Sound of music at Zunino Stadium – The Reporter

Tom Zunino Stadium at Vacaville High will be alive next month with the sound of music.

With three bands scheduled, a concert to raise money for Vacaville Unified school music departments will be from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 10 at the stadium, 100 W. Monte Vista Ave.

Admission is $10.

Music will be provided by Vacaville High’s California Roll, Buckingham Charter High’s Beyond Gravity, and Wood High’s The Afterschool Special.

Dress for the weather, bring lawn chairs and umbrellas. Refreshments will be available.

Source: Sound of music at Zunino Stadium

VUSD signs 58 new hires, as annual “churn” continues – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The annual churn, or employment changes, including new hires and administrator shuffling, has been well underway in recent weeks and months in Vacaville Unified, which resumes classes Aug. 17.

In an email to The Reporter earlier this week, Janet Dietrich, chief human resources officer, reported 58 new employees: 52 teachers, one speech language pathologist, one school psychologist, one nurse and three counselors.

New hires and employee intradistrict shifts are a routine late-spring and summertime rite among California school districts, and, locally, some job changes have been the subject of meet-and-greet appearances during the last several Vacaville Unified governing board meetings.

At the July 13 meeting, Superintendent Jane Shamieh introduced the district’s newly hired associate superintendent for business services, Jennifer Stahlheber, who replaced Deo Persaud. After about one year on the job, he has returned to Southern California, Dietrich said.

A journey ends, another begins – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The familiar melody of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” seeped out of speakers, and, hearing it, Dahmesa Bennett wanted to cry.

But she held back her tears and marched down, with 19 classmates behind her, into the Catwalk Theatre at Will C. Wood High to take her place on the low-lit stage.

As the students walked, more than 200 people in an audience of excited parents, relatives and friends stood up, bursting into cheers, applause, shouts, smartphones in hand, marking the beginning of Vacaville Unified’s 2017 summer school graduation ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Source: A journey ends, another begins

Vacaville school trustees face light agenda Thursday – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

With new LCAPs and annual budgets sent to county offices of education, California school districts tend to face light midsummer agendas in July and August and that will be the case Thursday, when Vacaville Unified leaders meet.

In what likely will be a short meeting, concerned mostly with financial matters, trustees are expected to approve a revised 2017-18 salary schedule for classified, or school-suppport, managers, an unrepresented employee group that ranges from custodial manager and public information officer to director of maintenance and technology coordinator, with monthly pay, depending on which of five steps they fall under, that ranges from (all Step 1, or beginning, salaries, for example) $5,340 and $7,524 to $8,925 and $9,167.

There was no indication in agenda documents about why the salary scheduled was revised.

Source: Vacaville school trustees face light agenda Thursday

Mattress company begins school supplies drive for foster youth – The Reporter

Summer vacation is underway, but a new school year is right around the corner.

Consider that classes begin Aug. 9 in Dixon Unified, Aug. 17 for Vacaville Unified, Aug. 21 for Vacaville Christian Schools, and Aug. 23 for Travis Unified.

But for local foster children who might be headed to a new school, this time of year can bring concern about fitting in and keeping up academically. Having the necessary school supplies can help ease their worry and allow them to focus on learning.

To that end, Mattress Firm, the mattress chain store with two outlets in Vacaville, is hosting, through Aug. 27, its School Supply Drive for Foster Kids, offering a simple template for the community to donate, a corporate spokesman said in a press release.

Source: Mattress company begins school supplies drive for foster youth

Vacaville school board inks $1M contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A charter school petition denial and approval of the 2017-18 budgets were the main stories that emerged last week from a Vacaville Unified governing board meeting, but some other pocketbook matters also crossed the trustees’ dais and were approved.

Trustees OK’d a so-called “piggyback co-op bid” with San Gabriel Valley Food Services to contract with Gold Star Foods, in an amount not to exceed $1 million. The contract applies to the distribution of frozen and refrigerated foods for the 2017-18 academic year, with an option to extend the bid for two more. Vacaville Unified currently gets some of its food through Gold Star, which has a large warehouse in Dixon.

Source: Vacaville school board inks $1M contract with food services firm for frozen, refrigerated foods

Bold explorers of robotics, biotechnology – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Sitting on a stool in a Will C. Wood High School science room Friday, Edwin Gomez Perez, 10, used a remote hand-held device to control several linkbots, small softball-sized plastic robots, their wheels and gears whirring quietly on the floor in front of him.

Nearby, standing at a table, Benjamin Rocha, 10, guided a linkbot across the table’s surface as a half-dozen people, classmates and a parent, looked on as the ’bot rolled a few inches in a straight line, then took a half-right turn.

