RoboKnights announce first Lego event in Vacaville – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Buckingham Charter Magnet High School RoboKnights have kicked off their new season and now they’re reaching out to the community by hosting an event for the smaller Robo children in the league.

The First Lego League offers an opportunity for children in elementary and middle schools to compete in robotics competitions that are geared toward young minds.

“These young teams are encouraged to think like scientists and engineers to solve real-world problems,” Logan Malaney, RoboKnights president, said in a statement. “And we get to guide them along the way.”

Source: RoboKnights announce first Lego event in Vacaville

Vacaville Unified leaders to discuss Measure A contracts – The Reporter

A biennial report about Alamo Elementary, accountability “local indicators,” and several large contracts are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Derek Wickliff, principal of Alamo Elementary, will present the report about the South Orchard Avenue campus. He will touch on a variety of topics. They include the school’s music program; recent past events; data from the California Dashboard, the state’s new schools accountability system, with statistics about suspension rates, English learner progress, and results from the 2017 state standardized tests; and attendance.

A district staff member will present information about local indicators from the Dashboard. They include basic services, the carrying-out of academic standards, parent engagement and school climate.

Through this accountability system, each California school district and charter school is required to provide a “narrative,” complete a rating scale, or use survey results to determine progress.

Source: Vacaville Unified leaders to discuss Measure A contracts

Solano Youth Theatre opens season with ‘Mulan Jr.’ – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Solano Youth Theatre, a division of Young Artists Conservatory of Music, opens the 2017-18 season this weekend with Disney’s “Mulan Jr.”

“Our SYT is a great expression of our community at its best,” said Wanda Cook, artistic director and founder of the Young Artists Conservatory of Music, in a press release.

“Each SYT show gives our student actors the opportunity to develop lifelong skills. It pulls together hundreds of adults in support of excellence demonstrated in the life of a hard-working young person.”

Source: Solano Youth Theatre opens season with ‘Mulan Jr.’

Vacaville High choir kicks off busy season at ‘Christmas in My Hometown’ – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Ashley Parker, who directs the Vacaville High School choir, begins listening and searching for Christmas music in the late summer.

“I joke around that I’m always ‘bah humbug’ by the time Christmas actually gets here,” she shared in an email.

The choir kicks off a busy holiday season Nov. 25 as they make their third appearance in “Christmas in My Hometown,” now in its 12th year.

That will be followed by singing Nov. 28 at the annual Festival of Trees in Vacaville.

Source: Vacaville High choir kicks off busy season at ‘Christmas in My Hometown’

Local students prepare for another Merriment on Main ensemble – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

It’s that time of year in which music often acts as a uniting force for communities throughout the country.

Whether the sounds of the season exude from the speakers of a family’s living room or spills through the illuminated neighborhood streets as carolers go from house to house, Christmas music often rekindles the most treasured of memories as people reconvene for Merriment on Main Nov. 28.

For families set to attend to the 35th tree lighting, music has become ingrained within the tradition of Christmas in Vacaville. While there will be a collection of professional artists, the performances by the younger and less seasoned crowd have been a popular point of interest year after year.

Although the local jazz bands at Vacaville and Will C. Wood high schools have been an integral part of the annual celebration, the choir at Jean Callison Elementary School returns after more than 25 years providing their unique spin on the annual festivities. After originally performing on the sidewalk adjacent to where Fleet Feet Sports currently resides, the budding group of more than 100 elementary students will return with 14 unique songs and plenty of movement.

Source: Local students prepare for another Merriment on Main ensemble

Will C. Wood Jazz Earns 1st Place In Division – Daily Republic

By Richard Cook

Congratulations to The Will C. Wood Jazz Band who performed at the 40th Annual Grape Bowl Classic in Lodi on Saturday November 4th. The band earned 1st Place in their division. Will C. Wood will compete again on Saturday, November 18th at Fairfield High School to end the season.

Source: Good News: Will C. Wood Jazz Earns 1st Place In Division

A helpful $38K for Vacaville schools – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A symbolic $38,000 check in hand, David McCallum of Vacaville (center), a former Vacaville Unified trustee and member of the Vacaville Public Education Foundation, smiles at governing board president Michael Kitzes as Superintendent Jane Shamieh looks on during Thursday’s trustee meeting. McCallum, in an update about the nonprofit group’s most recent activities, presented the money to boost enrichment activities in district classrooms, from paying for field trips and lab equipment to robotics and music programs. He noted that VPEF, founded in 2003 and has since donated more than $3 million to district schools, received some $270,000 in requests for this year’s round of grants but only had $40,000 to distribute.

