By Nick Sestanovich
No parent ever wants experience having a child go missing, but should that happen, the Benicia Fire Department has acquired a resource to assist in bringing lost children home safely.
City firefighters have partnered with the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and California Fire Foundation as well as the Benicia Unified School District to distribute “Child ID Kits” to Benicia elementary schools. The kits contain fingerprinting materials, DNA collection swabs and other tools aimed at allowing parents and guardians to record information about their children. Adults keep the information in their homes to be provided to authorities in the circumstance one of their children goes missing. The kits were distributed to kindergarteners last week during the final week of school for children to take home to their parents.
Source: Fire Department distributes child ID kits to kindergarten families
By Richard Freedman
Sonia McClellin was warned. Surviving the gauntlet called legislation wouldn’t be a cakewalk. And, cynics said, she could end up with pie in her face.
No matter. The Fairfield woman persevered, carrying the indelible memory of her sister’s death at the hands of a boyfriend everywhere she talked, including the State Capitol.
Thanks to McClellin’s crusade and Assemblyman Jim Frazier’s AB 643 — instruction on how to recognize early warning signs of adolescent relationship abuse and intimate partner violence — is law, implemented into already-mandated health instruction for ninth graders starting this next school year.
The Dixon City Council will review Tuesday a memorandum of understanding with the Dixon Unified School District for the services of a School Resources Officer (SRO).
The school district has agreed to fund 60 percent of the total cost of employment of one police officer assigned full-time to the school system. The police department will coordinate with the school district to create a training matrix and provide a core training program to the officer.
If the assigned SRO is expected to be absent from campus for more than five school days in a row, the police department will be responsible for assigning another SRO-trained police officer to this post.The SRO would earn a base salary of $81,091 in the first, with total salary and benefits up to $126,053.The council will also consider authorizing a temporary services agreement with waterTALENT for a temporary water operations supervisor for a duration not to exceed 12 months.
Source: School Resources Officer agreement goes to Dixon City Council
By Ian Thompson
Vacaville first responders may soon be better prepared to respond to situations involving special-needs children.
The city’s Police Department is finishing up a program that has been teaching the city’s police and firefighters about engaging with special-needs children and will soon allow parents of special-needs children to list them in a database which firefighters and police can access if they are called to that address.
They are also working to expand that listing to involve special-needs adults and Alzheimer’s patients.
The program is the brainchild of Vacaville Police Department School Resources Officer Jeremy Johnson, who is also the father of a 6-year-old child who has autism.
Source: Vacaville officer creates program to help first responders better help special-needs children
By Nick Sestanovich
At Thursday’s meeting, the Benicia school board unanimously voted to reject bids for fire alarm upgrades at two elementary schools and reopen them at a later time.
As part of the Measure S initiative, which was approved by voters in 2014 to provide $49.6 million in bond funding to projects at Benicia Unified School District sites, the district is looking to improve fire alarm systems at all of its sites. The fire alarms at Benicia High and Benicia Middle School have been either replaced or reconditioned, and the next schools slated to receive fire alarm renovations are Mary Farmar and Robert Semple elementary schools.
Roxanne Egan, Measure S bond director, said advertisements for public bids were recently put out and received interest from three contractors. However, only one put forth a bid: Bockmon & Woody, a Stockton-based electric utility company which previously did work on Benicia High and Benicia Middle’s fire alarms.
Source: School board rejects bids for fire alarm upgrades
By Ian Thompson
Kelby Yelder, a 17-year-old Jesse Bethel High School senior, was pronounced “dead” just before 11:50 a.m. Thursday at NorthBay Medical Center.
That was just before “badly injured” fellow student, 18-year-old Jhoanna Aure, was wheeled into the hospital’s emergency room.
Fortunately, the entire thing was staged as part of a two-day Every 15 Minutes anti-drunken driving program that was put on at Jesse Bethel in Vallejo.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God,’ ” said Yelder about the realism after a trauma team at NorthBay ran through the entire examination of her “injuries” and the pronouncement of her “death” as if it was the real thing.
Source: Program stages crash to teach Vallejo teens about drinking, driving
By Richard Bammer
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has announced his support for proposed legislation aimed at helping school districts maintain and improve safe public school campuses and increase engagement with parents and local communities.
Torlakson on Tuesday appeared at a Sacramento news conference with Californians for Justice, a student advocacy group that is also supporting the bill.
“Gathering school climate information each year is an important starting point in improving our children’s learning environments,” he said in a press release. “Safe and supportive schools are essential for all students as they navigate their way to college and 21st century careers.
Source: Torlakson supports proposed law to boost school climates, create safe environments
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced his support today for legislation aimed at helping school districts maintain and improve safe and inclusive learning environments for students and increase engagement with parents and their respective communities.
