Kairos directors hear draft of suicide-prevention policy – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders heard the first draft of the charter school’s suicide-prevention policy, which, in accordance with state law, must be adopted by July 1.

In a board of directors meeting Monday, Pat Broughton, the education services director, introduced the three-page policy and the accompanying two-page administrative regulation.

Such policies, under Assembly Bill 2246 enacted last yearare required by every California school district, and, as an independent TK-8 charter school, — a school largely governed by its own board of directors and the California Department of Education — Kairos is, essentially, its own school district.

Authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, the bill requires school districts to adopt formal suicide-prevention, intervention and follow-up plans for all middle and high school students, including provisions that specifically address the needs of “high-risk groups.”

 

Source: Kairos directors hear draft of suicide-prevention policy

End-of-year events honor Solano successes – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

There are so many sad and terrible things happening at home and around the world that it brings tears to one’s eyes from time to time, but it’s also the time of the year that I get the opportunity to attend wonderful events that honor the successes of our schools, parents and business community partners.

Throughout history there have been few events of significance that have occurred purely by accident, someone once said. And, this time of the year, educators, parents, students, volunteers and business partners come together at many sites around Solano County to honor and celebrate educator and student accomplishments.

I try to attend as many events as I can and even for the ones that I do attend, this space would not come anywhere near covering all of them. This is, indeed, a great thing that there are so many accomplishments to celebrate.

Source: End-of-year events honor Solano successes

Students monitor health of Solano waterways – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano Resource Conservation District announced Thursday that a group of students from Benicia High School completed the last in a series of projects to monitor the health of creeks throughout Solano County.

Nearly 300 high school students participated in the program throughout the year, including students from Fairfield, Vacaville, Dixon, Rio Vista, Vallejo, Jesse Bethel and Benicia high schools, as well as the Mare Island Technology Academy.

The creeks studied included Laurel and Union Avenue Creeks in Fairfield; Alamo and Ulatis Creeks in Vacaville; and Blue Rock Springs, Chabot, Rindler and Sulphur Springs Creeks in Vallejo. The general purpose is to monitor the water quality in different areas throughout the county to help local officials make informed policy decisions, the district stated.

Source: Students monitor health of Solano waterways

Students countywide enjoy special prom at Armijo – The Reporter

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

New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Just how local education leaders on June 29 will vote on a proposed and newly named independent charter school is unknown, but a Sacramento-area charter school group director who has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified officials to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the district faced a spate of pointed questions Thursday night.

Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, a nonprofit charter company that operates four charter schools, made a 15-minute presentation during a packed governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center, touting the independent charter school’s standardized test results, suspension rate, education model and demographics.

But during a question-and-answer session with trustees, he at times appeared to stumble at providing quick answers from board members, especially Whit Whitman, and could not provide some sought-after financial information about Heritage Peak, the learning center at 354 Parker St. in downtown Vacaville. (If the petition is approved, it will be renamed as Pacific Valley Charter Academy.)

 

Source: New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting

Vacaville student’s art picked as Top 5 in nation – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

The artwork of Will C. Wood High’s Jasmin Tupy has been voted a top-five finalist for the National Vans Custom Culture Art Contest and the was only school in California to be selected.

The competition’s final event takes place in June when the five finalists will be awarded with an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to showcase their customized shoe design around the Vans’ “Off the Wall” themes to a panel of celebrity judges.

The grand prize for the winning school is $50,000 toward its art program and the potential of one of the designs sold in Vans retail locations. The four runner-up schools will receive $4,000 toward their art program.

Source: Good News: Vacaville student’s art picked as Top 5 in nation

Solano Community Foundation bestows Nelson Scholarships – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Solano Community Foundation has awarded sizable scholarships to 10 Vacaville high school seniors, it has been announced.

Seven students received Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Scholarships, five from Will C. Wood High, including Dylan Nute, Ian Kitamura, Mercedes Hall, Willow Rigney and Hailey Milsaps; one from Buckingham Charter High, Mikayla Canales; and one from Vacaville High, Cassidy Aberson. Each four-year award is worth $14,000, or $3,500 per year.

Cassiel Nortier-Tilly of Vacaville High School received the Grace B. Powell Vacaville High School Scholarship, a one-time award of $5,000. Powell was principal of Vacaville High and promoted academic achievement. An annual citywide spelling bee is named after her.

