By Ryan McCarthy
Trustees for the Fairfield-Suisun School District will take part in a special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday about California Department of Education reviews of special education in the district.
The first review analyzed individual educational plans of special education students and interventions taken before a student is recommended for special education assessment, according to a school district staff report.
The second review studied “disproportionality” of students who qualify for special education and steps the district needs to implement to reduce disproportionality, the staff report said.
Source: Trustees to meet for study session about state reports on special education in Fairfield-Suisun School District
By Nick Sestanovich
Two of the biggest changes at Benicia High School this year are the adoption of a new bell schedule and the switch to a new special education model. Items on both were presented at Thursday’s school board meeting.
The implementation of a new bell schedule at Benicia High has been in the works ever since it was suggested as a goal by a Western Association of Schools and Colleges visitation team more than two years ago. After two years of conducting research, soliciting feedback from the community and presenting various possibilities for a new schedule to go into effect in the 2017-2018 school year, Benicia High announced a new schedule in May. Rather than students having a non-rotating six-period schedule for all five days of the week, students will only have that schedule for three days of the week. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, students will have a block schedule consisting of three 86-minute classes each day. Odd-numbered classes will meet on Wednesdays, even-numbered classes will meet on Thursdays, and school will end for students 30 minutes earlier.
Source: New Benicia High School bell schedule, special education model discussed at Thursday’s school board meeting
By Nick Sestanovich
Benicia High School is in the process of changing its special education model to allow students with disabilities to have greater access to general education courses, according to a letter sent out by Dr. Carolyn Patton, the director of special services for the Benicia Unified School District.Patton said a number of things influenced the district’s decision to move away from Benicia High’s current model, including the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District which stipulated that Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) should give students higher standards in education. Another was the California Department of Education, which requires districts to increase the percentage of students who spend 80 percent of their day in the general education environment.
Patton said the district had also been looking into laws provided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990.“There’s always been an emphasis for kids to be in the general ed environment with correct support,” she said in an interview with the Herald. “Districts are supposed to start with that premise that if a student can be educated in general ed with support from the special education department, then that’s where they’re supposed to be.”
Source: Benicia High’s special education department to undergo changes
By Daily Republic Staff
Assemblyman Jim Frazier on Monday passed a special resolution declaring May 22 as Special Olympics Day, then presented proclamations recognizing two affiliated organizations.
“It’s beyond amazing that 96,000 Californians have the opportunity each year to participate in the sports they love while developing lifelong friendships and skills,” Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, said in a statement released by his office.
“When I was in high school, I helped a dear friend who had a disability of his own play a game on the football team and from that moment I knew how much it meant for him to feel included, and how great it was for the whole team. I see that same fulfillment in everyone involved with the Special Olympics,” Frazier said.
Source: Special Olympics front and center in Assembly
By Kimberly K. Fu
They stomped and danced and threw beach balls in the air Friday morning all while clad for comfort and celebration.
Must have been the 25th annual prom for students with adapted physical education needs.
Bus after bus arrived from the Vacaville, Dixon and Fairfield-Suisun school districts, each carrying students of all ages who were ready to party.
The celebrants gathered in the Armijo High School gym, passing through entrances strewn with glittery silver stars.
Source: Students countywide enjoy special prom at Armijo
By Jessica Rogness
Friday marked Kid’s Day at the Dixon May Fair, but the fun started even earlier for students in special education classes from across Solano County.
The Jest in Time Circus on the Family Fun Stage was a favorite for students visiting from Tremont Elementary School in Dixon.
Laughter pealed from under the big top as “Topper Todd” and “Li Li Zucchini” exhibited their antics for the kids, parents and teachers with juggling pins, toilet paper and Lucky the little white dog.
Then it was on to the Butler Amusements Carnival for some thrills.
Source: Dixon May Fair caters to special needs students with early opening
By Andrew Ujifusa
Federal lawmakers have agreed to relatively small spending increases for Title I programs to districts and for special education, as part of a budget deal covering the rest of fiscal 2017 through the end of September.
Title I spending on disadvantaged students would rise by $100 million up to $15.5 billion from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017, along with $450 million in new money that was already slated to be shifted over from the now-defunct School Improvement Grants program.
