Torlakson Visits Local Summer Learning Program – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today toured the Summer Learning program at Robla Elementary School in the Robla School District to voice his opposition to proposed federal budget cuts that would harm this program and many others in California and the nation.

President Trump has proposed eliminating all funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. These centers run After School, Summer Learning, and other Expanded Learning programs.

Nationally, his proposed cuts would remove $1.2 billion in funding. In California, the proposed cuts would take away $137 million of the total of $730 million spent on Expanded Learning programs, or about 18 percent of the total budget.

“Today we are shining a light on the wonderful Summer Learning and After School programs that engage, teach, and inspire 860,000 students in California each year,” Torlakson said. “President Trump’s proposed budget cuts could devastate Summer Learning and After School programs. These proposed cuts are short-sighted, counterproductive, and just wrong. As leaders, we should be searching for ways to help our students thrive, rather than blocking proven paths to success.”

Source: Torlakson Visits Local Summer Learning Program – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

4 Tools to Boost Communication Skills in the STEM Classroom | MindShift

By Danny Wagner

Healthy communication is vital to thriving workplace communities, and it’s essential for effective collaborative classrooms as well. Knowing when and how to express yourself, recognizing nonverbal cues, and being able to discern what’s important when someone speaks can be key factors in building interpersonal relationships. By practicing communication skills, students will get better at asking for help and expressing what they need, and over time they will develop the skills and confidence to tell you more clearly what they’ve learned in class.

In STEM fields, empathetic communication is a fundamental ingredient for success. Whether you’re a healthcare professional or a programmer, you must be able to take highly technical knowledge and describe it in a clear and simple way for others. If students learn to express ideas in a persuasive way and respond gracefully to reactions to their opinions, they’ll be able to promote innovation and social change through fields like bioengineering or video game design. You may not be able to see the outcomes of bolstering students’ communication right away, but the transfer to real-world situations will one day be undeniable.

Source: 4 Tools to Boost Communication Skills in the STEM Classroom | MindShift | KQED News

Fairfield-Suisun leaders to consider budget – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Like so many California school districts in summertime, with their 2017-18 LCAPs and budgets sent to county offices of education, Fairfield-Suisun Unified has posted a relatively light agenda for its Thursday meeting in Fairfield.

Trustees will hear several presentations at the outset, including a report, delivered by students, about the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camp at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Under the consent calendar, items typically approved in one collective vote, governing board members will OK a $1.13 million contract with the state Department of Education for child development services.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun leaders to consider budget

Top state ed official extols budget increases for K-12 schools – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson was all smiles when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the 2017–18 state budget. After all, it increases funding for K-12 public schools, after-school programs, early education and child care, and teacher recruitment and training.

“When we invest more in our students, we help them succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” he said in a press release issued late last month. “This budget continues the strong growth in what I call the ‘California Way,’ where legislators, the governor, education groups, the business community, and others are working closely together to keep improving our education system.”

The Legislature approved the budget June 15, the date required by the state Constitution. Brown’s signature on the state’s key funding document kicked off the new spending plan July 1.

California has the nation’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students at nearly 10,000 public schools.

 

Source: Top state ed official extols budget increases for K-12 schools

Summer camp for Fairfield-Suisun students out of this world – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Ayden Davanzo, a 13-year-old student at Grange Middle School who has seen the movies “Interstellar” and “The Martian,” will get closer to outer space as one of 40 students who’ll visit Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County and see the control center where rockets are launched.

Davanzo wants to work one day as an engineer for NASA.

“I want to create the rockets to send man to another solar system,” he said Monday.

James Frische, 12, of Suisun Valley Elementary, said he’s also looking forward to Vandenberg in the Fairfield-Suisun School District STEM Camp for science, technology, engineering and math.

Source: Summer camp for Fairfield-Suisun students out of this world

Area high school robotics teams tally mixed results at world championships – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville-area high school robotics teams posted mixed results but gained immeasurable experience at the 2017 FIRST Robotics World Championships, The Reporter has learned.

Held in Houston last week, Wednesday through Saturday, the competition yielded the final tallies, with the RoboVikes from Vanden High, in the 67-team Galileo division, in 13th place; the RoboKnights from Buckingham Charter High in 43rd in the Hopper division; and the Armijo High Robotics squad in 66th, also in the Galileo division.

Long a robotics powerhouse and mentor to other robotics teams, the RoboVikes, veterans of several world championship runs, ended up in first place after the first day of competition, Thursday, in the George Brown Convention Center, for essentially a STEM face-off that attracted 400 teams (in five divisions) from the West and South and from several foreign countries, including Australia, China and Turkey. (Because the championship has grown in popularity, another round of championship matches is this coming weekend in St. Louis.)

Source: Area high school robotics teams tally mixed results at world championships

After years under construction, ‘Matthew Turner’ hits the water – Benicia Herald

By Donna Beth Weilenman

As bands played an estimated 1,000 people watched on land and on watercraft in Richardson Bay, the Matthew Turner finally touched water, leaving the shores of Sausalito Saturday afternoon.

