Measure A transforms Sierra Vista – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Without public fanfare but certainly with excited students and teachers, Sierra Vista leaders on Jan. 8 opened two new seventh- and eighth-grade science classrooms, part of continuing Measure A expenditures at the Vacaville school, bringing the teaching of basic biology, genetics, plant and animal life cycles and more into a 21st-century learning environment.

The construction, its completion somewhat delayed, Principal Catherine Bozzini said Tuesday, was funded by Measure A, the $194 million bond passed by Vacaville voters in November 2014, of which at least $9 million has been set aside by Vacaville Unified to pay for upgrades and new buildings at the Bel Air Drive campus, a K-8 school.

Source: Measure A transforms Sierra Vista

Vaca Pena to host 4-H Project Skills Day event – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

If you want to know where some of tomorrow’s American leaders are being groomed, you do not have to visit one of our nation’s military service academies or elite private and public universities.

You could begin simply and locally by attending a 4-H education event, including the Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day & Chili Cook-Off Saturday at Vaca Pena Middle School in Vacaville.

Area 4-H’ers will show off what they have learned while completing their projects this year during the annual happening, free and open to the public, at the 200 Keith Way school.

Vacaville’s 4-H clubs — Elmira, Pleasants Valley and Vaca Valley — will host the event, which begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by project evaluations, service learning, food entry tasting and refreshments, when chili will be served. Awards will be handed out from 1:30 to 2 p.m.

Source: Vaca Pena to host 4-H Project Skills Day event

Will C. Wood High School’s new field, track is behind schedule – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

The long-awaited construction of Will C. Wood High School’s new synthetic field and track won’t be finished by the anticipated Feb. 1 completion date.

Wednesday, Vacaville Unified School District Director of Facilities Dan Banowetz and Will C. Wood High School boys soccer coach Jorge Ruiz-Chavez confirmed that the $16 million project is behind schedule.

Although Banowetz was unable to provide a specific date regarding the completion of the field and the palatial stadium, he expects to have additional information once he sits down with Alten Construction President Bob Alten early next week.

Source: Will C. Wood High School’s new field, track is behind schedule

New home for math at Vaca High – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

It was a mammoth and desired present ready to use after the Christmas holidays.

Vacaville High School students, teachers, support staff and administrators ushered in the new year with a newly built $9 million, 15-classroom mathematics building, part of Vacaville Unified’s continuing districtwide campus upgrades under Measure A.

The two-story structure, which opened Monday when classes resumed, further enhances the West Monte Vista school — one of the district’s oldest at 66 years — coming five months after completion of the campus’ new and similar English building.

Source: New home for math at Vaca High

Retirement incentive program, two special ed contracts on VUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A teacher retirement incentive program, a substitute classified employee salary schedule for the current year, and two major contracts for nursing services for two special-needs students are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet Thursday.

The Vacaville Teachers Association has agreed to offer an early retirement program to members. If they submit nonrevocable resignation letters between Friday and Feb. 12, they will receive an extra $1,000 in their June 30 paycheck.

Trustees will consider the matter as a memorandum of understanding, dated Dec. 14, and are expected to approve it.

The seven-member governing board also likely will approve an adjustment to the substitute classified employee pay schedule, with pay rates, depending on the job (student monitor to payroll technician, for example), to range from $12.40 per hour to $18.90 per hour. It will take effect Thursday.

Source: Retirement incentive program, two special ed contracts on VUSD agenda

VPEF opens Teacher of the Year contest – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Know a gifted Vacaville teacher and want to honor him or her?

Officials at the Vacaville Public Education Foundation seek to recognize a primary and secondary teacher in Vacaville Unified or at the Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy.

They have started a “Community Choice” Teacher of the Year Award contest on social media. It allows Vacaville students and families to nominate and vote for their favorite Vacaville educator.

For those interested, go to www.facebook.com/VacavillePublicEducationFoundation, like the page, and post the teacher’s nomination.

The contest permits local residents to post a picture and story of their favorite teacher and to state why he or she was selected. The community then has the ability to like and share the post.

Source: VPEF opens Teacher of the Year contest

Nearly 1k students took part in RCD’s education program during past year – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Reliable research shows that we remember field trips long into adulthood — journeys to museums, state and national monuments, state capitols, major libraries, seashores, national forests and the like — enriching visits that offer real educational value.

That, in part, is the mission of the Solano Resource Conservation District and its Suisun Marsh Watershed Education Program as it intersects with the missions of county school districts, which, like districts across the nation, are increasingly hard-pressed to fund.