And state grants for special education would increase by $90 million up to $12 billion. However, Title II grants for teacher development would be cut by $294 million, down to about $2.1 billion for the rest of fiscal 2017.
The bill would also provide $400 million for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program, also known as Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Title IV is a block grant that districts can use for a wide range of programs, including health, safety, arts education, college readiness, and more.
Source: Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Susan Hiland
The Armijo High School gym was filled to capacity Thursday with plenty of cheering as a show of support for the Special Olympics Track and Field competition.
Originally planned for the track outside, rain chased everyone into the gym where special education students from the Fairfield-Suisun School District were paired with partners from Armijo High.
“This is the first year we have hosted this,” said Carly Perales, athletic director for Armijo.
It was standing room only in the gym – one side had students from classes and the other side had guests from special education classes from across the district.
Source: Special day for special children at Armijo High School
By Jessica Rogness
Thursday’s downpour couldn’t dampen the spirit of the Special Olympics at Armijo High School.
Stacie Moore, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District assistant director of special education, arrived at the school early Thursday for the district’s first collaborative high school track and field event for its adapted physical education students.
It could have been terrible for the outdoor event, Moore said, but then she watched as the school’s leadership team, teachers, students and other volunteers pulled together to move everything inside the gym.
Source: Special Olympics high school athletes have first track event
By Ian Thompson
A Travis nonprofit trying to build a park designed for special needs children could use your vote.
Friends of Family Services is asking people to nominate their project for a $20,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association program called Meet Me At The Park by going onto the association’s website at NRPA.org/BeInspired and nominate the proposed park project between now and April 30.
The NRPA is collaborating with The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, to revitalize parks across the U.S. for a third year. The city that receives the most nominations will receive a $20,000 grant to improve a local park.
Source: Travis park proponents ask supporters to nominate project for $20K grant
By Christina Samuels
The “skinny” budget blueprint released by the Trump administration Thursday would maintain current spending levels for special education—about $13 billion, most of which is money sent directly to states.
The budget blueprint is just the beginning of a long process. While this document shows the administration’s priorities, it is Congress that ultimately passes spending legislation. And lawmakers have their own ideas about what programs should be cut, and which should be kept.
But, if these funding amounts were to stay in place, the federal contribution for special education and related services would be about 16 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with a disability, compared to a general education student.
In 1975, when the federal government passed the law that was to become the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Congress authorized paying states up to 40 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with disabilities, based on national per-pupil expenditures. But in the 40-plus years of the law’s existence, the federal government has never gotten close to meeting that goal. The Trump administration is not different from other administrations in that regard.
Source: Special Education Funding Maintained in Trump Administration Budget Blueprint – On Special Education – Education Week
By Daily Republic Staff
Parents with students who have disabilities or are in special education programs, and who are enrolled in middle school, high school or a transition program are invited to attend the Transition Information Fair from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Solano County Office of Education.
More than 40 agencies from Solano County and the surrounding area will be there to provide information about their services. The event is hosted by the Workforce Development Department of the county Office of Education.
Source: Solano Office of Education offers “transition fair” – Daily Republic
By Murray Bass
Last year I had breakfast and conversation at Huckleberry’s and then a visit to Mary Bird School with Fairfield-Suisun School District Superintendent Kris Corey.
We share an interest in the education – development – of children. Her interest is professional, mine is more amateur.
Kris invited me to join her to look at what was going on at Mary Bird School. Mary Bird is a school for young children with special needs, kids 3 and 4 years old.
Source: My visit to Mary Bird School an education
By Ben Johnson
The law requires that students classified as special education have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Everything must be documented, and the responsibility for providing special education services specified in the IEP is in the hands of the school staff.
Each child who has an IEP also has an IEP team. The team includes the child and his or her parents, the child’s teachers, a counselor, an administrator, and a special education coordinator or teacher. I recently attended an IEP team meeting for a student at the high school where I teach Spanish. I listened attentively to the special education coordinator, who sat behind a laptop reviewing evaluations, the student’s progress in the core classes, and the appropriateness of the interventions prescribed for her learning disability. One by one, the elements required in an IEP meeting were completed.