Source: A helpful $38K for Vacaville schools

Vacaville teens learn police use of force tactics – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

In a matter of hours Monday, they’d fired Tasers, deployed their firearms, engaged in a vehicle chase and used batons to encourage compliance.

But more importantly, the Will C. Wood Service and Safety class students learned the whys behind use of force tactics and what it’s like to be a police officer and having to make a split second decision in a potentially deadly situation.

“What do you see? What was he saying? Did you feel like your safety was in jeopardy?” asked Fairfield police officer and firearms instructor Jimmie Williams of two teens following a simulation where a suicidal man unexpectedly turned his gun, which had been pointed at his head, on police.

Source: Vacaville teens learn police use of force tactics

A “fantasmagroico” day at Markham – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

As Thursday’s sun set and skies turned silvery purple with a hint of orange, the evening, in Spanish, turned “fantasmagorico,” or spooky, during Markham Elementary’s annual observance of Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, at the Vacaville campus.

Amid the half-light were dozens of excitable, costumed students gathered on the playground, with some sporting lurid black, white and red makeup or handmade crowns adorned with skulls, cobwebs and roses. Others had created small, lovingly handmade ofrenda altars, which were displayed on tables under a pop-up tent, to honor specific family members who have died. Throughout the two-hour event, which began at 5 p.m., deejay and Markham parent Rene Ortiz blasted Spanish-language tunes, including, at one point, “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens, and commanded a light show with splashes of iridescent colors washing across a portable classroom’s exterior. In a first-grade classroom, students sprinkled glitter on hand-size sugar skulls.

Source: A fantasmagorico day at Markham – The Reporter

District by the numbers and adult ed growing again – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The majority of Vacaville Unified teachers have less than 10 years on the job, and the school district’s Adult Education program is “growing again.”

That information surfaced during Thursday’s governing board meeting, when several district departmental leaders updated trustees with presentations.

Janet Dietrich, assistant superintendent for human resources, provided a statistical snapshot of teachers and school enrollment numbers, and Manolo Garcia, director of human resources, provided a similar picture about classified, or school-support, employees.

Source: District by the numbers – The Reporter

Vacaville boxer, Ivan Vergara, helps straighten path of Markham student – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

Vacaville boxing product Ivan Vergara, 20, has created a name for himself by making an impact in the face of his opposition.

But as of late, the greatest impact Vergara has made is in the lives of Markham Elementary student Nate Latta, 9, and his mother Carrie.

“If you have the ability to help someone, you should help them,” Vergara said. “It’s not something you think about, it’s just something you do.”

When the school year first started, the Vacaville mother and son found themselves at a fork in the road. With a child on the way and Nate no longer able to take boxing lessons at the Georgie Duke Center, her son was barreling down a path set for juvenile hall, or worse. His grades were at an all-time low, he consistently disrespected his mother, and he was caught bringing a knife to school.

Source: Vacaville boxer, Ivan Vergara, helps straighten path of Markham student

VPEF leaders to give $38K to Vacaville Unified – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In good times and bad, education dollars are hard to come by. Federal and state funding goes up and down, like a yo-yo. There are always needs to be fulfilled.

Locally, however, enter the Vacaville Public Education Foundation.

Tonight, leaders of the nonprofit group, which, formed in 2003, raises grant money for classroom teachers and programs, will provide and update about their work to the Vacaville Unified governing board, which meets in open session at 6:30 in the Educational Services Center, 401 Nut Tree Road.

They also will present the district with a $38,000 check to the district for things such as field trips, lab equipment, robotics, health programs, sports, music, among many others.

Source: VPEF leaders to give $38K to Vacaville Unified

CBO presents Measure A bond sale costs to district leaders – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Updates about district staffing and enrollment numbers, an update about the district’s Adult Education program and the likely approval of the costs to sell $78 million in Measure A bonds are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified trustees meet Thursday in Vacaville.

Presentations about 2017 staffing and enrollment numbers will fall to Janet Dietrich, assistant superintendent for human resources, and Manolo Garcia, director of human resources.

Offering a numerical glimpse of the district’s population, they will tell the seven-member governing board that the total number of staff — teachers, classified (school-support employees), certificated managers and administrators — is 1,270. And the total number of students in elementary, middle and high schools is 12,626, a slight increase from prior years.