Torlakson appeared at a news conference on Tuesday with Californians for Justice, a student advocacy group that is also supporting the bill. “Gathering school climate information each year is an important starting point in improving our children’s learning environments. Safe and supportive schools are essential for all students as they navigate their way to college and 21st century careers,” Torlakson said. “In light of recent events at schools across our country, supporting districts in hearing their students’ voices and improving engagement with parents and communities is more vital than ever.”
AB 2820 was introduced by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). The bill sets up a “Community Engagement and School Climate for Continuous Improvement Block Grant.” This fund would provide school districts, at no cost, the option of using state-vetted school climate surveys, along with support and technical assistance on the administration of the surveys and utilization of results to improve school conditions and climate. If districts choose to use the surveys, they would be conducted annually with students, parents, teachers, and school staff.
Source: Torlakson Supports AB 2820 – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Daily Republic Staff
Members of the Board of Trustees for the Fairfield-Suisun School District will review campus safety recommendations as part of a series of policy updates when they meet Thursday.
“Campus security procedures shall include a directive for staff to keep classroom doors locked at all times. Such procedures shall be regularly reviewed to reflect changed circumstances and to assess their effectiveness in achieving safe school objectives,” the policy update states.
“The board believes that reasonable use of surveillance cameras will help the district achieve its goals for campus security.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun board set to consider safety policy for schools
By Richard Bammer
Updates of school safety plans and two related matters, the approval of principals at Dixon High, and a policy regarding involuntary student transfers are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.
By law, California school districts must approve school safety plans to make sure that schools are as prepared as possible for emergencies while maintaining safe and secure learning environments.
School safety plans must present clear policies that deal with hate crimes, acts of violence, their perpetrators. Additionally, school safety plans must include a discrimination and harassment policy.
Mark Monachello, the district’s information technology services director, will make the presentation.
His remarks will come six weeks after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., where a former student, using a military-style assault rifle, shot and killed 14 students and three educators, which later prompted the national student-led march against gun violence last weekend in Washington, D.C., and in more than 850 cities, small and large, across the globe.
Source: Updates of school safety plans on Dixon Unified School District agenda
By Daily Republic Staff
The Fairfield-Suisun School District facilities subcommittee is asking for a one-time augmentation of $500,000 for safety and security upgrades to the district’s campuses.
The request will be made at 6 p.m. Thursday during the Fairfield-Suisun School District’s governing board meeting at 2490 Hilborn Road.
The subcommittee also recommends adjustments to board policy that all classrooms are to remain locked at all times.
Board members will hear about increasing campus security through security cameras and evaluating and upgrading main campus entrances, fencing and gates; and upgrading door locks and revising district standards for types of locks in classrooms, offices, libraries, multipurpose rooms, gyms and other areas.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun school board to hear request for $500,000 in security upgrade funds
By Kimberly K. Fu
In a matter of minutes Thursday morning following an ominous-sounding siren’s wail, Vacaville High School was shut down tight — No noise, no movement, no nothing.
Call it a successful lockdown drill, honed after four years of preparations and re-evaluations.
“It’s just sad that we have to do this,” said Ed Santopadre, the school’s principal.
The safety drill was over in minutes.
Following the sirens, teachers’ heads briefly popped out of their classrooms before their doors slammed shut.
“They’re checking for kids,” the principal explained.
One staff member worriedly asked what to do with the students who were in the school’s stadium.
“Tell them to hide,” he advised her. “That’s what we tell them — If you can’t go back to a room, just hide. It’s Locks, Lights, Out of Sight.”
Source: Vacaville Unified School District campuses host lockdown drill
By Richard Bammer
The 2017-18 second interim budget, a Measure Q update, and the use of contraband dogs on district school grounds are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.
By law, California school districts must submit two interim budget reports for the current fiscal year, usually by mid-December and mid-March, to let state Department of Education officials know that they can pay their bills.
The chief business officer, Melissa Mercado will tell the five-member governing board that the district can meet its financial obligations during the current academic year.
At the same time, the report essentially will be a snapshot of the rural eastern Solano County district as of Jan. 31.
Source: Dixon Unified School District to discuss using contraband dogs
By Kimberly K. Fu
As the clock struck 10 a.m. Wednesday, students all over the country, including in Vacaville, poured out of their classrooms and gathered for the National School Walkout at a designated area in memoriam of the 17 classmates and faculty killed in the recent Parkland school massacre.
For 17 minutes — one for each victim felled by a gunman’s bullets — they remained outdoors, sharing a moment of silence for those lost and pondering their role in how to make the world a better place.