Source: How to Make IEP Meetings More Effective | Edutopia
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
A handful of mothers with special needs children traveled 25 years ago to Silveyville Christmas Tree Farm for a Happy Holidays celebration.
The tradition continued Friday with nearly 300 children representing Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville, Travis Air Force Base and Dixon.
For two hours, the special-needs children, their parents and classroom aides were able to walk through the Christmas trees, take a sleigh ride, sip on hot cider, nibble on popcorn and be themselves.
Kerry Purcell was one of the original moms. Today, her grandchildren help out at the event.
“It’s an opportunity for families, who don’t get a lot of opportunities, to do things as a family,” she said. “No one here is going to judge them.”
Source: Special-needs children celebrate special day at Silveyville tree farm
By Richard Bammer
To place a troubled child on path to success “really does take a village,” the director of the Desert Mountain Children’s Center said at the official opening Thursday of a new county testing and evaluation program for children suffering from ongoing developmental, social, emotional, behavioral and communication challenges.
Speaking to a group of 40, mostly school district superintendents, educators and behavior specialists, Linda Llamas called the “partners” who helped to open the Solano Comprehensive Assessment Research and Evaluation (CARE) Clinic in Fairfield “agents of change” for troubled youngsters and their families who seek services at the clinic, which is housed in a building behind Child Haven, at 801 Empire St., Fairfield.
Source: Child Haven officially opens testing, evaluation clinic
By Kathryn Nieves
One of the biggest problems I encounter as a resource room teacher is the self-esteem of the students in my classes. After years of disappointing academic experiences, their confidence is low and their motivation has declined. Combine those points with the peer pressure, bullying, and stresses of middle school, and the students do not have a positive outlook on their education.
In my classroom, technology is a tool for empowerment—it creates a collaborative and innovative space for all students. Along with over 50 million educators and students, I am primarily using Google’s G Suite for Education. The suite is a bundle of Google’s key products, such as Drive, Docs, Slides, and Forms, along with new tools like Google Classroom. While I used these applications in a middle school classroom, the following strategies are appropriate for any age from upper elementary students to high school seniors.
Source: Using Technology to Empower Students With Special Needs | Edutopia
By Richard Bammer
Revisions to admission preferences and an update on special programs are on the agenda when Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders meeting tonight in Vacaville.
Directors at the Elm Street independent charter school will be asked to consider several amendments to the school’s charter, in accord with state law, as they relate to admission preferences.
Among the changes, as noted by board secretary Anna Rivera in agenda documents, are preferences given to current students; siblings of current students; children or grandchildren of Kairos employees or members of the board of directors; the students of other Kairos programs; and students on the waitlist from the previous year (who submitted an application during the open application period for current-year enrollment).
Source: Changes to admission preferences, update on special ed on Kairos agenda tonight
By Richard Bammer
Solano County families and parents with special education children will get a little more help with the opening of a new early assessment and intervention program for youngsters suffering from ongoing developmental, social, emotional, behavioral and communication challenges.
The Solano Comprehensive Assessment Research and Evaluation (CARE) Clinic will open Thursday at Child Haven, 801 Empire St., Fairfield.
There, children ages 2 years, 9 months to 5 years, 6 months (and their caregivers) can experience an intensive, early assessment and intervention program, Jodie Phan, director of Personnel Development and Consultation Services for the Solano County Office of Education’s Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), wrote in a press release issued Monday.
Source: Child Haven to open testing, evaluation clinic for special ed children – The Reporter
By Jessica Rogness
More than 400 Fairfield students of all abilities gathered Thursday for a Special Olympics soccer event.
Schaefer Stadium at Fairfield High School was packed with K-5 students from Anna Kyle, Center, Crescent, Dan O. Root, K. I. Jones, Laurel Creek, Nelda Mundy, Oakbrook and David Weir.
The event opened with a Special Olympics torch rally. A student from each school’s special education program ran to pass the plastic torch to the next, guided by officers from the Fairfield Police Department and California Highway Patrol.
Source: Fairfield High School hosts Special Olympics soccer event