Meanwhile, a few moments later in an adjacent science room and lab at the Marshall Road campus, Alex Vales, 11, spoke softly with his father, Anthony, who heard his son explain how bacteria thrive — at least in a sealed Petri dish.

Source: Bold explorers of robotics, biotechnology

Vacaville school district leaders approve LCAP, $116M budget for 17-18 – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Meeting a state-mandated deadline, Vacaville Unified leaders Thursday approved the school district’s 2017-18 budget and the accompanying Local Control Accountability Plan, with some minor changes to the plan as requested by Michael Kitzes, the governing board’s president.

In California, annual school district budgets and LCAPs, the latter a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, must be submitted to respective county offices of education on or before June 30.

Although they detail spending for all student programs, LCAPs typically lay out in detail funding for programs that help English learners, foster youth and low-income students in efforts to close the “achievement gap,” the difference in standardized test scores between whites and ethnic minorities.

The district’s chief academic officer, Mark Frazier presented the changes to the 2017 LCAP, as requested by Kitzes at the June 15 meeting.

 

Source: Vacaville school district leaders approve LCAP, $116M budget for 17-18

VUSD leaders deny Pacific Valley Charter petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

To no one’s overwhelming surprise, Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday denied a petition for Pacific Valley Charter School Academy, currently called Heritage Peak Charter School, an independent study learning center housed at 354 Parker St.

The unanimous 7-0 vote was the second time in four years that trustees rejected the school’s charter petition from the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, which, headed by executive director Paul Keefer, operates several independent charter schools, most of them in the Sacramento area.

The governing board’s decision — barely meeting a 60-day deadline to take action on the petition — followed a one-hour block of time that included a district staff presentation to recommend denial of the petition, Keefer’s rebuttal and clarifications, pro-petition remarks by Heritage Park teachers and parents, and trustee comments.

 

Source: VUSD leaders deny Pacific Valley Charter petition

Measure A projects continue apace, on time and budget – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

School is out, and it is high season for Measure A-related construction projects across several Vacaville Unified campuses, where, at two sites on Thursday, small hand-operated, gas-powered compactors rapidly thudded and packed soil, portable electric saws buzzed and cut wood, and shovels crunched gravel.

Measure A was the $194 million bond Vacaville voters passed in 2014, to upgrade and modernize the school district’s many aging campuses, more than half of them 50 years old, and, of those, several more than 60 years old.

On a tour of new construction at Vacaville High and remodeling at Willis Jepson Middle School, Dan Banowetz, the district’s director of facilities, said the Division of State Architect is still reviewing some plans for other Measure A projects but work continues apace, on time and on budget, for existing projects.

 

Source: Measure A projects continue apace, on time and budget

VUSD leaders expected to nix charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A possible denial of a charter school petition, several large contracts, from auditing services to crossing guards to food services, and formal approval of two Local Control Accountability Plans and the 2017-18 budget are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet Thursday.

According to agenda documents, the seven-member governing board will vote to deny or approve a petition to establish the Pacific Valley Charter Academy, currently called Heritage Peak Charter School, an independent study learning center housed at 354 Parker St.

There will be a staff presentation, a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of the school’s parent organization, the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, which operates several charter schools, followed by trustee questions and comments.

But the district already appears ready to deny Keefer’s petition, as a formally worded resolution to do so was included as part of the agenda.

 

Source: VUSD leaders expected to nix charter school petition

VUSD summer feeding program well underway – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For dozens of Vacaville children, school is out but lunch in still in.

Vacaville Unified’s annual free summer feeding program, dubbed Free Lunch with Friends, is well underway at several citywide locations Mondays through Fridays.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program, organized by the district’s child nutrition department, is open is open to all children, infants to 18. No registration is required.

Food distribution dates, times and locations are as follows:

• 11 to 11:45 a.m., through July 14: Hemlock Elementary, 400 Hemlock St.

• 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., through Aug. 11: Vacaville Public Library, downtown branch, 1 Town Square Place.

 

Source: VUSD summer feeding program well underway

Revised Vacaville Unified grading system sets off lengthy debate at board meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

On a night when Vacaville Unified leaders faced a full agenda — the 2017-18 budget and its accompanying LCAP and other LCAPs — the real showstopper was a report on revised district regulations about grading and ways to assess student achievement, a still-in-the-works system one trustee called “huge” in its impact.

At issue during Thursday’s meeting were revisions to administrative regulation 5121, changes to which have been the subject of board, district staff and classroom teacher discussion and debate for well more than a year.