At Will C. Wood High School, silence was golden.
Source: Vacaville students take a stand for school safety, remember fallen Parkland students
By Richard Bammer
Travis Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, will consider and likely approve Safe School Plans for all district campuses, a second interim 2017-18 budget report, and agree to “sunshine” a new wage-and-benefits contract for teachers next year.
By law, California public schools are required to have a Safe School Plan that includes multiple elements: mission and vision statements, a school profile, procedures for reporting child abuse, disaster procedures, ways to notify teachers of dangerous students, a policy on sexual harassment, a schoolwide dress code, safe entrances and exits procedures, ways to ensure a safe and orderly environment, and rules and procedures on school discipline.
The district operates eight campuses, including two in Vacaville, Cambridge and Foxboro elementaries; two elementaries, Travis and Scandia, on Travis Air Force Base; and Golden West Middle and Vanden High schools.
Source: Travis Unified School District leaders to consider Safe School Plans
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the release of an “Open Letter to President Trump” opposing efforts to arm teachers, calling for the elimination of military-style assault weapons from our communities, and providing increased access to mental health services.
The open letter to President Donald Trump was signed by 61 California Teachers of the Year, including Michael Hayden (2014) and Brian McDaniel (2018).
California Teachers of the Year are selected from among California’s 295,000 teachers each year through a rigorous process of applications, interviews, and classroom visits. They are considered the best of the best.
“As teachers, all of us prefer to focus on education policy, our classrooms, and our students, but we can no longer remain silent while students and educators are being murdered and injured across our nation,” said Torlakson, who was a high school science teacher and coach. “We must talk about guns.”
Source: Teachers Join Torlakson to Oppose Guns in Schools – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that the California Department of Education is taking a new step to help ensure student safety by auditing comprehensive school safety plans that are required of all schools by Education Code 32280-32288. The state compliance audit requirement will begin in the 2018-2019 school year.
Local school districts must approve safety plans for all schools in its district by March 1 of each year. School safety plans are mandatory and help ensure that schools are as prepared as possible for emergencies and also maintain safe and secure learning environments.
“The safety of our children and education communities is our greatest responsibility,” Torlakson said. “When developing school safety plans, it is essential to reflect on lessons learned last year and to implement new and improved actions this year.”
For example, school safety plans must present clear policies to address hate crimes, acts of violence, and their perpetrators. Comprehensive school safety plans must include a discrimination and harassment policy.
Source: Updates in School Safety Plans – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Concern more than fear colored parent voices Tuesday night in Vacaville Unified’s main offices, where district leaders sponsored an emergency response training session for those with children in city public schools.
For the better part of 90 minutes, Jennifer Leonard, the district’s public information officer, led the presentation that focused on Standard Reunification Method protocols and the organization, planning and management of an Emergency Operations Center.
The training came nearly two weeks after a mass shooting in a Parkland, Fla., high school, where 14 students and three adults were killed by a 19-year-old former student who wielded an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle.
Source: Training for emergency response teaches Vacaville parents protocols
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified officials will host districtwide trainings that cast an eye on safety and emergencies, gatherings that will be held in the Educational Services Center, 401 Nut Tree Road.
From 4:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, officials will focus on the district’s Standard Reunification Method protocols and the organization, planning and management of an Emergency Operations Center.
At 5:30 p.m., the officials will host a parent training for emergency response.
The trainings come nearly two weeks after a mass shooting in a Parkland, Fla., high school, where 17 people, 14 students, and three adults were killed by a 19-year-old former student who wielded an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle.
The shooting has prompted a national debate about access to military-style assault weapons, the sales of firearms and ammunition, school safety, mental illness, universal background checks, and the arming of classroom teachers.
Source: Vacaville Unified School District officials to host safety training sessions
By Richard Bammer
Like other eastern Solano County school district superintendents, Pamela Conklin, who leads Travis Unified, has issued a letter to parents in the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., where a 19-year-old former student killed 17 people.
The two-page letter, posted Friday on the district’s website, www.travisusd.org, also comes as an after-Parkland surge of gun threats, tips and false alarms aimed at schools flooded school districts and police department nationwide, including a Feb. 16 incident at Dixon High, where a student casually, perhaps jokingly, mentioned shooting up the school’s annual Sweetheart Rally in late February. The student was suspended for five days.
In the first sentence, Conklin’s “Dear Parents and Community Members” letter alluded to the Florida mass shooting and parents’ concerns. And the second was an effort to reassure parents by letting them know about some measures school leaders take to keep the districts’ 5,500 students — including those at two Vacaville elementaries and at two elementaries on Travis Air Force Base — safe.
Source: Travis Unified School District supe issues safety letter to parents