Solano special needs students dance the morning away at annual prom – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Over at Armijo High School’s gym, the bass was thumping and fists were pumping for Solano County’s annual prom Friday morning for students with special needs, which proved to be a good time for all.

With the theme being “An Evening in the Enchanted Garden,” the room was strewn with flowers and images of iconic Disney fairies. The feeling of a magic garden was captured as special needs students throughout the county got to dress in their finest outfits, play games and dance to their hearts’ content, all while getting to be themselves.

Lynne Lee, a teacher in Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s adapted physical education department, said the event started more than 25 years ago.

Source: Solano special needs students dance the morning away at annual prom – The Reporter

Special needs students get day to themselves at Dixon May Fair – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

In the late morning hours Friday, special education students throughout Solano County got to have the Dixon May Fair all to themselves, enjoying the rides, livestock exhibitions and food — hours before the fair officially opened for the day.

The event, held by local Rotary Clubs throughout the county in conjunction with the Solano County Office of Education, has been a staple for 26 years. Bill Seiden, event chair and member of the Vacaville Noon Rotary Club, said it started in 1993 as a fishing derby.

“There had been a previous history of a special needs gathering at the May Fair,” he said. “When I learned that, we decided to move it here as a Special Needs Day at the fair, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Source: Special needs students get day to themselves at Dixon May Fair – The Reporter

15-year-old girl launches “locker” to give back – The Reporter

By Sally Schilling

Shanneil Turner’s dream was to play on Vacaville High School’s basketball team. The 15-year-old was set on trying out, but one thing was standing in her way: shoes.

Her parents were going to buy her a pair, but they couldn’t afford it at that time, said Turner, who has been a Boys and Girls Club member since age 6.

Turner ended up borrowing a pair, but they were falling apart.

Source: 15-year-old girl launches “locker” to give back – The Reporter

VUSD Leads The Way For Later School Start Time – CBS Sacramento

By Marissa Perlman

Lawmakers are once again pushing to require middle and high schools across the state to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

They say data shows later start times means more sleep, and therefore higher attendance and better grades for students. Governor Jerry Brown shut down the bill last year, but now there’s hope Governor Gavin Newsom will think differently.

The Vacaville Unified School District has had a later start time for a full year. They could serve as a model for schools across Northern California if this legislation passes.

Source: Vacaville Unified School District Leads The Way For Later School Start Time – CBS Sacramento

Callison custodian named top Solano classified employee – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Daryl “DJ” Stilwell is more than just a custodian at Callison Elementary School. He is an integral part of the school who staff, students and parents know by name. He arrives early and leaves late to do the many tasks of his job, including power washing the concrete, blowing leaves, replacing items, providing emergency cleanup, helping students during emergencies or assisting with events like the annual 6th Grade Egg Drop.

“His position is almost as important, if not as important, as the principal or leadership role because the staff and the students feed off his energy,” Callison Principal Jessica Reed said.

It was this kind of dedication that led Reed to nominate Stilwell as Solano County’s Classified School Employee of the Year. The Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) took up Reed’s suggestion and bestowed Stilwell with the honor.

Source: Callison custodian named top Solano classified employee – The Reporter

Solano schools honor Benicia teacher, Vacaville custodian – Daily Republic

By Bill Hicks

School districts throughout the county, by way of an event organized by the Solano County Office of Education, came together Tuesday to honor all teachers and support staff by recognizing some of the best in their positions.

Callison Elementary School’s DJ Stilwell, a custodian, was recognized with an educator of the year award, as was Benicia High School’s Matt O’Reilly, an arts and design teacher.

The Solano County Office of Education Educators of the Year Awards Ceremony, held at Suisun City’s Joseph A. Nelson Community Center, honored teachers of the year in each district, as well as support workers, which range from clerical, maintenance, student nutrition and similar roles.

Source: Solano schools honor Benicia teacher, Vacaville custodian

Vacaville Unified, Vaca PD partner on threat assessment protocols – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

This year, the Vacaville Unified School District launched a new threat assessment protocol, incorporating a team of professionals who collaborate to evaluate, intervene and provide support for students. This team includes police, mental health professionals trained by the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, and school administrators.

The team, according to a press release from the district, assesses incidents from different perspectives to give VUSD a more comprehensive assessment and plan of action.

The Vacaville Police Department brought Standard Response Protocols to VUSD in 2014 as part of a shared action plan for emergency response. Since then, the partnership has only grown. Last summer, six VPD officers and six district administrators attended a National Association of School Resource Officers conference, which resulted in the new threat assessment protocol as well as an invigorated tip line system.