Kristoffer Hernandez of Vacaville High and Rita Zughbaba from Buckingham Charter will receive an Auldin Briggs Achievement Scholarship of $2,500 each for one year. Briggs was a sheet metal worker at Mare Island, and later taught mechanical drawing at Solano Community College.

Source: Solano Community Foundation bestows Nelson Scholarships

A beloved educator – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Nearly everyone has a “favorite teacher” story, it’s something of a conversation cliche, really, but, by all accounts, Kelly Sparrow’s one-year Spanish-language teaching stint at Wood High very likely will be the subject of long-held fond memories for his 150 students across five classes.

Nearing the end of the academic year, the students Thursday took it upon themselves to show their affection and respect throughout the day in several endearing ways, each symbolizing a heartfelt “thank you,” surprise efforts that humbled the 71-year-old educator whose one-year emergency teaching credential will soon end.

Source: A beloved educator

New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A petition from an independent charter school in Vacaville, two Local Control Accountability Plans from a pair of dependent charter schools in Vacaville, and a nearly $1 million construction contract are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Already rebuffed once, the leader of a Sacramento-area charter school group has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified leaders to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the 12,500-student district.

The governing board will hear a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, then seek comments and questions from the public and trustees.

The governing board — which, in July 2013, rejected the charter submitted on behalf of Heritage Peak, the PCI charter school at 354 Parker St. — will take action on the petition, an up-or-down vote, as required by law, at its June 29 meeting.

 

Source: New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda

Dixon May Fair caters to special needs students with early opening – The Reporter

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

Rebuffed once, Sacramento-area charter school leader petitions VUSD again – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Already rebuffed once, the leader of a Sacramento-area charter school group has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified leaders to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the 12,500-student district.

When it meets Thursday, the governing board plans to hear a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, then seek comments and questions from the public and trustees.

The governing board — which, in July 2013, rejected the charter submitted on behalf of Heritage Peak, the PCI charter school at 354 Parker St. — will take action on the petition, an up-or-down vote, as required by law, at its June 29 meeting.

Keefer on April 28 sent notice of his renewed intentions to VUSD offices on Nut Tree Road. By law, the district has 60 days from receipt of the petition to make a decision. The last time Keefer engaged in the process with the district, trustees, on a 4-2 vote in a packed meeting room in the Educational Services center, rejected the petition, citing its “unsound educational plan.”

 

Source: Rebuffed once, Sacramento-area charter school leader petitions VUSD again

Buckingham artist ‘layers it on’ for annual student art show – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Hannah Siu loves the outdoors and art.

She’s employed both passions in “Mystical Meadow,” one of nearly 300 entries submitted to the Vacaville Art League’s annual student show. An honorable mention ribbon sits next to her creation on a pedestal.

The Buckingham High School senior used about 10 layers of paper to create the three-dimensional scene. She carved with a thin tool and used about 30 pieces of paper in the accordion-style piece.

It was created during her painting and sculpting class at school when her instructor encouraged the students to be creative, she said.

Source: Buckingham artist ‘layers it on’ for annual student art show

Wood stadium contract, hikes in meal prices up for discussion at Vacaville Unified meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The contract for building the new Wood High athletics stadium, slight increases in school meals for the 2017-18 year, and suicide prevention presentation are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight.

As expected, the governing board will likely approve a contract with Alten Construction, a Richmond-based firm, to build the long-awaited athletics stadium at Wood High. The contract is not to exceed $13,950,000, a little more than $1 million more than previously projected by Dan Banowetz, the director of facilities.

There was no explanation in agenda documents about why the contract increased from a previously announced figure of $12.8 million. The contact signing will come exactly one week after school and district officials held a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony at the Marshall Road campus.

Source: Wood stadium contract, hikes in meal prices up for discussion at Vacaville Unified meeting

Teen drummer competes in national competition, releases new song – The Reporter

By Jessica Rogness

As a young child, Molly Hendricksen would play percussion on pots and pans and the back seat in her parents’ car.

“And then they discovered I could actually keep a beat,” she said, and finally bought her a toy drum set when she was 8 years old.

In the years that followed, Hendricksen would take drumming lessons and play music at school.

Now 17 and a Vacaville High School senior, Hendricksen recently competed in the “Hit Like A Girl” drumming contest under her performance moniker Molly Rose.

Last year, she placed second runner-up in the under 18 category of this international contest.