But just ending its 10th year, the RCD program — which uses Rush Ranch, just south of Suisun City, and the massive adjacent marsh as an outdoor classroom — continues to flourish, thanks to its partners: the Solano County Water Agency, the Solano County Department of Resource Management and the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District.

Source: Nearly 1k students took part in RCD’s education program

Comfort and joy at Padan – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Charles Dickens called Christmas that “rolling time of the year,” when homes and hearths are sources of revelry, songs, gift-giving, feasts, festive feelings, and a sense of doing for others, especially those down on their luck.

Several similar actions and qualities are what define NorthBay Healthcare’s annual Adopt-A-School program, which, on Wednesday morning, marked the 13th straight time several dozen company employees fanned out across the Padan Elementary campus, delivering gifts, classroom supplies and food to more than 30 classrooms at the Padan School Road campus.

Source: Comfort and joy at Padan

Five honored at annual Vacaville Youth Roundtable Awards ceremony – Daily Republic

By PIO, City of Vacaville

Five members of the Vacaville Youth Roundtable were honored for their commitment to the youth of the City at the annual Vacaville Youth Roundtable awards presentation.Natalie Mifflin of Buckingham Charter Magnet High School, Noah Galgan of Vacaville High School, Marileigh Ramp of Will C. Wood High School, REACH intern Sarah Lucas, and Andrea Kamman, Dean of Learning Support at Vacaville High School, were presented certificates of recognition from the City of Vacaville as well as Assembly member Jim Frazier, on behalf of the California Legislature.City Manager Jeremy Craig presented the City certificates, while Aeriel Silva of Assembly member Frazier’s office presented the Legislature’s certificates.

Source: Press Release: Five honored at annual Vacaville Youth Roundtable Awards ceremony

Construction firm “on time, on budget” with new Wood High stadium – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Wearing a white hard hat, Randall Barbour, project manager for Alten Construction, looked out at a giant concrete pumping truck and boom at the still-underway work on the Wood High stadium project, and said, “We’re on time and on budget.”

As he spoke early Friday afternoon, workers positioned giant tubes from which the concrete flowed into forms that will become a wall for a ramp for the disabled who attend football games, soccer matches and track and field events at the stadium complex, the majority of which is set for completion on Feb. 1.

Source: Construction firm “on time, on budget” with new Wood High stadium

Vacaville Unified School District employee churn turns busy in December – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified’s employee churn, normally busiest at academic year’s end in June, is active in December, with several principals moving on, The Reporter has learned.

Deanna Brownlee, the principal of Fairmont Charter in Vacaville Unified, has been named as Travis Unified’s new director of special education. Brownlee’s last day of work at the Marshall Road campus is Dec. 21.

“I’m very excited,” Brownlee, who has led Fairmont, a Title 1 school under federal guidelines, for eight years, said Wednesday afternoon.

The longtime educator, who earned a master’s degree in special education, added, “I have desired a position in special education for a very long time. Finally, all the pieces came together. I enjoy working with at-risk and special education students.”

Source: Vacaville Unified School District employee churn turns busy in December

Special ed program the focus of Vacaville workshop tonight – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified’s special education department, including its goals for the current year, funding and staffing levels, will be the primary focus of a special governing board workshop tonight in Vacaville.

Sasha Begell, the department director, and Kimberly Forrest, assistant superintendent of student services and special education, will make what appears to be a highly detailed presentation consisting of more than 80 computer-aided slides.

According to agenda documents, they will tell the seven-member governing board that the department’s focus for the 2017-18 is to improve communication and identify needs, stemming, in part, from the department’s “vision statement”: “Supporting student success through equitable access, collaboration and empowerment.”

Begell and Forrest will note the importance of “building relationships” among teachers, parents and administrators, by “validating and showing appreciation,” “being responsive and having difficult conversations with honesty,” and “establishing monthly meetings,” respectively.

Source: Special ed program the focus of Vacaville workshop tonight

Graduation rates Vacaville Unified School District’s strength – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Casting an eye on the state’s new school accountability system, Vacaville Unified’s chief academic officer said the district’s salient strength is its graduation rate, its greatest weaknesses English and math scores on standardized tests.

Mark Frazier made his remarks during Thursday’s governing board meeting, when he updated trustees about progress made on the district’s 2017-18 Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, the document that guides virtually all of a California school district’s spending, especially for programs that aid poor students, English language learners and foster youth.

Toward the end of his slide presentation, he referred to the fall 2017 California School Dashboard, a website released Thursday that offers information in numerous categories — besides test scores, career and college readiness, English learner progress suspension and absenteeism rates — about school and student performance.