Source: Vacaville Unified, Vaca PD partner on threat assessment protocols – The Reporter

Orchard, Fairmont name new principals – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The Vacaville Unified School District board unanimously approved two individuals to head two of its elementary schools, VUSD announced in a news release. Anne Silva will take the reins as principal of Orchard Elementary School, and Greg Moffitt will take charge at Fairmont Charter Elementary School.

According to the release, Silva graduated from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, where she double majored in psychology and liberal arts. She has spent 31 years in education, including 13 years teaching elementary school in the Folsom Cordova Unified School District. She moved over to VUSD, where she served as an elementary classroom teacher, computer lab teacher and Response to Intervention coordinator before becoming an assistant principal at Callison Elementary School, where she has served for the past two years.

Source: Orchard, Fairmont name new principals – The Reporter

13th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony – Daily Republic

The 13th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday, May 6, 2019, from 3:30 to 5:00 PM at the Solano County Office of Education located at 5100 Business Center Drive in Fairfield.

CAC Awards are presented to educators, youth, and community members for outstanding service to students with special needs. Award recipients are from each school district within the Solano County Special Education Local Plan Area: Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Travis, and Vacaville Unified School Districts, as well as the Solano County Office of Education.

Source: 13th Annual Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Recognition Awards Ceremony

VUSD honored for program to reduce chronic absenteeism – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State education officials on Tuesday recognized Vacaville Unified School District for its efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism and increase student attendance.

State schools chief Tony Thurmond made the announcement in a press release that listed VUSD among 22 other districts — Santa Ana, Long Beach and Glendale, among them — for their model School Attendance Review Boards, or SARBs.

The award recognizes excellence in specific content areas, including establishing goals and objectives, implementing prevention and intervention strategies, and working with local agencies.

Source: VUSD honored for program to reduce chronic absenteeism – The Reporter

2019 Model School Attendance Review Board Winners – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 23 school attendance programs were recognized as model School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs) for outstanding strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism and increase student attendance.

“In order for students to reach their full learning potential, they need to be in school,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “These exemplary attendance programs have reduced chronic absenteeism rates at the district level and have been able to provide the necessary support to students who are the most vulnerable and at risk of becoming a chronic absentee. This recognition is well-deserved, and I hope that other districts will follow the lead of the model SARBs and replicate their methods so we can get all of our students back in class and on the pathway to graduation and a successful future.”

Source: 2019 Model School Attendance Review Board Winners – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Kona offering free ice to ‘chill out’ for Tax Day – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Tax Day is coming up, and many Americans are stressing out as they scramble to get their taxes in by the deadline. They are likely asking questions like, “Will I get a big refund?,” “Do I owe money?,” “Did I fill out everything correctly?” and “How can I save for next year?”

Kona Ice has just one bit of advice: chill out.

They mean that literally.

Source: Kona offering free ice to ‘chill out’ for Tax Day – The Reporter

On Cesar Chavez Day, history, writing, recitation, and song at Markham Elementary – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

It is something of an annual rite for Norma Guerrero at this time of year: teaching third-graders in Spanish and English about the life and times of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, American labor leaders and civil rights activists who co-founded the United Farm Workers Association in 1962.

One day after Cesar Chavez Day, March 31, a state holiday observed Monday, she stood near the white board of her Markham Elementary classroom, reviewing the Chavez biography while teaching a lesson on cause and effect related to the events and wherefores of his life. In later years, he devoted time to raising nationwide awareness of farm worker struggles for better pay and safer working conditions through nonviolent tactics, among them boycotts, pickets, strikes and fasts.

Using a slide projector to make her points as 22 students at their desks wrote on worksheets, Guerrero noted the labor leader’s early days in Yuma, Ariz., and his family’s decision to move to California during the Great Depression.

Source: On Cesar Chavez Day, history, writing, recitation, and song at Markham Elementary – The Reporter

Cooper Elementary School second graders raise Dollars for Dogs – The Reporter

By Matt Sieger

The second graders at Cooper Elementary School and the Vacaville Police Department K-9 Unit have a good thing going.

It all started with a story in the second-grade reader entitled “Officer Buckle and Gloria” about a safety officer and his K-9 partner and how they do the job better together. That prompted the school to invite the Vacaville PD to come out, and it’s now become an annual community service project called Dollars for Dogs.