Each contestant submits a video and biography which are judged by professional judges and drummers.

This year, Hendrickson took a different approach by playing a Latin groove in the first half of her video entry, followed by “She’s Country” by Jason Aldean.

 

Source: Teen drummer competes in national competition, releases new song

Waelbrock, Porter, Solano County’s educators of the year – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

Golden Hills Education Center Teacher Judith Waelbrock was announced Tuesday as Solano County’s 2017-18 teacher of the year.

Angela Porter, Benicia Middle School campus monitor, was chosen as the county’s classified school employee of the year.

“You promote collaboration and teamwork, and you step up to the challenges,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said to Waelbrock, Porter and the 11 other candidates who had earlier been named by their school districts.

Source: Waelbrock, Porter, Solano County’s educators of the year

In VUSD, ag leader’s school lunch proposals met with a shrug, for now – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Director of Child Nutrition for Vacaville Unified, Juan Cordon, more or less shrugged his shoulders hearing news Monday that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue plans to roll back part of former first lady Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative of more strict nutritional standards for school lunches in the nation’s public schools.

Cordon on Tuesday said Perdue’s desire to give U.S. school districts greater leeway in meeting nutritional requirements for meal programs “don’t do much because the waivers to white grains are already in place.”

“There’s a waiver for school districts if they are losing money and having difficulties in getting whole grain items,” he said. “Basically, we’ll continue to have that option.”

Source: In VUSD, ag leader’s school lunch proposals met with a shrug, for now – The Reporter

 

Support for students, not divisive politics, prompts area teachers unions actions on May Day – Daily Republic

By Richard Bammer

Support for all students and their families, rather than overt protests of a political nature, prompted Vacaville-area school teachers to turn out by the dozens Monday morning, as part of nationwide May Day demonstrations against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and perceived threats to public education.

In Vacaville, teachers who are members of Vacaville Teachers Association began preparing for the statewide Day of Action, organized by the California Teachers Association, some six weeks ago, said Tracy Begley, president of the 680-member VTA.

Teachers and educators at more than a dozen Vacaville Unified school sites participated, she said, adding that teachers, staff, administrators and, in some cases, students wore red, black, a “school spirit” shirt or a VTA button.

In an interview and in a press release issue late in the day, Begley said the demonstrations were a way for the rank and file to say they supported district schools and all students.

 

Source: Support for students, not divisive politics, prompts area teachers unions actions on May Day

A taste of the trades – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Forrest Blue, a junior at Vintage High in Napa, sat astride a yellow-painted, pint-sized hydraulic shovel-excavator, using a stubby control stick to move the boom, arm and bucket, tentatively at best, as Steve Lewis, a member of Local 3 of the Operating Engineers union, looked on.

Just a few steps away and wearing a black welder’s protective face shield, Uriel Garcia, a junior at Napa High, listened and watched Julian Rucker, a member of Local 378 of the Iron Workers union, showed him how to cut a piece of steel with an oxygen-acetylene torch.

Hot sparks flying occasionally, school — with the nearby steady, brittle thrum of Interstate 80 traffic in their ears — was in session, specifically a glimpse of the construction trades and, perhaps, a career technical education career path for Blue and Garcia.

Source: A taste of the trades – The Reporter

 

“A Day for Kids” of all abilities – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, The McBride Center was transformed into a park as families and their children celebrated “A Day for Kids.”

Looking to spread education and acceptance in regard to children with autism and any special needs, Jessica Johnson and NorthBay Healthcare provided a fun-filled event as they raised money for the cause.

When Johnson first heard that a young dancer and her mother were sent home from a dance studio due to her daughter’s autism, the former Miss California Global Nations (2014) sought to make a difference and used her platform to do so.

Source:  “A Day for Kids” of all abilities – The Reporter

Papa Roach Day will be declared Saturday in Vacaville – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Wednesday will be declared Papa Roach Day for the world-touring, Grammy-nominated, triple-platinum rock band with members who originally hail from Vacaville.

Papa Roach will come home Wednesday to deliver a message to Solano County children: Be fearless, dream big, aim high to develop your full creative potential, a statement released about the event said.

Papa Roach, formed in 1993 with members Jacoby Shaddix, a student at Vacaville High, Jerry Horton, of Vanden High, Tobin Esperance and Tony Palermo – has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide, the release added.

Source: Papa Roach Day will be declared Saturday in Vacaville