effort is expected this spring, when new standards for special education teacher preparation are scheduled to be released.

“We have to be more effective in our teaching,” said Teri Clark, director of the professional services division of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which sets standards for the state.

via California approves tougher teacher training standards to help mainstreaming | EdSource.

Teacher training, facilities needs report on TUSD agenda tonight – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Cash for a teacher training plan, a minor change to Superintendent Kate Wren Gavlak’s contract, and a facilities needs report are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.

Sue Brothers, assistant superintendent for education services, will brief the five-member governing board about “educator effectiveness funds.”

Under AB 104, the 2015-16 educational omnibus trailer bill, which activates the education portion of the state budget, the district will receive some $430,000 earmarked for teacher training. The district’s plan, to be rolled out during this year and through 2017-18, has three areas of focus, Brothers will tell trustees. They include new language arts materials that will be used beginning in fall 2016; coaching for beginning teachers; and additional general staff development.

via Teacher training, facilities needs report on TUSD agenda tonight.

Teachers summit draws thousands to sites across California | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

About 15,000 California teachers and principals gave up one of their summer vacation days to talk among themselves Friday about a subject that, depending on how the school day is going, can excite, inspire, frustrate or irritate: the Common Core.

Better Together brought together educators at 33 locations statewide to simultaneously share strategies, classroom victories and mistakes about the new academic standards in math and English language arts. The free event was organized by California State University, the Santa Cruz-based New Teacher Center and an association of the state’s independent private colleges and was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

via Teachers summit draws thousands to sites across California | EdSource.

Districts urged to step up for next generation of teachers | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

A report out this week urges California school districts to take a more assertive role in producing new teachers. A new half-billion-dollar appropriation to districts to improve teacher effectiveness presents the opening to do this, although more state encouragement and incentives would help, the study said.

“Districts must take increasing responsibility for recruiting and developing their own future teachers, rather than leave it up to teacher preparation programs to provide the teachers they need,” concluded “Rethinking Teacher Preparation,” by the Washington-based education consulting and research nonprofit Bellwether Education Partners.

Bellwether isn’t the first to criticize the state’s “fragmented” approach to teacher preparation. With few exceptions, future teachers get their subject knowledge as college undergraduates and their initial teacher credential in a one-year graduate school program crammed with theory and, in many cases, a minimum of classroom practice. Districts run training and induction programs like Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment, or BTSA, for inexperienced teachers after they’re on the job.

via Districts urged to step up for next generation of teachers | EdSource.