Olympics of the Mind – you’re invited to join the Academic Decathlon – Daily Republic

BY Ashley Ching

It’s Academic Decathlon season, and you’re invited to volunteer for the state championship, March 23-24 in Sacramento.

Volunteer for one or two days. Must be 18 or older.

Presented by Northrop Grumman, the California Academic Decathlon includes 68 high schools throughout California. We are expecting 600 high school students to compete this year.

Like the decathlon of the ancient Greeks, the Academic Decathlon consists of ten exciting events. While the Greek events were contests of physical strength, the Academic Decathlon is a contest of academic strength. The Academic Decathlon includes 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 and an impromptu speech, and an interview.

Source: Olympics of the Mind – you’re invited to join the Academic Decathlon

Solano County Office of Education board holds special meeting – Times Herald

By Richard Bammer

Solano County Office of Education leaders, when they meet tonight in Fairfield, will face a relatively light agenda, followed by a special meeting and a closed hearing.

Nicola Parr, director of student and program support, will update the seven-member board on the SCOE’s Local Control Accountability Plan, a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula. LCAPs are annual documents that guide virtually all of a school district’s spending, especially for English learners, low-income students and foster youth.

Parr will note the stakeholders “engagement process,” to include the frequency of meetings with parents, students, staff and foster youth advocates.

Additionally, she will note a pending Career Technical Education advisory meeting, to include a guest speaker who will offer an update on the economic climate for the North Bay; input from local businesses about the skills they want in graduates, among other things.

Source: Solano County Office of Education board holds special meeting

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

Solano students spend day learning about different careers – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Gohan Szerthche, 17, of Vacaville High School, has a good idea of what he wants to be when he gets out of school: an electrical mechanic – something that his father knows all about.

“I want to be a mechanic like my dad,” he said Friday.

Those skills he will gain from college coursework would come in handy at Synder Filtration in Vacaville, which is where his school stopped for a career day event that brought together students from most of Solano County’s high schools.

More than 900 sophomores from around the county boarded 25 buses and headed out to 30 area businesses, as well as institutions such as Travis Air Force Base, the California State University Maritime Academy, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and other locations participated for National Job Shadow Day.

Source: Solano students spend day learning about different careers

High school graduation, diplomas offered to veterans, WWII internees – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Contemporary Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood once said, “War is what happens when language fails.” And it is certainly hellish, as Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman famously noted and today’s smartphone videos, seen on cable newscasts, show.

As they do for all, the problems of peace and the hell of war affected the many American veterans of 20th-century wars and also many Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. Their dreams of high school graduation evaporated with the advent of armed global conflict.

During the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, millions of young men and women left high school and their homes to serve in the U.S. military. Consider that more than 14 million were on active duty in 1945 alone, according to Department of Defense data.

Source: Interrupted mission: High school graduation, diplomas offered to veterans, WWII internees

In a fractious era, it’s time to get kind – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Famed Catholic nun Mother Teresa once said, “Peace begins with a smile” and “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”

For most of us, such thoughts may inspire kindness, the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.

From California to Washington, D.C., word is, it’s time to get kind, to help create a culture of kindness, the purpose of the 2018 Great Kindness Challenge, the positive and proactive anti-bullying initiative that all of us — but especially educators — can use to create a culture of kindness.

To that end, the Solano County Office of Education will join the nationwide challenge, which continues to Friday.

Source: In a fractious era, it’s time to get kind

County students, Travis AFB to team up for problem-solving exercise – The Reporter

By Reporter Staff

Solano County Office of Education leaders, in a partnership with Travis Air Force Base, are launching an event, believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, that will enlist the help of Solano County high school students to tackle real-world problems at Travis Air Force Base.

The Phoenix Spark Challenge — described as a strategy used by the military to solve problems shared by military operational experts, academia and government agencies — will take place May 18 at the sprawling base south of Vacaville.

The academic-minded event calls for students “to design, solve and innovate in resolving real-life problems facing Travis Air Force Base,” Gethsemane Moss, senior director of community engagement, wrote in a press release.

Source: County students, Travis AFB to team up for problem-solving exercise

SCOE trustees nix ELITE charter petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In a packed Fairfield meeting room, Solano County Office of Education trustees on Wednesday voted 4-3 to deny the petition submitted by ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School.

The governing board made its decision at 10:20 p.m., more than four hours after the meeting began inside the county agency’s Business Center Drive office building, after testimony by the board’s attorney, John Yeh, a partial clearing by a fire marshal of the Business Center Drive room midway through the meeting, remarks in support and opposition by some 60 speakers, more comments and questions from the seven-member board, followed by a roll-call vote that board President Elease Cheek called “a tough, tough decision that will set a precedent.”

Source: SCOE trustees nix ELITE charter petition

Solano board rejects Elite Charter School on 4-3 vote – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Solano County Board of Education trustees turned down Elite Charter School by a 4-3 vote Wednesday after supporters said the school would address an achievement gap for African-American and Latino students but opponents said public schools are dealing with the gap.

“It’s a hard call,” Trustee Peggy Cohen-Thompson said. “It’s a very hard call.”

She along with Trustees Mayrene Bates and Michell Coleman voted for Dana Dean’s motion to deny the Elite Charter School petition.

Bates spoke about attending all-black schools from kindergarten to college and protests about the separation of races.

She said she was concerned when hearing proposals to do more for one group than another.

Source: Solano board rejects Elite Charter School on 4-3 vote

SCOE trustees deny ELITE charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In a packed Fairfield meeting room, Solano County Office of Education trustees on Wednesday voted 4-3 to deny the petition submitted by ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School.