The second graders raised money in February and March to support the K-9 unit. At Friday afternoon’s ceremony in the school’s multipurpose room, second-grade teacher Sharon Riehl, who emceed the event, was thrilled to hand the officers a check for $1,850.

Source: Cooper Elementary School second graders raise Dollars for Dogs – The Reporter

Vacaville police holding two internet safety workshops in April – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

By the time kids are in middle school, they likely will have become heavy users of the internet. However, even with all the informative sites, they have to be cautious.

The Vacaville Police Department’s Vice Unit, in conjunction with the Vacaville Unified School District and Foster Kinship Care Education Program, will be hosting a pair of workshops bringing awareness of human trafficking.

Detectives Jeff Datzman, Nichole King and Mike Miller will be going over the warning signs of human trafficking, how to prevent it and how online predators use the internet target the youth, namely through social media and phone applications.

Source: Vacaville police holding two internet safety workshops in April – The Reporter

Great Things are Happening in Vacaville – Daily Republic

The Vacaville Twilight Soroptimist club just completed a G.R.E.A.T. (girls realizing empowerment and talents) Academy. Girls in the 8th, 9th and 10th grade from Solano County were invited to spend 2 Saturdays in March with mentors from the Soroptimist Club. The program included curriculum from the Soroptimist Dream it Be it; Career Support for Girls program. A grant from SIA provided funds to support this program with money for the venue, materials, food, and prizes.

Over the two days 8 Chromebooks were given away and over $200.00 in gift cards. Speakers included Dr. Matt Holve, MD, speaking on stress management, President Michelle Strand making a presentation on nutrition, and other Soroptimist members speaking on a variety of problem-solving skills, goal setting, and self-care.

Source: Great Things are Happening in Vacaville

Vaca Pena students learn biotech skills at Solano Community College – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students at Vaca Pena Middle School got a glimpse at a potential career field — biotechnology — when they visited Solano Community College’s Vacaville campus Tuesday.

SCC biotech professor and Vacaville Unified School District trustee Michael Silva said that as part of the department’s outreach program, different elementary, middle and high schools throughout the area are invited to visit the biotech labs and often take part in different activities. The schools are not limited to just Solano County. Last week, students at Enoch High School in Modesto came to visit, and on Monday, a group of students from Calistoga High School stopped by.

“It goes to speak how valuable of a resource this biotechnology lab and curriculum is to the community, and really the whole region,” he said.

Source: Vaca Pena students learn biotech skills at Solano Community College – The Reporter

4 Vacaville schools will start next school year with Boys & Girls Club offerings – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club is expanding in partnership with the Vacaville School District.

Markham, Fairmont and Hemlock and Padan elementary schools will soon be served by the Boys & Girls Club. The expansion is funded under the After School Education and Safety grant that provides free after-school care to the children attending the schools.

“We are excited and humbled in the district’s confidence in us to implement the program to their students and families. We share the sentiment that they are all our kids and this mutual agreement will only set us on a path to helping more youth achieve success,” Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Anna Eaton said in a press release.

Source: 4 Vacaville schools will start next school year with Boys & Girls Club offerings

Vaca High senior Nevaeh DeSouza nails a perfect 10 in State gymnastics meet – The Reporter

By Matt Sieger

Her gymnastics coaches scoured the records and couldn’t find a single gymnast who had done what Nevaeh DeSouza had just done.

The 17-year-old Vacaville High senior scored a perfect 10.0 in the vault at the State championships at Pleasanton on March 16.

“We looked all the way back to 2000, and it hasn’t happened in Northern California,” said DeSouza’s coach Jennifer Hudson at Dream Xtreme Gymnastics in Vacaville. “Any event, any athlete, at any level.”

Source: Vacaville High senior Nevaeh DeSouza nails a perfect 10 on vault in State gymnastics meet – The Reporter

Eggstraordinary students in Vacaville – The Reporter

By Joel Rosenbaum

The task for Friday for the students in the Gifted and Talented Education or GATE program at Alamo Elementary School was to create a capsule that will keep a raw egg from breaking after it has been dropped from the height of about 12 feet.

Starting with a 2-liter plastic bottle and working with items like popcorn, rice, cotton balls, marshmallows, and even mustard and mayonnaise, the students set forth to design the safest container to keep their egg from going splat.

Other guidelines for their capsules included the egg having to be 25 percent visible, no bubble wrap, Styrofoam or any material that is specifically designed and used for sending packages, including cardboard and egg carton materials.

Source: Eggstraordinary students in Vacaville – The Reporter