The brigantine is the first wooden tall ship built in the San Francisco Bay Area in 100 years, and it’s named for the legendary prolific American designer and builder whose shipyard for years was in Benicia.

His design for his record-setting Galilee, built in 1891, is the inspiration for the new Matthew Turner, built by volunteers under the watchful eye and guidance of Alan Olson, executive director of Educational Tall Ship, which with its partner Call of the Sea, has been offering scholarly, on-board programs to school children on the smaller 2-foot schooner Seaward that was decorated in signal flags the day of the launch.

Source: After years under construction, ‘Matthew Turner’ hits the water

‘Matthew Turner’ ship launching Saturday – Benicia Herald

By Donna Beth Weilenman

A labor of love that began nearly four years ago with the laying of a brigantine’s keel will take an important step forward Saturday when the “Matthew Turner” is launched in Sausalito. Named for the famous shipbuilder who constructed record-setting vessels in Benicia, the Matthew Turner is patterned after the “Galilee,” the ship that covered the distance from Tahiti to California under sail at such speeds that the produce it carried arrived fresh enough to sell to awaiting customers.

The Galilee still holds the speed record – 22 days – for ships under sail from Tahiti to San Francisco.

Alan Olson, who founded the Call of the Sea and Educational Tall Ship education programs, has been dreaming of the day a ship built along Turner’s own designs would become the San Francisco Bay Area’s tall ship.

At one time, the Hawaiian Chieftain held that honor. That ship is an original design that recalls the packet ships that delivered mail and cargo along the Pacific coastline and inland via rivers, or outward across the ocean.

Source: ‘Matthew Turner’ ship launching Saturday

Girls draw even with boys in high school STEM classes, but still lag in college and careers | EdSource

By Carolyn Jones

High school engineering classrooms look a lot different than they did a few decades ago, and it’s not just because of computers. Those classes now have girls. Lots of girls.

Thanks to long-standing efforts by teachers, administrators and nonprofits, girls now make up about half the enrollment in high-school science and math classes. They are scoring almost identically to their male classmates on standardized tests, according to data compiled by the National Girls Collaborative Project, a nonprofit funded in part by the National Science Foundation that aims to increase girls’ participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Source: Girls draw even with boys in high school STEM classes, but still lag in college and careers | EdSource

California students outpace U.S. average in pursuit of STEM study and careers | EdSource

By Pat Maio

A new report from ACT, the Iowa-based college admissions testing company, has mixed results for California, showing that the state’s 2016 high school graduates had greater interest in pursuing STEM-related college majors or career opportunities than the national average but minimal interest in teaching the subjects.

The ACT report, “The Condition of STEM 2016,” found that 53 percent of graduates in California expressed an interest in STEM majors or careers, compared with about 48 percent nationally.

Interest in STEM majors or careers was determined by the number of students who provided profile and survey information when they enrolled for the test. In the survey, the students picked subjects related to science or math from a list of 294 college majors and occupations as areas of future study and work. About 2.1 million students took the ACT test, including 127,225 in California.

Source: California students outpace U.S. average in pursuit of STEM study and careers | EdSource

Solano Community Foundation awards grant to Vallejo after-school program – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Young Vallejo public school children who attend an after-school program will be the beneficiaries of reading clubs thanks to a grant from the Solano Community Foundation.

The Fairfield-based foundation on Thursday announced a first-of-its-kind grant, $6,404, to the Vallejo City Unified School District for its after-school program (ASES), to set up reading clubs for some 750 second-, third- and fourth-graders.

The money was made available through the foundation’s Education Plus! Grant Program and will pay for the purchase of e-book licenses for 11 elementary schools.

The e-books include many nonfiction titles to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning in after-school reading. Students will read the e-books using the iPads the district bought last spring 2016, paid for by City of Vallejo Measure B funds.

 

Source: Solano Community Foundation awards grant to Vallejo after-school program

Torlakson Kicks Off 2016 STEM Symposium – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today kicked off California’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education symposium.

Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher and coach, welcomed more than 3,000 teachers, parents, students, researchers, entrepreneurs and others to the two-day event at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“STEM education is a key pathway to success in 21st century careers and college, especially in the high-tech, international economy,” Torlakson said. “We want all of our students to get excited about STEM learning, dream big, and reach for the stars.”

The third annual event showcases the importance of STEM education. Speakers highlighted California’s Next Generation Science Standards, a revolutionary update in teaching California’s 6.2 million public school students about science.

Source: Torlakson Kicks Off 2016 STEM Symposium – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

UC Davis-sponsored camp teaches Benicia Middle School girls computing, tech and more – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Education plays a big role in determining students’ futures. As they move through their schooling, students take at least one class that inspires them to enter that field or influences what they want to do with their lives. Additionally, as technology becomes more omnipresent, more career opportunities open up for everybody.