During the meeting that lasted more than four hours, which included more than 60 speakers, a small group of educators cheered after the result.

The closed vote, taken in the county agency’s Business Center Drive offices, a contentious Dec. 13 public hearing that saw some 50 speakers in support or opposition to the petition praised, assailed or merely questioned the document forged by Ramona Bishop, the former Vallejo City Unified superintendent who was fired from her post last March.

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Source: SCOE trustees deny ELITE charter school petition

More resources needed to help Solano youth thrive – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

Solano’s youth are improving, though more can be done to ensure they thrive.

Such was the sentiment Tuesday during a joint meeting of the Solano County Board of Supervisors and First 5 Solano.

During the hours-long event, officials talked about children, the milestones that put them on the path to success, available resources and gaps and, most important, what happens next.

“We are clearly supporting children in all aspects,” emphasized Supervisor Erin Hannigan at the start of the gathering.

Officials hammered home the need to help youths reach set milestones throughout their lives.

From ensuring bonding between parents and children to reducing kids’ stress to help their brains grow to motivating them academically, physically and socially through graduation, experts said all the stops should be pulled out in the interest of developing healthy youth.

Source: More resources needed to help Solano youth thrive

SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An action sure to draw a large crowd, the Solano County Office of Education governing board will vote Wednesday to grant or deny the proposed ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School petition submitted by Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified who was fired from her post last March.

With county staff urging trustees to deny the petition, the board’s decision will come about one month after a contentious December board meeting that saw several dozen speakers address trustees in support of and opposition to the petition, which would establish a charter school first in Vallejo, then other charters in Fairfield and Vacaville in the coming months and years.

Just how much sway the county staff recommendation will ultimately have remains an open question, but it will certainly be on the minds of opponents, who likely will drive home the point during their remarks to the seven-member board before the vote.

Source: SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter

Solano County education staff recommends Elite Charter School denial – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Elite Charter School’s petition should be denied, the Solano County Office of Education staff recommends in citing potentially devastating budgets cuts for the Vallejo City School District.

The staff also states that programs Elite Charter proposes are already available.

The Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Pena Adobe Room at 5100 Business Center Drive in Fairfield.

Ramona Bishop, former Vallejo City School District superintendent, is the petitioner for Elite.

Source: Solano County education staff recommends Elite Charter School denial

Central Labor Council opposes Elite Charter School petition – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

The Napa-Solano Central Labor Council opposes the Elite Charter School petition that Solano County Board of Education members take up Wednesday.

Executive Director Jon Riley said Monday that the labor council voted unanimously to oppose this “privately run regulated charter for many reasons” – including laws that do not ensure adequate transparency and financial oversight of tax-funded charter schools in California.

“Do we really want or need privatization of our education system?” Riley asked. “And do we want the decision to do so taken away from the individual school districts and their elected boards, who all have different needs, further eroding the say the voters have in how their taxes are spent?”

Source: Central Labor Council opposes Elite Charter School petition

SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An action sure to draw a large crowd, the Solano County Office of Education governing board will vote Wednesday to grant or deny the proposed ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School petition submitted by Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified who was fired from her post last March.

With county staff urging trustees to deny the petition, the board’s decision will come about one month after a contentious December board meeting that saw several dozen speakers address trustees in support of and opposition to the petition, which would establish a charter school first in Vallejo, then other charters in Fairfield and Vacaville in the coming months and years.

Just how much sway the county staff recommendation will ultimately have remains an open question, but it will certainly be on the minds of opponents, who likely will drive home the point during their remarks to the seven-member board before the vote.

Source: SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter

A challenge to solve problems at Travis – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Solano County Office of Education leaders, in a partnership with Travis Air Force Base, are launching an event, believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, that will enlist the help of Solano County high school students to tackle real-world problems at Travis Air Force Base.

The Phoenix Spark Challenge — described as a strategy used by the military to problem-solve among military operational experts, academia, and government agencies — will take place May 18 at the sprawling base south of Vacaville.

The academic challenge calls for students “to design, solve, and innovate in resolving real-life problems facing Travis Air Force Base,” Gethsemane Moss, senior director of community engagement, wrote in a press release.

Source: A challenge to solve problems at Travis

Vallejo school district opposes ELITE charter – The Reporter

By John Glidden

Vallejo school district officials are asking the Solano County Board of Education to deny the ELITE Public Charter School petition because the lead petitioner is “unlikely” to be successful in implementing the program.

That petitioner is former Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop, who submitted the petition to the county last fall.

Bishop was the VCUSD Superintendent from 2011 until last March when she was fired, without cause, by Vallejo school district trustees.

In a scathing 11-page letter sent Dec. 22 to the county board, Vallejo officials argued the petition fails to meet the legal standard for the establishment of a countywide charter, and that the petition does not contain comprehensive descriptions of all the elements required of a petition under Education Code.

Source: Vallejo school district opposes ELITE charter

Deep divide over charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A plan for independent charter schools in three Solano County cities drew dozens of supporters and opponents Wednesday to a sometimes emotionally-charged Solano County Office of Education trustees meeting in Fairfield.

The governing board made no up-or-down decision, but is expected to do so at its Jan. 10 meeting.

Nearly 50 of some 175 people who packed the Pena Adobe room in SCOE’s offices aired their reasons during a two-hour public hearing that came after Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified, offered a slide presentation that more or less summarized her 510-page petition to open an independent charter school, ELITE Public School, next year in Vallejo, with campuses added in Vacaville and Fairfield in 2019. (A copy of the petition is available for public review at the county office website, www.solanocoe.net.)

Source: Deep divide over charter school petition