Source: Revised Vacaville Unified grading system sets off lengthy debate at board meeting

Vacaville Unified school board trustees put final touches on 2017-18 budget – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders late last week put finishing touches on the final 2017-18 school district budget some Local Control Accountability Plans, which will be approved, perhaps with some minor changes, at the governing board’s June 29 meeting.

In California, annual school district budgets and their accompanying LCAPs, a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, must be submitted to respective county offices of education on or before June 30.

Although they detail spending for all student programs, LCAPs typically lay out in detail funding for programs that help English learners, foster youth and low-income students in efforts to close the “achievement gap,” the difference in standardized test scores between whites and ethnic minorities.

Source: Vacaville Unified school board trustees put final touches on 2017-18 budget

Interviews for Buckingham principal job underway – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Job interviews for the principal opening at Buckingham Charter Magnet High School are being held this week in the wake of the resignation of Mike Boles, a Vacaville Unified official has confirmed.

Boles, who worked at the Bella Vista Road campus for the past two years, announced in an email sent to staff just hours after the school’s graduation ceremony Friday morning that he would “be moving to another position within the school district.”

Jennifer Leonard, the district’s public information officer, was unsure where Boles, also a former head football coach at Wood High, would be assigned because it is a decision that, ultimately, will be determined by the district’s governing board.

The job opening was posted on the district’s website, www.vacavilleusd.org, May 18 and it closed May 31.

 

Source: Interviews for Buckingham principal job underway

Big step forward – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Looking out at 92 seniors soon to graduate, Buckingham Charter High Principal Mike Boles on Friday said the inevitable question will come for many of them — “After the dust settles,” and they are alone, he said — as the students prepare to embark upon new journeys: to college, a career, perhaps the military, but definitely adulthood.

“What do I do now?” he said, phrasing the question during the morning commencement at The Mission, a church on Leisure Town Road, which drew well more than 1,000 parents, friends and relatives of the graduates, all in a horseshoe-shaped seating configuration.

Source: Big step forward

A time to cheer at Country High graduation – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Seconds after receiving her diploma, Country High senior Jane’t Cooksie raised it high over her head, beamed an ear-to-ear smile, looked toward cheering family and friends seated just a few steps away, then walked down an inclined ramp and onto the expansive turf in Zunino Stadium.

She was one of 45 students who marched onto the Vacaville High field on an overcast, somewhat muggy Thursday evening to receive the coveted document during a graduation ceremony that marked the end of their days at Vacaville Unified’s alternative high school.

Source: A time to cheer at Country High graduation

Special day, big “walk,” finally – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville High senior class president Molly Hendrickson recalled walking onto the West Monte Vista Avenue campus four years ago as a freshman, a memory that served to make a point about what she would do differently given her cumulative experience since then — and just minutes before picking up her diploma Saturday morning during the graduation ceremony.

Under mostly clear skies and temperatures in the 60s, she addressed more than 450 classmates and several thousand people packed into Zunino Stadium bleachers and wished she could talk to her freshman self. Her advice to that younger teenager? “To slow down, make friends, get involved, prepare for college” before completing one of life’s major passages, which was the moment she and her classmates found themselves in.

Will C. Wood High’s class of 2017 loud and proud – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The crisp night wind stirred the sycamores in the distance, the powerful stadium lights cast a silvery glow, and Wood High senior Simon Trusenkov sounded relieved and happy.

“I finally got through,” said Trusenkov, referring to his graduation Friday at Vacaville High’s Zunino Stadium, the last time the Wildcats will hold commencement on the football field belonging to their cross-town rival. (The new Wood stadium is set to open Feb. 1.)

The two-hour ceremony — which ended about 9 p.m. on a chilly note that saw 385 elated students get diplomas — also marked the end of his Vacaville Early College High School studies, earning him 55 units toward an eventual college degree. Thus, when Trusenkov enrolls at Solano Community College in late summer he will be, essentially, a college junior, a status that came at no personal cost, because the program is free.

Source: Will C. Wood High’s class of 2017 loud and proud – The Reporter

Will C. Wood Top Students: 2017 – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Delani Fish

Highlights: I’m extremely proud of my athletic accomplishments being MEL champion back to back, attending the Arcadia invitational in Los Angeles. I will never forget the journey with my peers with freshmen orientation, leadership camps, and atom bomb debates and I’m extremely honored to walk the stage with my amazing Class of 2017. Scholarships, awards: Parent Teacher Club Scholarship and Wildcats Booster Club Scholarship. Plans next year: I will be continuing my academic and Track and Field career at the University of California, San Diego in the Fall.

Source: Will C. Wood Top Students: 2017