Therefore, it has become expected for schools to inspire students—especially female students— to enter the fields they are most passionate about, not necessarily the ones society has traditionally suggested they take.This was the premise behind C-STEM GIRL (Girls in Robotic Leadership) Camp, a weeklong partnership between Benicia Unified School District and UC Davis, in which incoming seventh and eighth-grade girls learned about robotics and coding as well as leadership, public speaking and team building skills.

Source: UC Davis-sponsored camp teaches Benicia Middle School girls about importance of computing, tech and more

Bridging “opportunity gap,” Migrant Ed students go to STEM camp – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Brothers Jesus and Oscar Silva, seated at a table, closely eyed a computer program displayed on a laptop as Omena Mushale explained how their LEGO Mindstorms robot was meant to work.

Migrant Education students in Fairfield-Suisun Unified were in a classroom for high schoolers Monday at Anna Kyle Elementary in Fairfield where they participated in a two-week STEM camp specifically for students like them, sons and daughters of migrant workers who either follow seasonal plantings and harvests or move frequently within a certain geographic area, including a city or town, as they seek work.

source: Bridging “opportunity gap,” Migrant Ed students go to STEM camp – The Reporter

County high schoolers learn ABCs of solar energy and careers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An education program manager for a San Jose-based solar company said the Solar Energy Academy this week at Solano Community College is an opportunity for schools and businesses to collaborate to bring a work-based learning environment that high school students “can’t get in a classroom.”

Renee Solari — who smiled when noting her surname, coincidentally, means “sun” in Italian — said the students, some 40 mostly sophomores to seniors from Solano County school districts, including several from Vacaville Unified, are learning “21st-century skills” at the academy, co-sponsored by her firm, SunPower and the Northern California Career Pathways, a six-county consortium of school districts, community colleges and the Workforce Development Board.

Source: County high schoolers learn ABCs of solar energy and careers

Fairfield-Suisun School District STEM camp helps dreams take flight – Daily Republic

By Bill Hicks

With graduation season in the rear view mirror, the school year for the Fairfield-Suisun School District is over – but that doesn’t mean the learning has stopped.

A group of 40 sixth- and seventh-graders returned, Friday night, from a five-day Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics camp, which included a trip to Vacaville-based ICON Aircraft, the Senate and Assembly chambers at the State Capitol and culminated with a trip to Vandenberg Air Force Base outside of Lompoc in Southern California.

This was the inaugural year for the program, which was developed in part thanks to a pre-existing connection Superintendent Kris Corey had with staff at Vandenberg AFB.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun School District STEM camp helps dreams take flight

Officials post Solano County Science/STEM Fair winners – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The winners from the 4th Annual Solano County Science/STEM Fair have been announced, with Fairfield-area students earning high marks.

The fair took place April 15 at Vanden High School with students from Armijo and Vanden high schools, Grange Middle School, Bethany Lutheran School and Foxboro Elementary School participating.

There were 207 high school projects and 59 middle school projects entered this year, according to county schools officials. The fair was organized by Marilyn Lewis and Katy Green, science teachers at Vanden High.

Source: Good News: Officials post Solano County Science/STEM Fair winners

Science is cool at Solano County STEM Fair – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

President Obama vowed in his first term to make science “cool,” and he has made good on his word.

Consider that he decorated the Oval Office with patent models of well-known scientific inventions and, on Wednesday, hosted his sixth and final White House Science Fair, featuring the robots, spacecraft, toys made from 3-D printers, and other assorted flabbergasting gizmos cobbled together by more than 100 young students from across the nation.

Source: Science is cool at Solano County STEM Fair

RoboDogs gear up for regional competitions – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For the RoboDogs, the Vacaville High robotics team, the road to the high school FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships is paved with days of hard work, trial and error, some deadline-related anxiety, high spirits, but mostly just plain old stick-to-itiveness.

After classes Thursday in the team’s epicenter, otherwise known as teacher and adviser Phil Jenschke’s classroom, which by any other terms is a seemingly order-amid-chaos industrial shop, it was enough for some two dozen students just to get ready for the Sacramento Regional contest. It begins Thursday and continues to March 27 at the University of California, Davis. Afterward, they will need to focus on another competition, March 31 to April 1, at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho.

Source: RoboDogs gear up for regional competitions

Increasing Education Opportunities For Minorities In STEM – Forbes

By Maria Klawe

This summer I had the honor of attending an event that brought together educators and industry leaders involved in improving the state of STEM education in the U.S. During a panel discussion, I was asked whether I was encouraged or discouraged by where we are today in terms of diversity in STEM education. I am definitely encouraged, but we still have far to go to achieve equity in STEM education for minorities who have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields.

African-American, Latino and Native American students still lag far behind their white and Asian counterparts in terms of participation in math, science and engineering fields. While these underrepresented groups have made some modest gains over the last several decades, their progress has been extremely slow. Worse, over the last decade African Americans’ progress in attaining bachelor’s degrees in engineering, mathematics, computer science and physics has stalled or even reversed.

via Increasing Education Opportunities For Minorities In STEM – Forbes.