Source: Graduation Rates – VUSD

Staff layoffs loom for Vacaville charter schools? – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

At least two of Vacaville Unified’s three dependent charter schools face enough serious red ink in the coming years that staff layoffs may be required to balance the books, district leaders said Thursday night.

As Jennifer Stahlheber, chief business officer for the 12,600-student district, neared the end of her first interim 2017-18 budget report, trustee Whit Whitman raised concerns about projected decreasing ending fund balances not only for the district in general but especially for Ernest Kimme Charter Academy, Buckingham Charter High and Fairmont Charter, an elementary school.

But seeing and hearing Stahlheber’s numbers during a presentation in the Educational Services Center, he expressed worries that the schools, which are overseen by the district, face negative ending fund balances in the coming years.

Source: Staff layoffs loom for Vacaville charter schools?

Santa Claus stops for pancake breakfast in Vacaville – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

The children-crafted decorations were hung in the McBride Senior Center with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there.

The eager children weren’t nestled or snug in their beds, they were there for breakfast dressed in white, green and red.

Families spilled into the local senior center as the aroma of pancakes and sausage circulated through the air Saturday morning.

For recreation coordinator Penny Hernandez, the opportunity to host the annual event for families is accented by the volunteer efforts of her own family. With much-appreciated assistance from her husband Joe Hernandez in the kitchen, Penny was able to host the North Pole native for the sixth straight year.

Source: Santa Claus stops for pancake breakfast in Vacaville

4 Solano schools hit home runs with grants – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Four Solano County schools have received grants that range from $2,500 to $5,000 from a group that includes San Francisco Giants gold glove shortstop, Brandon Crawford.

“As a kid, my parents always emphasized the importance of an education – above and beyond participating in sports. As a Bay Area native, it is an honor to be part of a program that increases education and athletic programs for local kids,”

Crawford said in a statement announcing the grants.Crawford, along with Wells Fargo, awarded a total of $100,000 in grants to 31 Bay Area schools.

Source: 4 Solano schools hit home runs with grants

Buckingham VEX Robotics get in the zone on Saturday – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

In the last competition before the holiday, the Buckingham RoboKnights VEX four teams will compete against other schools for VEX’s “In the Zone.”

The event will take place Saturday at the Vanden High School gym, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Fairfield.

“Each team will use their capable engineering skills to gain a higher score than their opponents by stacking cones on goals, scoring mobile goals in zones, having the highest stacks, and parking robots” VEX coordinator Sean O’Bra said.

Source: Buckingham VEX Robotics get in the zone on Saturday

Annual reorganization, first interim budget report, LCAP update on VUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will elect new governing board officers, hear and likely approve the school district’s first interim budget, and hear an update on the Local Control Accountability Plan.

Current board president Michael Kitzes will give up the gavel after one year of service and be recognized for his service for the past 12 months.

Besides naming a new president, trustees will elect a vice president, clerk, and, in a routine vote, once again approve Superintendent Jane Shamieh as secretary to the board.

After the board reorganization vote, an annual rite during December, trustees will recess to conduct organizational meetings for Vacaville Library governing board and the Vacaville Public Facilities Financing Corporation.

Jennifer Stahlheber, chief business officer for the 12,600-student district, will lead the discussion of the 2017-18 first interim budget report.

Source: Annual reorganization, first interim budget report, LCAP update on VUSD agenda

Supervisors recognize Vacaville student videographers for ‘Kindness’ – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

Brooke Parker sees a lot of videos online, but she said many have negative messages or are about negative subjects.

So given a chance to make a video that was positive, the junior at Buckingham Charter High School and three of her schoolmates produced a video about the power of kindness.

“I just wanted to turn it into something positive because there are so many videos online today of people holding up signs when it’s negative, saying they are suicidal and everything, so we just wanted to turn it into something positive like ‘you got this,’ ‘you’re strong,’ you’re beautiful,’ ” Parker said.

Source: Supervisors recognize Vacaville student videographers for ‘Kindness’

Wood High Madrigal Dinner shows begin Thursday – The Reporter

By Reporter Staff

The air chills, the nights grow longer, signs the season of glad tidings will soon be here, always welcome news to the eyes and ears, as the Will C. Wood Singers ready their annual Madrigal Dinner programs, fundraisers for the high school’s choral programs, beginning Thursday.

Besides the first performance, the 21st annual shows, called “Seasons of Light,” also are set for Friday and Saturday at the Opera House, 560 Main St., Vacaville.

Madilyn Hawkins wrote the script; Colby Hawkins, a choral instructor at the Marshall Road campus, directs; and Naomi Simpson is the choreographer.

Source: Wood High Madrigal Dinner shows begin Thursday