Source: CBO presents Measure A bond sale costs to district leaders

Buckingham Robo Knights start new year this weekend with high spirits – Daily Republic

By Buckingham PR Team

The Buckingham Charter Magnet High School Robotics team is gearing up for another successful year.

“This will be an exciting year,” says team Vice President Natalie LaRowe. “The Robo Knights are ready to build on last year’s season when we competed at the World Championships in Houston. This year, we intend to win!”

On Nov. 4, from 6-8 p.m., the Robo Knights will host their annual Spaghetti Feed fundraiser to support the team. The Robo Knights will serve fresh, homemade pasta dishes, salad, garlic bread, and ice cream floats, all for $10. The event features live and silent auctions, and the Robo Knights will demonstrate their robots.

Source: Buckingham Robo Knights start new year this weekend with high spirits

Sparking dreams, pathways – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Buckingham High senior Cole Reiner, his hands on a video control pad, operated a small white drone inside the school’s multipurpose room during the Career Fair Friday.

With his eyes locked on the tablet computer, the slightly built, blond-haired teen appeared to be a budding entrepreneur.

He was, indeed.

Standing in a corner, away from nearly 200 students filing into the room, where they were met by more than 30 vendors, Reiner has, with his father, started a business: R6 Systems, an aerial photography firm.

Source: Sparking dreams, pathways

Pensions pack punch for school district budgets, superintendent says – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Pension costs could run school districts out of business, a superintendent said Thursday at the State of Education in Solano County forum.

Schools may first reach a point where they do less for students because of contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System, said Brian Dolan, superintendent of the Dixon School District.

Source: Pensions pack punch for school district budgets, superintendent says

Vacaville Unified trustees delay vote on PLAs until full board convenes – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After some fraught discussion and public comment, Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday tabled a motion, on a close 3-2 vote, to resume talks on Project Labor Agreements for the Markham Elementary School modernization project.

Before the vote, Board President Michael Kitzes, noting the absence of two trustees, John Jansen and Sherie Mahlberg, and opposing opinions about resuming negotiations with labor unions, referred to trustee Whit Whitman’s suggestion to hold off on making a decision until the full, seven-member board convened to discuss the matter, most likely at the Nov. 2 meeting.

Source: Vacaville Unified trustees delay vote on PLAs until full board convenes

Overview of state standardized tests and PLAs on VUSD Agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An update on state standardized tests and the use of project labor agreements, or PLAs, on Measure A projects are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified board members meet tonight in Vacaville.

Kelley Birch, director of secondary education, and Ryan Galles, director of elementary education, will lead the presentation, an overview, of the 2017 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, including updates and changes for the 2017-18 academic year. The all-computerized tests are given every spring to students in grades three to eight and 11. They are meant to gauge what students know at each grade level under the California State Standards.

Among others things, Birch and Galles will note all the tests included in the CAASSP battery of assessments: Smarter Balanced (for English and mathematics); the California Science Test (for grades five, eight and at least once in high school); and California Alternative Assessments, or Cal Alt (for students with the most severe disabilities).

Source: Vacaville Unified agenda: Overview of state standardized tests and PLAs

Will C. Wood Band Earns Awards in Elk Grove – Daily Republic

By Richard Cook

The Will C. Wood Band traveled to Elk Grove to compete in the 6th Annual Franklin Band Review on October 14th and earned awards in Concert and Jazz competition.

The students of the Wind Ensemble earned 3rd Place and the Jazz Band earned 5th in their division. The Jazz Band will travel to Lodi in November to compete again at the Lodi Grape Bowl Classic. The Wind Ensemble performs again in Fairfield at the Tournament of Champions, also in November.

Source: Our Successes: Will C. Wood Band Earns Awards in Elk Grove

Will C. Wood Band Hosting Fundraiser Event – Daily Republic

By Richard Cook

Attention ALL Wildcat fans! On Saturday, October 21st, the Will C. Wood High School Band Boosters will be hosting their 1st annual Mattress Fundraiser Sale!

We will be turning the high school gym into a mattress showroom. There will be Simmons Beautyrest and more top brands in all sizes. Memory foam, latex, pillowtops and hybrid styles will be on display, priced up to 50% below retail store prices! Further discounts also offered for retired or active Teachers or school staff, First Responders, and Military.

Source: School Event: Will C. Wood Band Hosting Fundraiser Event